11 Questions to Ask Before You Hug Him

Awkward!

Should you hug that guy or not hug him? Is a front hug or a side hug more appropriate?

There’s nothing inherently sinful about a hug. It’s just that behind our arms, we house a sinful heart that can pervert even something good into something not good.

One of you recently asked me what I think about guys and girls hugging. Not an easy question!

I went to a public school where hugging guys was no big deal. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Christian side hug years later—a “safe” hugging option designed to communicate affection while staying away from any potential sexual body contact.

Only, not every Christian is on board. For example,

  • One godly, married man I know wholeheartedly hugs women and unabashedly tells them he loves them, with his wife looking on.
  • Other godly men I know never hug any woman except their wife.
  • And then there are those who settle somewhere in the middle with the side hug.

So you and I are left to navigate this nebulous world of hugging. (Wouldn’t it be easier if we all wore tags that told whether we were open to hugging or not?!) Unfortunately, it’s not that clear-cut.

That’s probably because there’s nothing inherently sinful about a hug. It’s just that behind our arms, we house a sinful heart that can pervert even something good into something not good.

In my opinion, hugging has less to do with your body potentially being pressed up against someone of the opposite sex, and more to do with your heart and mind.

A hug can be as pure—or as impure—as your heart.

First Timothy 5 is clear about how we’re to interact with each other in the church:

“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (vv. 1–2).

We’re family now, if we have trusted in Christ and Christ alone to make things right between us and our pure, holy Father God. As family members, we are to treat older men as fathers and younger men as brothers . . . with all purity. Yes, we’re family, but we’re a holy, set-apart family.

That’s why it’s important to examine your heart before you reach out for that hug.

When You Hug Him:

1. Is there a guy(s) you want to hug more than others? If so, why?
2. What message are you hoping to send him with your hug?
3. Are you purposefully trying to arouse him with your body contact?
4. Do you hug him just as you would any guy? Like you would your dad or brother?
5. Would you be ashamed if people could read your thoughts as you hugged him?
6. Are you hugging him in public or in private? If the latter, what are you trying to hide?
7. If he’s married, would his wife be comfortable with you hugging him like this?

When He Hugs You:

8. Is this a man who cares for you in a pure way?
9. Is there anything inappropriate about his hug?
10. Is it a quick hug or a longer-than-necessary one?
11. Does his hug make you feel uncomfortable in any way? If so, why?

When His Hug Makes You Feel Uncomfy

If his hug makes you feel uncomfortable, depending on the seriousness of the situation, here are some ways to stop it:

1. Leave some space between you as you hug, and quickly pull away.
2. When he reaches out to hug you, turn and give him a side hug rather than a front-on hug.
3. When he reaches for you to hug you, give him your hand instead. It might be awkward for a second, but he’ll get the point.
4. Tell him you’re not comfy hugging him.
5. Tell a trusted authority that you’re not comfy hugging him.

I’d love to hear from you. Has hugging been an unclear issue for you to navigate too?

About Author

Paula Hendricks Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. Instead, she blogs for teen girls and women by day and journals her adventures by night. Her first book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, released September 2013, and she lives with her hubby (yes, hubby!) in Syracuse, New York.

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  • Natalie

    Growing up, hugs had always been a “depends on the situation, person, time, ect” ordeal. I would hug only the closest of my guy and girl friends at church. People with whom I was not so comfortable just didn’t get hugged. I also abstained from hugging a christin brother if I started to really like him. Since moving to Europe, my thoughts on hugging have definitely improved. In my new church family, everyone greets each other not only with a big “front hug” but also kisses on the cheek (one on the left and two on theright). It is our standard greeting and conveys pure affection. Albeit this seemingly intimate contact, I have never once felt uncomfortable. Rather loved. I consider the most essential aspect of whatever greeting used, whether verbal or physical, to be consistency. Hurtful or impure actions begin when we show favor or preference to others in the body of Christ. You are absolutely right when you say that it is a matter of heart. I really appreciate this post, thanks! 😊

    • phendricks

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Natalie! This was really helpful:

      “I consider the most essential aspect of whatever greeting used, whether verbal or physical, to be consistency. Hurtful or impure actions begin when we show favor or preference to others in the body of Christ.”

  • Pipsqueak101

    I have not hugged a guy(besides my father) since 4th grade like 5 years ago. I was really good friends with this kid and he always hugged me when my parents showed up to get me. I didn’t think it was awkward and none of my friends thought it was weird so I went with it.

  • my God is awesome!

    I have been hugged three times byguys that are not my dad or brothers all within the last yr or so (im 17)… two were strangers at a very friendly upbeat church where everyone hugged everyone. the last and most recent was with a older guy who ive known for about two yrs. His wife was there and she is my best friend and sunday school teacher. We all hadnt seen eachother in awhile and we all were hugging eachother. Him and his wife and children are like my uncle, aunt and cousins. i am like a daughter to him and his wife. Which is strange since weve only known eachother for 2 yrs. But it is really the Holy Spirit within us that makes me, my family and them and their family love eachother so much. I am saving myself for my husband so i am very careful. I love the family of God though. I hug alot of the women at church too much more then ive ever hugged guys. But my advice to young women is…. hug as few guys as possible….besides family. The fewer the better because you’ll have to tell your husband about everything. Who youve hugged, had any physical contact with, your crushes, boyfriends, whose liked you(that you know of), who youve kissed or been kissed by…. everything. All your secrets. Because with secrets there can be no trust between you. So tell him your secrets…. nows the time to keep the list as short as possile.

