For the last ten days, I’ve been at HR and TA conferences. It was the longest, consecutive run of speaking I’ve done in my career. Basically, in ten days I did a total of 14 sessions. I now want to crawl into a dark sensory deprivation chamber for a week!
If you haven’t seen me speak, I do some hugging!
At one of my stops, I had a fellow come up to me during a private moment and ask me if I was afraid. “Afraid of what!?”, I asked. “Well, you are doing this hugging thing and I’ve seen you hug people outside of the sessions as well, aren’t you afraid of #MeToo? (I added the hashtag, he just said Me Too’d) I’m afraid if I did that, I would be #MeToo’d!”
I might be super naive, but I said, “No, absolutely not.” I hug in a context around my speaking. It’s about rules, and rules of hugging. It’s not me, drunkenly throwing myself at HR Ladies, trying to hit on them. In fact, it’s the opposite of that, I’m telling them we have rules about this kind of thing! (half making a joke about us HR pros and our rules!)
He persisted. “Doesn’t matter, Tim, it only takes one who feels like they might want to make an example out of you!”
Yeah, still, hard No. I’m a hugger. I’m an equal opportunity hugger. I hug all pronouns, very comfortably.
I think someone who is afraid of being MeToo’d is probably doing some stuff that they shouldn’t be doing. I’m not saying that someone couldn’t take a hug from me and spin it, but I hope with all my being someone wouldn’t do that. I also hope I’m smart enough not to put myself in a position where anyone would even consider that a hug from me was inappropriate!
I’ve had a career in HR and I’ve investigated some pretty nasty stuff where people were willing to do some pretty bad stuff to each other, for a million different reasons, mostly around hate and anger. So, I think I know what someone, improperly motivated, is capable of. I still was uncomfortable with the conversation, because it made me feel like somehow this person was trying to lessen the power of #MeToo.
“Well, someone could lie!” Of course, ‘someone’ could, but we would need to ask ourselves, why? And in 99.99% of those cases, there isn’t a why only some dude doing something stupid.
I’m going to keep hugging. I like hugs. I love the feeling of hugging someone who hugs me back for real. It makes both of our days a little better. I’m going to keep asking those I hug if they actually want a hug. That’s one of the rules!
Tim, I can’t wait to see you around somewhere and initiate a hug! The world is too damn sensitive. As long as the rules are followed, even if someone tries to lie, you can’t be #metoo’d #bringonthehugs
Unfortunately I hear this fear a lot more and it is reflecting negatively on relationships in the workplace. I feel it is mostly because you have people raising claims which affect careers from years back sometimes with little, or no data to support them.
Nonetheless, I am hugger and I am going to keep hugging. If you don’t like it you just have to let me know – right away!
You know a hug is welcome from me anytime Tim
Remember Tim, with all things related to harassment and unwelcomed overtures, the effect of the behavior matters far more that the intent of the behavior.
So, I should stop? I can’t tell which way you were going with this from your statement.