Creating Fast (& Meaningful) Connections
It’s been a rough year for everyone when it comes to personal connections.
The pandemic had us in solitude; for folks like me with a family at home, it was not as bad as some of our clients who live alone and were literally in solitary confinement.
Being alone does weird things to our brains, and after a while, everything there changes from our cellular composition to hormonal balance.
That’s why now more than ever it’s important that we are able to create fast and meaningful connections with others.
This is not why I was originally going to write about this topic; several people have asked how to “fast track” relationships…
You know… that “getting to know you” period after you just meet someone.
The main issue is how long it takes to figure out if someone is on the same path as you or if they are a good match as a friend, partner, etc.
But right now, really – with the limitations we’ve had in being able to meet anyone new, all of us are in the mode of not wanting to waste any time.
We recently dropped a video on YouTube about this – you can check that out here.
But, if you’re like me and you’re more of a “give me something to read” kind of person… here’s your quick checklist.
There are five questions I used within the first two conversations I had with my husband, Bob.
We have been together since November of 2009 and got married in the summer of 2012.
These questions helped me figure out (pretty quickly) whether he was someone with whom I wanted to invest my time.
(Obviously, the answer was yes, and I’m grateful for that!)
These questions also work with anyone you’re trying to “figure out” whether it’s dating, friendship, or a job interview!
The 5 Questions
• How have people misunderstood you throughout your life?
I’m starting on the heavy side with you – they’re not all this deep – and there’s a reason for that.
This question not only helps you understand an area that may be confusing or create misunderstanding between you and this person, but it also will show you how he or she responds to deep and intellectual questions.
You’re going to want to spend time with someone who takes a moment to think about this question and answers thoughtfully and find red flags with the folks who claim they are not misunderstood.
We all are because humans are all unique and misunderstanding is just part of life.
For example, my direct communication style has been misunderstood as aggressive in some situations whereas the truth is I see it as a sign of respect.
Understanding this area of misunderstanding in my own life has created a greater sense of self-awareness and personal growth opportunity for me.
People who know me now find it difficult to believe I would have been considered a “harsh” communicator – and that shows I took the feedback as a growth opportunity instead of an insult.
Understanding you’re speaking with someone who can look at things in this way is a great sign that they’ll be patient, understanding, and have that growth mindset with you, too.
• What helps you feel accomplished & fulfilled?
This is a biggie.
What if this person is extremely passionate about physical fitness and adventure team racing, and you can’t even imagine yourself lacing up a pair of running shoes?
Yes, two people with opposite interests can attract; however, this can also open up the door for conversation regarding dividing issues such as religious or political misalignment.
• Do you believe in second chances?
Be careful how you choose to introduce this one because you don’t want it to seem as though you’re already looking for an “out” in case you mess up (which we all will).
It may be interesting to discuss when exploring previous relationships, experiences, or adventures.
This will also give you an idea of how understanding, flexible, forgiving, gracious, and kind the person is.
We all need second chances in our lives, don’t we?
• What do you need each day to be your best self?
My husband and I discussed this on our first date.
Actually, it wasn’t even our first date yet – or I didn’t realize it was – my friends literally invited Bob to my house and then made up excuses to leave so I would be there alone with him to get to know him because apparently I was not responding quickly to his signals of interest.
(That’s a story for another time…)
I learned that he wants to swim for fitness every day.
His exact response was, “I need to be underwater for 30-45 minutes every day.”
I reacted to that by admitting that I like to work out, too, and my vice is running.
It helped create a mutual bond and revealed a space of mutual interest.
It also helped us to respect the other person’s needs and protect that area at all costs.
Bob often says to me (even still, more than a decade later) “I want to make sure you get time for your workout today…” because he knows it’s important to me.
• What is your top bucket list item this year (and next year, and in 5 years…)?
This reveals so many things.
Planning skills, hidden desires, sense of adventure (or lack thereof)…
It can also create special connections by finding commonalities or, as some of the other questions reveal spaces of misalignment.
If someone wants to go skydiving and you are determined to have 2 feet firmly planted on the ground, you’ll understand that while this may not be a “make it or break it” point, if you move forward in a relationship with this person and are not an adventure seeker, that you’ll have to accept the fact that he or she is one, and allow the freedom for that activity.
This is also a good job interview discussion topic to help reveal a person’s depth of character and ability to think ahead and plan.
Let us know what question you like best, and what your results are from using it!
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