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Isolation is Normal?

July 14, 2012

Over the course of the last week, I’ve noticed something of a pattern when it comes to most people. The majority of those that I’ve come into contact with, aside from family, are uncomfortable with closeness, human contact, even the words, “I love you.” And I have to wonder, why is that?

I’m an affectionate person by nature most of the time, I’ll say, “I love you” as freely as “Pass the salt,” hug strangers, even touch a person while I’m speaking to (in a fitting way, that is).

When I was a child, around five or six, I was best friends with a girl a year younger than I. She lived across the street from me and we would play together nearly every day. On one occasion, before saying good-bye, I gave her a hug, a kiss on the cheek and said, “I love you!” She, seeming disgusted, pushed me away, called me gross and avoided me for the rest of that week.

On another occasion, when I was twelve getting my ears pierced for the third time, I hugged the woman who was piercing my ears as a way of saying thank you. She drew back momentarily, then quickly hugged me, seeming altogether frazzled.

Two years ago, when I had my first job, I would to hug my manager to say good-bye before leaving work every day. The first few times, she (my manager) flinched, seeming incredibly uncomfortable, and would only briefly embrace me, then pat my back and gesture for me to leave.

That’s only a handful of my experiences, but here’s the thing I don’t understand, why do we live in a society wherein a person can’t give someone a hug, say “I love you” or show any real form of affection and care without being judged or frowned upon?

Honestly, is it true that most people see human contact as sexual because of what is commonly displayed in the media? Have people really become so inundated with what’s broadcasted by American society that they can’t tell the difference between a friendly hug and a pass made due to sexual attraction? Is it so difficult today for people to see each other as simply human? Are people so superficial that even the remote implication that caring about each other has been lost completely?

Let’s be honest, when was the last time you hugged someone you didn’t know? Smiled and waved at a stranger? Sat with someone who appeared to be having a difficult time? Or even had a genuine conversation with a person that you do know, just out of sheer interest in what is happening in their lives? Have you done any of that recently? Why, or why not?

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