The Power of Touch
I thought about how much I should leave her. She kept the beers coming and she was easy on the eyes. I like her, I thought; she deserves a little extra. My focus shifted from the story about that girl my friend tells every time he’s drunk to “what kind of tip will impress this lady?” When she returned to ask about the next round, I watched her put her hand on my friend’s shoulder. I instantly filled with jealousy, and once again contemplated my tip. I ended up leaving the standard tip, nothing flashy.
What put me through the gamut of emotions? It began with a simple touch on the arm. At one point in the night, the waitress put her hand on my shoulder while asking if I was ready for round three. That slight touch sent me to the moon. It made me think she was interested. When I saw her touch my friend’s arm, I snapped out of it. I realized she used contact in a calculated manner. She knew how it affected people, and used that to her benefit.
Touch is a simple, but powerful, tool. People utilize it in different ways for different occasions. It gives people a feeling of love, familiarity, and trust. Some people understand the effects of touch without really knowing the science behind it. I would be willing to bet that those who understand touch are not aware of why they do it. It is embedded into our genetic code. People are social animals, and building bonds is a necessity. Once you understand the basics of touch, you can begin consciously applying it to your benefit.
Several studies delve into why touch has an overwhelmingly positive effect on people. It’s clear that touch is an effective tool in building trust, and scientists seek the answers as to why that is. The prevailing theory is that contact with another person releases a hormone called oxytocin into the system.
Oxytocin plays a large role in human development. It begins at childbirth when the hormone releases into the uterus. Oxytocin also gets released during lactation in order to build a trusting bond between mother and child. The hormone continues to persist throughout life, especially during orgasm and touch. Oxytocin is basically a feel-good hormone. It helps create social bonds, and builds trust.
The key aspect of focus is touch. This hormone gets released because of contact. That means that a simple touch facilitates all the positive characteristics of oxytocin. Following that idea, it becomes clear how someone could utilize touch to their advantage. There are limitless applications in a social setting.
Think about the people you engage in physical contact with. Friends, family, and other loved ones surely come to mind. This is because you trust and care for them. These are the people you have a natural rapport with. You do not have to limit yourselves to loved ones. Start to touch everyone. Don’t make it weird; just keep it to a few touches on the arm. It allows you to build trust and rapport with new people. When people trust you, they are more willing to do favors.
Touch makes it easier to get someone to do something for you. Take this example: I have a boss who recently started to incorporate touching. She asked me to complete all my tasks for the night, and then patted me on the shoulder. Later I found myself working harder. I wanted to please her. I knew the touch happened, and I knew what it meant, but it still affected me. It seems so small, but the effects are huge. A touch when asking for a favor tilts the odds in your favor. It makes the person a little more trusting.