Extroverts tend to crave human interaction and physical affection. But if you’re an introvert, you likely only have one request: for people to stay out of your very cozy bubble unless they’re expressly invited in. Unfortunately, maintaining those sacred boundaries in everyday life can be pretty tricky in practice—especially since hugging is basically the new handshake, and everyone seems to want one. There’s good news, though: You can figure out if you actually have to hug a particular person or not, and all it takes is going through a simple flowchart.
Maureen “Marzi” Wilson, the creator of Introvert Doodles, definitely understands the struggles of fellow introverts. She navigates the frequent awkward encounters brought on by her personality type through her LOL-inducing comics—including the whole hugging debacle. As an introvert, you don’t necessarily want to give just anyone a hug, and she’s making an important point through her sketches: you don’t have to.
In the flowchart, you go through who the person is—be it a co-worker, family member, friend, or nemesis—and how well you know them. You also go through whether you like them or not, if it’s a special occasion or holiday, and whether they gave you a gift. At the end, you’re left with a pleasant surprise. As Wilson perfectly puts it, you do not have to hug any of them, because “your body, your boundaries.”
So sure, not hugging someone might be awkward and uncomfortable, but just because they’re a family member or gave you something doesn’t mean you have to endure feeling even more uncomfortable by letting them into your personal space. If you want to hug them, go for it. And if you don’t? Don’t. Instead, counter the rebuffed physical offering with words to communicate the same sentiment.