Home Love & Relationship 11 Different Types of Hugs and Their Meanings

11 Different Types of Hugs and Their Meanings

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If you think every single hug is the same, you’re sorely mistaken. There are so many different types of hugs and you should know all of their differences. Why? Because you wouldn’t want to mistake a friendly hug and someone having feelings for you, would you? No.

That’s why I’m here. Knowing the different types of hugs can save you from extreme embarrassment and even confusion. You’ll be able to know just what people mean when they hug you in different ways. Here’s how you can tell which hug means what.

  1. The Tight Squeeze

You know the hug I’m talking about. The kind that your friend gives you after you haven’t seen each other for way too long. The kind your grandma gives you every time she sees you because she never knows if it’ll be her last. These hugs pull you in and squeeze you so tight your eyes might pop out. These are the hugs that mean the most and have the most emotion behind them. These hugs are the real ones.

  1. The Long Hold

If you’ve ever been hugged long and hard, you know just how meaningful it is. These are the hugs you get from your loved ones who are hurting or from your significant other after a long day. They’re the hugs that say, “I need help,” without uttering a word. They also mean that the person regards you as someone they care for an awfully lot. Hugs like this are used as a means to make the other person feel better. If you get hugs like these just know that the other person sees you as someone who can make them feel much better.

  1. From the Back

These are the sneak attack hugs that shock you and leave you feelings really loved. They’re the hugs from your significant other and they’re really important ones to get. These hugs basically tell you that your partner is feelings especially affectionate toward you. It means they’ve been missing you and are excited to see you again. It’s a very intimate hug that should leave you feeling loved and excited to be in someone else’s embrace.



  1. The Back Stroke

These hugs are very common amongst friends more so than family or lovers. These are the hugs where you embrace and give each other a little back rub with the hug. They’re really common hugs that basically tells the other person that you wish them well and hope they’re doing well. It’s the friendliest hug you can get that’s genuine and meaningful. It’s more than just your average, quick hug. Know when you get this hug that the other person is wishing you well and is actually happy to see you.

  1. The Straddle Hug

If you want to know if someone is trying to get frisky or intimate with you, this is the hug they’ll do. Basically, it’s a hug where one person is elevated and the other person stands between their legs and hugs them. It’s one that requires a lot of emotional trust and openness. That’s why it’s usually only done between couples and people who are romantically involved. It’s sexy, exposed, and usually something done in private.

  1. The Around the Waist

Being hugged around the waist is a very intimate thing for someone to do. By allowing your arms to go above theirs, they’re being very open and vulnerable with you. This is the kind of hug that suggests someone trusts you deeply and is happy to see you. This is also a genuine way of showing someone that you care for them and are in a position to talk and be open with one another.

  1. The Quick Pat

We have definitely all seen this type of huge before. Normally, this happens between two guys who don’t really want to be seen in a hugging embrace with one another because they don’t want to be seen as not masculine. However, this is also a hug that shows two people who are very uncomfortable around each other. If you get hugged very quickly with just a pat on the back, the person is telling you they’re embracing you out of politeness but they would rather not be.



  1. The Slow Dance

This is also known as a lingering hug. Have you ever been in an embrace with someone and just move apart far enough to look at each other, yet your arms were still around each other? That’s this hug. It’s the type where you want to talk to the person, but you don’t want to move away from them because you’re enjoying being in their arms. This is definitely a hug that happens when two people are either dating or want to date. It’s intimate and emotional.

  1. The London Bridge

If you’ve ever had a really awkward hug with someone you didn’t like, this is the kind it would be. This is where you stand far away, but lean your torso in so you barely touch them when you hug. This is an obvious sign that someone doesn’t want to hug you but is only doing so because they have to. AKA, this is the kind of hug you give your weird uncle or the cousin who is always gross and dirty. It’s not a kind hug.

  1. The Alternating Arms

I’m sure you’ve had a hug like this before. Normally, hugs have your arms either going above theirs or below. However, with this kind of hug, you have one arm that goes above one of theirs and the other goes below theirs. This is a very proper, friendly hug. It means they’re happy to be in your embrace, but they don’t feel comfortable enough around you to fully be open. Basically, these are hugs between long-lost friends or people who are just doing it as a formality.

