Hugs are probably the most widespread way of showing that you care, or not. The exact origin of hugging is unclear, but it can be assumed that one is born with the instinct to hug. Hugging and types of hugs have also evolved as due to social conditioning. The duration and pressure of a hug depend on the context and the level of intimacy. For example, you hug your relatives almost for as long as you desire because of the comfort level you share, while a platonic hug tends to be short and casual to avoid any sexual or romantic implications. Depending on the intention, hugs can be tricky to manoeuvre as there are various types of hugs, each with its own specifics and subtle cues. Here are a few popular types of hugs and what they mean.
Done in the absence of a partner, a self-hug is the best one can do when one needs comfort. It can be therapeutic too.
#17. Teepee hug:
Also known as A-frame hug, this hugs can be found in formal first meetings. It is characterised by leaning forward and body contact at the top (forming an A-frame) and is typically a quick hug with little or no eye contact.
#16. Unequal-height hug:
The shorter person hugs the taller person by the waist, possible resting the head on their shoulder. The taller person wraps arms around the upper body of the shorter person.
#15. Sandwich hug:
In this hug, one person is ‘sandwiched’ between two affectionate people. Usually, children find themselves in a sandwich hug between their parents.
#14. Lateral one-arm hug:
Occurring between people standing or sitting side-by-side, it is initiated by one person putting one arm around the other, giving them a quick hug. It is a quick and safe sign of approval or affection and can act as a comforter, if extended. It can laso have romantic undertones, for example when initiated in movie theatres.
#13. Reverse hug:
This is often a surprise hug in which the hugger embraces the person from behind. If the other person leans back on the chest of the hugger, it indicates relaxed affection between trusting partners.
#12. Man hug:
Characterised by a quick grab touching upper body only and patting the back a couple of times, a man hug usually lacks eye contact and is quickly released with a step back and a brief smile. This hug is a greeting between straight male friends.
#11. Leap and lift:
A kind of bear hug, in this, the petite person (usually a woman) leaps on to the other person (usually a man), who lifts them up to absorb the impact. It usually continues into a spinning motion. This hug is an excited and open greeting among people harbouring significant trust and affection for each other, and is often initiated due to a good news. It can also be initiated by children and extended by indulgent elders.
#10. Group hug:
Group hugs are common among friends, especially as a celebratory instinct. Traditionally, group hugs have been a ritual confirmation of togetherness.
#9. Dancefloor hold:
Often a precursor to a budding romance, in this hug, the woman places a hand on the neck of the man, who, in turn, gently holds her by the waist as they both move to the music.
Similar to the comforter hug, a cuddle lasts for a longer duration and is common among those in romantic relationships.
Crusher is an extreme form of a bear hug, where the hugger usually doesn’t realise their own strength.
In this type of hug, the hugger may be embracing the other person tightly or gently, depending on their need, though, usually the person being hugged is the one who holds on tight for comfort. It’s a hug that’s been romanticised in movies immensely, with the one in need of comfort leaning on the other’s chest, who then strokes or pats them comfortingly, often placing their head on theirs.
As the name suggests, one person usually holds the hug for longer, making the other give in. A clinger usually indicates a need for extended comfort, or sometimes subtle domination.
#4. Body hug:
The most common hug, this vertical embrace with full body touch is usually a warm embrace. It’s the standard greeting among friends and indicates comfort and relaxation in the company.
#3. Bear hug:
Everyone’s favourite hug, a bear hug is characterised by full body touch in a tight clasp. It indicates strong and open affection from the hug-initiator.
#2. Back pat:
Back pats can be friendly and indicate limited affection, though in longer hugs, a back pat is a clear signal to pull away.
This one can frighten you and and bring a smile on your face at the same time. In a bomb hug, the hugger ambushes the other person by running up to them and leaping wildly onto them. A bomb hug indicates extreme elation and is a common sight in sport championships when the victors celebrate their win.