In a world full of oversharing and constant noise, it’s easy for our conversations to become surface level.
There are times I’d much rather tell people just enough about myself to carry conversation, but when that habit becomes routine, I miss out on a lot of potential connections.
While you don’t have to tell every person your entire life story, talking about what’s really going on let’s people understand and know the real you, not the one on Facebook or Instagram.
If you want to make a point to really get to know other people and let them know you, here are five ways to challenge yourself this upcoming year:
1. Be open and have honest conversations.
First and foremost, be willing to get authentic, even if it means opening up beyond what’s comfortable.
By doing so, you'll give others room to let go of the “my life is perfect” pretense as well.
If you come across some areas you’re not ready to talk about yet, ask yourself why.
Not everyone deserves to know everything in your life, and sometimes it’s not always appropriate.
But, talking about some of these harder areas could help someone who is going through something similar.
It can also even help you better understand yourself.
If you have a close group of friends, then these conversations are probably already happening.
But if not, be the one to initiate.
Sincerity is contagious.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
Next time you're at a party or social gathering, make it a point to step outside of your comfort zone and talk to at least one other person you haven’t met or gotten to know before.
If you’re not great at starting conversations, think of a few questions ahead of time that will open the door.
You can even pull someone into an existing conversation with your friends until you're confident enough to branch out on your own.
Take baby steps and embrace some of the discomfort.
Like most things, this gets easier with practice.
3. Tell people what you really think.
Be willing to have an open dialogue with people who are seemingly different from you, instead of writing them off or avoiding potential conflict.
If you're willing to listen, you can tell someone what you really believe without being aggressive or offensive.
You’ll be surprised at the diverse people you’ll be able to interact with on a deeper level when you’re sharing your thoughts in a respectful way.
4. Celebrate the good.
There are joyous moments and events worth celebrating, but some of us downplay them because we don’t want to be insensitive to others or appear self-absorbed.
Others might do the opposite and only talk about the good things that happen to them.
Find the balance.
There is a time and place for everything, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the great things that are happening.
Besides, you want people in your life who will sincerely get excited when you’re excited.
Show off your happiness.
5. Ask questions.
Be intentional about what you ask.
Seek to learn the other person’s story just as much as you seek to understand your own.
By realizing both who you are and who the person you’re talking to is, the conversation becomes a part of something greater.
You'll also begin connecting with others on a much deeper level.
If someone did something hurtful, ask him or her about it instead of assuming the worst.
If a friend is going through a hard time and you want to help, ask what you can do.
If you’re interested in switching careers, ask someone out for coffee who might be able to give you insight.
Ask the hard questions and dig a little deeper, and you might surprise yourself with the direction your conversations (and relationships) will turn.