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How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time

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.

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 March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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