In a world where people are increasingly disconnected from each other, it is important that we understand and promote positive social connections. They are essential to our health and well-being, providing emotional support, practical assistance, information and a sense of belonging.
For those who have trouble forming relationships, it is worth considering whether they may have mental health difficulties that are contributing to their lack of connection with others. This could include anxiety, low self-esteem or depression. If this is the case, it is important to talk to a therapist who can help them work through these issues and improve their ability to connect with others.
If you do find it difficult to connect with other people, it can be helpful to focus on what you have in common with them. It can be easy to get caught up on differences, but this will only lead to a lack of communication and will ultimately hinder your chances of connecting with them.
The best way to build a relationship with someone is to be genuinely interested in them. This means listening to them, not interrupting them, and being present in the moment. It is also a good idea to avoid superficial compliments that can be applied to anyone, and instead make a point of being specific about what it is about them that you like.
Another great way to connect with people is to be of service. This can be as simple as lending a friend a book that you think they might enjoy, or sharing a link to an interesting article online that you know they will find helpful. If you can show that you care about their interests, they will be more likely to consider you a friend and trust you with their secrets.
One of the most effective ways to build connections is to bring them together around a shared interest or goal. This can be as simple as organizing a sporting event or charity fundraiser, but it can also be something more formal, such as an annual business retreat. By bringing people together, you can encourage them to discuss ideas and learn from each other, which will help them feel more connected and invested in your organization.
Connecting People is an evidence-informed guidance document that outlines the processes which are required to support people to feel less isolated and more connected with others. It has been piloted in a number of community mental health teams, and an evaluation is currently taking place to explore its effectiveness and the barriers that may be encountered. You can read more about the findings from this evaluation on our website. We are also conducting a research study to further explore how the practices described in Connecting People can be implemented by statutory and voluntary sector organisations. The results of this study will be available in 2018. If you would like to find out more about this project, please contact us.