The Truth Behind Kino

jgatzThe Game15 Comments

The handy glossary provided in The Game defines the term “kino” as “to touch or be touched, generally with suggestive intent.” Men who strive to improve their social lives spend hours studying kino escalation and other techniques to employ in nightclubs and coffee shops.

But what may surprise many people is that the positive benefits of kino are not limited to romantic male-female interactions.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed the first three games of the NBA Finals and discovered that players on the Dallas Mavericks touched each other 250 times while the Miami Heat ballers only made contact 134 times.

The article references a study from the University of California, Berkley that “concluded that good teams tend to be much more hands-on than band ones. Teams whose players touched the most often were more cooperative, played better and won more games.”

At the time of the WSJ article’s publication, the NBA Finals were tied with each team boasting two victories. As we now know, the Dallas Mavericks went on to win the following two contests and become NBA Champions. Sports pundits have said that the solid bond and team aspect of the Mavs was a key factor in defeating the more talented individuals on the Heat.

So what can we learn from this discussion?

First off, kino shouldn’t be limited to chatting with a woman in a nightclub. You could use physical contact in the workplace, on your recreational softball league, with family members, or in any other setting. It goes without saying that the touching should always be appropriate for the environment. But the takeaway should be to look at how you interact with people, regardless of your relationship with them.

Dallas Maverick forward Brian Cardinal is quoted in the WSJ piece as saying, “It’s all about positive reinforcement.” And couldn’t we all use a little bit more of that in our lives?

Second, the higher amount of touching amongst the Mavs contributed to a perception of teamwork and camaraderie that sports fans all over the country found incredibly compelling. Observers said throughout the series that the Mavericks were fun to watch and easy to root for in their bid to win a championship. They seemed like good guys who enjoyed working together.

In the same way, people in a bar or restaurant will view your group more positively if kino is used effectively. A nearby table of diners will look at your group and smile, they’ll think “Those people really seem to be having fun and to like each other.” So in this way, kino serves as a way to create additional social proof throughout the venue.

As with everything in the game, calibration is key. You don’t want to become that creepy touchy-feelie guy. But, if you use it effectively, kino and physical contact will help you become a better teammate and to be more successful in your social ventures.


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15 Comments on “The Truth Behind Kino”

  1. Great post, and really true in so many ways. This is why a good handshake upon meeting someone can be so important. An awkward limp hand is uninviting and almost makes the entire interaction from that point onward uncomfortable.

    1. Nothing makes me lose respect for a fellow man upon meeting him than a “dead fish” handshake and absence of eye contact. Don’t bother to introduce yourself to anyone if you can’t make eye contact while shaking hands…

  2. My friends and I will try to come up with some of the most elaborate handshakes we can come up with (and remember) while we’re at bars. Sometimes we’ll try to teach them to girls or a girl and I will come up with one of our own. It usually ends in failure and a lot of laughs.

  3. I recall reading an article many years ago that was targeted at chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists etc on a similar topic. it was about using touch when you first meet a client and then when you are assessing them and finally when they are rebooking. The article expressed the opinion that some extra touch at these key times increased the sense of warmth and compassion that the client felt towards the practioner and therefore increased there rebooking rate. By extra touch they meant things like a touch on the upper arm or a two handed handshake etc all very kino! At the time I took it with a grain of salt and half implemented it – but instantly noticed the difference – must get back into that habit!

  4. If you don’t know the person the elbow is neutral territory. It’s ok to touch but keep it under 3 seconds. Anyone else got kino tips or stories?

  5. This post has just made my goal for the month to be to touch more people, girls and guys.

    For guys, i really like the handshake thing, used to do something similar, now me and my friends do the “spartan hand shake” or the forearm shake.

    a hug and a lift, or randomly spinning a girl touching the arm when i’m talking or when she is, hip bumping are all my favorite fun little kino things to do with girls.


  6. Excellant…. i observed a long time ago that with guy friends that we are close to and see more often we rarely do the formal hand shake but with mates you see less often we always do it. With the closer friends it seems less appropriate, i guess because youve sorted transcended it as a greeting. i therefore always make sure theres a hand grab of sorts or a high 5 etc at some point which always has a great increase in bonding effect. And we always cheers (chink glass) to everyone in the group when drinking.

  7. I read this article at the perfect time. I got home from the lab not too long ago, where I just had a conversation with my boss and PI (principal investigator), Michael Kraus. He was the main researcher who conducted the touching basketball study at UC Berkeley. We were discussing what I should do once I soon graduate Vassar with a BA in Psychology. As we were talking, he put his hand on my shoulder–a very comforting movement. But he did more than that, he sustained eye contact and kept smiling. Michael clearly uses kino on men. He was using it on me, and it had a great effect. He also was sustaining eye contact, and when appropriate, smiling. The three things together really made his talk inspirational. It’s amazing the effect a simple hand on the shoulder can do, and when combined with the power of a smile and eye contact, it can be really powerful.

  8. Whilst I agree that Kino doesn’t necessarily have to have just romantic applications, the journal about the basketball teams is a classic case of confirmation bias

    1. It would be interesting to see how many of the touches were after a team scored comared to how many times they touched after they missed a shot. Obviously the winning team would score more, and be giving out more high fives. The overall point of this article is however very helpful when interacting with people in social situations. Good stuff!

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