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May 07 2016
by Ashley Flaws

5 Alternatives to Awkward Hugs at Your Grad Party

By Ashley Flaws - May 07 2016
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In life, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately for me and all who have ever had to hug me, hugging has always been one of my weaknesses. It’s not that I don’t like hugging; it’s just that I overthink the hugging process way too much. I could hug someone too limply or crush their ribcage with too hard of a hug. I could linger for too long or hug too quickly. I could make someone feel uncomfortable with the placement of my arms, or there could be a height difference with either my chin or the other person’s chin resting in an awkward place. Hugging has caused me a lot of stress over the years, and I’m beginning to feel that stress accumulating now as my graduation party approaches. I’m sure that a lot of seniors, myself included, are nervous about having to hug potentially hundreds of people at their grad parties, as they would probably never hug at least 3/4 of those people under any other circumstances. For that reason, I have come up with a few alternatives to greet your guests at your graduation party besides the dreaded awkward hug.

1. A high five

I’ll admit, high fives are probably better suited for sporting events, but just think about it for a second. At sporting events, high fives are used to celebrate an achievement, such as scoring a goal or a touchdown, or to celebrate a job well done. We have spent the last four years in high school busting our butts and working really hard to graduate, and now that time is finally here. We deserve some high fives for our achievements!

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2. A spiked dog collar

This one sounds a little sketchy because, well, it is. When’s the last time you wanted to hug someone wearing a potentially painful weapon around their neck? Not to mention, when’s the last time you wanted to hug someone who showed up to his or her own grad party wearing a collar meant for a four-legged animal?

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3. A fist bump

Imagine yourself standing by the door of whatever venue you chose for your party, anxiously awaiting the arrival of your guests. The first couple of guests show up, a husband and wife who are friends of your parents. They approach you with their proud smiles and open arms, and you say, “Hey, insert random person’s name here and other random person’s name here. I’m so glad you could make it!” Then, you go in for the fist bump and say, “Don’t forget to grab a cupcake!” Boom, you just avoided a couple of awkward hugs like a pro. Seriously, though, if you can pull this off without making it even more awkward than an awkward hug, you are a true pro.

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4. A hug buffer

In some cases, certain guests might have come ready for a hug, and they aren’t leaving your party until they get one, dang it. However, where in the rule books does it say that you have to be the one to hug them? This is where a good friend of yours or even a random stranger who actually enjoys hugs comes in. Set him or her up right in front of you at the entrance to your grad party, and as the guests trickle in, have him or her smother said guests in a big, enveloping hug. At the same time, he or she should casually start to move right past you in the direction of the food and drinks table while still smothering the guests, and you can give a polite wave and thank the guests for coming. If you expect your party to be fairly crowded, consider having more than one hug buffer in case some guests are able to sneak past the first one while he or she is already occupied.

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5. A handshake

OK, so this one is actually plausible. A handshake can be formal and polite, and although it might seem a little too businesslike, your guests would probably be impressed. However, handshakes can also resemble more of a personal series of gestures that you might make up with your friends. In that case, just make something up with each new guest and roll with it. It’s your party, after all.

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After thinking through these alternatives, I hope that you have come to the same conclusion that I have. There is a reason awkward hugs are given out at graduation parties! They might be awkward and uncomfortable, but guests come to your party to celebrate you. That is certainly worthy of a hug, however awkward it may be. Besides that, any other option is pretty ridiculous, as I have illustrated above. If you want to be that person that goes down in history as the guy or girl who fist bumped every person at his or her grad party, then go for it, but I will be at my party giving my guests the awkward hugs that they deserve.

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Whatever you end up deciding, best of luck to you. We’ve survived four years of high school, so surviving a couple hundred awkward greetings at our grad parties shouldn’t be such a big deal. We’ve got this. *fist bump*


Lead image credit: Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures, American Nitwits, Chernin Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox Television





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Ashley Flaws - Drake University

Ashley Flaws is a student from Webster City, Iowa attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been in love with writing ever since second grade when she wrote a story about a boy and his cat. Since then, she has moved on from writing cat stories and is majoring in English and magazine media with the hopes of editing for a magazine someday. You can find her watching Netflix, eating junk food, obsessing over adorable, fat dogs and probably wearing the color pink.

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