Kindness Challenge Day 1: Give a Hug to Everyone You See!

This is Day 1 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge for Nov 2012 where hundreds of participants from around the world get together in spirit to do 14 acts of kindness over 14 days. The challenge is now over, but you can do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all Kindness Challenge tasks and posts.

Join the Kindness Challenge!

HELLO!! Welcome to Day 1 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge!! :D

Over 550 560 570 580 Participants AND COUNTING

I’m floored by your responses. As of Nov 1, 4:30am (GMT +8), there are over 570 580 participants right now, and it’s increasing by the MINUTE. We are making history guys. Never before has there been a kindness challenge conducted by a personal development blog/platform (that I know of), much less one that is gaining as much traction (both in user response and in the media) as this one.

If we exceed 650 participants, we will overtake 21-Day Journaling Challenge (held last year, in Nov) as the third largest challenge to be held at PE. 30DLBL (Live a Better Life in 30 Days) and 30BBM (Be a Better Me in 30 Days) Challenges remain as the largest challenges ever to be conducted on PE and in the personal development blogosphere, with over 1,200 participants registered each.

I know many of you reading this are probably latecomers to the challenge and have not registered yet. Do not fret—you can still register now and be a part of this movement. Sign up now for the challenge:

Day 1: Hugging


Isn’t hugging a wonderful act? It’s one of the physical expressions of love from one person to another… be it between friends, lovers, family members, or strangers.

I love hugging people. I love being hugged by others too. For those of you who read my parental series before, you would know that I had long wished for an open relationship where we would hug each other and express our love for each other openly. (I later came to terms with state of the relationship when I grew older, as I had shared in Part 3: Revelations and Happiness.) Physical touch, along with words, is definitely one of my languages of love.

I feel that hugging is the best ways to express your affection and love for another. Happy to see a friend? Hug him/her! Want to express your affection for someone you just met? Hug him/her! Want to let someone know that you are there for him/her? Hug him/her! Hugging is actually the default treatment I give to everyone in my life today, unless deemed inappropriate by social or cultural contexts.

Well, today, your task is to give hugs to people around you! :))

Your Task: Give a Hug to People around You!

For the kindness tasks over the next 14 days, there will be some tasks that come in two levels.

The first is Level 1, the basic level. It denotes the minimum action you must do as part of your commitment to the kindness challenge.

The second is Level 2, the advanced level. It consists of the actions you should do if you want to be a true beacon of kindness to the people around you. Given that all of us are here on PE, Personal Excellence, I reckon that we should all put our best foot forward for the challenge and go for Level 2 where possible, don’t you think? ;)

With that said, let’s get started!

Level 1 Task: Hug 3 People

Hug 3 people you see today.

Make each hug a nice, BIG, WARM, JUICY one.

Be sure to throw in a nice snuggle while you are locked in the embrace!! :D

Level 2 Task: Hug EVERYONE You See Today!!

Hug EVERYONE you see today.

Yes, everyone!!! Think you can do that?? :D

I dare you to hug EVERYONE you see today (or as many as you can, given that there might be certain contexts where it is not appropriate, say in a board meeting with your CEO… though I’m sure you are going to make quite a strikingly positive reaction if you dare to do it!), and keep a mental note of the number of people you have hugged.

Then, at the end of the day, post the number of people you managed to hug in the comments section

Share Your Results!

Who did you hug today? How did you feel when hugging them?

For those who pushed yourself further and tried to hug as many people as possible… how many people did you end up hugging?? :D

Check out the responses of other participants in the comments section!

(I’m going in for a live interview with UFM 100.3 today (will be talking about the Kindness Challenge!), so I’m going to waltz into the radio station and try to hug as many deejays as I can find!! Will update my results in Day 2’s post!!)

Update July 2013: I was featured on a local documentary, Soul Sisters, about inspiring women following unconventional paths. As part of my episode, I carried out Day 1 of the Kindness Challenge to a grand scale — hugging people during the busy lunch hour at the Central Business District of Singapore! I had many interesting experiences and lessons that day.

Read about them here: The Day I Went Around Giving Free Hugs to Strangers.

After you are done with Day 1, proceed to Day 2: Give Up Your Seat To Someone.

Images: Open handstedeytan

  • Lynda Solorio

    Today I hugged my two of my sisters and my daughter as part of this challenge. Felt good to embrace them. :)

    • Celes

      Aw that’s so sweet! :) Thanks for sharing Lynda!

  • Marlyne

    just hugged my mother and father this morning :-)

    • Celes

      That’s so beautiful!! Thanks so much for sharing Marlyne!! :)

  • http://no Danli

    I have hug 6 colleagues :) 2 out of 8 people I asked rejected me…

    • Alta

      More postive than negative – keep going :-)

      • Celes

        What Alta said!! Keep going Danli! :)

  • Alta

    Told my daughter about the challenge. Asked if I can give her the 3 hugs. She responded: “That would be cheating, but go ahead, give me 3 hugs anyway!” Now I’m off to work. Colleagues beware…

    • Alta

      By the way, once read in a magazine that people who receive a hug before leaving for work are more successful.

