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How can I build connections with other people?

Getting to know others on a deeper level isn’t easy – especially if you have recently moved to a new location, your close friends have moved away or you’re feeling lonely due to pandemic-related restrictions. If you are naturally shy or lack confidence, building connections can feel intimidating.

Here are some tips to help you get to know others on a deeper level.


Connect with people who bring out the best in you

Surrounding yourself with people who don’t get you, who don’t bring out the best in you or who are constantly negative will not benefit you or them. You’ll struggle to be your authentic self around people who make you feel uncomfortable and awkward.

It’s important to build connections with people who share the same values, ethics and morals.


Listen and be present in your conversations

When you’re in a conversation with someone else, it’s so important to be present. Being present creates a personal connection, and it also demonstrates respect. The other person can tell if you are not present in the conversation, and they may feel offended or upset.

To be present, you need to listen clearly and let the other person talk without interrupting them. Focus on what the other person is saying, and try not to let your mind wander.


Show you care

One of the best ways to show that you genuinely care about your connections is to demonstrate empathy and understanding. You can do that by imagining you are in their shoes and thinking about what you would do in their situation. As well as listening intently, explain how you can help them and offer practical solutions.


Control your emotions

When you’re in conversations with others and the discussion gets heated, don’t take any comments personally. Try not to be impulsive in your replies, and instead listen to what they are saying and maintain a level head.


Be authentic

Projecting an image of yourself that is not true or authentic may mean the connections you build aren’t authentic, either. Natural connections will happen when you are your authentic self. Stay true to your beliefs, morals and ethics – but always be respectful of the other person when views differ.


Be proactive

Instead of waiting for people to reach out to you to arrange meetings, be proactive. Initiate conversations and catch-ups, and be specific when you suggest an in-person meeting. Instead of a vague comment such as: “we should catch up” or “when are you free?”, suggest a specific day, time and place. The other person will be more likely to say yes.


Be a kind person

In general, aim to be a kind and caring person. Don’t be too quick to judge others or jump to conclusions. People are drawn to kindness in others, and they will appreciate your gestures.


If you need to speak to a counsellor, you can call CAREinMIND 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1300 096 269 or click the chat button. It’s a free service for people in north, western and central Melbourne.


The CAREinMIND blog is delivered by On the Line. The views in each post do not necessarily reflect those of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.