    • Anon

      Let me start by saying that if those are your convictions, I would absolutely encourage you to do what you feel led to do. But I’ll share my opinion on the subject too for anyone that’s interested. I think it’s okay to hug guys if you feel the situation is appropriate. I don’t feel the need to keep a “list” of who I’ve hugged or try to keep the number low. If I’ve hugged 10 guys as friends, I don’t consider that a secret to hide or anything. I hug my female friends as well, and while there can be different dynamics when it’s a guy and girl hugging, it can also really be a friendly thing. It matters about your intentions and the way it makes you feel. So if for you personally, hugging tends to bring about inappropriate thoughts, avoid it. But I would encourage girls to see hugging as a good thing when it’s appropriate. 🙂

  • Jesusfreak17

    Because my love language is physical touch, I try to steer clear of hugging any guy outside my family. Thanks for the tips on how to avoid them though! I found out hugging was a bad idea for me with this one guy that is a family friend I only see every few years two years ago (I liked him) and I saw him last month and he hugged me again and I wasn’t sure how to express that I didn’t want that. It was just awkward the second time though, rather than exciting emotions for him like the first time.

  • Stephanie

    I’ve heard many things about hugging guys. One I’ve heard hugging front ways can sometimes cause guys to stumble. Another, like you said Paula, depends on the heart and what’s going through your mind. I personally am cautious when I give hugs to guys. If they offer the hug first (whether side or front), then I’ll hug them same way back. Otherwise, I just give high fives because I don’t want them to think I’m being forward or if they’re just plain not comfortable with hugs. I personally like hugs but I hug mostly my friends that are girls. I also give my parents and brother the a lot of hugs. 🙂 I don’t think of anything when I give hugs (including my crush). I just think of hugs as a way of me saying, “I love you” in an enduring way, with Christ’s love. This was good to read and encouraging. Great thing to think and ask about when giving hugs. 🙂

  • Uncomfortable – <3

    Wow this post really helped me!!! There is this guy my age at my church who is really friendly and hugs everybody. At first he hugged me a lot, and although it was a side-hug, it always left me feeling uncomfortable. Other times he would pat my head or put me in headlock, which definitely left me feeling weirded-out. After a while the hugging stopped, but the silly stuff that I just mentioned still continues. My sister and I both don’t like it when he touches our head or squeezes our shoulders, so I’ve decided to talk to him about it this Sunday. Any tips on how to bring it up? I don’t want to be rude or make him think I think he’s rude, but I also want to address these awkward situations!

    • phendricks

      Dear Uncomfortable,

      I’m proud of you for being willing to do the tough thing and talk openly with him.

      I’d recommend praying about your talk with him whenever you think of it. Ask God to grant this guy understanding, and for it to be beneficial for him and not tear him down.

      I’d recommend affirming him first (something like “I’m so grateful that you are friendly to everyone”), but letting him know that personally it makes you uncomfy and would like him to stop doing it to you.

      The key is being like Jesus: coupling truth with love. Be kind, but don’t be afraid to be honest.

      Let me know how it goes!

      paula

  • Rachel

    Nice article. I think we really need to separate erotic and affectionate expressions of love. When our society became so hypersexual, we lost a lot of affection.

    Older literature is full of examples of full grown men (as well as women and children) hugging and kissing each other in affection. I’m not giving an opinion on that, merely noting affection was once not just assumed to be sexual.

    I really think some people’s physical affection needs are much much higher than other people. If we can preach the separation of these two loves, we can keep people from being affection starved or getting sexually confused by their own affection needs.

  • Isabella Jo

    I just love hugs! Which is great when it comes to my girlfriends. But, I have been hesitant with the guy friends I have. I like hugs because it is my way of showing I care about someone as a friend). And because I do it so much with girls, I think it is obvious it’s pure with guys. But, I still wonder if guys ever think farther and wonder if I am thinking more even though I know I’m being pure with it. Do guys think about stuff like that? I know girls do. I know I have wondered what a guy’s intentions were when we hugged but do they wonder what our intentions are?

    Anyway, this is a reassuring blog post for me. Hugs are okay, but I still need to be careful with them and not hand them out to whoever!

  • Emily

    Thanks so much for this post! My church says that EVERYBODY needs to give side hugs, regardless of whether you’re a girl hugging a girl or a girl hugging a guy. I hug guys with either a short side hug or a short front hug, depending on what they are comfortable with. My purity is not affected by quick hugs, it’s affected by long hugs, side or front. Also, I always hug my girls from the front but my church says that everyone should give side hugs. What should I do? Is it okay to give my girlfriends front hugs or do I have to hug them from the side?

    • Taylor

      Hey Emily, I can relate. My church has rules like that that I don’t agree with, but the way I see it, you are under the authority of the church, and if they ask you to do something you should do it even if you don’t agree with it, unless it’s unbiblical. Your church has those rules to protect you, and others, so really it is for best. But outside of church, you can do whatever you feel comfortable with.

      • Emily

        Thank you Taylor. I am under the authority of the church. Thank you for putting that into perspective.

    • Gabrielle

      To me, hugging other females from the side is very interesting. I only do that with certain guys. I guess it’s up to you and what they’re comfortable with.

  • Lily

    I agree with everything in this blog post. It’s not about the physical aspect of the hug itself- it’s more about the intentions of the heart that can make the hug appropriate or inappropriate. In my young life, I’ve only hugged a few guys who were just my friends and it’s always been in a big circle kind of way with all of my close girl buds and guy buds. I’m a shy gal so hugging a guy whom I have a crush on is not really on my radar. 😛

  • Laura Bedoya

    I’m so glad you posted this because I have been dealing with the uncomfortable hug lately and I didn’t know if I was just being rude by pulling aways so fast. This is so great to read and keep in mind! Thank you:)

  • Maria

    In my culture I hug and kiss all of my guy friends. Very normal

  • Amber

    I’m homeschooled so this really has not been a problem. But it is good to know what to do.

  • Gabrielle

    Funny, my sister and I were just talking about this topic last night!!

