What Are The Differences Between Friendly Cuddling And Romantic Cuddling?

Nishtha Tutlani
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Cuddling is a very intimate part of any relation, be it a friendship or a romantic relationship, it can often lead to more intimate times when two people are attracted towards each other. Hugs, cuddles, kisses are an important and major part of any adult’s life and they all are intimate be it friendly hugs/ cuddles/ kisses or romantic hugs/ cuddles/ kisses. 

Cuddling is when two consenting people lie down together or sit down together closely, with bodies entangled with each other to feel the closeness of one another. It can be between two girls, two boys or a girl and a boy, any two adults irrespective of the gender. Cuddling often takes place between two people who are close to each other emotionally or physically and represent care or attachment to one another. 

Cuddling with a partner is proven to increase intimacy and makes the couple more emotionally vulnerable to one another. Couples who engage in cuddling often have a stronger bond than the ones who don’t. 

Often, you might get confused that the person you are cuddling with sees you as just a friend or maybe more, there are a few signs that you should look for when cuddling a friend and know the true intentions or the true heat between you two. 

What is the basic difference between friendly cuddling and romantic cuddling? The basic difference between friendly cuddling and romantic cuddling is the touch, if both of your whole bodies touch each other, lower as well as upper bodies while cuddling, it is really not friendly cuddling. The mixing of the breaths is also what makes a cuddle too intimate to be just friendly. 

Friends often take comfort in each other and hug or cuddle, doesn’t mean they are specifically attracted to each other or want something more than a good friendship, but how to know when it’s a friendly cuddle or if the other person wants more than just a friendship? Let’s discuss the signs which tell if a cuddle or a hug is friendly or romantic? 

Touches Of A Friendly Cuddle vs Romantic Cuddle

Cuddles are always intimate, be it with a friend or a lover, there are different poses or touches between the two bodies that make a cuddle friendly or romantic. When you cuddle with a friend, you may lay down or sit down, no doubt be close to each other but the way your bodies entangle with each other says a lot. Without any doubt, the Intentions and mind play a role in the intensity of a cuddle which plays a role in it being a romantic or friendly cuddle. 

With a friend, you may just put your arm around them and put your head on their shoulder. 

There is a very rare chance that your lower bodies may even touch. This is the biggest difference, the touching of the lower bodies. The lower body is way more sensitive for both the genders than the upper body, which when cuddling a friend, we often subconsciously keep in a bit of distance with the people we don’t have intentions of being more than just friends.

In a romantic cuddle, the two bodies entangle with each other and get as close as possible, you want to feel each and every part of your partner's body against yours to feel the closeness completely.

In a romantic cuddle, the hands wander, because they can and they should, to feel each other completely. The legs entangle and the two bodies can be as close as they want, be it the upper body or the lower parts. 

When you cuddle with a friend, your lower bodies may often not be in contact, which makes it a completely platonic cuddle, whether the exact opposite happens in a romantic cuddle. In a friendly cuddle, there are physical restrictions that cannot be crossed while there are no physical restrictions in a romantic cuddle. 

Body Positions In A Friendly Cuddle vs Romantic Cuddle

When you want to cuddle a friend but don’t want them to take any hints and keep it friendly, these are the things to keep in mind when cuddling a friend. Or if you want to know whether the friend you often cuddle wants more than just friendship, these are the physical signs in a cuddle to look at to understand whether it's a romantic cuddle or a friendly cuddle for the other party. 

  • Often cuddles with friends include a side hug pose and not a hundred percent front body-to-body contact. In a platonic cuddle, the chances of coming face to face with each other is very minimal to avoid any breath exchanging positions which can be too intimate for two people who are just friends. 
  • Being in a spooning position with a friend while keeping a safe distance between the lower body area is important. When two people spoon each other, it is an emotionally very supportive position to cuddle and to run out any misleading hints it’s always safe to keep a distance between the lower bodies. 
  • When cuddling face to face, the heads of the two will not be at a direct 90-degree position to avoid any chances of happening a kiss, and there will definitely be a large distance between the upper bodies of the two. 
  • Cuddling while sitting with one person's head over the other's shoulder can be done by both, a couple or friends, this position doesn't include much physical contact when you cuddle with your friend. Additional steps like holding hands and entangling your legs while having your head over their shoulder makes this position more romantic than it is. 
  • The famous "lap pillow" position where one party uses the other's lap as a pillow is considered a more romantic than friendly position. In this position, there isn't much body contact but the intensity can increase as you are in direct contact with the other person's lower body and whenever they look down, you are at an eye to eye position which makes it more intense to be a friendly cuddle. Friends who are very close to each other can surely engage themselves in this position as long as the intensity doesn't make any one of you uncomfortable. 

