Two people standing with their heads pressed together affectionately

The best ways to get close to someone you care about

Modern society is a funny thing. While we are more connected than ever, we are also more fundamentally divided than we have been in centuries. Each second, we are becoming more connected to chaotic shifts around the globe, but we are also growing further apart from the people sitting right next to us. It’s more important than ever to connect with those we love, but it’s never seemed like more of an uphill struggle.

There are many different reasons for this social drift, and the distance we are beginning to feel from the people that we should feel closest to. Some of those reasons we are only starting to understanding, but some are known and familiar. One glaring truth — however — stands out above the rest. We have to learn how to reconnect and reengage with those that matter most, and we have to do it now; for our own mental and physical wellbeing.

Why getting close matters

It’s easy to take life for granted when you’re racing at breakneck speed to get everything done on your to-do list. Life chews us up and spits us out on the other side, feeling exhausted, numb and often terribly, terribly isolated if we we’re not careful. Connecting with the important people in our life is one of the best ways to combat the side-effects of modern day living, but it’s one of the skills we feel least able to master

Any relationship — be it a close friendship, marriage or any other kind of close partnership — takes effort, compromise, and a lot of communicatiton. The benefits of such a relationship are almost countless, however, and one of the best ways you can tap into finding your own mental, physical and emotional peace and wellbeing.

The benefits of bonding

Getting close to others and sharing yourself on an authentic level has a number of surprising benefits, the least of them being an overall boost in confidence and self-esteem. When we get close to others, we allow them to see us as we are, and that has untold benefits for our health and the way we see ourselves in the world around us.

Sense of security

There’s a deep, primal needin many of us to have the safety and security of other human beings around us. This remnant of our distance-pasts harks back to a time when our ancestors relied on safety in numbers, and (in many places and societies) it’s still a sentiment that rings true. We like to have the company of others and the security that’s attached to that. Humans have always been safer in numbers, and getting close to those we care about can provide that sense of security.

Internalizing a better view

When we allow ourselves to love and be loved in return, we also allow ourselves to internalize the positive judgements and assessments of our partners. This is what results in the little self-esteem boost you feel after having a deep conversation, or soul-affirming moment with someone you care about. When we love someone, we allow ourselves (even just from time-to-time) see ourselves for the more compassionate and forgiving eyes of our partners and confidantes.

Physical health boost

While it’s not entirely understood, those who find themselves in close, healthy partnerships generally find that they have better overall physical health. Many doctors chalk this up to the health behavior concordance, or the belief that when one partner is healthy, the other partner follows. Whatever the reason, those who deep, stable relationships have been shown to have fewer doctor’s visits than those without.

Decreased depression and anxiety

It’s no surprise that social isolation contributes to depression and anxiety, so it should therefore come as no surprise that connecting and bonding with others is an aid in combating those conditions. The key is connecting in a safe way, in safe spaces, with people that you know you can trust. Feeling better often starts with opening up, but that’s not always easy when you’re suffering with the darkness of depression and anxiety.

Longer life

Connection has a number of surprising benefits, and among those is he benefit of elongated life. Research has shown that those in deep, committed and stable relationships with open connections are more like to live longer than those without. These results come off the back of the findings that those of us who learn how to meaningfully connect with others also have lower rates of substance abuse and even lower blood pressure.

How to get close to the people we love.

So what? Just knowing how connection can benefit you isn’t enough. In order to incorporate deep, lasting connections with those you love — you have to put in work. Getting to know someone on a personal level takes time, and it takes opening yourself up in ways that can be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable. Start slowly, and work your way up. Connecting with others is one of the most natural skills we possess. You just have to tap back into it again.

Continue reading on Medium. 

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