Millennial Guys Hug Their Friends More Than Older Guys Do

Bro Hug

Whereas previous generations of men weren’t comfortable hugging fellow males, sociologists have noticed a trend among younger dudes: Lots of guys are embracing their guy friends. Thanks to a decrease in homophobia, hugging a bro is just no big deal anymore.

That might seem obvious (who among us hasn’t sworn “I love you, man” to his best buddy with a big ol’ bear hug after a night of beers?), but it’s a big shift from decades past. Social scientist Dr. Mark McCormack, who studies male behavior patterns in the U.S. and England, explains, “In the ’80s and ’90s, if you were perceived as gay, you’d face huge stigma for it. You’d get marginalized and insulted. [Now] gender behavior isn’t regulated in the same way.”

This is great news, but there are also times when a hug isn’t a great idea. Etiquette consultant Gail Huntington says that she frequently must remind young men not to hug during a job interview or when meeting their girlfriend’s father. “A lot of women have been doing this for a long time, and that’s inappropriate as well…it’s a sign of familiarity that’s inappropriate,” she told Philly.com. “We need to learn a more appropriate way, which is handshaking.”

In other words, you should be comfortable enough to hug your friend at a bar — but you can’t be so comfortable that you go around hugging every old man you meet! It may have taken too long for bros hugging bros to be acceptable, but a firm handshake will always be appropriate for certain situations. Just remember the Guy Code to hugging your boys:

I. No hug comes without a bro handshake first.
II. No hug comes without a pat on the back after.
III. No high fives are given to overeager bros.

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Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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Neal Stastny (@NealStas) is a comedian and writer in New York.