As internationals, we are used to putting hands around shoulders of our friends in our home countries. But, from my experience, it is very different in America. A guy is not supposed to put his hand around another guy’s shoulders. It is socially not accepted. It is considered that you may be Gay… It seems weird to you, when you first come to U, that why your male friends, who were here in America before you came to US, try to walk away from you when you get too closer to them. The reality is, if you look around you it is not common to see guys putting their hands around another guys shoulders.
Also, it is not accepted for guys to hold hands of another guy when walking. As said before it may be considered gay. In fact, there is a personal space for a guy and another guy cannot enter into that personal space. Only opposite sex or female friends are allowed into that space. It is very common for guys to put hands around female friends or hold hands of girls when walking. I am not saying it is taboo and you should not do it, just trying to say what other people around you may think. Occasionally you do see people putting hands around shoulders or holding hands, but not very common. The whole point is, you do not want to send out wrong signals to other people about your gender. People talk about gender and sex very freely in America and they take pride in displaying their gender either straight or Gay. You do not want to be asked out by a Gay person because you have send wrong signals to them. You may think it is perfectly normal, but for some people it may be very sensitive. So, the key take away is, if you are a guy, do NOT put your hands around another guy or hold hands in a social setting like walking or in a public place. This is something I have observed and I think is important to adjust to the culture in US. Also, when you are posing for a picture, avoid putting hands around a guys shoulder if you can. If you are taking a picture with Girl, then you can put your arms around her shoulder, that is socially acceptable.
Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/genemoo/2709688889/