That way is simple touch.
This can be as simple as shaking hands when you first meet someone… that initial touch forms a very simple bond, but it bypasses a little of the “stranger” alert system that sits in the back of our minds. If you are greeting a friend and you hug them, it renews the bonds between you, letting you skip the little small talk ritual that otherwise might apply.
This goes all the way up to strengthening a marriage, too… any marriage that doesn’t involve frequent touch is nearly certain to drift apart. This can range from holding hands to snuggling, from “footsie” to kissing and more.
People are all hardwired this way… touch releases oxytocin, which is a chemical that some scientists even refer to as “the trust hormone”. It is part of the bonding between parent and child, between husband and wife, and even between friends… it can actually be the difference between being friends and being acquaintances or “friends”.
Touch, however, can also have negative effects, if the other person already has a negative view of you, even if that view is temporary. It’s easy to understand what I mean… picture someone you can’t stand kissing you, and that revulsion you feel, that pushing away, is what I mean.
Just as oxytocin bonds you closer together, adrenaline can have the reverse effect, strengthening a negative association in the subconscious with that person. The fact that is does it in the subconscious can make this even worse, as the association can affect things for a long time without the person even knowing why.
The take away here is that if you have a positive relationship that you would like to be stronger, reach out to the person… literally.
PS – Although adrenaline can have a negative effect on an already negative association, it can also have a strongly positive effect on a neutral to positive relationship… this is a major factor in the brotherhood that comes from dangerous occupations like firemen, police, or the military. It’s also why things like amusement parks can be a fast way to make a relationship stronger, whether that is friends, relatives, or something else, as long as both people actually enjoy the rush.
Picture from SXC.