Home » Living in US » If Guy, Why NOT to put your hands on male friends in Social Setting.

If Guy, Why NOT to put your hands on male friends in Social Setting.

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 If Guy Why NOT to put your hands on other guy 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/


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  1. Hi. I’m an American and I wanted to make a few comments…

    As to the subject of males holding hands with females while walking…it’s Not something I would suggest attempting unless you have a romantic interest in the girl as it is, generally, considered something that occurs during the early stages of courting.

    As you noted, absolutely, and w/o exception Americans will perceive two men walking together while holding hands as a gay couple. Period. However, I don’t think some of the rules regarding male personal space are quite as strict as you have indicated.

    For example, the “Pound Hug” (Wiki it) is perfectly acceptable among males of casual, but friendly, acquaintance while traditional hugs are almost always acceptable between male relatives and under special circumstances (celebratory or after an absence, etc) between close male friends. Speaking of good friends, guys generally aren’t as touchy feely as female friends, but contingent upon their degree of acquittance, male friends often can and Do briefly enter into one another’s personal space with relative ease w/o any fear of misinterpretation.

    It’s funny that you advised avoiding putting your arm around the shoulder of an American male while posing for a picture because I believe that this is one of the times that it is, usually, perfectly acceptable even between casual friends, and especially in group photos. It’s very unlikely that you would perceived as gay in these situations (not that I think there is anything wrong with being perceived thus).

  2. Hi, I am an American who came across this site while trying to learn more about people in India. I saw Mona’s comment and though it has been there awhile, I want to answer for anyone else who reads this:

    It is okay for girls to enter each other’s personal space in America. Freely hugging or putting arms around shoulders in public is considered a feminine thing to do, so men can do it with their girlfriends and girls can do it with whoever. However in general, Americans like to have more personal space than people in other cultures. It is a very Germanic thing. So when a girl hugs another girl, you should know that other girl. I wouldn’t do it with strangers, because they will feel uncomfortable.

  3. Its fine for a girl to enter another girls personal space right. I am asking this because you haven`t mentioned how a girl should behave with another girl.


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