Why are some relationships closer, more connected and ‘cleaner,’ than others? Clean means no secrets (overt or covert), no withholding, straight, honest and kind communication.

A friendship requires reciprocity where each person is free to be themselves and say what’s true is rare. Common interests and shared experience certainly provide connection and enjoyment. However, that experience does not necessarily guarantee emotional connection or build genuine trust.

Closeness requires openness and vulnerability by both parties. Vulnerability requires transparency, the first T. A person who is forthcoming and open allows you to know them. As a consequence, you will know where you stand in that relationship — no withholding or avoiding.

Transparency promotes trust, the second T. Trust is a building block of friendship, where you have the safety and freedom to be yourself in the company of another. Trust enables you to speak the truth, the third T, even when it may be difficult. Trust and truth allow you to be seen and known, by yourself and another person.

Think about your important relationships. Do you invest yourself emotionally? Are you open and expressive about your thoughts and feelings? Is the transparency reciprocal? Or, do you have relationships based primarily on activities and shared experience?