What His Hug Says


There is no way August is just passing me by without a post on my favourite spot. The following post is inspired by true events.

Having gone through a class on human communication in the first semester of my fourth year in campus, I decided to decipher the messages conveyed through body language by youthful Kenyans. As usual, I am talking about men here. I love men. They are my number one inspiration to write. Plus they are an easier target for my generalizations. Girls, this is what that guy is saying when he greets you; what his hug means (if he actually gives you one).

He shakes your hand

He plays very safe this one. He does not want to appear forward or informal. He is the type that won’t even hug his mother. He respects personal space and will even stand quite a distance from you. He is basically telling you that you are in his radar and he may even hug you some day once he is comfortable enough with you. If the handshake does not advance to a hug even after you have known each other a long time and interacted in very informal situations, girl, you are now a sister from another mother. Embrace the title (no pun intended).

I used to believe every guy should be like this a few years back. Then it hit me that life is not a football game where you shake hands before a match.

Ignore all these if the guy happens to be Muslim. Muslim men do not (okay, should not) hug women who are not relatives.

He hugs you with one arm

He is scared of you. He has heard or got the impression that you are very hostile towards guys who are even remotely disrespectful of you. He would shake your hand, but he still needs you to feel that you are not in his friend zone. Alternatively, he is the shy kind. Very vocal online but recoils like a chameleon’s tongue when in the real world.

The one-arm hug is also given at a distance and fast, such that you are not sure there was any contact save for his palm on your back. It makes you think that maybe you are the one who positioned yourself for a hug yet it was not really on his mind to give it. Awkward! Now you can feel guilty for throwing yourself at him.

If he continually hugs you this way, ignore the above. He just doesn’t know how to give a warm hug.

He sweeps you off your feet

If females have drama queens, this guy falls in the drama kings category. Immediately he spots you, he will come at you with as much noise and fanfare as possible then grab you (despite all your efforts to resist), lift you off the floor and proceed to do a full 360-degree rotation. Meanwhile, you’re dangling your feet in the air like a disgruntled three-year-old, struggling to catch your breath.

This guy is probably physically endowed with the muscles to lift you up and not drop you (probably plays rugby). All he wants is to joke around with you, never anything serious. He will always call you pet names and make you laugh but that’s where it ends.

He gives you a handshake and shoulder bump

You are in his friend zone, girlfriend! He sees you as one of his boys, yo. You cannot blame him though. For one, it is obvious that you have interacted long enough for him to even give you that kind of greeting. You have made sure he knew that there was never going to be anything between you two. Being a man, he took the message and he is now giving you the response.

He might not give the shoulder bump every time, but the fact that he tried it once means he is over you. A guy who greets you this way for the first time should be checked for social ineptness. Also, he probably spends too much time watching American TV shows. The Kenyan fist-to-fist gota is also in this category. I have a problem with this greeting. Unless he has an OCD for cleanliness, a man should not gotea me.

He squeezes your arms

This guy is just suave. He likes you but probably not the way you wish he did. In other words he really admires you and wants to tell you that. You probably like him too, that way. No, you will not tell him. Unless, of course, the forces in the universe conspire for him to like you too and then you can live happily ever after.

He squeezes your arms when you’re busy at your desk or holding something. This guy will give you a proper hug when you are away from work or formal situations. A proper hug here is one where his arm(s) goes below yours and it lasts for more than one second. That hug that makes you want to melt and lift your leg up subconsciously. This hug is accompanied by a genuine inquiry into how you’ve been and all those other unspoken messages.

A hug does not entirely depend on the guy though. If you make it awkward, it will be awkward. Don’t blame him for that.

I think I need a hug now.

What his hug says
(Photo credit: Clker.com)

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