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Essay/Term paper: Intimacy

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society Term Papers

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Intimacy is often defined as arising from a close acquaintance,
association, or familiarity. This definition would definitely describe the
relationship I have with my sister, Catherine. We share just about everything
that goes on in our lives and know each other like the back of our hands. We
are so close, in fact, that rarely do we hear what another is feeling before we
already know. We can tell each other's mood by the body language we are using.
I plan to give a brief summary of this relationship and the intimacy involved in
There are many possible reasons why some people are attracted to each
other and form relationships. Some of these reasons are personality, physical
looks, intellectual stimulation, things in common, and differences. My sister
and I developed our relationship differently than the way you would with someone
who you just randomly meet on the street. We shared common parents, household,
schedules, and heritage. Therefore, we were naturally inclined to develop some
sort of relationship and intimacy. If we hadn't, our living conditions would
have become understandably tenuous. The development of relationships and
intimacy has some very definitive steps. The first step is initiating which is
making contact with the other person and showing that you are the kind of person
worth talking to. Our relationship was initiated as soon as I was brought into
this world and facilitated by the fact that we were brother and sister. The
next step is experimenting which is deciding whether we want to pursue a
relationship further by using small talk and the like. Since I was unable to
talk at the time, my sister and I dismissed this step. Next comes the step of
intensifying when the expression of feelings become more common. This came
quite naturally to the two of us. People were always asking my sister to show
how much she loved me which often led to hugs, kisses, hand holding, and other
common expressions of love people often demonstrate in a sibling relationship.
The next step is integrating which is when we give up characteristics of our old
selves and become different people. This has not happened to me because this
relationship has always been with me. My sister was not always a sister and
definitely changed when I became her brother. Bonding is the next step which is
when the parties make symbolic public gestures to show the world that a
relationship exists. My sister and I have always been very public about our
relationship. Next is the differentiating stage where the parties separate
somewhat. We are always going through this at this point in our relationship.
One day we can be the best of friends and the next day we can be mortal enemies.
Circumscribing comes next and is when the level of communication decreases in
quantity and quality. Again, this seems to come and go in our relationship.
The stagnating stage is when the relationship becomes overly familiar and loses
the feeling. We have not hit this. We can always find a new way to keep the
relationship exciting. Avoiding is the stage in which the parties create
distance between one another. We have not reached this stage either. We are
still as close as we have ever been, if not closer. The final stage is
terminating which is when the relationship is declared over. This has not been
reached in my relationship. These stages do not have to be in this order
necessarily and some can be skipped altogether. My sister and I developed our
relationship out of necessity. Brothers and sisters often do this because they
share so much in common. Our relationship is sometimes good and sometimes bad,
but it is always solid. It could stand to be a little more positive on both
sides at some points. We share an intellectual and emotional intimacy that most
siblings do. The commonality between the two of us facilitates this. Relational
development and maintenance have some very distinct characteristics. First, not
all relationships move through all ten steps. This has definitely been the case
in my relationship. My sister and I did not have to go through the initiating
stage that most people do, nor have we avoided each other. Intimacy is not the
only goal of relationships. Even though my relationship involved some intimacy
this is not always the reason we are there. Sometimes it is just to reach a
common goal. Movement occurs within stages. Our relationship has definitely
progressed through stages even though sometimes they become blurred. My sister
and I experienced the integrating and intensifying stage at one point and I
suspect they occurred around the same time although two definitive steps.
Movement between steps is generally sequential. My relationship has definitely
had a pattern of development to it. Relationships are constantly changing.
Even though we have a solid relationship, my sister and I definitely have our
ups and downs. Movement is always to a new place. We are always trying out new
ways of behaving towards each other and this makes movement mandatory.
Sometimes we even go back a step or two before we return to the point we were
before. The relationship my sister and I share involves a high level of self-
disclosure. We are always intentionally revealing information to one another
that is important and would not always be known. Our breadth is wide as we can
discuss anything from sex to politics. The depth is great because we do not
pull any punches. When we are discussing something we are as personal as you
can get. Neither of us hides much and when one does it is easily caught by the
other. Our conversations often include facts, opinions, and feelings. Lying
does not come across good and it is rarely attempted by either of us. There are
many reasons for this self-disclosure but it is mainly "just to get it off of
our chest" or catharsis. A brother-sister relationship is definitely a unique
one as evidenced here. Although it can reach some of the later and nastier
stages, I don't see this as being the case in our relationship.


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