Hugging can be awkward if you don’t know how comfortable the other person is with being pressed against yourself. It’s one of the most intimate situations that you experience with people that would otherwise never get so close to you in any other situation. But it turns out the solution to your awkwardness is in statistics.

The average hug lasts three seconds, so it’s safe to assume that if you count to three in your head and let go, you’re clear.

However, if you push it to 20 seconds and the person is OK with that, researchers have found that a hug has a therapeutic effect on the body and mind, enabling the release of oxytocin – the “love hormone”. The hormone is known to reduce anxiety and stabilize mental health, among other effects. Know more.