You know that feeling when you stand in a crowded room, but you feel alone? Okay, this could be for various reasons, but there’s a high chance that you’re not actually emotionally connected to anyone in that room. Knowing how to emotionally connect with someone isn’t as easy as it looks, but these are the components to make it happen.
All of our close relationships are based on emotional connection. It’s what makes or breaks a relationship. You have those friends you party with and the friends you sit and talk about your problems with. The difference between those two types of friends is the level of emotional intimacy.
How to emotionally connect with someone
Now, I’m not saying you can’t have an emotional connection with people that you only drink with, you can, but you must take the next step from Friday night drinking buddies to Sunday morning fishing friends. Do you see what I mean?
Remember that saying, “It’s not who you spend Friday night with, it’s who you want to spend all Saturday with.” Now, I know this quote is from Friends with Benefits, but it’s applicable to non-sexual relationships as well. So, if you want someone as a real friend, you have to know how to emotionally connect with them. It’s not as easy as it looks.
#1 This is fear based. You’re scared. You’re scared to open up to this person. Why? Maybe you’ve been backstabbed by someone else or made fun of. Though you passed through it, those traumatic situations stick to you. Trauma sticks to everyone.
Sure, you look fine and act like yourself, but you can’t take that next step into emotional intimacy. In short, fear prevents you from developing a connection with someone. [Read: How to let go of your fear and find peace]
#2 Speak from your heart. It’s easy to have a conversation with someone. You can talk about the weather, puppies, beer. It’s not hard to strike up small talk. What is challenging is speaking honestly from your heart. Now, that’s a completely different story.
It’s easy for us to agree with someone or tell them that those pants don’t make them look fat, but telling someone they’re wrong or that those pants need to come off isn’t easy. But this is what builds trust.
#3 Connect with the mind. I don’t know who you want to emotionally connect to. Maybe it’s a friend or a love interest. What I do know is if you’re scared to connect with them emotionally, trying something sexual/physical first isn’t going to cut it.
I mean, if you do couple’s yoga, that’s different. If you want to f*ck your way to emotional connection, you’re taking a shortcut. Connect through conversation. [Read: 12 meaningful topics that ignite an intellectual conversation]
#4 Acknowledge yourself pulling back when it happens. You’re going to pull back when you feel you lose control because you’re scared. This is completely normal. Many people do this on a daily basis. But, you need to acknowledge what is happening and push through. It’s going to be hard, and you’re going to want to run away, but you can’t.
#5 Go beyond the superficial. To emotionally connect with someone means you talk about more than your favorite TV shows. You’re going to have to dig deep. If this person goes beyond and tells you something about themselves that many people do not know, that’s going deep.
Maybe they talk about their relationship with their parents or that they’re nervous about their future. These are real and deep problems and thoughts someone experiences. These thoughts aren’t shared with just anyone, see what I mean? You’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone.
#6 To connect is to listen. You need to listen. This seems to be a major issue with people today. They’re constantly distracted with their phones, what’s happening on Facebook or Twitter. It doesn’t matter! This person talks to you, and you want to have an emotional connection.
Leave your phone alone. You have to be an active listener. Listen! Listen! Listen! People know when you’re not listening, you can literally see it in their eyes. [Read: Conversational narcissist – Do you love talking and hate listening?]
#7 Empathy is key. You know the old saying, “Don’t judge someone unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Yes, well, that’s called empathy. Okay, you won’t actually walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but you have to try to put yourself in their position. That way, when you discuss something on a deeper level, you will be able to understand their point of view. [Read: 7 reasons why empathy is important in a relationship]
#8 Allow vulnerability. The only way you emotionally connect with someone is if you let your guard down. I know it’s scary, and you’ve probably been hurt before. If you want a meaningful relationship, you need to take a risk. I’m not saying you won’t be hurt again, you may be, but through this risk, you may gain something deep and profound. You have to risk it, man.
#9 Don’t just agree. The worst thing to do is just nod your head and say, “Oh yeah, cool.” If they wanted to hear that, they could just talk to themselves. Actually, come up with something constructive to say back, and if you don’t know what to say back, then tell them. If you just agree with them for the sake of it, you won’t build a connection. [Read: Good friends are like stars – 18 ways to build lasting friendships]
#10 It’s not what they say, it’s how they say it. They may tell you one thing, but their body tells you something different. If they say they’re not stressed, but their hands quiver, well, they’re not telling you the truth. Which is fine, they don’t have to tell you the truth especially if you two are not close friends.
But, through body language, you see how they really feel and use that to build a conversation provides emotional connection with them.
#11 You can crack a joke. An emotional connection doesn’t necessarily mean you must be completely serious in a quiet room with a Kleenex box in your hand. Make jokes here and there. Of course, don’t go to the point where that’s literally all you do. I know some people like to make jokes when they feel uncomfortable and if you’re one of those people, be aware of the amount of jokes you make. [Read: 20 signs you’ve mastered the dry funny bone]
#12 Ask questions. You don’t have to just sit there saying, “I understand,” or “Oh, that must be hard for you.” No! Get involved! Ask them questions such as, “How did that make you feel?” or “Who?” “What?” “When?“ “Where?” “How?” They’re simple questions, but they’re open-ended. This means you’re not restricting them to a yes or no question. You allow them to talk more and to go into detail.
#13 It’s a give and take. They cannot be the only one being vulnerable and telling you their personal thoughts and feelings. I know I said it’s important to be an active listener and to ask questions, but if you’re only doing that, this is a one-sided relationship. So, make sure you share something personal as well. Because right now, they only benefit from this relationship. [Read: How to be a good friend – The friend code everyone must know]
#14 Talk about your fears. Fear is in all of us. We’re all scared of something. If you want to emotionally connect with someone, why not talk to them about your fear of emotional intimacy? I mean, it really does knock two birds with one stone. You talk about your fear of intimacy, so you’re having a deep conversation while fighting your fear.
[Read: 17 bad friends you need to unfriend from your life right away]
Now that you know how to emotionally connect with someone, it’s time you stepped out of your comfort zone and let someone in.
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