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The best way to form deeper connections

The best way to form deeper connections

I stood in line at the check out counter of my local whole foods bored out of my mind when I noticed this couple at a table across from the register silently sharing their lunch together. It was an all too familiar scene that could have played out at pretty much any lunch counter in America. They weren’t speaking. He just sat there, as if alone, quietly eating his lunch, while she merrily texted away without a care in the world. He tried to start a conversation with her several times but eventually gave up as she dismissed him with a wave of the hand never even looking up from the phone she clutched. The roles could have just as easily been reversed but it was a heartbreaking scene either way.

Humans are hardwired for connection. It’s in our DNA. We are social creatures with the ability to connect and form relationships with those around us. Not surprisingly it’s what has made us so successful as a species. Our desire to build trusting relationships is a simple human need so deeply ingrained that without them studies show can even become detrimental to our health. Our need for close trusting bonds also makes us keenly aware of when those relationships become questionable. We are experts at picking up on body language and social cues that either reinforce our bonds or tell us that our connections are growing weaker. 

When our attention is divided or we are not fully engaged in our relationships we are sending out signals that subconsciously project a message that we are disinterested. Disinterest sets off alarm bells in our heads that tell us, this relationship may not be strong. The more this message is reinforced the weaker the bond becomes. Whether we intend to or not, when we do not give our full attention we are essentially saying, “Hey, you are not as important to me as this other thing that I’m focused on right now.” Fortunately, there is a solution to strengthen the relationships we care about and it's really quite simple. Be generous. Be generous with your time. Be generous with your focus and be generous with your attention. Those are the things that help strengthen and deepen the bonds with those around us. All we need to do is to remember to practice them with the people we care about and we will quickly find our relationships grow deeper stronger and more meaningful.