Different types of hugs are the best communicators of human emotions: they speak volumes about your feelings when the words fall short! Hugs are the universal language of love and affection that convey signs of love, support, camaraderie, empathy, or comfort.
When we hug, our body secretes more oxytocin and serotonin- two hormones responsible for feeling good, happy, and loved. It turns out that giving and receiving hugs is not only good for emotional well-being but also for promoting physical health.
Fun fact: Every hug holds a different meaning to it. From a short hug of quick greetings to a reassuring squeeze that says, ‘I am here for you, buddy,’ to a lingering embrace that whispers the tales of longing romance, each one reflects a different emotion.
Read on to learn about different types of hugs and what meaning they lay behind the mere physical touch.
What Makes All Types of Hugs So Important?
Remember, hugs are like therapy. You must embrace them whatever you get, whenever you get. When words fail to express your feelings, it is a sweet intimate hug that conveys your sentiments and emotions more effectively.
“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words”Ann Hood
Physical touch- such as hugs or holding hands- reduces stress levels and improves overall mood. Long and tight hugs always exchange a good amount of energy between the huggers. However, each type of hug is equally special as it expresses your true feelings about others.
Warm hugs can mend a rough day, kindle happiness, or provide solace in difficult times. From consoling someone for their loss to celebrating victories with your peers to expressing affection for your partner, hugs range over a spectrum of emotional connections.
Hugs are intimate gestures that have been there throughout human history and aren’t likely to change in the future, either. In this world of bustling chaos, they are the gestures reminding us of our humanity, kindness, love, and empathy. As the German proverb goes,
“A hug a day keeps the demons at bay.”
10 Types of Hugs and Their Meanings
What does it mean when a guy hugs you first? Is your old friend hugging a tad bit longer than necessary? How should I return the gesture of someone’s? What does this hug mean?
Read on if any of such questions come to mind when someone hugs you. When you know the person’s feelings, it is easy to reciprocate them in your embrace. Here, we have listed the 10 different types of hugs and what feelings they convey.
1. The Side Hug – Side by Side Hug
Also called the buddy hug, this is the most relaxed one of the lot. The hugging persons stand side by side with their opposite arms around either the waist or the shoulder of each other. A side hug is often among close friends, acquaintances, siblings, or colleagues. The side hug body language speaks of a casual and comfortable relationship.
Not as romantic a hug as some others meant for couples or life partners, this is a very sweet hug. You often see people hugging each other in this style posing for a photo.
What does a side hug from a guy mean? If you are interested in a guy, don’t get your hopes up with a side hug from him. It does not mean he is into you or like you romantically. Instead, it signifies that he just sees you as a close friend and nothing more.
An intimacy exert, Julian Colker, says,
“A side hug means you are not fully into it.”
2. The Long Hug – Pretty Intimate Hug or Long Distance Hug
This is a pretty intimate hug also known as long distance hug, characteristic of a long-term relationship. The huggers want to tell that they miss each other a lot and they feel protected in each other’s arms. This great kind of hug is often for close friends whom you miss a lot. However, partners or couples also embrace each other in this way.
What do long hugs from guys mean? They show that they have strong love and are happy to have in their life. A long hug from boys speaks of their romantic feelings and emotional interest in your well-being.
Throw in deep eye contact with a lingering embrace, and you have an unsaid promise of love, affection, support, and kindness. If your partner hugs you this way, consider yourself lucky! It shows that you are each other’s best friends who can trust each other with their lives.
3. The Friend Hug – Also known as Buddy Hug
The friend hug is like a warm, cozy blanket for the heart. It is a two-arm hug in which the huggers’ chests touch each other while the pelvises remain a bit far. Also called a ‘buddy hug’ or ‘bro hug’, it is often accompanied by a pat or two on the back.
What does a friend hug mean? A friend in no way deems sexual or romantic. It is the embrace of friendship and brotherhood, speaking the language of camaraderie. Encouraging your friend for the next big step or comforting them over a breakup, a friend hug is the best. Siblings and friendly acquaintances also share friendly hugs.
Friend hug vs. crush hug: What’s the difference? Well, the friend, while reassuring, is a slightly short hug with no romantic inclination. The crush hug? Let’s just say you know when you get one; it’s the ultimate symphony of butterflies and nervousness.
4. The London Bridge Hug – Also Known as Polite or Friendly Hug
In this specific sort of hug, both parties touch only the upper part of each other’s bodies. The lower parts remain far away in this polite or friendly hug. Most often, politicians, diplomats, acquaintances, and casual friends are seen hugging like this. Why do they do so, after all? This type of hug is a form of formal greeting that does not involve a deeper connection.
