For 48 hours I introduced myself to as many strangers as possible. When I ran into friends around campus, I’d introduce myself to, and hug, whomever they were with. I attended study groups for midterms with students that I had never met in lecture before. I went to an art gallery opening, and finally went to a party at a friend’s apartment. I ended up meeting and hugging 43 new people. Around campus and at the my friend’s party the people I was meeting appeared to be students approximately in the age rage of 18-22. At the art opening the crowd was a bit more diverse in age but generally seemed to be young professionals approximately in the age range of 23-35.
Within my experiment, I had essentially three responses. When I would hug someone upon greeting I received either A) a warm, positive response, B) an upset, angry, or irritated response, or C) a neutral, confused response. Overall, I received a positive response (30 subjects), even when breaking a social norm. I think this is attributable to several factors. First, I was a relatively non-threatening person, and I think that affected how easy it was for me to buck the norm in this situation. I'm well dressed, clean, and generally read as a nonthreatening person. If I had more signifiers to the people I was trying to hug that suggested I was somehow a danger, I'm sure my experience would have been more negative. I also noted that among the neutral and negative response group (13 subjects) 7 of those subjects were of a observably older