The quickest way to making strangers feel like friends.

Isn’t it interesting that the guy at the end said he felt good, and like he cared for the old woman he was posed with? I think it has to do with the power of touch. I remember reading years ago, about Romainan orphans who never got held. It was awful. I vowed to hold my children as much as I could so that their brains developed properly.

In a New York Times article By BENEDICT CAREY they explore the power of touch saying “The evidence that such messages (touch) can lead to clear, almost immediate changes in how people think and behave is accumulating fast. Students who received a supportive touch on the back or arm from a teacher were nearly twice as likely to volunteer in class as those who did not, studies have found. A sympathetic touch from a doctor leaves people with the impression that the visit lasted twice as long, compared with estimates from people who were untouched. Research by Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute in Miami has found that a massage from a loved one can not only ease pain but also soothe depression and strengthen a relationship.”

I remember when I was waiting tables years ago that severs were trained on ways to increase tips. Of course selling more alcohol and dessert raises check averages, but we were also taught to touch the guest on the hand when making change. In other words not to place the check on the table, but to try and set it in their hand. We were also taught to kindly and appropriately touch people on their back when complimenting them or helping them, it reinforces the the positive experience.

I also know that when I am having a bad day, it feels so great to get a hug. I remember recently when I was having a really bad week, I showed up for church hoping to just-get-through-it with out breaking down and crying. I thought I had done a good job of hiding my sadness, until just as I was about to leave a friend pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong. At the same moment she started to give me a hug. When I felt her caring embrace I broke down and cried, in part because I realized at that moment, that a hug was what I needed most.

I might be kicked out of the South for confessing this but I am not a bigger hugger, especially when it comes to strangers. I find the European traditions of kissing charming but a little invasive and unhygienic (am I alone?). I admire those of you who are naturally so affectionate, you seem nicer and friendlier and more caring of the human race. Since I don’t care that much about the human race, I am at peace with my non-hugger status, but I think I also do a fair job of faking it. There have been plenty of times I initiate a hug as the appropriate good-bye gesture after a visit with old friends, and chuckle a little inside when someone else seems painfully more uncomfortable with the tradition. That said- I appreciate the power of touch and recognize that it has the ability to immediately change my mood from bad to better. For example after an argument with Spartacus I want him to wrap his arms around me- and instantly I feels better.

Am I the only one who has tried to rank which is better massage v/s sex? I mean come on ya’ll I love a good chocolate cake as much as anyone, and I wish I loved hearing a beautiful piece of music that much too, (maybe I would be skinnier) but the ultimate sense has to be touch!  Where is this going? I guess I am not surprised that after two strangers are placed together, holding hands or wrapping their arms around each others shoulders or even just bumping knuckles-that positive emotions are elevated and an overall sense or well-being, camaraderie and compassion is increased. So the next time you meet ME in person feel free to offer up a knuckle bump or a massage- it’s good stuff.

One thought on “The quickest way to making strangers feel like friends.

  1. I commented on FB, but I came on to see what I’ve missed and wanted to say, I’m not a huge higher either, but when I’m down and out I love a good hug. Also, I love tender mercies like the one you had with the sister at church. I’ve only had things like that happen a few times in my life, but when it does….makes me remember that Heavenly Father does know me and that I’m grateful for people who are in tune with the spirit and reach out! Love you!

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