Learning to Connect
Written by a self-proclaimed introvert who doesn’t know how to be social
Humans are social creatures. We cannot live without other humans in our lives, whether it’s direct or indirect. As such, it is important to be able to connect and establish communication with other people. Having a group of friends or connections can go a long way in the future, not just in the present time. Here are some tips that I can give you.
Starting a connection
Find common grounds
One of the easier ways to be able to connect with new people is with hobbies. Most of the time, when you meet new people in your life, you don’t really know what to talk about, and talking about the weather 10 times in a row doesn’t seem to be feasible.
When you share hobbies, however, you immediately will have a topic to talk about. For example, one of the earliest friends I’ve made in university also happens to enjoy anime and rhythm games, and we somewhat quickly bonded over them. And from this meeting, I was also able to get to know new people who also share the same hobbies. Now, those people that I call friends are teammates in our PPL project.
There are many ways you can initiate a conversation with someone else, whether due to circumstances or, as pointed above, sharing hobbies. There are some ways you can initiate a conversation. For example, in the orientation period, you can maybe ask someone for help or directions. Or maybe, in your course, you are needed to make a group, or the groups are randomized, so you start to talk with your fellow group members about the task or assignment. You can also ask your fellow students in the same year if you can sit at the same table in the canteen. Or if you don’t want to start a conversation…
Make yourself available
If you want to connect without being the one initiating, the least you can do is make yourself available and open. For example, when someone asks you something, try to answer without sounding dismissive. Also, wear your earphones less, as wearing them will make you look like you’re busy.
Now that you got yourself a friend or some, it is time to deepen your friendship with them. One or two small talks wouldn’t be enough; You have to try to know them a lot better so that you’re not just fellow students or coworkers. In my opinion, these two things are the most important thing when you want to connect with someone.
People come from different backgrounds and different circumstances, so it is important not to generalize your friends. Try to understand where they’re coming from, how they reach conclusions, and how they do things. Try to ask them about their backgrounds without sounding intrusive so that you can understand them better.
One thing to learn about understanding is empathy. When you want to understand someone, it helps to put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective.
Try to talk to and know your friends more. This can range from asking about assignments, or to other stuff, like the newest trends on the internet, for example. If they did not attend class, ask them if they were having problems, and if they do, lend them assistance. Do note how you talk as well, as using the wrong intonation can give different meanings to what you’re saying.
But remember, communication is a two-way street. You also have to listen to your friends. Ensure you have time to listen to them when they talk and give your opinions when given a chance. Try to give interest in what they’re talking about, so you can also give relevant opinions, rather than just giving small talks like “Oh” and “I see.” Giving interest also means you have to pay attention to your body language so that you don’t give the impression that you don’t really want to listen.
What I’ve described above is just a generalization. In real life, understanding and communicating with someone can come in many ways, not just confined within the scenarios above.
I hope this article can give some insight as to how you can connect with someone. Thanks for reading!