I think you'll understand
When I say that something:
I wanna 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 Fan Fic due to shipping. Romantic hand-holding may be accompanied by giggling from one or both of the people.
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 distinctly Truth in Television, especially the romantic version.
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Scherzo", the Eighth Doctor and his companion Charlotte are made to walk through a hellish landscape together. All of their senses are dulled or cut off entirely, so they grab each other's hands as they walk and cling to each other. They spend so much time in that horror of a world that their skins melt into each other and their hands become fused together.
- In The Princess Thieves, Gwen holds Robin's hand to get him to stay when she is lying down in Scarlet's room, leading to their first kiss.
- In one arc of Justice Society of America, Rex Tyler, the original Hourman, holds his son Rick's hand as the latter is being operated upon.
- In an issue of The Sandman, British schoolboy Charles Rowland dies after suffering terrible abuse at the hands of ghostly bullies. As he dies, he is accompanied by the ghost of one of their previous victims, Edwin Paine. Early on, Rowland asks Paine to hold his hand. Later, when he finally dies and becomes a ghost, he convinces Paine to leave the boarding school with him, and they are seen walking off, once again hand in hand. It's kept purposefully vague whether or not they are just good friends or something more.
- The first issue of Brad Meltzer's run on Justice League of America features Red Tornado's wife Kathy holding his hand as she waits for him to reactivate.
- Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean of the Runaways have been known to hold hands from time to time. Also, in the last arc, Molly can be seen holding Klara's hand after the latter is wounded in an accident, and later, Victor leads her around by the hand as the team flees their no-longer-secure home, presumably because at that point, she's seriously groggy after being subjected to both a head injury and a sleeping spell, all in the same night.
- Raven and Starfire / Koriand'r at the end of Teen Titans: Earth One Volume Two.
- In Spider-Girl, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson link hands when a doctor says MJ might not survive her second pregnancy.
- At the end of Archie Comics (2015) book Betty versus Veronica, both girls hold hands after their plan to save Pops' business has come together.
- Bone: Happens quite a lot in the series, but probably most famously when Thorn and Fone Bone meet for the first time, leaving the hot springs.
- In Mouse Guard, Kenzie and Sadie link hands often.
- Wonder Woman (1987): Anaya and Iphthime are shown holding hands to introduce their relationship long before it is actually discussed.
- Peanuts: In all of Snoopy's stories, his characters hold hands because he gets too embarrassed to write about people kissing.
- This trope is prominent in WALLE. One of the more iconic bits is WALLE holding his own hand out of loneliness. Notably, while WALLE's First Kiss with EVE comes about halfway through the film, hand holding (indicating their completed Relationship Upgrade) doesn't happen until the finale.
- 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.
- This is the exclusive way in which minifigures in The LEGO Movie express love. Batman even says "Let's hold hands" to Wyldstyle in his first scene, and Emmet and Wyldstyle do it at the end.
- In the third Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf movie, Wolffy and his wife Wolnie hold hands as they and the others prepare to jump across a cliff to escape from some of the Bitter Gourd King's minions.
- Barbie Fairytopia: In Mermaidia, Nalu reveals his feelings for Nori by grabbing for her hand, which catches her by surprise since she thought he liked Elina.
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: Astrid and Hiccup do this during their wedding. It is a hand-fasting, after all.
- In Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, Kim and Ron arrive at the prom like this, which clues Bonnie to the fact that they're dating.
- The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "If I Fell".
- David Archuleta's "Touch My Hand".
- "Hand in Hand" by Dire Straits.
- Hootie & the Blowfish and "Hold My Hand".
- Gruesomely subverted in Tom Lehrer's "I Hold Your Hand in Mine", from Songs by Tom Lehrer, in which it turns out that although he's holding his beloved's hand, the rest of her is no longer attached to it.
- "Together" by Avril Lavigne contains the line "Holding hands we'll fall".
- "Hand In Hand" by Opus III
- The adorable Jamster/JAMBA bunny characters Schnuffel and Schnuffelienchen (Snuggle and Snuggelina in English) are commonly seen holding each others hands since they are both in love with each other. In the end of the music video starring Snuggleina "Ohne Dich". Said couple are seen holding hands while sitting and watching the night sky.
- "Hold My Hand" by Michael Jackson.
- 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.
- Little Busters!: Holding hands - or specifically, holding your hand out to someone to help them or taking someone's hand to lead them somewhere - is a major theme of Little Busters, to the point that it's featured on the title screen. It happens most often between Riki and Kyousuke (and yes, the Ho Yay is just as strong as you'd think) because arguably the main plot of the game is the way Riki learns to stand on his own and not just let Kyousuke lead him around everywhere, but because of this Riki ends up holding hands with most of the heroines in their routes. In particular, one of the most dramatic moments at the end of the game occurs when Riki takes Rin's hand to lead her to safety.
- In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's school mode ending with her, Naegi does this with Kirigiri, narrating that he hopes she can someday trust him enough to reveal what hides beneath her Conspicuous Gloves. Since school mode is only unlocked after beating the game, the player should already know.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse begins its first short with Barbie preparing for a date with Ken honoring the 43rd anniversary of when they first held hands.
- 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 the ending of Kaizo Trap, the heroine has to lead her boyfriend through game world by hand, because of his injuries.
- RWBY: After Ruby's group learns what Ozpin's been hiding and why he's been lying, even Qrow turns on him, resulting in him retreating so far from them that even Oscar can't reach him. As Ruby returns Ozpin's cane to a dejected Oscar, he rhetorically asks if he's going to be just another one of Oz's lives. She folds her hands over his and the hilt of the cane, and tries to reassure him that he's his own person. The trope is subverted by Qrow interrupting to bitterly instruct Ruby not to lie to Oscar because they're better than that; Oscar therefore walks away completely unreassured.
- Here between Bea and Alan in The Dreamer.
- Lydia grabs Betelgeuse's hand for comfort during an unsettling incident in Cobweb and Stripes. The fact that he doesn't pull away is an indicator of their growing bond.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace grabs Ellen's hand for comfort during her introduction at school. This contributes to the rumors that they are unwittingly enacting the Oblivious to Love love subplot from The Brady Bunch Movie.
- A British soldier was critically wounded during the Battle of El Alamein and while lying in the hospital, he found himself next to an also critically injured German prisoner. He reached over and squeezed the German soldier's hand who also squeezed back. Sometime later, the British soldier lost consciousness and when he woke up the next morning, the German soldier was gone. When he asked what happened to the man beside him, the doctor simply replied "He died during the night. You were still holding hands."
- In countries where public displays of affection are frowned upon, this is usually a surefire way to identify a couple.
- It is also a surefire means of identifying if someone is romantically interested in someone else, for obvious reasons.
- It also causes some Values Dissonance, such as when President George W. Bush held the hand of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Where in Western cultures holding hands and kissing on the lips means romantic interest, this was not the case in the meeting with the Saudi Prince.
- In Mexico, couples that are not too intimate will often be jokingly referred to as "de manitas mojadas," which "means of wet hands." The joke being that they are so shy with one another, that the couple won't go beyond holding their moist (sweaty) hands.
- Adults often hold the hands of children in public so they won't wander off or get into trouble.
- This trope is Played for Laughs on adult websites and forums like 4chan's /d/ or /trash/ boards, where pictures like hand-holding are joking referred to being "sick" and "disgusting" fetishes (the humor comes from the fact that these boards host pornography of... "different"... tastes).
- Sea otters often hold hands when they're sleeping, to avoid getting drift apart by the ocean current.