25 Ways to Get to Know Someone Better

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Getting to know someone new can feel awkward and intimidating at first. But building strong relationships requires making an effort to truly understand each other. According to a Harvard study, adults with close friendships are happier, healthier, and live longer lives. However, many people struggle to move past superficial small talk to form meaningful connections.

The good news is that with some effort, self-awareness, and practice, anyone can learn how to get to know someone on a deeper level. By asking thoughtful questions, listening attentively, and looking for common ground, you can foster fulfilling relationships. With time and care, casual acquaintances can blossom into lifelong friendships.

This article provides 25 creative strategies to help you get to know someone better. Improving your conversational skills takes patience, but it’s worth it. The rewards of human connection and companionship are priceless. Follow these tips to strengthen your existing relationships and build bridges with new people in your life.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Getting to know someone better starts with asking the right questions. Open-ended questions that require more than a yes/no answer allow the other person to open up and provide thoughtful responses. This gives you insight into their personality, values, interests, and life experiences.

Some examples of open-ended questions:

  • What do you enjoy most about your work?
  • Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled? Why?
  • What are your passions and hobbies outside of work?
  • What qualities do you value most in your friendships?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  • What are you most looking forward to in the future?

The key is asking questions that encourage the other person to tell stories, describe experiences, and reveal their hopes, dreams and priorities. This provides a much richer understanding of who they are beyond surface-level facts and details.

Active Listening

Actively listening to someone is one of the most effective ways to get to know them better. When you actively listen, you make a concerted effort to focus completely on what the other person is saying, without interrupting or letting your mind wander. You give them your undivided attention.

Some tips for active listening include:

  • Maintain eye contact to show you are engaged. Nod and use other gestures to demonstrate you are listening.
  • Don’t interrupt or try to redirect the conversation to yourself. Wait until they have finished speaking before you respond.
  • Refrain from looking at your phone or other distractions. Give the person speaking your full focus.
  • Ask follow-up questions to get clarification or probe deeper into what they are sharing.
  • Paraphrase what they said to ensure you understand them correctly. Summarize the main points you heard.
  • Avoid getting ahead of the conversation by speculating what they will say next. Just listen to what they are actually saying.
  • Be patient and give the person ample time to share their thoughts before responding. Don’t rush to fill silence.
  • Pay attention to both their words and their nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. These can provide additional insight into what they are feeling.

By actively listening with an open mind and your full attention, you demonstrate genuine interest in the other person. This helps build trust and enables a deeper, more meaningful connection. The person speaking will feel heard and understood.

Make Eye Contact

Looking someone directly in the eyes as you speak to them and listen to them helps build a deeper connection. Eye contact signals that you are fully engaged in the conversation. It shows the other person that they have your complete attention and that you are interested in what they have to say.

When you make consistent eye contact, it fosters feelings of trust and understanding between you. It creates an intimacy that allows you to better understand the other person. On the other hand, avoiding eye contact can feel dismissive or make it seem like you are bored or disinterested, even if that is not your intention.

Aim to look directly at the other person for most of the conversation, only breaking eye contact briefly from time to time. This focused eye contact helps keep you centered in the present moment with the person, rather than distracted. It also gives the other person the space to feel truly seen. When both people are making eye contact, it creates a channel for you to connect more deeply.

Find Shared Interests

One of the best ways to get to know someone better is to bond over hobbies, ideas, or experiences you have in common. Look for shared interests, passions, values, or cultural backgrounds that you can connect on. Maybe you’re both really into hiking, or you have a favorite TV show you’re obsessed with. Finding these commonalities will help you open up, feel more comfortable with each other, and pave the way for deeper conversation.

Sharing stories about favorite travel destinations, foods you love, childhood memories, or dreams for the future allows you to find areas of overlap. It creates a sense of “me too!” moments that bring you closer. Discuss ideas that excite you both or principles you agree on. You might share similar philosophies on life, ethics, politics, or spirituality. Having common ideologies builds rapport.

Talk about experiences like concerts you’ve been to, books that influenced you, or challenges you’ve faced. Look for parallels between your life journeys. Recognizing you’ve had similar ups and downs creates understanding. Finding these points of connection gets conversations flowing smoothly. It prevents awkward silences and makes you feel less like strangers. You’ll realize how much you actually have in common.

Be Vulnerable

Opening up about personal experiences, views, hopes and struggles can help build a deeper connection. It shows you’re willing to be real and honest. Start by sharing something small or lighthearted. As trust develops over time, you can gradually reveal more.

Being vulnerable involves risk, so proceed cautiously. Make sure you feel safe with the person. Avoid oversharing everything all at once. Gauge their reactions first. If they respond supportively, reciprocate and open up more in return. However, shut down the conversation gently if you sense discomfort. The key is finding mutual openness at a comfortable pace for both.

Vulnerability fosters understanding. By revealing your true self, aspirations and flaws, it allows others to relate better. You give them glimpses into what makes you tick. In turn, this motivates and empowers them to reciprocate. It creates space for authenticity to blossom.

Ask Follow-Up Questions

Continue the conversation by asking for more details and examples. When someone shares a story or thought, don’t just respond with “that’s nice” and move on. Ask questions to show you are engaged and want to know more.

For example, if someone mentions going on a hike, you could ask “Where did you go hiking? What was the view like at the top? How long did it take you to reach the summit?” Follow up questions keep the dialogue flowing and allow you to get to know more about the other person’s interests, perspectives, and personality.

The key is to ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. This shows the other person that you are interested in what they have to say and encourages them to share at a deeper level. It also gives you more insight into who they are. So don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

Avoid Assumptions

When getting to know someone new, it’s easy to make assumptions about them based on superficial factors like their appearance, background, interests, etc. However, avoiding assumptions is key to truly connecting with someone.

Rather than assume you know something about them, ask thoughtful questions to learn who they really are. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Keep an open mind and heart to see their true self. Refrain from pigeonholing them into stereotypes. Give them the chance to share their story with you. Don’t preemptively decide you have nothing in common. You may be surprised by how similar you are once you start a real conversation. Keep your expectations flexible and minimal. Let them reveal themselves layer by layer through authentic interaction. Withhold any preconceived notions or prejudgments. Simply listen, learn, and get to know their unique personality.

Assumptions close doors, while openness opens minds. Shed your biases and see the person before you without limitation. Don’t let assumptions create barriers to meaningful connection.

Really Listen

When you’re having a conversation, it can be easy to get distracted thinking about what you’re going to say next. But really listening and being present is one of the best ways to get to know someone. Focus on understanding their perspective without thinking of your response. Don’t interrupt or try to steer the conversation – let them share freely. You’ll likely learn things you wouldn’t have if you were focused on your own thoughts.

Pay attention to not just their words but their tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. These all give insight into how someone is feeling and what matters to them. Reflect back what you hear them saying to show you understand. Being fully present shows the other person they have your complete attention. This builds trust and connection, allowing you to develop a deeper relationship.

Conclusion

Getting to know someone better takes effort, vulnerability, and genuine interest. By asking thoughtful questions, actively listening, looking for common ground, and being open to share about yourself, you create an environment for a meaningful connection. Don’t make assumptions or rush the process. Instead, focus on learning who the person is, what makes them tick, and discovering shared passions. The reward will be a deeper, more fulfilling relationship.

So be curious, listen fully, and engage authentically. The time invested will help you truly understand each other. When you know someone well, you can support them during tough times and celebrate life’s joys together. Don’t miss out on forging strong bonds – take steps today to get to know the people in your life on a deeper level.