Physical Signs Of A friendly Cuddle vs Romantic Cuddle 

Couples cuddle, friends cuddle, friends who are more than just friends also cuddle. You can cuddle with anyone you are comfortable with but to know the difference between the types of cuddles or when two people engage themselves into cuddling with each other and you don’t know whether it’s a platonic cuddle or a romantic one, these are the signs to look for in a romantic cuddle: 

  • When there is a 100% body engagement of both the people, when your partner or the friend’s body is over your body fully, then it is no longer a friendly cuddle. Be it if you are spooning with them and their body is touching all of your body, it is a romantic cuddle. 
  • The type of touch also matters in cuddles especially when it's two people of the opposite genders engaging themselves into cuddling. Where and how you touch the other party reveals your or their intention towards you. Whatever way, with whatever intention you touch a person, even on the shoulder or the arm, they'll know the intention and feel of your touch when you are this close to a person physically. 
  • When the gap between the two faces is too less. It means, when you are cuddling and you look at them, they are just an inch away from your face, this is when you know that a kiss can happen anytime, which is definitely not a thing that happens in friendly cuddles. 

When you can feel their breath on your skin is when you know it’s NOT a friendly cuddle. Feeling the other person’s breath is a very intimate time for any couple or anyone who is more than just friends, so this is the time you should know that it’s definitely a romantic cuddle.

“The Intensity Difference” Between A Friendly Cuddle And A Romantic Cuddle 

Other than the physical signs, the positions and poses, and the touches, the other difference between a romantic cuddle and a friendly cuddle is the intensity of that cuddle, how it makes you feel when the other person holds you or touches your body in a certain way. 

Now, you can not know for sure how someone feels when you hug them or hold hands or cuddle with them, but, you can surely know by their behavior and body language.

For example, when you cuddle with a friend there is a calm and soothing environment in both of your heads, you just go with the flow and “hug it out”. On the other hand, if you cuddle with someone you like more than a friend, or if they like you more than just a friend, the feeling is no doubt soothing, but at the same time too intimidating for the both of you, there will be nervousness in the air and you both could feel it. 

  • The heavy breathing, the rising of heartbeat, maybe sweating a little bit are all the signs that maybe, the other person wants more than just friendship. When the vibe is not “chill” anymore and the intensity rises for both the parties, the cuddles have gone out of the friend's zone.
  • When you cuddle with a friend, there is no intensity in any of yours mind. There is no sweating and there is no nervousness and a hundred percent comfort cuddling, and both the parties have a knowledge of each other’s interests. That is a fully safe friendly cuddle, so enjoy and take comfort in your friends! 
  • When you cuddle with someone you like, notice yourself, how your body behaves around them and how it feels to you. It is a friendly cuddle only but it makes you want to get even closer and lose the physical boundaries you two have as of now. Feeling a certain way won’t make your cuddle a romantic one but it’s definitely a step towards making it a non-friendly cuddle if you notice the same senses and body language in the other party. 

How do you know if the other person wants more? Or sees you as not just a friend? Well, just, notice them! Notice the body language, notice them whenever you hold their hand or hug them or cuddle with them. Love can be seen in the eyes and through the body language of humans, so notice the people you care about and know them, understand their intentions and know what you want as well. 

Related Queries:

Can a girl platonically cuddle/spoon a guy friend? 

Yes, a girl can absolutely platonically cuddle a guy friend. Cuddling is a way of taking comfort in your friends, if or when a girl cuddles with you, it simply tells you that she trusts you and is comfortable with you enough to share that physical space with you.

One of my friends cuddles with me, does it mean she likes me more than just a friend? 

If your friend of the opposite gender cuddles with you doesn’t specifically mean she likes you as more than a friend. It depends on many things if she really likes you or not. To be sure, if you like her too, ask her directly about her feelings towards you. 

Can cuddling lead to growing feelings for one another? 

Cuddling is a type of intimacy that we indulge ourselves in only with the people we are comfortable with. It can definitely lead to growing feelings as it makes the two people more vulnerable and close to each other. 

Do couples cuddle every night? 

No, it is not a promise or an intimacy commitment thing that two people who are in a committed relationship have to cuddle every night, they can indulge in it as per the comfort and mood. Cuddling is though recommended every once in a while to stay connected with your partner.


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