"Oh yeah, I'll tell you something,
I think you'll understand
When I say that something:
I wanna hold your hand!"—The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
Holding hands is one of the most basic, platonic, and visible ways to express affection, friendship, or love.
Because holding hands can be platonic, it can be shown in any work, between any people. If someone offers a hand to hold, and the person it was offered to rejects it, odds are something is wrong with at least one of them.
When holding hands is shown between people who can reasonably be eventually romantically linked, it is often either symbolic of the link or a prelude to it, depending on the rating of the work. Even if it isn't, it likely will be in the Fanfic. After all, Freud Was Right -- right?
Holding hands can be a gesture of solidarity. When a group of people join hands in a circle, that can mean friendship, dancing, or (in some works) a magic ritual.
It's also distinct Truth in Television, especially the romantic version.
Anime & Manga
- Aoki and Rin occasionally do this. Most likely a romantic version.
- Toki and Tsuyukusa in Amatsuki. Very often.
- Axis Powers Hetalia has a moment where a young America and England hold hands, which is a heartwarming flashback within a rather sad flashback.
- In a Bleach cover page, Rukia and Orihime are shown doing this.
- Renton and Eureka do this in Eureka Seven. Literally. A LOT.
- You can say that it starts when Renton saves Eureka from falling while they were in the sea of rainbow clouds after he leaves Ray and Charles and Eureka startes looking for him, though that may count as a Take My Hand moment as well.
- In Junjou Romantica the couples are shown holding hands along with Intertwined Fingers in the opening sequence. It's more rare in the manga or anime, highlighting the seeming reluctance of some of the characters to pair up.
- Kare Kano. When the girl didn't know how to show her love for the boy, she held his hand during the student council meeting.
- In the RS arc of Pokémon Special, Winona allows herself and Wallace to briefly hold hands before they go off for battle, hinting that she might be interested in rekindling their past (failed) relationship.
- In a memorable Ranma ½ story epilogue, Ranma and Akane are walking home together after a dangerous (and relationship-defining) adventure in the forest of Ryugenzawa. Desperately trying to convey his affection for her, but completely at a loss as to how, he reaches back awkwardly and hesitantly. Akane notices, and takes his hand -- in the animated version, this disarms him completely, whereas in the manga this makes him even more nervous than ever before.
Ranma: Today, I can't seem to meet your gaze.
Akane: In my whole life, I've not felt this way before.
Ranma and Akane: Can't say it aloud. Let's just keep it quiet for now.
Ranma: Without words, your hand in mine's enough.
- In one episode, Genma goes home to the Tendo household, after being lost for several days, and sees Ranma and Akane arguing. He cuts out the middleman (Who needs romantic buildup, anyway?) and puts their hands together himself. It actually shuts them up for once and they look at him with surprise while he quietly sips his tea.
- After Ranma and Akane eat love mushrooms, Ryoga, Mousse, and Kuno chase after them. When they find the two of them walking up the mountain, holding hands, they know things have gotten serious.
- In episode 7 of Spice and Wolf, Holo offers Lawrence her hand to hold, but he gets distracted by his trading endeavors and fails to notice. He catches on the third time.
- Even lampshaded, that it takes him that long to catch on that she wanted to hold his hand. Usually she is quite content to walk about on her own, and so the romantic effect is brought into focus.
- About a third of the way through Fruits Basket, on the way back from an errand, Kagura wants Kyo to hold hands with her. After causing a scene when refusing, he agrees just to get her to be quiet.
- In the climax of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's first season, this was one of the first steps taken by Nanoha and Fate to show their then budding relationship, with Nanoha holding Fate by her hand and Fate responding by grasping Nanoha's between both of hers.
- In Summer Wars, Kenji holds Natsuki's hand to comfort her, complete with Intertwined Fingers.
- Shinji takes Rei's hand while thanking her at the end of End of Evangelion. The simple gesture of affection contrasts to their extreme closeness at the beginning of the scene, where they seem to be having intercourse and she literally has her hands inside his chest.
- Used twice as a plot point in Legal Drug. In the first instance, Rikuo has to hold Kazahaya's hand while they watch a movie together, because Kazahaya is too sick to get the information they need from it unless he channels Rikuo's vision. Kazahaya isn't exactly thrilled about all the Ho Yay implications.
- Later, the two of them have to search for a vase in a pitch-dark shrine. When they discover that it's Bigger on the Inside, they decide to hold hands to keep from getting separated. It isn't until they realize that not only does the other apparently smell like flowers, but that the hand they're holding is too small to belong to a teenage boy, that they discover that the spirit of the vase has been leading them around in the darkness all this time, just for giggles.
