Intimacy: What is it? How do I get it?
By Fran Gallaher
Intimacy is connection on a deep level. It involves one person conveying a personal experience in a way that produces a shared emotional reaction. The reactions of the listener lets the speaker know their message was absorbed, understood and , most of all, valued. In some cases the tables may turn, and the person who received now shares an experience that has emotional value and the first speaker reflects that content in a way that, again, conveys understanding and value.
Intimacy is sharing emotional currency, where the participants behave in a way that shows that both people value the emotions they both are experiencing.
How do we convey value to others?
But how do you know those emotions are valued as you are sharing them? What if you could measure intimate connection? What if you could determine—within a few dates or meetings or twenty years down the line—if someone values emotion and can provide intimate connection—or not?
Well, there is a way. And in my class, “The Key to Authentic Connection,” offered through Colorado Free University, I introduce each key to authentic, emotional connection, let participants practice both with and without these keys, and discover for themselves how important each element is to them.
An important key is …wait for it …eye contact.
You knew, that, right?
But are you getting it? Are you giving it?
A lot of us end up, in our more important, intimate relationships, having what I call refrigerator conversations. One person is staring into the refrigerator; the other person might be sitting at the table playing with their phone or working at the sink. One person says something important but both people are, well, busy. Probably tired, too. So there’s no eye contact. And what might have been important, what could have lead to an intimate, valuable exchange, gets the kind of attention an announcement that the family is low on milk would get.
Dropping down—into your self
Remember “Stop, drop and roll?” That’s the simple fire safety technique that many of us learned in elementary school. Well, what I teach is this: if you hear any emotional content—or something that might be imagined to include emotional content, stop. Drop down into your self. And do your best to roll with both the speaker’s emotional experience and your own.
Yes. Your own.
Because intimacy requires that two people who are both in touch with themselves make an attempt to be in touch with one another. But such connection cannot happen without each person being in touch with their own emotional experience.
You may or may not share your emotional experience with the speaker but you will certainly focus on the speaker’s experience while simply being aware of your own. I’ll cover that in the class, too. Along with the other keys to authentic connect.
This class is not currently offered at CFU, but we hope you find the information useful. Visit www.freeu.com to see current classes.
See the CFU registration policies here….