Give Verbal Hugs

Rebecca Morgan quote
Photo: Rebecca Morgan, Queenstown, NZ


These days we have to be careful about touching people, yet we still want to embrace others, to show them we care about them.

Try a verbal hug* instead.

A verbal hug is a sincere acknowledgment, said to make the person feel warm, loved, and honored. For example, instead of greeting someone with the trite “How are you?” try “It’s so good to see you,” or, if it’s true, “You’re looking great.”

When ending a telephone conversation, instead of “See you later,” try “It was really good to talk to you,” or “It was great to catch up with you,” or “I’m glad things are going well for you.”

Make a point to tell the person one behavior or characteristic you admire about them, “I’ve always admired the patience you have with challenging people.” Or reinforce a success with “You worked hard. You deserve it.”

A verbal hug is best used to tell someone something you admire, appreciate or acknowledge about them, without it being about their looks. “I like your eyes” has little impact as he had nothing to do with the shape or color of his eyes. However, “I admire your careful wording and sensitivity when you are giving me refinements to my work.” means much more.

Also, try a verbal massage — it’s powerful. Have a group of friends, family or associates spend one minute sharing positive characteristics about one of your group. Then go to the next person for one minute. Everyone shares their sincere thoughts about each person.

Comments like “nice shirt,” or “you’re not as obnoxious as you used to be,” aren’t what we’re looking for here.

I call it a verbal massage because when it’s your turn to be the recipient, you’ll feel great, it’s like just a revitalizing massage.

Who can you “hug” today?


______________*Rebecca coined the terms “verbal hug” and “verbal massage”  in 1994.

This is an excerpt from Rebecca’s book, Life Is a Self-Designed, Personal Growth Seminar..