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The Secret Behind Nonverbal Messages: 21 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

The Secret Behind Nonverbal Messages: 21 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings

You probably already know how important it is to pay attention to body language, and how it tells us more than a person wants to.

There are different types of touches, which are a part of body language, and their meanings reveal nonverbal messages the person is telling us.

Don’t we all want to know what the person we like is actually thinking? After all, we sometimes stalk their social media profiles.

We do that to try to figure out how they really feel and what’s going on with them… but research tells us that the things people post online aren’t really the way to know what’s on their mind.

Their posts aren’t adequate reflections of their thoughts and feelings, so scientists have searched for other ways to tell how people react and what their reactions mean, and body language is one of the ways they chose to study that.

What does this tell us about finding out what the person we care about is thinking?

The closest we can come to reading their mind is by deciphering their body language and the way they touch us.

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Just by paying attention to the way a person acts, you can see how they feel. It’ll also tell you whether they’re lying or not, and what they’re about to do.

You first have to learn a lot about body language and make sure to relate it to context, because the meaning of the action depends on other things besides the action itself.

Types of touches and their meanings could also help you know what someone is feeling or thinking.

Everything I said about body language actually goes for interpersonal touching too.

Do you know what interpersonal touching means? It’s when touching someone while attempting to convey a feeling, thought, or message.

A lot of the time, people aren’t really aware that they’re doing it.

But sometimes they know precisely what they want to accomplish by touching you in a certain way.

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Learning about types of touches and their meanings could help you understand this.

Humans are basically programmed to interact and connect in all possible ways.

This makes interpersonal touching not just possible but a perfectly normal daily occurrence.

Learning about body language and the types of touches and their meanings could give you peace of mind and it could help you make informed decisions, especially when you interact with strangers.

This way, you can know someone’s intentions even if they don’t tell you them, which is very useful.

It could save you from trusting someone who doesn’t have serious intentions.

I don’t need to tell you how helpful that is when choosing the person you’re going to get romantically involved with.

We use all forms of communication, such as leaning in, smiling, waving hello, or simply talking, and they all tell us something, just like touching does.

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Types of touches and their meanings will help you understand their powerful messages.

Studies found that touch can be a type of emotional communication and what’s more, people can identify those emotions too.

Types of touches and their meanings can reveal both negative and positive feelings.

During research, subjects showed that they were able to identify feelings like love, gratitude, sympathy, and happiness.

As human beings, we’re also able to identify sadness, disgust, and fear.

It may sound strange, but we actually subconsciously do this throughout our life.

The primal communication method is physical touch, which shouldn’t come as such a surprise.

A heavy grip, a pat on the back, a hug, and all other types of touches tell us something important.

Determining the purpose, credibility and context depends on us though.

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How can you learn the types of touches and their meanings? You’ll soon get to learn about this, but it’s not enough.

To truly understand what a certain touch means, you need to consider more things.

The duration, pressure, and location are the basics of understanding touches.

Determining the context of the way the touch is supposed to be perceived is also important.

Let me help you understand this part by giving you a simple example.

When you’re on a date with your partner, a certain touch could be attributed to affection… but what if you’re talking to a stranger?

The same touch could represent an attempt to establish trust and familiarity.

In a negative situation, the way a person speaks and acts helps you know the answer, though of course, you also need to trust your instincts.

Touch is often used to establish a connection, but it’s different in a negative situation.

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A person’s touch could be their way of getting what they want. If you don’t really like the way they’re acting or the things they’re saying, it’s probably that.

For example, they could be trying to alleviate their fears or feel secure, or they’re trying to get a favor from you.

I’m telling you this because the types of touches and their meanings you’re about to learn are there to help you.

Their meanings can be true but aren’t set in stone.

I’ll tell you about the most obvious and basic motives for the most common types of touches.

Determining whether there’s weight in the meaning of a certain touch is something that you need to do.

It could be a reflexive reaction caused by the state your relationship is in at that time.

If it isn’t love, the person could be trying to ask for friendship. Maybe it isn’t intimacy, and the person is looking for security.

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If they’re not expressing closeness or familiarity, it might be a sign that they want to learn more about you.

All this might sound complicated, but it’s really not that hard.

As I already said, it takes time to learn and fully understand this way of ‘mind-reading’.

On the other hand, it’s something that we, as humans, have the natural ability to understand.

We pick up small clues about how someone feels about us by the way they act, even if we’re not aware of it.

