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How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time

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How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time

Making friends and building relationships is not easy for most of us.

Often the problem is moving beyond traditional conversation lines, such as: “Hi, how are you today?” and “Not the best weather, let’s hope it’ll be better for the weekend.”

These lines do at least get you into a conversation with someone, but often their response closes down the interaction immediately: “I’m good thanks” and “The weather should be fine for the weekend.”

If you find yourself getting stuck for words at this point, then you need to learn how to boost your interpersonal skills.

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Video Summary

If You Want to Keep a Conversation Going, You Should Make It Like Playing Ping Pong.

If you’ve ever played table tennis, then you’ll be able to quickly grasp the art of self-disclosure.

For example, when playing table tennis (also known as ping pong) with someone, you’ll be engaging in a back-and-forth action with them. This is similar to how conversations are started and sustained.

One party introduces an idea or question – and the other party comments or answers.

Self-disclosure follows the same pattern. For instance, you’ve gone to lunch with a new colleague and beyond talking about the food – you’ve begun to run out of things to say. In this case, you could move into self-disclosure mode and say something like: “You may not believe it, but I’ve been working here for over 10 years. In fact, this is the longest job I’ve ever had.”

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By disclosing these couple of interesting facts about yourself, it’s highly likely that your new colleague will choose to share something about themselves too. They may reply by saying: “Wow, 10 years is a long time. My longest job was only for 6 years. However, my wife has been working at the same place for 12 years now. That’s longer than we’ve been married!”

You Won’t Smash When the Game Begins. You Will Have Some Gentle Warm-Up First.

Coming back to our table tennis metaphor, think about a time when you played against a new opponent.

If it wasn’t during an official competition, then you’re likely to have spent a few minutes playing against each other in a casual warm-up. This would have allowed each of you to gauge how the other person played, and their probable skill level, etc.

Self-disclosure in conversations is much the same. Small talk moves to deeper issues, and gradually each party begins to reveal more of their dreams, fears and beliefs to the other person. Psychologists have labeled this natural occurrence as Social Penetration.[1]

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Of course, a balance must always be found between openness and closeness. For instance, you may not want to reveal intimate details to a new acquaintance, yet, you may be comfortable doing that with an old friend.

You Get to Know If You’re Good Matching Partners After a Few Rounds of the Game

Following a fun warm-up, a table tennis game typically starts to move to a more serious level. It’s at this point that you and your opponent will introduce spin techniques, smashes and flicks. In other words, you’ll begin to become more intimate and connected than during the warm-up phase. You’ll also discover whether you’re well-matched playing partners or not.

Interpersonal skills mirror the above. Once you’ve reached a certain depth of conversation through mutual self-disclosure, it’ll become quickly clear whether the two of you can develop into friends.

You’ll instinctively make this decision based on how the other person’s beliefs, values and social status (for example) compare to yours. This is known as the Social Comparison Theory.[2]

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Practice as You Go

Self-disclosure is not the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it takes courage to step out of your comfort zone. However, the results are well worth the effort. You’ll build friendships quicker and easier. You’ll also know when a friendship could move into a deeper, long-term relationship. (Both romantic and platonic.)

I’ve given you a lot of information in this article. And to help you remember and to act on the main takeaways, I’ve listed them below:

  • Self-disclosure in conversation is reciprocal.
  • Gradually introduce deeper levels of self-disclosure as you get to know someone.
  • Decide on ‘matchability’ by listening to the beliefs, interests and values others disclose to you.
  • Be willing to adapt your conversation and level of self-disclosure to match the person you’re talking with.

Ultimately, self-disclosure becomes natural when we have an intimate friendship or relationship with someone. We want to tell them our hopes and dreams – and we want to listen to theirs too.

So, next time you’re short of things to say to a new acquaintance, let self-disclosure lead the way.

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Reference

[1] Communications Studies: Social Penetration Theory
[2] Psychology Today: Social Comparison Theory

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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How to Use Travel Time Effectively

Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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1. Take Your Time Getting There

As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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2. Go Gadget-Free

This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

3. Reflect and Prepare

Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

Conclusion

Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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