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Friday, April 20, 2012

Embracing Telephone Intimacy


Regarding listening skills, some conversations are best had by telephone. Even some of the most intimate. Though we’ve been schooled on the importance of body language and eye contact, sometimes all that intimacy requires is emotional tone, hearts to share, and each other to intently listen.
Intimacy is achieved just as effectively, in most cases, from long-distance as it is from being face-to-face, though we’ll still struggle for missing mutual bodily contact; each others’ physical presence.
That’s heartening for those who must rely on long-distance for their intimacy. The loneliness enforced by distance is somehow rearranged when there is a need for authenticity. If two people want their intimacy it can certainly be achieved over the phone.
The Unique Benefits Of Telephone Intimacy
Some are naturally more at home than others regarding the use of their phones. And many of these find their intimacy needs met chatting with friends, or their partners, for as long as they mutually feel like it. Telephone communication has created a way for anyone to connect with anyone else anywhere in the world, any time, instantly.
But the real value in telephone intimacy is it removes some of the in-your-face barriers that face-to-face intimacy must wrangle with. For instance, eye contact often reveals incongruence between people—even the closest of people. When one or both people struggle to maintain eye contact in a face-to-face encounter, intimacy is diminished. In a phone conversation a better, safer space is achieved between people, if that’s required.
Sometimes conflict occurs because of the close proximity of people. The relative distance of the telephone conversation can ensure conversations stay on track. Of course, hanging up is safer than coming to fisticuffs, too. (And there’s always time to cool off before a reacquainting call.)
Because the senses are limited to hearing, we can often pick up better the other person’s mood, whether they’re tired, or sound happy or not, and a whole bunch of other cues we might miss or misconstrue when we’re in their presence. Even with Skype there’s a safer emotional distance, despite the fact we can see.
There are the obvious flipsides to telephone intimacy as well. But telephone intimacy comes into its own according to our need.
Most especially for those maintaining long-distance relationships, the telephone creates space and an escape into a world formed in the ether. That world, just like the world between two having it out face-to-face, is between two people. And where intimacy is created between two—notwithstanding media and distance—all other worlds pale sharply into insignificance. It’s their space.
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Love has a communication all its own. It transcends barriers of distance and moves smoothly through the ether. Sometimes face-to-face intimacy is too much. Telephone and Skype intimacy are wonders to behold because they make intimacy less threatening and sometimes of more value due to the distance. And long-distance intimacy was reinvented by the telephone.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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