Forging new relationships is one of the best things you can do to improve your well-being, especially after many months of limited socialization. Whether it’s making new buddies or romantic partnerships, using good communication skills is key to making your relationships stronger and more satisfying. Here are some suggestions:
Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something or someone else you are not.
Maintain eye contact and listen fully. Turn your phone off! Do notinterrupt or plan what you’re going to say next. Try to fully understand their perspective.
Keep expectations realistic. No one can be everything we might want them to be. Accept people as they are without trying to change them. Appreciate the person’s differences and see what you can learn from them.
Let the person know who you are. Tell them about your passions, pasttimes, etc. But don’t flood them with too much personal information too soon. Initially, focus on the things that delight you—is it music, movies, books, outdoor activities, travel, computer games? This information can help you find common ground between you to build upon.
Open up to exploring the other person’s interests. Be willing to try new things together!
Ask about their experiences, feelings, opinions, and interests. Be wary of asking questions that might be too uncomfortable, especially in the early stages of getting to know someone. Apologize if it appears you have ventured in the wrong direction—this can go a long way toward getting back on the right track again.
Be dependable and trustworthy. If you make plans with someone, follow through. If you take on a responsibility, complete it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep just to be polite or keep the peace.
Take a time-out if you’re feeling overwhelmed during the discussion. Try counting to ten to help cool your temper, for example. This is helpful if you tend to overreact or take things personally when discussing hot-button subjects.
Give it time. Really getting to know someone in a relationship worth pursuing is a process. Be patient.
Having relationship difficulties? Ask your health practitioner for a referral to a professional or talk to a qualified counselor for support and guidance.