Sometimes, no matter how much we love a friend or family member, we need to set boundaries with them. Relationships are supposed to be based on mutual respect, after all. 

So when we found this Reddit post by u/OneBlueSneaker, asking for advice on how to set boundaries with a friend who insists on hugging all the time, we couldn’t help but share it, because yes, we’d love to learn how to set some boundaries too!


So here are all the ways in which netizens came forward to help the OP, read on: 

1. “‘I know that hugging people is your love language but it’s not mine. I find what you’re doing really invasive and violating. Let’s fist bump instead’. This is about enthusiastic consent. You do not enthusiastically consent, therefore they need to stop or you need to step away from having regular contact because they’re disrespecting your boundaries.”

– Catracan

2. “As someone who is doing boundary work in therapy involving setting boundaries for myself and respecting the boundaries of others, you’re being too nice. You’ve told him, politely, several times that he’s violating your boundaries and instead of respecting you as a person, he’s sulking like a child because he’s not viewing you as a person, he sees you as an object that is there to serve him and his emotions, boundaries and wants.

You’re excusing his behavior by saying he’s possibly bipolar, a huggy person, etc. This means jack shit if he’s violating your boundary MULTIPLE times. Believe me, he knows what the boundary is and he CHOOSES to cross it, not because he’s a hugger or bipolar, but because he doesn’t respect you. You can communicate with him frankly and without any of the fluff. Let him know that he is disrespecting you and your bodily autonomy as a person, that you exist in other ways outside of his emotional needs, him sulking afterwards instead of reflecting on his behaviour is childish and that if this behaviour continues the picket fence of a boundary you’ve put up will turn into barbed wire instead and you won’t be spending time with him going forward.”

– mothghoulmerchant

3. “Blunt or not, your friend is simply not respecting your boundaries. You need to levy consequences (stop hanging out with him and tell him why). Otherwise, he’ll keep at it.”

– garysaidiebbandflow

4. “Seeking safety in our interactions with others is critical, and clearly making your needs known is part of it.”

– garysaidiebbandflow

5. “Replace hugging with slapping. Would it be unreasonable to ask someone not to slap you? Absolutely not! Would it be okay to end a friendship because they wouldn’t stop slapping you? Absolutely!”


6. “Honestly, you’re not really a weirdo. I know a lot of people who are not touchy huggy people. I’m not sure where you live and what your societal norms are but I would put hugging past “societal politeness”. Hugging can be quite an intimate thing. Someone is pressing their body against yours and wrapping their arms around you, they’re all up in your space and vice versa. You’re allowed to have boundaries and you don’t need to justify those boundaries. It can be as simple as, ‘I don’t want to.'”

– SteampunkCupcake_

7. “He doesn’t get to make you feel bad for protecting your body. I suspect if you immediately ignore him and do not engage in his apologies and withdrawal, he will escalate slightly to get attention. Refuse to apologize or justify your decision – any escalation on his part is aggression wearing a ‘poor-me’ coat.”

– Anseranas

8. “It’s really unfair how society has set it up that you’re rude to refuse a hug because the other person ‘Was just trying to be friendly!’. It’s rude to ignore people’s boundaries! You’re fine to not like hugs. If they come in for one, just gently take their wrists, and push their arms down to their sides and ask them, ‘Why don’t you respect me and my boundaries?’ If telling them clearly doesn’t work, sometimes making them account for their actions will help.”

– calamity_machine

9. “If you’ve told him not to hug you and he continues to do so, it’s the same as if he slapped you. Slapping is typically nonconsensual. These hugs are nonconsensual.”

– rixxy249

10. “You’ve made your position clear and it doesn’t sound like he cares how you feel. I’m not really sure why you would want to be friends with someone who doesn’t care about how you feel. (There’s also a decent chance that he doesn’t just want to be friends, and that doesn’t seem like something you want) But if you really want to try to make the friendship work…I guess you can try something like this: 

Be very clear that you don’t feel comfortable with physical contact and that if he doesn’t care about your feelings, that you will no longer be able to be his friend. If he tries again, back away. If he doesn’t stop, tell him not to touch you. If he still doesn’t stop, tell him to get the fuck away. If he still doesn’t stop, hit his hand away. And repeat that process endlessly, without ever wavering.”

– hatemakingnames1

11. “When they move in to hug you again, after you have repeatedly asked them not to hug, take a big step back and hold your arms up in a stop motion. “Woah, looks like you were going in a for a hug there. Remember what I said about hugs?” Do this every time! If it still doesn’t work, you might need to consider not seeing him for a while.”

– yazshousefortea

12. “Put two hands up in the stop position, say, “Stop. I don’t want to be hugged.” For bonus points add, “It makes me uncomfortable” or “…But we can high five” or “…But I am still happy to see you.”

– 143019

Setting boundaries is so, so important. And, boundaries are definitely needed to create safe relationships/spaces.