How Men Hug Other Men

Being a man requires that one understand and follow certain rules. The rules are unwritten, barely spoken of, universally recognized and strictly enforced.

Because the guy rules are not written, they are simple and easy to relate. There is one guy rule that is more complex than others. That is because it is not so much a rule, but a set of rules governing hugging other guys.

Hug Steve

Likely wrong. (Photo credit: basykes)

The rules governing how men hug one another are complex and unforgiving. Failing to comply exposes the violator to scorn on the level he might receive for initiating conversation at the urinal, a major transgression of guy code. In order to make sure any of my brethren who were improperly mentored gain an understanding of the hug rules, I am going to explain them. This should also help my female readers to understand what they see when men have to hug one another.

The Rules Of Engagement

Hug Steve

Wrong. There is not an exception for pirates. (Photo credit: basykes)

Hugging implies an established level of familiarity. Unless there is a bond of close friendship, a family relationship or a confirmed, shared experience, a man is in a no hug situation. To do otherwise is a major violation of the rules.

Men hug other men using one arm. Two arms create an uncomfortable level of intimacy. One arm makes the point of a hug. The common technique for accomplishing this is the handshake/hug. The handshake/hug takes one hand out of the equation and prevents accidental two arm hug situations.

Two arms are for hugging people who are not men.

A two arm hug exception. Generally it is not acceptable for men to hug with two arms. Exceptions are made for fathers and sons, very close friends and all men who are attending a funeral. If the exception is in play, gentlemen must be in full compliance with all other rules.

Patting the back.  Men always pat backs when they hug other guys. This is not optional. Resting a hand on the back of another man is unacceptable.

Hug Steve

Very wrong(Photo credit: basykes)

Make it quick. Get in, get out, move on.

Talk. Men who find themselves in a hugging situation should and will talk during the hug. This is not the place for detailed conversation. A quick phrase – “sorry for your loss,” “great game” or “been a long time” – fulfills the talk requirement and keeps the hug brief. Phrase delivered? Get out, move on.

What Are The Implications For Women?

By following these rules, men manage what can be uncomfortable transactions with their peers. The remarkable thing about the rules is that they do manage effectively, without being actually spoken.

The rules have no effect on our transactions with women, nor do they require women to act similarly odd.Please note that though I am referring to these rules as odd, I have respect for them. I am always in compliance with the rules, always.

Women should feel free to keep the rules in mind in observing men in our natural environment. Please, respect the rules and use the knowledge I’ve passed on for entertainment only.



34 Comments on “How Men Hug Other Men”

  1. Some years ago I hugged a male colleague. I don’t recall why. Stop looking at me like that. It was legit.

    Anyway….as I was saying, I hugged a male colleague, a tough guy sort. After the hug, when we had returned to our pre-hug positions, he led in to another hug, which made me uncomfortable, but I sensed there was some guy rule going on, so I complied. During round two, he whispered in my ear, “Don’t ever pat my on the back while you’re hugging me.”

    I thought he might be kidding but I wasn’t sure. Now I wonder if I inadvertently broke a male-female hug rule..

    Was my back patting inappropriate due to my gender?

  2. List of X says:

    Do you know if patting the back evolved from backstabbing motion, or did it originate from handling babies?

  3. Laura says:

    Okay, so you are supposed to talk when you hug, but you’re not supposed to talk at the urinal — what about when you hug at the urinal? Or is that yet another rule?

  4. Ridiculous rules evolve from testosterone poison?

  5. planetross says:

    The men I hug are in a very limited group: family and close friends. I think my hugging men circle hasn’t expanded since I was 24 years old.
    If I live long enough, I’ll have no men to hug. … that will be a sad day.

  6. Betty says:

    Thank you for the enlightenment. You know from my last post that I’m having a hard time figuring out the male thought process. So now I understand maybe 3% of the male brain. Only 97% left to go.

  7. Debbie says:

    Very eye-opening, Oma. I’ve watched Domer and his guy buddies give that brief man-hug when new school years begin in August, and I’ve contrasted that with the girls who squeal and hug their girl friends. Interesting observations. I imagine aliens would say, “Strange customs these humans have!”

  8. I just feel so bad for your being so constricted. Well, I guess you can still hug women in a normal way. And you can signal your closeness to a friend by hugging him with two arms. The anthropologist in me says not to judge and just realize that this is how it works in your culture.

    • lbwoodgate says:

      “I just feel so bad for your being so constricted. Well, I guess you can still hug women in a normal way.”

      I agree. None of that macho stuff when it comes to hugging women. Lengthy hugs are ok. Placement of hands below the middle of the back and caressing though are signals that will get your significant other to poison your drink.

  9. robincoyle says:

    Rules for hugs, rules for urinals, rules for secret handshakes, rules against asking for directions, rules for scratching and spitting . . . gosh, how do you keep it all straight?

  10. It’s like observing a whole different species.

  11. 1. What about kissing? I often kiss my girlfriends and sometimes lips touch.
    2. I have observed that Hot Joe often spits when he is around his friends, and occasionally touches his privates. Can you explain this behavior? I’ve heard tell he passes gas at work. He’s never done that at home!!!!

  12. Wait…I’m still on the “not talking while at the urinal” point. You mean men don’t do that? It’s a whole other world in the ladies’ room…

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