Forging Stronger Relationships

Have you ever had the realization that you don’t know people as well as you could? You just feel like you’re barely scratching the surface? You worriedly think, “Sure, we’re friends but do I really know them as well as I could? What am I missing about this person? How do I get to know them better?” I’ve been there and I’ve had those exact same thoughts. I’ve wondered why it seems like other people know them so much better, or why there feels like a disconnect somewhere. If this sounds like you then you may have relationship FOMO. 

You don’t have to already be friends with someone to experience this, it can be someone you barely know but would like to get to know better, a person you are networking with, a new significant other, or even a family member. It’s important to realize in this situation that you can’t change the other person. You can only change the way you behave when you’re around them and hope that they are open to it. Keep in mind as you are reading this that I am in no way an expert, just sharing some tips that I’ve learned along the way as I have tried to strengthen my own relationships with others. 

The first step in getting to know anyone requires you to open up about yourself. It can be scary to reveal things about yourself, that’s why it’s so common to feel like you have a surface level relationship. I am not a naturally outgoing person, I’m the first to admit that I am someone who struggles with this. It’s easier for me to listen to someone else than to interject my own opinions (even though I have plenty of them) when I don’t know how they’ll be received. But when you’re getting to know someone or delving deeper into a relationship you have to open up and reveal things about yourself. I’m not saying meet someone and immediately tell them your deep dark secrets but give them something to go off of. Embrace the things you nerd out over, we all have something, they might surprise you and be into the same thing. It’s all about taking risks and seeing what connections can be made. For example, one of my now good friends and I bonded over the fact that we were homesick and both liked bread. Those are two really random tidbits but it was enough to go off of.  It can be simple things, it doesn’t have to be ground breaking. On the flip side, if you’re a talker make sure you are giving the other person a chance to speak their mind as well. It’s easy to dominate a conversation if you are the more outgoing one, try to be conscious of that. 

Secondly, I would say put down the phone. I know it sounds cliche and maybe sounds like I’m a grandma, but it’s true. It’s really hard to have a conversation with someone when that person is constantly on their phone texting. Its a matter of respect, especially when that person has taken time out of their day to spend time with you. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever take your phone out when you’re around another human being but be considerate of the other person. If someone is talking to you, try your hardest to give them the attention they deserve and if that text really can’t wait then politely ask for them to hold on a second and then continue. If they’re your friend or someone you could be friends with, asking them to pause for a second shouldn’t really phase them (unless you do it rudely). Being without your phone is all about being in the moment, while phones are great for connecting us they also are great at creating a distraction that can keep us from truly connecting with others. 

Just as you shouldn’t ignore someone in favor of your phone- remember you want to get to know this person better- it’s just as bad to half listen to someone. Sometimes I find myself talking to someone and I realize that I had no idea what they just said because I was already thinking about what I should say back. Don’t worry about what you’re going to say back while someone is talking. I know it’s easier said than done, because your gut reaction to something is going to show your real self more than spending the whole conversation wondering what they want to hear. Your response doesn’t have to be perfectly curated or polished; it just needs to reflect you. 

Make sure to like HC Belmont on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, pin with us on Pinterest, and love us on Instagram