Real intimacy, like real love, involves sharing our innermost selves. It may or may not include the physical dimension. In fact, physical relationships that lack real intimacy eventually end.
Relationships that become based in intimacy of the spirit do not end. Most people call numerous others friends when they are probably acquaintances. We all know many others superficially, but intimate knowledge is a gift, given and received too seldom.
I have some acquaintances who talk to me but neither know about me nor care to know about me - and don't realize it. I'm hoping there aren't a lot of people saying this same thing about me. I want to be real with people or to relate superficially because I decide to keep the relationship at that level. I do not want to be self-centered and unaware of people who are available to be friends.
I had lunch with my friend, Mardie DeFeo, recently where the conversation went back and forth with each of us sharing and caring our intimate feelings and facts from each other's lives. There were no gaps in the conversation as we shared our lives.
Some people we see very sporadically over many years and yet we can settle into conversations that feel like we have resumed where we left off the day before. Those are the friends with whom we have shared many intimate moments and whose friendship never really ends.
As I write this, I am about to travel out-of-state where I will see real friends. One is a man I've seen just a dozen times over decades. We have lunch or dinner whenever I pass through his town on the way to somewhere else and we 'catch up.' I think I know this man better than most I see every week.
The next friends we will spend a night or two with are my best friend from high school and her husband. There have been years when I did not see them and recent years where we see them just months apart. When we are sharing intimate moments, it is as if we are still in high school.
Our destination is a week of vacation with our best friends, John and Elaine Thompson. Over the decades, we have always connected on vacations when they lived hundreds or thousands of miles away, just as we do now when they live only ten miles away. Maybe there is something Elaine doesn't know about me, but if I think of it, I'll tell her.
The good news is that many people
who are just acquaintances can become
friends through shared intimacy.
It is a street that must be two-way. When someone
shares something very personal with us, the
relationship deepens. But it can only progress
if we are willing to share ourselves in return.
These are real friends. The good news is that many people who are just acquaintances can become friends through shared intimacy. It is a street that must be two-way. When someone shares something very personal with us, the relationship deepens. But it can only progress if we are willing to share ourselves in return.
It is not easy for some people to be intimate with others. Sometimes it is obvious to us that someone needs to share something but does not know how to be intimate. When I experience this, I try to share something personal, making myself vulnerable. It is a way to let someone know I trust him or her and often allows that person to open up as well.
People are basically good and decent and very open to being loved for who they are. The more people we know on an intimate level, the richer our lives become. It doesn't matter who opens up first, only that it happens. If you are in need of a good friend, speak to someone from your heart. You'll be thrilled at what comes back to you.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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