Whether you are a private person or outgoing in nature, building deep and lasting human connections in life is a challenge faced by many. Yes, we most definitely share our joys and sorrows with family, partners, and close friends, yet we yearn for deep, meaningful relationships.
Years ago, when technology was just an idea, there was little people could do to not feel isolated or disconnected. That was a different time. Today, however, in the age of social media, we are virtually connected with everyone across the globe, but the sense of loneliness is prevalent now more than ever. So much so that World Health Organisation has declared loneliness a public health concern. So, why does this paradox exist?
A growing sense of responsibility could be one reason. A nine to five job, taking care of your family, spending time with your partner—there’s hardly any time left to make meaningful connections. Technology addiction could be another reason why you can’t make a real connection. It’s simple math. When you spend most of your leisure hours scrolling and browsing, how would you find the time to nurture relationships?
According to a Harvard study, the longest research conducted in the history of happiness and mental wellbeing, “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happier lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.” Even at work, people feel more satisfied and happy, when they have close relationships with others.
Building deep, meaningful connections is difficult, but not impossible. All you need is willingness combined with the right attitude and actions.
Be who you are
Making real connections can be a long and arduous journey if you can’t be yourself in the company of others. This tendency of pretending to be someone else is quite common among people. Many do this due to the lack of self-confidence, or to avoid rejection and embarrassment. In order to build real relationships, you must first be willing to drop the mask.
Take the first step
Several wonderful experiences never see the light of day—including relationships—because we’re too afraid to take that first step. Imagine two people who could go on to become the best of friends or partners do not because they shy away from taking the first step of building the relationship. It could be out of fear, lack of time, or ignorance. If you are guilty of this, don’t deprive yourself of a beautiful, meaningful relationship. Take that step.
Accept people for who they are
To have a real connection, you need people who are authentic and honest. This can only happen when you are true to yourself and you let others be who they are. In other words, this means you need to accept not only your flaws but that of others’ as well. When you accept people for who they are, you tell them it’s okay to not be perfect. Because no one is. Yu create a sense of security and calm for the other person, which is the breeding ground for a meaningful relationship.
The power of an apology
Building a meaningful connection is one thing, breaking an already established relationship is a different ballgame altogether. A lot of equations break even before they could blossom into something meaningful because people are too afraid or stubborn to admit their mistakes and apologise. The cost of such an attitude and behaviour is loneliness and the absence of real connections that can make you feel whole.
Admitting your mistake and apologising is not only beneficial for your wellbeing, but it also has the power to recover a spoiled relationship. You can save yourself from years of misery and loneliness if you take a minute to self-reflect, accept your mistake, apologise, and move on.
Keep your word
If you wish to make deep, strong bonds with others, make sure you always keep your word. It does the groundwork for bringing trust and confidence into the equation. When you keep your promises, it allows the other person to count on your integrity and dependability, especially in tough times. Such qualities act like brick and mortar that keep the foundation strong and your relationship upright.
Have healthy conversations
Conversation is the key to building a deep, meaningful relationship. It is also one of the main reasons why people fall apart or become estranged. Healthy conversations are less about talking, and more about listening. Most of the times, when we are talking to an acquaintance, a colleague, or a friend, we crave to speak more rather than listen. This sends a message that you are not interested in knowing what the other person has to say. It makes you look insensitive, impatient, and sometimes, arrogant.
When someone is talking, listen and be present in the conversation. The more you listen, the better you get to know the person, and this in turn paves the way for building deeper connections with them. Who they are, what they like, what are the common interests—a lot can be unearthed when you have healthy conversations.