4. Give space between emotions.
And when these emotions arise, you only need to acknowledge them (“That must have been hurtful; that sounds so frustrating”) and then stop and be silent. This can be hard—our instincts are to repair, to fix, to make it better by saying the right thing right then to calm the waters.
Don’t. Take a few deep breaths, allow room for you both to absorb what has been said (or for them to finish ranting or crying).
5. Slow down, focus on them.
In the same vein, you want to slow the conversation overall. Move through the conversation like a turtle, not a jackrabbit.
Keep the focus on them, give them the room and attention they need, and resist using their stories as launchpads to talk about your own. Only when they are done is it time to turn the conversation towards you.
Related: 7 Traits You Are a Deep Thinker
6. Take risks.
You know if you are moving into more vulnerable and intimate territory if what you want to say makes you feel uncomfortable, you get those butterflies of anxiety.
Intimacy is not about disclosing some big, dark secret, but saying anything that is, for you, difficult to say. Take that risk for yourself, and listen for it in the other person. They may say “I’ve never said this before or thought about this before,” or there may be a hesitation or an unfinished sentence and a sigh. Ask them to finish the sentence. Give them space to say what is hard to say.
Use your anxiety as a sign that you are emotionally plowing new ground. Go deeper to connect.
Intimate conversations are the key to knowing a person on a deeper and emotional level. Talking about things that have a lot of emotions attached to them, can help people deal with them better. The more you talk about your fears, apprehensions, and anxieties, the better you will feel emotionally, and this will also help you foster a better relationship with the other person.