How much energy goes into finding the right thing to say when you’re really trying connect with someone? Most people want to be understood, be charming, interesting, clever, and funny all at once- and this stops you from being real. It creates a layer of editing that often reads as strategy and feels inauthentic for both parties. If we want people to open to us, authentic communication is the key. And that doesn’t come from saying the right thing. Even still, we often don’t have enough language to express what we really mean, and then we over explain things to the point of dissolving the magic. It’s just difficult to get right. So often our words end up getting in the way of what we really want to communicate- how we feel and who we are.
When I think back on some of my most beautiful memories in connection with others- those magic moments in which I felt so seen and together- it wasn’t because of something someone said. It was a moment in between. A pause, a settling, a silent togetherness. So why not just start there?
What to do instead
You’ve proposed this intimacy experiment with someone you’d like to get closer with, and they’re in. Now what? I suggest planning it in advance so the silence is in effect when you get together. You open the door, and both smile with a giddy curiosity, holding back whatever predictably boring pleasantries you might normally recite. You’ve already created a shared experience with some excited tension and mystery. Great!
What happens next? Take responsibility for making it an interesting encounter. If you’re reserved and edited, fearful and careful- your experience will reflect that. But if you can take risks, be your weird self, explore your emotions, and show what’s really happening for you, you will be seen. Remember to play, but not perform. Keep it real and it will serve you both.
What could happen
After you get over the initial awkwardness, the stiff holding back, the performing, the panic of not knowing what to do, something magical could happen.
You could find yourself in an intoxicating moment of deep eye-gazing, synchronized breathing, and hands on each other’s hearts. You could wrestle and giggle, get still and rest, hold each other and weep, or realize that it’s just too much and talk about how weird and impossible it is.
Whatever happens for you, it will be a rare kind of play that just isn’t normally available. It will be unique and memorable. Isn’t that the kind of intimacy you’d like to experience?