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Want To Break The Ice And Get Close To Someone Quickly? Try This Communication Hack

Want To Break The Ice And Get Close To Someone Quickly? Try This Communication Hack

We all have experienced it. That painful silence between us and someone we just met, when we feel like we have nothing to say and seconds seem to last forever, and the mind starts racing through thoughts, looking for a way to escape the awkwardness.

When we know how, breaking the ice and opening up the lines of communication don’t have to be hard, and it can be useful not just with colleagues but also with anyone who we’re just beginning to know.

Vulnerability Is The Key To Building Connection

In an attempt to be accepted by our social groups, we become more and more defensive and conservative when it comes to what we share with people, but research shows that the most important factor when it comes to building connection is vulnerability.

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As Brené Brown, a renown researcher in the field of vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame, said in an interview with Dan Schawbel:

“The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” [1]

So, a very simple way to inspire connection and closeness with someone is to be brave enough to show some vulnerability. How? A good way is, for example, to tell a personal story.

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Share A Personal Story To Get Close To Others

Trusting someone enough to share something personal, is an invitation to a closer relationship and it inspires trust, even more so than competence.[2]

Sure there are many different stories, and you probably don’t want to start your first Monday at work by telling about some of your most compromising behaviours. But sharing something meaningful from your personal sphere will contribute to starting to build a relationship.

In our humanness, experiencing life, it’s the stories we live and the opinions we have about what happens to us that makes us unique and special. So when we are not sharing our stories, we are missing the opportunity to find that which we have in common with others, to learn or teach something new, and to build a new connection.

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You May Feel Uncomfortable At First, But You Will Feel So Good Afterwards

It’s an essential part of our social nature to want to be accepted by the group. And no matter if you like or not the job (or the party), you still want to feel accepted because that’s in your nature and that’s what feels good.

But when you find the courage to defy the comfort of hiding in silence, it might be surprising to see how empowering it feels, and how much empathy it generates, to share a story that shows your vulnerability and struggle as a human being.

By doing this, not only we practising being more confident in our own voice, but we might also be casting a light into someone else’s problems. That practice can reinforce our core values, bring a sense peace and hope, and contribute to a greater success, not just in short conversations, but to life in general.[3]

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Nowadays, that we are more individualised than ever, and faced with the frequent changing of our social settings (like schools or jobs), getting closer to new people might not be comfortable, and trying to break the ice every day can turn into an added daily stress.

It certainly helps and makes life more enjoyable to have some level of closeness and friendship in our social environment, making every day a little more joyous.

So, next time you’re looking to make a connection, rather than playing safe, find the courage to be vulnerable and share a personal story. That courage, the courage to be real, is more inspiring than your feats.

Reference

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Ana Sofia Batista

Psychologist | Mentor | Writer | Yoga Teacher

This Quality Of Your Man Can Predict Whether Your Marriage Will Last Or Not Want To Break The Ice And Get Close To Someone Quickly? Try This Communication Hack If You Understand This Psychological Rule, You Can Motivate Yourself More Effectively

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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