Author: Ann Schiebert
Dear Ann: I want to have a close relationship with my partner but I just don’t know how. We do activities together like golf and tennis but I get lost in the sport and we talk about that. We both have jobs and we discuss them and the problems we face each day. But that seems so superficial. How can we create intimacy in our relationship?
What is this idea called, “Intimacy Filled Pastiming?” With the assistance of a prominent anonymous psychiatrist, this term was created to give a definition to the idea of passing time with the goal of creating intimacy. Just how do two people create intimacy?
How often do we spend time listening to our partner talk about themselves? Often we think we are listening but are we?
Two Ways of Listening:
Parallel Listening: In which one person listens to another while simultaneously thinking about points they need to make to address something the other person has said. For example someone might say:
"I really feel threatened by what my boss told me today."
As they hear this the listener would think:
"Yes I can relate, I need to share what I did when I felt cornered by my boss."
Compassionate Listening: This is when the listener focuses on what the speaker is saying without the need to offer suggestions, without the desire to share their own experiences with the topic at hand, without advice giving or feedback. Compassionate listening requires hearing what is being said and asking further questions about the speaker’s experience of it. For example:
"I really feel threatened by what my boss told me today." Speaker
"What did she say?" Listener
"She said that they might downsize and eliminate my job." Speaker
"What do you think about that?" Listener
"How do you feel about that?" Listener
"Has that ever happened to you before?" Listener
"What do you think your options might be if that happens?" Listener
Notice that with compassionate listening, the listener searches for the speaker’s deeper experience of the issue being related.
Subsequent Blogs will offer further insights into creating Intimacy Filled Pastiming.