The intimacy equation

To have a truly intimate relationship with another person, you need two essential elements – vulnerability and empathy. In fact, a useful equation would be:

Vulnerability + empathy = connection

Too many people are suffering with the loneliness that comes from not feeling connected to other people. They may be part of a couple and have many friends, but they still feel alone because the relationships are not close.

Without vulnerability, you can’t develop intimacy. When we share our fears and our pain, we draw people in. When we hear about another person’s fears and pain, we are drawn to them. If all we share is small talk and pleasantries, there is no depth to the conversation or the relationship. But what happens next is just as important in the intimacy equation …

Once we have been open and vulnerable, if we do not feel some empathy coming back, the connection is broken and intimacy doesn’t develop. When we are talking so personally about ourselves, we desperately want to be understood. We don’t want to be judged and we don’t want to be advised. We just want the other person to imagine what it’s like to be us.

So if you’re one of the countless people who are feeling a lack of connection with the people in your life, ask yourself: Do I have the essential elements that make up the intimacy equation?


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