I blame the Teletubbies. In most episodes of the children’s TV show, following a minor accident such as a milk spillage or a lost balloon the call would go up for a 'Big hug' and the assembled company would huddle for a communal embrace.
Now everyone raised under the regime of Tinky Winky and Co seem to be hugging everyone and there is even a campaign to 'Hug a Brit' from our fellow Europeans to shows UK some love in hope of avoiding Brexit.
People from across Europe are now apparently seeking out Brits to throw their arms around but they couldn't have picked a worse nation to embrace because Brits don't do hugs.
That isn't strictly true, as i have said above, anyone born after 1993-ish and raised watching the frolics in Teletubbyland are perfectly at ease hugging each other but move in for an embrace with a Brit over the age of 25 and the recoil will be swifter than the elastic on Dennis The Menace's catapult.
Britain is a country of stiff upper lip and understatement, where we resolutely refuses to succumb to drama, excitement, or high emotion like the airplane captain who announced to his passengers: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress'.
That's the way to do it, when Capt Oates left his tent near the South Pole to his certain death, he said: ‘I may be some time’, he didn't demand a group hug first.
To adapt the old phrase, no hugging please, we’re British so unless you are direct family then a hearty handshake or a friendly wave will suffice.