Touch can strengthen relationships, show closeness, and increase co-operation. This applies to touching in “safe zones”.
So says Laura Guerrero in an April 2013 Psychology Today magazine article. Touch, Guerrero maintains, is important in developing social relationships.
As Aspies, we often don’t like to be touched. And we almost never feel comfortable touching others.
So, perhaps more than non-Aspies, we can understand the need to observe the other person’s reaction, of how they respond to your intention to touch.
Do they tense up? Pull away? Don’t touch.
Do they relax, seem open to touch? Keep to the safe zones.
Because touch is the first sense humans acquire, Guerrero maintains it is a key element in building relationships.
Staying within the safety zones, observing a person’s response to your intention to touch, these are key to successful touching.
Do not touch complete strangers, or people you hardly know. That is an unwelcome touch.
Safe zones are hands, shoulders and arms.
Examples of safe-zone touches? High fives. Hand shakes. Back slaps. Shoulder taps.
In the office? Let your manager, supervisor or boss initiate contact, Guerrero warns.
Keep your handshake firm. Not limp, not bone-crushing.
And when in doubt? Don’t touch.
Guerrero researches non-verbal communication at Arizona State University and is the author of the book, Close Encounters, Communication in Relationships.