5 Handy Ways To Strengthen Your Bond With People (and Form Deeper Connections)
You may ask yourself: How can I learn to be better at bonding with people? I want to be able to form deeper connections and make closer friends. Luckily, there are handy ways to strengthen your bond with someone, whether you’re trying to get to know your neighbors, your coworkers, or even a romantic partner.
This world desperately needs men and women like YOU who can build an emotional connection.
Without generalizing, this is a world with an oversupply of people who scream “me, me, me”, people who crave to be heard, to be recognized, to be liked and seen. These entitled folks do not know how to connect with others. This leaves millions who are starved for a human connection. And provides you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you learn how to bond and connect with people.
OK, you don’t have to be BFFs with everyone you work with, if you’d prefer not to.
Sometimes, work is about getting in, getting out, and getting that paycheck — and that’s totally understandable. But there are benefits to becoming friends with your coworkers, and being someone people can get along with. First off, bonding with your colleagues can help you get ahead in your career, since it’s typically those who are well-liked at work who are top of mind when it comes time for promotions. But it’s also about creating a good environment, since work is where you spend most of your time.
Jumping from just someone you know to plain friend to close friend can take time.
Sometimes, you and the person just click, and you immediately become joined at the hip. Other times, the friendship moves a little bit slower, and that’s okay too. Bonding doesn’t come naturally to everyone: if you’re an introvert who often has trouble opening up to people, you know that firsthand.
Here’s how to be better at building a bond with people.
We all know that in chemistry, a bond is formed when two atoms are attracted to each other due to a redistribution of their outer electrons. But let’s be honest: there’s no exact science to strengthening bonds between actual, real people. Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t have science on our side. Here are five ways to strengthen your bond with people, and form deeper connections.
Tip #1: Offer to Help
Spontaneously offering to do nice things, like helping on a project or walking someone’s dog when they’re away, shows you like and appreciate someone. Helping someone makes them more likely to want to help you back. In social psychology, this is called reciprocity.
Offering to help someone is a great way to take your relationship to the next level, whether it’s for a friend or someone you’re dating.
If you are in a romantic relationship, it’s best to focus on the little things you can do everyday rather than opting for grand gestures. Research shows that smaller gestures of support are more effective than overt favors, which can make someone feel trapped or obligated. Doing large favors for someone who is not yet a close friend can make them feel obligated like they are in debt to you. Doing this can throw the balance off in the relationship and make it more difficult to bond.
At work, if you’re not swamped but your coworkers seem to be, ask what you can do to assist them.
Be proactive and extend a lifeline when you spot a co-worker in need, rather than waiting for the person to come to you. That’s a great way to build a bridge toward friendship and general goodwill. If their tasks aren’t in your domain, offer to take orders for coffee or for lunch. Small showings of generosity like these endear you to your colleagues and strengthen your bonds as a team. And it’s a win-win deal, because when you’re the one who’s swamped, your coworkers will step up to the plate for you!
When someone is going through a difficult time, it’s natural to want to help, but it’s not always easy to know how.
Vague comments like “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” are not likely to be taken up. Most people find it hard to ask for help, so telling them to let you know if they need anything is putting the onus back on them to ask. Often when people are going through difficult times, even everyday tasks can feel too much. So aside from offering them a shoulder to cry on, think about what practical help you can offer, and suggest specific things.
Keep in mind that it’s important to be aware that the same offer of support will not be the best fit for everyone.
What has worked for someone before, may not work for the next person. People are different, their home situation is different, their capacity to do things will be different and the issue they are facing will be different. As part of their support Crew, we all need to be mindful of these differences when we are trying to target the best possible way we can help. We want to have impact not just tick a box.
Tip #2: Find Common Ground
We like those we feel similar to. Focus on your similarities rather than your differences, and people will feel more connected to you. If you have a tendency to end up in disagreements, see if you can spend more time bonding over what you do have in common. Whatever brings you together, make that bond stronger by focusing on the things you like to do or talk about together.
If I had to pick a first rule of communication–the one practice above all others that opens the door to connection with others–it would be to look for common ground.
Most people believe that finding common ground with others is a matter of talent: some people are simply good connectors, while others aren’t. While not everyone starts out with the same ability to connect, anyone can learn to connect because connecting is a choice. It is a mindset that can be learned. Avoiding certain barriers to connection and choosing to work at finding common ground will greatly increase your odds of connecting with others.
It’s common wisdom that people love to talk about their hot buttons.
