The holidays tend to bring people together. However, being physically together can be a very different experience than truly connecting.
For instance, how many times have you had coffee with someone and he or she is paying attention to technology? How many times have you been at an event and someone looks right past you to see who else is in the room? How about the times when a family member asks you how everything is, and you give the safe, small answer?
These are all missed opportunities to connect. And the impact on your relationships is probably greater than you think.
Take the longest study of human development, the ongoing Grant Study, which is a decades-long project that began following the lives of Harvard University men selected in 1938 – among them President John F. Kennedy and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee – and tracked every aspect of their lives. What was uncovered was very simple and profound: those satisfied in their relationships were happier, healthier and usually lived longer.
The good news about these results is that we are in control of having healthy and happy relationships. We choose who and how we focus our attention. We choose to stay surface or go deep.
In the spirit of this time of year, this week’s tip is to intentionally connect with someone you care about. This means challenging your tendencies. Here are a few ways to create a deeper connection:
- Put your technology away and focus on the present conversation.
- Go further with your questions than the usual “How’s it going?”
- When you ask a question, really listen to the response.
Who do you want to connect with this week?