Hosted by Hanne Vervaeck

WBS 02: How to Create Meaningful Connections


Having deep and meaningful connections is without a doubt one of the most important pillars of having Well Balanced Success.

In this episode, I want to share some of the things that I started doing over the years to make sure that the relationships that I have in my life are deep, meaningful and fulfilling.  

I hope that this will help you to get that same result.


You'll love this episode if:

  • You agree that there's more to life than simply working and making a lot of money
  • You would love to be closer to your family but don't know where to start
  • You often find yourself in shallow conversations, craving more authenticity.

Let's dive in!

In this episode I cover 6 things you can start doing today to create more meaningful connections.

Automatic Transcription

Having deep and meaningful connections is without a doubt one of the most important pillars of having well balanced success. And in this episode, I want to share some of the things that I started doing over the years to make sure that the relationships that I have in my life are deep and meaningful and fulfilling. And I hope that this will help you to get that same result.

Hi, there, I'm Hanne, host of the Well Balanced Success podcast. In this weekly podcast, we explore how you can have it all. How you can have a successful career, an active social life, a thriving love and family life, all of that while being healthy and happy. Now, if that sounds like something you would like, then keep on listening.

Now first of all, I actually want to start off by saying that I'm by no means an expert on this topic. I didn't study this, I'm not a psychologist. But I did change a couple of things in the way that I behave and in the way that I interact with people, which greatly enhanced the relationships that I now have with the people around me and the friendships but also the relationship with my family. And that's why I think this is such an important topic to discuss. And I'm actually really, really passionate about this one.

Let's have a look at six things that will help you create those deeper, meaningful connections that you are probably craving. Because first of all, let's be very clear, this is a human need, like people actually die if they have no close connections. So it is very important not to shove this on the drug and to be like, oh, but I have a successful career. I'll think about my social life later, or, yeah, I'm working so hard that I don't have time for my family. And for me, that is actually something that I'm so convinced about that.

