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By limiting this intimacy to your true partner, it becomes even more so.

You have never liked shopping at this store because of its less-than-wonderful service. Usually you have to pick up your change off the counter, but today the cashier places it in your hand, and for a brief moment you feel the warmth of his or her hand on yours. For some reason, you’re feeling more warmly toward this store than before. Hope you enjoyed your meal, he says with a smile and a parting pat on the shoulder.

Today is no exception you have been waiting to pay for what seems like an eternity. Another scene: You have just finished dining at a restaurant. Watching him return to the kitchen, you suddenly feel a surge of generosity and leave a far bigger tip than you had intended. We don’t know how he does it, but he pulls in at least thirty percent more in tips than anyone else.” In each of the above incidents, both based on true stories, you have fallen prey to one of the most subtle yet powerful forces in human relations: touch.

But it can also create illusory feelings of intimacy and make you feel close to a person even when you are not really so close after all, creating many serious problems. Touch is powerful enough to blur reality to the point where it seems that the closeness you feel is real.

Once this happens, that all-too-familiar rose-colored cloud descends, enveloping everything in warm and glowing feelings of intimacy.

On your way out, you comment to the manager about how little waiters earn for working so hard. Notice, incidentally, that in neither case was the touch sensual or even affectionate.

Still, it had an undeniable effect, opening up new feelings of warmth and receptivity.

We’ve seen how saving touch for the right person avoids many pitfalls in relationships.

Its main advantage, though, is not what it avoids but what it offers.

And, like Super Glue, it must be handled very carefully, or it will end up sticking things together that would be better off not stuck.

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