How To Build Meaningful Relationships In Your Life
“Meaningful connection is formed when we bravely share our truth” – Michelle Maros
We connect with people all the time, but there is something profoundly different between relating in a way that is transactional and in a way that is meaningful. While there is a benefit to both, the data is clear that a life rich with meaningful relationships is happier and healthier in many ways.
But what does it take to build and nurture truly meaningful relationships?
While experiences will vary for different people, below are four steps you can use and repeat that support the cultivation of meaningful connections
4 key steps to create and enhance meaningful connections:
- Set the intention. The first step is to make meaningful connections a priority. We have friends, family, and co-workers. We can interact with 100 people in a week and not have a single meaningful connection. To have a life filled with meaningful connection means we need to prioritize it, by consciously thinking about how we want to connect.
- Create space and time. This can look like regular family dinnertime, a monthly time set aside to be with close friends, slowing down at work to eat lunch with someone, or even just pausing to talk with someone in the moment. This is harder than it sounds because many of us are wired for efficiency – get it done fast and get on to the next thing. It’s the people we create space and time for and connect with that truly matter.
- Seek to know and understand. Many parents have told me that they have tried family dinners and it ‘doesn’t work.’ Kids don’t want to share and people don’t talk. While you cannot have meaningful connections without space for at least a brief amount of time, they are not enough on their own. We need to open up ways to know and understand each other. Asking a thoughtful question is the gateway to connection.
Here are a few ideas to create a sharing ritual.
- This is a super simple one. Ask, “What is something good that happened in your day today?”
- Ask, “How are you?”, with the intent to really listen to the answer.
- Use a card deck designed to inspire conversation and generate ideas. Check out my Courage to be Curious card decks. People have told me they work great at the dinner table. (Here is the link in case you want to grab some).
4. Listen without expectation. Finally, meaningful connection happens when we listen really well. We listen not to solve or fix, but we listen to know – to know another person. We can listen and be present for what someone has to say without trying to make anything better, offer a great idea, or solve a problem. Listening without expectation or need is one of the most powerful ways to create meaningful connections.
Remember the words of my coach trainer:
“Listening deeply to someone with the heart-felt intent to really hear them and understand them is what most people are yearning for. If you only ever did this, you would have a successful coaching practice. Go and give the gift of listening.”
We are human and we need meaningful connections. They are essential to our well-being, but they don’t just happen, they are created. In this time when almost everyone I know and meet feels a bit worn down and worn out, let’s all do our part to enhance our global well-being through strengthening meaningful connections.
This completes our 3 part blog series for this month of May. Want to join the discussion? Gain more insights and connections by joining us this month in Curiosity CrusadersTM.
Want to connect with me one on one for a meaningful conversation? I look forward to getting to know you.