Sometimes, we’re just not in the mood to be hugged, even by people we like. If someone is coming toward you with open arms, there are some great ways to divert the hug and still connect with the other person. Some hug diversions can include touch, such as a high-five or a handshake. These physically-engaging hug diversions are a great way to offer the would-be hugger a physical connection with you while respecting your wish to not be embraced.


Requirements: About three minutes.

As a would-be hugger approaches:

High Five: lift your hand up and call out, “High Five!”

Handshake: extend one or both of your hands and intercept their hand(s) for a shake. Use your voice to acknowledge them (“Hey! Nice to see you!”, “How’s it going?”, etc.).

Fake a Coughing Fit

Meet them Sideways for a Hearty Clap on the Back

Demonstrate an example or two with a co-instructor. Then, ask folks to pair up and practice diverting some hugs! Invite a few pairs to share any other hug diversion tactics they came up with.

(This is a nice quick, funny activity that works well near the end of class.)