    Well, I hug everybody – girls and guys – but I’m always cautious when hugging guys. First, let me say this, I highly appreciate it when a guy knows how (or was taught how) to properly hug a girl. When hugging those that don’t it’s very weird!!! The only thing for me when it comes to hugging guys is the not knowing what they feel about hugs. It’s kinda like you said – some guys prefer to not hug anyone but their family members and their wife (currently or the future), some don’t know how to hug properly so they don’t do it at all, etc.. For the most part I can kinda tell. I’ve hugged a grown married man and I could tell he was not expecting that. I hugged his wife first then him, but I think he was planning on just giving me a hand shake. Basically, for me, I just need to use discernment and wisdom, because I don’t have a problem with giving guys hugs. I don’t want to make a guy uncomfortable. For me, that’s most likely to happen, instead of the other way around.

    Great post!! 🙂

  • Ruth

    Thank you for posting this issue. I’m in a relationship with a Christian man for almost 5 months. We are in mid-20s and in long distant relationship. He told me he wants to hug me but i refused his request because I feel uncomfy & I afraid he will ask for more physical contact.
    I will share this article with him. Hope he will understand.

  • Fran

    This is a great topic to tackle on because honestly, I think there are a
    lot of girls like me that struggle with this. Before, I was alright
    with hugging guys. I even hugged some guys more than I should, which I
    didn’t really mind before. But after listening to a message about purity
    and getting convicted by God, I made my conviction of not hugging guys.
    Whether the guy is a close friend of mine or just an acquaintance, I
    decided to stop the whole hugging thing. But of course, it’s my own
    conviction. I know of godly women who do hug guys but I know that they
    truly love God. So yeah, that’s my conviction! Tho of course, since I’ve
    been used to hugging guys for so long, sometimes I stumble on the way. I
    forget about my conviction and side-hug a guy really quickly. But God
    reminds me that He won’t zap me just because of my mistake, but instead
    He will help me get back up again and start over. :))) Thanks again
    Paula for this wonderful post! God bless you! :)))

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I know that if I were married, I wouldn’t want women coming up to my man hugging him! lol I never hug guys unless they hug me. The only guys that hug me are usually like older guys from my church or a family member, which I’m okay with. Obviously, being a girl, you have that intuition. There are some guys who I wouldn’t let hug me for anything because you just don’t feel good around them. I have a cousin who always wants to hug me and wants to stand too close and all that. He’s one that I know for a fact has a dirty mind, so I avoid him like the plague! You have to use your common sense with a lot of things.

  • Confused?

    You will not believe how much I needed this.:) My sister and I have been having some “relationship drama” and this has been at the heart of it. I have this guy at my church who likes me very much as a friend and we have just begun giving quick hugs when we say goodbye. No problem right? Well according to my sister( who I will mentain is younger than I), she thinks that we are going to far. So she has gone to my parents and has blowed our friendship way out of proportion. I’m confused as to what to do becuase we’re not doing anything unbiblical, and I’m not doing anything that my parents have said I can’t. I am pretty upset at my sister, because I feel she doesn’t have a right to have an opinion in this situation. She is always threatening me about my guy friend and how she is going to break up our friendship because she hates him and doesn’t think he is the right one for me. (She really hates him.) I don’t understand why. He is a christian and goes to our church, His older sister is marrying our only brother, and his whole family are really good friends of ours. AND HE IS JUST A FRIEND! I feel like even though my parents haven’t talk to me about it yet that I need to talk to this friend and explain to him about my sisters feelings and ask if we just stop hugging for now. But if I give in on this will she demand more of me? Will I have to stop talking to Him, ignore Him, or even end our friendship, just because ‘she’ doesn’t like him? I just want to be the one to talk to him and not my sister or my Dad.

    • phendricks

      Dear Confused,

      Ugh. I’m so sorry.

      I have a couple friends who have modeled for me the importance of seeking to understand in relationships before I seek to be understood. I encourage you to talk to your sister and/or parents before you talk to this guy about it. I’d start by seeking to understand why your sister hates him. I’d also recommend praying lots before and as you have this conversation with her.

      Praying for you now,

      paula

  • Nancy Ketcham

    Not uncomfortable for me at all. I’m a hugger… Always have been. I sometimes have said “I give hugs to get them” one of my children is a hugger too. Reading this made me first think “this is over-thinking” then it caused me thoughts of worry what others might think and I don’t realize. I have been told “I don’t hug” and does not bother me. If your love language is touch. A hug goes a long way especially when your own family doesn’t like hugs.

  • CaralfromSoCal

    I don’t know. This must be the kind of stuff that extroverts worry about. It’s probably why I’m not really a hugger. I hug back, but figure anyone who hugs me is primarily responsible for their own thoughts – since I have no clue what those might be.

  • Hope :)

    This has been super awkward for me. I hugged my boyfriend as a way of showing affection and also when I was feeling down. Hugs cheer me up, whether they’re from my boyfriend or my mom.

    But then there was this dude who basically stalked me — as in, he showed up at my locker and slipped out from the shadows when I came out of a classroom — and he was very pushy and demanding. I tried to send the message that I wasn’t comfortable with physical contact with him, but he either didn’t get it, or was just out to get what he wanted, because one day as I said goodbye and walked away, he literally grabbed my shoulder, yanked me back, and hugged me, as if that was an okay thing to do!! What!?! He disappeared right after that, so that afternoon I texted him that I didn’t want any physical contact at all and I didn’t want him following me around. He backed off after that, but I’ve gotta say, it was kind of terrifying. You never know these days. Since then I’ve been a LOT more cautious about any form of physical contact with boys OR girls, since there are also a lot of bisexual or lesbian people at my school as well.

    The Spirit will always tell you what’s right and wrong. Just listen and be in the Spirit and you can’t go wrong!

    • phendricks

      I’m so sorry that happened, Hope. Proud of you for telling him to back off.

