There have been a few humans in my life who do the strangest, messed-up thing. Well, I think it’s messed-up anyway. Maybe some of you can tell me how it isn’t… I doubt it, though. It happens when these people…

Do something terrible.

Or they do something that betrays me.

Or they do something mean.

Or awful.

Or overly hurtful.

Or just plain douchey.

And then, as soon as they realize they have hurt me or pissed me off, they try to make me HUG them.

“Ummmm… Why, exactly, do you think I would want to hug you?” I say so calmly and nicely.

I lied big time just then. I’m never even close to that nice when people do this. The last person who tried this shit on me almost got punched in the face. Literally.

He was a friend who wasn’t actually a friend. I’m sure you know what kind of “friend” I’m talking about. He would do the weirdest little things that stabbed me in the back, or went against our agreements, or didn’t honor bro-code, or that real friends just don’t do to each other.

One night when we were traveling together, he did one of those douchey things. It was the point where I had just fucking HAD it with him, and I got up, told him I was done, and walked away. I was wearing a backpack, and I didn’t realize he had chased me down until I suddenly was yanked slightly backwards because he had grabbed my backpack handle to stop me in my tracks.

I spun around. “Do not ever do that to me again,” I angrily said. Before I could turn back around to leave he tried to… Hug me. “Come on, man,” he said. “Just give me a hug.” He was desperate for that hug, too.

You see, when I say he tried to hug me, it’s not like he just gave me the motion and invited me in. He literally went in for the hug. He tried to grab me and pull me toward him against my will. I physically shoved him off of me instinctually. “I promise you,” I snapped with blood in my eyes, “that if you EVER try to hug me against my will again, I will punch you in the face.” He got the message, and that was that.

I’m sure any of you who read this will think, “wow, yeah, that would set me off, too.” I used this true recent story as an example because it’s easy to feel the violation that occurred. But what I’ve seen far more often are people I have been in relationships with who do it all the damned time.

They do something terrible or say something overly hurtful to me…

And then, as soon as they realize they have hurt me or pissed me off, they try to make me HUG them. “Just give me a hug,” they immediately blurt out.

“Ummmm… Why, exactly, do you think I would want to hug you?” I say SO calmly and SO nicely.

I lied again just then. My bad. I’m never even close to that nice. The last person I dated who tried this shit on me saw nothing but the back of my head as I walked away in a hurry so that I didn’t do something or say something I would regret.

Listen… If you are going to do something hurtful, which we all will do to those we love on occasion, just own it! Apologize, and give me some space for a while. If you’re important to me or if I truly love you or care about you, I will forgive you and get over it. I will hug you when I feel like hugging you again. I’ll forgive you, but I’m gonna need a hot fucking second.

Don’t try and force me to prove that I still love you or still want you in my life by making me immediately show you physical affection and closeness..

That is why people do this weird thing, isn’t it? It has to be. They need proof that I will still love or forgive them. They need to try and control my thoughts so I can’t leave and decide I don’t want them in my life. They need immediate assurance so that they don’t have to feel like they are bad people for even a moment. They are desperate (and I don’t use that word lightly) to prove to themselves that whatever they did or whatever they said doesn’t render them unlovable.

Personally I don’t understand it. I have always been very ultimately understanding of those human moments we all experience. I have always given people passes to be human and I don’t hold those shitty moments against people, so long as those moments aren’t too frequent. How could I possibly punish someone for experiencing them when I have done as bad or worse so many times.

There is this space of time after you do something hurtful to me that I need to have space and time to get over it, and YOU need to stew in those thoughts for a little while.

Those anxiety-ridden thoughts are a good thing. It’s your conscience telling you that you did something hurtful and wrong, and it’s those thoughts that help you become a better version of yourself next time around.

Believe me, I get it. I have had some doozies of moments where I just had to let the person go off and think whatever they were going to think all on their own. I hate that time between hurt and forgiveness when I am the offender. I also use that time to figure out how I might make things right, apologize more sincerely, or own up more than I have.

Those who truly care about me and are real friends or actual family… They’ll always forgive me if I make it right and apologize sincerely. ALWAYS. So long as I don’t do it too often. I don’t need to force a hug out of them while they’re rightfully upset to know that and believe it will always happen when it is meant to happen.

Do you know why the people who truly love you and care about you will ALWAYS forgive you, so long as you don’t do it too often? They do it because that time and space away from you is powerful for them, too. They do it because stepping away is the quickest way to remember that you’re human, you make mistakes, and that they’re human and they make mistakes. They do it because they want to be loved in spite of their hurtful mistakes just as much as you do.

When a person tries to keep the natural process from happening, by forcing affection, there is no way I am ever going to respond with anything but a knee-jerk angry reaction.

If you wrong me, take a step back… Further. Further. Further. That’s good enough. Thank you. Now… Don’t try to stop me while I walk away to clear my head and find my rational thoughts for a while. Things will be back to normal in a jiffy if you can just let me do that.

Dan Pearce | Dan Pearce Was Here

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