“I want to learn how to use ‘proximity and touch’ to build intimacy, but I’m uncomfortable with platonic touching. How do I practice this?”
Tell me if any of the following sounds familiar:
Do you grimace through first-date hello and goodbye hugs, wondering if you’ve held on too long or not long enough?
Does it take twenty minutes for you to summon the courage to hold your date’s hand as you walk together?
How many movie dates have you sat through, trying to decide if it’s appropriate to put your arm around her?
If you’re seeing yourself in this picture and you don’t like it, listen up:
Today’s post is for you. ;)
We’re going to begin with the basics and work our way up through things like…
- starting small with incidental physical contact,
- using zero-pressure methods of showing her your contact is indeed intentional, and
- turning up the heat with just the right level of platonic touch mixed with anticipation.
Before we jump in, however, let’s take a step back.
Why might you want to get comfortable with platonic touch?
To answer this question, first we must define the key term.
“Platonic touch” refers to any physical contact that isn’t sexual.
High-fiving a friend, hugging your date goodnight, and even giving a long-term girlfriend a back rub all count as platonic touch.
It so happens that physical touching is one of the two key elements of building physical intimacy.
(If you haven’t read up on why a simple touch can be amazing, make this post your next stop: “Importance of Touch in Attraction, Flirting, and Dating.”)
The idea of initiating even the smallest of nonsexual touches can be intimidating for many introverted guys, even when they might be dreaming of much more.
So many men wonder how to go from “just met a woman” to “in the throes of passionate romance” without understanding what happens in the middle.
Platonic touch is that middle step!
Becoming comfortable with platonic touch opens the door for you to slowly escalate your physical contact in a way that is safe and exciting for both of you.
Ready? Let’s jump in!
Step 1: Start small.
As with most things that challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone, it will probably be most comfortable to begin with baby steps.
If you’re the type to get shy and accidentally, reflexively dodge a casual brush of your date’s arm, don’t expect to flip a switch and suddenly be cool with resting a hand on her knee as she speaks.
Instead, try a few (or just one!) of the following:
- You know that casual arm brush we just mentioned? That’s a golden place to start. Stand or walk just close enough that your arm “accidentally” touches hers for a second or two.
- Choose a movie theater with sofa-style seating, a park bench, or some other excuse to sit side by side. Then allow your leg or shoulder to rest against hers.
- Wipe an eyelash off of her cheek before it gets into her eye.
- Take her bowling, roller skating, to the archery range, or something else you’re good at. If she appears unsure of herself, use the opportunity to reach over and gently correct her form.
Keep your physical contact so small and simple that she could choose to take it as nothing… or something.
That way, the pressure is off of you because you can play it off as entirely incidental. And the pressure is off of her, because she can always ignore the touch or subtly move away if she isn’t ready for it yet.
You both get bonus points for boldness if she chooses to, say, take advantage of your casual arm contact and grab hold of your hand. (Yay!)
Step 2: Make sure she knows you meant to touch her.
This is best done if and only if she has responded positively or reciprocated your incidental platonic touches. If she smiled a little and kept her leg in place as your knee rested against hers, for example, you can feel safe moving on to Step 2.
The cool thing about starting from a place of being uncomfortable with platonic touch is that you’re unlikely to move too quickly once you do start pushing those boundaries.
If you ever start to feel like you’ve gone too far, it’s okay to slow down and take it easy!
But when you’re receiving green lights from her and you’re eager to keep a good thing going, this step is a safe and intermediate level of touching to practice.
While subtlety is still your friend here, you can pour a little more gas on the flame:
- Hold her hand. Confidently reach out, take her hand in yours, and just keep it there. She’ll move if she doesn’t like it; let her make that decision, not your inner anxiety.
- Put an arm around her shoulders. This is an especially great move to use on a chilly night as you wrap your jacket around her.
- Let the goodbye hug linger for two or three seconds longer than it normally would.
Remember to pay attention to how she responds to your touch. Her reaction is even more important now than it was in the first step.
If she ever moves subtly away or looks less-than-thrilled to be touched, back off.
If she leans into you, squeezes your hand, or amplifies the contact in some way, rest assured that she’s comfortable and happy so far.
Step 3: Build some tension deliberately.
If all is going well and your date is enjoying getting closer to you, you’ll likely know it from her body language.
Some women may even giggle nervously or say something like “I was wondering when you’d finally hold my hand” as a flirtatious way of indicating she’s into you.
Almost as awesomely, you might be finding yourself more and more comfortable with these platonic touches. Positive feedback is wonderfully emboldening!
Plenty of men are tempted, at this point, to escalate even further to the point where the touching is no longer strictly platonic.
For many women, there is such a thing as covering too much ground on a single date.
Unless you both agree you’d like to take things further right away, it’s usually best to leave her wanting more.
Hug her goodnight (with confidence!), steal a kiss if she is receptive to it, but leave the perhaps-more-than-platonic contact for a later date.
The time between this date and your next one will only intensify the anticipation and make it even more fun.
“Just the right level” of touch feels different to everyone. A good rule of thumb is to do slightly less than it seems like she wants.
Pull out of the warm, lingering hug before she does, for example.
The reasoning behind this is threefold:
- You’re still well within the “safe zone” and won’t even come close to making her uncomfortable.
- You won’t spend the rest of the night (or many future nights) lying in bed wondering if you seemed pushy.
- She’ll want more, simply because that’s how anticipation works!
You’ve established first contact, escalated to the point where you’re relatively comfortable touching each other, and primed your engines for future endeavors.
She’ll let you know on subsequent dates if you’re cleared for takeoff. ;)
Conclusion on how to get comfortable with platonic touch:
Though platonic touch by definition is nonsexual, that doesn’t mean it can’t get some PG13+ thoughts spinning in both of your minds.
With this slow and deliberate ramping-up of contact, you can be sure you’re on the same page as your date throughout the whole process.
No need to feel awkward or uncomfortable!
Let’s have a brief recap:
- Use tiny, insignificant touches to establish contact.
- Show her that the contact is intentional, and read her responses.
- Build an absolute ton of anticipation by not moving past platonic touching on a first date.
For more helpful guidance on all those pesky middle steps going from 0 to 60 in your dating life, download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead.”
If you ever have an issue that no online guide could ever possibly answer, fret not. That’s why we’ve created our personalized and customized Launch Your Dating Life program. Speak privately with us (apply here), and we’ll see if it’s a good fit for you!