Some of us can go years, even decades, without forming healthy relationships. We may think we have strong connections in this world, but more studies are showing we’re actually lonelier than ever.
How does this happen and what can be done to create meaningful and lasting friendships?
According to Anna Akbari, PhD, a sociologist and former professor in the department of media, culture, and communication at New York University, there are two ways to connect with people. The first way is to connect with someone through their past in order to get a better picture of how they grew up.
Akbari explains, “We too often assume that everyone has had the same experiences that shaped them that we have… We all have different wounds that we carry with us. So the more you can understand that person’s history, the more empathetic you can be for them.”
The second way to build on your relationships relies on asking questions based on the future. This helps you both understand each other on a deeper level since you learn about each other’s hopes and dreams for the future.
You don’t need to weigh down your Sunday brunches with all these serious thoughts and ideas. However, Akbari has outlined 60 main questions that might be able to lend a hand. Here are just some of the best questions you can ask to get to know someone a bit better.
- What’s your favorite childhood memory?
- Do you have any regrets? If so, what are they and why?
- If you could change anything about your past, would you and what would it be?
- What’s the best advice a family member gave you growing up?
- What was the worst advice?
- How would you describe your childhood home?
- What did you fear most growing up, and do you still fear that?
- Who was your first celebrity crush?
- How did you deal with past disappointments?
- What was your first dream job, and is it still your dream job
When was the last time you asked someone one of these questions? When was the last time you asked yourself one of these questions? You might be surprised just how deep these answers will go, and how much you can learn about your new friend.
For all 60 questions, click here.
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