4 Better Ways than Cuddlr to Hug

4 Better Ways than Cuddlr to Hug

Looking for a hug? There’s an app for that. No, really.

In this day and age of Internet connectivity, where more people walk the streets, drive their cars,and fat ass it on their couches with eyes on a phone, here comes an app that promises to help you find someone with which to make a brief physical connection—you know, instead of just asking the person you are with.

Cuddlr is the latest entry into let-me-make-you-feel-better-social-app market, promising to be a more platonic Tindr experience. Plug in your location, see who’s around, and if they want to meet up for a hug, you can connect, do your thang and then rate each other afterward. Think “Stiff arms.” Or “Smells like cheese.”

To each his or her own, I suppose, but I just don’t get it. I understand the need for a physical connection. We are human. It’s in our DNA. But for me, and I’m guessing, most people, the benefit of human touch isn’t strictly physical, it’s emotional. If the point is just to feel arms around our shoulders, then how different is a Cuddlr hug from just hugging yourself?

Normally, I wouldn’t give a rat’s butt about these kinds of apps, but I’ve got a very socially awkward older teen in a “desperate for friends” phase. It’s just this kind of app that he’d try to use, only to have some freak with a nipple fetish and a meth lab in the back of his van answer his siren call. Helping these kinds of kids navigate life, let alone social media, is hard enough without a tsunami of Internet bullshit to plow through every day. (And parents, seriously—I’m not up on the specifics of the app, because the ick factor was too high for me even to download and test it—but if I were you, I’d keep an eye out for it and remind your kids of the dangers in meeting anyone they don’t know.)

Need a hug? Want a hug? Here are five proven methods to get what you are looking for without turning to a hobo with an iPhone for one:

1. Ask your spouse/significant other. Partners who hug together stay together. The National Institutes of Health cites research from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying the levels of oxytocin in happy couples.

2. Hug your kid. Little kids typically give hugs willingly and should never be turned away. Sullen teens? They’re more reluctant, but they still need it. Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension lists affection as a positive parenting technique.

3. Hug a friend. Instead of scheduling a hug with a stranger, why not take that time to meet a friend for coffee, dinner or just a walk around the park? A UCLA study on women and friendship points to numerous benefits, especially for women in developing and maintaining friendships. Like, you know … not dying as fast as men.

4. Put yourself out there. I get it. I’m just as much of a Facebook crack addict as the next person. It’s way easier to sit in front of a keyboard or on a laptop and socialize than getting out of your fat pants, putting on some mascara and doing something. Anything. All I’m saying is a hug means a lot more when it’s someone thanking you for a good deed, volunteering your time or doing a favor. Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia sums it up best—volunteerism helps you connect with people, make friends, form bonds … even fight depression.

Off my soapbox. I blather about books. Like to read? Need a good suggestion? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

I am also on Facebook, trolling for friends. Because I just can’t hug everyone.  If you are looking for something good to read, here are a few of my reviews:

Live From New York

The Children Act

Arts & Entertainments

Mr. Mercedes

The Actress

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