My theory is that the practice is an outgrowth of the festive "party pix" of the '80s where the subject was keen to show how much fun she/he was having and how much love was shared. I know; I was once one of them.
Regardless, I would like to stand and have my picture taken if I must, without being hugged by the stranger next to me. May I say, "Thanks but no hugging, please"?
Or worse. Some public figures have gotten themselves in trouble by thinking that picture-taking is an excuse to get to know their subjects better. Photographers should take the lead here and learn to distinguish between getting people closer for a better shot and forcing people to touch. If this is not established beforehand or the subjects do not pay attention, Miss Manners advocates for the well-timed yelp of surprise. This alerts everyone that there is a problem and allows for an opportunity to announce the aforementioned no hugging policy to all.
Dear Miss Manners: The other day, I apologized for being in someone's way at the grocery store. He smiled and said that he, himself, had been hung over before.
I think I smiled wanly and avoided eye contact when I had to navigate past him on the same shopping trip. It was an off-putting encounter — should I have done anything else?
Responded to the accusation with, “Have you? What’s it like?”
Dear Miss Manners: When I call my brother once or twice a month, he can never talk to me without interrupting to scold, correct or coach his child (age 10) — not once, but multiple times in a 10-minute call.
When I ask for a better time to call, brother will offer no guidance. I think it is disrespectful to me as a caller and to his child as the supposed benefactor of his interventions.
My brother likes to say, "Welcome to my life," "I'm multitasking" or some other blow-off if I ask for a little concentration to our call at hand. The alternative seems to be not to call. He would probably not notice if I stopped calling him.
Next time you call, ask to speak to your nephew directly and see if the boy manages any better. You will likely get a more entertaining account of the family’s goings-on and a less interrupted call.
If this backfires, however, and you find yourself at the end of an abandoned phone, Miss Manners recommends letter-writing. What it lacks in immediacy, it gains in maintaining train of thought.