Have you ever talked to someone for the first time and just…clicked? A conversation starts and it’s almost like you can’t stop it—and don’t want to stop it—because you and the other person seem to understand each other, naturally and innately? To me, those moments are magical. They may be few and far between, but they stick with me. I might think about them for years afterward, because I walk away from such conversations feeling changed for the better. That’s the power and the value of natural connection.
Connection: a human superpower
Human connection is extremely powerful, in all its forms. Sometimes, it takes time and effort to develop a connection. Other times, the connection is almost instantaneous. Either way, it’s important.
Connection is what helps us recognize that we are not alone in the world. As we connect with others, we share experiences, knowledge, and understanding. We gain new insights and perspectives. We open ourselves up to the benefits of love and connection. And, we’re able to develop empathy, which helps us build more, stronger connections in the future.
The natural connection I want to discuss today is exceptionally powerful because it helps you enjoy all the benefits of connection…naturally. You’re able to cut through the white noise, the awkwardness, and the insecurities that usually accompany new relationships, and go straight to the good stuff.
However, because natural connection is (ahem) natural, does that mean you have to just sit back and wait for it to come to you? Do you have to settle for those few and far between moments, or is there anything you can do to invite and nurture those moments?
While there are no guarantees when it comes to human chemistry, there are some things you can try.
Opening yourself up to connection
The first (and perhaps the most important) is to open yourself up to connection. What exactly does that mean? It means:
- Being open to the idea of connection. Let go of your stubborn independence and open yourself up to the possibility of connecting with others. Realize the value of natural connection so that when it shows up, you don’t automatically reject it.
- Putting yourself out there. If you are going to find the people you connect with, you are going to have to be around people you might connect with. This could be networking events, social gatherings, fitness groups, book clubs—anything that encourages person-to-person interaction.
- Being willing to share. Connection is a two-way street. If you aren’t willing to get a little vulnerable with other people, you can’t expect them to be vulnerable with you. As Brené Brown says, “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
(Note: remember that there is such a thing as oversharing, too, and oversharing does not invite connection like vulnerability does. Learn more about the difference here.)
How to open yourself up to connection
If you struggle to naturally connect with others, you aren’t alone. There could be any number of underlying issues at the heart of your resistance to connection: shame, fear, past betrayal, and insecurity, just to name a few.
If you think you might be in this boat, ask yourself these questions to help you get to the bottom of your struggle and open your heart to connection:
- When was the last time I was truly open with someone? How did that experience make me feel?
- Have I ever been hurt by someone I connected with? Am I still feeling the effects of that?
- What am I afraid is going to happen if I open up to someone?
- What do I keep to myself that I wish I could share with others?
- Can I set boundaries to help ease my fears around connection? (e.g. I don’t have to share [x] with someone, but I will share [y].)
If you can learn to open yourself up to connection, you will increase your chances of experiencing natural connection. You will be ready and willing to give what you need to give in order to invite that experience into your life.
It’s also important that you are able to identify natural connection when it happens. Whether you recognize it in the moment or after the fact, acknowledging that you experienced a natural connection will help you analyze what went right, so you can work to recreate those promising circumstances in the future.
Some signs of natural connection are:
- Ease of conversation
- Feeling comfortable sharing your emotions
- Shared experience
- Active listening and two-way conversation
- Feeling like you are in a “safe space” or “judgment-free zone”
- Feeling seen, heard, and/or understood
- Walking away feeling as though you gained something from the interaction
Usually, you can tell when you “click” with someone. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be deliberate about recognizing it so you can experience the full value of the natural connection.
If you do recognize that you have a natural connection with someone, how do you cultivate it?
I’m sorry to say that I’ve had a natural connection with someone…and never spoken to them after that. Then again, I’ve had natural connections with people that have eventually become some of my best friends. The difference is the effort that I put in to keep the connection alive after that first interaction.
Cultivating natural connection turns the connection into a relationship. If you’re trying to cultivate a connection, try:
- Initiating future conversations. A phone call, text, or get-together can set the stage for deeper connection.
- Expressing your gratitude. Tell the other person that they mean something to you. Express gratitude for their friendship and the natural connection you have.
- Building on shared experiences. If there’s a specific thing the two of you have in common, continue the conversation. Share resources, reach out when you’re having a hard day, etc.
- Being thoughtful. Check in when you think about them. Ask how they’re doing. Ask a follow-up question about something they shared. Show them you care about them and your relationship.
- Don’t try too hard. A natural connection is, well, natural. You don’t have to force it or overthink anything. Let your relationship progress naturally and it will benefit your life.
Connection is powerful. We all need it, we all want it, and we’re all looking for it. So be open to it. Recognize it when it happens, and work to cultivate it for the future. That is how you experience the extraordinary value of natural connection.
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