Levels of intimacy

There are thresholds of intimacy that two people can experience.  These levels, if transcended, can lead to fantastic friendships, companionships, etc. It is imperative that you progress from one level to the next, without jumping too far up the ladder. To do so would shake the foundation of the relationship.

Something that exists on the first threshold to intimacy is assisting someone with a move. This is a great test of friendship. It may seem innocuous, but moving someone is a very traumatic experience for a free-willed individual. I mean there is this person, happy in his life, enjoying an upcoming weekend; but then, poof, there’s this request, “Will you help me move?” and the question hangs in the air like someone asking for donations to help cure cancer. Sure, someone could refuse, but what a jerk! So the free-willed individual has to think to himself, “Well, do I like this person enough to spend the weekend lifting heavy boxes into and out of a van?”

To say “yes” is to transcend the first level of intimacy. Afterwards, the mover and movee share a special bond, one that can be acknowledged silently over a beer years later. “Remember when it rained and you helped me move?” The question wouldn’t even need to be asked. A person’s eyes and a gentle nod of the head by the other would suffice.

Pooping in front of someone is about the sixth level, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When someone walks up to you and asks if you’d witness an inner talent—a piece of writing, a song, perhaps, or maybe a few lines from a play, that is definitely at least the second threshold of intimacy. This is especially true when the offer is unprompted by party A to party B. “Hey, I hear you’re a writer, here’s the first chapter of a novel I’m writing. Tell me what you think.” Yup, that’s indicative of a second-level threshold.

So if the offerer (party A) had been one of the two involved in the move discussed earlier, it would be fine, as they would simply be attempting to transcend yet another level of intimacy (although if the person who asked for help moving also offered a bit of fiction, the recipient of both requests might want to hit the brakes a bit and try to garner a favor or two for himself).

The reason why witnessing inner talent is such a big issue is because a person who creates takes on a holy and sacred charge. He or she is a created being wishing to create as does his or her creator. Thus, to ask someone to evaluate the said product of this creative energy is asking someone to actually pass judgment on how well a created being can mimic the work of creation, and thus the Almighty himself. It’s heavy.

And so when a gentleman in my Instructor Training Course put a copy of the first chapter of his novel on my desk asking for feedback, I was jarred a bit. I don’t think I know this guy or am well enough accomplished in the arena of writing to assign worth to something he feels so strongly about. This is what I mean about it being a second-level/threshold deal. We have no basis for intimate interaction. A wrong turn of phrase, delayed reaction or perceived lack of enthusiasm could shatter the guy.

So should I be honest? Jumping from zero to level two is risky. I’d rather of helped the guy move first before taking this on. That way, I’d know him a bit more—know his quirks or how well he responds to feedback. Then again, screw that! I hate moving people! I’ll just have a read and give my piece.

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About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

7 responses to “Levels of intimacy”

  1. Adrian says :

    ummm… dude… can you help me move next friday? please? i’ll totally hook you up and give you a room to sleep in… and i’ll go halfs on a pizza. appreciate it.

  2. Felyne says :

    … *deletes email asking what you’re doing on the 15th of September*…

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with Steven Wright, he’s a comedian and one of his skits includes the line “sometimes it helps to tell your problems to a total stranger on a bus”. Perhaps this guy just wants an opinion from someone who he doesn’t know very well that he feels will give him an honest and straight up review? Welcome to Instructorness, show no mercy and TAKE NO PRISONERS! (okay it is a very good thing I don’t deal with children or the elderly). Seriously, integrity is the biggest issue above feelings here (in my opinion). It’s a bit like a guy friend of mine that was trying to tell a girl he didn’t like her (for once I’m not the girl), he was trying to ‘soften the blow’ and she wasn’t really getting that he just didn’t like her. I told her he has to just say “I’m sorry, I don’t like you like that”, he said he didn’t want to be an asshole. I said “being honest doesn’t make you an asshole, how do you did does”. So he kinda said those exact words and it all worked out fine. People appreciate the truth, even if it hurts…. and seriously, what are you doing on the 15th… I only have a couple things, and nothing TOO heavy… and it NEVER rains in San Diego….

  3. Felyne says :

    oh god… typo… “being honest doesn’t make you an asshole, how do you did does” should probably read “… how you do it does”

  4. Dave says :

    No one watches me poop. Ever. I must be a real introvert.

  5. Joshua says :

    I hear ya, Dave. I don’t know if I’ll ever be close to anyone 😉

  6. finch says :

    you should read his book’s chapter WHILE he watches you poop! the intimacyometer thingy would probably just implode…awesome…POOP!

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