- Miharu and Yoite from Nabari no Ou do this when running away from Kairoushuu. Yoite later thanks Miharu for "never letting go" of his hand right before he dies.
- A Tear Jerker example happens in D.Gray-man where For arranges Bak's deceased parents after they were killed by Alma so that they were leaning against each other and holding hands.
- No. 6: Shion and Nezumi. While sitting on the same bed, no less.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Gokudera and Tsuna in one filler episode.
- Guts and Casca from Berserk joke about holding hands and actually do hold hands once their relationship is affirmed.
- In One Piece, Robin meets her mother for the first time and was just so happy to hold her mother's hand despite the entire island of Ohara going up in flames.
- In a flashback on Fisher Tiger, a human girl Koala went up to him and held his hand, despite his attempts to swat her hand away. What makes it particularly outstanding is that Fisher Tiger was enslaved by humans and here, he allows a human to hold his hand. Not to mention how humans have cruelly discriminated fishmen and how fishmen bitterly hated humans in return, this little act spoke volumes.
- Holding Hands is part of the Ship Tease between Hana and Chikahito in Gate 7. Every character (aside Tachibana) that look at them holding hands comment how cute and close they are and Chikahito responds with High-Pressure Emotion.
- In Chapter 37 of The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki-chan, there's a moment on the last page where Kyon asks Tsuruya why she's grinning. She replies that she'll just keep quiet until he figures it out. He'd taken Yuki's hand when they started running up a hill, and neither of them has thought to let go....
Films - Animated
- This trope is prominent in WALL-E. One of the more iconic bits is WALL-E holding his own hand out of loneliness. Notably, while WALL-E's First Kiss with EVE comes about halfway through the film, their holding hands, indicating their completed Relationship Upgrade, doesn't happen until the finale.
- There was also the scene in Tarzan, where Tarzan and Jane press their palms up towards each other. The significance behind it is that earlier, when Tarzan was a child, his hands didn't match up with his gorilla mother's, meaning that they were different. However, when his hand and Jane's hand match up perfectly, he knew that he was one of her kind.
- Toy Story 3: In the climactic scene, the toys are trapped in the incinerator and facing certain death. Instead of panicking, they join hands and choose to meet their fate together.
- In Shane Acker's feature film version of 9, this happens frequently-- often in subtle ways, such as 2 closing his hand around or over 5's or 5 laying his hand over 6's during 2's funeral, but it's most notable for being the main way that 9 and 7 display their affection for each other. Before he goes to try and sacrifice himself to the machine, 7 catches his arm and pleads with him not to do it; he takes her hand in both of his and explains to her that he has to, and then briefly catches her hand and holds it proper for a moment. She actually looks at their hands and then at him, and then he dashes off. 6 can also be seen leading 8 by the hand in the final scene of the movie.
- Pazu and Sheeta in Laputa: Castle in the Sky hold hands frequently.
- Haku and Chihiro from Spirited Away held hands in one of the film's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming after Chihiro helped Haku remember his name. Also justified since they were free falling from the sky and Haku was able to fly.
Films - Live-Action
- The Blind Side: The Tuohy children offer their hands to Michael when saying Grace at Thanksgiving dinner.
- In Transformers, Mikaela slowly reached for Sam's hand, as they watched the Autobots descend from the night sky. And later on, Sam did this to Mikaela, as they were lying on the ground, just after Starscream had fired at them.
- A very heartwarming example in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, when Mu Bai held Shu Lien's hand when they were alone.
- In the Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban film, Hermione instinctively grabbed Ron's hand when Harry went to meet with Buckbeak. Then, they both looked at each other and awkwardly looked away.
- In the final scene of Fight Club, Tyler takes Marla's hand as they watch several skyscrapers explode around them. He then looks at her and says "You met me at a very strange time in my life."
- In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there's a scene where Spock, still recovering from his mindmeld with V'Ger, takes Kirk's hand and tells him, "This simple feeling is beyond V'Ger's comprehension." (This scene is the current page image for Ho Yay.)
- After Knox convinces Chris to attend a play with him in Dead Poets Society, they are briefly seen holding hands during said play.
- Sleepless in Seattle ends with Sam and Annie meeting for the first time, atop the Empire State Building. They hold hands as they head for the elevator.
- In Outbound Flight, Thrass and Lorana do this as they commit to their Heroic Sacrifice. Both of them are people from emotionally reserved cultures, who had met only a few hours before and were not only still on a Full-Name Basis, but used each other's titles while talking to each other. Depending on who you ask, it's this, Last Kiss, Hold Me, It Has Been an Honor, or all four.
