I don't like to be touched, especially by strangers. It is difficult for me to hug my own family members. I'm just not at all touchy-feely. The only people that I am completely comfortable sharing my personal space with are my husband and my son.I'm funny about people in my space. Giving a woman an embrace (usually a side-hug) is my way of saying she's okay by me and welcome in my space. To reject this gesture makes me feel VERY alienated and unwelcome, and they'll go straight from "friend" to "just some person" in an instant.
It's emotional and illogical, but it's just how I react to people who overreact to the embrace and the meaning behind it.
If someone that I don't know very well tried to give me a hug, I would likely freeze up. I probably wouldn't reject the hug (unless it was from a man who put off some vibes that skeeved me), but it would be obvious that I'm not comfortable. I can't help that reaction, anymore than you can help how you feel about people rejecting physically friendly overtures from you.
I have to admit, very emotive people set my teeth to vibrating. I have to remind myself that this is MY issue, not theirs. People have a right to express themselves as their hard-wired personalities dictate. I have probably lost out on opportunities to befriend some very good people because I couldn't get beyond their outwardly expressive styles. I have probably also been rejected as a potential friend for the same reason. I can be viewed as cold and unresponsive to people who do not know me well, and I have to make a supreme effort to project warmth to other people, especially to clients. It isn't that I don't feel it. It is that I just don't show it, naturally.