Learning about types of touches will help you become more aware of this.

On some level, you’ll already know many of these meanings, but you’ve probably never thought about it much.

Once you read them, it’ll be easier to consciously interpret nonverbal messages.

If someone is trying to hide something from you or lie to you, these nonverbal messages will tell the truth… but this is not the only example of when it’s good to know how to decipher them.

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There are people who aren’t that good at expressing themselves verbally, which makes it hard to have a healthy relationship with them.

The meanings of touches that you’ll read will help you understand their way of communicating.

After all, communication is the key to a healthy relationship.

Maybe you and your partner can’t say everything out loud, but there’s still a way to communicate.

When your partner holds your hand or hugs you, it speaks more than words could, right?

Actions always speak louder than words… and the things that aren’t that easy to express with words can be expressed through physical touch.

Types of touches and their meanings

Here’s a list of the most common types of touches and what they usually mean.

1. A pat on the back

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Most of the time, someone will give you a pat on the back to make you feel a sense of support and appreciation.

They will often do so for another reason though, and that’s to give you a sense of security. Either way, this is a positive touch, but not a romantic one.

The person who touches you this way is most likely a co-worker or a friend.

They are likely telling you that you’re doing a great job or that they are there for you.

2. Arm over your shoulder

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Correctly interpreting certain touches requires you to consider the situation as well.

Their meanings can also change depending on your relationship with the person.

An arm over your shoulder, or touching it, can often be a sign of care and love.

On the other hand, it can also be a way to express caution. A person could use it to warn you about something bad that might happen soon.

If you’re in a couple, your man will put his arm over your shoulder while you’re walking.

This is similar to holding hands, and a nice way to show that you’re together.

It could mean that he’s protective of you and wants to show affection and a need for closeness.

Another example is when a man puts his arm over his friend’s shoulder to tell him something important.

Most often, he’s trying to warn him about something.

3. Rubbing your neck

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This is something people generally do to comfort someone, though romantic partners often use it to increase intimacy.

As you can see, considering the relationship you have with the person is very important.

The true meaning of some touches can’t be understood without other factors.

It’s also important to notice the intensity with which they’re touching you.

4. Gripping your arm

By gripping your arm, the person is requesting that you stay put. It can be an attempt to acquire guidance and security.

This is often a negative touch and a sure sign of anger. People use aggression when they touch you like this, and it’s a red flag.

Unfortunately, most of the time, this touch happens in a relationship. The dominant partner uses this touch to show their significant other their place.

If you need an excuse to leave your partner, this is a very good one since it can be a major red flag.

Pay attention to the force that’s being used when they’re gripping your arm.

Another possible interpretation of this touch is a fear of an external force.

5. Resting their head or face on your shoulder

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Someone who rests their face or head on your shoulder wants to express comfort and familiarity. They’re asking for affection and want to be closer.

This is a very positive and cute touch that your loved one will often use.

If someone loves you and does this, they probably want you to show them love at that moment.

6. Forehead against forehead

This touch signals physical proximity and happens in close relationships.

Couples use it to establish closeness between them. A mother and child could use it to express the bond between them.

It shows unconditional and everlasting trust, calm, and comfort.

People often use this touch when their relationship is under consideration, to guarantee continuity in a very meaningful way.

They also use it to show affection or love and to ask for closeness.

7. Arm around your waist

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The meaning of this positive touch is affection, familiarity, and protectiveness.

A man’s intentions are clear when he does this and there’s not much doubt about it.

It’s a big sign that he’s fallen for you and might even be crazy about you.

Often, it even means that he’s ready to commit and wants a long-term relationship.

He could be telling you that he wants to have a future with you and wants you to suggest a direction for that future.

8. Rubbing your arm

When a person rubs your arm, they’re probably telling you that they want more physical closeness or they’re showing sympathy.

Another meaning is that they want you to show happiness because of something you’ve achieved.

In this case, they’re likely proud of you and happy for you.

9. Stroking your back

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This touch is often actually a signal that couples use.

Your partner could do this when they want to have a conversation about something.

It means that they’re looking for the right opportunity to bring up the topic.

Pay attention to notice this and help them raise the subject they want to talk about. Show that you understand them and that you’re ready to listen.

10. Cheek to cheek

A very cute and positive type of touch is cheek to cheek. Couples often use this loving gesture to show closeness.

It’s a sign of affection often used by those who are crazy about each other.

