Ask Wendy

How Do I Form Meaningful Relationships with People? 

July 7, 2017
meaningful relationships
Hey Wendy,

I saw your Facebook Live video on how important it is that the dating adventures not be lonely and to reach out and create a support system of friends, pets, etc. 

It was the moment you said this to me that I realized, all my connections with people are 'fake'.  By 'fake' I mean the relationships I form with someone whether it be a friendship or an attempt at something more start off with small talk... and they never progress far from there.  So, it feels like I know a ton of people but never really formed the actual connection to call them a good friend. 

My question for you is, how do I form more meaningful relationships with people?  I mean, the moment this ugly realization slapped me in the face I realized, okay so if all I do is form these acquaintance type of relationships with people, then no one will ever know me for who I am, or want to spend the rest of their life with me... I think I just figured out a reason why my 'dating' life is not working in my favor.

I hope you can offer some advice.

Linda T. — San Jose, CA

Hey Linda,

What a good question! The basics of what you need to do are all demonstrated for you in that Facebook Live you watched, and that is you need to be willing to look bad while still having grace.

There I was, two minutes into the Live post and the fucking phone rings! Then towards the end, the dog knocked over my light. And I managed it all still holding my own, with a willingness to let the word see the blunders. With those kinds of mistakes, it’s super-tempting to redo the whole damned thing. Every time I mess up, accidentally put the camera at a bad angle, flub a word, lose my train of thought because I’m on camera live, I want to do-over… and I never do – because it’s real. And people like real.

You’ve got to be willing to show people your flaws and imperfections and vulnerabilities and they will LOVE you for them, not judge you. Okay, let’s be honest, some people might judge you a little, but who cares? Not you. Because you’ll have so much love from your friends that you won’t even notice anything else.

Instead of talking about the weather, talk about what matters to you. What do you love about your life? What are you challenged by? What’s happening that’s upsetting you? What’s your actual deal? And listen to your friends reveal themselves too.

The final step to moving beyond what lies on the surface is you have to be of significant benefit to your people. This is not a “golden rule” thing. I think “do unto others..” is kinda lame. I don’t want people to treat me as I would treat them. Not if we hope to get different things from each other… (Think love languages.)

I have a friend who gives stellar advice and she’s very insightful. I count on her for that. She can’t listen to me for more than seven minutes without interrupting, and that’s okay by me. She counts on me to listen, as in give her my full attention, for as long as she needs – even if it takes over an hour or two, and that’s a core skill I have that’s reserved for certain people in my life. We all have different skill sets.

Find out what people want from you, and see if you can give it – whether that be time, a listening ear, an activity friend, a wise advisor, or a wisecracker, whatever… And what would you like from them in return?

And let’s circle back to the most important aspect: Vulnerability. Vulnerability takes courage, and you won’t find a deep relationship anywhere in the word without it.

Take care.

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