types of hugs

What does the way you hug say about your relationship with a person? Each hug can tell a different kind of story about the people in question.

It can be difficult to show your vulnerability to others. You might not want to be seen as too emotional or think that if you want human contact, that others will think that you are needy. But human interaction is important.

Whether you want a kiss, a squeeze of the hand, or a hug, these are all different ways that you can feel connected to the important people who are in your life.

It is perfectly normal to crave affection from someone that you hold near and dear to your heart. And sometimes there are people who might want affection from you as well.

Showing your affection for the people you care about is healthy. Whether someone is a family member, a friend, or someone you are romantically involved with, you can never give out too many hugs.

There are so many different kinds of hugs out there. You probably hug your mom a different way than you hug your girlfriend.

Maybe you even have a different kind of hug reserved for your best friends. And another kind of way that you hug your aunts.

No matter who you hug or who hugs you, a hug is a very special gesture that is reserved for the special people in one’s life. For the giver and the receiver of a hug, this special act can help you feel calm.

For many of us, a hug can ease our worries. It can make us feel happy and loved and grounded. Whether you are an affectionate person or you tend to keep your hands to yourself, we can all benefit from a good hug once in a while.

If you think about it, you probably do not hug every single person that you pass by on the street. Maybe you hug your parents, your girlfriend, your husband, your sibling, or your best friend.

In order to want to hug someone, you have to really know them and feel comfortable with them. And that person has to feel comfortable with you as well.

Knowing how to determine what kind of hug you have received can be useful, especially if you are trying to figure out how someone feels about you. Say for instance you want to know if someone might have a crush on you or if this person likes you as much as you like them.

What is your favorite kind of hug? You can read about some of the different ways to hug someone below.

Types of Hugs

Bear hug

No, this is not a hug from a bear. A bear hug is a strong embrace and is a bit forceful. This kind of hug is given with enthusiasm.

While it is a tight hug, it is more of a friendly hug rather than a romantic hug. Can you really imagine giving your wife or husband a bear hug? Your son, on the other hand, might get a bear hug from you.

This type of hug is so tight that you might feel like the person who is giving you a hug is trying to wrestle with you. If this person is really strong, it might feel like they are squeezing you a bit too hard. But really, this person is just happy to see you.

You might get a bear hug from someone that you look up to like your dad or uncle. Guys are more known to give bear hugs than girls. If someone gives you this kind of hug, then they are probably rather fond of you.

The type of person who gives you a bear hug will most likely do anything for you, because that is how much they care.

Polite hug

Depending on the type of person you are, you might only hug people you feel close to. But if you are an affectionate person in general, then you might feel inclined to hug most people you know.

A polite hug is a formal kind of hug and is given to people who do not know each other that well, whether they be people from work or distant relatives.

You might even give a polite hug to an acquaintance or a friend that you are not best friends with. People from certain cultures might give out polite hugs while someone from a different culture might find it a little odd.

If someone is not that receptive to your polite hug and they seem a little awkward, do not be offended. They might not be used to these kinds of hugs where they come from.

Girls might be also weird about giving close hugs as well. If this person is self-conscious about her body, she might not want to hug you too closely or too tightly.

You might wonder why people give polite hugs to people they are not close to. Even if you are not family or close friends, maybe this person wants you to feel important anyway. It is a nice gesture to make.

Formal hugs are usually quick and are not tight. Only the upper part of your bodies will be touching, which indicates that you and the other person are not very close.

Waist hug

If a guy hugs you by wrapping his arms around your waist, then he is most likely into you. He might even wrap his hands around your waist and then pull you closer to him.

This is the action of a person who wants intimacy and a deeper connection with you. He is not being shy at all about the fact that he wants you.

Patting hug

Have you ever had a hug from someone who also proceeded to pat you on the back? If so, chances are that this hug did not come from a significant other or someone who is interested in you romantically.

A pat on the back is meant to be reassuring. It means that someone is there for you, but more as a friend than as a love interest.

