Ordinarily, upon hearing the word "intimacy," we usually think only of it's physical side when, in fact, intimacy has two components.

    There are several considerations in determining if a relationship is intimate or not.

    Attaining and maintaining intimacy is not easy. If you expect intimacy to develop right away or expect to be intimate with most everyone, you will probably end up very disappointed. Intimacy needs to grow naturally; it cannot be forced. Make sure you choose carefully when, where, how and with whom you disclose personal information. Premature self disclosures can put people on the defensive and make them wonder, "Why are you telling me this?" A common block to intimacy is acting within some sort of stereotypical role, hiding our true thoughts and feelings. While this is "safe" and avoids some risks, it is not conducive for intimacy to occur. Intimacy involves clear and direct communication of our intent in the relationship.

    Intimacy can also be blocked by fear of rejection. Everyone has suffered rejection and the other person in the relationship probably has the same apprehensions. The only way to conquer this fear is to take a calculated risk. If you have evaluated when, where, how, and with whom you are choosing to self disclose, and feel confident in your choice, sharing your thoughts and feelings should be quite natural. Begin where you feel most comfortable and don't try to hurry it along; intimacy will unfold itself.

Taken from the peer counseling page of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program.

This is an adaptation of Eric Fromm's five components of an intimate relationship: