A question that will answer today is, “How to connect with people better?” We now live in a world where there is so much talk and interaction among people. Nowadays, we all put “humanity” and “connectedness” up on a pedestal, and yet we are more disconnected than ever. Social media has both connected us and become counterproductive.
Individuals living in rural areas still do find solace in social media connections, given their proximity.
However, for most of us, who actually have ample resources to make these connections, we instead become frustrated, depressed, or hopeless due to being inundated with meaningless relationships.
With that said, this craving for substance in our conversations and depth in our interactions may lead us to wonder how to connect with people better, and we are here to help.
How to Connect with People Better
Individuals remain individuals, regardless of their rank or celebrity. That just means that no matter our standing in life, we still get to connect with others at an emotional level, human as we are.
We all have this inherent need to belong, and this need is directly tied to our survival. Thus, this is all the more reason for us to know more about how to connect with people better and actually implement it in our own lives.
With that said, here are seven practical ways you can start a connection and actually establish to keep it.
Understand the Need to Connect
No man is an island – we’ve heard this quote way too many times already. However, the cliché holds its truth. For us to properly connect with others, we have to understand the nature of this need.
Loneliness is a natural emotional occurrence, but it should not a way of life. After all, prolonged isolation can lead to harmful effects on our physical and mental health.
Even then, settling for trivial talk and insubstantial connections can also lead to unhealthy boundaries and may even jeopardize our health. With that said, we don’t need better relationships just to improve the quality of our lives. We also need them to survive.
Keep the Connection Authentic
Some of us have what it takes to make connections with people easily. This is particularly true with extroverts more than introverts.
Somehow, the small talk works, and it hooks others into the interaction. However, we have no guarantee that it will last or will even matter over time. With that said, the only relations that will hold value, in the long run, are those about which you really care.
The universe will see right through anything that doesn’t really matter to you. So, suppose you’re not genuinely interested in the other person. In that case, chances are any encounters with them will remain at the superficial level.
Moreover, you can further develop this authenticity by engaging with empathy. Delve into the interaction with a need for meaning. If the other person recognizes it, both of you can work towards the same goal by listening attentively, asking the right questions, and aiming to learn more.
If genuine interest serves as the first pillar for authentic interaction, attention is a close second. There is a reason active listening helps us keep the relationships we already have and create new and healthy ones.
This is because it’s almost impossible to provide sincere assistance unless you pay attention. As stated in this ASCD Research, one of the essential prerequisites to learning involves paying attention.
That goes to show that no matter our differences, if we actually sit and put enough energy to learn about the other person, chances are we can find common ground to stand on. By then, we can establish a connection with a higher potential to last.
Suppose you are feeling somewhat self-conscious during these interactions. In that case, one way to go about it is to affix your focus from yourself to the other person.
For example, you can participate in a dialogue instead of putting on a show. This is a manifestation of emotional altruism, which works as a healthy defense mechanism.
In the words of Michael Bassey Johnson, whenever your absence is felt, the essence of your presence starts to make a difference.
With that said, one way you can reinforce any established connection is by giving people something to remember you by. While we cannot ensure that we can only give them positive and happy interactions, we can still offer their lives insight, value, and meaning.
We can also provide them with something to ponder on – to help them realize what they’re missing out on or what can get them out of their rut. Another way to do this is to connect with people sparingly, which leads us to our next point.
Offer Value in Every Interaction
Most of the most meaningful connections we have in our lifetimes are with people we haven’t been with for very long, and it extends to more than just “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Given the prevalence of social media use nowadays, it’s almost difficult to miss out on what other people are doing. However, physical encounters have a different impact, and they bring more value to our human need for social interaction.
Moreover, a journal in Sage Publications discusses how meaningful interactions can lead to better relationships and improved health and life outcomes.
With that, opting to put more value in your encounters can genuinely make you connect and make an impact. In addition to this, give others something of value for free. What you provide can be anything as long as it can be valuable to them. It can be a piece of advice, a recommendation, or an “in” that gets their foot in the door.
Reading the Room
Take note of it when something feels off while you are engaging in an interaction. While self-awareness can sometimes deter you from connecting with others, a healthy amount of it can help you maintain your well-being and improve your capacity for empathy.
However, nowadays, it’s our devices that draw us out of potentially exciting conversations, and those who are engaged tend to feel ignored or dismissed.
Recognize wasted opportunities for connection like this, and work to salvage them. If you can’t divert the entire group’s attention back to the topic, connect with just the one person who was as engaged as you are.
This way, you can keep the other person from feeling negatively from the encounter. You can establish a connection with them.
As a result, some people may also read the room, put their devices down, and re-engage in the conversation. This happens way too often than we would like to admit, but it’s better to give others the chance to reconnect.
By this, we mean put your phone down. This reckons back to the previous point of reading the room. That said, if you want to establish good and healthy connections, you have to be present and participatory.
Author Jonathan Franzen once pointed out that as we adopted new technologies in pursuit of control, it resulted in us being controlled and overpowered by objects that were supposedly created as tools.
Then again, he points out that we cannot simply avoid using these devices, given how interwoven our lives are to the convenience they offer.
This display shows more irony as someone commented about Steve Jobs in his documentary that he built a computer that enabled connectedness because he struggled to communicate with people in real life.
With that said, now that we have more resources and opportunities to connect, we must use them in regulation. We must put our humanity first, before any conveniences, if we want to make a valuable connection with others.
Connect with the Right People
Connecting with people may sound like an easy task at first. However, as we grow older, we realize this is not the case. Establishing connections that are not only efficient for our growth but also healthy for our well-being is essential.
This is one way we can holistically improve not just ourselves but also how we connect with others. By connecting with the right people, we can forge more profound and meaningful relationships.
Hone Your Skills and Connect More Effectively
With that said, connecting with people better requires honing your communication skills. With better communication skills, you’ll know when to speak and how to convey your message properly.
By doing so, you ensure that every interaction is valuable, allowing you to forge more profound and meaningful connections with the people around you.
One excellent resource you can avail of to hone your communication skills is James W. Williams’ book, How to Talk to Anyone About Anything: Improve Your Social Skills, Master Small Talk, Connect Effortlessly, and Make Real Friends.
This book is a comprehensive guide to communication, helping you develop your skills and becoming more effective when interacting with the people around you. In the book, the author goes into deeper detail about how communication is essential to connecting with people.
So, check it out and begin your journey to learning how to talk to anyone and everyone.
In this article, we have discussed how to connect with people better and effectively in seven ways. Nevertheless, connecting with people all boils down to our human need to be a part of something that further improves our sense of well-being.
With that said, the actual call for action is for us to work on better connections since it is necessary for our survival. Accepting superficial conversation and insubstantial relations may also result in unhealthy boundaries and can even jeopardize our well-being.
Our relationship with our devices may also provide more detriment than benefit to how we view social interaction.
Hopefully, you can feel more at ease with this content, knowing that you are not alone in facing this challenge. More people out there are willing to create genuine and authentic connections, and we hope that when the opportunity comes, we can do our part.