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True Intimacy


Popular culture often confuses sex and intimacy.


True human intimacy means knowing another person — their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams — and being known by them.  We have to learn how to attain this kind of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual intimacy.  One way to do that is to develop the art of asking questions that draw out the inside of another person and create meaningful and enjoyable conversation. Questions such as:

  1. What are two things you really enjoy doing? Why?

  2. What are two things you're good at?

  3. Who is someone you admire?  Why

  4. What's one of your greatest achievements in life so far?

  5. What are two things other people can do to make you happy?

  6. What is a way you've helped another person?  A way another person has helped you in your life?

  7. What's one way you've changed as a person?

  8. What was a disappointment that was tough to deal with when it happened, but helped you become a stronger or wiser person?

  9. How do you make decisions about important things?

  10. What do you worry about?

  11. What is something you have strong beliefs about?

  12. What is something in your life that you're grateful for?

  13. What are two of your most important goals in life?

  14. If you believe there is a God, what is your concept of God? When do you feel closest to God?


Thomas Lickona "True Intimacy." taken from Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues (New York: Touchstone, 2004).

Reprinted with permission of Thomas Lickona.

The Author

lickonalick Thomas Lickona is a developmental psychologist and professor of education at the State University of New York at Cortland. He is the author of Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues and the Christopher Award-winning book Educating for Character. He has also written Raising Good Children and co-authored Sex, Love and You. Thomas Lickona was instrumental in development of the Center for the Fourth and Fifth Rs. He is on the Advisory Board of the Catholic Education Resource Center.

Copyright © 2004 Thomas Lickona
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