How To Build Deeper, Better, Stronger Relationships
I used to interact with people not being aware of the impact my actions and words had on those around me. I decided to address this problem by swallowing all the content I could find on the subject. Consequently, I began to meet more people and become real good at not giving a bad impression and clearly having better results with women and people in general.
However, lately I realized how badly I lacked true and deep relationships with people.
I believe this is a result of the abundance of information available out there on ‘how to trick people into liking you.’ And so, as this became more and more obvious and devastating to me, I began asking myself the following question:
How do you truly and deeply connect with another person?
My first challenge was to point out the differences between the interactions I had with those I felt I had a deep connection with and others. Strangely enough, the answers came to me quite naturally, plus they were consistent with the answers my friends and relatives gave me when I asked them that same question.
Basically, what we see to be the major differences between our ‘best friends’ and acquaintances is that we both enjoy and want to spend time together and we share reflections on a wide range of topics.
But the most revealing points that came up is that we feel understood and appreciated and we have this particular way of seeing the world through the ‘us’ frame. We feel like a team and we combine our efforts and knowledge to thrive in the outside world. It’s the ‘you and me against the world’ concept.
Now this by itself is very revealing. But it’s merely the consequence of something else. It’s not the actual ‘method’ to truly and deeply connect with someone else, it’s the result. So what we had to figure next is why this occurs with some people and not with others. Once again, by asking the right question, the answers became almost too obvious.
Obvious and amazingly simple.
I came up with three basic reasons we bond with some people and not with others. To begin with, background showed to have a huge impact. What education we received, our thoughts on religion and where we are from, amongst other things we have done and lived in the past.
But that’s not all.
Our interests at the moment and our goals and aspirations for the future also have an enormous impact on whether or not we will bond with someone else. Meaning if you’re on a trip in Cuba and meet with a guy from your hometown or meet with a girl who, just like you, is at med school aspiring to become a doctor, you guys will most likely bond quickly.
Finally what was shown to positively influence deeply connecting with someone is going trough emotionally engaging experiences together. If you take a minute and think about your best friends or your wife, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Lots of first times, lots of good times and scary times. Those experiences clearly created a strong bond between you.
Now that’s all very interesting. With those points in mind, we can get a deeper understanding of relationships. For me, all of the above, as obvious as it seems was really eye-opening to me. On the other hand, it does not tell us precisely how to truly and deeply connect with others.
However, it’s important to understand what we are aiming for and what makes it possible, before we can grasp how to get there and why we should.
Having much more fun interacting with those around you, feeling better about yourself, having more and stronger friendships and definitely getting laid more often are just a few of the benefits this brings us. The tricky part is ‘how.’ How do achieve such a feat as consistently connecting with people?
Now, no matter how challenging it was for me to come up with a intelligent answer to that, what I knew for sure was how NOT to achieve this. That is, getting caught in small talk for hours or trying to trick people into liking you and wanting to be your friend. We are both aware this is not the way to go.
Of course, those techniques have their time and place, but for the purpose of this article, they are not useful, in fact, they could be damaging.
Having in mind what was not going the help me, I started doing the exact opposite. That is, avoiding small talk and jumping straight for ‘conflicting’ topics such as religion, politics, education, goals and aspirations and second, being blunt and unapologetic about what were my opinions on those.
The results? Dramatic.
In no time, I started to have great conversations with people at work and anywhere I went. I even surprised myself having fun with people I didn’t really get along with before. Of course, this happens to push some people away. Those with very different views on the world. On the other hand, I started bonding much more quickly with the rest of those I met.
In other words, what being myself and avoiding small talk did is sort people in a very efficient way. Sorting them into two groups, those I like and that like me in return and those I do not like and don’t like me either. Voila!
In conclusion, be utterly yourself, be bold, dig into the people you meet and you will experience deeper, better and stronger relationships.
About Olly G. Obsessive about understanding how people think and why they do what they do, Olivier started studying psychology and human relations in general. He believes writing is a beautiful way to synthesise information in order to get a deeper understanding of things and share it with others.