What does holding keys mean?

  1. Sorry nurses, nurses-to-be and everyone else. I love this board and have always wanted to ask this question in an anonymous sort of way.
    Have you ever noticed how some people start going for and grasping their keys in their hands at times that seem kinda strange? I've always wondered if it is some type of signal, or indication of some sort. For example, in class, women especailly will plop their keys down on the desk and keep them there, even though there is little desk space to begin with. Others will start holding their keys in their hands as soon as it is near time for class to end. And then once one person does it, everyone starts holding their keys out, and it kinda confuses me since the parking lot is well off from the Health/Science building.
    Does flaunting, or blatently holding keys mean you are being cool? I read somewhere in a CNA textbook that keys can be used as a weapon against an attacker. Is that why people, especially women, go for their keys and hold them conspicuously?
    Do you hold your keys out like that? Why?
  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   hoolahan
    Hi, nice to "meet you".

    I am not sure what that "means" but if I were the instructor, I'd be inclined to think that my students couldn't wait to leave my lecture!

    I keep keys between my fingers in some places I go in my Home Health job, but I usually keep them in my pocket that way in my hand. Don't want to "show" my fear, as a walk confidently along!

    Don't know what to tell ya
  4. by   aimeee
    I think this is pretty straightforward body language/symbolism. In the case of keys on the desk in class, the keys represent ones power to leave this situation at will and picking them up before the class is actually over is sends a signal to the teacher that says something like "yeah, okay, I sat through your class but hurry up and finish because I am ready to leave NOW."

    And yes, keys can be used as a weapon. And women are always advised to have their keys in their hands and ready to quickly unlock their cars so they aren't standing about in a parking lot fumbling around in the depths of their purse giving an attacker time to come up behind them.

    Keys are a really obvious symbol of control. I've worked with some people who handed the keys over the minute I walked into the unit. The message was clear. "I've had it with this place--YOU take over!" And then there were others who I had to often remind to give me the keys. They tended to be people who were very involved and wanted to keep running things.
  5. by   shyviolet78
    I usually get my keys out before I leave the building - either work or school. I work in an area with a high crime rate. Recently a nurse was kidnapped and raped while walking to her car after work. The parking situation is pretty bad where I work, so I usually have to walk a bit (in the dark since I work nights) to get from the parking lot to work. Once, while walking in, a panhandler grabbed me by my arm to get my attention. Thankfully, he only wanted spare change, but if it had been someone will ill intent, I would have been unprepared. I keep my pepper spray on my keychain and carry my keys in my hand, so hopefully the sight of it will deter would-be attackers and so that if someone does approach me, the pepper spray is out and ready to use. Also, my purse is like a bottomless pit if I had to dig through it in the parking lot for my keys, I could be standing there for 5 minutes! My mom always told me to have my keys out to poke an attacker in the eye, and probably alot of women were told this by their mothers. Although it's not realistic (the attacker would grab your wrist before you got your keys close enough to poke his eyes), motherly advice hangs on tenaciously. I never get my keys out or start putting my books away in class (unless the class is running late, causing me to be late for my next class), because it is rude. Usually I get my keys out before leaving my class building, because I don't like fumbling to find them in the parking lot and it's more efficient to pull them out of my backpack while I'm putting my books in.
  6. by   Furball
    Hi Mario,

    I used to keep my keys on the desk because I didn't like them in my pocket poking into my leg. No purse here, it was ripped off twice. I also hold my keys in defense mode when leaving work. If anyone tries any monkey business their eyes will be gone.
  7. by   mopsi
    What a unique observation......I am constantly "READING" people and I love this one....Think about the rituals and assumed responsibilities when you "TAKE THE KEYS" at work..If you don't like something with the count you refuse to take the keys..If someone is trying to get out of responsibility for the floor a common arguement is "I didn't have the keys"...The big moment in buying a house is when the relator gives you THE KEYS...You are considered a bit off if you are always misplacing your personal keys.....and marketing loves to use the hook..."Find the keys to finacial security" or "find the keys to your hidden talents".Francis Scott KEY wrote the STAR SPANGLED BANNER....and I for one am real ready for a nice week in the in the Florida Keys......
  8. by   CEN35
    no offense to anybody.....but i never thought "keys" as a topic could ever invoke so many responses much less a discussion? :roll amazing! lol!

  9. by   mopsi
    I love it.....Should I start one labled "SHOES"....or "DOORS"...or"CARPETING" ...or "COLORS" ect...LOL....I guess we'll chat about anything...:roll
  10. by   mario_ragucci
    Thanks for your replies. Some people are more visual than others, I am learning. Plus, being of italian heritage, body language is communication. It was such a relief for me to read about the fact of Italians being more expressive with hands and bodies (in books that describe cultural diversity), and I guess the opposite is true, that we can read body language as communication. And people communicate all the time.
    It does seem strange to me to talk with someone while they have a tight grip on their ignition keys inside a building. It puts me on-guard. Or to see someone walking and holding their keys out like they are a light sabre or something. Why not just keep you keys in you pocket when you are going to your car, and not advertise that you are going to your car whilst you are hundreds of meters from it?
  11. by   Zee_RN
    Hmm, didn't think it was that significant.

    I usually get my keys out because I'm impatient and I want them in my hand and ready and not have to be digging in a pocket or a purse for them. Also, that way I know I haven't lost them

    And yes, I've been taught to close your fist around the key chain part and have each key on the ring protrude in between each of your fingers...and you have a facsimile of brass knuckles...except they are sharp, pointy objects that you can thrust into someone's face should you be attacked.
  12. by   live4today
    I always do this with my keys, too! Go figure! I also notice all my women friends and my daughters do the same thing. Could it just be a woman thing perhaps????
  13. by   mario_ragucci
    Yeah - my mom would hold her keys even after we left the car and went into a store or something. I'd hafta say "Mom, put your keys away now" and she'd look at me like a was hassling her or something. My mom was 29 years older than me.

    There are all different postures and stances. I notice the people with the electronic car alarm devices like to hold them out in plain sight, again, when they are well away from their vehicles. I remember the bottled mace used to be popular on women's key rings, but not any more. I'm surprised no one has tried to market a derringer you could attach to your key ring, because packing heat in your hands would be a better deterant than a plain key. (of course im kidding :-)

    Maybe it is a woman thing, but it is definately a "turn-off" for me. I know no one asked, but it is something, perhaps, I hafta re-interpret. It could just be a habit, and people just do it without thinking. It sends a clear un-natural message, especially the women who wear thick leather gloves and key hold. It looks S&Mish, and maybe thats just someones style. Like a tattoo, or a piercing, or something like that.
    It is certainly not a defensive weapon against a surprise attacker, unless you are Jamie Sommers or something.
    Okay I beat this one to death, uhh:stone
    thanks again - it was fun:roll
  14. by   canoehead
    Mario, some men find that a turn on...