One-armed hug

This hug is also another kind of polite hug. A one-armed hug can be a bit of an awkward gesture between two people who are not comfortable enough to hug each other with both arms.

At the same time, some people are not big huggers so a one-armed hug might be a completely normal way for this person to hug.

While you can give a one-armed hug to a friend, you would not typically give a one-armed hug to your date or your significant other. If your date has given you a one-armed hug, then they are probably not interested in you romantically.

At the same time, some people are very conservative and traditional. This type of person will avoid having too much physical contact with others. There are some instances in which someone will like you, but they will give you a one-armed hug anyway because they do not want to be too intimate.

If you want to give someone a one-armed hug, you just extend one arm and wrap it around the other person. One-armed hugs tend to be quick.

One-sided hug

In a one-sided hug, one person is really into the hug while the other person is not as into it if they are at all. One person might be doing all the hugging while the other person has their arms stiffly at their sides.

You can also tell that a hug is one-sided if one person guys for the hug while the other person does not really mirror those actions. This other person might just be standing there being hugged but not really hugging the other person back at all.

One-sided hugs can be pretty awkward. If you want to avoid giving someone a one-sided hug, try to read the situation and the person before you attempt to give them a hug.

It can be really strange when a person does not lift their arms at all to hug a person who is hugging them. This person might be angry at the other person or too sad to hug back. Or they might not like to hug much at all.

In life, you will sometimes find that your actions are not reciprocated. This can happen sometimes when you try to hug someone. Do not take it personally.

Nobody owes you a hug and hugs are not for everyone. Sometimes people just do not want to be touched.

If you are not sure that someone would like a hug, then you can ask them first if you may hug them. That way you will not have to face awkward rejection if this person does not in fact want a hug.

Intimate hug

An intimate hug is what you might see between two people who are romantically involved. You will see more of an embrace and there is no awkwardness at all because both people are very comfortable with one another.

In an intimate hug, there is more touching involved. You might be really lingering as you hold each other in a warm embrace.

Slow dance hug

When two people are close and they are dancing together to a slow song, then they often end up hugging in the process. This can be called a slow dance hug.

You often see this kind of hug at a wedding when the bride and groom are dancing together or when the bride is dancing with her father. You might also see this kind of hug when the groom is dancing with his mother.

A wedding is an event that is full of love and joy. There are many sentimental moments and memories being created whether you are the bride, the groom, or a family member or friend who is there to help them celebrate.

This kind of hug captures a happy and emotional moment between two people who love each other very much.

Catching hug

When you have not seen someone you love for a very long time, you might yourself missing them. You yearn to hear their voice and to see their face.

You long to feel that person in your arms. Maybe you are a parent that has gone away on a business trip away from your family.

Or perhaps you are in a long-distance relationship and are reuniting with the man or woman that you love.

How long has it been since you have seen the one that you love? A few days? Weeks? Months? When you are finally reunited with the person you have been longing to see, you are full of so many emotions.

You might be feeling anticipation and excitement. As you see your son or daughter for the first time in a while, you might scoop them up in your arms as you hug them or they might run into you as you catch them in an embrace.

Or if you have not seen your significant other for some time, you might catch each other in a hug as you feel each other for the first time in what seems like forever.

Being reunited with the ones you love is a wonderful feeling. There might be all these other people around, but you do not care. You are just happy to see the face of your loved one again.

Twirling hug

A twirling hug can be a continuance of a catching hug. After you catch someone in a hug, you might be so excited that you twirl them around in your embrace.

In order to do a twirling hug, you will need to have some strength. A twirling hug is a happy hug.

Self hug

While almost all hugs will involve more than one person, you can definitely give yourself a hug. Self-love is an important thing to have.

On days where you need to feel a little better, you can give yourself a hug if nobody is around at the moment to give you a hug.

Just wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a little bit of a squeeze. Remind yourself how special and unique you are. You are loved.

Group hug

Even as individuals, we often seek to be members of a community whether that means belonging to a group of friends or being part of a family.

There is nothing quite like the energy and love that is in a group hug. When a group of people who really care about each other wants to express their love, they might have a group hug.

