Getting closer

close friendsWhether it’s a friend you want to get to know on a deeper level or you yearn for a closer relationship with your partner, increased intimacy is the way to go. If we take intimacy to mean sharing, then we need to be more open with those who matter.

Social media is fabulous on so many levels, but it can interfere with intimacy. Despite the fact that social media is designed to allow easy sharing of information, if the information is not completely honest, how can intimacy be increased? I’m often hearing people complaining that others are far happier and successful than they are. How do they assess others’ happiness and success? By looking at their facebook pages and Instragram. If someone does post something really negative, it’s seen as intense and somewhat odd. So perhaps social media is not the way to get closer to someone.

Conversations can be ranked in degrees of openness or intimacy. Take the following responses to the standard question: How was your weekend?

a) Great. How was yours?

b) Not too bad. Had a quiet one. How was yours?

c) Mmm, pretty quiet actually. I didn’t really see anyone. I need to plan ahead a bit more because I was a bit lonely at times. How was yours?

Obviously, the degree of honesty increases with each statement.

Let’s look at some replies to another common question: How was work?

a) Same as usual. You?

b) It wasn’t great. How about you?

c) I really stuffed up today and I’ve been beating myself up about it.

Which reply do you think would trigger a more open conversation?

For a closer relationship, you often need to take the risk of being honest about how you feel about the other person. Trying not to rock the boat with any complaints won’t resolve issues. As long as you don’t make personal attacks, it’s important to say what’s on your mind. Fear of scaring someone away can also stop people being open and honest. Here are some examples of intimate statements:

I miss you. I’d love to spend more time with you, but you are always busy.

I’m still hurt that you forgot our anniversary. Next year, can we plan to celebrate it because it’s really important to me?

I know it’s going to be tricky for you, but I would really like you to be there tonight.

I loved spending the day with you. You’re fabulous company and I’d like to do this again.

And if you’re trying to get closer to a person who has just opened up to you, it’s important that you return the favour by being more honest yourself. Relationships feel really one-sided when one person is an open book and the other remains mysterious.


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