25 Different Types Of Hugs (With Pictures) And Their Meaning

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A hug is one of the best and widely accepted ways to show your affection and love. It communicates many emotions that words fail to express. There are different types of hugs that express different emotions. When you feel low, angry, distressed, or sad, a hug is all you need to lift your mood. A heartfelt hug can heal broken hearts and resolve any differences. Hugs are also a form of greeting people and showing friendliness. However, they can sometimes be misinterpreted if you don’t read the subtext. This post talks about different styles of hugs and their meanings.

25 Different Types Of Hugs And What They Mean

1. The tight hug

The tight hug, type of hug

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A tight hug is a kind of full-bodied, warm embrace where you completely wrap your arms around your loved one. An extra squish highlights the closeness you share with the person. This type of hug usually happens in emotional situations when you do not have enough words to explain, such as when you meet someone after a long time or when you bid farewell. Only people whom you have known for a while will be comfortable with a tight hug.

2. The side hug

The side hug, type of hug

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The side hug is relatively less intimate and mostly shared between friends. It is more relaxed and often showcases that you are in a good mood. You can see employees sharing such a hug at the workplace or when people pose for photographs. A side hug may appear casual, but often could be genuine and meaningful. Long-term acquaintances share a side hug on certain occasions or at parties to give positive energy.

3. Polite hug

Polite hug, type of hug

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The polite hug is a formal hug usually shared with colleagues or distant relatives in an attempt to create a social bond. A polite hug tends to be short and quick. You should pay attention to the finer nuances of such a hug as the receiver may seem uncomfortable or awkward.

4. The bear hug

The bear hug, type of hug

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The bear hug is probably the most genuine and meaningful hug. A real and tight hug is usually shared in moments of joy or excitement. A lot intimate, such a hug involves wrapping your arms around another person. Typically, such hugs are platonic! The tight embrace fills you with warmth and relieves you of stress and anxiety. The hug is a reassurance of how much you care for the relationship.

5. The long hug

The long hug, type of hug

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The long hug is typical of long-term relationships or shared between friends. A comforting and strong embrace, you may yearn for such a hug when you feel low. You take the other person in your arms and hold them tight to send out a message that you are there for them. The hug provides much-needed warmth and emotional support to your romantic interest, and speaks of your incredible chemistry.

6. The back hug

The back hug, type of hug

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The back hug is a surprise hug that signifies deep feelings or is often shared during happy moments. The back hug expresses your strong physical connection in trustworthy and intimate relationships. Such a hug indicates that the two people are fond of each other. A gentle backstroke can express what a million words cannot.

7. The straddle hug

The straddle hug, type of hug

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A full body close embrace with deep eye contact, the straddle hug is often shared between romantic partners. A private and intimate gesture, the hug often has an underlying sexual overtone. The hug highlights a good physical connection and mutual trust between the two people.

8. The London Bridge hug

The London Bridge hug, type of hug

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The London Bridge hug involves the upper part of the body touching while the lower body stays apart. London Bridge hug is a formal hug or cordial embrace when two people maintain a certain distance from one another. This is the most awkward hug. We often see such hugs between diplomats or politicians. Such hugs are often shared to strike a social bond or to establish a non-personal relationship.

9. The eye-to-eye hug

The eye-to-eye hug, type of hug

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The eye-to-eye hug is common to new couples and people with deeper feelings. Such a hug could often be an expression of romantic love when two people get lost in each other’s eyes. The eye-to-eye hug is a personal and intimate one, which indicates a strong and deep bond between two people. Slow dancing with your soul mate often results in this type of hug with a gentle squish.

10. The pickpocket hug

The pickpocket hug, type of hug

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The pickpocket hug is also a kind of passionate embrace but can be casual. You put your hands on their hips closer to their back pockets, and it is reciprocated similarly. A pickpocket hug is a sign of your affectionate feelings for each other, along with the security of your relationship.

11. Patting hug

Patting hug, type of hug

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A hug accompanied by a gentle pat is meant to pep up the mood of a sad or a dejected person. Such a hug is platonic and an excellent indication of camaraderie.

12. Quick hug

Quick hug, type of hug

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A quick hug is often misconstrued as unaffectionate or cold, but may not always be true. A quick hug rarely has a romantic subtext.

13. Buddy Hug

Buddy Hug, type of hug

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Ever placed a hand around your buddy? That is a buddy hug! A buddy hug is not shared in a romantic relationship. You can see siblings sharing a buddy hug, which is never one-sided.

14. The hug with resting heads on each other

The hug with resting heads on each other, type of hug

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Resting your heads on each other while in a warm embrace is a cozy cuddle. It is a deep and long-lasting romantic hug that makes one feel secure. You are madly in love with the special person if you rest your head on your partner’s head. This type of hug is an intimate gesture that indicates the mutual trust and deep commitment you share with the person.