If you get such a hug from someone, be sure he/she does not love you so much and never likes to develop any deeper bond with you. However, if you are in a formal setting, it is better to follow this cordial embrace than be uptight and non-polite.
5. The Couple Hug – Cuddle Hug
Fingers intertwined, arms enveloping, and hearts syncing – a couple hug is the sweet whisper of love, care, and affection.
Each couple hug has its unique narrative of togetherness. Be it a tight hug on a gloomy day, a playful squeeze in the kitchen, or a long cuddly hug while you are Netflix-and-chilling. It is beyond just a physical touch- the reaffirmation that you feel safe and loved with each other and that your heart has found a home in them.
When we say couple hugging is good for the heart, we aren’t kidding. Turns out, it is linked to lower blood pressure and better heart rate, as per the research.
That’s what people who love you do. They put their arms around you and love you when you are not so lovable.
6. Around-the-Waist Hug – Intimate Romantic Hug
In this version of the swoon-worthy hug, both the partners align their waists together and rest their arms there. They often lean back in this position and look into each other’s eyes.
Showing a lot of love and affection, this intimate romantic hugs provide an opening to make the next move. It may even take you to a more joyful and playful sexual realm, depending upon the situation and occasion. It shows that you both are comfortable and are enjoying every second being spent together. There is something special more than just a friendship between the two. However, this sort of hug may also indicate a passion of lust on the part of one or both of the parties.
Also Read: Love vs. Lust
7. The Heart-To-Heart Hug – Deeper Form of Intimacy and Physical Touch
You usually go into a hug with your right side. However, when you do so with your left side so that both your hearts are aligned while hugging, it’s a heart-to-heart hug- a much deeper form of intimacy and physical touch.
The heart-to-heart hug can be between siblings, parent and child, friends, and a couple. It means you feel safe in their embrace, showing your trust and vulnerability. It is the perfect hug to spark emotional intimacy between a couple.
Marriage and family therapist, Virginia Satir, says,
We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.
In a heart-to-heart hug, we find solace, a momentary escape from the chaos, and a reminder that we’re never truly alone.
8. The Back Hug – Indicates Romantic Relationship
The back hug indicates a romantic relationship or just an affectionate parent-child relationship, this surprise hug always gives the feeling of comfort, affection, and protection to the one being hugged. The hugger stands behind you and wraps his/her arms around your chest or torso. Though he/she is not before your eyes, you still enjoy the style and passion involved in this loving hug. It is one of the most common types of hugs guys give.
It shows you that the other person, who may be one of your parents, elder siblings, best friends, or life partner, has deep feelings for you. If it is your significant other, be sure that he/she loves you from the cores of your heart and misses you desperately when you are not around.
9. The Tight Bear Hug or The Squeeze Hug
This is the best hug, tight, reassuring, and worth a million words. It remains a constant part of your life right from early childhood till the end. First, you get this lovely hug from your parents and siblings quite often as one of the good morning hugs. Then your relatives and friends hug you in this way during your childhood and early teens.
Afterward, you get attached to someone special from the opposite gender and this platonic hug becomes one of the most comforting gestures for you on earth. You two squeeze each other and get utmost satiation, infatuation, and warmth.
This very passionate gesture of yours shows that you are head over heels in love for each other.
Also called the bear hug, embrace gives the two huggers love, care, fondness, energy, protection, etc. Most couples and life partners execute this profound hug and relieve themselves of stress and anxiety as well.
10. The Straddle Hug – Purely Romantic Hug
This is meant for those who are in deepest love for each other. Reserved only for the special ones, this hug is very intimate, often done in private, and also a sign of sexual tension. More often, the female partner takes the initiative and gives this bold hug to the one she trusts wholly and blindly.
She exposes her inner passions and feelings very openly when she does so. So, It is one of the best hugs you can get from a woman you love and desire. Also, this purely romantic and sexual hug shows that you and your partner have a fabulous spiritual as well as physical connection.
This loving gesture is often seen between married couples, whether their wedlock is love-based or purely arranged.
You express your strong affection and deep connection through different types of hugs. These build bridges among various relations such as parents, children, siblings, friends, lovers, partners, couples, etc. By different types of hugs, you can convey your feelings to different people in all honesty. From a polite greeting to a colleague you are meeting after a long time to a warm hug to a friend to an intimate embrace for a loved one, the language of hug sure has multiple dialects.
And as Terri Guillemets asks,
Have you hugged someone of your appreciation today?