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

  1. Never assume.
  2. Take a cue from body language.
  3. Consider the setting and the frequency.
  4. Be considerate of other peoples’ boundaries.
  5. 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…

XO Lauren

P.S. Going on a first date soon? Click here for my full breakdown on the dos and don’ts of first date etiquette!

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  • raul karki

    lol my sister’s friend had come to visit home from holidays.i had to give her things so she could deliver it to my sister since they live nearby abroad.I was studying at day so i had to hand it to her late like (8pm). It was her last day staying here and she was flying back next day. when i went to the bar where she and her 1 friend was sitting she said herself she was quiet drunk. I just said hi to her. I used to notice her friend at school and she was really pretty and she still is. I was just saying hi to her friend at first look waving my hands but she was raising her hand and signalling me to come hug her which took me few good awkward seconds to realise and go for it and she didn’t let go for like 10 seconds. That was like my first hug cause people in my country rarely hug so i wasn’t even prepared. I was like whaaat. Then sister’s friend also hugged me. Both of them are so pretty i don’t even know why i am so happy for just a hug.

  • Anabel

    I was at a musical and my band teacher was conducting it so i went to say hi, when i got to talk to him he just hugged me… but later i found out that he was sad about a death

    • Anabel

      I think the awkward part is we are both the opposite sex

      what made it worse is I wasn’t wearing panties or a bra