We live in a world of subtle signs, the decoding of which can often be fascinating and highly revealing. Even something as simple as the way a person walks can tell us much about their personality. Perhaps one of the most intriguing set of signs are all the different kind of hugs we all do. What does the way two people embrace reveal about their relationship?
Here we reveal the underlying subtleties of our embraces, as explained by experts. How many of them do you recognise in yourself and those around you?
The Protector is a hug that is all about a sense of security. The person behind wraps their arms around the waist of the person in front, providing stability and taking on a protective role. This position shows a large amount of trust in the relationship and shows that taking care of one another is very important. “By covering your back, he’s conveying that he wants to shelter you,“ writes Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of Success Signals, A Guide to Reading Body Language.
The Back Stroke
The Back Stroke is a hug that is all about reassurance. Each person rubs the back of the other person, reminding each other just how much they truly care. This position is all about openness and vulnerability with one another. ”The back is a very vulnerable part of the body. You can’t see your back, so being touched there is very startling,“ writes Wood. The Back Stroke is your way of providing comfort to your hug partner.
The Pat is a hug that is all about friendship and camaraderie. Each person literally gives the other a pat on the back as a signal of comfort. There’s not really a sense of intimacy involved in this hug. This position is not about romance or even closeness. It is more about kinship — the kind of relationship that is exactly fine staying where it is. “This is how men hug their buddies; it’s not romantic at all,” says Dr. Christopher Blazina, author of The Secret Lives of Men. ”When a guy frequently embraces you like this, it means the relationship’s not growing.“
The Slow Dance
The Slow Dance is all about romance, romance, and more romance. One partner wraps their arms around the partner’s waist, while the other wraps their around the neck, harkening back to a high school dance kind of love. This hug is typical for young love or early love. In Secret Whispers, V.C. Andrews writes, ”Unless I’m reading an assignment or doing a paper or taking a test, I’m thinking about you." However, if you are still hugging this way years into a relationship, that certainly means the romance is still alive.
The Reach Around
The Reach Around is about two people who are truly partners in crime. One person puts a single arm around the other’s shoulder for a kind of half-hug. This hug is all about two people that are better off attached at the hip than attached romantically. Doe Zantamata inspirationally writes, “Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them...your smile, your hope, and your courage.” When you use The Reach Around with a close friend, you are momentarily connecting yourselves together physically as tightly as you are connected emotionally.
The Deadlock is a body-crushing hug that almost borders on a fear of letting go. In this hug, both people intertwine themselves as tightly as they possibly can, squeezing out every last drop of air separating them. This position is about deep commitment and not wanting to be apart. Author Caroll Bryant writes, “Love should feel like a hand sewn quilt made by grandma, wrapping you up on a cold winter morning.“ By wrapping each other up in this way, you fear that letting the other person out of your embrace will somehow mean they will leave. You’d much rather stay with them right where you are.
The Flying Hug
The Flying Hug is a hug that is all about passion and lust. One partner straddles the other, either while sitting down or ”flying” in mid-air. Whether or not you also have a deeper connection, this position reveals that you constantly lust after one another physically. Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes, “Sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love.” You cannot help but leap into each other’s arms in a fit of passion. So even if your love doesn’t end up lasting, at least the physical relationship is good in the meantime.
The London Bridge
The London Bridge is a hug that is all about keeping as much distance from one another as possible. Each person hugs with their upper body, while keeping their lower body quite far apart. This position shows a large amount of disagreement or uncomfortability in the relationship. Luis Miguel writes, “I maintain my sanity by keeping my distance.“ With a hug like this, you show that neither of you actually wants to be close to the other person. Some people are just not meant to be more than acquaintances.
The Eye to Eye
The Eye-to-Eye is a hug that is all about the connection of the soul. Whatever form this hug may take, maintaining eye contact is of the utmost importance. This position is about deep love and personal kinship. Sanober Khan writes, ”You are the ocean to my eyes.“ In your relationship, you can see all the way into the depths of one another’s soul. Your connection is strong and likely unshakeable.
The Rag Doll
The Rag Doll is a hug that is all about a one-way-street relationship. One person hugs the other as tightly as possible, while the receiver simply stands limply, like a “rag doll.” This position shows a deep unbalance between the way you feel for each other. We all know the old saying, ”Friendship is a two-way street.“ Well, if that is true, then this probably isn’t a true friendship. No matter how hard one person tries to make this relationship work, it really is impossible without some kind of reciprocation.
The Pickpocket is a hug that is all about comfort and ease. In this hug, one or both people have their hands in the pockets of the other. This position shows just how relaxed and comfortable your relationship is. You don’t have to work hard to make this partnership succeed. Ritu Ghatourey writes, ”When silence between two people is comfortable, you know you have found love." The same goes for your hugs. When you have found the ease with which you can slip your hand into your partner’s pocket, you know this is a superb match.