Dear Reader,

Even before the social distancing norms and stay-at-home orders were put in place in the current coronavirus pandemic, the act of connecting was always tricky and physically challenging. With extremely busy schedules, work travel time gobbling the limited available daily hours, difficult synchronizing leisure time with that of companion, connecting physically has been a near-impossible mission in recent times. Although the social media boom has facilitated virtual connectivity within fraction of a second, the ‘real’ connect will remain a hidden desire for the current aspirants, and a muchrarely experienced pleasure for the generation next.

Connecting with anyone another can be ‘real world’ or ‘digital’. In the real world interaction, almost every human meets another - be it family, neighbour, friend, colleague or layman each day. But the virtual connectivity is fast catching up:there are 4.7 billion (bn) internet-users today (roughly 60% of world’s population!).


Social media users are currently close to 4 bn i.e. 85% of internet-users maintain digital connectivity each day worldwide. The 5-most preferred such platforms include the following.

WhatsApp: 500 million (mn) daily users
Instagram: 500 mn daily users
LinkedIn: 304 mn daily users
Snapchat: 230 mn daily users
Twitter: 152 mn daily users

However, several studies suggestthat computer-mediated communicationcan leadto decreases in group effectiveness and reduce satisfaction levels in terms of trust and comfort of its users[Procedia Technology 2014; 16: 3-10].


According to Clinical Social Work/Therapist Alyssa Mancao (US) the sense of closeness and compassion needs to be the ultimate goal of connectivity. This is possible in the real world connect since there is physical form and an identity.
Intimacy is the foregone outcome when the closeness leads to imbibing of compassion.


Although there are four intimacy types that need to be fostered but most of us focus on only 2-3 varieties – in fact, nurturing 3 would be pushing a lot more for many!

Digital connectivity can never ever bundle in one all the 4 facets of intimacy. It is only the actual one-on-one connect that can aspire to deliver the same. Intimacy is the outcome of, first and foremost, stopping all other things and giving each other undivided, undistracted attention.


Erik Erikson,a developmental psychologist states that the "intimacy vs. isolation" crisis is the sixth to unfold in adulthood, reaching a peak of importance in the 20s. Close relationships remain a vital part of our well-being for as long as we live and any obstacle to achieving true intimacy hinders self-fulfilment. Irrespective, not everyone is ever able to experience all maximum degree of intimacy.


Psychologist Jacob Orlofsky and colleagues (1973) (US)[Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology 1973; 27(2): 211-219]developed an Intimacy Status Interview to assess the quality of an individual's capacity for intimacy, according to Erikson's framework. In this, there are a set of 6 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) whose answers determine whether one is:

1. Intimate:You're in good shape with regard to your current relationship.

2. ‘Merger’:You clearly have the capacity for close relationships with others, but you put the needs of your partner or friends so far above your own that you lose your own sense of identity.

3. Pseudo-Intimate:You value long-term relationships, but you resist letting others get too close to you.

4. Isolated:You possess an inability to get close to people that you feel may now reflect difficulties establishing a firm sense of your identity in your earlier life. Although you may think that you're better off being alone than in a relationship, you eventually may find that you've cut yourself off from important sources of fulfilment.

S No









When I get angry with my partner or friend I react by:

expressing how I feel as honestly and clearly as I can.

becoming afraid that he or she will leave me.

leaving or walking out rather than talking about it.

regretting that I ever got into the relationship at all.


When something good happens to me, my reaction is to:

enjoy the way I feel and tell my partner or friend as soon as I can.

tell my partner or friend right away without even thinking about how I feel.

share the news with my partner or friend but not give this a priority.

celebrate on my own by rewarding myself with something I like doing.



If I have an important financial or career decision to make, I would:

consult with my partner or friend for help and advice.

rely entirely on my partner or friend to make it for me.

ask my partner or friend but not take the advice very seriously.

decide on my own without consulting my partner or friend.



The topics my partner or friend tend to talk about include:

both practical and emotional aspects of our relationship.

deep emotional issues focusing on how much I need him or her.

relatively superficial conversations that don't explore our feelings.

very few things that interest me, and as a result I don't pay much attention.



If I have free time or am planning a vacation, I:

certainly prefer to use it to spend time with my partner or friend.

can't imagine doing anything without my closest partner or friend.

feel I should go with my partner or friend because I'm expected to.

do things on my own rather than with my partner or friends.


I can best describe my relationship with my partner or friend as:

very solid and a major part of my life right now.

so close that I can't imagine life without him or her.

satisfactory but not as important as other aspects of my life.

distant and not very satisfying but this does not concern me.

[https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201203/6-questions-reveal-your-intimacy-quotient. Accessed on 15th February 2021]


Mirroring the four intimacy types, the body is divisible into 4 distinct parts: Emotional, Mental, Physical & Spiritual. According to Jill Willard, gifted intuitive, medium and leader in meditation practice from US (- the intuitive who taught us how to trust God) one’s body should be balanced with the four intimacies (Emotional Intimacy, Intellectual / Mental Intimacy, Physical Intimacy & Spiritual Intimacy) each contributing 25%. This only will thus spell ‘well-being’ for one’s self.

Well-being is theultimate roadmap to health, wellness and understanding our true being. To ensure thus, we must –
  • Be compassionate – fosters Emotional intimacys
  • Be communicative – fosters Mental intimacy
  • Be caring – fosters Spiritual intimacy
  • Be committed – foster Physical intimacy
The combined 4 intimacies, which could even be augmented suitably, if needed,can truly spell utopia!
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