    • Sally

      Good for you girl! Right move!

  • nervous wreck

    I have a cousin that hugs me and he presses and rubs us together when he hugs and it has made me so uncomfortable and I am literately sick the next day because of the disgust that I feel. And he always does it when family is around and I won’t make a scene. And I am dreading anymore family events coming up funerals and etc for the fear of having him make me feel sick. Don’t know what to do.

    • phendricks

      Dear Nervous Wreck,

      Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I am so sorry.

      Tell him never to hug you again. And that if he does, you will tell others what he has been doing. K?

      Let me know when you do,

      paula

      • phendricks

        (That is sexual harassment.)

    • phendricks

      Actually, Nervous Wreck,

      Can I encourage you to do even more than that? Please tell your parents ASAP what he has been doing. You’re likely not the only girl he’s doing this to. I don’t want to scare you, but it is serious.

      Praying for you now. Let me know how it goes,

      paula

    • Sally

      My advice: GET AWAY FROM HIM! Tell him that he’s making you feel uncomfortable! I get that you don’t want to make a scene in front of family, but you need to act on this matter fastly. Tell someone! His parents, your parents or an adult!

    • chloe

      First of all I’m so sorry that your cus is being horrible to you but, you need to tell your parents ASAP! This is sexual harassment! Don’t feel bad telling because if you tell (which you need to now) you are probably helping a lot of other girls he probably has done that to too.

  • clover132

    nice post paula 🙂
    >well, there is one guy really want to hug at church, but i THINK doesn’t know that i like him, so im basically stuck, which is another way of saying that i wont ever have the chance to hug him. I dont know, but i feel like he’s not the kindof guy that will LIKE me hugging him, if you know what i mean. (ive been at this church fr nearly nearly 10yrs) Currently my guardians are thinking about going to another church to visit, and there is HUGE chance of not seeing him again, or EVER hugging him. bottom line: got no idea if he likes me or whether he notices that i like him. what do i do? ugh..

  • painting

    There is a guy that I am friends with and we both like each other. He wants to hug me and i want to hug him. We have side hugged before but it has been for like less than a second and we have given each other like one hug from the front but our shoulders only touched. So should we hug each other or not?

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Paula has asked some great questions to help you discern the answer to your question, painting.

      Is there a guy(s) you want to hug more than others? If so, why?
      2. What message are you hoping to send him with your hug?
      3. Are you purposefully trying to arouse him with your body contact?
      4. Do you hug him just as you would any guy? Like you would your dad or brother?
      5. Would you be ashamed if people could read your thoughts as you hugged him?
      6. Are you hugging him in public or in private? If the latter, what are you trying to
      hide?

      You might also check out these past posts:

      Boyfriends VS. Boy Friends http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=728
      ·
      What Kind of Guy Should You Date?http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=1848
      How far is too far: http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=684·
      The Power of a Kiss: http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=744

      Praying for you today!

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie

      • Ryan

        I think what’s funny is I don’t have a close relationship with my dad or brother. So I rarely hug them unless they are upset and then they need that comfort. Same with my sister and other family members.

        I am close with my mom and my cousin (he’s a guy who is a year or so younger) and we hug when they’re comfortable with it. My cousin isn’t much for physical contact but sometimes he will be like “Yeah, let’s hug today.” Hugs are healing when it is of pure intention. Otherwise there is no force or manipulation or that weirdness. Consent is important and boundaries need to be respected. You can’t make someone give you love or show you love. You can’t make someone hug you.

        As for the questions…For my guy friends.

        1. I want to hug some guys more than others cause we both like hugs and I feel safe with them. It is like hugging a family member or holding an animal in my arms. I don’t have to worry about any romantic of sexual intentions or weirdness. It’s just platonic. Some people make you feel safer and how some people hug makes you feel more cared about.

        2. They are valued, I am thankful for their friendship, I love them (platonically), I trust them, and I am happy to see them or I missed them. If I don’t hug them then it’s cause I feel uncomfortable.

        4. I am 5 ft 1. I am the height of most children at age 11. I know cause of my friend’s younger sister and other kids of her age standing back to back to me at the family parties. I hug with secure arms as a person would hold a baby. I hug them as I would hug them just a little less than I do my mom but more like how I hug my cousin.

        5. Not at all. I am asexual. I have no interest in that way. I have not felt any romantic feeling towards anyone either. I see people as I would see animals. Granted I trust an animal in my personal space. I trust a baby or a child in my personal space. They’re innocent they’re no threat to me. I have no reason to be on guard with them as I do with people older than them. They’d probably just hear “I feel safe. I am happy. Thank you friend.”

        6. I am very PDA. Unless I am in a car and we’re saying good bye in a car. It is a brief hug and I wouldn’t hide the fact from anyone. They’d ask and I’d be like “Yeah, we hugged.” I am always a person to look for a person’s cues or speak my mind and ask them “Did you want a hug or not want one?” I am very blunt. If they wanted one then they can say “Yes.” If not they say “No.” I respect their choice. Cause I know how awful it is to have your space invaded.

        When I am very scared and can’t sleep I think “What would it be like to be held by God or by Jesus?” I feel such warmth in my heart, I feel so safe, and so calm. I think if I ever met Jesus I’d ask if he’d hug me or not. When I hug and when someone hugs me it is an expression of love. From me it’s no different than that of animal. But as I said I trust animals. I’d rather hold a cat or a dog or any animal cause animals just love without any agenda.

    • chloe

      I hug (not side hugs) my guy friends all the time. So yeah you hug that guy but, I don’t think you should hug him if you’re having bad thoughts.

