How Affectionate Are You?

paper hearts hanging from clothespins
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Google offers this definition for affectionate: “readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness.” Some people are more affectionate than others, and not everyone shows they care in the same ways. I thought it might be fun to chat about our own affectionateness tendencies.

I’m an affectionate little bean, particularly in writing. In person, I’m a hugger, but I don’t have much in-person social contact anymore. I didn’t really have much online contact in my pre-blogging days, but since I started blogging in 2017, the affectionate side of me has really come out to play. By far my most frequently used emojis are โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’–.

I’m more likely to be affectionate with females than males, mostly because I tend to assume that males are less comfortable with it than females. With close friends, though, gender doesn’t really make a difference. More generally, I’m not really sure how I gauge whether I think people are likely to be receptive or averse.

What you’ve been exposed to and what’s been modelled for you can make a big difference. Recently, my blogging friend Alana was writing about affection being hard because it wasn’t something she experienced in childhood. My mom isn’t an affectionate person in general, but she always was with me and my brother. So was my grandma, who was a major figure in my childhood. I don’t generally think about how I was treated as a child in terms of why I’m affectionate now, but I think I just automatically picked up what was modelled for me and chose to spread it more widely.

So, I guess I don’t have all that much to say, but I’m curious to hear from you. How affectionate are you, and does it come easily for you? How and with whom do you show affection?

62 thoughts on “How Affectionate Are You?”

  1. I had some affection modeled to me, for which I am grateful. I did, however have exposure to affection within my interests and and such in university as well. I love psychology and philosophy and tended to be around those types of people, who seem to have a line on affection.

  2. I’ve always been affectionate but in recent years, have noticed those I love are less so. Probably down to less contact and uncertainties, particularly after the last couple of years but where hugs used to be a regular occurrence with these people, I find them less inclined to or they go rigid like a board. I still like a nice warm bear hug. Fortunately my better half is of the same mind.

  3. It depends. Iโ€™m super affectionate with pets and my little grands. I also love to hug my daughters when I see them. But Iโ€™m not a hugger generally and prefer not to be touched by strangers or even friends. In romance, it varied greatly and with some men I loved to touch and be touched, but with others I didnโ€™t feel that vibe, even after a long time. My love language is words! And emojis ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œโค๏ธ

  4. It ranges for me, I am a pretty affectionate person more so with words and writing and acts of service. I really appreciate hugs at the right time and from people I am comfortable with. If I am over stimulated though touch is super overwhelming from anyone so I tend to avoid it or keep my distance with most strangers or outside of my apartment.
    Thats interesting about modelling and what we may have seen during childhood. My mom was always a hugger and heavy on the I love you, where as my dad was not as physically or verbally affectionate, it was more so in little treats like smarties. I could see how that has influenced myself.
    Sending you virtual hugs and love <3

  5. If you are talking about physically affectionate – I am not. I am not a touchy-feely person – quickest way to lose your hand is to put it on me without my permission. Hugs? No effing way – my brain processes that as a physical assault and my body reacts accordingly. Plus – it is smothering plus people touching me. NO. OTOH – I’m a big hand holder. I just automatically hold a person’s hand. Hell, I’ve started to hold hands with a complete stranger simply because they were next to me – so you can sort that one out if you can.

    My friend Lisa says my love languages are gifts and service and I have to say I the the world’s most primo gift giver. I believe in gifts just because. My friends are accustomed to getting a little something in the mail for no reason and then finding that it was just the thing they needed at the moment. It gives ME great joy to find just the right thing and I spend a lot of time figuring out what the right gift is. (For example – Lisa’s birthday came around, she was 8 months pregnant, I found a spa near where she lived that offered “pregnancy massages” – Bingo – perfect present.) As for service – I ‘do’ for people – if I see someone needs help, I’m there, no need to ask. And don’t think people haven’t taken advantage of THAT.

    (Oh, don’t I sound like a marvelous person LOL I’m not – I’m a bitchy, angy, petty-ass person with a good trait or two.)

  6. I think affection is also very culturally based. In the Netherlands, people – especially older generation – are quite distant. A handshake for most people, three barely touching kisses on the cheek for the closer people. Hugs are rare, but becoming more common in younger people.

    In Germany, I think a hug is much more culturally accepted, and seemingly in most generations. I had to get used to this when I met my wife’s family the first years. I think hugs are awesome though, and I’ve since started hugging my family and friends. My brothers absolutely hate it, and only accept it because I see them once a year or so. They would prefer no affection, no handshake, no hug, nothing. I think my mother was too pushy with affection, and with them it had the opposite effect.

    With the whole pandemic, this has become a different story. Do people still hug? Other than close family it has become rare.

    1. One thing I found really interesting in my travels was that men in some countries are physically affectionate with one another. Male friends holding hands seems to be quite common in Arab countries and in India.

      1. Yes! I’ve noticed this too in my travels. Would never happen in the Netherlands, except between drunk individuals. I think it would make a funny scenario though, just grabbing friends’ or colleagues’ hands whilst walking. Just to see the response.

