Holding Hands in Body Language

Posted on July 25, 2016

Personal space

When we attempt to hold someone’s hand, we invade their personal space. Personal space is an important concept to understand. You can think of it as your personal air bubble that can expend and contract depending on circumstances. Your personal zone expectations are much lower on a crowded subway train than, let’s say, at a cocktail party. Very few people (and pets) can enter this space without making us feel uncomfortable. This is the reason why “keeping your distance” is a very good idea in the beginning of a relationship.

Keeping the distance

Not necessarily a romantic gesture, a touch of a hand should come at the right time and in the right context. Attempting to hold hands with someone whom you have just met may annoy the other person even if they smile in order not to offend you. But as your relationship progresses, the other person will allow you closer into her or his personal zone.

Do they want to be touched?

An easy way to find out whether or not the other person is ready to accept you in their personal space is to move your items closer to that person. In body language you can think of your personal items (e.g, a handbag, cigarettes etc.) like extensions of your body. Moving your items into the other person’s space will usually annoy them and there will be a visible discomfort. Only very close friends, family members and lovers will not mind this gesture.

Cultural differences

Just like everything else in body language, holding hands may be perceived differently in different cultures. In the West, holding hands is viewed as a romantic gesture. When we see two people holding hands, we quickly make assumptions about their relationship. Many Western men avoid holding hands with each other for the fear of being mistaken for homosexuals. But in Arab culture, holding hands between men is a friendly gesture that has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

What does it mean when someone holds your hand?

Depending on situation, holding hands with someone may mean different things. Holding hands with a person of another sex is generally seen as a romantic gesture in most cultures. Unless you want to be misunderstood, avoid holding hands with people you are not interested in even if they initiate the contact.

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Category(s):Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Psychologia

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