Maybe a tragedy has occurred, maybe someone is moving away, or someone has passed away. Or perhaps it is a happy occasion where everyone is feeling celebratory.

The one thing that you can be sure of is that a group hug is full of fuzzy, warm feelings.

Eye contact hug

Someone who really is deeply in love with you might look you in the eyes and hold that eye contact as they hug you. This person might be in love with your soul and everything about you.

This type of hug indicates a strong and deep connection between the two of you. You two just get each other and are in sync.

Butt hug

This type of hug should only be done between two people who are in a relationship. If you are feeling very romantic and intimate, you might get a hug from him as he slides his hands down your back and rests them on your butt.

Even if you do not make your way into the bedroom this very second, this might be his way of being a little romantic and flirty with you during the day.

Pocket hug

This hug is similar to a butt hug in that the other person’s hands will end up on your butt. Usually, you see this type of hug in public.

A couple might be out taking a romantic stroll and they stop for a minute to gaze into each other’s eyes. The guy might hug the girl and slip his hands into her back pocket. This is a pocket hug.

Heart to heart hug

When emotions are running deep, you might crave a really intimate hug with someone. This is when you press your chests against each other as you hug, as if your hearts are touching.

If he is much taller than you, then you might even rest your head against his chest as you hug him.

Head and shoulder hug

In this kind of hug, someone is being comforted here. One person wants to feel safe while the other person is doing the soothing and protecting.

You might rest your head on her shoulder as she wraps your arms around you. Or she might have one arm hugging you while the other hand is stroking your head.

This is the type of hug you would have with a parent, a child, a best friend, or a significant other. It is not really a hug that you would give an acquaintance or a casual friend.

Cuddle hug

Sometimes you just want to cuddle up to someone that you care about. If you want to take your cuddle session to an even cuddlier level, then consider going in for a cuddle hug.

This is when you wrap your arm or arms around the other person during a nice cuddle. You might be in bed or on the couch. Either way, a cuddle hug is a great way to cozy up to someone that you love.

Sideways hug

You might want to express your affection for someone, but maybe you do not have the time to be all cuddly with them. This is when you can opt for a sideways hug.

Ragdoll hug

This kind of hug is one-sided and one person is clearly more into the hug than the other person involved. The person giving the hug might even be significantly bigger or stronger as well.

Back hug

This kind of hug is when a person hugs you from behind. A back hug is an intimate hug that you will most likely only give to your romantic partner.

This type of hug signifies vulnerability. It is almost as if the person giving you the back hug is your protector. This person is like your shield, wanting to keep you safe and comforted.

If someone is going to be able to hug you from the back, then it means that this person is someone that you can trust. Or at least this person wants you to trust them.

Long hug

A long hug is the type of hug that you give someone you’ve missed or someone you have a crush on. This hug can be between friends you haven’t seen for a while or someone you are interested in romantically. If the hug is a little longer, it may mean the person is attracted to you.

According to a sciencemag, a common hug is around 3 seconds so if you get a couple of more seconds to your hug, you’re receiving a long hug.


You might like to give out hugs, but not everyone feels that way. Do not be offended right away if someone does not want to hug you.

If your significant other does not want a hug, they might just need some space right now. Or maybe you have a friend that does not like to be hugged.

Some people will only hug their parents and boyfriend or girlfriend. A hug to them might be seen as way too intimate of an act. Maybe that person prefers a high five or a handshake instead.

In cases like this, do not take it personally if someone does not want to hug you Instead, reserve your hugs for the people that you are intimate with. That way, you know that your hugs are actually being appreciated.

If you want to analyze the way that someone is hugging you, try to observe how this person hugs other people. This will give you a good perspective on how this person hugs their friends as opposed to how they would hug a romantic interest.

Think about how long the hug lasts. Is it a short one or a long one? Does he squeeze you tightly or are his hugs a bit loose?

If you like someone, do not be afraid to hug them and hug them accordingly. Do not confuse this person by giving them a hug that you would give to someone who is just a friend.

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