Though they can be considered succinct ways to show affection, hugs are not always a straightforward gesture. If you enjoy giving a good hug, you will benefit from learning the differences between the friendly and romantic versions of this basic gesture. When you're clear on what differences signal each type, you can make sure you're expressing the type of affection you are intending.

Keeping It Friendly, or Not

The likelihood of misinterpretation when it comes to nonverbal actions is high, according to behavioral scientist Kory Floyd in “Communicating Affection: Interpersonal Behavior and Social Context.” However, there are several takes on hugging that commonly convey friendship or comfort rather than romance. You might give your boyfriend a lingering hug that involves spooning or other full-body contact. Among friends, though, hugs that involve only the upper body or full-body hugs that are quick and involve a few pats on the other person's shoulder are more typical, according to the nonprofit website, Changing Minds.