    • Sally

      My opinion on this matter is that it’s totally fine to hug a boy. But, if you are trying to hug in a sexual way that is wrong. On the other hand, if your hugging is just to normally hug as friends who like each other is fine. Hugs are a sign of affection, it’s fine to show affection but not the wrong kind of affection that will lead to other and much more physical contact. To me, he respects you! So tell him your boundaries and he will respect them.

  • Madeline

    This is a very important topic right now and thank you for writing on it. I personally am not really a person who likes to be hugged, except by my family and my best friends( all girls). I know a guy who will put his arm around girls, but in a friendly way. I think that is fine. Sometimes I think guys and girls hug to often and longer than appropriate and that is kinda uncomfortable to the people around them. I don’t like hugging guys much more of a protection for myself(as in being careful not to give my heart away to soon).

  • Jenn

    Most of the people in my church love hugs. All of the people in my family love hugs (and we do kisses on the cheek). We hug people we know, we hug people we meet, we hug everybody. I get lots of hugs from boys and girls alike(I’m tall, and approachable which apparently makes me the prefect target for hugging). It never makes me uncomfortable, but I can see where it would for some people (especially if you are more on the busty side.) I do, however, avoid hugging people I liked, or who liked me It just doesn’t feel right. As for the type of hug, some people give me side hugs some people give front hugs, some bear hugs (those are the best) and some pick me up when they hug me, as long as the hug is with the right intentions and does not make you, or the other person uncomfortable it’s fine.

  • Calypso

    I need some advise. I have this guy friend whom I have known for about 6 years now. From what I have gathered by the way he acts, his major love language is physical touch and in the past year or so, we’ve become pretty close and he’s become a little more, not necessarily physical, but…..you know, trying to hug me a little more and such. Its just, I don’t feel comfortable touching him and I can’t seem to get that through to him. I’ve always been a bit standoffish whenever he tried to hug me or anything. Once, I even punched him, trying to get him to understand. I don’t feel comfortable telling him, cause I think he should know by now (I’ve been trying this method, being a little violent, to prevent him from getting to close to me, both physically and emotionally), but whenever I do something, he looks hurt. The thing is, whenever I touch him, my skin burns like fire and thoughts enter my mind that shouldn’t be there! I’m trying to protect my purity (and his), as well as my mind, but he just doesn’t seem to get it. I just turned 16 and I know that we both still have a LONG ways to go before we can have any type of relationship, so my reasoning is why should I let myself stumble to save his feelings? But is that the right mindset? What should I do?

    • Bookworm1

      That sounds really hard – I feel for you! 🙁 my only advice would be that honesty is good! Maybe you could explain, in a kind, gentle but firm way, that you aren’t comfy with it and you don’t want to shake up your friendship? Perhaps you have a girl friend/older sister who could help or be around as a support while you tell him – just nearby? I honestly don’t know what else you could do but I’m sure there’s some wiser women on here who could help!

      • Calypso

        Thank you for your advise. I’ll try and see how that works. I just don’t want to hurt him! He’s a bit sensitive…..

        • Sam

          Dont let him being sensitive, push you to feel like his needs are more important than your needs ! tell him, or just step a way when i go in for a hug.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Sweet friend, based on what you’ve shared, your friend likely knows well the boundaries you have established. He is simply unwilling to honor them. Appearing hurt in response to your actions serves only to manipulate your thoughts and emotions. His
      actions indicate that his friendship toward you is not based upon purity and a
      desire to honor you, Calypso. Therefore it is not a friendship you want to
      invest yourself in.

      You will not change your friend, Calypso, but God can. Your responsibility is simply to be honest with him and to continue praying for him. Your words of truthfulness will honor the Lord, Calypso.

      Be kind, but firm in letting your friend know you are saddened by the fact that his actions require you to distance yourself from him. Let him know you will pray for him and that you desire for him to grow in understanding the love of God for him.

      Praying for you to have the courage to do the right thing, dear friend.

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie

    • chloe

      i think hugging is fine but if you don’t want to do it I can understand. I have this best friend who is a boy and we hug all the time but I never feel what you feel every time I touch him. I know you’re trying to stay pure (which is so so good) but, I totally think you shouldn’t go violent on him. If you have been friends with him for 6 years I think you should tell him how you feel when hugging him and that’s why you don’t want to hug him. Stay strong I hoped this helped you.

    • Sally

      My personal opinion is that its fine to hug. If the boy or person you are hugging has a wrong mindset of hugging or is trying to get more physical with you, stop. You should tell him how you feel about hugging him, and tell him what your boundaries are with physical contact. Although, if he does still and try to push you around, he clearly doesn’t respect your boundaries. If he pushes you into more and more things continuously, then get away from him. Hope this helped!

      • Jean

        It is not okay.

  • Rebecca

    I didn’t grow up in a very hugging culture. When my family moved, our new church was very huggy. It was uncomfortable, at first, but now I’m very comfortable hugging at church and little kids. Side or front doesn’t matter to me. It is about a family connection.

  • Bookworm1

    As a family we’re not overly hug-y but since going to my youth group (which is Christian) I’ve come to enjoy hugs with my friends, sisters in Christ 🙂 I personally never really hug guys – occasionally a side-hug for one of the kind older (married and wise!) guys at Church but that’s about it. I can’t even remember the last time I hugged my dad or brother to be honest! Yeah, I agree with Rebecca that it’s like a family connection – makes me feel needed and loved and part of my little youth group family! But I’m happy sticking to girl hugs for now and I reckon I’d find it awkward hugging guys… unless I was dating one 😀 thanks for your help on this subject!

  • Sammy J.

    I love hugs : and usually everyone I hug loves them too!

  • mandi

    I think that hugs are fine but ive never hugged anyone but my family,

  • chloe

    what?! I think hugging guys is fine I do it all the time with my friends (who are guys) and you don’t see me sneaking in guys bedrooms and doing the you know what. I think even when you’re in a relationship it’s totally fine but just be careful. I just don’t understand why hugging a guy (without side hugging) is bad. If you’re having a dirty mind I think you need to take a step back.

