Many of us are aware that though we have thousands of followers and connections, we lack true friends. With some intentionality, however, the former can blossom into the latter.
When researchers try to identify an individual’s close friends, they ask (1) who they discuss important matters with, and (2) who they spend free time with.
One simple way that we can all turn weak connections into close friends is through increasing our curiosity in others.
With genuine curiosity, you can create a space where people feel free to talk about important things with you, already meeting one important qualification of becoming a close friend.
Sounds easy…and it very well can be. If we intentionally slow down, really listen, and be present in our conversations.
In his timeless book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dan Carnegie encourages readers to show a sincere interest in others. Ask open-ended questions, and actively listen to the responses. This demonstrates curiosity about the other person’s thoughts, experiences, and opinions, in a way that is often neglected in our fast-paced world these days.
But this does more than just make people feel good in the moment…
Susan McPherson lets us see the momentum curiosity brings to relationships in her book The Lost Art of Connecting (side note: such a true book title ). With curious questions, you can acquire information that you previously did not know about that individual. This can provide data for which you can then go act upon—giving you opportunities to help them with problems or connect them with relevant others.
With more information about who you are talking to, you gain a better understanding of what you can generously do for them, and how you can be a better friend. Not to mention, their responses may also lead to newly identified shared interests and ideas, prompting future conversations and activities.
If this all sounds a bit too theoretical for you, then give it a try. In your next conversation, take a moment to ask a thoughtful question (some ideas attached). See how these conversations strengthen your friendships and make your day a little more interesting…