The term intimacy is often used as a euphemism for sex but it but anyone with a dear friend knows that physical attraction is not essential for any two people to create a true bond. Intimacy is what you share with another human being who truly “gets” you. Intimacy keeps open a channel for sharing the moments that are too saturated to contain—unburdening ourselves when distressed or disappointed, exulting when joys and triumphs swell our hearts. Intimacy is our emotional slow food, the lovingly home-cooked meal in a world of drive-thru orders.
One of the most basic facts of intimacy is that it takes time to achieve. The process of opening to another, of self-revelation, takes patience as well as bravery, and the unhurried pace is a necessity for the creation of trust. Friendships hold just as much capacity for intimacy as romantic relationships. It’s why people who often start out as friends wind up as lovers and why lovers seek friends to confide in when romance falters.
What does it take to truly become close to another human being, whether in love or friendship? And what does it take to maintain the vitality of intimacy over the long haul?
IRIANS – The Neuroscience Institute