Sharing thoughts, feelings and needs is the best way to become emotionally close to someone. Asking questions casually while you spend time together is the best way to get to know someone. Here are some helpful ideas:
- Use “I” statements: “I am glad I will be seeing you soon. I enjoy your company” instead of “everyone enjoys good company… .” I am happy that you came… vs. You know it’s nice when others show up when they are expected”… .
- Stay as positive as you can: Instead of complaining, try to put a positive spin on what you are talking about. It is a more effective means of communication when someone is getting to know you. “I had a rough time with that person but then I learned to to get through it and that has helped me.”
- Be willing to be personal. Do not evade questions about yourself or joke about it or change the subject to something less personal. This will be a definite turnoff for someone who may want to get close to you. Be willing to take your guard down. For example respond with simple answers and comments: “I grew up in Minnesota and I still compare this with how it would be to grow up here………” Add comments which show how you have reflected on your experiences. This will lead to a more intimate discussion. Just providing basic information about where you live and what you do does not create intimate contact. it is the reflection or comment about your experience which connects you to another person.
- Talk about personal experiences and avoid talking too much about work. For example you can talk about your interests and why you have these interests. “I really like biking, it keeps me in shape and I enjoy being part of a bike club.” “I like to read fiction even crazy science fiction. Getting wrapped up in a story or fantasy is a great way for me to relax….” These types of comments invite more discussion or questions about you.
- Try to stay away from the more difficult subjects in your life until you know someone better. After you share something difficult to share check with the other person to see if they are responding well to this sharing. “ I know I am talking about a hard issue for me and I hope you are ok with this.”
- Always let someone know if you are enjoying being with them or something they have said something which you liked or agreed with. This helps to build the connection and everyone likes compliments.
Being friends first is more than a cliche — enjoying someone’s company and becoming relaxed around someone are very important aspects of intimacy.
- “First strive to understand, then to be understood” – Stephen Covey. Just listen and offer support first and suggestions later if requested: Avoid advice unless it is asked for. LIstening and offering support are very powerful means of getting close to another person and developing intimacy.
- Support: Wow you did a great job in the way you handled that….. .
- Advice: Have you ever thought of just getting a new car instead of getting this one fixed ?.
- Remember we all want to be close but sometimes we just don’t know how to get there, so reach out and be understanding when it is awkward at first. We need other people to be with us and understand us.