a multi-faceted outreach project aimed at encouraging happy, healthy romantic & parent-child relationships

Getting Closer: How to Increase Intimacy Without Even Talking

There are many ways that you can become more intimate with your significant other. You could disclose your deepest thoughts and feelings, you could plan a romantic date just for the two of you, or you could share everything that you love about your partner with him or her. The problem with these suggestions are that many people have trouble communicating intimacy with others. What if I told you that you can convey intimacy without ever saying a word?

Research (e.g., Floyd & Burgoon, 1999; Floyd & Morman, 1999; Register & Henley, 1992; Rubin, 1973) has shown that many types of nonverbal communication can highlight, promote, and enhance intimacy in your close relationship. For instance, smiling at your partner or staring into your partner's eyes can increase intimate feelings between the two of you. Likewise, in order to convey affection and love, you could cuddle in bed, lean towards your partner, or just be physically close to your mate. It's as simple as not sitting on separate ends of the couch while watching TV. Scoot a little closer to each other! Just spending one-on-one time, in silence, with one another can increase intimacy in your relationship.

Try some of these intimacy-enhancing behaviors with your partner this weekend. You never know, you may become more comfortable with that whole "talking" thing.

  • Floyd, K., & Burgoon, J. K. (1999). Reacting to nonverbal expressions of liking: A test of interaction adaptation theory. Communication Monographs, 66, 219-239.
  • Floyd, K., & Morman, M. K. (1999). The measurement of affectionate communication. Communication Quarterly, 46, 144-162.
  • Register, L. M., & Henley, T. B. (1992). The phenomenology of intimacy. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 467-481.
  • Rubin, Z. (1973). Liking and loving: An invitation to social psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

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