couple laughing and hugging at home

Are you an affectionate person?

February 18, 2018
  • Yes
  • Sometimes, it depends on my mood
  • No

When you think of America, you think of apple pies, baseball, and Fourth of July parades. But what about the spirit of affection? Is it a universal trait that every American harbors or does it vary from person to person? Let’s unwrap the intricate layers of human affection, and ponder the reasons why someone might answer “Yes”, “Sometimes, it depends on my mood”, or even a flat “No” to the question, “Are you an affectionate person?”

Yes, I am an affectionate person!

A warm, sunlit image of two people hugging, surrounded by blooming flowers, showcasing joy and comfort

For those who give a resounding “Yes!” to this question, it could be based on many factors. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The giving of love is an education in itself.” Inherently affectionate people might be guided by the inherent belief that showcasing love and affection is an enriching experience.

Did you know? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, oxytocin, often dubbed the “love hormone”, can help to promote bonding, and touching another person can release this hormone. So, there might be a science-backed reason why some are always ready for a hug or a comforting pat on the back!

Sometimes, it depends on my mood.

Moods are like the ever-changing weather patterns in Seattle—unpredictable, diverse, and impacting everything! Mark Twain humorously mentioned, “When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.” While Twain was poking fun at our capacity to be moody, it does ring true that our moods influence our actions. People who select this response might relate their capacity for affection to their emotional climate.

Fun Fact: A study from Harvard University highlighted that our moods can impact how we interpret facial expressions. So, if you’re in a bad mood, you might perceive a neutral face as unfriendly. Perhaps, on some days, your mood just doesn’t align with the world, and that’s okay!

No, I am not that affectionate.

An individual sitting peacefully near a calm lake, holding a book, encapsulating solitude, tranquility, and introspection.

On the other end of the spectrum are individuals who don’t find themselves to be overtly affectionate. Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”, emphasizes that “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Similarly, there’s no rulebook that equates the depth of one’s affection with their outward expression of it.

Curious Stat: A study from UCLA found that only 7% of communication is based on the actual words we say. The rest is derived from tone and body language. So, those who aren’t naturally touchy-feely might express their affection through other, equally valuable channels!

If states were to answer this poll, which one do you think would be the most affectionate? Considering southern hospitality’s warm and welcoming nature, perhaps Georgia or Tennessee would shout a proud “Yes!” Meanwhile, Alaska, with its preference for personal space (they’ve got a lot of it, after all), might lean towards “Sometimes, depending on my mood.”

In wrapping this up, it’s essential to remember the words of Leo Buscaglia, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” So, whether you’re a full-time hugger, a mood-dependent cuddler, or someone who expresses affection with words and gestures instead of touch, your way of expressing love is uniquely yours. And in a land of freedom like the USA, isn’t that what it’s all about? Expressing ourselves authentically and respecting others for doing the same.

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