One thing we have all got more used to since COVID is the convenience of communication through the Internet. We use all sorts of online meeting platforms. I have used Skype, Google Meet, Zoom, Teams and Facetime. I joined numerous virtual online seminars that I wouldn’t have joined if it was not online. I even joined an online conference, and I didn’t like it at all.
After all these and after the two COVID years, I still don’t like online communication, although it is efficient for most of the time. It’s convenient but it lacks the human touch that I like. So, what’s that ‘human touch’ about? Is this something that I feel by myself? Or, you also feel the same way?
I was reading an old article from the New Yorker about friendships and connections, then I learned that the ‘human touch’ I long for from in-person communication does exist!
According to Prof. Dunbar: “Our skin has a set of neurons, common to all mammals, that respond to light stroking, but not to any other kind of touch.” These neurons trigger endorphin responses as a consequence of grooming by the other person such as a gentle touch by the other person on your hand, a pat on your shoulder, or a squeeze of the hand (handshakes). These simple and subtle touches trigger the ‘happy hormone’ (endorphin) so your brain remembers the scene when it happens, the ambient sound when it happens, and sometime even the smell of the room when it happens.
While travel restrictions are easing here in Australia, I reached out to my friends, colleagues and industry partners and scheduled a few ‘catch-up’ meetings. It was not for serious conversations, but mostly for seeking the endorphin that I’ve missed for the past two COVID years.
It was so good to hug a former PhD student of mine a few days ago. We’ve communicated online but never got a chance to meet in person for the past three years. We got together for a lunch catch up and believe me, the endorphin I enjoyed that day made me very happy. ^_^
If you can, find a sunny spot at a cafe and meet your friends who you haven’t met in person for some time. Make this a priority task in your ‘recovery plan from COVID’ in this year. These catch-up meetings or coffee will bring you enough endorphin to lighten up your year of recovery.
Now I know why I still like in-person communication. I found the ‘human touch’ I was looking for. It’s real! ^_^
Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com
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