How to have better conversations & deeper connections

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One of the downsides of travel is you’re away from people you care about for extended periods of time, which can be an isolating experience. So much of my time is now spent travelling that I needed to come up with a routine that helped me love the people I love.

That’s how Trefiel’s #selfcaresunday truly came about.

Every Sunday, I sit down and write a list of everything that would make me feel recharged, with the priority being connecting with the people I love. Since I’ve started this routine for myself, I’ve become a better friend, sister, partner and daughter to those around me.

According to my partner, when I shave my legs the world is a better place…

I’ve also come to realise how important it is to have conversations that go beyond “how is work” and dive deep into how the other person is feeling and dealing with their life. Those conversations are so few and far between in day-to-day life that they’re refreshing in a way I never full appreciated before.

I don’t believe that we all want to go about our day not caring about the people we talk to. I still believe, intrinsically, that most humans want to connect and share what’s happening in their life. But, I think we’re all focused on who is reaching out to us and giving us time and respect instead of focusing on our output to the world.

What happens when you don’t put any effort into your relationships…
Who are we reaching out to, listening to and actively being a wonderful person to?

If you’re anything like I was 6 months ago, it’s almost difficult to think of people you go out of your way to touch base with. I know and understand why — reaching out and nurturing relationships is work. But like all good things, the work you put into any relationship is always, always worth it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been taking note of what I do that my family and closest friends really appreciate. Today, I want to share those with you.

Create a relationship schedule

Here’s my exact process for staying in touch with people I care about.

  1. Create a list of people you want to stay in touch with. Focus on friends, family and new potential friends.
  2. Brainstorm an idea for each person. Either create a memory together or buy a thoughtful gift they would never think to buy of for themselves/
  3. Make it happen. Schedule it into your calendar. It won’t happen if you don’t.
  4. Set a reminder at the end of every week/month to revisit your list and do something new for them.

Improve your conversations with these two tools

Tool #1 — Ask questions

So often, I find people responding to others in conversation with statements about themselves. When someone is talking to you about themselves, do not respond with a statement about yourself especially if it’s an extremely difficult topic for them to talk about. When you do this, you show the other person that you only think about their story in the context of yourself and that is a conversation-closer.

We all have that one friend….

If you’re human, you’re guilty of this. So am I.

Let’s work on having better conversations together by adding some questions to your conversation toolkit.

  • How did that make you feel?
  • What lessons did you learn from that experience?
  • If you could go back, would you change anything?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • When you said x, what did you mean by that?

Tool #2 — Listen (really listen)

There are a few people in my life that I can think of, right now, who wait for a gap in the conversation to flip the topic back to themselves. You probably have people like this in your life too or maybe you even do it yourself.

Conversations like this make you feel unheard and if there’s one thing humans crave innately, it’s to be heard. So, try sitting back in a conversation for once and letting the other person speak until there’s nothing left to say.

Leave gaps in the conversation to see what the other person says when they’ve unloaded everything. Those gaps are more important than you realise as that’s where a person has time to collect their thoughts and summarise their feelings or situation.

Wait. Listen. It’s important.

I hope this post inspires you to take a more active approach in your relationships, whether that’s listening or spending more time thinking about people you care about.

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I hope you’re having an amazing week.