9 types of hugs & what they mean

Not everyone can express their feelings out loud and easily. Luckily, body language can help.

Want to know what hugs say about your relationship? Keep reading!

Are there different types of hugs?

Hugs are one of the most important rituals of our day. And yes, there are thought to be more types of hugs. 

Hugs are one perfect excuse to touch another person, which helps us strengthen the emotional bonds that unite us and give us a small oasis of intimacy even on the busiest days and in the busiest spaces.

It may be a daily gesture that may go unnoticed, but the act of hugging strengthens our relationships. However, keep in mind that not all hugs mean the same thing.

Types of hugs and their significance

Like the intimate gesture of looking someone into their eyes, hugs influence how our body produces hormones and therefore leave a mark on our way of thinking and perceiving things, even if they last only a few seconds.

But, as we anticipated, not all hugs are the same and do not have the same meaning and functionality.

Below you can see a collection of the main types of hugs, which will make it easier to recognize the message behind them.

A hug that protects you

It is a hug that gives you a sense of security. The person who puts his arms around the waist of the person in front offers stability and assumes a protective role.

This position gives a great deal of trust in the relationship and shows that caring for each other is very important. 

By covering your back, he tells you that he wants to protect you,” writes Patti Wood, a body language expert and the author of “Success Signals,” a body language reading guide.

Gently caressing your back

A hug that brings peace. Each person smooths the other’s back, reminding each other how much they really care.

This way of hugging expresses vulnerability and sincerity. 

The back is a very vulnerable part of the body. You can’t see your back,  so touching it feels amazing “, writes Wood. Caressing the back is a way to provide comfort to the one you are hugging. 

Slightly patting  your back

This type of hug is usually offered to friends. Each person slowly pats the other person’s back in a comfortable way.

There is nothing intimate about this type of hug. “It’s the way men hug their friends, it’s not romantic at all,” says Dr Christopher Blazina, author of The Secret Lives of Men. “When a guy hugs you that way, it means the relationship isn’t evolving.

The slow dance

Slow dancing is about love, romance and closeness. This type of hug is characteristic of young love or early love.

If you hug your partner like this even after many years of relationship, this proves that the love between you is still alive.

An arm hanging around the neck

Specific for people who are truly partners in everything, this hug is representative of good old friends rather than romantic attachments.

Doe Zantamata writes: “Good friends help you find the things you lost, such as a smile, hope and courage.” When you use this type of hug, you connect physically and emotionally to your partner.

The lock

It is the kind of hug that suggests the fear of letting go.

Both people hug as tightly as they can, as they squeeze the last drop of air that separates them.

This position describes the deep commitment and the fact that people do not want to be separated. 

Author Caroll Bryant writes, “Love must be like a quilt sewn by your grandmother to wrap you in a cold winter morning.

This type of hug expresses the fear you have that when you let go the other person will leave. 

London Bridge

Such a hug keeps as much distance as possible from the other person. Only the upper part of the body approaches, while the rest is at a fairly large distance.

It is an image that represents disagreement or discomfort in the relationship.

Luis Miguel states: “I keep my mental health by keeping my distance.

With such a hug, it is shown that neither of you wants to be, in fact, close to the other person. Some people are not predestined to be more than just acquaintances.

Eye to eye

It says it all about the soul connection. Whatever form of hugging is this, maintaining eye contact is of the utmost importance.

This position is specific to deep love and kinship. It also allows you to read deep into the other person’s soul. The connection is strong and probably unshakable.

The pickpocket

It is the embrace that restores comfort and tranquillity.

This type of hug shows how relaxed and comfortable your relationship is. You don’t have to work hard for the relationship to work.

When the silence between two people is comfortable, you know you have found love,” says Ritu Ghatourey.

This is also true for hugs. When you find it comfortable to put your hand in your partner’s pocket to hug him, you know you are in a great relationship.

Why do we need hugs

Behind many sad or happy moments in our lives is the desire for a hug.

After an argument, a hard day at work or any unpleasant event, the first refuge that comes to mind is to run into the arms of someone important to you.

But what do these hugs really offer us and why do we need them so much?

Hugs increase our level of happiness

In general, hugs last a few seconds, but the positive energy and optimism we feel are so strong that they can influence our mood for an hour, a day or maybe even more. 

Hugs give us a feeling of well-being and according to studies it has been observed that when people hold each other in their arms, the level of oxytocin – the hormone of happiness – inevitably increases in the body.

At the same time, this connection helps us to have greater self-confidence and high self-esteem.

Truly a hug from a loved one can make our sadness disappear in a few seconds, the tears of the restless soul calm down and the smile finds its rightful place on our face.

The feeling of loneliness disappears 

For children or adults, hugs are the simplest and deepest way to show someone that they are loved and protected.

When we hold someone in our arms, it is as if there is a wall around us that can protect us from anything bad and can offer us a lot of peace and warmth.

Our fears are completely removed and the calm takes the place of agitation. At the same time, among couples, hugs can considerably improve their relationship.

Important health benefits

I don’t know how many of you have seriously thought about how important hugs are for our general well-being. 

There are many studies that show that hugs reduce blood pressure.

People who hug more often have a  low risk of heart diseases and their immunity is much higher than in people who do not hug.

A hug is a “medicine” or a good treatment for both the soul and the mind because it seems that stress disappears miraculously when we feel that we are completely immersed in the arms of our loved ones.

Undoubtedly, hugs are the ones that have the greatest impact on pain management, because suffering seems to be reduced when loved ones are with us and understand us.

That is why we most often feel the need for a hug when we have a problem or when we are sad. 

We need at least 8 hugs a day

Sometimes we forget that in such small gestures a mountain of happiness can be hidden.

Let’s enjoy every opportunity to hug our mother, friends, boyfriend, nephew, dearest people because these benefits are passed on to both people who have such a connection.

Specialists believe that we need at least 8 hugs a day to be happier and to have  better relationships.


In this blog post, we talked about the 9 types of hugs and their significance. We also discussed what are the benefits of giving hugs. 

Can you remember a hug so full of love and happiness that managed to make you feel at that moment the happiest person on earth?

What would it be like to feel that way every day?

Please feel free to leave any comments or to ask questions you may have!

FAQ about the types of hugs 

How many types of hugs are there?

There are many types of hugs out there. Some people believe there are 9 to 15 types of hugs, although many of them have little differences. Some of the most common types of hugs are the hug from behind, the London Bridge hug, the slow dance hug, pat on the back, caressing on the back, and others.

What are the best kind of hugs?

The best kind of hugs are probably the hugs give to/by a person you care about.

Depending on the relationship with that person you may like big hugs that make you feel safe, or a quick and simple London Bridge hug. 

Do men like cuddling?

Some men like cuddling, just like some women don’t.

Cuddling is a more intimate type of hug, some people like it, some people feel “trapped” in it and would rather not. 

How long should a hug last?

It is believed that a long hug should last around 10 seconds.

By this time your brain wills tart to release oxytocin and will make you feel happier and safer.

Long hugs are usually given between lovers, friends and family members. 

Is hugging intimate?

Yes, hugging can be an intimate gesture.

If you think about it, you are bringing another person’s body close to yours. Although there are hugs that still keep the distance, like the London Bridge type of hug, for instance. 

How do you hug someone romantically?

If you want to hug someone romantically, make sure to bring the other person’s body as close to yours as possible.

Wrap your hands around their waist or neck, and slowly increase the closeness between your bodies. 


Success Signals: A Guide To Reading Body Language, by Patti Wood