I am male and I regularly hug my good male and good female friends. At the very least when saying Hello and Goodbye. I have the feeling that is not uncommon here in Germany.
Now, I have a a small group of coworkers (same cultural background), which I get along with very very well. I would say we're (kind of) close. Two of those have left the company in recent months. Of those two, one is male and one is female.
With the male coworker I had a private conversation to say Goodbye and we shared a hug. That was good. But that was like a guy-ish "C'mon, get in here" hug situation.
With the female coworker, I also had a private conversation. This conversation did lead to a hug, but only after some weird verbal proposal on my side. It took me very long the get to the point / to present my intention. But she was fully OK with it. However, this would have been very uncomfortable, if she wasn't. I would have preferred to find a way to offer a hug, but still to leave an easy exit if the other person doesn't want to. Especially when the other sex is concerned.
How do I offer a hug (to the opposite sex) without making the other person feel uncomfortable when declining it? Is this even possible?