Find something, an idea or a philosophy or a hobby that others are passionate about and just ask a question. With the power of social media today it is not hard to find hot buttons to focus on. In conversation, you will want to find common interests which help you to bond with people. Questions such as “What was that like?” “How did you manage that?” “Why did you choose ____?”and “How did you feel?” will provide more opportunity for information in the absence of judgment, and again, points of connection.
Common ground is the place where people can discuss differences, share ideas, find solutions, and start creating something together.
Too often people see communication as the process of transmitting massive amounts of information to other people. But that’s the wrong picture. Communication is a journey. The more that people have in common, the better the chance that they can take that journey together. Whether that is, your blood type, month you were born, organization you work for, hobbies, mutual friends, your number one objective is to start a conversation based something you share in common. This ignites your conversation and helps to take it to the next level. Finding common ground is the lubricator of the relationship engine.
Remember you can’t find common ground unless both parties are looking for it.
It takes two people to compromise. If one of you is just looking to argue, you’re off to a bad start and doomed to failure. Make sure you’re setting realistic expectations based on a common goal of common ground. In case things get heated, lay out a few ground rules in the beginning. Pick “escape words” you can use to signal that it’s time for a break. Take opportunities to de-escalate whenever possible.
Tip #3: Open Up
Know that sharing a worry, insecurity, or fear with someone can help you feel closer. It doesn’t have to be something too personal, just something relatable. Perhaps you have an upcoming presentation, and you’re a bit nervous. Or your car died, and you feel stressed about having it fixed before you head away for the weekend. Intimacy is essential for a bond, and talking about personal things off the bat helps accelerate that closeness.
Relationships are built when people learn about each other, exchange thoughts, and develop trust.
Personal stories and anecdotes are great as it gives insight into who a person is, what they care about, and what their experiences are. To build a strong foundation for a relationship (personally, professionally, or intimately), both parties need to feel safe. A big part of that requires being vulnerable, open, and honest with one another. Being vulnerable allows for a deeper connection and the best way to get someone to open up, is for you to share something first. Sharing something about yourself that is slightly personal, maybe a little embarrassing, or private subconsciously triggers the law of reciprocity.
When was the last time someone asked you about you? Ask people about their lives, their families, their hobbies, goals, and visions.
Then, really listen to what they have to say. Spend time relating with them through body language, facial expressions, and your overall quality of presence. Be there with them in that moment. Refrain from checking your phone, glancing at passersby, and other mindless distractions. How you interact directly with others affects the energy of the relationship. When you give your full attention to the person you’re with it enhances your connection.
It’s not the most fun way, but expressing your struggles or hardships can help for a bond with someone, as it indicates a level of trust.
When you experience a life tragedy together or go through times or hardships, even stress or drama in the office it can bring two people close. There are those feelings of support and understanding. One of the best things about having friends is having someone to celebrate all of the good stuff with. But one of the best things about having good friends is having someone you can go to with the bad stuff, too. That’s the difference between friends and close friends. If you want to become closer to someone, you need to learn to open up to them.
We all have thoughts, ideas, beliefs and goals. Be willing to share a bit of yourself — who you are and what you believe in — and others will naturally be curious and want to engage you.
Have you lived an interesting life or are you passionate about a cause? People will find you more interesting and memorable if they know more about your experiences and what makes you tick. This doesn’t mean you should monopolize conversations. Be careful not to pontificate or lecture others on a cause or issue you care about. Simply embrace your passions and share them with others — it may be a great way to engage in deeper conversations or friendly debates.
Tip #4: Stay Authentic
Don’t forget to be who you are. When you’re comfortable, you’re real. Show up to your friend’s house. Call unexpectedly. Drop by your colleague’s place for lunch. Be goofy or be intense. When you are who you are, you share a part of that with the other person, creating a stronger bond. If you’re not being authentic, other persons are going to pick up on that, and it might be a turnoff.
When trying to cultivate a close friendship, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself.
Sometimes we do not know ourselves, so we end up trying to be what we think our friend wants us to be. Doing that may cause us to lose ourselves in someone we’re not. Stay true to yourself when creating a close friendship with someone. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in any relationship is to masquerade as someone or something other than who you truly are. Practicing authenticity means being vulnerable. Share yourself with those you care about, and provide the safety for those you care about to share themselves with you. When life gives you lemons, use it as an opportunity to learn from and connect with others. When life is on the incline and everything is amazing, share that in a way that promotes inspiration and motivation for others.
When it comes to connecting with others, honesty, alongside trust, can truly make or break a relationship.