    • Ryan

      It depends on the person. No matter their gender or sexuality. Everyone knows when it is uncomfortable whether a girl hugged another girl, or a boy hugged another boy, or a girl hugged a boy, or a boy hugged a girl. It doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them either. I don’t focus on where my body is when I hug. I am not thinking of how my chest is touching someone else’s. I am not thinking of my position or the other person’s unless it’s wrong. I am focusing on how it feels emotionally and the other person’s comfort level and mine. Do I feel scared? Do they feel scared? Do they feel comforted after being sad? Do I feel comforted or taken advantage of?

      I am so much like a kid. When I was a kid I hugged everyone cause it was an expression of love. A child has no romantic or sexual feelings or thoughts. They don’t think or know of those things. Their intentions are not impure. Even now I refuse to hug anyone who shows any interest romantic or sexual. My affections are platonic and are for those who are platonic with me. To not let me know that they felt otherwise and tried to get a hug when they are thinking something else. It is a betrayal to me. It disgusts me.

      A hug does many things for a person (mentally, emotionally, physically) in a positive way. Not in any weird way that is impure. Just like we feel relaxed or happy to pet animals and they feel the same way. It’s just love. But some people tarnish it with lust and other things.

      I trust your guy friends are nice. I wouldn’t stop hugging boys. Just I really despise those men or women who take advantage of a hug. Not letting the other party know why they want it or that they feel something else other than friendly feelings.

    • Christian Girl

      I agree with Ryan on this Chloe. But I also see Paula’s view on hugging. When people hug, what are their intentions for the hug? I usually don’t find it a big deal when a guy friend and I hug either, but still, what are the intentions?

  • Valine

    Bloody blooby bloody bullshit

  • Beatrice

    Praise the Lord I had read this prior to last night. This guy tried to hug me and I mean I have some interests too but I wanted to guard my heart about all else because I know that he is not the one that God has prepared for me.

  • Pruscy

    A guy asked me to hug him on his birthday, and it actually felt so nice, and that was my first time. Later on I started having some bad feelings cos I am a Christian and he asked if I enjoyed the hug. I see him just as a friend but I was confused. Thanks to your blog which made me realize that I was lying to myself. Thanks

  • Jean blue and gold, wildcat fa

    You males and male supporters can call me a prude, man hater, or what you wish. I do not care. As long as the females on the Earth have breasts, it is not okay for her to front mash up hug. That should be taught to girls at a very young age. And I don’t care if it hurt her dad, brother, grandpa, male, preacher, or any other males.

    Please allows girl to make her own decision with how she hugs. A grown man should never try to hug a female. Wait for her to decide this. Do side hugs.
    Side hugs are to be used unless you are in a relationship with the male person .

  • Sienna

    I know this is an old post, but … I need a little help. Physical touch/affection is one of my top love languages, and the fact that my family doesn’t hug much makes me want it more. I am more than comfortable hugging my very close friends (all girls), but because I live in the south, everyone in my church thinks that hugs are the typical hello and good-bye response … including the men at church. There’s this one older man (in his late 60s and married) who not only hugs me, but he will tilt his head down (he’s tall) and kiss me on the top of my head or forehead. The first time it happened, I just kind of froze cause I’d never been kissed before. I don’t think he’s got impure intentions because it’s usually pretty quick and then he lets go, and I’ve seen him do it to the other young single teens and ladies … but I can’t stand it. Even a quick embrace from him sends chills down my spine, and when he kisses me … call me crazy, but I feel like my body wants to rush into a panic attack (which I’ve had issues with in the past for other reasons) … I think it would happen if he were to hold me much longer than he does. He seems so genuinely loving and friendly … people call him the Church Grandpa … and I don’t want to hurt his feelings … but when I see him coming during the Greeting time, I literally start to tremble slightly.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Sienna, I’m glad you’ve taken the time to write and I’m sorry for the hard stuff you’ve experienced as a result of this man’s actions.

      Though I understand and appreciate your desire not to hurt this man’s feelings—I want you to know, Sienna, that it is good and right and necessary for you to let your mom or dad know that you’re uncomfortable with this man’s “greetings”. Ask them to intervene—they will know best how to communicate to him the need to greet young women verbally or with a hand-shake. If for some reason you’re unable to share this with your parents, please talk to the pastor or his wife and let them know.

      Sienna, please also know, that you would not be acting disrespectfully to simply extend your hand to him in greeting–should he attempt to engage with you again. Once your parents have spoken with him—the hugging should stop. If it doesn’t please make your parents aware of that so they can talk with those in leadership at your church.

      You are right to not allow this to continue, Sienna. I’m so proud of you for taking a step to address this issue. You are doing the right thing, friend.

      Praying for you tonight.
      Carrie

      • Sienna

        Thanks for the encouragement. I finally got the guts to talk to my parents and they talked to him about it but he didn’t stop and the last time he did it I felt so uncomfortable that I got sick and had to leave church. We talked to our pastor and he said he’d handle it. I ultimately ended up getting him in pretty big trouble. I know mentally that I did the “right thing,” but I feel awful about it. I’m glad though that the hugging and kissing has stopped so thanks for the help!!

        • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

          I’m so proud of you, Sienna. I know that took a great deal of courage. You did the right thing, friend. So glad your parents and pastor took the necessary steps not only to protect you ( and others), but also to help this man realize his need for help.

          Can I suggest one more thing as you move forward, Sienna? After we’ve stepped out in faith by doing the right thing, the enemy often tries to accuse, slander, shame, or stir fear in us.

          If that happens, realize the enemy is trying to wreak havoc in your mind. Cry out to Jesus to help you stand strong against the enemy’s assault and then begin to pray for the salvation / sanctification of that man.

