I’m a part of a growing demographic of singles in Utah Valley. Some of us have been living away from our families for more than a decade. We sometimes have roommates or sometimes don’t.

Since moving most recently, I’ve been noticing how much my new friends around me hug each other. It got me thinking about how my peers and I move frequently and often live with a new group of strangers every few months to a year. We end up losing out on the normal physical affection from our families or the families that people expect us to have. Hugging friends one of the only ways for many of my peers to have any physical touch with another person.

Physical touch is really important. We’ve seen this in many studies, but I think we take for granted the impact on our health and lives as adults. A single hug every day could have a huge impact on mental and physical health, and we may not even realize it.

Tonight, as I was leaving an event, a friend told me to come get a hug, because in his opinion everyone needs a hug in a day. I agree wholeheartedly especially with the more I learn about the power of a hug. The funny thing to me is that I’m pretty sure that this friend has no clue how much it meant to me to have him offer a hug. I don’t currently have a lot of opportunities to get hugs, and I have a hard time asking for them.

We often will have no clue the impact of offering a hug or a smile to a friend. It may be the best gift for a time when they needed to feel loved and appreciated.