It’s as simple as it sounds. If you’re not being honest with the person you’re trying to connect with, they won’t be able to be honest with you. By building a safe space for both of you to be vulnerable and open with one another, you will allow the relationship to grow and develop. Being honest does not mean removing all filters and saying whatever comes to mind. Being mindful of your judgment and criticism is important. That said, it’s critical to practice empathy and consideration when sharing your honest thoughts, feelings, and at times, feedback/advice (only offer when asked!)
At work, it can be so tempting to put on your “work face” while on the job.
You know, that person you think you should be while at work. But, if you really want to bond with coworkers, it can help to let your guard down a bit, and be your true self. The hardest but most important way of building a true bond and connection with your colleagues is by showing up as authentic as you can everyday. When you truly allow others to see who you are that’s when true bonding occurs.
Close friendships are a direct validation of you and all the unique weirdness and awesomeness you bring.
So bring your friends into your inner world. Show them your various personality traits and quirks. What you worry may be a turn off can be what they like best about you, like an off-center sense of humor or how awkward you get when you first meet someone. Be open, vulnerable, and allow them to be the same around you. It will bring you closer together because when we are our imperfect selves, and people still love us, it’s the best feeling.
Tip #5: Be All Ears
Research shows that being a good listener is critical to bonding. When you give your full attention to someone, to the exclusion of all other distractions and competing priorities, you’re telling your friend that you value them and their needs the most. So put down your phone. Look them in the eye when they’re talking. Repeat back what you heard them say, so they know you understand and are following along.
When they’re about to open up, that’s when you must hold your horses.
Don’t talk about yourself just yet, don’t interrupt and, God forbid, don’t try to fix them. When we get to know a friend and really listen to them, they are able to see how invested we are in them. In today’s society, we do not engage and instead are caught up in our own world. Listening actively will allow a potential close friend to see you are serious about building a friendship. Being a good conversationalist has more to do with listening and asking the right questions than it does with talking.
Pay attention to how you listen to others. Perhaps you hear them speak but you don’t really listen to what they say.
While you listen, are you already formulating your response? Do you have a tendency to finish their sentences or to interrupt them with your own experiences? Are you listening to your own internal dialogue and making assumptions or judgments about the other person? When you can listen from your heart rather than your head, you’re able to be present while someone else shares. When you feel heard–really heard–by another, it deepens your level of trust and connection with them.
One thing that is commonly overlooked is the act of listening. Many of us listen to respond, not understand.
This can cause disconnections, misunderstandings, and friction in relationships. By practicing active (or conscious) listening, you can ensure messages are not being mixed and all parties are on the same page. Understanding what is heard is a major part of active listening. This involves not only understanding the words that are being spoken but in reading the other person’s body language as well and tone of voice as well. When you practice active listening, pay close attention to not only the words but also the non-verbal communication that is taking place as well. When people understand each other better, they are more likely to cooperate.
If your last interaction had no positive impact on your relationship, it was wasted time.
And it was probably wasted because you didn’t listen to a word the other person said. Don’t get me wrong; you probably heard them. But there’s a world of difference between hearing someone and listening to them. Think of the person as someone who can teach you. Remember that the way you respond to a question also is part of the dialogue. Keep an open mind and show respect for the other person’s point of view even if you disagree with it.
Deep connection is an intertwining of souls and it’s supremely pleasurable, whether it’s in romantic settings or social ones. Learning to go deep and develop emotional connections will take your social skills to the next level. Trying to get people to like you more is not rocket science. Follow the above tips and your popularity will soar in a relatively short space of time!
Strong relationships won’t flower overnight, but with patience, they’ll grow.
Give people time to adjust to you. If you focus on showing that you really care about the person you’re talking to, make some meaningful conversation, or work on making people feel comfortable, then you’ll be on your way to connecting with anybody without a hitch. Just show them you’re interested in them as individuals, and you’ll soon see positive results. It may take a little time, but you might discover that they will become some of the best friends you’ll ever make!
Life’s biggest lessons, opportunities, and gifts are found in your connections with others.
It’s easy to think you have it all together when you’re flying solo through the carnival of life. Relationships require work — you’re called to practice the art of giving and receiving. Yet it’s through your connections to other people that you find the biggest rewards. We are all leading increasingly busy lives, and although we shouldn’t become over-dependent on others or allow them to dictate our mood, we should invest sufficient time to build quality relationships with those in our support network.
We all want to feel connected. We want to feel loved and appreciated. We want to connect with others and want them to connect with us right back.
Oh, and don’t forget: Bonding with someone should be fun and kind of exciting. Don’t overthink anything, and just have a good time with it. What are some of your favorite ways to bond with others? Share them with me in the comment section below! Happy connecting ya’ll!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.