      • Celes

        That’s so interesting, Alta! Thanks so much for sharing. At the same time, I won’t be surprised if it’s really true! :D

  • Dolly Yeo

    Thanks Celes, Level 2 is exciting. Stretching my comfort zone. Good idea to blog about it, that will help crank up my engine again after such a long time not blogging. Although my daughter and me hug each other regularly, it is good share how we feel about it. She felt cosy and I felt supportive since she is rushing for her project work in the Polytechnic.

  • Pierre

    How about posting the picture on Instagram? Just an idea. I’ll be post my pics on instagram and you can search for them using the hash tag Kindness ChallengeDay1

    • Celes

      Hey Pierre, yes that would be fantastic! I recommend to use the hashtag Kindness Challenge (without the Day numbers). Also, to make it easier for other participants to see your photos as not everyone uses Instagram (for example, I don’t), I recommend you to paste the links to your Instagram photos in the daily task comments. Thanks!

  • Sonah

    Hugged my two grand chidren, who responded with equal enthusiasm and spontaneity. Not that we did not hug earlier, but this time it is hugging with a purpose, and in the spirit of the challenge. Hopefully this gesture will result in more intimacy, evoke much more the virtue of kindness and fellow feeling in the young kids.
    Anyway it is still early morning, with a long day ahead. One thing it may not be possible or pract icable to hug everyone we come across, as you have rightly stated.
    About the Kindness challenge proper.Thursday early morning we have our weekly meditation session, and on the way to the centre I often pick up a few friends. Sometimes I miss them, if I start earlier. This morning I relised I should make it a point not to start too early, as long I am on time. I was so glad no one was left behind. And everyone was so happy.

    • julronimo

      Sonah, your comment about hugging with a purpose really made an impact on me. Hugs as automatic gestures just don’t carry the same meaning. :)

    • Sonah

      thanks for the appreciation. Should there be any point, it would be interesting to share ideas for our mutual interest and enrichment.

  • Swordsman

    Hugging complete strangers or even colleagues is way too much challenging!!

  • Lulu

    I’ve hugged at least 20 people today :) x

  • tams

    I have so far hugged 17 people and still going for more.

  • Monisha

    Umm…today I hugged only one person, my mom. Other times…well….I didn’t decide to hug others for certain reasons.

  • ASLO

    Hugged 3 of the closest people in my life today…managed a level 1, would have wanted to get to level 2 (Patriotism to PE; willingness to complete every challenge put forward) but that wouldn’t have been possible in my scenario :/

    Though I truly felt the depth of the HUG….merely the word itself feels so snug…..I’m so glad for this task today…makes me feel that in this big big world am not all alone….I’ve got the world’s most supportive people around me….

    Good day to you all….and by the way….I send a tight e-hug to all my fellow compatriots on Personal Excellence :D :D

  • julronimo

    My day here in Michigan USA has just started but fortunately I got a hug in to my grandson before I even knew what the challenge was! Will be working in the hospital tonight, on the medical/surgical floor…will hug all my co-workers and as many patients as will allow it!

  • wanxuan

    My mum was tired after meeting a friend from Bangkok and slept.. Instead of a hug I gave a massage instead :) I offered her the kindest massage I could give… Suddenly I remembered her motherly embrace when I was a child :angel: My dad is a bit hug-averse tho.

  • Sheryl Heff

    Hi All,

    I have had much success with my hugging today :)

    I am the practice administrator for a medical practice and have managed to hug most of the staff. One Doctor left and will get him by the end of the day.
    One staffer asked that I wait until 3:00 today as that would be the time that a hug would be most beneficial.
    This task brough a smile to everyone that I asked for a hug and some staff even gave me two hugs.
    When I told everyone that this was a 14 day challenge, one staffer asked that I buy lunch for tomorrow’s task ;)

  • hendro

    Hello Celes and everyone who’s reading this blogger comments

    Wow!! The task for today is really challenging for me!!! I did not manage to get all surrounding people to hug with me. Most of them (customer service frontline staff, police officer or toilet cleaners) were on duty so they could not hug me and take photo with me. Fortunately, I managed to accomplish to get 3 people to hug with me by end of today ;)

    Below are the people who were so nice and sweet to let me accomplish the task :dance: At this stage, I will only provide the real scenario on how I got to know those people and gave them a hug. If anyone of you is interested in knowing about the person name and our photos (which I took during or after hugging ) haha, I will need to get those people permission first to post their names and our photos.

    1 A – (a nice lady who I met inside the train and asked me a way to go to Promenade station while I travelled to Promenade station as well) – What a coincidence!!She was a bit reluctant or hesitant about my request. But in the end, she was kind enough to accept my request. :angel:

    2 B – (a gentleman coordinator at a company which I went to settle some stuff). This gentleman was really kind enough to accept my request for hugging! Thank you so much man!! I really appreciate it. :D

    3 C– (My friend who I had no choice but to text him to come out and meet me for a while to accomplish my task – (ie to get at least three people to hug me)- after receiving so many rejections). Hi friend C (if you are reading this comment), thanks so much to come out and meet me even though you are having exam soon. You are really awesome!! :clap:

    Hope all of you are having a great time while doing this kindness challenge. :)


    • ugi

      Hi Hendro,

      I admire your efforts, it is not easy at all to ask strangers to hug you, even at a culture like mine where physical touch is a common way of greeting, I just wanted to express my admiration for your efforts

      Have fun and days full of kindness!

