This Is What Holding Hands Means To A Guy

Men aren't the most communicative creatures, often making their feelings known through actions rather than words. Holding hands is one of the most intimate actions you can take with a romantic partner, or conversely it can show an intimate and comfortable connection with a friend (see: the Queer Eye guys holding hands on virtually every red carpet they step onto).

According to psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman, LCSW, who spoke to Women's Health at length about the concept of hand-holding, doing so releases oxytocin. "A neurotransmitter that gives you that feel-good buzz," she said. This is true for both partners, so, if you're unsure how your man feels, take solace in the fact that if he's gripping your hand, it's probably a good sign.

There are lots of different ways to hold hands

There are several different methods of holding hands, of course, all of which send a signal not just to each other but to everybody else that a couple is together. Holding hands with interlocked fingers, for example, has to do with wanting to get as close to each other as possible, while a looser grip may signal a couple is just in the beginning stages of their relationship and looking to get to know each other better. If a man initiates hand-holding, you can bet he's looking for more of a physical connection.

If he's holding your hand with both of his, it means he's giving you his full attention. If the grip is firm but not interlaced, it suggests, "One person [is] holding onto the other more tightly," says Coleman, likely because the holder is offering comfort or reassurance. A tight hold from a man can signal a desire to assert dominance, while the classic draped arm says, "I'm so into you, I want to be as close as possible, and I want the world to know how we feel about each other, too," notes Coleman.

Holding hands could be positive or spell trouble

If the arm is draped over while walking along, "It says, 'We are one. Even though we're walking down the street, we're staying as connected as we can," says Coleman. If, however, your hands simply brush together while you're walking but you don't hold hands, it could be seen as flirty. "It's not a teasing, but it's a hint. It's both sides hinting at affection," clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., told Elite Daily. On the other hand, Vanessa Van Edwards, expert on the nonverbal science of love, suggested this isn't intimate because men prefer to walk side by side (women would rather be face to face). 

As body language expert Patti Wood told Cosmopolitan, if he presses his palm against yours, he wants to connect more, while an arched palm suggests he's scared or is holding something back. Most worryingly, though, if your man puts his hand on top of yours and rests it there for a minute, he may be gearing up to give you bad news, according to Coleman.