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How to Hug a Girl The Right Way: It's Not So Simple

He knows how to hug a girl and make her smile

I’ve learned that so many guys don’t know how to hug a girl. They usually think it’s just a matter of putting their arms around her. But not knowing how to go about it or where your hands or arms should go can make for some really awkward or worse, inappropriate hugs--a dealbreaker on any date.

It’s not surprising that many men who are looking to get into dating have no idea how to go in for a hug. Whether it’s for a girl you’ve just met or for one that you want to get more intimate with, not everyone knows how to give a girl a good hug.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of how to hug a girl you like and some tips that will make you a master hugger in no time!

How to Hug a Girl You Just Met: What’s Appropriate?

So, you’re on a first date or you’re meeting a girl for the first time and things are going great. Now you’re worried about how to hug a girl you like. It can be nerve-wracking if you’re not experienced with hugging or you feel anxiety about touching a new person. Let’s look at some tips and some useful information when going in for a hug.

Why do we hug each other? And why does it cause us anxiety?

Hugging is a behavior established in many species of animals and especially primates to ease situations after conflict or stress, providing reassurance and comfort through touch. By touching bodies together, oxytocin is released. This is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in pair-bonding, mutual trust, sexual activity, and other positive effects. It’s one of the reasons why people get the “warm fuzzy” feelings when hugging family and friends.

However, society has established a set of rules and etiquette that formalizes what is a natural act in the animal kingdom. And because we face a number of complicated social interactions throughout our daily lives, it’s no wonder we feel anxiety about whether we’re giving the right type of hug at the right time.

Adding to this complexity, if we’ve had a bad experience when giving or receiving hugs - or simply haven’t had enough hugs in our life - it’s no wonder we feel anxiety when hugging.

If you’ve felt shamed after giving intimacy to another person, you may be less likely to make similar attempts in the future, with your body kicking in stress hormones to prepare you from another potential rejection when you’re vulnerable.

When do hugs happen?

Hugs establish a bond of intimacy, which is why they aren’t used in business or formal settings. You wouldn’t hug a car salesman, a priest, or a lady at the DMV, obviously.

Sometimes hugs are thrown in spontaneously. If, for example, you are at a carnival and win a prize, you may receive a hug as a form of congratulations or thanks. Or, if you reveal a story with a girl you’ve met at a bar that makes you feel vulnerable, a girl might feel compelled to give you a hug to console you.

You can also initiate a hug when you want to provide comfort or intimacy to a girl. Whether this happens spontaneously or simply by asking “Can I hug you?”, knowing that you can offer a hug can boost your success in forming better relationships and sexual success.

New course

Reading the room

Take into consideration the overall vibe of the people that you’re meeting. Group meetings obviously have different social etiquette than meeting someone new one-on-one at a restaurant.

If you notice other friends of your group going in for a hug before parting, you can either decide to go for a hug or shake a hand. Don’t assume you’re on the same level of intimacy with her friends, but some women will give you a hug if they’ve hugged others.

As for one-on-one encounters, a hug is usually a safe choice when first meeting - but don’t count on it. The same goes for parting - some girls are more reserved and won’t even touch you until you’ve established some type of courting relationship.

The setting is also important when deciding to go in for a hug or not. For example, some people don’t feel hugs are appropriate in a place of worship; others may feel threatened to hug someone when they’re alone.

Some girls will give a hug to a man they’ve just met as a social courtesy at the risk of not appearing preferential or creating a scene. However, this can throw you off if you’ve misinterpreted the signal and thought a new person you met was more invested in you than you thought.

Varieties of hugs

This article on the different types of hugs does a great job explaining each of these in-depth and their application.

Each of these hugs has its application, but it’s up to you to understand which hug works in any given situation. You wouldn’t give a bear hug to a girl after a lukewarm first date, nor would you give a friendly hug to a woman you’re currently sleeping with.

Anatomy of a hug

So, you want to hug a girl? There’s usually a flow of steps that comes with most hugs:

  • Both people establish eye contact
  • Either person steps forward or leans forward while extending both arms outward to expose their chest and midsection
  • Both people embrace
  • The hug is held until either person signals when they should end the hug.
  • Pressure from the arms is released, or there’s a couple of light pats on the back
  • Both people return to their original position or move on to hug the next person. Most of the time this release occurs without any verbal cues, and is understood by both people.

That’s it. Of course, this is a basic description of hugs; most hugs are situational and feature variations depending on the meaning of the hug (which you’ll learn as you continue reading).

Hugs are cultural

There are plenty of social norms when it comes to public displays of affection versus private ones when it comes to cultures. Some cultures are more touchy-feely, while others come off as cold. For instance, Finland has been ranked as one of the most hugging cultures, whereas the UK and Japan are often noted for their formalities and standoffishness.

As a general rule when meeting new girls from different cultures and upbringings, try to mimic what types of hugging - if at all - they’re comfortable.

How to Give a Girl a Good Hug (If You're Into Her)

Okay, now that you understand how to hug a girl for the first time, chances are that you want to up your hug game. Let’s look at the many ways that you give a girl a good hug and make women want to hug you more often.

