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How to Tell if a Hug is Romantic? 25 Signs to Know

How to Tell if a Hug is Romantic? 25 Signs to Know

Updated on Nov 03, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

How to Tell if a Hug is Romantic 25 Signs to Know

Hugs are an essential form of physical touch for us humans, but it’s not necessary that only your partner or your crush will hug you. Your friends can also hug you just the same… out of love, support, and so much more. So, how to tell if a hug is romantic?

Hugs are the best way to tell a person that they are special to us. Many of us can be a bit shy and not really ace the ‘sharing feelings’ department very well.

In that case, a romantic hug can say it all.

But what exactly is a romantic hug? How is it different from all other kinds of hugs?

Read on to find out.

How to Tell if a Hug is romantic? – 25 Ways to Find Out

A romantic hug is a lot different than a friendly hug – it involves a lot more touching and cuddling. This hug is not a pat on the back but a rub.

When you hug someone romantically, you probably press most of your body against each other. Everything from your cheeks to your waist presses against that of the other person.

But that’s not enough to know if the hug is full of love.

So, read on to know more, and you’ll identify more signs…

The way they approach you

Romantic hugs can be from the front, back, as well as, from the side. All can be romantic but have completely different feels to each.

Let’s find out how.

1. From the front

In these kinds of hugs, both people’s torsos, chests and stomachs touch each other. It’s a wonderfully warm hug – totally romantic.

The hugger tends to put arms around the waist of the other person while the other person has their arms around the neck of the hugger. Both of them bring their bodies as close to each other as possible.

2. From the back

These hugs are more of the spontaneous, surprise-your-lover kind of hugs and are often sweet and exciting gestures.

When the person hugs you romantically from behind, he/she will caress your arms and clutch you tightly from behind for a few seconds before deeply exhaling and burying your face onto your neck or head.

It is kind of like spooning – arm to arm, chest to torso – engaged in all the “interesting parts of the body” with the same view ahead of both of you. Now isn’t that romantic?

3. Side hug

Side hugs are usually considered to be more common between friends. But lovers also embrace each other from the side. But a romantic side hug feels completely different from a friendly one.

In a friendly side hug, there is only upper body contact (that too, merely touching each other). But in a romantic side hug, there will be a slight intentional rub against each other’s bodies.

Body language

Body language tells a lot about any person, and when it comes to hugs, they speak volumes about the person’s feelings, like…

4. It may feel a bit awkward

People feel clumsy around their crushes anyway. So, don’t be surprised if someone drops hints that they like you and then give you a very awkward hug. If they are not socially awkward, then treat this awkward hug as a sign of nervousness.

But if this awkward hug is without any eye contact or a smile, it means that the person has no romantic feelings for you.

5. The embrace will feel natural

If someone gets rigid, it means that the hug was an obligation, and they were very uncomfortable hugging you. If this was a forced hug you will feel them “frozen to death” all along the duration of the hug.

On the contrary, when a person hugs you romantically, they almost would “melt in your arms”. They would feel the most comfortable to hug you and both of you would feel equally at ease hugging each other.

If it is a romantic hug, they would take a deep breath and hug you with so much passion that there would be no space between your bodies. Both of you would press against each other and lose yourselves in each other’s embrace.

6. The eye contact will be intense

When someone hugs you in a romantic way, they will most definitely make eye contact with you a good number of times before actually hugging you. The best way to understand someone’s feelings is to look into their eyes. If they hold the gaze on you and look into your eyes too while hugging. It most definitely is a romantic hug.

Friends or buddies do not look into each other’s eyes before or after hugging. But if someone has romantic feelings for you, they will hug you and then keep looking into your eyes long after they have let go of the embrace.

That gaze is bound to make your heart skip not just one but a couple of beats!

7. They will hug you tightly

The amount of pressure with which they hug you plays a key role to understand if it is a romantic hug or not.

If it is just a friendly hug, the hugger will engage in a light embrace with you. Your bodies will barely touch each other. It will feel as if they brushed against each other.

On the other hand, if it is a romantic hug, they will hold you tightly, close to their body. You can expect a light squeeze in their embrace.

8. You can see them blush

The blush can help you find the winner in friend hug vs crush hug!

When you are infatuated with someone, a mere brush against each other’s hands may send shivers down your backbone. Imagine what a hug will do!

If they have a crush on you, you will most definitely see their cheeks flushed just after hugging you.

Whereas if it were a friendly hug, no one would blush. Friends are already comfortable with each other, so no one will have a red tint on their faces.

9. They’ll play with your hair

This is another unique sign that can tell between a normal hug and romantic hug. When people hug the other person in a romantic loving way, they often end up playing with the other person’s hair. They may stroke your hair gently and affectionately.

When someone hugs you in a romantic way, they stroke your hair from behind because they are so in love with you and everything about you (including your hair). This is sure to send tingles down your spine.

Also, needless to mention that friends do not play with each other’s hair while hugging. They may end up casually tousling each other’s hair (messing the hair playfully). But that’s it!

10. The double hug says it all

Have you seen in the movies how people hug each other, then break the embrace and look in the eyes – and again hug each other (only a little tighter this time)? That’s exactly what a romantic, affectionate hug looks like. And good news for you, it happens in real life too!

Another typical scenario where people hug twice (double hugs are very romantic, mind you!) is when they say their goodbyes. You may come across couples – at the train station or the airport, or somewhere else – where they hug right before they leave.

But after they part with each other, they always come back for another hug! Now, isn’t that totally adorable and romantic?

