Psychologists say we are inherently social beings, and this fact is demonstrated in our everyday experiences. We tend to thrive in supportive relationships and perform poorly when isolated or lonely.
However, with more people glued to their devices, establishing healthy connections in the modern world seems like an uphill task. While that is true, if you want to learn the art of connecting with someone, this article is for you.
I will share my top tips for deepening your relationships with your partner, family, friends, coworkers, and even total strangers for a more meaningful connection.
The Importance of Quality Relationships
Thanks to advanced technology, more people are connected all over the world. You’d think more connections mean happier individuals and healthier relationships; sadly, that’s hardly the case.
Even though establishing a social connection is much easier in the modern world, having a large number of people in your social network doesn’t automatically translate to a quality relationship and mutual connection.
A relationship is one aspect where quality is far more important than quantity. You must learn the fine art of connecting with people and treating them properly if you want a richer and deeper relationship.
No doubt, a meaningful relationship requires consistent work, which some aren’t willing to do. They’d rather focus on themselves and fly solo than dwell in social interaction.
Indeed, it might feel like you already have it all together and don’t need others to be happy.
However, life’s biggest gifts, opportunities, and lessons are hidden in the meaningful relationships we build.
With that said, here are a few ways to build a stronger relationship and more genuine connection.
How to Build Stronger Relationships
First things first, you want to show up to any social interaction as your authentic self. Relationships built on deceptive outward appearances do not last. You can only pretend to be who or what you’re not for so long.
Many people fear being real because it means peeling back all the layers that mask their true selves. Understandably, being vulnerable can be scary!
However, vulnerability is vital to connecting with someone special, especially if you want to build a stronger bond and deep connection with them. You must be willing to share yourself with someone you truly care about, regardless of what your authentic self may look like.
Be an Active and Reflective Listener
As humans, one of our topmost longings is to be heard. We want people to acknowledge our perspectives, sufferings, fears, and hopes.
But that’s not all.
We want to be understood! We want our feelings validated, especially by those we care about and who say they care about us.
This is why we are often drawn to great listeners ― people who make us their center of attention when we converse or interact with them, even when it’s just small talk.
Many people are familiar with active listening, which means hearing and acknowledging what the other person is saying. However, not everyone knows what reflective listening entails.
Reflective listening includes everything active listening is but goes a bit further. It involves reflecting on the feelings or words of the speaker and responding in a way that shows you have a deep understanding of what they mean.
This means you are not just paying attention and hearing but also responding to the conversation effectively.
When you develop active and reflective listening skills during a conversation, connecting with someone and building a stronger relationship with them becomes much easier.
Be Willing to Share When the Timing Is Right
Strong relationships, especially romantic ones, thrive when individuals are unafraid to be vulnerable.
That said, telling someone you just met your entire life story is never a good idea. Doing so will not make them trust you more; if anything, it will likely push them away.
Being open and willing to share is great, but being sensitive to other people’s feelings is important.
You want to mirror their feelings, excitement, frustration, or whatever emotions they are expressing in a way that shows empathy. However, don’t share your story in a way that competes with or minimizes their experience.
Remember to only share what’s appropriate and consistent with the depth of your relationship.
Remember Things Others Consider Important
Want to quickly build rapport with someone you just met? Remember their names!
Nothing says you were fully present and paid attention to others than remembering their names.
You can take things further by remembering other important things about people. This encourages them to open up to you, share more details about themselves, and have a more meaningful conversation.
Interestingly, you don’t have to take note of everything about others, even if you hope to build a special relationship or deep connection with them.
In addition to their names, you only need to focus on a few other details, especially the things they are excited about, similar interests, or something that makes them worried or concerned.
If you tend to forget easily, consider keeping a written record of important information about others, especially when connecting with someone special.
Make Time to Connect
Nearly everyone wears “busy” as a badge nowadays, and that’s okay as long as it doesn’t get in the way of important things like quality connections.
The thing is, no matter your desire to establish a strong relationship with someone, you can’t connect with them if you don’t spend quality time with them.
In other words, one of the ways to show that you value someone is to put them on your calendar, regardless of your busy schedule.
If you are in a romantic relationship, schedule date nights with your partner once in a while. Trust me, your busy world will not come to a grinding halt just because you spend a few hours with your significant other.
Check on friends and genuinely seek to know how they are faring. Make time to relate with coworkers outside work.
The few hours spent connecting with people in small ways positively impact them and the relationship you share.
Learn People’s Likes and Dislikes
All healthy relationships have boundaries. If you want to connect with people on a deeper level, learn what they like and don’t like and also establish your do’s and don’ts.
This requires having an honest conversation aimed at digging below the surface. Don’t be afraid to politely ask what’s important to someone and remember to be honest about your likes and dislikes as well to develop a strong connection.
Building a stronger relationship starts with learning how to connect with others on a deeper level.
It might take a while to master the fine art of connecting with others, but the results are rewarding. Plus, you become a better version of yourself in the process of building deeper and more meaningful relationships.