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

11 Different Types of Hugs and Their Meanings


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.


  1. Hi!
    So, my guy best friend has been laying on my lap while wrapping his hands around my legs. Yesterday he did the same thing only one of his hands went under my upper thigh and he was tightly squeezing me. Today he hugged me very intimately and tightly switching from the straddle hug to the long hold always squeezing me like he was afraid he’d lose me. Also, when he hugged me standing up he runned his hand from my neck to my back all the way down to my waist -sending chills down my spine- and then he squeezed my bum. He’s always cared about me but he’s never done anything so intimate.

    • He is interested in developing a physical relationship with you. The two of you share a strong social and emotional connection. Take this time to determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Decide what you believe is appropriate for your current relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. If you want to strengthen this relationship, then spend additional time with him in person. Have a great day, Athena!

  2. Guys I’m gonna be completely honest with you all this is not necessarily 100% accurate all people hug people in different ways for different reasons for example a one armed hug is GENERALISED as “awkward hug” but I don’t see it as that because a lot of my friends one arm hug me and they’re not awkward around me whatsoever Or maybe the person is in a hurry or isn’t used to getting hugs I don’t know or the no armed APPARENTLY it’s another hug another awkward hug maybe their arms hurt from working out or they had an injection or they’re sad or they’re tired or maybe someone hugs you with two arms because they don’t know any alternatives or maybe they think it’s polite or they just feel like it but let’s just take reality for a ride for one moment A HUG IS JUST A HUG AND WE SHOULDN’T LET AN ARTICLE DEFINE A HUG OR ASSUME WHY SOMEONE HUGS US THE WAY THEY DO BECAUSE A HUG IS A THING THAT DOES NOT DEFINE ANYTHING OR ANYONE… ok I’m done

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. You are right, it is important to acknowledge the behaviors and intentions of those who you are with. Please feel free to share more of your supportive comments in the future. Have a great day, Joseph!

    • His behavior may or may not have been intentional. The two of you hugged, which may mean that is a social and emotional relationship being nourished. If the brushing of his hand was intentional, then it is likely that he wants to strengthen your relationship. Determine what you want for your future. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Kara!

    • The behavior of your friend may be a sign of your social and emotional connection with this person. He was sharing his kindness and compassion with you. It is possible that there is something more behind his actions. Ensure that this experience guides you to nourish your relationship. Spend additional time with him in person. Have a great day, Linda!

  3. Hello!
    So a while ago I hugged this man for the first time. And during the hug, he began to rub my back very slowly for a little while. It wasn’t like a quick rub or stroke to say “hello, how are you?”, it was longer and more gentle. The hug wasn’t quick neither, It was probably the longest hug I’ve had so far.
    Do you think this could mean anything romantic ? I would really appreciate some outside perspective, I have strong feelings for him and I know my perspective must be biased.
    Oh and on that day, we were parting ways, not sure if we would see each other again.

    • It is possible that his hug was a reflection of an emotional connection. The two of you are no longer expecting to see each other, and this likely caused this hug to be more intimate. There may be a social relationship that could be nourished, though this relationship is likely no longer viable. Allow this experience to influence your actions in the future. Ensure that you share your kindness and compassion at all times. Have a great day, Elizabeth!

  4. I got a hug if one of my guy friends and he put his arms around my waist. He also started to stroke my hair when he was giving me a hug. I really don’t know what this means.

    • His behaviors are indications that he feels a strong connection with you. He may be interested in maintaining a romantic relationship with you. He may feel that you are his close friend. Determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings. Nourish your relationship by spending additional time with him in person. Have a great day, Connie!

  5. Hi
    I have a besfriend for 3 yrs now but we are so closed to each other and we always travelling together one day she told me that when i hug her my hug is intense so what she mean for that? Thanks

    Besh !

    • Your strong embrace may be a sign of the strength of your social and emotional connection. It is likely that the two of you feel very close to each other. It is possible that she is interested in nourishing romantic relationship with you. Determine what you believe she meant with the hug. Nourish this relationship by spending additional time with her in person. Have a great day, Besh!

  6. A few days ago this guy we were playing sport and we were meant to get in a circle a suddenly he had his arm around me then this girl she was laughing and he’s really tall topare to me I am short but it was really weird then these guys were saying about these other boys that they like me witch I highly doubt pls help me I am really confused

    • The two of you were spending time together. It is certainly possible that he feels a strong connection with you. If someone tells you that they like you, then it is likely that they are being honest. Determine what you want for your future. If there is someone that you want to develop a relationship with, then speak with that person about your thoughts and feelings. Have a great day, Jasmine!

  7. My guy friend isn’t really fond of hugging ,but lately he always hugs me in a nice way when we have to part ways,or when there’s just the two of us and he strokes my hair a lot,and it makes me feel a bit confused whether he is being friendly or its something else.

    • It sounds like he might like you, but there is no way to know for sure yet. If you like him, you can always try making a move and see how he responds. If not, you could always wait a bit and see if he does anything else to make his true feelings known. Best of luck, Lia!

  8. I have this guy friend which is really close to me,he is a bit shy but he opens up when we’re alone,and this past weeks he began hugging me first in a friendly way and this past days he embraced me in a hug around my waist and we stayed hugging like that for a long time,it has happened twice and he usually gives me a sad smile when I leave.
    I feel really confused about him right now

    • The two of you share a strong emotional relationship. It is certainly possible that he is interested in nourishing a relationship with you as well. Take this time to determine what you want for your future. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings, and give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Spend additional time with him in person, as this will strengthen your relationship. Have a great day, Hazel!

  9. So it happens when we were sitting alone and slowly this guy sneak his arm around my back and put his hand on my right hip then lean his head around my collarbone and neck. We stayed hugging like that for a long time but the next day we just act like normally friend as if that hug never happen, and we never talk about it. And I don’t know what it means and I feel really confused because it ever happened once a few months ago.

    • This interaction is a reflection of the strength of your relationship. It is possible that this hug was a sign of his desire to nourish your relationship. Determine what you want for the future of this relationship. Speak with him about your thoughts and feelings, and give him an opportunity to share himself with you as well. Nourish your relationship by spending additional time with him in person. Have a great day, Rume!

  10. Okay so yesterday me and this girl have been liking each other since like last month but the thing is that we kiss last month and she didn’t feel anything so recently i told her yesterday that I still like her and she told me that she still likes me too but she told me that she didn’t want to hurt me but I told her I don’t care if i get hurt and she said I care about your feelings then I told her can she think about it and she said yeah i’ll think about it and when she was about to get pick up she hug me over the shoulder and today in the morning I ask her if she thought about it and she said I don’t know and I said you can tell later it’s fine and during in lunch she wanted me to carry her and I did so yeah I don’t know how she feels.
    thank you

    • She has informed you that she was uncertain about her feelings. She told you that she wanted you to carry her, which may be a sign that she has a need to feel secure and cared for. Nourish this relationship by spending additional time with her in person. Ensure that you always share your kindness and compassion with her. Have a great day, Alejandro!

  11. Is there a chance I can send a picture of my (I guess you could say) boyfriend hugging and you could tell me what that means because I can’t really describe it.?

    • Feel free to describe your hug, and members of our community can help you interpret it. The emotional connection that you had during the hug will help you understand the hug as well. Have a great day, Lindsay!


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