Intimacy. It has so many ramifications and so many faces.
It usually has sexual connotations, but in reality, intimacy is how we interact with others: what is appropriate and what isn’t between two people. And the acceptability is based on how well we know each other, how much we trust each other, how much we like each other, and what the code of behavior was in one’s family during those formative years.
In some families, intimacy is kissing children good night, or sharing food. In other families intimacy is spending time together playing, camping, reading, watching television. What is considered apropo in one group may not be okay in another.
Boundaries begin to blur with intimacy. What is yours, mine, ours, theirs, can overlap and we take liberties with those we are closest to that we wouldn’t think of doing with strangers.
In our family, we would take a bite of someone else’s food without a second thought. At least most of us would. One of my sisters couldn’t stand for someone to taste her food. That one act would violate her boundaries. The rest of us learned not to touch her plate or our hand might be pierced with a fork.
It is often hard to know when you have crossed into someone’s space. That is, until they rip the food away from you with the look of death in their eyes. Then you know that you have gone from intimacy to intrusion and you best be making amends…as you dive under the table attempting to avoid the wrath of someone who treasures their last bite and is incensed at your rudeness.
Oh dear, how stupid you feel crawling on the floor feeling you broke a rule that you should have learned in kindergarten, but apparently was covered on a day you didn’t attend.
The good news, if you felt that comfortable taking possession of something that wasn’t yours to begin with, the friendship will survive without too much physical damage to your body and soul.