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How to Know When and How to *hug* Someone in Any Situation:

Body Languages Speak:

Some people love to give and receive hugs, and some people would prefer not to be touched at all. To be able to know when to give a hug is sometimes difficult, especially if you do not know the other person well. Sometimes when you first meet someone, you should study his or her body language and try to figure out if they will accept your hug or push you off of him or her. The key is not to be afraid to reach out and hug someone.

Fear of touching someone may make the other person feel as if you are standoffish, angry, or simply don't care for them. If you are not a "hugger", this article may not be for you unless you would like to work on being one. If you do not like to hug, a nice firm handshake can do. I hope you enjoy these types of "hugs" as much as I enjoyed thinking of them.

Hugs For Embarrassing Moments

Let's jump right in to the things we did that make us laugh (or cry) later. You know these situations. They are the kind you would rather forget. There may not be any hugging after these moments, but just in case...........

  • One too many drinks hug: Sloppy and the equilibrium is not functioning properly. Actually, this hug is usually not embarrassing to the hug giver until the next day.
  • The “nice to meet you, but I’ll never see you again” hug: At this point you really don’t care and go in any way you want with this hug. This hug is used sometimes right before the walk of shame.
  • The famous "walk of shame" hug: A quick handshake (if that) will sometimes do. You don't want to make the receiver of the hug any more uncomfortable than he or she is already.
  • The “sweaty person” hug: Designed not to absorb any moisture. This hug can be embarrassing but usually only for the person giving the hug. The receiver usually does not know he or she is sweaty or smelly. An experienced, considerate hugger will warn someone first before a hug when he or she or he feels they are sweaty. This gives the receiver a chance to option out of the hug.

Sometimes People Just Need A Hug :)

The Greeting In Any Place Hugs:

Why not act like you know a person when you don't? This will be an icebreaker instead of beating around the bush looking for the right words to say. These "unsure" hugs will make others feel so happy and these people will like you without even knowing you. Most people who get a hug from someone they don't know will say in their mind, "wow, I really like that person. They do not even know me but they reached out to me and made me feel welcomed and happy".

  • The “I don’t really know you” sideways hug: Facing the same direction of the person, put your right or left arm around his or her back, leaning sideways touching the person's side. (Hence the "sideways" hug). When I first meet someone, I ALWAYS offer a hug. I am more of a "hugging" person, so a hug may not apply to everyone. For the sideways hug, when first meeting someone, you can walk close to the person, and say something like, "Oh, it's very nice to meet you". Then you can put your arm around the person's shoulder giving the other person a chance to do the same. If you are uncomfortable using this hug, try shaking someone's hand first. You do not need to go right in with a hug when you are first learning.
  • The "Sunday after church" hug: This is a light, gentle hug used with both arms around the receiver's shoulders. One should never try to put their arms around a church attendees waste. He or she may find this offensive. This hug is intended for anyone attending church services including Priests and Pastors. Church attendees will appreciate these hugs since most people at services enjoy warmth. This hug is used for both greeting when arriving at church but also used when departing after service.
  • The "accommodation" hug: When you do not require the receiving person to move. If you were ever in a situation where you see someone sitting and comfortable, but need to leave, the best way to say goodbye would be the "accommodation" hug. Most people feel "unsure" if they should go for a hug when someone is sitting, but I say you should go for it! This is saying to the receiver, "Hey I know you work hard (or don't)" or "I know you're tired, don't move, I'll come to you". People who are sitting comfy will love this hug. Try it on anyone!
  • The "through the window of a car" Hug: OK, so you forgot to hug the person you just met, or your longtime friend goodbye.... Well, That's alright. I'm sure they won't mind you reaching through the window of their car to give them a kind farewell. Just reach on in and grab them if you know the person well. If you are not sure how the person will react, you can always ask for permission first.

Excitement Hugs!!!!

  • The "You just got engaged" hug: Of course if you know the newly engaged person, you go right in and give the person a great big hug, saying something like, "I can't believe you two decided to finally do it!!!" You can choose to squeeze, or choose not to use too much pressure. The amount of excitement and pressure depends on how well you know the person.
  • The "You are having a baby" hug: Please see above. The "engagement" hug will also pertain to the "baby" hug; except if the expecting is a woman. Do not use too much pressure of course in case to hurt the stomach.
  • The "You are going to be on Cash Explosion" hug: With this hug, most likely you will know the person if he or she is telling you they will be on the show. Go all in for this one. Make this hug as long as you want and as hard as you want. You may even kiss the person if you know them well enough. If you don't know them well, you may try and kiss them anyway.

The Sad Hugs:

Some people are very uncomfortable with this hug, so if you are not ready yet, a handshake will do just fine. Or you can tell the person you will be thinking or praying for him or her:

  • The loss of a job Hug: A light hug is a great hug for losing a job. Put your arms around the receiver's shoulders and let the person know you will be thinking about them. You can also say something positive to lift his or her spirits.
  • The Funeral Hug: People usually do not know how to act in these situations. If you are not comfortable hugging the person, you can just let the person know you are there for them. Even though I am a "hugging" person, I still have a hard time with funerals. Just remember the person who lost someone usually understands that others will not know what to say or do. By just telling the person you are sorry for their loss, your words should make them feel a little bit better.

