Unless you’re a recluse (or a Mom with a new baby!) more often than not you probably have to interact with people on a regular basis. These small interactions can be simple — talking to the cashier as you buy your groceries — or bigger — working on a project in the office — but they’re all essential aspects of your day. Building connections from these interactions have plenty of benefits. You’re doing more than just networking. You’re forming valuable relationships. Good relationships often come from a strong empathetic connection and these relationships are essential for your overall well-being. The following ways can help you take the proper steps to create strong and lasting connections.
Listening to what people like and picking up on small details can be an effective way to connect with others. When I started working at my current job, I found out every so often one of my co-workers would treat my team to coffee. I only had to tell her the way I took my coffee once — after that, she would get the type I liked without having to ask again. It was just a cup of coffee, but it was nice that my order was important enough for her to remember. Even the little things are appreciated — how someone takes their coffee, when their birthday is, what television shows they watch. Referring to those things makes people feel valued, but they also help you connect with them.
Volunteering allows you to connect with people on multiple levels. Firstly, you connect with the people you’re helping. Additionally, you are also connecting with the people who you’re working with. When you spend large periods of time working with people and you’re all doing something you’re passionate about, you connect with them. Whether you help clean up your local parks or volunteer for a mission trip, giving back can help you get closer with people.
Make Eye Contact
Body language says a lot about a person. From the way you angle your feet to the way you stand gives plenty of insight for how you feel at the moment. This is especially important when you’re talking with someone. If your eye contact is weak, it very well could mean you’re shy. However, the person you’re talking to may think you’re not interested in what’s being said. Good eye contact shows you’re engaged in the conversation — just make sure you remember to blink!
Share in Laughter
Laughter can bring together anyone. When I was in college, the first time I connected with someone who eventually became my maid of honor was by laughing over a how ridiculously lost we both were on our way to the same class. Bonding over something hilarious or laughing through an embarrassing moment is the best way to break the ice and start forming strong connections with people. Laughter is the best medicine — it makes you happier, relieves stress and helps forge friendships.
No one likes hanging around with someone who’s always fake. I’ve run into my fair share of people who have just rubbed me the wrong way, and it turns out they weren’t being genuine to the people in their lives. As cliché as it sounds, people will be much more welcoming to you when you let down your guard and simply be yourself. Don’t try to act a certain way or hold yourself in a way that feels unnatural because you think you’ll do a better job of making connections. Just breathe, relax and do what feels right. Strong ways to connect with people involve a shared sense of empathy and the ability to feel comfortable around each other. Whether you’ve known someone for years or are just meeting someone for the first time, connecting with him or her is the only way to have a positive and healthy friendship.