Aristotle once famously said, “man is by nature a social animal.” He was more right than he could have imagined. There are many reasons why it is good to connect with others. Read on to find out more about the benefits of connecting with others, and the essential building blocks for creating genuine, long-lasting connections.
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Why you need to connect more
In case you are wondering about the benefits of connecting, there are actually many. Take our individual resources for instance: an individual has limits on their physical and mental resources, whereas being connected with others can give us access to a much bigger pool of resources.
Being connected makes it possible for individuals to benefit in ways that would not be possible on an individual basis. This is a big one, the main reason why our cave-dwelling ancestors lived in groups. You might even conclude that connection and collaboration were key to our evolution, even survival!
Then there is the mental health aspect – being isolated is one of the main causes of mental health challenges.
Being connected to others not just makes sense from a resource or evolution, or even survival point of view – it also makes a big difference to our mental health and overall quality of life.
Suffice to say, connecting with others is good. No scratch that, it is important.
ALSO READ: 15 Ways to Increase Your Happiness
The essential building blocks for creating genuine, long-lasting connections
So how can you connect more, and better?
The answer is obvious right, just go out and meet more people? Well, it is partly right, but most of those meetings will lead to fickle connections (if any connection at all) if you do not keep a few fundamental things in mind:
- Really listen: This is one of the most overlooked and underestimated communication skills, even in this day and age of hyperconnectivity. The easiest way to genuinely connect with someone is to ask that person questions and listen to their answers. And when I say listen, I mean really listen – not listen passively while you are checking your phone!
- Be open and honest: Being honest is a big part of genuinely connecting with people, and building relationships. You should openly convey your feelings and emotions, as well as your positions on all matters important in a relationship. The more important the relationship, the more open and honest you should be.
- Show respect: Respect is a crucial factor in connecting with others and building effective relationships. We all have our differences – only because someone’s views do not match yours, or someone does not agree with you, does not make their views invalid. In fact, it is good to connect with people who have different views and ideas from you – helps you challenge your perceptions, and grow. By the way, listening is a big part of respect – the easiest way to show respect is to really listen to the other person, and try your best to understand where they are coming from. As the famous saying goes, you have to give respect to get respect.
- Be open-minded: This follows on from the above point – as and when differences arise between people (which they will as no two people are 100% the same), it is good to keep an open mind. Discuss the differences with an open mind, with no judgment. If the issue is causing problems, come up with a feasible solution that works for both parties. When the other person knows that they can freely express their feelings when they need to, you create a very accepting atmosphere for forming effective and long-lasting connections and relationships.
Onwards and upwards
Connecting with others is good for everyone (yes, even for the lone wolf types). If you listen, be open and honest, show respect, and keep an open mind, you will be well on your way to creating genuine and long-lasting connections, and even relationships.
Want to have friends for life? Try these.
Want to improve your current relationships? These four will help with those too.
Whether it is friendship you are after, or a romantic relationship, or better family connections, these fundamental building blocks of genuinely connecting with others (and relationship building) helps.
Connecting with others is especially important now: social isolation is one of the biggest problems of this age, and connecting with others is THE remedy for that.
If you want to be happier, more creative, more successful, more resilient… connect.
What’s your take on this? Do you have any tips or advice on connecting with others?
Share your thoughts, and ideas in the comments below.
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