11 Ways To Make Deeply Meaningful Connections With People

In a world where most of our interactions take place on our phones, the art of making meaningful connections with people can start to feel alien and at times downright impossible. However, forming genuine relationships is such an important part of our well-being and personal growth, so it’s vital we figure out how to do it. If you want to connect with people on a deeper level and find genuine and long-lasting relationships, there are some things you can do to make it happen.

  1. Be present and actually listen. So often when we’re interacting with people, we’re distracted by our phones, our own thoughts, or whatever else is going on around us. As a result, we don’t give people our full attention, and that sucks. No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a brick wall or that they’re not being heard or valued. If you want to make meaningful connections, this is a habit you need to practice.
  2. Be empathetic. Is there anything more comforting than receiving sympathy and understanding from someone you’re sharing your experiences with? All most of us want is to feel heard and understood, so offering that is a wonderful thing. It will allow them to feel safe, secure, and able to trust you.
  3. Be open to being vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to open up and share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with people because this is one of the best ways to make meaningful connections. It makes you seem more down-to-earth and human. Of course, there’s a thin line between sharing and TMI, so don’t spill your life story the day you meet someone. However, do allow yourself to open up and share your experiences with others.
  4. Focus on the friendships you have. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the grind and neglect the things and people we truly care about. Meaningful connections shouldn’t be something you focus on only with strangers — you should be making sure your current relationships get the same TLC. Make an effort to maintain contact, whether it’s through a quick text or phone call or, better yet, actually make plans to meet up. Make sure the people you value feel that value.
  5. Find the common ground. No matter how different someone’s life may be from your own, there’s always some common thread that runs between you, no matter how small. Finding that thread is a great way to connect with someone on a deeper level and form a bond that could potentially become unbreakable. As humans, we love to relate to one another, and sharing similar experiences, preferences, or ambitions is amazing way to achieve that.
  6. Express gratitude. No one likes feeling taken for granted, but so often we forget to let the people in our lives know that we appreciate them and everything they do for us. As a result, they end up feeling neglected, used, or simply uncared for, and that’s awful. Be grateful for those you love and make sure they know how you feel. It will pay dividends in your relationship.
  7. Drop the comparison act. So what if your cousin Sophia has a group of 12 BFFs and her social calendar is chock full. That doesn’t mean all of those “friends” are much more than acquaintances. And even if they are, you’re not Sophie (or whoever else.) You’re you, so you don’t need to focus on building a social or professional group like anyone else’s. Focus on genuine connections with people you like and admire.
  8. Show your support. In addition to listening to and empathizing with others, it’s also important to show genuine support and help where you can. Whether it’s helping a friend move, being a sounding board when your sister’s boyfriend breaks up with her, or being there when sh*t hits the fan, supporting people helps you make and maintain meaningful connections with people in your life. While you shouldn’t do this to the detriment of your own mental or emotional health, when possible, go out on a limb for the people you love.
  9. Leave the house sometimes. There’s no way you can make meaningful connections (or even casual ones) with anyone if you never physically put yourself in places where those connections are possible. This means you’ll have to put your phone down, get dressed, and get out into the world. Whether you join a book club, use that gym membership you’re paying $100 a month for, or meet up with that person you’ve been chatting to on Hinge, get out there and mingle!
  10. Focus on quality, not quantity. Again, it’s tempting to feel like you need to compete with others by having a massive social circle, but that’s ridiculous. It’s so much better to have a few ride-or-die friends that you can count on 100% than a huge group of fair-weather “friends” who are nowhere to be found when things get tough. Nurture the connections with people who put just as much effort into the relationship as you do. That’s the way to go.
  11. Be your authentic self. Above all, be yourself. Authenticity is the cornerstone of making meaningful connections. When you’re genuine and true to yourself, you attract people who appreciate and connect with the real you. And what’s not to love? You’re amazing!
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill