Emotional intimacy is a general sense of closeness to another person. This doesn’t just exist between lovers, but it can also exist between friends and family. Some might even argue it can be experienced with a pet.
Those who share emotional intimacy also have a common way of viewing the world and they experience things in a similar way. They’re soul mates.
Most of us can agree that emotional intimacy is important, but what can you do if it’s difficult for you to get close to others?
Connect on a deeper level with the important people in your life using these tips:
1. Consider the times you’ve been emotionally intimate with others. Sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves. While you might be less emotionally open than you’d like, odds are you have been successful sometime in the past.
- Focus on those times when you’ve felt close and connected to someone. Remembering your past can help you gain confidence moving forward in the present and future.
2. Figure out the reason for your reticence. Why are you keeping others at arm’s length? Maybe you’ve been let down before or perhaps your upbringing is the cause. If you’ve been emotionally intimate with others in the past, but are struggling with a particular person now, maybe they’re the source of the challenge. Find the root of the issue and then move forward.
3. Focus on emotional intimacy. Men tend to be guilty of avoiding emotional intimacy more than women. Relationship building usually occurs outside of physical intimacy and one doesn’t equal the other.
- Enjoy intimacy on both levels, but realize the physical isn’t a substitute for the emotional.
4. Reveal yourself, even if you start small. While some of us may be more than willing to reveal personal information, others are reluctant to share anything of substance.
- When you share private things, you build trust and closeness, whereas a lack of sharing is a roadblock to emotional intimacy.
- If you’re uncomfortable, start small and you can build from there. Get into the habit of sharing your thoughts and opinions. When someone has earned your trust, share a little more.
5. Tread lightly. Trying to force intimacy can result in the opposite. When you share too much or ask questions that are too personal, you can put the other person on the defensive. Intimacy builds in subtle ways, as long as you’re open and willing to let someone in.
6. Try getting a little more physical. Acting differently can change the way you feel. Maybe try hugging the other person at a time you normally wouldn’t. Hold hands or squeeze their arm as you walk by. It might feel strange at first, but it will help build that intimacy you’re seeking.
It can be challenging to expose yourself, but emotional intimacy is important if you want to have a happy and fulfilling life. At first, try taking baby steps. If the other person is responding positively, go a little further. Even if you feel closed off from the ones you love, you can create the intimacy you desire.