How to Deepen Your Important Relationships

Four friends and a white dog sit on a blanket in a park

Strong relationships are key to a happy and fulfilling life.

But if you’ve been finding it harder to make new friends and maintain old ones, you’re definitely not alone. As we grow older, it’s easy to lose touch with old friends, get wrapped up in our own life, and make excuses to stay home and in our comfort zone. 

That’s why it’s so important to make an effort to deepen your relationships with the important people in your life. While social media is a great way to stay up to date on someone’s life, it shouldn’t be the only way to engage. 

Below are some of the best ways you can strengthen your important relationships. 

What are your friendship goals? 

This isn’t just a hashtag on social media. Friendship goals are worthy goals to have and strive for.

And just like any other personal goal, it’s important to reflect on where you are currently at so you can figure out how to grow and develop from there.

First, take a look at your current relationships and see how you’d like to strengthen these bonds. 

Your important relationships can be…

  • Close friends
  • Coworkers and bosses
  • Professional peers
  • Family members and in-laws 

Next, how would you like to strengthen these relationships?

For example, if it’s a coworker, do you want to build trust and rapport? Or if it’s a sister in law, do you want to get to know her better? Or if it’s a college friend, do you want to get back in touch? 

It’s nice to gauge where your relationship is currently so that you know where to build from. So if you and a work colleague only know each other via Zoom meetings, then you probably would take smaller steps to get to know each other better. Whereas if you’re trying to deepen a connection with a relative or someone you’ve hung out with dozens of times, it’s probably fine that your first invitation is for dinner or drinks. 

Show up for the important people in your life

Now that you’ve identified the important people in your life, it’s time to think of all the small and big ways that you can show up for them.

Showing up can mean…

Being present. Are you engaged and present when you’re with the important people in your life? Or are you on your phone or doing most of the talking? The next time you’re with a coworker or friend you’re trying to get to know, be present for them. Put your phone away, give them your full attention, and listen. 

Being invested in the other person. Another way to show up for the important people in your life is to be a champion for them. Is your coworker giving their first presentation? Show up to the meeting and congratulate them afterwards. Is your brother-in-law singing with a local choir? Attend one of his concerts. Is your college friend doing an open mic for the first time? Offer to go with them and provide moral support. 

Your friends and peers will be so touched that you took time out of your day to support them. Showing up for the people in your life is a surefire way to deepen your connections with them. 

Let people know you’re thinking about them

People like to be thought of. So when you’re thinking about them let them know.

Plus, research shows that out-of-the-blue messages make the recipient feel good about themselves. So go ahead and send that text or email. You’ll make that person’s day. 

And it doesn’t have to be a lengthy message about how much they mean to you or how important they are in your life. Send a link to a funny video and write “thought you’d appreciate this” or just a simple “thinking of you!” is enough. 

Check in with them

Did your coworker give a speech at a conference? Email them to see how it went. Or did you see on social that your acquaintance just got back from vacation? Tell them their vacation photos looked amazing and ask about their trip.

So much of forging connections with someone is about genuine interest. If you are showing genuine interest in the other person, they will respond in kind. 

Make low pressure plans 

So often, we put off making plans with someone because we think hanging out has to entail a formal invitation with a cool activity.

Instead of waiting for the right moment or for the cool plan to unfold, just make low pressure plans to hangout. 

Low pressure plans can mean extending a happy hour invite. Or checking to see if your acquaintance or work friend is free for dinner after work that night. Or if they want your extra ticket to a comedy show or museum.

With low pressure plans, you don’t have to make a four course meal or book something in advance. Just see if the other person is available. You’d be surprised by how enthusiastic people are for last minute and low-key hangs. Of course, some people are busier than others and may not alway be available, but you won’t have to feel bad about it because they were low pressure plans in the first place. 

Ask for their advice

Another way to deepen your relationship with someone is to ask for their advice. People like to give guidance and they’re always flattered when they’re seen as someone who can provide information. 

  • Is your cousin a bookworm? Ask for their book recommendations.
  • Did your coworker just score a great vacation deal? Ask for their travel planning tips. 
  • Is your boss a big foodie? Get their restaurant recommendations. 

The important thing to keep in mind, however, is to seek their advice based on things they genuinely enjoy talking about. This is especially important for people in your professional circle. While some people are flattered by “pick your brain” requests others may find it exhausting.

So stick to topics they’ll be excited to talk about and they, in turn, will be even more excited to share what they know with you.

Written by JiJi Lee

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