Not everyone is keen on receiving a free hug, far from that!
First of all, there are cultural reasons.
French people, for example, never heard about free hugs. They kiss a lot, but they don't want to be touched by a stranger. There is not a single French word to translate "hug" correctly!
Once, a French man refused a hug, as a sign of resistance against "the invasion of Anglo-Saxon customs".
Many foreign people (Germans, Polish, Italians, Brazilians,...) simply don't understand the words "free hugs". This is why I always try to guess their nationality and say "free hugs" in different languages!
On the other hand, Korean people are great huggers! They never refuse a hug on the Camino and they transmit so much peace when they hug you. This is really great!
There are different reasons why people don't like to hug.
- I am swetty!
- I am tired
- I don't want to be touched (by a man, by a woman)
- I am fine, thank you
- I hug my wife, that's all I need.
People also have a lot of fears:
- Who is this strange girl with a skirt?
- Does she want money from me?
- Does she have bedbugs ?
- Maybe she is a pickpocket,...
No time to lose
I also see people who are in such a hurry that they have no time to stop for a hug.
Some people are also too busy watching their smartphone, calling, or just listening to their music.
I have learned to bless everybody on the camino, those who receive my hug with a big smile as well as those who just ignore me. I try to never judge anyone: a hug is free and each person has his/her reasons to refuse it.
This was a great lesson from the Camino!