The Touch Experiment

While I was sitting in the waiting room of our financial planner on Friday, I came across an interesting article from this month’s O, the Oprah Magazine titled, “The Touch Experiment.” Surprisingly, it cannot be found on Oprah’s website, (I know, first world problems, right?) but I did find it retyped here.

The article is written by Diana Spechler, who asks a very important question – “Are we touch deprived and don’t even know it?”

click image for source

click image for source

I’ve written on the 5 Love Languages before (one of which is physical touch), but I think it’s important to revisit. Knowing how to effectively communicate, whether verbally or nonverbally, with your partner (and the world surrounding you) is very important. I especially found this part of the article interesting.

That night, when an old friend came over for dinner, I felt dissatisfied by our perfunctory hug hello. It seemed a shame that in light of my recent experiences, I greeted her with a squeeze that felt as if we were merely fulfilling a rote social obligation.

‘I need another one,’ I blurted out. My friend laughed nervously – she’s one of the least demonstrative people I know – but she opened her arms so we could embrace a few seconds longer. When we separated, she said, ‘You know what? I needed that.’ The hug seemed to unleash her: suddenly she was tearing up, telling me about how the man she’d been seeing had become distant – not calling, canceling dates. When she’d arrived at my apartment, her face hadn’t betrayed that anything was wrong, but that extra physical connection allowed her to feel safe enough to let it all out. Such a simple action, I realized, had conveyed deep meaning.

For me, physical touch is very important in any relationship. When I’m down, I just want to be hugged, held. That Spechler finds that touch builds a connection is fascinating to me. In today’s day and age where email in the norm and in-person interactions are becoming less and less predominant, are we hurting ourselves as a society by NOT having physical contact with each other? Just a thought for you this Monday.

Have a great one 🙂


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