Do Friends Hug?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

No normal physical contact (hugging, ect) between male and female friend? I have a female friend whom with which ive been friends with for about 8 years. We are best friends basically, but when we get around eachother its like we never ever touch. Not haphazardly or anything. I do like her and want to be with her because its only natural that I would develop feelings right? But even though she may not view me in that manner, isnt it normal for friends to at least hug? We have never hugged , or shared small physical contact (touching of the shoulder, ect.) Is this normal for close male and female friends? Or is this because our fear of sexual arousal? Could it be a sign that she might be interested in me as well but doesnt want to ruin the friendship?

A. With the little information you’ve provided it’s difficult to determine what she’s feeling towards you. We know that she does not hug you. At least we know that she finds it uncomfortable or thinks that it would be inappropriate. The fact that she does not hug you may mean many things. It may mean that she believes that the two of you are simply friends. Whether or not friends hug is completely dependent on the nature of the relationship. There really are no “normal” characteristics of friendship with regard to physical contact, with a few exceptions. Generally, friends do not usually sit on each other’s lap, kiss or have sex (I guess unless it’s “friends with benefits,” but that’s a whole different topic).

What may be going on is that you are attracted to her and are remaining a “friend” hoping that it becomes something more. If that is what you are doing then I wonder if you really are a “friend” or pretending to be one just to be close to her.

You may also believe that you and she are more than friends. You seem to have some expectation about her behavior. The proof may be that her non-hugging behavior disappoints you.

There is only one way to know for certain how she feels about you. Ask her. If you like her then you should tell her. Trying to interpret her behavior (or lack thereof) is nearly impossible and an inefficient use of your time. I’d recommend that you be honest with her about how you feel and when you do, you’ll be closer to the clarity you’ve been wishing for.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 May 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Do Friends Hug?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/18/do-friends-hug/