The other day on Twitter, I noticed one of my followers posted something that required my intervention.
To be honest with you, it shook me to the core. Everyone knows I’m a hugger. In fact, we will never be friends unless we are on a hug basis. After passing along my hug manifesto, I felt my faith in humanity restored, knowing that having an open mind about new things is foundational in moving forward as a people. But this whole debacle got me thinking, “What if everyone doesn’t know what I do about hugs?”
Maybe people are afraid to jump into the deep end due to fear of appearing effeminate? The great news is I’ll be helping you out, so that you too may be able to jump the hurdle and be all that you can be. I’ll be going over the fundamentals, when to use the hug, as well as how to improve your technique and a few visuals for training purposes. Like anything else in the world, if you follow the 3 P’s (Practice, Practice, Practice) you’ll be on your way to greatness in no time flat.
The Over Under
This hug is the meat and potatoes of the hug world, so deploy it in most situations. This is the first step towards establishing hug rapport. Be firm, yet gentle, don’t linger too much and let it happen. This hug could eventually develop into “The Real Thing” (which I will touch on below).
When to use: Anytime. This is your standard hug. Start off here and see where it goes.
This hug is the limp dick handshake of the hug world. Getting one of these never feels good. This could be one of those side hugs or the 8th grade dance arms on shoulders kind of bullshit. If someone ever gives me one of these, I assess the situation and debate whether I should let this stand or reset and start again with the Over Under.
When to use: Never. Just don’t. Maybe if you’re hugging someone with a skin disease, but even then, they are people too.
This is for those with height difference, oftentimes in intimate situations. The taller person usually hugs around the waist/torso area and the shorter person, the neck area, similar to a bridge.
When to use: Whenever there is a height difference. This often happens between partners.
Pick Up (and Twirl)
The Pick Up is the wildcard of hugs. It can be for children, for your spouse, for fun (like picking up a shorter friend) or whatever you want it to be. You can add a Twirl if you’d like, but be careful. Not everyone likes to be picked up. There is a lot of emotion and trust involved in choosing the Pick Up and it should be only used when you’ve got a lot of hug rapport with someone.
When to use: A safe time for this is with people you are well acquainted with and/or children. I would probably use this on Dave if I ever met him.
Bro grabs are important. These evolve over time and are generally unique in nature. As your relationship grows with people, usually beginning at the Over Under, the next step is the Bro Grab. Each of my friends has a different Bro Grab. Sometimes I’ll even sneak in an ass cheek squeeze. You can tailor these however you want and make it your own.
When to use: After building enough hug rapport, the Bro Grab should be individualized and used during greetings and farewells.
A niche hug, the Sports Moment is strictly for celebration. For this, you let your inhibitions go and do whatever feels right, there’s no wrong way. These hugs are an organic, unspoken thing, often a culmination of hard work coming to fruition.
When to use: Score a goal? Sports Moment. Win the big game? Sports Moment. Favorite sports team wins big? Sports Moment.
The Real Thing
The apex of all hugs, you know when you you’re “bringing it in for the Real Thing.” This hug is built on a rock solid foundation of trust and friendship. There are no limitations on time, intensity or closeness. Only pure unadulterated love.
When to use: There is no right time for The Real Thing. Go with the flow; you’ll know when it’s time.
There are many more variations of hugs, but these are just a few mainstream examples that you’ll encounter in the wild. I would venture to say that there are cultural and regional differences, but that’s what makes the hug (and America) great. Follow your heart and always let your conscience be your guide..
Image via The Office / NBC