11 Different Types of Hugs and Their Little-Known Meanings

Hugs are the best, most wholesome way to show affection to our loved ones. Who doesn’t enjoy getting hugged by their favorite person at the end of a long, hard day?

While we have always associated hugs with physical comfort and a platonic way to express our love, hugs can also manifest a lot more than just this. In fact, did you know there are many different types of hugs, and each conveys a meaning of its own?

The follow-up question to this is:

How exactly can you go about identifying what a particular hug means?

Fortunately, in this article, we’re not only going to guide you on the different types of hugs that exist but also deciphering what each one of them means.

So, if you’re curious about the meanings behind different types of hugs, then keep reading!

Different types of hugs explained.

#1 – The Polite Hug

the polite hug

The first type of hug on our list is the one we usually reserve for acquaintances and formal associations.

You know the kind we are talking about – the distant, brief hug with a quick tap on the back. While we go all in for most of our warm hugs, a polite hug involves our upper bodies only. For this reason, some people even call it – The London Bridge hug.

This hug indicates formality and does not convey any sort of romantic or overly friendly interest.

#2 – The Warm Hug

the warm hug

You can recognize his type of hug by a tight and warm embrace that breathes life into you.

It is the kind of hug only a close friend or family member could give and indicates a familial form of affection. This particular hug conveys the comfort and happiness the other person feels when they are with you.

The warm hug is one of the best types of hugs you can receive, especially during difficult times. However, even the greatest of days could benefit from one or two of these!

#3 – The Comforting Hug

the comforting hug

The comforting hug makes you feel as if a weight has been lifted off of your chest. It is, after all, comforting for a reason.

It aims to make the receiver feel that whatever emotions or baggage they have pent up inside them can be exhaled in a safe space of comfort and care. Close chest contact, tightness, and a light squeeze usually accompany it, making it a reliable tool for cheering someone up.

Related: 7 Quick Ways to Cheer Up When You’re Having a Bad Day

#4 – The Backward Hug

the backward hug

This type of hug is a burst of sunshine! It is unexpected since it involves one person running up to another from behind and hugging them tightly.

Back-to-front hugs express several meanings such as:

  • fidelity,
  • trust,
  • loyalty,
  • safety 
  • and many other things.

Another meaning that it might hold in particular circumstances is even gratitude.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to improve the day of someone you love, run up to them and give them a big backward hug!

#5 – The Side Hug

the side hug

The side hug is a brief and swift type of hug that indicates closeness. It is also a way to gauge someone’s feelings about you.

How so?

It usually means the relationship is strictly platonic and nothing more than friendship. Buddies hug each other by using the famous side hug. People stand and pose for photos in it.

However, being on the receiving end of this hug doesn’t mean that the person has no interest in you whatsoever. There are no strict rules about how people express themselves through body language, and hugs are no different. Side hugs may just be your crush’s cup of tea!

#6 – The Bear Hug

the bear hug-

Bear hugs are the definition of pure love and a big heart! It is quite versatile and used in various circumstances.

This hug is familiar to all because it’s the one our family, siblings, friends, and partners have been showering us with our whole lives.

Bear hugs are tight and compressing. They aim to show security, trust, and a lot of reassurance. This type of hug is the perfect antidote to stress, worry, and anxiety.

#7 – The Intimate Hug

the intimate hug

This type of hug is nothing short of a jackpot for those holding out romantic hopes with someone for a while.

While mostly reserved for people in serious, long-lasting relationships with a lot of trust and mutual love – it also has its passionate version. In such cases, you can notice it between new couples or people crushing hard on each other.

It is essential to know that both the physical contact and the eye contact after it are electric! If you’ve been hugged this way (and you’ll know for sure if you have), know that the hugger has a whole lot of feelings for you.

#8 – The One-Sided Hug

the one-sided hug

The one-sided hug is one of those types of hugs you wish you will never be on either end of.


It says yikes in every language imaginable.

This hug is quite self-explanatory since it involves one person attempting to hug the other and receive rejection in return. Naturally, there is no affection at all, neither the romantic kind nor the one signaling some type of friendship.

We wish you a long life with as few one-sided hugs as possible!

#9 – The Leaning Hug

the leaning hug

This type of hug is also referred to as the classic head-on-the-shoulder embrace, whereby two people are in contact, and one’s head is leaned on the other’s shoulder.

While it seems like a shy hug, it actually signifies great closeness, a powerful connection, and utter and complete trust. It also shows excellent chemistry.

The leaning hug is the kind of hug that usually only two romantically involved people get into.

#10 – The Handshake ‘n’ Pat Hug

the handshake n pat hug

As the name suggests – it is the one opted for by buddies and sincere friends.

It involves handshaking and both of the huggers patting each other’s back or shoulder. It shows a healthy friendship and a good level of trust.

The pat is usually a big sign of a lack of romantic interest, which is why guy friends or siblings often hug this way.

#11 – The Slow Dance Hug

the slow dance hug

Let’s be honest – this type of hug mostly only takes place in movies. Still, if you’ve seen or experienced it in real life, it shows intimacy and closeness between a couple deeply in love.

Slow dances are all about romance, and these types of hugs are perfect for such occasions.

Your Turn

Now, as always, we would like to hear from you:

What is your favorite type of hug?

Let us know by leaving a quick comment down below!

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