- Leia Organa and Wedge Antilles hold hands for a page in Wedge's Gamble. And then Leia asks him if he's thought about having children, says that sometimes she wonders "Why him?" about Han Solo, and is told "If you ever have doubts, serious doubts, come to me". Then she kisses his cheek. Apparently they've known each other for the entire time that both of them have been with the Rebellion, which is something like a decade.
- In the Rebel Force series, Leia Organa holds Ferus Olin's hand as he is dying, so he won't die alone. He has a vivid Dying Dream and sees Roan Lands in her place.
- The Catcher in The Rye.
I held hands with her all the time, for instance. That doesn't sound like much, I realize, but she was terrific to hold hands with. Most girls, if you hold hands with them, their goddam hand dies on you, or else they think they have to keep moving their hands all the time, as if they were afraid they'd bore you or something. Jane was different. We'd get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we'd start holding hands, and we wouldn't quit till the movie was over. And without changing the position or making a deal out of it. You never even worried, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was, you were happy. You really were.
Live Action TV
- In Pushing Daisies Ned had a plastic wall with a rubber glove extending from the passengers side built into his car, allowing Chuck to hold hands with him while driving without her dying.
- Although it's sort of hard to imagine them holding hands while Ned was driving, given his hyper-cautious personality.
- Sex and the City. Smith holding Samatha's hand freaked her out so bad that she accidentally pushed him down a flight of stairs.
- Actually what happened is that she lost her balance and she fell down a flight of stairs.
- The ending of an episode of The Outer Limits revival has a group of human test-subjects holding hands as they commit suicide to prove to their alien captors that humanity is "unsuitable" to use as a slave-species. (Actually, the hand-holding spread the contagion that killed them, but the subtext is open and blatant..)
- Frequently done by Victor and Sierra in Dollhouse, emphasising their innocence.
- An episode of Gossip Girl has Blair saying to Serena (re: her non-relationship with Chuck), "Did you know it's not a real relationship if you can't hold hands?" Naturally this is brought back later in the episode, when they've fallen asleep in his limo, holding hands in their sleep.
- Blair's comment is actually a callback to something Chuck said earlier in the season, about why they couldn't be together.
Chuck: Think about it. Chuck and Blair going to the movies? Chuck and Blair holding hands?
- Chuck seems to have gotten over his aversion of hand holding by the time they start dating, as they are often holding hands in season three.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted wrote Marshall and Lily's wedding toast, but because Marshall didn't want his younger relatives hearing any naughty stuff, Ted bowdlerises a story taking place at the bar so that Lily and Marshall sneak off to the bathroom to hold hands.
- An interesting case in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Turnabout Intruder", where Kirk is unwillingly body-swapped with his jealous, insane ex-lover. Spock holds "her" hand when the two are confronted with said ex-lover, who is in Kirk's body.
- This was how Spock's parents showed affection for each other.
- Hand stroking and holding seems to be a very important part of Vulcan mating--akin to foreplay. It should be noted that this is distinct from the examples above, and is a very recognizable, possibly ritualized prelude to sex.
- On The X-Files, Mulder and Scully do this as a gesture of solidarity and support, notably in "Little Green Men", "One Breath", "Pusher", and the 1998 movie "Fight the Future".
- It'd be more surprising if there was an episode of Doctor Who series 1 and 2 where the Doctor and Rose don't hold hands. It seems to be their preferred form of displaying affection and support.
- The Doctor and Jamie did this a lot. It generally had something to do with them facing a "scary" situation. Like jumping off a very low ledge.
- Amy asks Rory to hold her hand when they're trapped in a crazy alien controlled TARDIS in the dark. Since they're already married though, it's hardly a unique occurence.
- Bosco and Lisbon, their only physical contact, just before he dies. They were in love. It was heartbreaking.
- Jin and Sun from Lost do this quite a few times to show affection. They even die while holding hands, and it shows as their bodies float away from one another.
- During Season Six, Claire and Sayid are shown to be doing this in a few blink-or-you'll-miss-it-moments, which could be due to the actors being friends in real life, or their common experience of being on the Man in Black's side and not quite "sane," to say the least.
- In the Fringe episode "Bad Dreams," Peter holds Olivia's hand in order to calm her during while she's in the dream state.
- In Alias, Sydney and Vaughn participate in this trope multiple times, including during season one's "A Broken Heart" while standing at the pier, and during season two's "The Counteragent" when Vaughn is dying from the virus.
- Willow and Tara's memorable scene in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", ends up with the girls holding hands and looking each other in the eyes, surprised by the strength of their combined magic.
- Used for laughs in Phil of the Future, in which Phil and Keely try to hold hands after deciding to be a couple, but find it hard to get the logistics right.