Keeping Yourself And Others Happy:

I have always believed a hug can really help someone in any situation. If I am having a bad day and feel low, I always welcome a hug. I usually feel much better instantly. By the person hugging me, this also increases my self-esteem and self-confidence knowing that someone else cares and is there for me. Hugs are also good for confidence boosters. If someone has a hard decision to make, give the person a hug. Let them know he or she can tackle any obstacle. According to Sabrina Bachai at, "Touch and hugs also have the ability to help people who suffer from low self-esteem. Embracing inanimate objects such as stuffed animals or pillows can help to alleviate fear."

I have found that even the ones who say they hate people, really do not. If you offer a smile, hug, or funny joke, they start to soften and become a little happier. I really believe these "people haters" will start to like people a little more just because of someone's hug.

One by one, our world will become softer, sweeter, and less stressed only because you offered others something that everyone needs, a hug.

Hugs all around



Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 10, 2015:

Dawn, check your inbox.

DawnM Samora (author) from Akron, Ohio on July 10, 2015:

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Hi Kenneth,

I love your metaphor of how life teaches you with a dagger instead of a vision. This happens to me also. I get so frustrated and hurt by the daggers! Presently, I have begun to learn something from every painful experience and/or people who treat me wrong.

The pastor's wife seems unsure of many things, but i do not know her, just a feeling. I think you're doing great by keeping your distance (I would get in the car and leave also). I have also had a best friend and found out I am not his. Please don't beat yourself up and wonder what's wrong with you like I did. You are important and one of a kind. If someone doesn't want to accept your hug, screw them! Just move on to the next :-) joking KIND OF haha.

Thanks again for your compliments. ~~~~~~~~~~HUGS~~~~~~~~~~ DAWN

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 08, 2015:

Hi, Dawn,

You are a very kind soul, but I am not a great writer. One day in the far future, maybe, but in present time, YOU are the great writer because your one hub said to much to me.

In answer to your question of her being comfortable with phone and email, she frankly said these very words: "I am not a phone talker! And those emails you send me telling me that I am your BFF, I hate that." And all I ever said was that "I" considered HER my best friend, not me as her best friend.

But the next Sunday before church began, she came floating by and before I got told off, I would rise out of respect for her as our pastor's wife and that she is a woman and she never complained, she tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Are you going to stand up and give me a hug?" I was shocked. I replied, "Do you want me to?" She smiled and I made myself give her a very brief hug and said nothing more.

And after church before I got told off, I would stick around long enough to wish her a good week, but now I just make my way to the car and go.

I still wonder why life has to teach me things with a dagger instead of a vision.

And to you, my new friend, {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} and I will talk to you soon also.


DawnM Samora (author) from Akron, Ohio on July 08, 2015:


Thank you so much for your wonderful words about my Hub. This truly means a lot coming from a great writer like you.

I am sorry about the situation with the pastor's wife. I am glad you confronted her when she started acting differently. It sounds like you were friends before the hug, and I see how you would be stunned or hurt by her treatment after the hug. I like to be open and honest about what I like or don't like, but not everyone is that way. If you don't mind me saying, it kind of sounds like she was only comfortable through phone and email. She may think she has to act a certain way in front of other Church members.

At the church I attend, everyone hugs each other for greetings for arriving and departing. I feel very comfy hugging anyone at my church, well anyone really, except one time. I remember maybe 10 years ago, though, I reached out to hug to a married man and his look on his face was horrid. No words were spoke, but I could feel he was awkward by his body language and face. Ever since that day, I only give him a hand shake now.

Thanks so much for your comments and reading, Kenneth. I am so glad you like my *hug* hub. ha-ha. I hope to talk with you soon. :)


Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on July 06, 2015:


I loved this work. You did a fantastic job bringing out several great points bout hugs. I voted Up and all of the buttons to push and you earned it.

I noticed the "after church hug" which spoke to me. My family and I started going to this very friendly and outgoing church four years ago and I thought things were fine.

The pastor's wife is so charismatic, kind, and caring, but about two weeks ago after service, I started to leave church and up to that time, I had hugged and chatted with her a few moments for this long, but on this day, she was edgy and holding her temper.

That afternoon I felt as if I owed her an apology so I called her and honest, for about 30 minutes I got an ear-full about how she did not go in for hugging and me complimenting her (not sexual mind you). To say the least, I was shocked and even stunned to the point of almost not going back to the church.

Up until then, she said I was an encouragement to her for I always told her, and she is the praise leader, how great she is at her job and she is a fine singer. She said she didn't like to hear that.

And many times I would email her during the week to see if she was okay for she has a stressful job as a math teacher at our local high school.

This is the first time in my Christian life that I have ever been chewed out for encouraging someone and giving a small hug.

Honest to God. I told her after she finished ranting that in the beginning she should have told me how she felt. That she admitted to, but still, things between she and I will never be the same.

Thanks again for your great hub. I hope you follow me for I love your writing style.


DawnM Samora (author) from Akron, Ohio on July 05, 2015:


Thanks so much for commenting/reading!

Yes, I know that feeling when not knowing if a hug is appropriate or not. Everyone has their own way, but I think I learned as I got older and I no longer care if someone turns my hug away. Starting off with people who you know pretty well could be good.

At first, I began to hug my family a lot. Later, I was hugging friends, and now complete strangers. :) Complete strangers are sometimes tricky. haha

I'm glad you find my hub useful. Thank you a lot! Dawn

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 05, 2015:

I enjoy giving hugs, but I am forever at a loss in knowing when they are appropriate.

Very useful hub.

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