What does it mean when a guy hugs you first? Here are 16 possible reasons

Are you wondering why a guy ‘friend’ hugged you first? Well, there are a lot of reasons why men make such a move. 

Let’s explore each and every one of them below. 

1) He likes you!

A guy who hugs you first may mean a lot of things. While most of them are friendly (see below,) there’s always the possibility that he likes you.

So how do you know for sure?

For one, he hugs you around the waist. That way, when he leans back, he gets to look at your beautiful eyes. 

Another way he might show affection is by hugging you from behind. Think of it as a standing cuddle. This position, after all, allows him to talk to other people – without letting go of you. 

When he clings to you, you’ll notice how he gently caresses your back

You’ll also feel the intense pressure of the hug. He’s definitely into you when he makes a tight bear hug

The frequency of hugs is another telltale sign. If he initiated a hug yesterday – and another one today, it’s apparent that he can’t get enough of you! 

2) He’s sexually attracted to you

Depending on how you look at things, his hug – which is his way of being sexual – might be a boon or bust for you. 

If you like a no-holds-barred fling, then you could heed his call for an easy release. 

But if you’re looking for a committed relationship, there’s no stopping you from turning him down. You could always decline his invitation – politely, of course. 

QUIZ: What does your man want from you? My fun new quiz will reveal what he REALLY wants – based on his Zodiac sign! Take my quiz here.

The key here is to be honest. Just tell him that you’re not looking for that type of relationship. If he’s mature enough, he’ll take this in stride. 

3) He’s greeting you

It’s surprising when a guy – especially one you just met – initiates a hug. But before you put a romantic thought into it, you should understand that it may be his way of greeting you.

As Forsell and Åström’s study puts it:

“In the Western world… Greeting behavior varies from a nod to a colleague or acquaintances to a closer salutation consisting of a handshake with a hug (defined as enclosing and pressing each other’s bodies and sometimes kissing.).”

This form of friendly greeting is what the authors describe as a “light hug.” It may be combined with kissing the cheeks. There may be – or may not be – some handshaking involved. 

While hugs (with kisses) are usually reserved for close friends, some approach acquaintances the same. Yes, they’ll hug people who have just been introduced to them. 

4) He’s saying goodbye

Just as a hug is a way of saying hello, it may also be a guy’s way of saying goodbye.

Picking up from Forsell and Åström’s research, the authors go on to say: 

“Hugging occurs in such situations and is expressed in many social contexts, for example, when saying goodbye after parties.”

So if he hugged you as a greeting-  safe to say – you could expect a goodbye hug from him as well!  

5) He’s happy

Whenever a guy initiates a hug, it’s crucial to read the room first. That way, you won’t get to unfounded conclusions.

First of all, are most of the people hugging there? For example, you could be at a graduation party where people are consistently hugging and shaking hands. If he hugs you first, then he probably thinks that the situation calls for it

QUIZ: Does he really love you? My fun new Zodiac quiz can help you figure it out, based on his Zodiac sign. Check it out here.

Granted that not everybody’s hugging, you should consider the set-up. Are you in a sports bar and his team won? Him embracing you – together with a few pints of beer – may be his way of celebrating! 

6) …or He’s sad

While most guys hug other people because of sheer delight, some do so because they feel sad. Apart from embracing you, you’ll notice other signs of sadness. He may have a quivering/trembling voice, or he may be tearing up.

Even if he doesn’t confide any of his problems to you, a quick hug may make him feel better. After all, it can lead to a flood of several ‘happy hormones,’ such as:

  • Dopamine, a ‘feel good’ hormone that can make you feel happy
  • Serotonin, a hormone that improves mood by managing feelings of loneliness
  • Oxytocin, a hormone that conveys warm, fuzzy comfort

7) He’s a good friend 

Men and women don’t always have to pursue romance – they can be good friends too. And for this guy friend of yours, hugging may be his way of being a good pal. 

So how do you know it’s a mere friendly hug? 

According to Forsell and Åström, it’s something that goes “Side-by-side, with arms on each other’s shoulders.” 

Should he hug you from the front, you’ll notice how he may use only one hand. He may do a quick or straightforward pat at the back.

A ‘friend’ will keep your upper bodies close, but he will distance his hips away from yours. He doesn’t want you to think of his hug as something romantic or sexual. 

The duration of the hug is a dead giveaway too. It’s often very brief unless you haven’t seen each other for ages! 

8) He’s thankful 

Maybe you found him the collectible item he’s always wanted. Perhaps you did him a favor that helped him land a new job.

Whatever you did, his initiated hug may be his way of thanking you.  

As Forsell and Åström put it: “Extraordinary gratitude for something may initiate both handshaking and hugging behavior by the receiver.”

QUIZ: What does your man want from you? My fun new quiz will reveal what he REALLY wants – based on his Zodiac sign! Take my quiz here.

Just think of it this way: if a guy gave you something or did you a favor, you’ll be embracing him out of the blue as well! 

9) It’s his way of saying congratulations

Congratulations! You finally got the promotion you so highly deserve. 

To your surprise, a male officemate approaches you and hugs you out of the blue.

Romantic? No. He’s married. Also, it’s a quick one, and he only used one hand. 

Friendly? Maybe. But he’s more of an acquaintance. You only ever talk to him when it comes to work matters.

If you have crossed both things out, then there’s one possibility left: his hug is his way of congratulating you. 

As psychologists Forsell and Åström explain it: “The hugging style during congratulations… is based upon the strength of the emotions associated with the matter at hand.” 

In other words, he’s just so happy for you because you finally got what you deserve!

