In a world of constant connectivity through phones and laptops, it’s a bit ironic how disconnected we often feel from other people. A sense of loneliness and isolation can easily grow into a longing for deeper and more meaningful relationships. What are some ways we can strengthen our connection and understanding with family and friends? Here are three ideas to implement in your daily life:
Listen with Attentiveness – Everyone has a longing to be heard and understood. One of the ways we deepen relationships is by being an intentional listener. Renown salesman, Ben Feldman, always said, “We must learn to listen with three ears: One ear to hear what the person is saying, one to notice what they are not saying, and finally one ear to perceive what they want to say, but just don’t know how to say it.” As we interact with others, let’s ask perceptive questions, listen attentively and discover what is important to the other person.
Recognize the Power of What you Don’t Say – It is estimated that between 60 – 90% of our communication is non-verbal. That means that our body language and tone of voice go a long way to building a bridge of understanding. Eye contact, a smile, a handshake or hug, even our posture show a person that we are glad to see them and intent in paying attention to them. Certainly our words are important, but not as important as how we come across with non-verbal cues. One of the reasons online communication leaves us with a sense of loneliness is because it misses some of the most important aspects of human connection.
Be willing to be Vulnerable – No one wants to have a seemingly perfect person as their best friend. It’s our vulnerabilities and humanness that make us relatable. When we try to portray only how great we are, we distance ourselves from those we want to get to know. We deny the opportunity for depth and realness. Certainly we do not want to overshare or constantly be a drain on others with our problems and complaints, but we do want to give slight glimpses into our human side – sharing both our hopes and dreams as well as our fears and frustrations. Simply put, be real instead of trying to portray a glossy picture which hides all of your imperfections.
We were created for connection, so its important for us to be deliberate about deepening our relationships with the people in our lives. As we build understanding with others we develop a sense of personal satisfaction and emotional well-being. Let’s choose to strengthen our bonds and deepen our communication as we apply these three simple and positive tips