What Kind Of Person Connects Well With Other People?
Would you like to connect better with more people? Would you like to connect better with just a few people?
If you don’t feel you connect well with other people, one of the first questions to ask is:
How much time do I spend trying to connect with other people?
This may sound obvious, but surprisingly it is not obvious to many people.
Some people may think: “People don’t connect well with me because I’m _______ (fill in the blank with reasons like: I’m not personable. I’m not attractive. I’m different. I’m too moody).” But often that is not the case. Often, those are not the reasons.
Going to many social functions is not necessarily a key to connecting well with other people. If you want to create friendships, then spend more time one-on-one, doing things with specific friends. You’re not going to make friends simply by joining a church, a club, or an activity group. Those might be good ways to make acquaintances with other people – to view more people with whom you might want to develop friendships. But to make friends, you have to make time and regularly do things with the people who have time to be your friend.
The kind of person who connects well with other people is a person who spends significant time trying to connect and connecting with other people.
I once knew a guy who dated a woman, and he adored her. But while they were dating and in a relationship, in an average week, there might be 2 or 3 days where he didn’t hear anything from her. He never had another romantic relationship like it, before or since. The question that kept running through his head was: How can a person be in a romantic relationship with someone and not at least check in or touch base once a day most days?
I can understand friends not checking in with each other for months (not close friends, but regular friends). But if you want to be in a closer friendship or romantic relationship, you’ll likely have to make proportional time for it. And you can’t complain about not having a romantic partner or close friends if you don’t also make time for them.
In a different example: I knew a reasonably attractive and very personable guy, who since he was in college always said he wanted to get into a long-term romantic relationship or get married. In college, he shared a dorm room with 4 other guys who consistently had girlfriends and who all happened to go on to have long-term relationships or marriages. But he never got married or had a long-term girlfriend after college.
I knew this guy pretty well and I have sometimes wondered: Why didn’t he pay closer attention to his roommates’ social patterns and skills if he wanted to emulate their relationships? How could he have been in such intimate proximity for so many years and not picked up on more of their behaviors? This would all be moot if he wanted to remain single. But without exception, he has always asserted he wanted to get married someday. He’s been asserting this for 20 years.
Why am I sharing that example? I share it because an individual doesn’t become a good romantic partner by being a member of a group, where many of the people in the group are good romantic partners.
It doesn’t matter what socio-economic class you’re in. It doesn’t matter what church or religion you follow. It doesn’t matter if you come from families or groups of friends where most of the people are in long-term relationships. You don’t become well-connected to other people by being in close proximity to people in long-term relationships. The social abilities will not just rub off onto you. You’ll have to actively use your observational skills and make significant time to try to emulate the positive behaviors you think might work.
To be a good romantic partner, you have to put in the regular time and focus. You have to develop the social sensibilities. No one can do the work for you. No college degree will get the work done. There’s no book you can read that will get you there. There’s no amount of savings in your bank account that will enable the necessary time commitment and social nuances. You have to decide to make the time and get the work done. And at some points, it will simply be work – doing activities you don’t feel like doing, but activities that please your partner, activities concerned with interests beyond your own interests.
Long time readers may have noticed I’ve recently started getting more subscribers at a faster rate. Do you want to know why? Do you want to know why more people are connecting with me recently?
Do you think it’s because I’ve become smarter or more attractive in the last few weeks? Do you think I’ve become a better writer in the last few weeks? No? You’re pretty sure those are not the reasons.
More people are connecting with me recently because I started making some regular time to connect one-on-one with other people. Instead of just “writing to an audience of people sitting out there in the dark,” I’ve decided to make daily time to connect with readers.
To get better connected, I had to make more regular time to connect with others. I know this sounds simple, but the concept still escapes many people.
You can’t expect people to see you walking in a sea of people and to pick you out to connect with. Even George Clooney has an army of public relations and behind-the-camera-people who constantly work to make him more inviting.
People will not connect with you if you don’t give them some things they want in return. Just like significant money won’t come to you unless you make time to give others things they want, relationships won’t come to you if you don’t make time to give others want they want on a consistent basis over time.
One of the reasons churches maintain members (even as a greater percentage of the population no longer closely believes in religious ideologies) is people want to be a part of a social community of like-minded individuals, where people will work together and stay in cooperative contact. People want to stay connected with a manageable number of friends within their area – and church groups still provide that for many people.
In the parts of your life where you feel insufficiently connected, ask yourself: For that specific type of relationship, do I genuinely want to spend the amount of time needed to maintain that kind of relationship? If the answer is “No,” then that’s fine. Be happy with not having more of those kinds of relationships. But if the answer is “Yes,” then spend a little more time each day toward developing that specific kind of relationship.
For any person who wants to connect more socially, there’s never been so many social media and social partnering websites and technologies, in addition to traditional means of socializing. If you’re not getting all the socialization you want these days, it is likely because you’re not trying.
Between Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Match.com contacts, websites (such Flickr, Steam, MMOs, Zynga, special interest, forums) contacts, email, instant messaging, YouTube and texting – the methods of connecting with many potential friends is as robust as ever. But you have to work toward it regularly. You choose whether to use the technologies or not. And if you don’t work toward socialization regularly, you’re competing with other people who are using all those technologies intelligently for their social benefit.
For example, if you’re tying to improve your social connectivity and you’re not on Facebook, then I’d recommend trying Facebook for a couple of months, then if you don’t like it, get off. It’s easy to cancel your account. But don’t assume you know the positive attributes of a social technology until you’ve used it regularly for a couple of months. Do you know someone who texted for a couple of months, then later decided, “I don’t want to text anymore.” Do you know someone who used to use a telephone and later decided to stop,only to hand-write letters thereafter? See my point?
If you’re not using any of those technological social vehicles regularly, potential suitors might think you’re a little disconnected with modern culture, and they may wonder why.
Connecting with other people is not easy. And staying connected is even more difficult. But often people try to stay connected with a group of people that is too small. To improve your odds of staying connected: a) survey more people to find people with whom it will be easier to stay connected, and b) connect with more people.
Sometimes more than half the battle is choosing better people to develop connections with – instead of wasting tremendous energies and time trying to stay connected with people who don’t get along well with your interests and priorities.
A final key to staying connected is this: Connect with people with whom you can give as much as you take. Don’t look for relationships where you receive more than you give. Don’t get into relationships or obligations where you’ll create an imbalance by not being able to give to the other person in fair proportion to what you receive. Don’t get into promises you can’t perform. Get into connections where you can give to the other person the kinds of things they want from that kind of relationship.
The photographic artworks in this post are by Patricio Suarez. © All rights reserved by Patricio Suarez.