Young Asian couple smiling at each other while holding hands and walking on the street.

Love, or at least infatuation, is in the air! Either you’re looking forward to a romantic first date with someone, or you found a person whose company you enjoy so much, you think the time is right for holding hands. After a relatively long period of physical distancing, the world has finally opened up again, meaning good, old-fashioned have returned in style.

Or at least some form of it. After the events of the past two years, it's only wise to be wary of potential risks and exercise certain precautions. You or your date probably still feel more comfortable wearing masks while out and about, and even holding hands (while walking and pa-sway-sway pa) can be a contentious matter.

You may ask yourself questions such as: at what point is any form of physical touch acceptable? When should you hold hands? The first, second, third, or tenth date?

This guide is here to help you navigate modern-day hand-holding, so you can decide whether the time is right to lock your fingers while out on a stroll.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself on the First Date

There are no hard and fast rules regarding dating, particularly when holding hands is concerned. Each person and dynamic are different. However, when you’re still in the getting-to-know-each-other phase or if you’re meeting in person for the first time, it is generally more prudent to keep your hands to yourself. You might catch the other person off guard, especially if you’re . Holding hands may feel forced, if not awkward.

Consider Holding Hands Only If It Feels Natural

The idea of holding another person’s hand should feel natural, even if you have gone out previously – such as when you’ve already established chemistry with each other and conversations flow smoothly. If you are thinking of holding hands simply to create a sense of romantic tension between you, then it is probably not the right time to do so.

When in Doubt, Ask

These days, consent should be a convention more than a nice-to-have – even if you feel confident that your interaction will go over well. This rule also goes for most kinds of physical contact one tries to initiate. You wouldn’t want to steal a kiss or attempt a hug without warning; the same goes for holding hands.

It doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation. You can just ask: “How do you feel about holding hands?” and see the other's response. If she takes it well, then go for it. If she shows hesitation, then give her space.

Make Sure Your Hands Are Clean

If she responds positively to holding hands, the least you can do is . Make it a habit to wash your hands regularly. Go to the nearest sink and reach for your handy bottle of Lifebuoy Antibacterial Handwash, which fights 99.9% of germs, giving you overall germ protection with its unique Activ Silver+ formula.

If a sink isn't within sight, you can still be a boy scout and keep a bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer handy. The Lifebuoy Ethyl Alcohol 70% Solution provides overall germ protection in an alcohol format you know and love. Making sure to sanitize your hands before holding someone else's isn’t offensive at all in these times; your date may even appreciate the gesture.

Go For an Old-Fashioned Stroll

There’s a reason HHWWPSSP is a thing: nothing beats swaying your linked arms together while out on a romantic stroll at a park or around the neighborhood. It’s a great way to feel connected and to get to know each other, adding a layer of intimacy and familiarity as you keep the conversation rolling and ask questions.

Consider Walking Hand in Hand

Don’t be pressured into holding hands a certain way, either. Interlocking your fingers may be a tad too intimate for two people who may feel a connection but have only started dating.

Consider the slightly tamer hand-in-hand action. There is something so warm and friendly about having your palms joined together that still makes you feel in sync with one another. It’s also the go-to move of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle while walking together, which looks wonderfully wholesome.

That said, don’t interlock your pinkies. Unless you are in high school, linking pinkies while walking together just seems half-hearted. Quite frankly, it can also be difficult to walk around with just two fingers locked together. Either your palms and fingers fully press together or they don’t. There is no in-between.

When done right, holding hands can be a great way to feel even more connected to the person you’re dating. It only adds a layer of excitement to the newness of the relationship. Good luck and remember to ask her permission.