With more people glued to their phones than ever before, it’s hard to make a real, in-person connection with someone we meet. Finding time to connect people is integral for our well-being. After all, we’re social creatures. Humans have always belonged to one tribe or another. So, making a connection with others isn’t just great for our mental health, it’s also part of our history, and more importantly our nature. In this article, we’re going to share how to make a connection with anyone you meet.
How to Make a Connection with Anyone You Meet
A from-the-heart smile in a moment of true happiness can help you make a connection with someone. When you meet a new person, whether at the gym, coffee shop, or just out and about, seeing their smile can help make their heart soar. And no, it doesn’t need to be a romantic moment. But a smile seen and felt by another person can fill people up with happiness. When we make others happy and feel happy ourselves, it spirals to spread more love into the world. People can often feel the emotions of others. So, when you smile at them, they can tell if you’re genuinely happy or faking it. In a moment where you’re genuinely happy and smile at another person, you can seriously make someone’s day. So, if you’re looking to make a connection with someone, smile from the heart.
2. Find common interests
When you’re trying to build a connection with someone, the goal should be to find common interests you share. Two people can be wildly different from each other, but there’s always something you can find in common. Whether it’s a shared love of Indian food or the same favorite philosophy book, there’s a glue stringing you two together. The fun and excitement about meeting new people is that you get to chat it out to figure out what this mystery thread tying you two together is. Ask questions to better get to know someone. You can find free ‘get to know you’ questions online if coming up with questions isn’t your forte.
3. Give genuine praise
It’s true that we tend to better remember the negative comments we hear more. But man, oh man, can a genuine compliment at the right time make someone’s day. Think about something you admire in a person, such as the way they communicate, how kind they are, or how they always treat people with respect. Giving specific compliments about someone’s character or who they are as a person will make them feel glee. It’s easy to comment on someone’s outfit at an event, but those comments don’t dig deep enough for meaningful connections. Give them the compliment that accurately reflects who they are as a person, and they’ll be more likely to appreciate it.
4. Listen intently to what they say
We often think about what we’re going to say next as a person speaks, completely ignoring what the other person is saying at the moment. The secret to making a connection is to listen to what the other person is saying and allow them to talk more. When people feel they have an opportunity to speak and feel heard, they’re more likely to feel like they bonded with another person. Give people the opportunity to speak their mind without judgment so they can get stuff off their chest and feel valued. We all long for the opportunity to have someone listen to us without giving us feedback, so do that for others.
5. Be there for them
When things are going great, it’s easy to be around someone. But when things start to sour, we tend to avoid people. We say it’s to give them space, but the truth is it’s usually because it makes us feel uncomfortable. When someone loses a job, experiences a death in the family, or even becomes a new parent, we tend to avoid them more. However, these are those life moments that people need more support than usual. Being there for people in these difficult moments, and doing check-ins three or even six months later is crucial to ensure people are doing well and feel supported. People do recognize when you check in on them six months after a difficult event, so you will make a connection with them if you use this time to offer support and love.
6. Be yourself around them
When someone says “be yourself” you often think “Oh gosh no, I’m way too weird for that.” You think this polished up version of yourself is what people want from you. But it’s not. It’s you with your guard down and an open heart that attracts the right kind of people into your life. It’s the easiest way to make a connection with anyone you meet because they’ll be seeing all those little things you two have in common because they actually see the real you. People, even weird ones, have more in common with each other than you might think. Deep down, we’re all weirdos looking for a connection.
7. Don’t expect anything from them
You can’t force a connection with anyone. The secret is to not expect anything from anyone you’re trying to connect with. Wanting something from someone whether it’s money, respect, love, or whatever else people want from a relationship creates an imbalance. You’ll come off as desperate which will create more distance between you and the person. A connection with someone needs to be organic and natural. When you don’t want anything from someone you’re connecting with, you can simply enjoy each other’s company. This could lead to friendship, business partnerships, or even a romantic relationship. But you can’t aim for those things in the beginning unless it makes sense, such as meeting someone on a dating site or a networking event.
