How to Interpret an End-of-Date Hug. Some Signs You Should Consider

NOV 30, 2022 AT 06:26 AM


Dating etiquette can be very confusing, even for the experienced. It’s obvious to both parties whether a date is going well. You have found it easy to talk to each other and the time spent together goes by quickly and neither of you found the need for a 'reason' to leave halfway through.

You talk about spending more time together. The end of the date finally comes, and whether he is dropping you off at home or you are in the car park saying goodbye, does it matter whether you shake hands, hug, or kiss?

A handshake or the more intimate hand kiss, not practiced much these days, can be interpreted as a polite but friendly farewell. The kiss, on the other hand, is an intentional sign of romantic interest. But what about the hug?


Let’s look at the meaning of 'hug' before we go into the intricacies of what it means in a relational sense. Oxford Languages defines it as “an act of holding someone tightly in one's arms typically to express affection.'

Other than the physical act itself, the emotional meaning here is 'affection'. This poses another question. Is it friendly affection or romantic affection?


On a first date, a hug can be interpreted as either. If you have had a fun time and have developed a connection, a hug at the end of the date is quite probable, especially if another physical contact has been made.

A touch of the hand on an arm or shoulder, the brush of a hand on a knee, or swiping the hair out of her face. All these gestures are signs of affection. Not to forget, however, that the player, whose one aim is to get his date into bed, may also use these signs of affection, even though his heart is not into it.

Friend Zone

This phrase is most popular these days and rightly so. It is a lovely two-word explanation of when a man and woman or boy and girl, are great friends without the romantic side to the relationship. A friendly affectionate hug is also appropriate within this type of friendship, just as it is between members of the same gender or with family.

For the person that has more romantic feelings, this can be a blow to the ego or a knife in the heart. You cannot make someone love you (unless you can conjure up a love potion). In the real world though it is better to have someone in your life as a great friend than to constantly hold a torch for them and feel miserable when the feelings are not returned. 

This does not answer our question of how to interpret an end-of-date hug though. 

Type of Hug

I asked a young friend in her twenties, how she can distinguish what a hug means at the end of a date, and this is what she said. It all depends on how much body contact is made and how long the hug is. If it is a polite hug, where only the top half of the body and arms are involved, and it is brief, that’s a friendly hug. If, however, he uses his whole body and holds you tightly for a while, this is the hug of romantic intent. 

The longer, tighter hug also means that your bodies are close enough for the hug to lead to a kiss. The kiss of course is a sign that you are on the path to something more intimate, whether on that same occasion or into the future.

In fact, it may be the start of a ‘make-out' session. This is the subject of another article, but suffice it to say, one does not make out with someone you don’t like or consider to be in the friend zone.

Timing is Everything

Another key factor to consider is the timing of the hug. Does he give you a hug the moment you are about to part ways or after some conversation and discussion of seeing each other again? If he hugs you and tries to make his escape as quickly as possible, that says it all.

Although, if he is a shy guy, it might be that he is not particularly comfortable with displays of affection. You should be able to gauge the difference though. If he spends time chatting with you, asking questions about your plans for the following week, taking every opportunity to touch you, and then hugs you with a warm ‘body’ hug, rest assured, he is into you. 

Physical Touch as a Love Language

The love languages, acts of service, words of affirmation, gift giving, and physical touch are also something to consider when interpreting a hug. Some people are naturally affectionate. A hug does not mean anything other than that they want to show that they care about you.

If your date has not given up an opportunity to touch you and you feel uncomfortable with physical touch, you will either automatically recoil or not react to physical touch or respond in kind. A physically touched person may respond to your discomfort by being less ‘touchy-feely’ to make you feel more comfortable in their presence.

If your date started out touching you and by the end of the evening gave you a noticeably short, chaste hug, it may be because you have given the signal that you are not a hugger.

Pat or Stroke

Another thing to consider is the pat or stroke scenario. When he puts his arms around you to give you a hug, does he pat your back? This can also signify whether he sees you as a friend or something more.

When you see two men hugging, inevitably they will give each other a good thump on the back. Being a woman, a man does not want to hurt or wind you, so the thump becomes a pat and you are a friend.

If, however, he strokes your back briefly while his arms are around you, you can take it that he cares about you and wants to take care of you. He is thinking about other parts of your body he would like to stroke as well. 

Final words

A hug is a physical sign of affection. Different hugs, the length of the hug, and which body parts touch during the hug are all tell-tale signs of how he feels about you. But as with everything in life and especially relationships, this is not an exact science. It is best to use your intuition. How did his hug feel? Was it a bit distant and too polite, or did he give something of himself?

If you are still in doubt, wait and see. A guy that is into you will not take long to contact you again to arrange another date. If you don’t hear from him again, never mind, there a plenty more fish in the sea.