10) It’s part of his culture (or psyche)

You may be used to men who shake your hand or say hi to you when they meet you. Understandably so, it could be confusing when a guy hugs you first. 

What you need to understand here is that hugging may be an integral part of his culture. Circling back to Forsell and Åström’s study, some cultures embrace – well – a full embrace.

This habit is often seen in Russian and French males, even when they’re interacting with men. 

The same goes with Latinos and Southern Europeans, who hug people as a custom. 

QUIZ: What does your man want from you? My fun new quiz will reveal what he REALLY wants – based on his Zodiac sign! Take my quiz here.

Another thing to consider: he may be raised in an environment where hugging is the norm. 

So don’t be surprised if he hugs you, especially if he does that with many people. It’s just the way he’s wired!

11) He wants to reassure you

Maybe you’re concerned about certain things. So if a guy hugs you first, with a few taps on the back, it could be his way to reassure you.

Hugs are soothing, after all. According to a report, it’s an excellent way to show empathy. 

Think of it this way: his hug is more of a comforting pat on your shoulder

You can do it. You’ll be okay

Whatever your worries might be, his hug should make you feel better – even if just for a while.

12) He wants to ease your anxiety

This guy must’ve seen you down or sad, even though you’re trying hard not to show it. 

His hug, which may last around three seconds, may be his attempt to ease your anxiety. 

Remember: actions are louder than words. His hug – which often comes with quick pats – may be a way for him to say ‘there, there.’ 

A guy who wants to reassure you may also do so with a one-sided hug. He’s the active one here, while you, the receiver, are just passive (or limp.) You’re worried, after all. 

Scientifically speaking, hugs may help reduce stress and anxiety. According to a study, affectionate touching – like hugs – helped decrease the uneasiness felt by the participants. 

QUIZ: What does your man want from you? My fun new quiz will reveal what he REALLY wants – based on his Zodiac sign! Take my quiz here.

In another study, results showed that hugs led to changes in certain hormone levels. These, in turn, helped lower anxiety levels, as well as blood pressure and heart rate. 

13) He wants to help you cope

Whether he’s your crush or a trusted friend, his hug may be his way to help you cope. 

You may be feeling some conflict towards him or another person. On the other hand, you may be sad that a loved one has passed away.

He knows that with a simple hug, he may help ease the negativities that you feel.

Of course, he’s right to do so! Research has shown that people who received hugs – at least once a day – felt better – even if they were facing many problems. 

Those who didn’t, however, felt bad – up until the next day. 

Again, this is proof that the hug – a form of affectionate touch – may improve a person’s well-being. And while he may not utter anything as he hugs you, his long embrace is worth more than a thousand words. 

14) He’s trying to relieve his stress

A guy who hugs you isn’t always doing it for you. He may be doing it for himself as well. 

As Forsell and Åström have stated in their study that “A brief hug… greatly reduces the harmful physical effects of stress.” 

The same study suggests that hugging can lead to:

  • Increased levels of oxytocin. This hormone helps calm you down, thus lowering your stress levels. It can positively affect your mental and emotional health as well. 
  • Better levels of norepinephrine. Bursts of this hormone can make you happy – euphoric even! 
  • Manageable cortisol levels. Cortisol helps regulate your blood pressure. This is why people who hug (and receive hugs) often report lower blood pressure readings. 

So if you feel that he’s in dire need of some stress buster, hug him back! 

15) He’s familiar with the benefits of hugging

It’s obvious: hugging can help ease anxiety and relieve stress. But more than just calming your mind, a hug is good for your physical health too! 

QUIZ: What does your man want from you? My fun new quiz will reveal what he REALLY wants – based on his Zodiac sign! Take my quiz here.

That said, don’t be surprised if a guy you know hugs you first. He knows it could: 

  • Relieve pain. If you’re hurting – mentally or physically – his hug could do you good. As mentioned, hugs help increase oxytocin levels. Apart from calming you down, this hormone can help reduce inflammation in the body. 
  • Better heart health. As I’ve said, a hug-induced spike in cortisol can help manage your blood pressure and heart rate levels. It also helps reduce stress, which can bring about heart disease. 
  • Boost your immune system. A hug puts some pressure on the sternum or the breastbone. This then stimulates the thymus gland, which helps stimulate white blood cells (WBC). With more natural defenders in your bloodstream, you have a better chance of fighting infections! 

16) Be wary: He’s a pickpocket!

Most of the time, a guy who hugs you first has good intentions. Although this is the case, you need to be wary of men you barely know. 

He may hug you because he wants to steal your belongings!

It’s what the UK’s Metropolitan Police deem as ‘hugger mugging.’ In this dirty trick, the guy will be over-friendly to you without any reason at all. 

And because you’re surprised by his hug, you won’t realize that he’s already reaching for your wallet! 

Final thoughts

A guy could mean a lot of things when he hugs you first.

It could be his way to greet or say goodbye to other people. 

He may also be hugging you because he’s happy, sad, or thankful.

He could be a good friend – or hugging may be part of his culture.

Hugging may also be his way of reassuring you and easing your anxiety. At the same time, it may be his way to relieve his stress as well!

While an initiated hug may mean he likes you, you should be wary about some men: some turn out to be pickpockets!

Like this article? Follow us on Facebook

You’ll see more articles like this in your feed.

The real reason why men pull away

Want to learn the real reason why men pull away from emotionally committing in a relationship?

It’s not what most people think.

We reveal all in our free eBook Attraction Triggers.

This eBook has everything you need to know about the predictable patterns that make a man fall in love.

Most importantly, it will teach you practical techniques to activate those triggers in your man so you can build a successful long-lasting relationship.

Check it out here.