To me, holding hands feels more intimate than kissing sometimes. When I first started dating, I felt more overwhelmed by the idea of holding hands than leaning forward and touching lips.
The only way I can begin to understand this is through the duration. As in, a kiss has an endpoint. While yes sometimes kissing can be lengthy, drawn-out, and part of an entire makeout session, more often than not you move in, make it happen, then make your exit. When you hold hands, you are locked in. Connected. It’s a message to the outside world that this is the person who is spending their days with you. Plus, it’s way harder to run away from someone, laughing over your shoulder in a manic cackle, while they’re holding onto you.
A few years back I remember talking to a friend who had recently come out of the closet to her family and friends. She tried to explain how, above everything else, the simple act of walking down the street holding hands with her girlfriend made her feel more “out” than anything else. That while a kiss was fleeting, holding hands lingered and was a very clear statement. And this makes sense, right?
Holding hands always made me nervous. I worried my hands would be sweaty. I worried I wouldn’t know how to intertwine my fingers. And I worried it meant we were expected to do other physical stuff maybe more quickly than I felt comfortable.
I think a lot of it is the calm that is associated with holding hands. The act is a contained one, full of confidence and being-present. To the anxious person who lives their life vibrating with fidgeting (and the need to flee ((dibs on making my very own “Need for Flee” video game)), holding hands is a lot like an anchor. It solidifies you to one spot.
If you’re feeling nervous about the thought of holding hands, I get ya. Don’t put much pressure on yourself to start holding hands right away. And, as always, trust the person you’re with to hear your thoughts — you can always try your best to communicate how you feel.