Why does it seem like everyone has intimacy issues these days? We live in a world of technology that has helped us hide who we are and what we need. As a society we hide behind email, texting, Facebook and Twitter at the expense of real relationships. Humans are social creatures and that doesn’t mean “social media”.
I have to admit to being a bit of a hypocrite writing this because I’m not very social and I love text messages but having said that I can also admit that I crave real connections. I want to know people and be known. Up until I started writing here I was an obsessively private person and to a certain extent that is still true; but I'm learning to be more open.
I’ve mentioned that some of the criticism I’ve received is that I’m too personal. I’ve made a couple of people uncomfortable with my honesty and at first I couldn’t figure out why and now I realize that by putting my truth out there it is an invitation for other people to do the same. With the exchange of truth comes intimacy. If I tell you what I need and you reciprocate then what? Where does that leave us? All of a sudden we have a relationship and relationships come with responsibility and a deeper knowing. As intimacy grows so does the fear that people will get to know the real us and possibly reject us. But aren’t we rejecting each other by not allowing real relationships to grow?
Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media sites and technology have us believing that updating our statuses regularly and having our ‘friends’ comment are relationships. My children both have 700 – 800 ‘friends’ on Facebook and recently Bradley told me that he wouldn’t even recognise many of them if he saw them at the mall.
I guess I’m old fashioned, but to me friends are the people who enrich our lives and our experiences. They are people we know we can call when we need something. They are the people we think of when things go well for us....or not. Friends are the people we choose to spend our time with, and without growth and intimacy these relationships are cold, empty and unfulfilling.
Allowing intimacy is really just feeling safe with people; it’s trusting, not others, but ourselves. It’s trusting that if someone or something bites us in the ass we’ll still be OK. We can risk getting to know one another. We can risk giving ourselves to friends and family. We can risk being seen for who we truly are. We really can.