Hug It Out, Bro.

Hugging is a central part of our regimen of social interaction rituals.

It has both cultural and emotional significance.

Hugs make us feel good:  we feel loved, connected and they serve to make us feel accepted as a part of a group.

There are different types of situations where hugging is an appropriate demonstration of affection:

  • Greeting close family and friends: to demonstrate love and gratitude for the other person’s presence.  To demonstrate unconditional love and acceptance
  • The handshake alternative to meeting other close friend’s of  your close friends:  to show that you have an accepting and loving nature and forego the formalities of “getting to know you” before building trust.  After all, if they are important to someone you find important then they get to move up the relationship ladder a bit more quickly.  Like the express lane to friendship.
  • The sympathetic hug:  to console someone in pain by providing a warm, safe shoulder to cry on as a demonstration that you care about that person and to exercise your nurturing skills
  • The  Heterosexual Male “Bro Hug”: To demonstrate to your other male friends that they are part of the “crew” and you appreciate their company, but don’t want to get too close less you cross some boundaries…not that you aren’t secure enough in your heterosexuality to hug another guy, though.

Different types of hugs can have different signifiers: length of the time of embrace, placement of hands, how tight you squeeze, etc.  However.  The Bro hug is the one that has the most scrutiny placed on it, as it is for the most part significantly different from all others. offers some definitive guidance:

1. Bro hug
A manly and heterosexual hug between two bros. Works as a good a greeting, farewell, congratulations, etc. Outsiders may see it as gay, but to bros they know what it really means. Its all about brotherly love.
Bro 1: “Hey man hows it goin!”
Bro 2: “Wassup dude!”
*bro hug occurs*
2. bro hug
noun or verb – a manly hug between two dudes who are cool with each other
So I got off the airplane, saw my friend…there were bro hugs all around. Then we went to the bar for some shots to catch up.
3. Bro Hug
A manly hug between to bros.A bro hug is executed my first initiating a mid-five/handshake, in which the bros then pull into each other from hand contact. Then, each bro swings one arm around the back of the other bro, and gives 1-3 open palmed slaps on the opposing bro’s shoulder, all while the mid-five/handshake is still interlocked, effectively sandwiching the arms between the bros.

It’s hard to mess up a bro hug, but it is often done in one of two ways:

1) Not being rigid or forceful enough.

2) Using both arms to hug (that’s gay, bro).

3) Holding it too long (timing is everything, bro).

The Bro Hug must be seen, not heard or read.

In addition, here is a link to a youtube instructional video that will help inform proper Bro-hug engagement, lest you be shunned for being socially inappropriate

This has been an anthropological public service announcement from your friend at

Categories: Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Heterosexuality, pop culture, Rituals | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Hug It Out, Bro.

  1. Pingback: Workplace Bromance | Bromantic Comedy

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