There are times when we can feel really isolated and lonely. We can feel like that no one cares or listens. This could be because we may not know how to connect with others. Life should not be this way because we were not meant to spend our lives alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (HCSB) tells us,
Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Connection with others is important, so by knowing how to connect with others we can share Christ with those we love and meet. Therefore, I want to share with you some simple ways to connect with others. Since there are seven points in this blog I have split this post into a two-part entry, which I will end on Friday.
1. Be Observant
You must know the opportunities available to you. Awareness can begin by watching the behavior of other people and seeing how you might fit in. It could also mean doing some research on community events that you might be interested in. You cannot connect with other people if you do not know what is available. So start by being observant and by paying attention.
2. Introduce Yourself
I have learned a lot from my Father-in-law about interpersonal communication. One of the first tips he intentionally shared with me was that when he meets someone whose name he does not remember, he simply introduces himself to each person. He believes this breaks down barriers and allows him to connect with others. I have used this technique and it is a very effective icebreaker, but this is not my only conversation starter.
3. Find Some Common Ground
Another icebreaker is to find something you have in common with others. This can work for strangers and those you are close with. For example, the other day I was in a gas station and noticed a gentleman with a “K” on his gym shorts. Promptly, I asked him if the “K” represented Kentucky or Kansas. He replied by saying it stood for Kentucky. This allowed me to mention how I was from Kentucky and we drummed up a lengthy conversation. It turned out we had both lived in the same town, we both enjoyed the same local restaurants, and it was a joyous connection between two strangers who shared a lot in common. All I needed was to ask him about something I observed to create our common ground.
4. Know Yourself
So what if the gentleman would have said his shorts stood for Kansas, what would I had done? I simply would have mentioned how I go to school in Kansas City. From there we would have let the conversation progress about Kansas. By being self-aware I was ready to answer Kansas over Kentucky. In other words, I kept in mind aspects of my life related to both places, which prepared me to connect with him. So be aware of whom you are, your background, and your interests because it will help you be able to think on your feet as you try to connect with others.
I will finish this blog post on Friday, but in the meantime I urge you to try these tips today. They have worked with for me and I pray they will benefit you.