15. The hug with twirling you around

The hug with twirling you around, type of hug

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The hug with you twirling around is an example of happy hugging. In this type of hug, a taller person lifts a relatively shorter person and twirls her or him around with a tight hug. You can often see such hugs at airports when two people meet each other after a long time.

16 The hug around the waist

The hug around the waist, type of hug

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A hug around the waist can indicate a strong or casual relationship. This type of hug can signify that the person wants to spend as much time together as possible. A more intense one can grow into a warm, loving embrace and is typical of a passionate relationship. Observing one’s body language can reveal a lot about how they truly feel!

17 The ragdoll hug

The ragdoll hug, type of hug

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The ragdoll hug is an interesting type of hug, which signifies a one-sided relationship. The ragdoll hug may indicate that the other person may not want to walk the extra mile to take the relationship to the next level. This type of hug can be considered cold and off-putting. However, there is a possibility of misreading the other person’s true intentions. It could be that the person is a dear friend who is too shy or not too comfortable with physical affection.

18 Sloppy hug

Sloppy hug, type of hug

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The sloppy hug is mostly shared at happy occasions or parties, where you need to appear to be warm and friendly to form social bonds! This type of hug may last longer but may not mean anything. You do it because it is polite. The sloppy hug is not intimate and often common between male and female friends.

19 Slow dance hug

Slow dance hug, type of hug

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A slow dance hug is a sweet and intimate gesture, possibly seen on dates with your Valentine or at weddings during a waltz. This type of hug signifies your shared desire to remain locked in a close hug. The whole world tends to fade away when this is accompanied by deep eye contact. The hug speaks about your incredible chemistry and connection.

20 The catcher hug

The catcher hug, type of hug

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The catcher hug is the physical manifestation of missing someone. This can apply to all kinds of relationships. The catcher hug will be shared by two people in a long-distance relationship or when you meet your best friend after a long time. You rush towards them in excitement and share an intimate embrace. This hug exudes positive energy and displays your real emotions.

21 Flirty hug

Flirty hug, type of hug

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A flirty hug is the sign of a newfound love or the onset of a new relationship. Such a hug involves light touch and subtle expression of extra attention. This is typical of outgoing people who are trying to explore your mutual chemistry without saying anything explicitly. The flirty hug is a nice gesture with an exclusive look that conveys your strong feelings.

22 Self-hug

Self-hug, type of hug

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The self-hug is a special type of hug. One cannot always depend on others for hugs and emotional reassurances. In such a scenario, self-hugs are ideal. Just wrapping your arms around yourself in a tight embrace is a wonderful feeling of the affection you have for yourself!

23 The cuddle hug

The cuddle hug, type of hug

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Cuddles form the basis of a serious relationship. The cuddle hug is a lovely way of showing your strong bond with your romantic partner and involves kisses and nuzzling. The cuddle hug is snug and cozy when you wake up in the morning or when you are on the couch watching television together. This type of hug signifies the loving and caring nature of your relationship.

24 Group hug

Group hug, type of hug

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Assemble your squad for this one! They are your special people with whom you have developed a deep bond over the years. Be it your coveted inner circle trio or your entire gang, this hug is probably the friendliest type of hug. Nothing is as warm and comforting as being surrounded by your loved ones, locked together in a warm embrace.

25 One-sided hug

One-sided hug, type of hug

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The one-sided hug is probably the most awkward of all hugs. The other person just isn’t involved in it. You may feel cold as the other person shrugs you off quickly. A one-sided hug may make you feel unwanted, but try to read your relationship dynamic beforehand. You should not encroach into the other person’s personal space.

Hugs have become a conventional norm in recent times. However, some people prefer to have their personal space and shy away from physical touch. They may open up only to their family members or romantic interest. If the person is an acquaintance or colleague, they may prefer something formal like a handshake. Try to reserve your tight hugs for your close friends and romantic partner.

Hugs are therapeutic. They can bring comfort and can be de-stressing while also conveying your strong bond and emotional connection. Analyzing body language will tell you a lot about the nature of your relationship. Try to read your unique relationship with the other person and accordingly decide on the type of hug to avoid confusion.

Key Pointers

  • A hug is a beautiful way to express love.
  • A tight hug and a bear hug impart the message of joy, excitement, and love.
  • The one-sided or ragdoll hug might give away some other intentions that you may learn by scrolling down.
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Ashley Baldwin

(Licensed Professional Counselor)
Ashley Baldwin is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who specializes in Perinatal Health. After her Master's in Counseling, she did certifications in Perinatal Mental Health and is a Certified Addictions Counselor (CACII), with more than 13 years of counseling experience. She has been private practice since 2018.    Ashley has a passion for helping women during all of the seasons... more

Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more