Phobias: Problems With Physical Touch (Haphephobia)

Eva Vang, Author

      Friends are forever they say. Those who’ll be there for your ups and downs. Rely on each other, have a shoulder to cry on with each other. Instead, what if you don’t know how to be a shoulder to cry on. Don’t know how to be there for their ups and downs for them. Eager to learn, eager to be a good friend, eager to know you’re worth it for them. Not to stand there in the group watching them hug, watching those handshakes and cringing at them. Doesn’t that look weird to you? Hugging, linking arms and jumping around? Sarcastic much? Oh your just overreacting, it’s not hard to just hug someone and make a handshake up with someone, or even just cherishing someone. It’s not too hard, right?   

Physical touch, for some people, is just awkward and uncomfortable. Everybody knows that cringey feeling when you see a couple expressing too much PDA. Now, imagine that feeling, but instead of feeling it towards a couple, you feel like this with everyone! This is a reality for some people. The thought or feeling of being hugged (physically touched), weirds some people out. Yes, it does show affection, but there’s other ways to show affection without physical touch.

I am one of those people who dislike being touched. At times, it makes me feel sad. I think to myself:

“Why do I feel so uncomfortable doing that?”
“Why does it look so easy but so hard at the same time?”

It’s a fear called haphephobia (the fear or anxiety of being touched). It honestly sucks when you don’t like being touched, but surprisingly a lot of people feel this way. They can show a little to no affection at all. Slightly brushing off a teachers hand when they touch your shoulder, refusing a hug from your best friend, those moments hurt. It doesn’t always have to be this way, though. For example, when your friends understand that you don’t like being touched, it’s nice. It’s nice to know you don’t need to have a million thoughts going through your head when someone come towards you for a hug.

Haphephobia — ANGELA DRAWS

Being an over-thinker is another  fear many suffer from, too. This can also coincide with haphephobia. All of us have the potential to be over-thinkers and it doesn’t have to be about anything specific. It could be about a math problem, a gaming challenge, etc.

“Should I do this or that?”  is one of the many phrases that goes through an over-thinker’s mind.

In this situation, it’s the matter of watching your other friends give affection. It can feel lonely. It can feel cold, and make you feel self-conscious.

You wish you can do what they do, but you don’t need to feel the need to change yourself to become more like them; you don’t need to change to fit in. You can fit perfectly well with your group of friends just by being yourself. Don’t make it hard on yourself just to hide that you’re uncomfortable. You can tell your loved ones or not tell them, it is up to you. I would suggest that it’s be best to tell them. There’s no need to make it harder on yourself. This would only add to possibly making yourself feel worse.

On the up side, your friends and family know how you feel, the anxiety will lessen. The overthinking will slide, and it will be less stressful. You’ll feel great. 

Do you want someone to talk to about this topic more? Email me ([email protected]) because I can help you feel not so alone. I love helping those who want advice. As someone who’ve gone through these types of situations and is recovering, I love to hear other’s stories. Everyone is different. Their situations, their recoveries, even their stories. It just depends on how you choose to recovery and the choices you continue to make.