We all need a little love and compassion, right? Hugs are a great way to convey that—sometimes.
Hugs have become the new handshake among many people, but it's always good to remember that in professional environments and other formal situations, you should stick to shaking hands. It's also good to remember that not every person is a "hugger" - that some people find hugs very uncomfortable and awkward. It's never wrong to ask "Can I hug you?" before going for it, and to break the hug off after a few seconds.
Different situations may call for different hugs:
• The Side Hug: Extend one arm; the side of your body touches the other person's side. This is appropriate for casual acquaintances; when hugging someone non-familial of the opposite sex; for counselors or teachers with children.
• The Full/Front Hug: Wrap both arms around the person; this could easily become a bear hug. Good for loved ones—family, significant others, or close friends.
• The Boy Hug - Really! This is the term we hear among our students, named for the kind of hug they see mostly among young boys and men. It's a very quick embrace in which only your lower arms extend to the other person's back, maybe followed by a little pat or slap on the back.