Whether friends hold hands depends on culture and gender. In Western culture this is mainly done by parents and small children (sometimes for authoritative control, not affection), spouses and romantic couples. In Arab countries, Africa, some parts of Asia, and traditionally in some Mediterranean and Southern European cultures (especially in Sicily) it is done also by men and/or boys for friendship and/or a sign of respect.
The custom of men holding hands can cause discomfort in societies unused to it, as it did with some Americans, when, in 2005, then Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia held hands in public with the American president George W. Bush. 74% of gay male respondents in a 2014 EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey said they avoided holding hands in public for fear of harassment and assault.
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- DIGNITY HEALTH, huffingtonpost.com, The Science Behind The Profound Power Of Holding Hands, USA, May 31, 2016
- Khaya Dlanga, mg.co.za, Hold hands in friendship - and be proud to be an African, South Africa, December 3, 2014
- Holguin, Jaime (11 February 2009). "Abdullah-Bush Stroll Strikes Nerve". CBS News.
- "EU LGBT survey - European Union lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survey - Main results" (pdf). Fundamental Rights Agency. October 2014. p. 87. Retrieved 31 October 2014.