How to Make Real Connections

Publish date: 2021-04-24
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Considering that no two humans have identical views on life, I think it's fascinating when we’re able to relate to others and when others are able to relate to us.

In fact, we do this all the time. While watching our favorite shows, listening to music and influential speakers, reading books, and when interacting with people in society through different mediums. After all, we are social beings and our joy in life involves staying connected to others.

Beyond that, we aspire to have relationships that are successful, satisfy our deep need for continuity and belonging, and reward us with a “happily ever after”.

Despite our desire for such relationships we pay little or no attention to learning how to build them. 

I'm sure we can all think of at least one friend whose relationship seemed like something out of a fairytale but things abruptly went south and that relationship never made it  past the first year.

In your circle of friends and family you’ve had fall outs because of unresolved conflicts, misunderstandings, poor decisions, and wrong conclusions. 

We've also seen couples who are still together but experience life separately with no emotional attachment. 

You have friends and family members who are just getting by in their social life where the occasional interactions are anything but an exciting meaningful exchange. 

Perhaps you yourself are silently suffering in one of these scenarios.

Truth of the matter is that many of us, regardless of age, gender, culture, faith and etc, are missing real connections. 

“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.”
-Belgian psychotherapist and author Esther Perel 

What Is a Real Connection?

Real connections are purposeful, deep, and complex and go beyond physical attraction or surface level interactions. They are the result of a step-by-step process and require effort, energy, and time to follow through with those steps. 

This happens when, aside from the initial attraction that signifies a mutually-desired interaction, two willing participants come together to develop intimacy, create compatibility, and establish some sort of commitment. 

This calls for a healthy environment that supports self-expression and nurtures effective communication. 

There are many factors that contribute to building a healthy environment ,  things such as :

  • Being curious  about how another person views the world in order to understand their needs and wants.
  • Being transparent and assertive about our own needs and wants in order to build trust and confidence in the relationship.  
  • Being responsive in order to build warmth, reliability and respect in the relationship.
  • Being responsible for our own happiness to create a functional relationship dynamic and etc.

For this reason, It is important for both parties in the relationship to make a conscious decision to show up wholeheartedly and receive one another with an open mind so that they can, together, reach alignment and co-create a relationship that works for the both of them.

But in reality it’s almost impossible for our minds to remain objective and because of that  we’re unable to see what is happening in these interactions. 

Why Is it Difficult to Create Real Connections?

Emotions are a guiding force and  our behaviours correspond to our emotional state. Like when we share good news with a close friend because we are excited, or when we stop ourselves  from speaking up  because we fear conflict and judgment and etc.

Emotions  are so simple yet become so complicated because of the way they are processed in different areas of our brain and  how our minds work. Here's what happens:

Our brain  is a filtering system that helps us convert the information we receive through our senses into internal representations that gauge,  interpret, make  decisions and draw conclusions. These filters  affect  what we see, hear, feel, and how we sort out, store, and recall events as memories. They impact our language and the way we articulate our thoughts and desires to others. 

We give meaning to our emotional state by creating internal definitions for ourselves . These internal definitions (sounds, images, feelings , etc) come to us in the form of thoughts. Some thoughts overpower others because of the way we habitually process information. Those stubborn thoughts are emotionally charged and subsequently create persistent feelings in us and  our feelings usually drive our behavior in any interaction.

What is important for you to know is that feelings can be in our control and it's only a matter of  developing the ability  to do so.  

For this, a  shift in mindset is necessary.

This process starts with  making yourself responsible for working on correcting the emotional  hang ups that could potentially sabotage you from having a real connection and a desired relationship.

For practice: 

Take for instance the feeling of resentment which usually occurs when  what we  see on the outside does not match how we would like things to be.

This time when you get into an argument with your partner instead of repeating your past patterns why not try a different approach?

Ask yourself  these questions:

  • How did you perceive the argument? 
  • What part/parts of the argument are playing over and over again in your head?
  • How is this argument making you feel and how are you contributing to the presence of this feeling? 
  • How else can you view the situation?

Developing the ability to see things  from different angles will  broaden your perspective.

Remember : A perspective is merely true in one dimension but it lacks the ability to give you a complete picture. 


What other ideas can you add to the list that supports building a healthier environment ?

For comments and questions email me.