11. Touching your hair

When someone touches your hair, they want to express familiarity or they want to be closer.

This touch is most often used by couples and they generally use it to increase intimacy.

This tells us something that might come in useful for girls… If a man touches your hair, he’s probably into you.

12. Both hands on both shoulders

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A person who puts both hands on both your shoulders wants to convince you of something or show persistence.

If, in addition, they shake you, they might be expressing anger, but on the other hand, they could be trying to open your eyes regarding something, to get you to realize it.

13. Touching your neck

Someone who touches your neck wants to express comfort or protectiveness.

They could also want to increase intimacy or show attraction.

A guy could use it as a sign of dominance to establish the roles each of you have in the relationship.

Most of the time, though, this is a romantic touch that shows attraction.

14. Holding hands

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When a couple holds hands, it’s one of the first indications that love is blooming between them.

This is an intensely romantic, cute, and tender touch we’re all familiar with.

Regardless of the age of the partners or how long they’ve been together, holding hands is precious. It shows love and offers solace every time.

Holding one’s hand could be a plea for guidance and closeness. It can also show a need for security and confirm a pact or a friendship.

A person will reach out to hold your hand when they want to make a connection too.

15. Stroking your palm

A sure sign of feeling loved and being affectionate is this touch.

It’s also a signal of physical proximity and couples often use it to express a need for closeness.

A man will use this to indicate that he wants to feel close to the woman he loves and feel comfortable.

This doesn’t have to be a touch reserved for just couples. People can use it as a gesture of support and sympathy.

Either way, it’s a positive touch that shows that one person is extending warmth and support to the other.

16. Touching your inner thigh

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You already know what this touch means and there’s no doubt about it.

It’s reserved for people who are romantically involved. Otherwise, it would be uncomfortable or even alarming.

This touch is clearly a request for intimacy and it shows attraction and comfort.

17. Hitting you

No other negative body language sign is as direct and clear as this one.

A person who hits you has no love or respect for you and this shouldn’t be tolerated.

The meaning of this touch is usually clearly anger, but it can be surprise, panic, or fear.

It’s important to mention that a person can ‘hit’ you in a playful way. In this case, they don’t use force, so it can’t hurt and it’s just a playful gesture.

18. Both hands on your face

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This type of touch almost always conveys love.

Your friend could do this to show that they have a crush on you. A romantic interest could do this before kissing you.

Either way, it’s a very clear sign of love and therefore an extremely positive touch.

19. Pushing you

Much like hitting, pushing is a negative touch that can even be a sign of abuse or violence.

It often shows anger, but in many cases, it shows disgust. Again, much like hitting (unless it’s the painless playful kind), it shouldn’t be tolerated.

20. Hugging you

One of the warmest types of touches two human beings can experience is a hug.

It can be used as a way of greeting a person as well as for requesting intimacy.

Most often, it shows love, whether it’s a romantic or friendly one. Someone who hugs you clearly cares for you and wants you to know that.

The meaning depends on the person who’s giving the hug, but it most often expresses love.

21. Squeezing you in a hug

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This type of hug can reflect vulnerability and a need for intimacy. The person could be trying to show you comfort, protection, or closeness.

This might be the best type of hug, especially when the person who gives it is someone you love.

You can learn more about what it means when a guy squeezes you in a hug and sixteen types of hugs.

For now, you know the meanings of the most common touches. Hopefully they’ve helped you understand the nonverbal messages behind them.

There’s something else you need to know, though. In a relationship, nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal.

A person who likes you will always use every chance to touch you and this great sign of love proves that importance.

People who love each other have a need to express their love through physical touch, not just words.

We can learn a lot about a person by how they react to our touch as well.

A person who doesn’t like you will flinch when you touch them and it will be clear that they aren’t comfortable with it.

Just like touching can be a sign of whether someone likes you or not, there are other body language signs that can show it too.

If you’re a man, these six body language cues a girl gives away if she likes you will help you understand women better.

Maybe she’s been showing you how she feels all along, just not with her words.

If you’re a woman, you should know about the signs of romantic body language when a man falls in love.

We often have no idea that someone has fallen in love with us when they try not to show it.

They can keep quiet about it, but their body will do the talking.

It’s something they can’t control and aren’t even aware of doing.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you that they love you when their body language and touch will let you know.

You just need to know what to pay attention to!

Good luck!

The Secret Behind Nonverbal Messages: 21 Types Of Touches And Their Meanings