Hugging a Female Coworker: Is It Okay?

Most of the things that look like they hold no sentiment might actually have one.

That’s what happens with hugging a female coworker, and funnily enough, it seems weird to a lot of folks. ‘But hugging is not that harmless’, you might say.

The thing is, most hugging among coworkers usually happens during parties and holiday celebrations.

Even at that, hugging a female coworker still sounds awkward for most people, especially men in their 30s.

Coupled with the strict rules on sexual harassment, this kind gesture can turn sour for a guy who’s a mark. The question remains; is it okay to hug a female coworker?

However, I’ll be treating this really delicate subject in this post. Why don’t you continue reading to get all your doubts cleared?

Is It Appropriate to Hug a Female Coworker?

No, it is not. There’s nothing appropriate or rather of goodwill, for you to hug your female coworker. It is not only a bit too much of getting acquainted but also a trap on its own.

This trap I’m talking about is that which is propagated as viewing women as endangered species.

As a result of this, you might get heavily canceled if you do not do your due diligence while doing the hugging.

On that note, I feel that hugging your female coworker is inappropriate because there are a lot of dos and don’ts involved.

That right there doesn’t look like an appropriate gesture if there are rules that victimize women.

Some of these rules include that you don’t sexualize them in the process, and they impose this as if you have total control over your impulses.

I bet you also don’t find it appropriate if your respect and dignity as a man are at stake.

5 Reasons Why It Is Okay to Hug a Female Coworker

Since my argument wasn’t that it is okay to hug your female coworker, wouldn’t it look bad if I give reasons why it might be okay?

You alone can decide on that, but that wouldn’t make me hesitate to give you the benefit of a doubt and explain to you some of the reasons, if not all why some people think it is appropriate to hug your female coworker.

Here are the reasons why it is okay.

  1. It is just a show of friendliness
  2. It shows you do not discriminate
  3. It proves you’re being caring
  4. It might even be a show of likeness
  5. It is okay if she initiates the hug

It Is Just a Show of Friendliness

It is a common action if friends hug each other. As much as you can think it is obnoxious to do that, it is not void of flexibility as you can hug your friend despite each other’s position in the labor market.

I’ve seen friends who are bosses and employees in the same firm hug each, irrespective of their gender.

This reason is faulty as this friendship may not last and it won’t be long before it becomes inappropriate for this type of hugging.

Well, until then this is one of the reasons why it is nice to hug your female coworker, as a man.

It Shows You Do Not Discriminate

There’s this infamous trend that discrimination is on the high in labor marketing. Just so you know, it doesn’t restrict only to people of color, but also non-members of a religious group or secret society.

This disgust for those who do not subscribe to your opinion about something is often held serious to the extent of abhorring body contact.

That’s to say that some people cannot let their body rub on yours, not to talk of hugging.

However, as a campaign, you can hug your female coworker in solidarity to remain a neutral person in the case of body contact.

Hugging the person signifies you have no bad intentions or personal prejudice against them. Considering that, this appears to be another good reason why hugging a female coworker is not that bad.

It Proves you’re Being Caring

Are you friends with the female coworker in question? If so, then hugging her doesn’t seem to be that much of a problem.

Instead, it shows that you’re caring and would go any mile to make her feel comfortable whenever she’s around you.

Hugging someone comes with a couple of health benefits like relieving stress, reducing pain and fears, and even making the person feel happier than they are already.

This makes hugging an imperative act that makes friendship stronger. You might as well see this as another reason why hugging a female coworker is okay.

It Might Even Be a Show of Likeness

I know how hard it is to confess how you feel sexually to a lady. There’s this rush of adrenaline and intense anxiety that sets in, especially when having strong feelings.

Therefore, in the spirit of making your first moves at the lady, you sort of try to initiate hugs. Why this might go south, the intention behind it is pure.

However, this might also be your small way of knowing how responsive the girl is going to be before you pop any question of commitment.

Just like I mentioned, things might go south and the chances of its occurrence are high if this is your reason why hugging a female coworker feels okay.

It Is Okay if She Initiates the Hug

This is another reason why it is okay to hug a female coworker. Say you guys had an office meeting and people are exchanging pleasantries.

If a female coworker throws out her hands to hug you, it is fine if you oblige her. At least, you didn’t initiate the hug but only participated. It is fair that way.

4 Reasons Why It MAY Not Be Okay to Hug a Female Coworker

Here, we’re back to my right stand on this subject matter. And to further clarify why it is not appropriate, I will let you into a couple of reasons.

The reasons I’m about to give you are why it looks unexciting to hug a female coworker.

C’mon, there’s no known handbook to staying out of stereotyping issues but these reasons of mine try to give you nuggets on why it MAY not be okay to hug a female coworker.

