By Katrina Liu

I miss hugs. 

That might be the sappiest thing I’ve ever said, and I say a lot of sappy things. But it’s true. Quarantining is perhaps the most important thing right now and I know we shouldn’t be seeing others in person, but hugs from my mom just aren’t cutting it anymore. 

I’m only half-kidding about that last statement; my mom gives great hugs, but I think I miss hugging pretty much everyone else I know. I’ve always been a firm believer that hugs are often more effective than words, whether you’re hugging to celebrate an accomplishment or to offer support in a sorrowful moment. Hugs provide a feeling that can’t be described, and while words can come close, they’re still not quite enough of a response to emotional situations. 

According to an NBC article I read, hugs are actually considered a health benefit because human touch can deactivate the part of the brain associated with threats. That’s why people give hugs during times of grief, sadness or fear. See — I’m not crazy, people. I just want to be happy.

I grew up receiving hugs all the time, whether it be tucked into the arms of my parents or in the form of a headlock from my older brother. I always hug people almost immediately after I meet them, so all my life, I’ve loved giving and receiving hugs. 

Everyone I meet knows I’m a hugger, whether it’s because I directly tell them or because I hug them instead of waving for a goodbye. I think hugs emulate warmth, which is a quality I strive for as a friend. 

I also find it interesting that everyone gives and receives hugs differently. I’ve been told that no matter the other person’s height, I always tuck into their side when I hug them, almost like I want to be smaller. But I think it’s because hugs are a safe zone for me, as stupid as that sounds. It’s free serotonin, and right now, it’s what I need. In fact, it’s what we all need.

I can respect people wanting their personal space and people who don’t like being touched, but I would highly recommend getting at least one hug a week (if you can). It can be a quick squeeze or a long one where both people end up rocking back and forth. It does make a difference, but get that hug in.  

So hug your people closely. And when this is all over, give your friends the biggest hugs. We took our last ones with people for granted. Hold them tight.