          It’s amazing how quickly the enemy’s accusations, fears, etc. will cease when you use them as a prompt to pray for God’s work in the life of the one who offended you.

          Thanks for letting me know how things turned out, Sienna. Praying for you today!

          Grace and peace,
          Carrie

        • Avi yah

          Hello Sienna, so glad to hear that you took a stand against this improper treatment of yours. I know how it feels when somebody seems all pure and with no bad intentions, but trust your guts. And that is what you did. Even if someone does it with no bad intentions, he has to respect your personal space, and in this case your personal boundaries were probably (just probably) different from the other young women in the church, and it’s not so much about how he feels about it, if it’s uncomfortable for you, you have to make it clear. I really appreciate you stood up for yourself, for what was right, and I wish that more women will follow your example.
          And btw. the fact that he just ignored your will in this, is clearly showing, that he did not esteem you higher than himself, as we ought to do as christians. I think that just by this continued breaking of your boundaries, he got himself in big trouble, and that is what he deserves.
          Also I want you to know that people need to experience trouble, to grow. If you just want them to feel good, they might feel good for a moment, but it will not serve them in the long run, and on whose cost? On yours?
          Blessings and virtual hugs to you. <3

  • TejanoProud

    Yeah, I love hugs too, and have always hugged my family, upon greeting them. But a few years ago, my sister started dating this guy that wanted to hug me and then wanted a massage and just went farther than I was comfortable with. She left him, she has gone back and forth with him several times, but last new year’s eve, he got in my face, while he was drunk, again she left him, now she’s back with him and wants to have a father’s day get together at “their house”. I can’t be there, yet my other brothers and sisters, think its okay to be around him. I just worry, that my grandkids and other young children around him, he will get comfortable with them and while he’s drunk, go too far. They do not have kids together, but because he has money, she keeps going back to him. I just can’t bring myself to go there…

    • Beryl

      Many people get angry when a woman tells she doesn’t like men to hug her since she feels awkward. Nobody has the right to tell a woman or girl how to feel when they are hugged. Ewww. I hate hugging men who are not my boyfriend.

  • Thalia

    I have a guy friend with whom lately I’ve been developing a really close friendship. But thing is that we always text as we live quite far from one another and when I see him its always with a large group of friends. So when we meet he may not notice me at first or he may be sat with some people or others may run to hug me so I’m never sure if it’s appropriate for a hug. No one knows we’ve become such close friends so we obviously wouldn’t pull each other in a hug if no one else is hugging. We have yet to hug and I’m not sure if he’s comfortable with one considering he has a girlfriend. What should I do?

    • Dear Thalia,

      Considering that he has a girlfriend, I wouldn’t encourage you to hug him or to develop a close friendship with him through texting. I can’t imagine his girlfriend would be comfortable with that.

      My opinion, FWIW,

      paula

    • Ryan

      I think it would be wise to keep the girlfriend in the loop and introduce yourself to his girlfriend so she knows who you are and ask her how she’d feel about it. You don’t want to upset the relationship accidentally in case she’s not comfortable with that. Some people don’t like their girl or boy friends sharing affection with others especially of the gender they have attraction for…. If your feelings to him are platonic and he feels the same with you as if you were like close cousins or siblings then it would be fine. It’s good to let the girlfriend know you. Unless you friendship started before this girlfriend she should understand that if you wanted to get with him you’d have done so.

      Just try to reassure his girlfriend and talk to him about it. They should both let you know what they don’t like the other doing. Maybe he doesn’t like her hugging other boys than him so she tells him not to hug other girls either or vice versa.

  • Avi yah

    I’m not trying to be the special snowflake, haha, but I don’t even like shaking hands with strangers / some people. I think because I’m so sensitive to the “vibes” they transmit, and occasionally these are quite ugly vibes.

  • Little John

    Some hugs are inappropriate, yes, we hate to tell the truth. The ones where girls are told she has to obey an adult male and hug him so she won’t offend him. This is a concern in our house. One of our daughters, the younger, refused to hug men. The one where the girl reaches her arms up high around the adult male’s shoulders and he leans into the inner area cradled under her shoulders and is pressed awkwardly into her chest.
    That is inappropriate. My wife and I have instructed our daughters to not hug that way. It’s further taught in circle class for all children, particularly the girls. Whether we are willing to admit it if not, there are people who are inappropriate with our kids.

  • Macayla Bycroft

    I know this is old, but I’m hoping someone sees it…. because I really need advice.
    Physical touch is definitely my love language. I give people hugs so often it doesn’t really bother me. Girls, and guys. If someone is having a rough day, I will give them a hug, but I’ve been in a little pickle lately.
    This guy I’ve liked for a while and I have been texting lately and he told me I owe him a hug (its a bit of a inside joke but I don’t want to explain all that haha) and so now he keeps telling me next time I see him I should give him a hug and it’s not that I would mind giving him a hug, bc I would give ANYONE a hug, but the fact that he is legit ASKING for one?? I don’t know where I’m going with this but any insight or advice, anything would be great.
    Thank you to everyone who may have read this!!

    • Ryan

      Some people are more straightforward. If you don’t want to hug him then reject him. He’s making it seem uncomfortable that way and let him know. If he’s a friend it’s easier. If you want have a friend with you to make you feel more comfortable or safer. I would ask a person in person that I knew well if I was sad if I could get a hug but with the disclaimer you don’t have to if you don’t want to or not comfortable. You don’t owe me that at all. It’s your body and your choice. Cause it’s a hug is two person thing. It’s about how both parties feel.

