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TODAY   |  August 02, 2013

How not to be awkward when hugging

A hug can be a simple greeting, a romantic gesture – or it can be terribly awkward. Thomas Farley, etiquette columnist for The New York Post, shares some solutions to defuse the discomfort.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> first time for our final lesson in how not to be awkward. this morning the hug. for some a simple greeting for others it's awkward. what do you do when you see those outstretched arms coming your way. they can be romantic. happy. or sometimes sad. but then again hugs can be awkward.

>> what if it's one of those hugs where the shoulders are touching and hips eight feet away.

>> i'm not a hugger.

>> people have come up and hug me, okay i don't know you at all.

>> i felt we were hand shake friends you felt we were hugging friends.

>> according to the book "art of hugging" 22% of people don't hug at all.

>> they don't know how long it should last, should they speak, where to put their head.

>> i don't like to hold on for a long time. that's awkward.

>> i hate good-byes.

>> the worst kind of greeting to have is when one person goes in for the cheek touch.

>> if you're not my bestest you're not coming near my face.

>> awkward.

>> full on bear hug when somebody picks you up and tries to spin you around. i think that's very uncomfortable.

>> awkward.

>> again what's a hug between bros.

>> it's going to happen, let's do it and get it over with.

>> brothers don't shake hands , brothers got to hug.

>> and if you don't want to hug at all --

>> someone tries to hug me and i don't want them too, i go hi how are you.

>> an awkward hug many have trouble embracing.

>> we have the etiquette columnist from the "new york post." carson is here to lend an arm or two. the hug it can often be so awkward. one of the reasons is you got to know the proper length of a hug.

>> absolutely. a hug can be for consolation, for comfort, for congratulations. some people don't get it. it gets creepy.

>> we'll demonstrate. we'll hug.

>> so that was good. you guys did that.

>> wanted short very professional style.

>> squeeze and let go.

>> like to embrace and let you know i care.

>> i didn't get a sense of too hard. that's a big issue.

>> i'm a squeezer.

>> did you feel squeeze?

>> felt love.

>> you guys have rapport. this is comfortable for both of you. this time see where the hand are because this can be awkward.

>> pretend we don't know each other

>> you're a business colleague. you met once or twice before.

>> hi, nice to see you.

>> what i like there you both choose a side. you went for the side correctly. you weren't having that awkward middle thing and kept your hands where both could see them.

>> that came into play. support is important. one up here. i was touching her skin. is that a bad thing.

>> sorry.

>> given the dress she's wearing that's unavoidable but keep the hands as much as possible at the shoulder level.

>> some guys go in for the squeeze. is that creepy.

>> you don't want to do the bear hug where you trap the arms. i like the fact you did that diagonally.

>> how good is your hug?

>> that was quick, easy.

>> what about patting versus rubbing, stagnant.

>> that's for consolation. for people who know one another or someone comes into our office crying. two colleagues who know each other beard.

>> how about awkward hug with the kiss. some go in for the cheek kiss . what side?

>> the kiss hello is once you go down that road you can never go back as jerry seinfeld says.

>> i didn't even --

>> like

>> is that bad manners .

>> clearly you want to stay away from each other's faces unless your good friends or family members. the other strategy which is great, say we're doing this hug, and you don't want to hug me. put out your arm on my shoulder and keep me at arm's length. if you know i'm a perpetual bad hugger, i do the double hand clinch. then if somebody tries to pull you in you have this double barrier.

>> have you ever tried this?

>> you got bigger problems than that.

>> what about two men.

>> the bro hug.

>> awkward.

>> just for me to watch.