hugverb, hugged, hug·ging, noun
1. to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection;embrace.
2. to cling firmly or fondly to; cherish
It's so nice of the dictionary to give a "simple" definition of a hug, but let's be real... Going in for a hug is neither simple nor easy. There are emotions flying, thoughts bouncing around in your head, all while physically making the motion to go in for the kill or back away from the situation. It can be a very intense moment. So let's navigate together to try and find answers to one of life's greatest questions: Should I hug?
When to Hug...
There are SO many scenarios when it comes to hugging and on when/when not to. Here are some basic guidelines:
- In The Workplace- Avoid any possibility of being inappropriate and stick to shaking hands, ESPECIALLY with the opposite sex.
- First Date- Just hug it out. Even if you weren't into him/her, they still have feelings and shaking hands is a pretty rude awakening at the end of a date. If you don't want to give the wrong impression or don't feel comfortable with the full frontal hug, go with the Side Hug (see below). Otherwise, a hug can help establish some sort of relationship, even if platonic.
- First Time Meeting in a Social Scene- Again, hug it out. The quicker you get the "first hug" out of the way, the easier it'll be when you see those individuals again. It'll also help break the ice or help change any bad first impressions you may have given off.
- "Old" Friend or Acquaintance- This is when it starts to get sticky. If you've had a friend or an acquaintance for awhile, but have never established that level of "hugging," it may be awkward the first time you do it. But once you build up the courage, just go for it and don't look back.
Going In For the Hug...
Although you may be ready to hug, the other person may not. Here are a few tactics to help with that predicament:
- As you go in for the hug, prepare the other person verbally by saying, "I'm a hugger." That eliminates any element of surprise.
- Go so extremely awkward up front that the issue of a "hug" is irrelevant. For instance, at the end of my first date with a guy he said, "Welp..." and stretched out as arms as far as he could with a look on his face as if to say, "Are you gonna hug me or not?" Needless to say, we were married a year later. (Note: Wouldn't recommend this unless you are the type of person who can "get away with it.")
- If you are more of the "rico suave" type or have the confidence of Angelina Jolie, you probably are convinced that everyone wants to hug you so there shouldn't be a problem.
Types Of Hugs..
Going in for the hug is half the battle. The "type" can be a deal breaker.
- Side Hug- This is a safe bet for the potentially awkward hugs:
- Tall Individual vs. Short Individual
- Male- Female acquaintances and nothing more (usually both married)
- Age Gap of 10 + years and non-related
- I have no idea why you put your arms out to hug me, so I'll give you one of mine
- Barbarian Hug- These hugs take the definition of a hug to the extreme. You are squeezed so tight that it no longer feels good, but starts to hurt the bones in your arms. You may come out of it with a few bruises, but you can leave with a happy heart.
- Don't Touch Me Hug ("DTM Hug")- To achieve this hug, stick your butt out and make sure no other body part other than your hand and maybe some forearm touch the other person
- The Pat- Oh the pat... How I loathe thee... This just adds another element of confusion. Do they not really want to hug me? Are they thinking "good girl" as they pat me as if I were their pet? Are my shoulders just THAT big that I can't really be embraced and a "pat" is as much as they can do? ... ::sigh:: ... What I failed to mention earlier in the awkward exchange between my husband and I on our first date was that when we finally got to the hug, he patted me. Moral of the story: Even if you are patted the first time, there is still hope for future hugs.
- The WTH Hug- This is the DTM Hug + The Pat. Basically, you cannot stand touching the person with anything but your hands and even with that, you are constantly breaking body contact by patting. Not sure why you are hugging in the first place if you do this, but to each his own..
- The Balanced Hug ("Bear Hug")- There are individuals out there who are known for their hugs. They usually have the perfect combination of body contact and heart. Just enough to make you feel loved, but not leave you physically hurting afterwards.
- Hug with Flair- Once you achieve the Bear Hug, don't be afraid to add a little somethin' somethin'. These can help people feel that much more special and/or can serve as a cue for "I'm done hugging now, please let go":
- A quick rub on the back
- A quick even tighter squeeze
- A... moan? Was really trying to think of another word to use because this can REALLY be taken the wrong way... Not a moan as in grumbling or that of a "physically excited nature," but more of an "Awww..." without opening your mouth. You get the idea.
The Hug. It can be the source of the greatest feeling... or... it can create one of the most awkward moments of your life. Either way, just go for it! Just keep it mind these rules:
- Once you've hugged, never go back. A hug establishes how you'll conclude your visits with one another. Otherwise, the two of you will always be confused on whether you're going to hug or not. COMMIT.
- Wear deodorant. 'Nuff said.
- When in a small group, if you hug one, hug all. Don't hug six out of seven people. That's just weird.
- If it becomes awkward, make a joke of it. If you walk away feeling like a fool, you'll never want to see that person again. Laugh at yourself before anyone else can. Life is a little easier that way.