People are oceans, you cannot know them by their surface
Whether it’s friendships or romantic relationships, getting below the surface can be difficult. And sometimes we don’t even realize we’re craving a deeper connection until we find it.
Once we get through small talk, we hold back or don’t know what else to say. We’d rather not be vulnerable so we float around on the surface of our relationship, reserved in our connection, with an unfulfilled sense of intimacy.
We’ve all got anchors that pull us down
Looking around at all the confident people, you obsess over what they’re thinking of you. They appear to be care-free and really have their shit together—The truth is we’re all a little banged up.
Those who appear confident, who are so good looking, successful, funny, talented, etc—every single one of those people are struggling with their own fears and insecurities. Once you accept that fact, you can drop the facade and really embrace your imperfections.
Go with the flow
Each time we speak with someone, there is an arc of conversation where you flow through many different paths with many different telling moments. Each conversation is a journey that can be short and poignant, or long and meandering.
Relationships progress more smoothly when you follow the natural ebbs and flows of your conversations and interactions. Pause and give the other person room to speak and the space to say what they need to say, while you listen intently. Use your intuition to understand and anticipate the other person through vocal tonality and body language. Don’t try and make things happen. Let things happen. You can’t force it. Going with the flow is where you’ll find the meaning, fulfillment and the joy you seek.
Dive into the deep end
Moments of intense, raw and unscripted vulnerability are where relationships begin to surge. Diving into more emotional subjects can bring you closer, expose you to answers and insights and increase the fulfillment in your relationship.
When you initiate vulnerability, you bravely step into the unknown. You don’t know whether the other person will respond favourably or unfavourably and you risk embarrassment; there is a moment where you feel incredibly exposed, yet this is the very moment that allows you to connect to the other person. Being vulnerable is an act of gentleness and it allows the other person to feel that, they too can let down their guard.
All hands on deck
Presence is essential to healthy relationships. Whether you’re strengthening a relationship, navigating a conflict or offering support, being present with good listening skills is vital.
There’s nothing more disconnecting than a mid-conversation text message, quick glance at your phone or an interrupting comment. Poor listening isn’t only rude, but you’re going to miss out on important insights. When you commit time to someone, be all there. Focus your energy on the conversation and immerse yourself in listening intently, asking questions and taking time to really consider what the other person has said, before you reply.
Those who are adept at developing deep connections have a sincere interest in others, notice things about them, ask open-ended questions and explore how others think and feel, and they use these things to start and fuel conversations.
It’s hard to get to know someone if they’re being fake or putting on an act. Be confident in what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to discuss topics that are meaningful to you. If you attempt to win people over by saying or doing things to get them like you, you’ll never develop a fulfilling relationship, and it sets the stage for continual dishonesty.
People gravitate towards those who are genuine because it inspires trust. They feel more comfortable being who they are and sharing stories. We all have something unique and valuable to offer, so don’t hide it!
Whatever floats your boat
If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded and accepting of others differences. Being open-minded makes you approachable and allows others to be comfortable enough to let down their guard.
Our life experiences shape a way of living that we personally believe to be the most correct way. This is our perspective, but we don’t know what another person has gone through or how they think. We are not them. We can only be accountable for ourselves.
“Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.”
Shaming or judging someone often causes an intensely painful feeling of believing they’re flawed and, therefore, unworthy of acceptance and belonging. This certainly doesn’t strengthen a relationship. Even if you’re genuinely concerned about your friend, we’re all on our own path and experiences help us learn and grow—so do everyone a favour and be judgement-free.
Sail away with me
People are drawn toward those who are passionate. When you can express your ideas and imagination, you bring a sense of childlike wonder to your relationship, and that generates newness and excitement.
Deep inside we have a desire to express all of our unique thoughts and dreams, as such if you want to go deeper in your relationship, get curious about what the other person thinks about.
Don’t Seek Attention
Being loud and extroverted doesn’t make you likeable. If you love to talk about yourself and especially love it when everyone is looking at you, than you’re not allowing others to shine. When you seek attention, you’re dominating the communication and it doesn’t make for a mutually fulfilling relationship.
“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”― Nelson Mandela
People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favour and feel good as a result.
Don’t focus all your attention on the horizon
Not all conversations need a point. It’s about being present for each other, in an opportunity for everyday intimacy. At the end of our life, it will be these small nameless moments that we’ll remember the most.
I encourage you to dive deep, exchange stories, share ideas and make each other laugh, because the more you let go, the further you’ll go. Everyone’s boat has seen a storm or two, so don’t be afraid to venture beyond the shore.