I had written a blog post about loneliness in Millenials (Millenials — The Loneliest Generation) not to long ago and since then I have been going out and getting myself out there…trying to get out of this loneliness funk.
Because I too get lonely.
It got me thinking about how people deal with loneliness, why people feel this way and how to get over it.
One of the main reasons why people get lonely is because people feel disconnected. And to overcome this, the obvious answer would be…well to connect.
Connecting with people doesn’t go without effort. Sometimes doing so results in rejection and not many people (like myself) want to deal with it.
Who likes the feeling of rejection?
However, in order to connect with people at least one person should initiate a connection and if the other person doesn’t we must take it into our own hands to start that fire.
ONE — Take Initiative
Have you ever walked down a familiar street or walkway? And instead of saying “Hi” to the person walking past you, you look down or look ahead, making it look like they didn’t exist? Or making it look like you are busy?
It's okay, I’ve done this to…maybe too many times.
Acknowledging people’s existence is the first step in connecting with people. Just start saying “Hi” to people and you will set the tone.
Yes, you may get weird looks especially if they don’t know who you are.
Yes, there is a chance they will ignore you.
Yes, there is a chance they walk right past you.
Yes, there is a chance they may just say “Hi” back.
Yes, there is a chance where they may respond by asking how your day went.
Yes, there is a chance you may surprise them for acknowledging their existence.
Yes, they may even start engaging with you.
No matter what the outcome is, start saying “Hi” to people even if they don’t look like the type to reciprocate.
TWO — Learn People’s Name
Make an effort to know a person’s name regardless if they know yours.
I can’t tell you how important it is to know a person’s name. Sure, we can claim how we are all bad with names (because everyone seems like they are). However, if you really want to connect with someone learning their name is the very least you could do.
Don’t you feel special when someone remembers your name instead of saying “Hey You!”?
Learning a person’s name is like gold when it comes to connecting people. If their name is a name that is difficult to pronounce or difficult to remember, don’t make excuses nor be hesitant to ask. Prioritize their name and make yourself learn it.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language” — Dale Carnegie
Trust me when I say this. Knowing someone’s name allows the person to feel comfortable around you, it makes them feel valued and most importantly, it encourages them to connect with you.
THREE — Give Compliments
Because why not? Compliments are FREE.
I was shopping at Walmart the other day and when I went to the cashier to pay for my items the lady scanning my things had such a lovely voice. It was very soothing and calm.
Well, I told her that she had a nice talking voice and she was taken aback. One, she had never heard that compliment and two, she wasn’t expecting it.
She told me, with the biggest smile, that with that compliment I had made her day and of course she made mine.
In fact, I feel like everyone should give more compliments to each other.
But of course, don’t overdo it. Doing it too much can make you appear not genuine.
When necessary give compliments to people and occasionally give it to those who also deserve to hear them.
FOUR — Ask Questions About Them First
I have learned that everyone (okay, okay. almost everyone) likes to talk about themselves if given the right opportunity.
One of the exceptions is probably the routine-interview question “So, tell me about yourself”.
There are ways to go about this without being too intrusive and nosey. For example, don’t go straight into religion or politics.
You can start with…“Hey (insert name), did you bring your lunch today?”
When you ask questions about someone, you should do so by showing genuine interest in them.
FIVE— Be An Active Listener
When you listen to people, let them know that you heard them. And you can do this is very subtle ways. For example, if they mention that their child is sick ask them how their child is doing.
Realize that some people need and/or want a listener and when you show that you are open to listening to them they will naturally gravitate towards you.
I remember when I was at work, I would always take breaks alone. But there was one day where one of my coworkers asked me when I was going on break. At the time, I thought it was odd because why would he be interested? I told him “soon” and a few minutes later went to the break room alone. He later followed me (not in a creepy way or anything) and he sat across from me. After beating around the bush he told me that his girlfriend, who went to go study abroad found someone else and broke up with him. I sat there and listened to him for the rest of the break and he thanked me for listening.
Being able to listen to people, I just realized, doesn’t come naturally to some. But I guarantee that when you decide to listen to people and allow them to say (without judgment) whatever they want to say…they will feel a close connection with you.
SIX— Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
This step is necessary for much deeper connections.
To some people, this may be the most difficult part of this list. But when you allow yourself to be vulnerable you allow others to connect with you and visa versa.
Being vulnerable is important for any relationship and when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and have the other person trust you to allow themselves to be vulnerable with you then it creates a relationship through the deepest connection possible.
We all need and crave connection but sometimes we need to take it into our own hands to initiate it.
What do you think of this list?
What are your best tips on how to connect with people?
Please comment below…