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Do Friends Hug?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Is it true that there should be no normal physical contact (hugging, ect) between a male and his female friend? I have a female friend whom with I have been friends with for about 8 years. We are best friends basically, but when we get around each other it is like we never ever touch. Not intentionally or anything. I do like her and want to be with her because seems like it’s only natural that I would develop feelings for her, right? But even though she may not view me in that manner, isn’t 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 does not want to ruin the friendship?

Do Friends Hug?

Answered by on -


With the little information you’ve provided it is really difficult to determine what she might be 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, the intention with which you give a person a 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 each other, or engage in sexual relations (I guess unless it is a “friends with benefits,” situation, 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. She may also sense this and not want to encourage this scenario to play out. Though it’s hard to know what her feelings might be.

You may also believe that you and she are more than friends. You seem to have some expectation about her behavior. The proof of this 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.

Do Friends Hug?

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 18, 2009.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Do Friends Hug?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Jun 2019 (Originally: 18 May 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 20 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.