  7. Iโ€™m curious to hear from you. How affectionate are you, and does it come easily for you? How and with whom do you show affection?

    I’m not terribly affectionate. I dislike being touched by strangers and the whole hugger thing makes me extremely uncomfortable. It just always has, and I’m pretty good at mimicking acceptance when it is done. I have a myriad of reasons for my lack of affectionate behavior. A) Survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I’ve read about that extensively and one of the hallmarks is that the survivor doesn’t like being touched. That can change with time and therapy apparently. B) My parents weren’t terribly affectionate people, because their parents were direct children of pioneers. If you think puritan with a little variety thrown in, that’s how the Pioneers acted. No public displays of affection and I doubt there was much behind closed doors either. I didn’t learn HOW to be affectionate. The foster hell drove any such tendencies right out of me too because any overture was rejected immediately and I was made to feel like I was being promiscuous (I lived there between the ages of 5 to 9 – promiscuity was the least thing on my mind. Children didn’t think in those terms in those days.) As they aged my parents got affectionate and would hug and kiss cheeks and all. It made me highly uncomfortable. Hubby wasn’t an affectionate guy either (not as I understand the term ‘affectionate’.) Being horny is not being affectionate. These days Ziggy is the sole recipient of my affection. I’m pleasant and nice and endure the huggers I encounter. I suspect the dye is set and cast for me in that arena though.

    1. I can definitely see how that kind of childhood would put the kibosh on any sort of human affectionate behaviour. It’s a good thing furbabies make such good affection targets.

  8. Itโ€™s still something I struggle a lot with, clearly. I was just thinking about that again today, actually. One of my friends is super affectionate with me, and I have to remind myself that itโ€™s okay to be comfortable with that. And itโ€™s okay to express it too. Itโ€™s still super weird, but I really do want to be more comfortable with it.

  9. What a warm and fun post – your affection comes through so clearly. My dad was really warm and affectionate so it was definitely modeled through him for me and I think I’ve become even more affectionate after I had kids.

  10. Interesting question. I think I wouldn’t describe myself as a physically affectionate person for the most part. Certainly I am in specific contexts (romantic relationship, hugging family & close friends), but generally speaking, I won’t initiate hugs. I don’t mind friendly hugs, but I’m just not a naturally touchy-feely person I guess.

    1. Aside from with me and my brother, my mom is a very non-touchy-feely person. I’ve never seen her display any sort of PDA with my dad, and it actually surprises me that she would put up with baby-making activity.

  11. I wouldn’t have guessed that you’re a hugger either, haha. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most introverts I know aren’t really, so that’s a bit surprising.
    For me I guess it’s a bit complex. I’m certainly not very physically affectionate except with Sofi a bit and with Misha very much so but it’s very easy to be affectionate with Misha and I guess most people would because he’s such a huggable little ball it’s pretty much a natural reflex to cuddle him, which is unfortunate for him as he is not very touchy-feely and is very afraid of closeness unless it’s on his conditions. I remember that I used to be quite affectionate as a kid, like about until age 8 or so, but my personality changed quite a lot at that point and also I suppose my being at a boarding school most of the time and not having close physical contact with my family might have played a role. My Mum is not very physically affectionate either anyway despite being extremely affectionate emotionally.
    I’ve pretty much always bottled things up a lot, mostly negative stuff but positive things like affection as well. So emotionall or verbal affection also continues to be a rather difficult thing for me and I don’t think most people would consider me an affectionate person, a lot of people who don’t know me all that well actually apparently get an impression that I’m icy. I show some affection to people I feel close with but usually it’s not much and not often.
    Yet at the same time I think I have a strong tendency to feel affection and all sorts of similar feelings for people, so I’d say I’m quite affectionate on the inside, if that is even a thing. ๐Ÿ˜€
    So I suppose I might be a bit more affectionate in writing than I’m in person, because I find expressing things in writing a bit easier and more natural and am usually a bit more spontaneous with it.

    1. Luckily my guinea pigs have mostly been happy with the affection I bombard them with. They get particularly affection-hungry when they’re sick. Shortly before Squeaky died, he wanted to be glued to my side. If I even got up to go to the bathroom he would leave his blanket nest to try to find me.

      1. Awww, that’s so sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s lovely that they are like this so that when they get sick you can feel that you’re able to do something to help them and make them feel better. Misha rarely gets sick or feels physically unwell, but when he does, he tends to isolate a lot and it makes me and everyone else feel a bit helpless. Although a couple weeks ago we’ve been forced to put him on fluoxetine again for his constant crying, which we’d already tried last summer but he seemed to feel really awful and drugged on it back then so we didn’t manage to stick to it for long because it was kind of scary and he’d still cry a lot while awake. This time round he still isn’t fully well and has been really weak and drowsy and constipated, though things are improving, but the best thing is that despite not feeling fully well he’s actually okay with being cuddled by peeps and having his tummy massaged and even actively seeks physical comfort.

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