January 22, 2016

The Many Meanings Of Holding Hands

Go forth and hold more hands

Hands are made to do a lot of things, and one of them is to hold another hand. Hands fit perfectly together, despite whose hand you are holding, which makes it such a comforting gesture. However, holding hands can take on many different meanings, depending on who you are holding hands with. It can symbolize many different feelings and thoughts, depending on the situation, so it is important to know what the different meanings are.

Holding Hands With Friends

Firstly, holding hands sends the message that you are proud to be with that person. But it is also a confirmation of union, and shows that you are together or bonded in some way. This is why we instinctively look at two people holding hands and decide that they must be in a relationship of some sort. It doesn’t matter if they are the male and female, the same sex, or old and young. If they are an adult, then assumptions about a romantic relationship are quickly made.

For all the single people out there who hold hands with anyone freely, it’s important to know that holding hands sends a message of interest, so it can be a real let down when someone holds your hand and doesn’t actually have any interest in dating you. When you hold someone’s hand, you are telling that someone that you are expressing your affection towards them. Keep this in mind if you think that someone could take it the wrong way.

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Women have been known to prefer cuddling and holding hands as a way of expressing their feelings towards someone, but it is a universal sign of intimate affection, along with kissing, massages, cuddling, and caressing. In other words, when you see two people holding hands, there is a good chance that they are feeling some sort of attachment towards each other.

For example, two of my friends, who were only friends, ended up holding hands one night when they had a little bit too much to drink. All of my other friends got upset about it, wondering why they would hold hands as friends. At the time, they couldn’t answer why (they were drunk after all!), but within the next few weeks it became apparent that the simple gesture of holding hands had allowed them to express their attraction towards each other and kick off a romantic relationship that is still strong over a decade later.

That said, holding hands can also be a sign of respect or deep friendship in some cultures, and does not indicate any type of romantic relationship when it comes to the same sex. Even if the Western culture, holding hands can indicate friendship and be a gesture of comfort.

However, when it comes to holding hands with the sex that you are interested in, it usually speaks of more than a friendship vibe, and unless you want to send the wrong message to the other person or the public, stick to less affectionate ways of showing how much you care.

Holding Hands In Intimate Relationships

If you are in an intimate relationship and looking for some reasons to hold hands more often, look no further! Holding hands may seem like a simple gesture, but in reality it can have a big impact on your relationship and the connection that you feel.

According to one study on 16 happily married couples, holding hands with someone you love can help to reduce stress. In the study, the wives were told they were going to receive shocks, and even were able to watch when the shocks were coming. It turns out that they felt more at ease when they were holding their husband’s hands as opposed to facing the shocks alone. In addition, when holding a stranger’s hand, they still experienced more calmness when they were not holding anyone’s hand. [Source: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/17/12/1032.abstract]

This makes sense considering we tend to hold hands in a way that mimics protection for the female in a relationship or a sign of being dominant in a relationship. Studies have shown that about 90 percent of men will put their hand on top of their spouse’s hand, as if they are leading the way, while the wife will put her hand behind his, which interestingly is the same way that parents and children hold hands.

However, it’s important to note that the wives who were in the happiest marriages experienced more benefit than the other wives, and it may not have the same impact for someone who is in an unhappy relationship or doesn’t feel protected by their partner. Speaking from experience, it may even cause more stress to hold someone’s hand you are unhappy with while receiving something that also makes you unhappy.

Studies have also found that when a man and woman alternately put their hand on top, they have more equality in the relationship in terms of dominance. [http://www.tpettijohn.net/academic/Pettijohn%20et%20al%20%282013%29%20-%20Hand%20holding%20behaviors.pdf]

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To outsiders, the act of holding hands shows a special kind of connection that other people don’t seem to have. For instance, when one person is walking in front while the other is walking behind, it doesn’t indicate a very connected relationship. The act of walking side by side, however, whether they are holding hands or not, shows more of a connection and willingness to be beside each other, whereas holding hands strengthens that message. It doesn’t just convey this message to outsiders, but to the people in the relationship as well. The bond just feels stronger when you are walking together in unison and able to talk to each other easily.

In addition, holding hands may be a small thing, but it holds a lot of meaning as a gesture in a relationship. The gesture of holding on to your lover’s hand shows that you are thinking about them, there for them, and willing to offer them the comfort and security that they need from you.

In poetry, holding hands has been referred to as palms kissing, and I think many people can relate to that feeling. The sensuality in touching hands and caressing fingers is similar to kissing, and it can be a deeply intimate gesture when you are in love with someone. In fact, just like kissing, holding hands produces oxytocin, which helps to strengthen your love-bond.

How people hold their hands can say a lot about how they feel about each other. Holding hands is a part of body language, and body language can tell you a lot about what someone is thinking and how they feel.