11. They may do something stupid

If people are nervous while hugging you, they may say or even do something stupid. They may say something like “whut”, or “wow, that was quick”, or “this was not on my to-do list today!”.

When someone hugs you romantically and gets all excited and anxious at the same time, they may try to take control of the situation and make it more comfortable for both of you by saying something utterly stupid.

12. The breathing is a little faster than usual

When we are around someone, we have a crush on, our hearts beat a little faster. As a result, we tend to breathe a little faster than normal.

When someone hugs you, notice how they breathe, if it is a little labored, that’s a sign of romantic inclination towards you… and not just a normal friendly hug.

13. You both will be “up, close and personal”

If someone hugs you and you feel neither of you has got any personal space left between the two of you, that is a passionate and romantic hug for sure!

There will not only be body contact between the two of you, but it will feel as if both your bodies have unified into one.

Bear hugs look similar to romantic hugs – the hugger completely wraps their arm around your whole body. Do not mistake this one to be a friendly bear hug because bear hugs tend to be comforting in nature, while romantic hugs can make you feel intensely passionate for each other.

14. They will close their eyes

When you like someone, you would feel a sense of warmth and love when you hug them. Your eyes would close naturally as an indication of contentment within you.

So, if you find someone hugging you with closed eyes, it means they find comfort in you, and that is definitely a romantic hug.

Arm and hand placement

The arm and hand placements are small details that give away the brewing feelings in their hearts. These can come in very handy if you want to understand whether a hug is romantic or not.

15. They put their hands in their pockets

If the hugger puts away their hands in their pockets right after they hug you, it may indicate shyness or “wanna-be cool” attitude. They try to disguise their shyness by acting cool.

Hands in pockets is a classic gesture to display “coolness”. It is possibly a defensive move for them to protect themselves from hurt if you do not respond in a positive manner.

“Hands in pockets” are a casual way to distract you from the obvious blunders they may have made while hugging you.

Whatever the reason may be, one thing is for sure, they have romantic feelings for you.

16. They will wrap their arms around your waist

If someone has a crush on you or has feelings for you, they will be wrapping their arms around your waist while hugging.

The lower they go with this, the more intense the feeling is when they hug you. And it is definitely not just a friendly hug!

You are sure to get goosebumps when they hug you like this.

17. Use both arms to hug you

If they use only one arm to hug you, that’s a friendly hug. If they hug you with both arms from under your armpits, that’s quite friendly too.

But if they wrap both their hands around your body and pull you closer to them – as close as physically possible – that is an intense romantic hug!

It’s really hard to miss out on this sign.

Other Signs

Apart from the above-mentioned things pointers, there are a few other signs that can help you identify if it is a romantic type of a hug. Let’s have a look at them too…

18. The hug will linger for a while

A friendly hug usually lasts for about a few seconds. But when it comes to a romantic hug, it usually lasts a little longer – say at least for about 20 seconds.

That is the exact amount of time the body needs to release the love hormones- oxytocin and dopamine.

So, if you find someone hugging you a little longer than usual, it probably might indicate that it is a romantic hug, and they probably have quite intense feelings for you.

19. It is more seductive and less consensual

In a romantic hug, one person wraps their arms around the other quite tightly and close to their body. This means the person being hugged has less control and is grabbed in a way. 

They melt in that person’s embrace and feel obliged to give in – surrender to the warm, tight, passionate squeeze from the other person.

This shows a difference in power which can be not just romantic but also quite seductive. That definitely is not how “just friends” hug!

20. They are more likely to caress your back

If the person hugged you and gave you a pat on the back, that indicates a simple friendly hug to comfort you. But if their hands linger on your back and caress you all through the hug, it definitely means something else.

When we like someone, we are tempted to caress each other. In this case, if the person hugging you caresses your back, your neck, and shoulders, that indicates a strong romantic feeling for you.

21. They lean on you while they hug

When a hug is romantic, the person hugging will usually lean towards the person being hugged. They do this in an attempt to be closer to the other person. This reflects the trust, affection, and strong feelings they have for the person they are hugging.

22. They lift you up, quite literally!

When people feel overwhelmed by feelings when they hug, they usually lift the other person from the ground while hugging as tightly as possible.

This usually happens when one partner (usually the girl) is shorter than the other (the guy). It is both sensuous and comforting at the same time.

23. No one is in a hurry to let go

In a romantic hug, people usually take time to disengage from the hug. They usually hold their hug for about 20 seconds.  Compared to that of a friendly hug, it is of a shorter duration and only lasts for a few minutes.

Both people would take some time to enjoy each other’s romantic embrace and let go of each other slowly. The whole process will seem like poetry in motion.

24. Their facial expression changes

Pay attention if their facial expressions change while or after they hug you. Do they smile while hugging you? Is it just a friendly smile? Does the expression on their face and eyes make you feel that they are content, but they want more of you?

If the answer is a yes, then that definitely is a romantic type of hug.

25. They become unusually quiet

If the hugger usually talks a lot but becomes very quiet while they hug you, that means they want to bask in the moment and enjoy every bit of this romantic embrace.

They just want to soak up everything they can sense and feel about you – you touch, your smell, they way you sound – everything!

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

When words fail, hugs come to our rescue. There are so many different kinds of hugs, but a romantic one sure does the trick to woo your special someone!

Keep an eye out for the above signs to know if a hug means something more than just “good friends”.

And, when it is your turn to express your love to someone, take the pointers in this article as a guide to your perfect romantic embrace!

Are you interested to know more about ‘Triad Relationship’ then click here?