10 Ways to Get Closer to the People You Value

A few years ago, a relative of mine, Rev. Russ Gunsalus referred me to a book on connecting with people. It is called The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinness. This book is filled with simple yet profound insights that have given me guidance on how to better connect with the people in my life.

I continue to meditate on its contents, and as I grow, I see the wisdom of its insights. Recently, for example, I heard about two funerals, one for someone’s father and the other for his mother. At the father’s funeral, there were a lot of children of his friends and relatives. At his mother’s funeral was a lot of her friends. What was the difference? His mother kept making friends.

This powerfully illustrated a key point in the book: Friendships are not static. They ebb and flow. It’s not as if we make friends once and for all and then are done with it. We have to keep working at it, or our friendships diminish. This was a powerful reminder to me to keep working at building friendships.

The insight from the book combined with the story that I heard to make the story all the more compelling and illuminating.

Here is a brief sample of the book, though I recommend that you read it all for yourself.

Five Ways to Deepen Your Relationships

  1. Assign top priority to your relationships. Building relationships is work, and we must recognize this.
  2. Be willing to share things about yourself. Cultivate transparency.
  3. If you like something in people, say so. You won’t go wrong in this.
  4. Figure out what people enjoy, and show them love in ways that are meaningful to them. It may not be the same thing that is meaningful to you.
  5. Create space in your relationships. All relationships need a balance of togetherness and separateness. Recognize that relationships have different seasons.

Five Ways to Cultivate Intimacy

  1. Please touch. Obviously, you need to have a sensitivity, but people do need appropriate touch. It’s not for nothing that Paul said to greet one another with a kiss.
  2. Be liberal with praise. Again, if we can see something good in someone, it is worth saying it.
  3. Schedule leisurely breaks for conversation. It’s easy to become too task-oriented. Stop and visit with folks.
  4. Learn how to listen and ask good questions.
  5. Talk freely about your feelings and encourage others to do the same.

What might you suggest for getting closer to the people you value?


Leave a Reply