      • hendro

        Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and kindness Ugi. I really appreciate it. Hope you have fun and days full of kindness as well!



    • Bob

      Hey Hendro,
      Good positive way to complete your task by asking a friend to help out! I understand your difficulty in completing the hugging, some cultures and people do not feel at all comfortable being embraced.

  • daphne

    this challenge is very tough for me since I am not a very touchy sort of person. I prefer to keep a distance away from people. But today I managed to sum up some courage to hug one friend who was feeling down after her o level physics paper! I mean though it was just one person but I’m glad that at least I pushed myself to do something out of my comfort zone :)

    • Daria

      Giving someone a hug when they’re vulnerable is undoubtedly very precious, especially someone feeling bad after a re-examination session, so good job Daphne.

      • Celes

        Daria, thank you for going around and spreading warmth and kindness to the other participants through your comments. :D *hug*

        • Daria

          Thank YOU Celes :love:
          It’s just like you said that this is the way to have the richest possible experience here :D

  • Ken

    Well at 5:30am this morning my cat woke me up. Usually I push him away and go back to sleep, but today, I gave a big hug, a kiss on his furry fat cheeks. Then petted him a little bit. Our usual routine in the morning is after I take my shower and get ready for work and I about ready to leave, I give him his daily medication and his food. So he knows to walk with me or at least meet me in the kitchen by 7:00 am. But this morning I picked him up and put him over my shoulder and carried him to the kitchen, gave him his medication. Gave him another round of petting telling him what a good boy he has been for taking his medication. Then gave him his breakfast.

    Hug number two to when virtually to my very best friend. I didn’t think a Virtual Hug would count, but she’s going to count it, so I am too. I sent her a big long, juicy hug, with a little snuggle added to it. :)

    Hug number three went to a co-worker. She is the administrative assistant to our CIO. But she helps me out a lot with my invoices, travel plans, arranging my meetings etc. And this morning she emailed me to see if I had any invoice she could do for me. Again it’s not her job to do, but she will ask me. So instead of email replying no, I walked over to her office and said I don’t have any invoice, but I do have a big hug for you because you always look out for me. She about died laughing. She said “you really needed this divorce because you are 180 degrees from who you use to be!”

    Hug number three was also a virtual hug, but to a new friend of mine. She is a friend of my best friend. She is an important person in my best friend’s life. My value is if I care about you, my caring will also go to the people you hold close to your heart. So my new friend got a new virtual hug from me.

    Work wise I don’t know if I could give out any hugs, because that might land me in the HR department. For complete strangers, again as a male in our society, hugging someone might land me in jail….

    I won’t see my friends today, but some time soon I will so I will save up my hugs for them. I did see them last Friday night so I did give out hugs then.

    I just remembered I have a hair cut today so I will hug my hair stylist today. For doing an amazing job of trying to make me look presentable and professional every time with my hair cuts.

    • Daria

      It must be nice getting the wake up call from your cat :) And looks like you spread a whole lot of kindness today, and laughter too which is probably the next best thing :)

      • Ken

        I don’t know, the cat doesn’t come with a snooze button….

        I’m tried my best today. This morning at work, things were not the way I like. I had to be someone that I’m not, and I hate that. I hate being politically correct, and having a conversation with someone that I know for a fact is lying, but I have to keep my mouth shut and act dumb or act like he is smarter than me.

        I did hug my hair stylist when I first got there tonight, and she hug me back tight when she was finished with my hair cut. We talked about my divorce and she said that I’m going to be just fine when I’m ready so meet someone. She said I’m going to have a hard time deciding the right one.

        • Daria

          I’m not sure about how exactly your office life must feel, but if you absolutely have to put up with lying people and can’t avoid them then how about avoiding the topics that cause their dishonesty?

          You can for example start telling them about your cat, I know from experience that this topic almost always deters the other person especially if you go into details :)
          I miss boring people with tales about my cat, but she’s gone, maybe that’s why I miss the wake up calls even with their “untimeliness” :)

  • Orrin

    Giving out virtual hugs by the dozen. Remember everyone, that online interaction isn’t actually emotionless. Too many people these days view online interaction as an impersonal and unfeeling medium of communication, but this simply isn’t so. If online interaction couldn’t affect people emotionally, then why would people choose to harm themselves over something that happened online? If negative emotional stimuli can make it through the computer screen then I submit that positive can too and that we should fight back with it! HUGS EVERYONE

  • Stacy

    My workplace has a no touch policy which I completely understand and support. A lot of people are not comfortable being touched and I do not believe that it is necessary to show kindness. That being said I will try to complete #1 by hugging a few people after I leave work today.