While hellos and handshakes used to be the way to greet and goodbye, hugs have become the new norm in recent years. I think it’s interesting because, to me, hugs signify affection, not “hello.” I hug close friends and family, but nowadays that’s not enough. After researching the topic of “hugging” for this blog, I learned quite a few unwritten rules about hugging etiquette. Here’s what I learned:
When it comes to good friends… If you are good friends and haven’t seen each other in while: hug. The same goes for saying goodbye. If you are not going to see the friend for a long time, give them a hug. If you see one another regularly, hello and goodbye will suffice.
When it comes to acquaintances… A simple hello or handshake will do. However, if you spend an extended period of time with an acquaintance, it makes sense to depart with a hug.
When it comes to greeting a big group… If you arrive somewhere to find a big group of friends and acquaintances, shake the hands of those you are just meeting and hug your friends.
When you are in a professional setting… It’s best to err on the safe side and not hug unless you are at an after-hours function or holiday party and the occasion seems appropriate. Regardless, it’s always best to ask when you find yourself in a work-related setting.
When you are the host of a party… It’s generally expected that you hug friends upon arrival and departure and greet new faces with a kind and inviting handshake.
General Rules of Hugging
- Never assume.
- Take a cue from body language.
- Consider the setting and the frequency.
- Be considerate of other peoples’ boundaries.
- Types of Hugs: For family and close friends, two arm hugs are fine. For everyone else, it’s best to give a one-arm hug. Be careful not to linger with one-arm hugs–2 to 3 seconds is perfect.
Have you had an awkward hugging moment before? Tell me about it in the comments below…
P.S. Going on a first date soon? Click here for my full breakdown on the dos and don’ts of first date etiquette!