This week, we took time to reflect on the various ways we cultivate intimacy and to explore experiences we have had that should have been intimate but were devoid of emotional closeness. In our weekly “From the Editor’s Desk” column and in our newsletter, we asked Verily readers: “How do you like to build the feeling of closeness in your relationships (friendships, romantic, or familial relationships)?”

Here is a selection of the reflections women shared with us (note: some reflections have been edited for clarity and brevity).

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“Shared experiences and matter. Cooking. Reading. Gardening.”
– Kiley, Arlington, Virginia

“Spending quality time and expressing our emotions to each other, going below surface level check-ins.”
– Monica, Atlanta, Georgia

“Hugs and time spent together.”
– Mary, Nashville, Tennessee

“Going old school. . . . I call my family and friends!”
– Kimberly, Enfield, Connecticut

“Quality time, transparency, intentionality, and little notes of encouragement and love sprinkled in.”
– Jaime, Dallas, Texas

“Allowing myself to be vulnerable with others—while challenging—has always resulted in building stronger friendships and growing closer to my loved ones. This has ‘looked like’ asking for help, allowing people into my home when it isn’t perfectly tidy, and being open about the things with which I struggle. I think we all want to feel needed, want to sacrifice for our loved ones if they will only let us; reciprocating by letting others do the same is the difficult part. Authenticity in relationships will always pay off.”
– Kriztia, Irvine, California

“Quality time, conversations, meals together, adventures.”
– Ruth, Boston, Massachusetts

“Quality time.”
– Andrea, Elyria, Ohio

“Catching up, spending time together.”
– Lizzy, Virginia Beach, Virginia

“I do best at listening. I am not good at striving for physical contact.”
– Sue, Beverly Hills, California

“Through spending time relaxing and talking.”
– Emily, Washington

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