- Played, if you'll pardon the expression, absolutely straight in this Irish PSA against homophobic bullying.
- In Glee, Brittany and Santana seem almost incapable of not doing this.
- A frequent motif between Guinevere and Lancelot in Merlin. Lancelot turns Gwen's handshake into a chance to kiss her hand, they touch each other's hands through the bars of a grating whilst Gwen is being held captive, and when they are facing death together, they link their fingers together. Arthur notices that there's something between them when he sees that Lancelot has offered Gwen his hand to help her to his feet, and is rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb.
- Babylon 5: Sheridan and Delenn do this a lot.
- The IT Crowd:
- "Hold my hand. No, that's not my hand."
- In the Clannad visual novel, the perpetually insecure Nagisa at one point is worried that Tomoya doesn't like her as much as he says he does. He proposes a game: holding hands, where the first person to let go loses. In the end, her father pulls them apart because they're about to start a baseball game.
Tomoya: It's a draw.
- The Sims 3 has "hold hands" as a low level romantic interaction.
- Commander Shepard takes and holds Tali's hands during a Romance Sidequest in Mass Effect 2. Notably, they keep holding hands throughout the rest of the conversation.
- Likewise in a few of the later romance conversations between Thane and a female Shepard.
- And in one of the Miranda romance conversations. It's fair to say it happens in all of them.
- If you romanced Liara, Shepard and her will do this in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC when Liara asks Shepard to promise that s/he will always come back to her.
- Likewise in a few of the later romance conversations between Thane and a female Shepard.
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: After beating the final boss, Link and Zelda hold hands as they watch the Lokomos depart. Particularly notable because for the majority of the game, Zelda was a ghost and thus, likely wouldn't have been able to touch like a living person would.
- Ico is built around this as a central game mechanic.
- Persona 3 Portable has this in Ken Amada's (lovers) Social Link. When he "trips" on the way back to the dorm, the female protagonist takes ahold of his hand. He holds on for awhile before pushing her away and running off. When you bring it up the next date, he states he thought of "the kids being used" when holding her hand.
- The "skinship" function in the Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side games can be used for this purpose. The guys generally won't go along with hand-holding until their affection for the heroine has developed enough.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 2, it's the base of two Events in Hikari Hinomoto's storyline. During her childhood days, she and the protagonist do this so they don't lose each other while running; as a call-back to this event, they do the same in their High School time, during a date at the crowded Shopping Mall. Also, the protagonist and Kaedeko Sakura do this in the last shot of her Happy Ending.
- In Solatorobo, Red and Elh are told to do this during Merveille's "special" training simulation, which was just her way of getting Red to finally admit his feelings. It eventually leads to a "You two can let go of each other now."
Caprice: I was not showing off! Who would I possibly be showing off for?
Fabula: Agent Prester, I would presume.
Caprice: That's ridiculous, Fabula. There's no reason why I would show off for Benjamin.
Syuzhet: Riiiight. And that's why you haven't let go of his hand since before Fabula and I got here.
- Code Lyoko features several instances of romantic hand holding between Aelita and Jérémie, and the Season Two finale has a particularly strong example of hands linked in a Circle of Friendship.
- On Chowder, Panini agreed to do a favor for Mung in exchange for getting to hold hands with Chowder.
- In Happy Tree Friends, the episode "I Nub You" involved a romantic relationship between the handless beaver Handy and Petunia, who lost her hands earlier in the episode. One scene shows the Official Couple, Cuddles and Giggles, holding hands...then switches to Handy and Petunia, who have tied together the bandages on their stumps.
- In Galaxy Rangers, the episode "Queen's Gun" has the Rangers escaping from certain death only to find their shuttle has maybe ten minutes of oxygen left. Niko's reaction is to reach over and take Shane's hand.
- Another example from the series is that the four have to join hands to use the Mental Fusion tactic.
- In the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Where The Magic Happens", Gwen and Charmcaster do this to combine their power. This also sparked a lot of Les Yay subtext.
- Played with in the conviniently named Kick Buttowski episode "Hand in Hand" where Kick and Kendall accidentally get their hands stuck together due to a very sticky cave sap when Kick offers his hand to help her stand up... of course they spend the rest of the episode fearing people will assume they're boyfriend and girlfriend because of this since Gunther immidiately does and runs away screaming several times.
- At the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' season 5 finale, Karai takes Dr. Chaplin's hand on her own--a hint that she's now ready to reciprocate his feelings for her. When we next see them in the series finale, they're a couple.
- In the episode "Scrapheap" of Transformers Prime, a platonic version occurs between Optimus and Arcee who try to reassure each other as they were about to freeze to death in the Arctic.