That’s the spot. That’s not the spot.

Oz Chen
3 min readNov 1, 2020

If you’re receiving a massage, it’s not strange to give feedback*.

Ooh — that spot is sensitive. Can you be more gentle?
That feels good. More please.
Ow, that hurts.

How might we use the language of the physical to expand our vocabulary for touchy-feely topics?

I saw this possibility in conversation with my partner.

We talked about my feelings of discomfort about a topic. On her end it seemed to be resolved. On my end, I felt sheepish that it still felt incomplete.

She offered to address the issue by changing her behavior. But that compromise felt like an over-correction, and I didn’t want to set a bad precedent.

That’s the spot.

That’s not the spot.

We kept going.

She generously gave space to let me explore the edges of this topic, and why I was still feeling what I was feeling.
I found one spot that still felt sore.
She gave me acknowledgement and reassurance

Poof! The tension disappeared.

An emotional knot I didn’t know was there, was suddenly untangled and released.
And this happened because my partner was massaging me in conversation.

I’m new to this and looking for more examples. Please share your experiences!

I told my partner that in retrospect, the issue felt like a sore spot and not an injury. It was still fresh, and just required a bit more space to work out the knots.

I later realized that this was a new kind of conversation. Instead of getting deeper into a fight, working out knots and kinks felt connecting.

Some examples from massage / physical world that I’m excited to try on:

  • I still feel a knot around this topic and it’s tight. Can you massage it?
  • This is a sore spot for me right now. Can we revisit it?
  • I didn’t know a bruise was there and you accidentally bumped into it. I think that’s why I reacted the way I did.
  • And when a new spot is discovered, “Ooh…
Oz Chen

Writing about personal finance and UX Design on