I have always been obsessed with hug-watching, and I have also been terribly self-conscious of my own received hugs. I used to mistakenly believe that the definition of hug was a warm embrace. After several years of research, I am currently aware that hug just means some sort of physical contact with use of, at least, one arm. It is usually a term to describe wrapping arms around neck, waist, shoulders, or upper/middle/lower back.
I observed many hugs and it seems like it would be way too many to list, but I would like to take a shot at this venture by giving names and descriptions. I tried with the drawings, but for those who have ever used Paint you may understand why I stopped due to extreme difficulty.
Lovers Embrace: This is when partners, lovers, or close friends press against each other, wrapping their arms around, tightly entwined. This a sweet, meaningful, loving, and possibly intimate gesture. The arms may form an X or be one-over-the-other.
Emotional Cling: When two people with a special bond cling to each other sympathetically in times of fear or pain. There may be a slight brush of the hand across the back meaning, “I’m here for you, you are safe”.
Movie Hug: This one, at many times, is superficial or showy but can be a loving gesture as well. It’s a run-grab tightly-and lift one foot. I assume, or perhaps I am hopeful, that the thoughts passing through the foot-lifter’s mind is, “Did I just lift my foot in the air? Who in the world does that?”
Jubilant Jump-n-Hug: It has been a long time since they have seen each other and they have been counting down the days. They had imagined this day for a long time and when they are finally reunited they can not contain their excitement. One would throw himself/herself forward, jumping up and grabbing in a locked gripping embrace.
Sniffling Snuggle: It was a painful experience, emotional hurt, or a terrible loss. There is a giver and a receiver. One wraps his/her arms around the other’s curled up body, molded into their own. The tearful receiver calms down in the warm, cradling, and comforting embrace.
Soothing Bra Strap Hug: It is usually a standard “It’s okay, you did your best” hug with one arm on lower back and the other stroking up and stroking down in a comforting manner. The sensitive man thinks “Wow, I did not intend to flick her bra strap. It just got caught in my finger… Oh, this is weird…”
Romance Rub: This is a lovers squeeze with a rub and possible kissing. It can mean “I want you now” or “You mean the world to me, I love you”.
Group Hug: A lot of arms and a lot of people makes a group hug. Can also be called a Family Hug when done with relatives.
Friendly Fold: When two friends hug with one arm up and one down on the back and one good squeeze.
Takes One to Tango: This one should lose the title of Hug. This is when only one person is really interested in giving it and the other awkwardly lets their arms go limp to their sides wondering “Um, what should I do with my arms. This is really strange”. It can also be the quick trying-to-be-nice gesture where the hugger throws one arm around the other’s shoulders in a brief contact.
Bear Hug: This is a commonly known one. This is a buddy-buddy kind of big cuddle.
Half-a-Hug: When people try to be friendly and superficial they lean over, keeping their bodies a safe distance back, and put their arms halfway around in a quick squeeze.
Passionate Press: Lovers grasping each other around the waist and kissing gently.
Newlywed Nuzzle: Standing behind one’s significant-other proudly, and wrapping arms lightly around the partner’s neck or over his/her shoulders. Or it can be sitting with one’s partner on his/her lap and placing his/her arms around the other’s shoulders nuzzling his/her face onto their neck lovingly. (Wow, grammar is so confusing when you don’t know how to use it. Basically, sexy man putting his arms around hot girl‘s shoulders and nuzzling his face on her neck, kissing gently.)
The Patter: This one happens and you wonder why it does. You meet up with someone and you give them a hug and you begin to pat their back awkwardly, or you get patted. Someone is usually uncomfortable or unsure of the relationship. (Every time I do it, it creeps me out.)
Embraced on the Waist: Any hug that entails someone’s arms around the waist, hands on the small of the back (not if it’s a height difference reason) signifies “You are so special to me“. That sort of adoration may include a light kiss on the forehead and running the fingers through the hair. This is a really nice one, but if done too often it can be a babying feeling and less sexy.
Child Lift-n-Cling: When a small child grabs on to the waist of an adult and lifts their feet behind them, up in the air. That is a fun-loving child’s display of affection.
Fake or Formal: The quick hug or half-a-hug with a peck on one cheek or two. This can be a formal greeting or a fake friendship. (I hate these)
Crashing Clash: You know when you are walking and you are about to crash into that jogger or bike-rider? Both of you hesitate and you choose to go right and whadaya know, so do they. Then you choose left, and ARGH! Well, there is this hug that you are not sure if you should give. Should you shake their hand, give them a quick squeeze, or kiss their cheek??? You aim for a hug but they don’t, they thought a handshake was a better plan. It ends in some sort of knocking arms and uncomfortable Twister situation. But then it gets worse. You try to give a friendly peck and they think the same, and somehow you crash and kiss their lips. Awkward.
In general Hugs are a form of non verbal communication. They may show affection, consolation, friendship, romance, support, joy, etc. I see them as a very special way to communicate feelings that sometimes are hard to display. Just like many people throw around the “I love you” phrase and take away from its meaning, the same thing happens with hugs. They are used and misused. We just have to learn how to use them in ways which demonstrate our inner emotions.
These are just my feelings on the interpretation of my observed hugs. Some are personal preferences and each person may enjoy different types or be uncomfortable with others. Try them out 🙂
Do you have any others that you would like to add? I would love to hear more…
Thanks for reading!