      I had an uncomfortable experience with a guy that earlier that day when I said goodbye he gave the cue that he did want a hug so I just did it and I was like this okay. But later today he had come swimming with my friends and I. He didn’t speak with them and just me. Then when I told him goodbye after swimming he followed me and my friend almost to her car. So I stopped and gave him what he wanted so he’d damn well leave which was a hug. I felt so disgusted with myself. It wasn’t a pure hug. I have no interest in people beyond platonic (friendship) and made it clear I had no interest. It makes me really dislike men in general. I told him earlier many stories of guys forcing contact with me and how it made me feel. For him to know that then follow me until I gave him a hug…Like I said good bye. You don’t follow me. I don’t think guys understand how scary or creepy they come off.

      It was uncomfortable to have that physical contact demanded. I like hugs but only when I and the other person feels like it. I don’t owe people my affection or into my personal bubble. I didn’t start anything (I just wanted to go home) cause we’re both girls and I was uncomfortable and scared. My friend was scared as well…

      It’s funny cause earlier this week I hugged a guy friend and it was fine. There was nothing weird about it. He always says “my friend” to me and I am happy cause I feel the same. I feel safe. I don’t have to worry about romantic or sexual weirdness.

    • Cristi @ Revive Our Hearts

      Thanks, Macayla, for commenting and for seeking out some help! Some of these situations can be a little tricky, but I know the Lord will give you wisdom if you ask Him. As you seek out how the Lord would want you to interact with this friend and other guys/men, maybe ask yourself, “What is the best thing I could do to fight for purity within my own heart and help guard the heart of my friend and other guys’ around me?” Proverbs speaks often about seeking wisdom and in chapter 4 says, “keep your heart with all vigilance” and “ponder the path of your feet.” Since physical touch is extra meaningful and important to you, it would be wise to allow God to search your heart and examine your motives when you offer guys a hug.

      The Lord will give you wisdom for this situation with your friend and in other interactions. If you ever feel uncomfortable, please keep in mind that you can always offer a friendly handshake or turn and give a side-hug instead. Thanks for wanting to treat guys with purity, my friend!

      Praying for you now. 🙂

      • Macayla Bycroft

        Thank you! He brought it up again the other day. He said something along the lines of “do you want to hug me” and I was like “well I just like giving people hugs” and he said “well I don’t want you to feel like you have to if it won’t be enjoyable for you bc I don’t want to ever make you do something that won’t be fun or enjoyable for you” so of course I answered “if I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t agree with it”. I’m not sure if I should be thankful he doesn’t want to make me orrrrr??? Honestly I don’t know… When giving hugs my motive is usually they look like they really need one. If I just give him a hug because he wants one am I being too easy? I don’t want him to think that just bc he wanted a hug he should get one but I also don’t want him thinking I don’t want to hug him at all because- to be completely honest with you Cristi@ReviveOurHearts – I really want to hug him… But I also don’t want to cause my fellow brother in Christ to stumble!! And I don’t want to lead him on either, because I’m not allowed to date. Thank you for your prayers 🙂

        • Cristi @ Revive Our Hearts

          Thanks for the update, Macayla. It sounds like you have been having some doubts and hesitations—along with mixed emotions and personal desires.

          When in doubt, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution, my friend.

          Ask the Lord to help you honestly consider these questions: What harm or consequences could result from not hugging this friend? What harm or consequences might result from continuing to hug him?

          I’ll pray that the Lord shows you the best and wisest way to interact with your friend. 🙂

          • Macayla Bycroft

            Yes I’ve been really trying to listen to God through this. I think I’ve decided that it would be okay to give him a “hey haven’t seen you in a while” hug or a “well we are parting ways now” hug but I don’t think it’s needed to do it every time. We really only see each other a few times a year so hopefully it will be okay. Thank you!!

  • Leah Sykes

    I know this is slightly off-topic, but what are your thoughts about girls getting examinations from male gynecologists?

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Thanks for your question, Leah Sykes.

      It’s important to find a gynecologist you trust—one with whom you’re personally comfortable.

      It can be helpful to ask your mom or other trusted women for their personal recommendations in this area.

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie

  • Christian Girl

    I know this post is over a year old but it was very helpful since I was wondering if it was okay to let guy friends hug me

  • Hanna Mayor

    Thank you so much for this post! i am that type of girl who hugs everyone, even guys, because i am too friendly, i don’t know if this is right because in my heart, i hug them because i see them as my brother (because they also treat me as their sister) so is it okay if i will stay like this? everyone knows me as someone who hugs everyone i know because that is my way of showing them that i love them.

    • Dear Hanna,

      There’s nothing specific in God’s Word that tells us not to hug; there’s more broad admonition to treat guys and girls with all purity. I’d encourage you to pray about this and maybe ask an older, godly woman who sees your interactions on a regular basis what she thinks. Then, consider her thoughts to see if they are wise.

      May the Lord lead you,

      paula

  • Cella Euell

    Thank you for this post. There’s a single minister at my church that watches me closely. My family and friend noticed his behavior also. A year ago, he was pursuing me but abruptly stopped. He even sat with me during a church concert. Now, he just speaks nicely and stares.
    He is very friendly with other ladies and greet many with a hug. However, he doesn’t hug me but extends his hand for a handshake. He simply gives me a big smile. Why?

    • I have no idea why, Celia, but experience has taught me that it’s best not to read into those things/seek answers. If he tells you to your face that he’s interested, you’ll know. Otherwise, I’d encourage you to not let his behavior consume your thoughts. Blessings!

      • Cella Euell

        Thank you so much for your quick response. We are both senior people. I have never dated but I was married for many years. I have been single a very long time now. Last year this man approached me and even sat with me without asking first
        He suddenly backed off. My pastor knows my history and we are very close. Should I just ignore this man completely, as in avoid him
        Thanks again for your good advice
        Btw. How do I change my user name

        • Hi, ClassAct725,

          No, I’m not suggesting you ask if he has an interest. I’m saying that you’ll know if he has an interest if and when he tells you that he does.

          I hope that helps,

          paula