I was hugged today by a stranger today. And I was OK with it. I participated in the hug, even. Bizarre, I know. I'm usually very reserved with strangers, but let me back up.
I was on my way home from the wonderful experience that is Walmart the week before Christmas and I decided to stop by a little health food store that I've noticed. The owner is a lady in her 70s that looks and acts like she's in her 50s. Seriously. I was shocked when she told me how old she was.
What drew me into the store was the advertisement for coffee and tea on the window. I was hoping for a local source for loose-leaf tea that wasn't Lipton. Alas, no such luck, but I did find an hour long conversation that had me leaving feeling better about the world and just generally encouraged.
This is what makes the idea that introverts are shy so ridiculous. I'm not shy. Shy and introverted are not even close to the same thing. I was fascinated by this new person that answered my questions with far more information than most people would desire. I'm not most people, so hearing about the history of homeopathy made me feel almost as excited about a conversation about physics with my dad.
The next thing I knew I was sharing some of my personal beliefs with her, then she's telling me about a motorcycle accident she had had. Somewhere around the point in the conversation where we were discussing church doctrines being Biblically based I started feeling like I wanted to hug her before I left. There was a connection there that I wanted to affirm physically I guess.
I was in a quandary on how to do it, though. I am not naturally touchy-feely with virtual strangers. The lady dispelled the awkwardness I felt when she initiated the hug herself. It was nice, and it seems strange to me now that it did. This is not a normal reaction for me. It felt natural at the time, though, so I feel that it was the right thing.
I doubt this will become a habit, though. It's much easier to just smile at strangers. It's less exhausting, too. As much as I enjoyed our conversation, I needed some down-time to process afterward. So I had some coffee and a book like a good little introvert.
Want to read more about my introverted misadventures?
Check out these posts:
Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Talking To Myself