These reasons include:

  1. It could be taken out of context
  2. It can potentially turn you into a standoffish statue
  3. It can be used as a good plot story to make you a mark
  4. It might put you at risk of sexualizing the lady

It Could Be Taken Out of Context

For what it’s worth, you stand the risk of having just a normal hug blown out of proportion. I know you what to be just a friend who wants to be there in your time of need, but what if the table turns?

And I must tell you, the chance of getting things all wrong is high.

It gets messier if you’re the one who initiated the hug. So to maintain a clean slate and not give off a creepy vibe to people, you have to consider hugging a female coworker as a “not-so-okay” gesture.

It would be you stuck in the middle of explaining how you weren’t ambitious about the hug.

It Can Potentially Turn You into a Standoffish Statue

Just like I mentioned, you are at the risk of appearing like a creep when you hug a female coworker. The ploy falls much on your side if this is recurrent and you are always the one who initiates the hug.

What you’re doing is simply throwing out your arms to take in the lady/girl even when it is not convenient for her to dive right in.

Hence, hugging a female coworker can give you a standoffish persona without your realization.

To avoid being a topic in an unfruitful dialogue between other coworkers, I’d suggest you steer away from hugging a female coworker.

It Can Be Used as a Good Plot Story to Make You a Mark

If someone considers you a bitter rival and decides to mash it out with you, he or she can make you a mark for sexual molestation within the office premise.

You might be ignorant of this, but once you sense such moves you should disassociate yourself from hugging a female coworker. This way, you juggle over their eyes.

Because of this type of plot, it is in your best interest to desist from hugging a coworker

It Might Put You at Risk of Sexualizing the Lady

You can subject yourself to sexual temptation when you hug a female coworker. It could even be worse if you fantasize or simply likes the lady.

Having any form of close-range bodily contact can erupt into a force of energy that will push you into doing things you’ll regret.

I know you want none of those embarrassing moments when you have a boner, so it’ll be better if you do not hug your female coworker.

How Do You Know if a Coworker Hug Is Intimate?

If you have any knowledge of body language then you won’t find it difficult to grasp this section of the post.

We’ve been on about if it is appropriate to hug a female coworker, but we don’t even know how much is bad and how much is good.

In this section, I’ll be explaining how you can detect when a hug becomes intimate. This section is also for the guys since it is for the ladies. Hugging a coworker becomes intimate if;

  • If it goes from a hug to an embrace
  • If it becomes more frequent than normal
  • If there are attempts at other contacts

If It Goes From a Hug to an Embrace

Hugging a coworker becomes intimate when it turns into an embrace. As misunderstood by a lot of people, hugging and embracing are synonymous but have different use in context.

According to Difference Between, hugging is a casual term for holding someone wrapped in your arms tightly for a short while, while en embrace is a more formal term for also holding someone wrapped in your arms tightly, but this time it lasts longer.

When a hug becomes an embrace, you should know that it is likely intimate.

If It Becomes More Frequent Than Normal

If the hug between you and your coworker becomes more frequent than normal, it could be slowly becoming intimate.

This is most efficient if the other person is the one initiating it each time you guys hug. Once it goes from sparse to seldom to occasional to frequent, just know that something is going on. And the most probable outcome is a buildup of intimacy.

If There Are Attempts at Other Contacts

Hugging a Female Coworker

Another significant way to know if a coworker’s hug is intimate is if the person tries to go beyond authorized.

To break this down, I mean when the person attempts to do things other than hugging. Maybe they’re probably trying to lock lips with you or they’re scanning their hands erratically on your body.

What Is Proper Hugging Etiquette?

Hugging should be done with caution, especially when it has to go down in an office space.

That brings us to the right hugging etiquettes which are also applicable to the workplace. These etiquettes involve the following:

  • You should not hug a client
  • You shouldn’t hug when you’re in doubt
  • You should make sure it stays a hug
  • You should only hug a close colleague
  • You should always apologize in case of unwanted hugs

You Should Not Hug a Client

The first etiquette is to never hug a client. It is highly lame and inconsiderate.

You shouldn’t hug when you’re in Doubt

It is also unadvisable for you to hug someone, coworker or not when you’re in doubt. The moment you second-guess the chances of getting a good response when you hug someone, it speaks of the need why you steer clear.

You Should Make Sure It Stays a Hug

Try to make sure the hug remains as such, with no drama. Do not allow it to graduate into an embrace, or else you risk looking standoffish.

You Should Only Hug Close Colleagues

Desist from hugging non-close colleagues. You should stick with only colleagues who are close to you and those you’re already acquainted with.

You Should Always Apologize in Case of Unwanted Hugs

You have to learn to say an apology or two when you wrongfully hug someone. The apology is not that you’re too remorseful, but it is just there to clear the air or tension already building up.


This prejudice surrounds hugging a female coworker, and this is because a lot of people, especially men don’t fancy it.

The reason behind this is the fact that people try to read meaning into these things when it is nothing at all.

This article exposits the whys and why not, dos and don’ts involved in the subject of hugging a female coworker. And I’m convinced that you got value in the course of going through this post.

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