A character has to offer a gift or surrender an item, plot-relevant or not, and handle it to another person. The decision is made, there's no turning around possible, but yet... he or she is very reluctant to cede this thing, and still stubbornly cling to it. Frequently, a short tug-of-war follows until the item finally changes hands.
There might be plenty of reasons for this, from the character having emotional attachment to the item, or simply disliking the other person and loathing the idea of relenting anything to him. It can be part of a hostage exchange or other unsavory deal, like blackmail. If what's handled is money and the person is notoriously stingy, the trope is even more likely to happen. The move being rather childish, it is often used to show that a character isn't very mature.
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- In Dilbert, when Wally asks if he can spare a pen, Dilbert offers one to him only after bidding it farewell at length. Wally asks instead for a pen that Dilbert's had "less of an emotional relationship with."
Films — Animation
- Toy Story 3 has Andy giving away his toys to Bonnie, introducing each and handing them to her. But when he gets to Woody, he grows hesitant and even pulls him back from her outreached hands. He does finally give it to her.
- A Boy Named Charlie Brown: As Charlie Brown heads off to the national spelling bee competition, Linus gives him his Security Blanket for good luck. He looks away with a pained expression on his face as he presents it, and in fact fails to notice when Charlie takes the blanket and enters the bus, so Linus remains holding up nothing and saying "Here!" as the bus drives away. Eventually the absence of his blanket gets to him and he goes to New York to get it back.
Films — Live-Action
- In Ghost, after conning the villains' money out of the bank, Sam Wheat's ghost (Patrick Swayze) convinces Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) that she can't keep the money and urges her to give the check to a nearby Salvation Army booth. Which Oda Mae does... although still clutching the check for a while and crying as the puzzled nun is pulling on it. Finally, Oda Mae relents, allowing the nun to read the amount... and faint.
- In The Lord of the Rings, the One Ring has this effect on its bearers, to the point that few will give it up willingly. Most notably, Bilbo Baggins has to be prompted into giving it up when Gandalf tells him, "The Ring is still in your pocket."
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Filch refuses to give the Tri-wizard egg to Moody because it was "evidence for Peeves' treason". And by the way he is cuddling it, Harry thinks Filch thought the egg was like his firstborn son. But in the end, he does have to give it up.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg is donating a twenty dollar bill to the church basket and is trying hold on to it. His mom Susan does it for him.
- In the season 6 finale of Stargate SG-1, "Final Circle", both SG-1 and Anubis' Jaffa are after the Eye of Ra. When SG-1, being cornered, finally agree to surrender the MacGuffin (rather than destroy it) in exchange for leaving the planet safely, O'Neill reluctantly cede the artifact to First Prime He'rak... although not without clinging to it a bit. Anubis then proceeds to destroy the planet.
- Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory wants Howard to accept his apology for inadvertently blabbing to the FBI about Howard mishandling the Mars Rover, so in desperation he gives him that which is most precious to him — his spot on the couch. He offers the cushion to Howard, but is reluctant to let it go at first. Howard barely has the seat a minute before Sheldon asks for it back.
- In an episode of Saturday Night Live from late 1992/early 1993, Barbara Bush is showing Hillary Clinton around the White House, but is reluctant to let go of the precious antiques and such that stay with the house.
- On Common Law, Wes Mitchell is usually quite reluctant to lend anything to his partner Travis Marks, since he doesn't trust him to take good care of it (not even a stappler — Travis already lost five). The short tug-o-war happens once with a pen.
- In Das Rheingold, Wotan is hesitant to give away Alberich's Ring as payment to the giants for the building of Valhalla. Erda has to convince him to do this.
- In The Simpsons episode "The Day the Violence Died", a legal battle rules that animation studio I&S Studios must pay $800 million to Chester Lampwick. When chairman Roger Meyers presents the check, he refuses to let go for a few seconds and Lampwick struggles with him. When Lampwick finally wrests the check away, he bites it as if testing for a counterfeit coin.