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Are you in the Friend Zone? How to Decode Your Date’s Hug

couple - warm hug 1

Let’s just get this out of the way: not all hugs are created equal.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve leaned into our date in hopes of giving them a warm embrace, only to receive an awkward, curt arm pat or worse, a handshake in return. How and when someone decides to hug can provide some interesting insight into how they feel about you. So, pay attention: someone’s hugging style can tell you whether your date sees you as a potential romantic partner or as a permanent resident in the friend zone.

In honor of National Hugging Day, which took place January 21st, we’ve created a handy guide to help you decode your date’s hugging habits. Not sure where you stand? Read on.

1. The full contact “flirty” hug.

What this hug looks and feels like: full body contact. Your date leans in, presses their entire body against yours and maybe even sneaks a quick sniff of your hair. This hug is warm, intimate and may even involve some cheek to cheek contact. If neither of you pull away too quickly or recoil in horror – guess what? That spark you’ve been feeling is probably mutual.

2. The quick, but firm squeeze.

What this hug looks and feels like: Quick, firm, full body contact with a nice squeeze. Your date might not linger, but they hug you like they mean it by wrapping their arms firmly around your body. What this means for you: your date is not afraid to make contact with your body, but they also don’t want to overstep your boundaries. While it’s too soon to say definitively whether you’re in the friend zone or not, the quick, firm squeeze suggests that, at the very least, your date likes you and isn’t afraid to get close.

3. The sideways hug.

What this hug looks and feels like: Your date wraps their arms around your shoulder and presses the side of their body against yours. The goal of this hug is to give the impression of hugging the other person, while making as little body contact as possible. The result is this hug feels a bit awkward. While this hug definitely sends the message that your date isn’t comfortable getting super close to you, don’t jump to conclusions. Your date might not be a hugger – period.

4. The chest bump (aka the “bro hug”)

What this hug looks and feels like: When two men who liken themselves to be alpha males get together, they bump their chests together – an action that’s usually accompanied by some hooting, wooting, or roaring. They think they look cool, but the rest of us do not. If your date hugs you and you’re not in fact, “bros,” sadly this means that they’re either a) socially inept and don’t understand the first thing about dating etiquette or b) clearly just see you as one of their friends.

5. The junior high special.

What this hug looks and feels like: You press your chests together and wrap your arms around each other, while making sure that – under no circumstances – are your pelvic areas to come anywhere close to touching. In other words, it kind of looks like you’re at a junior high dance, afraid to get too close. What this means for you and your date: you might just be two very awkward individuals or it could be that you’re not really feeling each other and therefore, want to limit physical contact. The first one you can work with. The second, not so much.

6. The totally awkward hug.

What this hug looks and feels like: Super awkward. You thought that maybe they were going to give you a handshake, but then it turns into hug. The only way to make this hug more clumsy is if one of you tries to add a kiss on the cheek into the mix, but instead ends up kissing the other person’s ear or shirt collar. It’s bizarre, it feels weird and we wouldn’t wish this hug on our worst enemies. What it says about you and your date: you might just be super nervous (hence, the awkwardness) or you might have absolutely no chemistry. It’s still a toss up at this point.

7. Looking into your eyes.

What this hug looks and feels like: this hug has a little bit of everything. Eye contact followed by a kiss and lingering full body contact. Cue: major swoonage. What it says about you and your date: you guys are totally into each other and should probably get married already.


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