We all crave being closer to the ones we love. There’s nothing that quite compares to being heard, being held close and feeling emotionally supported with another.
And especially now. The need to connect is at an all-time high as we navigate the changes during the pandemic and struggle with not being able to spend more time with our dearest ones.
Research shows that intimacy is much more than a psychological need but is also based on our biology. One of the most famous studies by Harry Frederick Harlow, examined touch and isolation with rhesus monkeys and their babies. His classic 1965 research found that baby monkeys that were not held and touched by their mothers developed disturbed behavior and struggled with attachment.
Connection is powerful and the need for it doesn’t go away. And even though we think we want money or power or status, we are biologically predisposed to belong and to be loved. And when we don’t feel emotionally connected to others, we struggle in all kinds of areas, such as bouncing back from stressful situations, experiencing higher levels of anxiety and less empathy for others. And long-term? A lack of connection can lead to depression and cognitive decline later in life.
With that said, even though we want more connection, sometimes we don’t have the words to step into courageous conversations that ultimately bring us closer.
So here are a few questions that can help you start initiating authentic conversations that pull you closer together:
- How are you, really?
- What would you do if you knew you were guaranteed success?
- Who thinks you’re beautiful when you wake up in the morning?
- What would your life be like if you were the best in the world at what you do?
- Are you finding your dream job or business, or are you creating it?
- If there was a solution to one problem, what would you be doing right now?
- When was the last time you did something new, something for the first time?
- What is your favorite memory and why?
- What if there was ____ that could ____?
- What simple thing brings you the most joy?
- What is your favorite cause in the world, and why?
- What was the hardest thing, situation or person you ever had to forgive?
For some of us, these conversations won’t be easy. Some of us unconsciously push people away because we’re afraid of intimacy. It might be because of a past relationship or even how you were brought up.
The thing is, the best way to become more comfortable with intimacy is to practice and find your vulnerability (as well as finding and experiencing others’ vulnerability) as a sense of power and empowerment.
Research has shown that those who are more connected to others have more trust and empathy, have higher self-esteem, are more cooperative with others and even have better physical health.
So, relax, have fun, explore and add your own deep questions. Here’s to supporting you in becoming more vulnerable and loving in your relationships.