Six Ways to Deepen Your Relationships and Connections

Even if you’re an introvert, connections with others is a vital part of life. You don’t need a large group of friends, but having people in your life that you love and who love you in return is not only one of the most rewarding parts of life; it’s also necessary. No one can get through life alone. You need connection. You need friends or supportive coworkers or a boss who sees your potential and helps you climb the ladder at work. As rewarding as relationships are, however, they do require a lot of work. True connection requires patience, understanding, time, and effort from each person involved. Below, you’ll find a list of six ways to deepen your relationships with the people you value in your life, whether that be your family, coworkers, friends, or your significant other.

Look at Them, Not Your Phone

In today’s world of Instagram notifications and Snapchat conversations, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re spending time with a friend or your partner. As normal as it might seem to do so, try to avoid picking up your phone when it goes off if you’re in the middle of a conversation. It’s important to practice being in the moment, a concept that is becoming more foreign by the day. Choosing to stay present, to listen instead of scrolling through your feed or retweeting something funny, will show the person you’re with that you care about them and value their time.

Make Time for Them

Between work, school, kids, side hustles, and homes to keep clean, it can be hard to make time for your friends or a quality date night. But quality time with your friend or partner is crucial to the success of the relationship. If you find it hard to manage your time, invest in a planner and write down everything you’ve got going on. Seeing a visual representation of your schedule can help you find time for dinner or drinks that you might have otherwise missed.

Listen, Don’t Just Hear

Have you ever been talking to someone and got the feeling that they were just waiting for you to finish so they could talk? It’s frustrating, and it makes you feel like what you have to say doesn’t matter. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything going on in your life, and only natural that you want to talk about it, make sure that you actually listen when you have a conversation with someone you care about.

Love, Even When it’s Inconvenient

Love requires sacrifice from time to time. It’s inevitable that at some point during your relationship with your friends, family, or partner, you’ll be asked to do something you don’t want to do. Or perhaps, you don’t mind doing it, but the request comes at an inopportune time. On your night off, when you have a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other, your friend might call you crying because their boyfriend broke up with them. They need a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to their pain. You obviously had other plans, plans that didn’t involve tears, but part of being a good friend is being there when they need you. Even if it’s inconvenient for you.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Everyone has probably heard the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” at some point or another. That is a lie. Words have power. They can cut deeply, provide comfort, or encourage others. When you’re in a relationship with someone, whether they’re a friend or a romantic partner, that person values your opinion. They care about the words you say, which is why you should always choose your words wisely. It’s okay to be honest, to give tough love from time to time, or to tell someone that you’re upset. But, even when you’re mad or tired, you should be careful with the phrasing you use. You can apologize for harsh words, but you can never take them back.

Always Be Yourself

Being your authentic self is hard because it requires vulnerability. You open yourself up for judgement and rejection. But if you build a relationship pretending to be someone you’re not, you don’t have a relationship. You have a well crafted lie. If you crave true, deep, and lasting connection with someone, you have to take the risk and be yourself. Own who you are, and share it with those you care about. Life was never meant to be a solitary effort. It’s not every man/woman for themselves. That’s a recipe for a lonely and difficult existence. Life was always meant to be shared in one form or another. Cherish the people in your life, and make an effort to deepen your connection with them because life is more beautiful when experiences are shared, triumphs are celebrated together, and you don’t have to face the hard days alone.