I wanted to start a discussion specifically about hugs and how they're viewed and utilized (or not utilized) by the modern man.
Personally, I shy away from real hugs with almost everyone except my mother on occasion and a girlfriend if I have one. I rarely hug my father or brother and never my best male friends (of which there are two). Of course I do the one armed thing with guys as a greeting sometimes if the situation calls for it. But beyond that I don't ask for hugs, though I will give them out if someone needs one (specifically a girl...). I have hugged my best friend once when we left for college for the first time. It was quite awkward and was fast; not a 'true' hug.
I guess I shy away from hugs because I fear I'll be perceived as weak and unable to handle myself emotionally if I'm always reaching out for them. However, I'd love to get more hugs than I'm getting now, which is about 0 on any given day, but I don't want to ask anyone, a guy or girl, for a hug. I guess there's a stigma attached to guys always getting hugs- but is that stigma justified or not?
So what do you guys do about hugs? Do you ever reach out for them? Or do you ignore hugs until the situation calls for it- be it comforting a girl, expressing affection in a relationship, or hugging a family member?
Should guys continue to shy away from hugs or should we embrace them? (Pun fully intended) What is the manly thing to do? How should men handle hugs?
I only hug people on 4 occasions; When they are family, when they are upset (I've never hugged an upset guy, before anyone asks, its more for my very few lady friends), when they are my girlfriend or when I haven't seen them in a long time.
I tend to greet guys with a handshake and women that I know well with a hug, anyone else I tend to refer to an 'on the spot' kind of thing, like, I'm not going to hug a bloke thats carrying something just because I can't shake his hand...
I'm with David on this one. When they're family, in times of crisis and comfort, when they're girlfriends, or if I haven't seem them in a long time. I'll give a guy a hug if I haven't seen him or aren't going to see him in a long time. It's usually one of those quick hug + pat on the back combinations with guys. There's nothing wrong with man hugs. Sometimes you just gotta do it. Got a buddy shipping off for the army? Give him a hug. You might not ever get another chance. I'll happily put some man pride aside for that.
I initiate hugs with female family members, that's it.
Anyone outside of that has to initiate one, male or female. I'll return it, usually quite clumsily. A good lady friend of my wife always makes fun of my hugs, so even though I like her, I dread greeting her because of that; somehow that fact hurts.
Moms deserve heartfelt hugs and being told how much you love them as often as possible... They thrive on this... They will always have a special affection for their male kids, and to express your gratitude reassures them that they have successfully raised their boy into manhood...
Growing up, my family didn't hug each other... male or female... that always made me feel like I was missing out on something when I would see other families express affection for one another... So in College, during my hippie days, I made it a point to be the one to initiate real hugs with my guy friends upon greeting and departing, (unless the situation was uncalled for)... with the intention of trying to break the social stigma that men don't hug... and out of respect, I would wait for a woman to initiate the hug, which was also common in greeting & departing, unless it was someone I just met...
Nowadays, I live in a different subculture which is more "conservative"... I don't hug women at all, unless she is an old friend I haven't seen for years... And I do the hand shake when doing the usual greeting & departing with men... I do still initiate the back-slap hug with my male friends after having an argument; it changes their whole disposition, and neutralizes any lingering hard feelings... and I reserve the "3 second hug" for ending a heartfelt conversation or joyous occasion...
During my hippie days, when hugs were nearly obligatory, there were some guys who wanted to hug, but I would avoid them... not out of meanness or anything, just that they had creepy energy... they weren't trying to give a hug, but take one... they had either a neediness that was clingy, or they had some sort of energetic vampirism about them that left me feeling drained afterwards...
There are some guys who also had a sexual energy about them whether they were hugging men or women, that made others feel awkward... & they lacked healthy boundaries with personal space or physical touch... sometimes they would do inappropriate things just to get a reaction out of other folks, invading my sovereignty by tickling me or pinching my butt... it made me feel violated, & when I would tell them how they made me feel, they could not bring themselves to apologize, but would laugh it off or say I was overreacting, in order to justify their behavior... now that I am older, I can discern their spirit from a distance and avoid them like a leper...
Back in college, I remember talking to a girl who said she didn't like this one guy. I asked her why and she told me "he runs me the wrong way". When I asked her what she meant, she literally meant he rubbed her the wrong way. He would always go for a hug, even if he just met you. When he was hugging you, he would rub your back. If you want to creep people out, go with that.
Another guy who does hugs wrong goes to our church. I'm pretty sure he's got a thing for my wife because whenever he sees her, he goes for a hug. He tries to hug her where mostly her boobs will press up against him. I should knock him on his ass every time he goes for it, but that wouldn't look too good during the sign of peace during mass. Instead we just avoid him.
Ya get 'em or ya give 'em. This is one of those things where the semantics and the cultural norms get in the way.
In the U.S., hugging or embracing other men is restricted to relatives and intimate circles. This is because American social norms tend originate with the more reserved British and German social practices, thus the hadnshake instead of the embrace.
It also depends upon your family background. My family rarely embraces. My wife's family are "hugging fools" once they know you.
I hug my chosen family, male or female when we have not seen each other in a long time or when we are saying good by.
A hug is less formal and more warm then a handshake. It is about love, the love between close friends and family.
I used to be very huggy. Not now. In touchy-feely New Age environments, I have seen people feel hurt because I wasn't willing to get that close. I don't blame them; I should be more flexible.
A hug is some thing quick like a 1-2 second embrace. any more than that and you're in cuddle territory. which is fine if its a female or you've had a few beers and a long lost friend walks in the room.
Growing up as a youngster i came from a family environment that didn't hug very often if at all except when my dad's sisters' families came to see us. I was starved for physical affection but never realized it. I never blamed my parents since I knew they loved me but they didn't have experience in physical affection for many reasons. When I grew up and married, I realized that one of my "love languages" is physical touch. My wife's physical affection apart from our sexual touch was restorative to me and filled a vast void of need. I decided early on that I would begin to express my love for parents and siblings and friends with an affectionate embrace as part of my deep love for them. My embrace is genuine, healthy, and appropriate. Over the years, especially with family, my initiative to embrace added a wonderful dimension to our extended family life that became the norm instead of the exception.This was, indeed, a benefit to all of us.
I have a lot of very good male friends, and we are all comfortable with physical expression of our affection for each other. I t is always appropriate and bonds us as brothers. I am very thankful for that.
In regard to our good friends who are female, there is always an appropriate expression without the embrace being perceived as sexual. The embrace is always in public view so as not to be misunderstood or to be a temptation to either party.
I'm glad to say that our children who are all adults and with their own children have followed our lead and give and receive physical affection with an ease that is natural and beautiful.
Personally I will do hugs for the wife and a female friend/relative in distress. When someone outside those limited exceptions initiates a hug I don't reciprocate and it's very awkward.