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.


[Tweet “Two simple #intimacy-builders (hugging optional) #getreal #relationships”]

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.

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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).