Just my Thoughts

Your Senses – Touch

Touch.  A few weeks ago, Big Little Wolf wrote a piece about touch.  Are you a toucher?  What does your body language mean to those on the receiving end?

I am not a big hugger.  Imagine my startled feelings when someone I had only spoke to online came to a party I was throwing and gave me a hug in greeting.  I don’t believe I pulled back but I know I was a bit thrown, a bit shocked.  We hardly knew one another but he was willing to pull me inside his personal space.  When he left the house that night after a few hours, he hugged me again.  This time I was a bit more ready for it.  I did not believe I knew him any better but I was more ready for it.

On the other hand – pun intended, I am a person who touches once I get to know you.  I do not necessarily hug you upon greeting you.  I do, though, with people I am good friends with, reach out as we talk.  I may put my hand on your forearm for emphasis.  I have been known to drape my arms over the shoulders of a friend sitting at my kitchen table for a quick hug.  Somehow, when touches such as these occur, I can feel the energy from one person to another.  It is almost an osmosis-like process.  The one who needs the energy takes it.  The one who has extra gives it.

Again, though, I say I am not a big touch person.  Imagine my surprise as I sat at a local establishment with a man I had known a short period of time.  We were sitting across a table from each other and he was talking, digging, and analyzing the things I had been saying previously when more of us had been there.  Some of his analysis scared me and brought tears to my eyes.  He reached out and took my hand.  I did not recoil – although I think that may have been my first thought.  I let him comfort me.  I could feel that energy shift, from one to another.

On the third hand here – yes, the pun is old now – I am a very tactile person when I am with someone I am comfortable with, when I am with someone who may spark my interest in a sexual manner.  I tend to touch.  I will lay a hand on a knee or thigh.  I have been known, in the summer on a deck, to just flop my legs over someone else’s.  I don’t even think twice about these things.  They just happen.  For them to happen, though, I need to be extremely comfortable with the other person.  When I am not, these types of actions would be forced.

So what about you?  Do you touch people as you speak to them?  Are you a hugger?  Are there limits to your tactile experiences in your life?

6 thoughts on “Your Senses – Touch

  1. The issue of touch and personal space is sooooo personal, and also cultural. I’m very accustomed to certain “touching formalities” as a matter of manners. Some of it may be from the time I’ve spent in Europe, as well as being part of a European family for many years.

    Context is really important. And trying to sense the other person’s comfort with what you may or may not do.

    In the example of my date, the one I wrote about? I touched his arm lightly, well into our dinner conversation. I didn’t repeat the action. I sensed it didn’t suit him. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when there was no cheek kiss, no handshake, no shoulder touch when we said goodnight?

    Interesting, too, how we have to change our touch with our kids as they get older. Those (glorious) days of parental hugs are gone, sadly. Teen boys and their moms? an occasional kiss on the cheek or forehead – and I’m pretty happy to get that!

    1. Touch and personal space are very individual. My family – at least those I grew up with – trace roots back to England and aristocratic England. I blame my lack of touch comfort until I know a person on that. 🙂

      If I am comfortable, truly know a person, I touch. That arm touch. Always. I have been known to kick my sandals off on the deck and put my feet a friend’s lap without even thinking twice. But I have to be comfortable.

      And, as I said to someone else, I still occasionally get that snuggle with my 15 year old.

  2. In my family growing up and my family now, we are always one big pile. Trying to get my son to stop sitting on top of me like he’s still little is a major chore! But when we watch a movie, we’re all criss-crossed on mine and my husband’s king-sized bed.

    I’m touchy and huggy but I’m definitely watchful for signs from the other person when they are not like that. Hopefully!

  3. I love a good hug. A hug from a friend I haven’t seen in a long time will almost bring me to tears.

    But – I am nothing like Linda’s family! My family wasn’t very physically close when I was young. My in-laws are more touchy feely, and that has been kind of hard to get used to.

    Good post, Nicki. Such a good thing to reflect on, and a good reminder to be aware of how we all perceive touch differently.

    1. Thanks, Eva. I still have two senses to go. Scheduled this post as I was on the road today. Now in a hotel – The Lodge at Rock Hill – and getting ready to watch the WVU-Georgetown basketball game while I get some sleep before my race in the morning.

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