>>How much weight do guys place on how often a girl willingly touches you?
I don't put any weight in it, I only mind or don't mind depending on wether I like her/feel comfortable with her or not.
If I like the girl, the more the better, if I don't, I'd rather be without the touching. I barely ever am calculating and analyzing about other peoples behaviour towards me, except way in retrospect.
I think it's obvious he likes you, he's just equally careful as you are. I bet that subtle squeeze took him plenty of building up to do, and I suspect that awkward hug he gave you recently was hoping for more. I just think he's confused: I suspect he views you grabbing his hand and giving him a close hug as you being girly and nothing more, at least that's his fear. That's probably why he didn't hug you back properly. In his mind he had displayed his level of friendly affection, you were displaying yours, he was reluctant to do more, fearing that would be too obvious.
I'm sure you're both waiting for the other one to make the first obvious move. You're such hares. Go ahead and ruin a friendship if you think that's what will happen.
The way I see it, if a friendship cannot endure a trial for something more then it isn't much of a friendship in the first place. And I bet more than half of your eagerness to sustain this friendship dwells on your romantic feelings for him.
It isn't really that hard to find new friends, it's not even that hard to find good friends, tbh. It seems much more difficult to find a good, significant other. So I think you should take a chance and make some moves. Or are you too much of a coward?