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Actions Over Words: 18 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

Actions Over Words: 18 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

Who would’ve thought that you don’t need words in order to get a message across? Different types of touches and their meanings can successfully show another person what’s going on in your head.

When someone tells you something, they can easily hide the truth from you. They can tell a lie while looking you directly in the eyes. When it comes to touch, things are a bit different.

Non-verbal communication is often more honest and revealing. Even though a lot of people don’t realize it, you usually say way more through your behavior than through your words.

You already know the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” And the things that aren’t that easy to verbalize can be expressed through physical touch.

Experts state that this kind of communication is called interpersonal touching. It’s when you choose to touch someone in order to get the message across. Even if we aren’t aware of it, we all use this on a daily basis.

Now, when you’re trying to decipher the meaning behind it, it’s important to consider the relationship you have with the person. But how do you tell what’s the message they’re trying to convey? Is there an easy way to figure out what someone’s touch implies?

18 types of touches and their meanings

Actions Over Words: 18 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

When your partner holds your hand or hugs you, it speaks more than words could, right? It’s because we perceive touch as a more honest way of communication. You can play with words and use them to get things to go your way but it’s not that easy to adjust the meaning of nonverbal communication.

Each time you touch someone in a certain way, you’re trying to send them a message that you’re scared to say out loud. Touch helps you when words fail to express your emotions.

Now that you know the importance of physical contact, let’s see what’s the hidden meaning behind it. What’s the other person trying to tell you?

1. A pat on the back

Most of the time, someone will give you a pat on the back to make you feel a sense of support, appreciation, or even protection. This person is either trying to tell you that you’re doing a great job or that they’re there for you.

The person who touches you this way is most likely a co-worker or a friend. If you get a pat on the back from your crush, it probably means that he considers you a close friend and will be more than happy to help you with something. So, don’t get your hopes up because this is just a friendly touch and nothing more than that.

2. Arm over your shoulder

I’ve already mentioned types of touches and their meanings can change depending on your relationship with the person.

So, when your boyfriend puts your hand over your shoulder, he’s trying to show the world that the two of you are together. He needs you closer and wants to show affection.

In this case, an arm over the shoulder represents a pure sign of love, care, and protection. The other person is trying to tell you just how much they need you.

But, for example, when a man puts his arm over his friend’s shoulder, he’s trying to tell him something important. Most often, he’s trying to warn him about something.

So, different situations could change the meaning of the same action.

3. Rubbing your neck

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A neck rub is often a sign of intimacy when we’re talking about romantic partners. It can also signify protectiveness and comfort.

Notice the intensity with which a person is touching you and it’ll be easier to figure out the meaning behind this move.

4. Gripping your arm

When a person grips your arm they’re either trying to establish dominance over you or make sure you’re safe in a certain situation. The easiest way to distinguish the meaning behind it is to figure out how the person is touching you.

Is their grip aggressive or gentle? Once you figure it out, you’ll be able to tell what the person is trying to accomplish.

5. Resting their head or face on your shoulder

When a person rests their head on your shoulder, they’re trying to be closer to you. They’re asking for affection and the comfort of being so close to your heartbeat.

This is a cute way of showing someone how much they mean to you. It’s a touch you’re never going to get enough of.

6. Forehead against forehead

This is an intimate way of letting the other person know just how much you care about them. It only happens in close relationships and it’s a sign of pure love.

For example, couples use it to establish closeness between them while a mother could use it to express the bond between her and her child.

7. Arm around your waist

Here we have another sign of protectiveness and affection. When a guy puts his hand around your waist, you can be sure that he’s fallen in love with you and he’s not trying to hide it. If anything, he’s making sure you know that as well.

8. Rubbing your arm

Actions Over Words: 18 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

When a person rubs your arm, they’re asking you for closeness. Maybe you two just started dating and they want you to know that they’re not afraid of commitment.

This could also be a signal of sympathy and comfort in which case it can be done even by a friend.

9. Stroking your back

A person may stroke your back when they’re trying to offer you comfort. This could also be a signal of intimacy since couples often stroke each other’s backs when they’re cuddling.

All in all, it’s a cute way for someone to show you that they’re there for you.

10. Cheek to cheek

Couples often use this loving gesture to show closeness. It’s an obvious sign of affection used by those who are crazy about each other.

11. Touching your hair

Most of us enjoy it when someone plays with our hair. It’s soothing and relaxing and instantly makes you feel better. Even if you’ve had a rough day at work, your face will light up when someone starts touching your hair.

So, it’s obvious that this type of touch is done by the person you’re close with. It can be a dear friend who’s trying to tell you that she’s there for you or a guy who likes you and who’s trying to get closer to you.

It can be both intimate and done by couples or even flirty and done by a guy who’s into you.

12. Holding hands

This is an intensely romantic, cute, and tender touch we’re all familiar with. When a couple holds hands, it’s one of the first indications that love is blooming between them.

This is a signal of connection and closeness. They’re telling each other that hand in hand, they can overcome every obstacle life throws at them.

13. Stroking your palm

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Even as babies, we develop certain self-soothing mechanisms that are meant to calm us down. Stroking someone’s palm is one of those things you can do for the other person to show her that you’re there for them. It’s a signal of comfort and protection and a gesture of support and sympathy.

Couples can also use it when they’re trying to express a need for closeness.

14. Touching your inner thigh

This is an intimate touch that is usually done by someone you love and care about. It shows attraction and comfort.

Obviously, you won’t let everyone touch you this way because it’s inappropriate, to say the least. But when a partner touches your inner thigh, you instantly feel that connection you share with them.

15. Both hands on your face

This type of touch almost always conveys love.

Your friend could do this to show that they have a crush on you. A romantic partner could do this before kissing you. Either way, it’s a signal of affection and it’s always going to be cute, no matter what.

16. Hugging you

Now, a hug is one of those touches that can have multiple interpretations. It can be used as a way of greeting a person as well as a sign of intimacy and closeness.

But no matter what, a person who hugs you clearly cares for you and wants you to know that. Depending on the length of the hug and its pressure, you’ll be able to figure out what’s the other person actually trying to tell you.

17. Hand squeeze

When a person squeezes your hand, they’re trying to show you that they’re afraid, nervous, or overly excited about something. Even though they’re not saying a word, they’re conveying all these emotions with one single touch.

18. Wiping a tear

Actions Over Words: 18 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

This type of touch is arguably more intimate than any other on the list. Different types of touches and their meanings can vary, but this is a clear sign of comfort and vulnerability at the same time.

When you let someone wipe a tear from your face, you’re showing them just how much you trust them. At the same time, a person who gently wipes your tears is telling you that they’re there for you, no matter what.

If that doesn’t scream intimacy, I don’t know what does.

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