Wednesday, 26 September 2018
The Restless Native The Restless Native

Hugs and Kisses (but Mostly Hugs)

By  Oct 06, 2016

People who know me, know I'm not one for public showing of emotions. In fact, I prefer not to show how I feel at all outside of my home or outside of a very select circle of friends. Plenty of times this reservation is tied to my job. When you are working in tourism, especially with guests directly you need to practise not letting your feelings show. Don’t get me wrong, I am usually perfectly honest with friendly disposition towards my guests. It’s just that sometimes you don’t feel so great because of whatever reason and you can’t let your guests know this. Being overly positive and friendly right from the start is also not the best way to go. Some people simply want the service and no personal engagement and I respect that.

When it comes to everyday life and displays of emotion, hugging seems to be the most common ritual for those around me who are not shy to show affection. I am not a fan of it and I’m clumsy with other touchy-feely interactions as well. My wife is very much different in this respect and she finds endless entertainment in seeing me squirm in social situations. Recently, she was able to put my personal service delivery philosophy to a real test. We were entertaining a very special group of guests last week, very friendly and relaxed. As it turns out, all of them are dedicated huggers much like she is and guess what happened when I was exposed for an emotional scrooge? Yes, they all rushed in to show me just how much fun you can have distributing signs of joy and affection to those around you.

One day I guided a historical tour for them and enjoyed doing so. Apparently, they liked it too, because they honoured me with a group hug in the middle of one of the busiest Dubrovnik squares as a reward. I’m a big, and generally angry looking guy, so group hugs make me look like a grizzly among Ewoks (Star Wars reference…I went there). My joy was compounded when I realised there are plenty of photos of this being taken that are bound to make their way to the wife. Of course, I was visibly uncomfortable which made the whole thing even funnier. For the remainder of the week I was a victim of unprovoked random hugs by virtually anyone from the group to the delight of my better half. Well played Mrs. Jukic. Well played.

In a way, it was a welcome break from being strictly professional, I have to admit. The hugging thing is still not my cup of tea, but by the end of this group’s stay, we’ve established a very nice relationship which perhaps wouldn’t be so friendly if it wasn’t for the ice breaking displays of emotion. One thing puzzles me though. I’ve guided two more city tours since then and both times there were guests at the end of the tours who felt compelled to give me a hug. This almost never happened before. Are hugs like bee stings that release pheromones and attract other huggers? A chilling thought, if ever there was one. One of the guests even commented: “You are such a good hugger.” What can I tell you, practice makes perfect.

Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.




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