Always smell good

How you smell is a significant factor in whether someone wants to hug you. Hugging is a step up from a handshake in terms of intimacy, but because you’ll be in closer proximity to one another, people will be able to smell you much more. Follow these steps to smell good before a hug:

  • Deodorant is a must. While some women prefer the natural smell of a man’s pheromones carried in sweat, bacteria that leads to poor smells can grow from sweat, dead skin, and other secretions.
  • Cologne should be applied an hour before hugging a girl, as cologne can be overbearing if recently applied. Also, be sure to use only a subtle amount - otherwise, you can overwhelm a woman’s olfactory senses and imply that you’re either a) inexperienced in using cologne, or b) covering up bad odors.
  • Dental hygiene is very important when hugging. Make sure to floss, brush your teeth, and gargle with saltwater (to dissolve foul-smelling tonsillitis).
  • In most cases, you may not want to smoke or vape before hugging. Despite you not being able to smell them from “nose-blindness”, not every woman likes to smell cigarettes, tobacco, marijuana, or any other heavy scent.
  • Make sure to wear fresh clothing that’s laundered. Using unscented detergents is a great way to clean your clothing, but a nice-smelling dryer sheet can make your clothing smell fresh and appealing.
  • Try not to eat aromatic foods - like garlic or onions - if you know you’re going to go for a hug in the near future. Some people have an aversion to the smell of onions and/or garlic, and this can make some women gag.

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Where your hands should go

Part of hugging is enveloping someone in an embrace with your arms. But where you place your hands matters on which level of intimacy you’re conveying. For formal hugs and first-time meetups, keep your hands above the lower back or more towards the shoulder blades. As you get more acquainted with a girl, you can drop your hands to her lower back and buttocks.

Don’t connect your hands, as this may make a woman feel trapped. And if she taps your back, that’s usually a signal to release her and lean out of the hug (or take a step back).

How long should a hug last?

Typically, most hugs last a few seconds and then both people return to where they were standing. Hugging can lead to a kiss on the lips or a peck on the cheek, especially when you make eye contact after the hug and stay in an embrace.

There have been some articles that state 20 seconds as the ideal time for a hug to release oxytocin but there are no available studies to back this figure up. And frankly, 20 seconds is a long time to be in another person’s embrace unless you’re well-acquainted with that person.

The squeeze

Despite what modern feminism and other ideologies might suggest, men are massively stronger than women as a whole. When hugging it’s not uncommon for men to overdo it and squeeze too hard during a bear hug. Be careful when going for a bear hug and smothering the wind out of her.

However, don’t be afraid to put some squeeze into it. It can be a turn-on for women to feel your strength and some relate it to how their parents used to show affection, so don’t be afraid to add some squeeze.

Make your vocal cords vibrate

This might be an unorthodox tip. When you’re giving a hug, don’t be afraid to make sounds. Whether you choose to exhale with a deep humming sigh of relaxation or choose to say something like “It was great to meet you”, the girl you’re hugging will feel those vibrations.

To get an idea why this works, have you ever laid down on a vibrating bed, listened to music with lots of low bass, or taken a long-distance train? Those pleasing vibrations help release oxytocin simply by another person receiving our sound, reducing stress and increasing feelings of connectedness. And, if you think about it, hugging is like a form of “vertical cuddling”.

And if you want to get more cosmic about it, these vibrations may even help you sync with your hugging partner.

Don’t be afraid to flex

If you’re in reasonable shape and work out regularly, there’s no shame in showing off your muscles during a hug. To do so, consider doing the following during a hug:

  • Tighten your abdominal muscles
  • Puff out your chest
  • Stiffen your biceps

The key to this, however, is to do it subtly - no one wants to hug a person that’s posturing or awkwardly puffing themselves up.

Women often cite hugging as one of the precursors to choosing sexual partners - plus word gets around between women if they approve of your body through clothing. Remember, part of hugging involves rubbing your body against the chest of a woman, so there’s bound to be some sexual connotations that women exploit, too.

Hugging mistakes?

There are plenty of ways a hug can go wrong. And in most cases, most people won’t care whether you’ve bumped heads, hit hands, or spilled a drink you forgot you were holding. If something does go wrong, simply laugh it off; not only does “life go on”, but it shows your confidence in handling an awkward situation.

Don’t worry about being awkward - it’s not about how smooth you are; it’s about how comfortable if something goes astray.

Dealing with an erection

“Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

Having an erection is a normal part of being a man and being aroused around the opposite sex is perfectly fine. So, of course, when you’re about to give a hug to a new person, you may feel a bit of anxiety on whether it’ll cause the girl to recoil (or some other horrible AND improbable event).

If you’re unsure of how to give a hug with an erection, the easiest way to be on the safe side is to avoid touching each other’s waist altogether with a “tent hug”. To do this, simply bend at the waist and lean your chest forward.

For a woman you’re interested in and got signals that she approved of you, some women have no problem pushing their hips forward into yours as a type of foreplay. So it’s up to you to decide when it’s the right time to let her know you can’t hide your interest in her.

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How to Hug a Girl Shorter Than You Without Being Awkward

One of the complications that may come off when you’re giving a hug is whether she is shorter than you or not. Here are some tips on how to hug a girl shorter than you.

Go for a side hug

If you’re significantly taller than a girl, you’ll have to use a one-arm hug. Girls will usually wrap two arms around the waist/belly region, but using two arms can smother a short girl. Simply draw her in a hug using one arm.

As an alternative, you can lean down a bit to get shoulder level with them, or she may go on her tippy toes to meet you halfway.

It’s supposed to be a bit awkward

Don’t be afraid to feel awkward hugging a much smaller person. Size differences in people are normal, so it’s important to not feel that there’s a perfect hug.

Pick her up

Okay, this should come with a serious warning: Only pick her up if you’ve already established rapport and have some level of intimacy. Women like to feel a man’s strength and enjoy feeling like a child again, so don’t be afraid to lift a girl in the air.

You may even want to ask her permission when giving her a hug just to help her brace for it. Otherwise, she might grunt or exhale embarrassingly.


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