A little while ago, I decided that I wanted to deepen my relationship with a couple of the people in my life.
I had known these two for a long time, but we had never spent much time together outside of group settings. And even when we did, we would only occasionally dive into any deep or personal conversations.
Still, I knew enough about each of them that I suspected that we had the potential to get along very well and be much closer friends. So, I decided to find out if I was right.
Which begs the question, of course, how do we make that happen?
The short and obvious answer is to get to know each other better.
To spend more time together, have more personal conversations, and get to see each other in a greater variety of contexts than what we have in the past.
But those things can be a little hard to do unless both people are already comfortable initiating personal conversations with each other, and already socialize together regularly.
And if that was the case, we’d likely already be close friends.
Luckily, though, for years I’ve taught a little social hack that tends to help people get this process started in a fun and easy way.
This trick will not just help us spend more time together, but also - almost automatically - build more rapport and positive tension.
And this, in turn, tends to make it easier to initiate those critically important personal conversations.
The trick is simple:
Find an activity or project that will excite both of you, that you can do together.
And the best way to figure out what that is, is to think about the commonalities that the two of you have.
What kind of interests, hobbies, experiences, goals, or similar do the two of you share?
Make a list. And keep in mind that the more things you can think of, the easier it will be to find a suitable activity or project.
And if you have a hard time thinking of things, think about what your reasons for wanting to be closer friends with this person is.
Odds are that some of them will be about things you share - whether they are interests, opinions, or experiences.
Some examples of which activities or projects the two of you can do are pretty obvious:
But less activity-based interests can work just as well.
So if, for example, you're both interested in topics like psychology, technology, philosophy, traveling, or whatever else – you can simply invite them for a meal or a coffee to discuss it.
And if you can't think of any shared activities or interests - perhaps you share a similar life situation?
You might, for example, both be entrepreneurs building your own business, single parents, gardening lovers, practicing similar skills, etc.
And if so, a great thing to do is get together to exchange ideas and experiences, or support each other on your journey.
You get the point, I trust?
And here's the bonus:
Activities like these won’t just let the two of you spend more time together, but it will also give you both an obvious topic to focus on – one that both of you are excited about and interested in.
This will ensure that neither of you has to worry too much about what to talk about. And it tends to eliminate the potential awkwardness of spending time alone with someone you don’t know well.
The activity itself will give both of you enough to do and discuss that the rest of the interaction tends to kind of take care of itself.
In addition to that, when we engage in an exciting or enjoyable activity with someone, we tend to automatically build both rapport and positive tension. And once those reach a certain level it will be far easier to open up in more personal ways, and on a wider variety of topics.
And as an extra bonus, you’ll also have an easy way to follow up with more invitations in the future.
After all, who wouldn’t say yes to repeating an enjoyable activity with someone that they’re starting to feel closer to as a friend?
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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