  1. The One Arm Reach

This kind of hug is the one where someone reaches an arm around you in a half hug. It’s used a lot when walking somewhere to just being next to each other on the couch. It could mean a number of different things. When it’s coming from someone you like, it means they want to protect you and hold you close. If it’s coming from just a friend, it means they’re offering their help and comfort if you want it.

Hugs are really not as simple as they seem. There are a lot of complex things involved in the type of hug someone gives you and it’s important to know just what they all mean.

115 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, my brother inlaw pulled me in for a long full body hug, he held onto the lower part of my back. We didn’t talk, just stood there hugging. I am really confused what this means??

    • It is likely that he felt that it was appropriate to hug you in that way. It is possible that he is attempting to share other thoughts with you. Take this time to determine what you believe is appropriate. If you believe that he needs to change his actions, then speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Sam!

  2. Hi. So i’ve got this friend (my best and only friend) and she just LOVES hugs… and i don’t.
    She would just hug me out of nowhere. Not just a pat on the back or ‘the back stroke’ but a freaking 5 MINUTES LONG ONE. I mean… no one could be confortable hugging for that long…
    She would suddenly hug me from the back and put her head on my shoulder, put her arm around my waist and such. I rarely even hug my own parents for gods sakes…
    And i don’t have the guts to tell her to stop and make her sad 🙁 i thought maybe i was being weird for not liking it. There’s a group of girls in our class that would just get in a long group hug and stay like that for minutes. And whenever this happens i feel left out, so i convinced myself to just ‘go in’.
    It didn’t get any less uncomfortable…
    What should i do? 🙁

    • Your friend is interested in hugging you. It is likely a social and emotional connection that she wishes to share with you. If you are not fond of hugs, then determine what you believe is most appropriate for this relationship. It is possible that hugs ensure that she feels positive. Speak directly and honestly with her about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Zahra!

  3. I have a friend ( Probably the only Friend I feel love with ) who squeezes me Super tightly and hugs me from the back often and since I’m not really a hugger I don’t know what to do with my hands in time and I’ll be standing there awkwardly.

    • This friend may be interested in developing a relationship with you. It is possible that they simply feel a strong emotional connection with you. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak directly and honestly with your friend about your thoughts and feelings. Give you friend an opportunity to share themselves with you as well. Have a great day, Roseanna!

  4. Ok so theirs this guy and we are friends but when we went to jump time he kept on hugging me from behind and putting his head on my neck and when we said goodbye he hugged me by the waist so I’m confused cause I’ve always liked him but he doesn’t know

    • It is possible that he is interested in developing a relationship with you. He clearly feels a strong emotional connection with your. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Lydia!

      • Thank you for sharing your positive comment. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Logan!

    • It is possible that close physical connections have a strong emotional component for you. Allow these thoughts to influence you in a positive direction. Treat everyone in your life with kindness and compassion. This will ensure that positive energy and people will enter into your life. Have a great day, Prajna!

  5. My close frenemy friend gave me a strange hug yesterday. Only with one arm as we were saying our goodbyes. It was unexpected, as he did hugged me before (same but shorter) he held me tight with just one arm around my shoulders and it lasted more than 10 seconds. What does it mean??

    • It is certainly possible that he feels a strong emotional connection with you. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak directly and honestly with him about your thoughts and feelings. Give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Have a great day, Josie!

  6. When I hug my partner, even though I’m taller I will stand on my toes. I’m not really sure why but I feel weird doing this, so I guess what I’m saying is, when you hug someone, what footing should you have?

    • It is possible that your actions are caused by your emotional connection with this person. It is clear that you feel a strong emotional connection with this person. There is no proper footing. Allow your actions to be manifestations of your emotions. Have a great day, Danny!

  7. I’m a male and a female friend hugs me with the london bridge, but she is the one who usually starts talks in person and when we do hug, it’s warm and she’s smiling and it doesn’t feel awkward. What does this usually mean?

    • It is certainly possible that she feels a strong emotional connection with you. She may view you as a friend or she may want to develop a relationship with you. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Attempt to spend additional time with her in person, as this will strengthen your relationship. Have a great day, Pen!

    • Thank you for sharing your positive comment. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts and feelings in the future. Have a great day, Pramod!

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