Making a connection with someone is quite different from connecting. Last week we talked about how connecting through digital devices rarely fills our need for connections with those we care about. Rarely, not never. I’ve made friends through this machine. It is possible.
But we are overdosing on digital devices. Last year riding on a train, I was excited about the trip and the possibility to meet someone and engage in a conversation. By the time I put my bag in the proper compartment, got settled in my seat, I looked up and around at the passengers and noticed that literally every single person had their face in a digital device: phone, iPad, kindle. Every. Single. Person.
It has become natural to fill our spare moments with our phones – checking email, texts, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc. And as the norm becomes flying solo (with your device) it is turning out to be more of a challenge to learn the skill of making personal connections.
So, let’s talk about it.
The bottom line is: We long for relationship. And maybe that’s why we pick up our phones so much. Maybe we don’t want to look like, feel like, and realize that we don’t have meaningful relationships.
Can I be honest with you? If you want more meaningful relationships – it’s not that hard. Listen to Dale Carnegie’s (the self-improvement guru), advice:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
Recently, I attended a party with hubby, had a wonderful time and a couple days after the party found out that a gentleman at the party gave someone the exact same compliment he gave me…. which totally devalued both compliments (since with this particular comment – we couldn’t have both owned it) and the gentleman lost his credibility.
Let me ask you: The next time I see him and he compliments me, do you think I’ll believe he’s sincere? And what does that do for our relationship?
Without authenticity, relationship can’t really exist. We may as well have our faces in our phones with our made-up friends on social media than be in a relationship that isn’t authentic.
Learning from Dale Carnegie, here are four tips to making authentic connections:
Become genuinely interested in others.
- Always be sure to be genuine. People can spot flattery. It’s ugly. And if they don’t see it right away, it will pop out eventually – like my friend at the party.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere smile. A smile is welcoming, friendly and warm. Smiles are powerhouses!
Use the person’s name.
- People love the sound of their own name. Here again, it’s important to be genuine. Overusing someone’s name can be perceived as schmoozing and that’s not genuine, its downright annoying. Say their name when you first meet and then again when you part ways. We all say, “I’m terrible at remembering names.” STOP! You’re smart. You can remember a name if you want to. Practice different strategies.
- Find out what the person is interested in and talk about that.As you listen, ask questions – because you are genuinely interested. Learn about that person and what is important to them. It won’t take too long to find that out if you’re truly interested. Sincerely, make the other person feel important. Everyone loves to be validated. Find out what they are good at, where their expertise lies, what their passions are and encourage them.
Finally, as you have opportunities to make connections with others, evaluate your heart. We all want connections for various reasons. Even in those that will benefit us, we can be genuine and sincere.
There is a scripture that I am reminded of that goes like this:
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17
Basically, if we are disingenuous, we will be found out – like the man at the party I attended.
Don’t go there. If we’re honest, we’ve all done it a time or two. Ick.
Take time to find the value in each and every encounter, and then, pursue a relationship from what you admire about the person.
You’ll be amazed! I’d love to hear about how it goes.
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