To be fair, I don't often like to hug people I know well. I will hug my family, and a very few close friends... but even still, if they initiate the hug, and I'm not feeling it... I can get super weirded out. But there are some people who will hug anyone. Family, extended family, best friends, lost friends, new friends, co-workers, walmart employees, cab drivers, ex-boyfriends' new girlfriends...
(Yeah... that last one got me. Why would you do that? Introduce yourself, plop down and have an incredibly uncomfortable 30 minute conversation, then hug them on your way out? How does one respond to that? It doesn't seem like an appropriate occasion for a hug. And, really kids, Karma will get you BAD for making someone that uncomfortable. But I digress...)
Stranger Huggers don't seem to recognize or care for boundaries. They are blissfully unaware of how uncomfortable the hug can be to an unwilling recipient. They also seem to lack appropriate timing for hugs, even if they have secured a willing recipient, or appropriate situation.
You can kinda sense it coming when a stranger hugger is about to get you... they kinda get the glint in their eye... like they are about to share a moment with you. But you have to watch for it because it's fast, and if you miss the glint they might be 2/3 into the hug before you know what happens. When you see the glint try as quickly as possible to physically remove yourself from the general vicinity of the hugger. If it's too late for that... you can at least throw a shoulder at their open arms and go for the still awkward but less commitment side hug.
Sometimes the inevitable happens (as happened with the ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend hugger) where you are blindsided because you never in your wildest dreams thought someone would find this an appropriate situation or recipient for a hug... and you find yourself chest to chest with someone else's arms tightly wrapped around you... So, you do the back pat (two pats) and start to pull away. Sometimes they don't take the hint, and you have to start mumbling "Okay, thats good... okay..." as soon as they start to loosen their grip, break free and get out of there! You never know when stranger huggers may strike again, and they HAVE been known to strike the same victim twice.
So, just... be aware of your surroundings, and be careful out there!
(and... if you happen to run into me, waving is good, or even a handshake is tolerable... but hugging is strongly discouraged, unless of course, I initiate or you are my husband, in which case, hug away. I have rarely been offended by Z invading my personal space. He's the exception to the hug rule. Awww...)