Here are the three ways to connect with people—from worst to best:

3.) You Hate the Same Things

This is great during political season. You connect with people that you normally have nothing in common with. You might share a beer or coffee together, musing on the problems in the world. And you find out that you both hate Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Fidel Castro, etc. When you leave, you’ll have a renewed faith in humanity—you saw something in this person that was previously hidden to you. Now “they cool.”

But this is a weak connection. As the old saying goes, “Politics make strange bedfellows.” When the gestalt of the moment is gone, you’ll find yourself in the same place with this person—a relative stranger.

Be careful that you don’t overrate this type of connection.

2.) You Like the Same Things

Some people confuse this for love. You like baseball, she likes baseball. You like country music, she likes country music. You like sex, she likes sex. And on and on. These type of relationships become more common as we grow older, because our sphere of contact becomes smaller. We go fewer places. So people will “hook up” with one another at a place they both frequent, such as the gym – it’s mating through proximity.

This connection is ultimately flawed. Once the baseball game is over, or the concert lights have died down, then the ugly truth is revealed. And you’ll often find yourself at odds with this person. Their real nature is revealed, and you don’t like what you see – they turn out to be a liar, a thief, or a stubborn malcontent. What happened? Well, you were duped by the enjoyment of the moment, by the music of the evening. Your connection was momentary, influenced by external forces. The connection was missing an intrinsic glue at the fundamental level.

Be careful that you don’t overrate this type of connection.

1.) You Share the Same Values

This is the best connection; you both share a Weltanschauung on the world. Your understanding of integrity, respect and honor are similar. You operate from the fundamental framework of ideals, on what is best in principle. You both share similar understanding of the world.

Note that your values don’t need to be good—for every Bonnie, there’s a Clyde. For every Hitler, there’s an Eva Braun. There’s somebody out there for everyone. So you merely have to agree with the other person on a fundamental level. The hardware of your computers should be equal. The motors created in a similar factory.

This is the best type of connection – one that’s based on values.

2 thoughts on “3 Ways to Connect with People

  1. Values are the principles and standards that govern our whole lives, they provide us with our moral compass so it is no surprise that they impact significantly on our relationships. The problem though is they are hidden, right in the centre of our psychological “onion” with beliefs, attitudes then behaviours as further layers of the onion moving outwards. Values are not only part of our personal systems, they are at the centre of teams and whole organisations, the area I worked in as a psychologist for many years. As a collective we call it culture!
    Recognising another person’s values is not easy, you cannot see them, all you can really see is behaviour ……. what the other person says and does. I really believe, and I am making a huge leap here, is that the reason many relationships break down in modern life is that people don’t take time to try and understand a potential partners values. They rush into relationships based on superficial surface behaviours, there is no attempt at understanding, only reaction to an immediate stimulus. Values rarely come into it! But I’m probably waffling now!

    1. “right in the centre of our psychological “onion”

      I like that expression – our psychological onion. I might start using that.

      I agree with your assessment of the breakdown of relationships in modern life as well.

      In the US, for the last 50 years, we have been taught to embrace cultural relativism as it relates to Judeo-Christian ethics; the effect is that we have erased the values that the country was built on. Simoultaneously, we have been taught to embrace the cultural values of every place foreign over our own – many times, the myriad of these places have conflicting value sytems. So it’s little wonder that many modern Westerners have lost a sense of their values.

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