Intimacy is something that is always desired but can be hard to attain. Many people can see intimacy as romantic feelings toward another person but it goes deeper than that. Intimacy can be better described as a deep connection with another human being. A connection that goes beyond the surface to where you know what a person is feeling, their past and how it affects their present, their deepest fears and their greatest joys. In a sense, you know everything about them. This kind of self disclosure and depth can leave us feeling exposed and we can be afraid to let a person in that deeply. But deciding to open our hearts to another person can create some of the more cherished and fulfilling relationships that we have experienced.

Here are some simple tips you can try daily to start developing intimacy in any relationship.

Start Small

Opening up the floodgates of your heart to someone else can feel overwhelming and can sometimes take people off guard, especially if it’s the first time you’re trying it. Starting small is a good way to go. Make a decision to talk to someone about a new emotion you were feeling that day or give a meaningful compliment to someone. This will help build trust with the person and you will start feeling more comfortable to talk about deeper things.

Be Aware

A big part of being able to share your heart is to be aware of your heart. This is a big deal especially for men where our emotional vocabulary is limited to 3 feelings: angry, happy, and “I dont know”. To help with my own emotional vocabulary, I would get an emotions chart I would find off a google search and journal out my top 5 emotions of the day and share them with someone else. It helped my connection with others and gave me more internal peace knowing that I could communicate what I was feeling to someone else.

Be You

It can be hard to be yourself because rejection is one of the most feared emotions we face as human beings. “Will she think I’m weird?” “Will he still like me if he knew this about me?” These are just some of the many fears we can have rolling through our minds and can leave us paralyzed to being ourselves. I remember in elementary school being afraid to tell people I liked a certain school lunch because my other friends thought it was gross. I believe that we are uniquely made and who we are is what makes us special. If you find that people don’t like the real you, then it’s time to find some new friends, but more often than not, having the confidence to like what you like, express what you feel, and enjoy what you enjoy gives the people around you the freedom to be themselves as well.

Be Consistent

Rome wasn’t build in a day and neither will developing intimacy in your relationships. The key is being consistent. Intimacy is developed through weeks and months of self disclosure and honest conversation between friends. This is encouraging because just because you had a bad day or a conversation didn’t go the way you expected doesn’t mean all is lost. Just get back up and do it again the next day. What you’ll find in the end is a sense of joy and connection with others that will not only be satisfying in the short term, but also that you’ve developed friendships that will last a lifetime.

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