Two simple intimacy-builders (hugging optional)

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips May 31, 2016

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

Intimacy gets a lot of real estate on these virtual pages, and for good reason: trusted advisors are safe havens for tough issues, and intimacy is what earns you that safe haven designation. Today: a slightly different take on intimacy, with two reminders about how to build it in a way that can actually be—dare I say it—fun.

When it comes to intimacy, I beat the personal risk-taking drum a lot. Going outside your own comfort zone makes it safe for others to do the same. The problem is that when we humans imagine what personal risk-taking looks like, our brains naturally play to the extremes and we picture yucky uncomfortable things: having emotionally-charged conversations … baring our souls in awkward ways … hugging.


For the record, there are many ways to take personal risks that don’t require Kleenex and body contact. Two in particular that I have found particularly rewarding are:

  1. Appreciation. Tell someone something you appreciate about them. Doing this is a personal risk because you have to go out on a limb to actually express it, not just think it: “Jared, before we get focused on our agenda topics today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge you. I really appreciated how you handled the meeting yesterday. You were clear and direct. And you also really listened to the concerns that came up. It made a difference for the staff, from where I was sitting.”Note that being really specific makes a difference. (Compare and contrast the above example to, “Nice job on the meeting yesterday. Now, back to business … ”). It’s riskier to be concrete about it, not to mention more rewarding to receive.
  2. Celebration. Create an opportunity to celebrate successes together. Suggest a meeting, a coffee break, or an off-site meal where the only goal is to toast a job well done. Doing this is a personal risk because you have to go outside the business norm of accomplishing-achieving-driving to focus instead on reveling. Give the tendency to be a Task Master a break and help the people who matter to you be present to their greatness, if only for a moment.

The bonus in all of this: it just plain feels good for everyone involved, including (and especially) you.

Don’t overdo it, though, or you might actually want to start hugging people.

Make it Real

This week, do a little appreciating or celebrating (or both) every single day. What changes about your relationships? What changes about your overall perspective?

Learn More


Read a lovely story about celebrating three people’s lives in “A Birthday, a Funeral and a Centenarian,” from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or read about celebrating a client’s first 5k run in Chapter 1 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

The following two tabs change content below.
Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).
Andrea Howe

Latest posts by Andrea Howe (see all)

Was this content valuable?
Get weekly tips delivered to your (virtual) doorstep


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact us | Subscribe