How much do you value connections to people? Some desire connection so much that they lose themselves in their need for acceptance and belonging. Relying exclusively on others for praise and approval can be a huge problem. However, if the connection is positive and healthy then the relationship can have great benefits. I mentioned last week the physical, emotional, and spiritual value in belonging. Being connected does require time, energy, and attention to others’ needs, but connected people live richer lives through their connections. For some, listening, validating, and being sensitive to others’ thoughts and feelings comes naturally, but others have to try very hard to connect. So what are the best ways to connect with people?
Making good connections requires a person to have good self-esteem and self-confidence. It also takes a certain amount of risk, initiative, and motivation to reach out to others and engage in conversation. Listening helps, but sharing helps even more when it comes to connection. One of the best ways to be more connected with people is sharing personal and intimate things about yourself. Of course, you need to be sensitive to the timing of the sharing of information. For example, telling your whole life story the first time you meet a person would not be appropriate. When you do self-disclose with others, they are more inclined to share more personal information with you.
As I’ve shared before, emotions connect people. Talking about feelings constructively (positive or negative) will bring you closer to people. If you desire intimate relations and close friends you need to be trusting, forgiving, accepting, and caring which hopefully will be reciprocated. As mentioned previously, all relationships require work. However, positive connections that are meaningful, fulfilling, sustaining, and life-long will produce tremendous joy and comfort. A few close friends rather than a bunch of acquaintances will provide greater value and happiness in the long run. Being connected allows for a place to vent, share joys/sorrows, receive guidance, provide mutual support, stimulate our intellect, and most importantly feel loved. Connections matter so make it happen.