Banter Bites

Think Before … Hugging?!

If you had to live without hugs … would that make you sad or glad?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: How can something as simple as a hug elicit such incredibly different reactions; while it’s not surprising that Red thinks about hugs very differently than Black, it’s very surprising which one of them is supported by science.

Red’s a warm and fuzzy mom, so it goes without saying that hugs are an integral part of who she is. And how she raised her daughters. When her girls were young, she gave them lots and lots of hugs until Black, a self-declared non-hugger, pointed out that not everyone needs or wants a hug. Which, to this day, makes Red wonder,

How could I, a hug-lover, have given birth to two daughters, with neither “inheriting” the hugging gene? But having a non-hugger as my sister, I’ve realized that doesn’t mean they don’t love me, just that they don’t want hugs. Even if I think they need them.

The curious thing is, even as a non-hugger, Black will acknowledge that hugs represent affection, concern, love, appreciation, or sometimes just the joy of seeing someone. And although she’s fascinated by the science behind why some people hate hugs, she’s also read studies (she even sent this one to Red) about their health benefits, including how they can relieve stress.

Red was amused how COVID gave Black an excuse to avoid hugging for years, but now, unless you know her, you might think she’s a germophobe or being overly cautious. But it does beg the question, if hugging is good for you, why would Black avoid it,

We all know what we should do but often ignore what is best for us. I have always felt hugging seems selfish in that it is usually the person who needs a hug who insists on hugging. However, sometimes I will compromise and do it for the other person, so I guess you could say my approach to hugs is … it is better to give than to receive. Even on National Hugging Day.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Who would ever think of “celebrating” credit card debt? Not celebrating paying it off – celebrating a mountain of credit card debt. Well, Black thinks Red’s credit card debt is worth celebrating, or at least this story about it is. And not just because April is Financial Literacy Month.

When Red was in the midst of her crisis (her husband unexpectedly got fired), she was freaking out about everything, especially money. And specifically, her credit card debt. If she could have remained an ostrich with her head in the sand, she would have. But Red knew she needed to face the facts (although she hadn’t run a total of how much they owed on credit cards, she knew it was a lot), so, with much trepidation, Red turned to Black, hoping she’d just tell her what to do.

Instead, Black wanted to give her a history lesson. On credit cards?! Black doesn’t even like history. And even though Red, who loves history, didn’t want to hear it, she decided to take the path of least resistance and humor her sister.

At first, she found it mildly interesting, but then that “unwanted” history lesson changed Red’s life. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Because as soon as Red changed how she looked at credit cards, it changed how she used them.

Don’t believe it can make that much of a difference? Read “RED & BLACK … The History Of Credit Cards?” and decide for yourself.

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".

Red lives in an extremely diverse community (very different from the community we grew up in), and over the past few years, there’s been an increase in hate crimes and general “nastiness” directed toward people who are “different”. So, in honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, we’re rerunning this Conversation Starter in which Red remembers the first time she met a Black person, and Black … well, Black talks about Dr. Spock?!

red headred head

Growing up on Long Island in a Jewish home, I didn’t think twice about my best friend (who’s still a close friend) being Italian, although we did have different cultural and religious beliefs. And although we lived close to New York City, it wasn’t until I went to college in North Carolina that I met a Black person (and a Southerner, no less). She and I quickly became good friends and laughed at the fact we had the same last name, but that’s where the similarities ended. Yet, I had never really thought about diversity, or to be honest, even heard of the term, until you had us working on Career & Technology Education (CTE) curriculum, and we did a soft skills worksheet on it. That’s when I discovered that “diversity” was actually a “thing”, although lately, it seems to have become a political topic .

But once I was aware of it, I realized how much I learned from being friends with people who have different perspectives and experiences than I do. Of course, having a sister who at times seems more like a Vulcan, likes to push me outside my comfort zone, and makes me look at things from different viewpoints, has made me a better person – both in terms of newfound knowledge as well as a greater appreciation for how and why others may see things differently .

Black's HeadBlack

Vulcan or otherwise, there were things to learn from Spock, which highlights the importance of diversity. In the broadest context, diversity introduces us to unique experiences and perspectives. In the workplace, it is often referred to as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), but I will stick with diversity (for now), which includes not only race, sex, and age, but also gender and sexual orientation, disabilities, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status, and I am guessing there are other differentiators. I think it is as simple as accepting that not everyone is alike. (How boring would that be? It would be like only having vanilla and chocolate ice cream.) And, recognizing that differences are not right or wrong; they are differences.

From a business perspective, the more you look at things from different angles and perspectives, the more fully (and more creatively) you will see things, which in turn, helps you better understand and provide value to your target market.

I know I said I would not get into equity and inclusion, but I love this quote from Vema Myers, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”


  • Define diversity. What does diversity mean to you? What are its challenges and benefits?
  • The concept of diversity in the workplace encompasses acceptance and respect. But that also applies to your personal life. How can your actions and behavior help or hinder the situation?
  • Are your friends and workplace associates a diverse group of people? If so, what have you learned from them? If not, why not? And would you be willing to proactively get to know people outside your "usual” circle?
  • Do you think “diversity” is seen differently by different generations? Why?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

red headred head

As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.

Black's HeadBlack

I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.

red headred head

Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.

Black's HeadBlack

Or, at least been curious.

red headred head

How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?

Black's HeadBlack

Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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