How to Better Connect with People

October 31, 2019
Human connection doesn't require neither magic nor tricks, it needs honesty and the ability to show yourself to others from a place of humbleness, emotional balance, and empathy; it's learning about the other person to discover their needs and qualities. 

What exactly do you need to better connect with people? What should you do to make an impact, excite others, and leave a lasting impression that helps you build long-term relationships? At some point in your life, you’ve probably wanted to unravel the mystery that makes human relationships strong, an enigma that’s related to the fascinating psychology of connection.

Thus, you might ask yourself what exactly “to connect” means. If you look up that word in the dictionary, you may find something such as: “bring two things into contact (devices, systems) so that there is a reaction or some kind of communication between them”. People aren’t machines although, curiously enough, there’s some electric activity going on in the brain.

Human beings connect hrough emotion. Each one of us, like Carl Jung would say, reacts and transforms when we connect with people we think are stimulating. Therefore, human relationships are the result of a fascinating mechanism of chemical and electrical reactions that help create a bond.

You need to connect to share spaces, interests, or goals. There’s an innate need to socialize, to find a figure of reference that offers their friendship, affection, and unconditional support. Abraham Maslow placed affiliation needs in the third level of his hierarchy, thus reflecting its importance and transcendence toward self-realization.

 “One of the problems of social life is to know what to say to one another when we meet; every man and woman’s desire is to appear sympathetic and clever, and this makes conversation difficult.”

-Jerome K. Jerome-

A couple getting to know each other under lights.

The key to better connecting with people

Sometimes, you might start a conversation seeking to make the other person like you or expecting to create a positive connection that allows you to form a trust bond. You might do this, for example, when you’re attracted to someone. However, this is also common when people are trying to make new friends, win new business clients, or get along with co-workers.

Most people would absolutely like to be able to manage the situation in order to effectively connect with people. Sometimes, the connection is just there spontaneously. But that subtle magic doesn’t always come up on its own.

Sometimes, you must make an extra effort to break the ice, engage in a conversation with the right social skills, and light up the spark that starts the connection. Let’s see some of the strategies that can help you establish meaningful connections with other people.

Inner peace and openness

Your brain has an innate need to socially connect with those around you. Studies such as the one by Dr. Michael Lieberman from New York University reveal that the pain your brain experiments when you’re lonely can be even more intense than that of an injury or a wound.

As a human, you need to interact and relate to your environment in order to form meaningful bonds, but how do you do it? The first step is to understand a really simple concept: sometimes, you might focus your attention on being likable or giving a good impression and forget about your inner emotional state.

If you’re nervous or anxious, that’s exactly the vibe you’ll give off to the other person. Ideally, you should start interactions from a place of calmness and self-confidence. Only when you’re at peace with yourself, you’ll be able to open up to others, give your best, and captivate and connect.

A man and a woman talking at the lake.

Genuine interest and authenticity

Another strategy to better connect with people is to be able to show genuine interest in them. Although you might think this is the easy part, it’s actually not that simple. Some people tend to force connections and seem to be overly interested, which ends up coming off as fake or simply scares people away. 

Try to be your most authentic, honest, humble, and empathic self. A genuine person smiles, engages in a relaxed conversation, respects personal space, listens carefully, and takes interest in what they hear in order to respond appropriately. Remember that human connection only works if there’s honesty.

A woman trying to better connect with people.

Trust and reliability

The right way to better connect with people is to be able to establish a sense of reliability and trust. A way to do this is by applying a famous technique among public speakers: just tell the other person a secret. There’s no need to tell your most intimate secrets; it’s actually more about entrusting the other person with something about your life that sparks empathy in them.

Some examples are saying things such as “I want to tell you a secret, but I’m so nervous”, “Something curious happened to me the other day…”, or “You won’t believe this, but when I was a child I used to…” 

Always keep in mind, however, that there’s no infallible trick to help you better connect with people. It’s about using several different strategies to get closer to them and creating a sense of well-being for the dialogue to go in a positive direction.

The most important thing is to approach people from a place of self-confidence and well-being. Simply enjoy the social interaction. It’s easier than you think!

  • Social: why our brains are wired to connect. (2014). Choice Reviews Online51(12), 51-7036-51–7036. https://doi.org/10.5860/choice.51-7036