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The Forehead Kiss: What Does It Really Mean?

A man giving a woman a forehead kiss.

There are a number of different types of kisses, and behind each kiss is a different meaning. Kisses on the cheek are usually friendly, platonic, and familial. Kisses on the mouth are typically romantic and intimate, while kisses on the neck, jaw, or near the ears, are of the “I want you now” variety. Then, there’s the forehead kiss. What in the world does that one mean?

The forehead kiss is probably the most confusing kiss in the history of kisses. Is it a sign of protection and tenderness? Or is it a sign that your love interest isn’t into you? The funny answer is: it can be both.

Ok, so let’s say you’ve been kissed on the forehead and you want to know what it means. First and foremost, it’s useful to know your relationship with this forehead kisser.

If you’re dating someone new or are on a first date…
a kiss on the forehead could be a sweet sign of affection. A first date kiss on the forehead usually is a cute gesture featured in rom-coms (they’re basically in every movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book), so maybe your date is trying to emulate a romantic cinematic moment (yes, people actually do this). It could even indicate some serious nerves. Maybe the forehead kisser is scared to land that kiss on your lips, so the forehead seems like the safest best until they make their legit move.

Or it could be a sign that the forehead kisser doesn’t feel a spark with you, and, instead of being direct, does the forehead kiss to be a “nice guy,” and promptly confuses you more (yes, people actually do this). If you’ve been on a few dates and you’re only getting the forehead kiss? You could be just a friend.

If you’ve been dating someone for a while, or you’re in an exclusive relationship…
the forehead kiss means a lot of things too. When a man plants one on a woman, it usually stands for protection. After a serious making out session or sex, the forehead kiss is a sign of tenderness and affection that means your bond is deeper than seeing each other naked. The quick forehead kiss, like the ones received before and after work, or just before bedtime, means, “I care about you, and don’t you forget it.” For a number of people, the forehead kiss planted on someone you’re seeing serious means simply: you mean the world to me, and I don’t need to stick my tongue down your throat to prove it.

If you’re relationship is going through some turmoil…
the forehead kiss does a 180 and could indicate the lack of sexual chemistry between you. Maybe you’re going through a dry patch, or maybe your relationship problems are deeper. If your relationship has creeped into platonic territory, it’s pretty much the nonverbal equivalent of, “I still care about you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”

Sometimes a forehead kiss naturally fits the moment. It’s sweet and simple, and is an affectionate symbol of your bond. However, if your relationship is new or on shaky ground, communication goes a long way. Really need to know for sure what that forehead kiss means? Ask. Or, maybe cut to the chase and kiss them on the lips first.

Bottom line: review the context and communicate. Or maybe your date is just taller than you and sees your forehead as a solid kissing bulls-eye.

X marks the spot, after all.

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