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Romantic Hug vs Friendly Hug: How to Feel the Difference Instantly

Hugs seem like a simple act of closeness, but they can be misconstrued and misinterpreted if you’re not careful. What is a romantic hug vs friendly hug?

romantic hug vs friendly hug

Hugs are exchanges of affection between family, friends, lovers, and even strangers and acquaintances. But is a hug just a hug? Here’s how to decipher the romantic hug vs friendly hug.

I am sure you have had different hugs in your life. A hug with your grandma, for instance, is different than a hug with your best friend. A hug with your lover is different than a hug with a childhood friend.

The difference between these embraces may not seem large at first thought, but it is. [Read: How to surround yourself with positive people]

Why do you want to know the difference between romantic hug vs friendly hug?

You may be thinking, well, the difference between a romantic hug vs friendly hug is who gives it. If your lover is giving you a hug it is romantic, and if a friend is it is friendly. But, it is not always that simple.

For instance, not every hug your partner gives you is romantic. If you just need an embrace after a long day, this hug may be more friendly. And if a friend hugs you goodbye after a party it may be romantic.

But, why do you want to know? Are you worried your relationship is dwindling into a friendship? Are you wondering if a friend has feelings for you? Are you concerned your coworker or even boss is coming on to you?

All of these are valid things to be worried about when it comes to romantic hugs vs friendly hugs.

So, what are the characteristics of each? [Read: How to spice up a relationship that feels like friendship]

Romantic hug vs friendly hug

Hugs are not always just hugs. They can have a deeper meaning. They can lead into a kiss or express mourning or empathy. They can be to say hello or goodbye.

But, what are the characteristics or signs you are getting a romantic hug vs a friendly hug?

Friendly Hug. A friendly hug will often be light in touch. It avoids being too severe or tight. Most hugs involve pressing your bodies together, but when friendly it is about the act of the hug, not the closeness. [Read: An insight into the rare platonic friendship]

Romantic Hug. When a hug is romantic in quality, it lingers. Rather than a quick hug you may give to a friend before sitting down to lunch, this hug lasts.

Friendly Hug. A friendly hug may include a pat on the back or even a few pats. Think about a hug between two college roommate who haven’t seen each other in a few years. This hug reignites friendship or even is congratulatory.

Romantic Hug. A romantic hug includes a lot of closeness and touching. This hug would include not a pat on the back, but a rub. This may also be a lower touch than would be appropriate for a platonic friendship. Faces are also pressed into the other’s shoulder in a romantic hug. [Read: 18 signs a friend likes you romantically even if they’re hiding it]

Friendly Hug. In most friendly hugs, the arms are crossed. This means your left arm may go beneath their armpit, but your right arm goes above and vice versa. There is something universally platonic about this form of hug.

Romantic Hug. Even though during the hug you probably cannot see the other person’s face, eye contact either before or after can insinuate romance. Often times eye contact can start a romantic hug, and then once the hug is released or partially released eye contact turns the hug into a kiss. [Read: 11 types of hugs a woman gives and what they really mean]

Friendly Hug. A side hug is almost always friendly. When a friend pulls you in with one arm from the side it is a sign of affection, but not usually romance. Think group photos or even family photos of everyone wrapping their arms around each other’s shoulders.

Romantic Hug. Sharing a caress within a hug makes it romantic. It can also be a sign of comfort for someone who is upset, but that usually involves a gentle rubbing of the head or arm. When this caress is made on the lower back or chest, it is likely romantic in nature.

Friendly Hug. With a friendly hug, it is common for your shoulders to be touching or even your faces. But, you keep your waists and hips apart. These do not touch in most friendly hugs.

These areas of the body are more intimate and personal. Therefore, someone hugging you and pressing the full of their body against you may be looking for a romantic hug. [Read: Friendly vs flirty – 12 subtle hints to read the right signs]

Romantic Hug. A romantic hug can involve one’s arms around another’s. This means the person being hugged has less control and is grabbed in a way. The person doing the hugging squeezes the other and often times the smaller person is beneath the other’s arms.

This shows a difference in power which can be not just romantic but also intimidating or seductive.

Friendly Hug. A friendly hug is always consensual. If one person initiates the hug the other person agrees to it. A friendly hug has a respect that romantic hugs can lack in the event of abuse of power in a relationship. [Read: How a good friend sets themselves apart from the crowd]

Romantic Hug. Romantic hugs avoid the upper back, shoulders, and arms. These are places we hug friends. In a romantic embrace, we reach around the face and neck if we are shorter and the waist and lower back if we are taller or the same height.

Now, there are more differences between a friendly hug and a romantic hug than just these. In fact, the differences may be endless depending on the relationship, person, and situation.

Even without noticing these particular signs of a romantic hug vs friendly hug, you can often feel the difference. It is not just the act of the hug that makes these two embraces differ, but the feelings the hug gives you.

If you feel comforted and safe, it is likely a friendly hug. If you feel aroused or connected, it may be a romantic hug. But if you feel violated, overpowered, or not at all uncomfortable this is an inappropriate hug to shut down.

This type of hug can be initiated by a family member, a friend, a coworker, a boss, and more. This hug is a sign of a bigger problem, a misuse of power, and a violation of your personal space and comfort. This hug should be stopped, the discomfort should be expressed, and possibly reported.

The main takeaway from this should be that hugs are normally signs of affection shared between two people that care for each other on a number of levels, from friendship to romance and even just a greeting. Knowing the difference between these can be helpful when you are unsure of your relationship or someone’s feelings.

[Read: 20 types of physical touch and what each touch means]

But, as helpful as these details are, the best way to read the signs of a romantic hug vs friendly hug is by thinking about how it makes you feel.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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