Ways to create stronger connections and relationships

3 min read

We are profoundly social creatures. A sense of social connection is one of our fundamental human needs. We may think we want money, power, fame, beauty, or eternal youth, but at the root of most of these desires is a need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others, to love and be loved.

Numerous studies claim that strong relationships improve physical health and emotional well-being. They strengthen our immune system, help us recover from disease faster, and may even lengthen our life. People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression, as well as higher self-esteem and are more empathic to others.

Unfortunately, in today's society, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships with others. Often they are unfulfilling because they lack real strength as they lack real depth. Even though technology has made it easier to communicate, it has not made it easier to connect with other human beings. And it takes time and effort to develop and maintain genuine, authentic relationships. In this high-tech, fast-paced world we live in, a few small things done the old-fashioned way may create stronger connections and relationships. Give it a try.

Answer questions with honesty rather than abstraction

When someone asks ‚How was your weekend?', don't answer with ‚good', if it was the best weekend in a long time, you met someone incredible or saw something astonishingly beautiful. If you want to connect with people, then you have to open up. It stands out, as most of us are not open.

Video conference over a phone call

That is when you can see the real personality come out. When you are on video, you must be present. It is a forcing mechanism to be in the moment, and you need to be present.

Talk about the things that matter to you.

Give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. If they believe in the same things as you do, they will let you know. Thus you will find meaningful common ground to feel more connected.

Express vulnerability.

Humans connect with other humans, not with ideals. Hiding your flaws may show cold and impersonal, which, as a result, makes it very hard for anyone to connect with emotionally.

Be present and listen.

People are attracted to good empathic listeners. Empathic listening is when we put any distraction, our need to control and beliefs as to how things ‚should' be aside and attend fully to the person we are listening to. No interruption, no judgement, no advice unless specifically asked.

Respect differences

People's view of the world and how to live it may not be the same as ours. When you accept individuality and the right to your own opinion, people start responding to you and connect to you as a result.

Be thankful

Everyone you encounter in your everyday life is impacting you in some way, and you should be thankful for that. Appreciate all your co-workers do for you on the job, your family does at home, what your friends do to make you smile.

#1 // Have a better conversation.

Check Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk on the ingredients and rules of a great conversation.


#2 // Write a (hand-written)  note-it or letter

Thank people for advice, thank your loved ones for time spent together. It puts that extra effort to show someone that you really care. Important – thank for something specific that changed your action. In the end, people are looking to make a difference and feel connected when they had an influence on someone’s actions.

#3 // Ask interesting and meaningful questions when you get outside of the office

Ask your colleagues ‚What is your underlying motivation?‘ ‚What is something that has happened this week that meant a lot to you?'

When you see each other again, you know each other in a deeper way.

#4 // How to speak so that people want to listen

Julian Treasure demonstrates the how-to's of powerful speaking -- from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy


#5 // Practice active listening for the following two days

Ask an open-ended question.

Listen to the response.

Follow up with a statement (ideally an open-ended statement — but not another question).

#6 // Foster closeness by the mutual vulnerability. Grab a partner - friend, lover,  or stranger - and get ready to get intimate.

In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

Read instructions here. https://nyti.ms/3wdEcoO