8. Dig beyond the surface
There are so many questions you can ask someone that help you dig beyond the surface. A common question I’d ask people I worked with instead of how’s your day would be how’s your mental health lately. Believe it or not, people would answer the question honestly when asked with genuine concern. People would vocalize being burnt out or worried about something in their personal life. Most people bottle up all of their emotions since they think no one will believe them or even listen. When you ask questions that dig beyond the surface level, it’s easier to make a connection with someone because you’re aiming for the root of the problem.
9. Be friendly
When you go out to your local coffee shop or hairdresser, notice how people treat them. Do you notice that one person calls a barista by their first name because they’re a regular? Or that someone dives into chit chat with the hairdresser. People who genuinely chat up and get to know people at coffee shops and hair salons tend to be friendlier than most. So when you see this behavior start embodying it more in your daily life to better connect with people. Remember the name of someone who you cross paths with regularly to make them feel special.
10. Make eye contact
If your goal is to make a connection with someone, make eye contact with them. If it feels awkward to you, look at their lips or smile when they talk. Thinking about making eye contact usually feels more awkward than looking at the person naturally. So, try not to overthink it. The goal is to look like you’re genuinely paying attention to them when they speak. So, it’s about not looking around the room or in a different area than where the current speaker is. You just want to make a solid connection through your gaze and focus.
11. Initiate contact
Have you ever stopped contacting someone to see how long it’d take for them to initiate contact with you? Try it at your own risk. You might feel bummed out to discover that people you genuinely cared about don’t really care all that much about you in return. People say they’re busy, but those who actually care will initiate contact with you, set a time and place for plans with you, and actually try to connect with you. When you initiate contact with people it shows them that you genuinely care about them. So, the right people who care back will feel appreciated. If you’re dating someone new, sending that first text can make them feel giddy and excited that you’re genuinely showing interest in them.
12. Pay attention to their body language
To know if you’re actually making a connection with someone look at their body language. Signs include: leaning in closer to you, pointing their feet in your direction, smiling, laughing, mirroring, eye contact, and more. If the person is leaning backwards or seems overwhelmed, it’s a sign that you two aren’t connecting well or they feel tension around you. A person’s body language when they’re interested in you will feel like they’re physically trying to get closer to you or copying your own mannerism. This may include poking fun at something you said by repeating it back to you, or doing the same hand gestures like picking up their drink at the same time as you.
13. Be thoughtful
If your goal is to figure out how to make a connection with anyone you meet, try being thoughtful. Mailing out cards around the holidays can be a friendly gesture to show someone you care about them. You can also surprise them with flowers when someone in their family dies. Alternatively, you might help them with a task when they’re feeling under the weather. You could give them a genuine compliment, bake something for them, or help them with a task they need support on. To be thoughtful, ask yourself, “What can I do for someone to show them I care without them feeling like they need to return or reciprocate the favor?”
14. Put down your phone
Have you ever tried to talk to someone but they kept looking down at their phone instead of you? How did that make you feel? Probably not too good. People are so connected to their devices that they struggle to make meaningful connections with people all the time. Whether it’s listening to music with headphones in, doomscrolling through social media, or texting friends a clickbait article. People want to feel connected to others. But it all starts with putting down your phone and communicating with the person in front of you. Don’t keep your phone nearby or on the table. Put it away when spending time with someone to give them your undivided attention.
15. Be helpful
To make a connection with people, help them when they’re in need and let them help you when you’re in need. Make it a two-way street balance of mutual support for each other. People don’t want to feel like a burden all the time when they need more support than you do. So, give them small opportunities to help you back so they can feel like the helper or hero at times. Go to people for advice when you need it and give people advice when they ask for it. Making a connection isn’t about being a one-sided relationship where you pour everything into it. When a relationship becomes balanced, that’s when the truest connections are formed.
No matter how weird or awkward you think you are, there are always ways to make a connection with someone while being true to yourself. The easiest way to build a connection with someone is to listen to them, cheer them on, find common ground with them, and communicate with your body language that you’re interested in what they have to say. If you’re looking to get in the right mindset before a big date or job interview or any other event for connection making, check out the Declutter The Mind meditation app to keep your mind at ease. You’ve got this.