Monthly Archives: October 2015

Do We Touch Enough?

Do We Touch Enough? | Industry New Jersey | September/October 2015 | On the Science and Visceral Thrills of Making Contact

 

From the article, excerptified:

I was reading somewhere that societies in which people touch each other socially are happier than those in which social touching is more shunned. It is an idea that makes intuitive sense, because of my knowledge of the inherent niceness of touching.

University of California at Berkeley researcher Dacher Keltner writes about pioneering 60s study by Sidney Jourard. “[He] studied the conversations of friends in different parts of the world as they sat in a café together. He observed these conversations for the same amount of time in each of the different countries. What did he find? In England, the two friends touched each other zero times. In the United States, in bursts of enthusiasm, we touched each other twice.” Meanwhile, in France, people touched each other 110 times, and in Puerto Rico, friends touched 180 times.

Touching communicates things often more quickly than other means. Dr. Keltner (and Dr. Matthew Hertenstein) conducted a study in which people touching through barriers, trying to convey in one second an emotion. The responder then had to guess at what the person touching was trying to convey: among them anger, fear, happiness, sadness, embarrassment, love, and gratitude. People touched through squeezes, pokes, taps, tickles and strokes. The easiest feeling to convey to someone by touch alone was compassion.

Studies have also found that athletic teams do better when they are socially bonded through touching, like high fives and chest bumps, and that babies grow more slowly when isolated from touch in incubators.

We have a taboo against social touching, although it could be called a pillar of social development.

Since I’ve learned about this I’ve noticed the phenomenon of touching more, and automatically became more touchy with people.

Read on…

Entertain-men

Entertain-men The ideal first date and venues to steer clear of | Industry | July/August 2015

I had my first real date at the ripe old age of 19.

I can’t remember Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 2.40.12 PMwhat we talked about now, but conversation flowed. He was hot, tall, blond, with tribal tattoos ringing around his arms. I’d never been so into anyone. The date didn’t matter, the mediocre pizza, or what we did, but the gamble paid off, and we liked each other.

“I was wondering if you would go out with me,” he’d flatly asked a few days before. I thought it was strange for him ask not for a date exactly, but to “go out.” But I felt a little flutter in my belly, and couldn’t stop smiling and twisting at my hair as I agreed, yeah, we could “go out.” I might have cringed, but the straightforward approach is all that has ever worked with me ever since.

In school, it was much more loosely defined hanging out that dominated our social lives, ironically past any ideas of traditional courtship. So for me it was hard to press on past the contrived nature of the situation. I felt weird, he and I, sitting across from each other over dinner, because we could have had fun at a car impound or in a rainstorm, and ever since I’ve been convinced that non-structured is very often the best recipe for early interaction.

Still you have to do something on a first date, even if you don’t want to call it a date.

Keep reading…