Wednesday, 6 April 2011

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (or more appropriately, I Won't Hold Your Hand, M)

I am an emotional and tactile person.  I am a very affectionate person, who has a high level of empathy and sympathy for other people.

I work with children everyday, and those kids need support and contact.  I provide this.

Touching other people has become so natural to me, that sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it.

Until today that is.

On my commute with some friends, we were joking around.  I patted my friend on the head (lightly).  I didn't hurt him, but he flinched and was really uncomfortable.  We didn't really talk about it until the ride home.

My friend is really uncomfortable with other people touching him.  Or people crying in front of him.  Or talking about feelings in front of him, to him, etc.  Uncomfortable to the point of flinching, being "on guard," recoiling away from the touch.

At first I was confused by this.  But it is his bodily integrity I respect, so I don't touch him. Next, I really wanted to find out why he doesn't like human contact.  We talked about it.  He called it a "hang-up" which is fine, but his explanations included something about germs, and control.  I called him Howard Hughes.  We laughed and the ride home continued.

But thinking about this further, I feel kind of sad.  But I can't explain why. I think touching people is one of the ways I express my feelings of care for my friends.  I need the same contact in return.  Can I still be close to my friend without it?  Sure, I guess.  I can use my words; my wit; my lovable chiding... Not touching a friend, is new to me.  A challenge I will readily accept.

I know how I can show I care!  I'm off to make him a pair of Kleenex box shoes.