A good conversation based on sincerity and the free exchange of opinions is something as valuable as it is difficult to find. And this is not because there are very few people capable of connecting with us, but because we have assumed a way of relating that makes us pay close attention to the need to keep our distance.
Social relationships are full of rigid rules that, in many cases, instead of looking after our individual well-being, make it difficult for us to enjoy honest dialogues through which to connect with others. Because of them, every day we are losing the opportunity to have fascinating conversations that go far beyond the superficial.
But… what would happen if we learned ways to make others more open to us ? Not just our friends and family, but all sorts of people we have just met or haven’t crossed paths with yet. The possibility of connecting easily with someone in the supermarket queue, at a party with friends or at the entrance to the library is something we should not give up for the simple fear of not knowing how to break the ice.
Connecting with others in an honest way
If leaving behind shyness and mistrust is already difficult, once we have achieved it it is still time to face another challenge: deactivate the barriers that others put between them and us.
However, there are simple strategies that can help us solve this type of problem in a simple way. In social relationships, simplicity is usually the best tool against communication and empathy crises. Next we will see some of these effective strategies to make others open up and express in a more significant way who they are.
1. Take the wheel of the dialogue
If we are considering adopting ways to make someone more open to us, it is because they initially take a slightly distant or reserved position, even if unconsciously. This psychological barrier will be there during the first few moments of dialogue, and there is little we can do to prevent this, so our task will be to make the other person understand during the first few minutes or even seconds that he or she is expending unnecessary effort in keeping up this wall that is keeping them isolated.
The best way to connect with someone is to take control of the conversation, even if it is only at the beginning . In this way, our interlocutor adopts a more comfortable role, which leads her to relax. That’s why during the first few minutes we don’t have to worry if we talk much more than the other person; after all, if the other person listens to us we are giving him/her more opportunities to find handles to continue the conversation by offering answers.
Little by little, the security and comfort offered by the role of the listener teaches that there is nothing to lose by becoming more involved in the dialogue, and this awakens in the other person the interest in expanding a power of influence. In addition, by the time you begin to participate more proactively in the dialogue, we will have explained so much about who we are through what we say that our interlocutor will see better to reciprocate with more open and honest opinions.
2. Show confidence in yourself
To get others to open up to us, it is very effective to show that we are not afraid of being judged by the other person .
Although it may seem the opposite, showing this self-confidence will not make the other person adopt a defensive attitude, but will infect him or her with this state of mind and even begin to subtly imitate our relaxed posture and the carefreeness reflected in our non-verbal language, something that in psychology is known as the chameleon effect. The idea is to express that the same comfort with which one speaks can be adopted by the other.
3. Start with anecdotes and move on to the big issues
It is often too intimidating to start talking about how you perceive life or your idea of an ideal relationship. That’s why it’s best to introduce these topics by talking about past anecdotes that you’ve experienced yourself and explain the vitar lesson you’ve drawn from them.
4. Detect themes to start from
Throughout a conversation, topics appear that allow other lines of dialogue to be drawn that are of interest to all the people involved. That is why it is worth detecting these themes and remembering them so that, if necessary, the dialogue can be resumed from there .
On the other hand, sometimes these topics do not even have to appear in the conversation; sometimes they are provided by the context in which the conversation takes place.
5. Use humor
Humour is an excellent way of relieving tension and showing that behind all those words that come out of our mouths there is a human being who likes to have a good time and find relief in comments that, simple or not, denote sensitivity and help to empathise .
In addition to creating camaraderie, these little humorous touches allow the other person to engage in dialogue by explaining anecdotes.
6. Let your ideology be intuited
Talking about politics with a person who keeps his distance is usually not the best idea to get him to open up more, but there is something you can do: let your own ideology show, once and subtly.
In this way the other person will no longer have reason to remain on the defensive by not knowing this fact, and will be able to act accordingly, either by agreeing with that line of opinion or by giving up the idea of entering into that subject; in any case, the uncertainty disappears, and that relieves tensions.
7. From the general to the specific
To find out more about the other person without seeming too intrusive, it is best to start with very basic or obvious information about our interlocutor and then give him or her the opportunity to go into detail. For example, you can start by talking about your city of residence and end by reviewing opinions about the type of problems faced by a certain type of neighbourhood.