For instance, we already talked about the dominant aspect of hand holding. If you combine this with an annoyed look on the dominant person and a worried or upset look on the non-dominant person, then it becomes clear that something is wrong either with the relationship or in their individual lives.

Interlocked fingers indicate a deeper connection that fingers that are not interlocked, as it usually happens when two people are feeling close or dependent on each other. When the relationship is on a high, for example, interlocking fingers is a way to really connect, and when something emotionally or physically upsetting is happening, it shows a desire to connect deeply.

A friend of mine told me that when her husband received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, they were holding hands everywhere they went with interlocking fingers. It was a way to hold on to each other, support each other, and feel like they were standing together during an emotionally hard time.

Holding hands without interlocking fingers can suggest that a relationship is feeling more casual at the moment. However, some people enjoy holding hands in this way, and it is important to take the rest of the body language into consideration too.

And, when someone holds on to only a few fingers of the other person, it can indicate that there is a disconnect happening in the relationship, or that one person is showing a need for space, or that they are emotionally upset about something.

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It is also important to note that when all of forms of intimacy fail in the relationship, for whatever reason, holding hands is an intimate way to show someone that you love them. It is a gesture that the intimate connection is still there, and even if kissing or sex is not present, the loving connection has not been broken.

Lastly, holding hands can show how each person feels about the other. For instance, whoever holds hands first may be needier than the other person or, alternatively, feel more connected than the other person. If someone pulls away from having their hand held, then they may be upset or not feeling a connection with their partner. And, if one person does not like holding hands at all with their partner, then they may be struggling with their emotions and commitment.

The bottom line is that how you hold hands with your partner can be an indicator of how your relationship is going and how you feel about each other, so be sure to pay attention to it!

Holding Hands With Kids

It is rare to see a parent not holding their kid’s hands out in public. Holdings hands is a way to offer protection as well as direction to kids. A scared kid will immediately reach up for their parent’s hand, while an angry or hurried parent will immediately reach down for their kid’s hand.

It is also not uncommon for needy children to consistently reach for someone’s hand. This is a sign of insecurity, and it may indicate a need to work on their independence and fears.

However, for the most part, holding hands is a way for children to stay connected to their parent’s, so it needs to be taken within context. For instance, at a busy airport, before a flight, a kid may need constant reassurance through hand holding, which would be expected, whereas in the comfort of your own home, a constant need for holding hands may indicate that something is wrong.

Something that parents need to know is that holding hands in anger can land them in trouble! One foster couple had their children taken away after they were seen holding their children’s hands too tightly when crossing a road. Holding hands aggressively can be a sign of abuse, not just to social workers, but to anyone who is observing you doing it. So while it may seem like a simple thing, it is important to be mindful of just how tight you are holding on to a disobedient child – or a child in general.

Holding Hands With Family Members

It’s interesting that small kisses and big embraces are more common than holding hands with a family member; yet, in hard times, family members will often reach out for each other’s hand in a way to comfort each other.

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One of my fondest memories is seeing a family member reach out to another family member who was very sick in the intensive care unit. I had never seen anyone in my family hold hands in any way, shape or form, but this gesture indicated that there was a huge connection there and it told me everything I need to know about how the family member felt about seeing their loved one so sick. In that respect, holding hands became much more intimate than a hug, which I had seen often, or a peck on the lips, which I had also seen often.

Holding hands is also a way to get a family member’s attention when a serious conversation needs to be had. It shows support and compassion during a hard conversation. And when it’s done, it’s obvious that something serious needs to be discussed.

Holding Hands With Strangers

Many of us know about the holding hands across America gesture in the 80’s. It was a time when millions of people held hands to raise money and draw attention to homelessness and hunger. In that event, it was used as a way to signify connection and unison, and even though we do not do that on a regular basis, holding hands with strangers is still all about connection, comfort, and unison.

A few days ago, I saw a picture of a guy in his 20’s holding hands with an elderly woman in her 80’s. He was helping her get home safely, and holding hands is the only way to do that besides carrying her! But, while for them it was mostly about safety, it also reminds onlookers of the connection we all have.

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My friend who worked in a senior’s home said that holding hands was a way to comfort the lonely and give them that human connection that they needed. Often the nurses and other staff were seen holding a senior’s hand while talking, and especially during the last moments of someone’s life. It was a way to show them that someone else cared about them and was there for them when they need someone the most.

Lastly, holding a stranger’s hand after a handshake can show respect and enthusiasm towards them. Often just a small linger is a way to show someone that you are not just shaking their hand, you are acknowledging them and welcoming them into your life. In fact, often we feel bad for someone, we will take their hand and give it a little squeeze. It is a natural way to show that we are thinking about and concerned about them.

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