It's impossible to have a well balanced life and well balanced success if you don't take care of these relationships. So the first thing that I started doing way more of and that I actually was really, really bad at is sharing spontaneous thoughts with people. And feeling like those thoughts are worthy to be shared. And what I mean with that is really simple things. But if you hear a song and it makes you think of someone, send them a message at that time to tell that you're in the car, you heard this song, and that welcome, do it while you're driving. You know what I'm getting at. And then it made you think of them or that it made you remember that one evening you had together and I can assure you that anyone who gets this type of messages will appreciate it, and often it will be a really nice way to start a conversation. To catch up, and to make sure that you keep in touch right? When I said that I was really bad at this, I wouldn't even take selfies. And up until the time that somebody told me, like, I actually started taking selfies so that I could send them to my family because they want to know how I'm doing. I'm like, Oh, that makes sense. Like, I love to look at people's social media profile, or receiving a picture of a friend when they are leaving on holidays. And they, yeah, they send me a picture or whatever it is. I don't really care about pictures of the ocean, or any landscape pictures. Because you actually just want to know how that person is doing right? So things like that. pictures of yourself, even though that seems weird, like I can assure you that your friends will really really enjoy getting those. Now this actually goes together. With another event, contradictory thoughts. But that's the idea of the more that you share. And the more that you talk to people, the more you actually have to say. Now, this is one that I found out a little bit on, accidentally, I would say, because when COVID-19 started and everybody went into quarantine, one of the things that I started doing with two of my girlfriends was a checking call in the morning. And so originally, this call was actually to keep ourselves motivated to do a work now, with everything that was going on in the world, it actually very quickly changed to being a jacking call to see how we were doing, how we were feeling, how the confinement was going, what was stressing us out. And the thing is, we didn't stop doing the daily calls. And sometimes, like, I'm surprised by how much we have to say to each other and the reason for this or What I figured out is that actually, if you don't talk to people very often, then it becomes really hard to share the smaller things that go on in your life. Because they don't seem important enough. So if you talk to someone, once a month, and then you have to think like, oh, what happened this month that was worth talking about, you're probably not gonna talk about that book that you read, or that article about this specific thing that you noticed yesterday, or the fact that you started a new hobby and, and then, yeah, that is something that you're really excited about. So the idea of sharing those smaller talks, and doing it on a more regular basis, will actually help you to create more touch points and so to create more opportunity to then connect again because you will know the other person much more deeply and much more intimately because you know what their favorite restaurant is. And you know which book they are reading at the moment, and you know which podcast episodes sparked a new thought in their mind? and so on. So yeah, that is really the first idea is if you want deeper, more meaningful connections than just starting to spontaneously share your smaller thoughts that you would normally keep to yourself. The second thing is to actually ask better questions. Now, I'm sure that there are books on this topic and that if you Google it, you will be able to find a whole bunch of these questions. But I just want to talk more about the mindset shift. If you find yourself in a bit boring conversation, where you just like, Oh, I did this and then I did that and then This happened and whatever. Try to ask a question that will get a more interesting answer. And often, what you want to do is actually ask people how they felt about something, or what they are excited about, or those kind of questions are way more interesting than Hey, what did you do yesterday? Or how how's your week been? And people are like, Oh, yeah, cool, good week. Whereas if you asked, for example, what's been the most exciting thing for you this week? It just sparks a completely different conversation, and you will get so much more interesting answers. And that will allow you to find those common ground and create those meaningful and deep connections. So that's a fairly easy one. Now one thing that I want to say That is make sure that you are okay. As like answering that question too. It's not the I hate it when people that I just met sit down and then I like, tell me three things about you that nobody else knows. I'm like, What? Why? Okay, you don't know me like this is inappropriate. So that's not the type of stuff I'm talking about, right? This is not a way to manipulate people or if the moment that it feels like either a job interview or just creepy, that's, that's absolutely not what I'm talking about. I'm more talking about like the conversation that you have with your mom. And instead of asking, okay, how are you doing, asking something more specific because it will just open up for more interesting conversations. Now, number three is a difficult one. It's be vulnerable first. So this, this is one of those things where admitting that something isn't perfect, or that you're afraid or that you're scared or whatever, is often not an easy thing to do. And the reason why it's not easy is because people can use it against you at some point. So you risk to be hurt. But the truth is that if you are not willing to share those things, then why would the other person be willing to do it with you? I don't say that you have to share your deepest, darkest secrets with everyone. But it can just be something as easy as when somebody asks you like, Hey, how are you doing? Instead of automatically saying, like, Oh, I'm doing great. We're like, Well, actually, like at the moment, I feel like nothing is like really working out. The way I want and then people are like, Oh, okay. Tell me more about that. Like probably the other person finds that also way more interesting conversation. Of course, again, don't do that in the supermarket or don't like, find the right moment, right. But with the people that you care about that you know, that care about you start practicing being the one to be vulnerable first, and you will see that then people will feel safe, because they are like, Oh, yeah, actually, you're right. Like I also had a difficult time lately. Also on this. It's not just about the bad stuff. Because very often people think like, if about this, being vulnerable, that it's only when things are not going well that you should share. But I noticed that also a lot of people are just afraid to to share when things are going well and I'm I'm the first one because I learned that you shouldn't brag, right? And that you shouldn't pat yourself on the shoulder too much. But it also means that you're hiding how excited you are about certain things. And I think that with high highs, gum, low lows, if that makes sense. But the thing is that it's actually really enjoyable to be with people that can express a full range of emotions, rather than always being vanilla. So if you are super excited about this book that you're reading, and whatever, then when somebody asks, you don't just be like, Oh, yeah, I'm reading this book. It's pretty interesting, but actually communicate how excited you are about it. And they might think you're a little bit weird, and they might think it's a little bit quirky. But it actually makes for for way better interaction. So if you're like, yeah, I'm reading this book. It's just like, it's Mind blowing, I'm so excited because I just realized that this one thing just clicked. Like, can you feel already how, then you want to know more and you want to have that conversation. So yeah, the be vulnerable, whether it's in sharing when things are not going well, but also sharing when things are going really well and just allowing yourself to express your full range of emotions. Now, the fourth one is one that I hold very, very dear. And it is say what you mean and mean what you say. And the reason for this is that it is so easy to try to make sure that other people won't get upset and always try to anticipate and that kind of stuff but the thing is that that really holds you back from from having That deeper connection and feeling like other people care. And I think an example of this is the difference between how two people react when you're like, oh, let's meet up. And some person might say like, Oh, yeah, that would be cool. But yeah, you're on the other side of town. So I think it's gonna be a bit difficult than enough. Now, at that point, it's unclear whether that person is trying to not bother you. So they think that it's actually too far of a travel or if they actually are not really enthusiastic about seeing you. And that type of communication just has no room for a real connection, because you're never 100% sure, what the other person means. And, and you have to like try to decipher. So. I live by the saying Whereas say what you mean mean what you say. And it's not always, like this is not an easy one. Because often it's much easier to just say a little white lie. And yeah, say that you're really swamped with work. And that that is why you can't meet up with your friend. Whereas actually, you just want a Netflix evening for yourself, rather than being around her kids or his kids, for example, and, and, and starting to become the person that is more honest, will also then allow other people to feel safe to trust you, and to be honest with what they want, what they need. And it just makes relationships so much easier. Because Yeah, you don't have to find this decipher. thing going on right? The next one might seem like a funny one. And maybe it is kind of specific to to myself and the way that I have been living over the last years where I basically traveled full time for four years. And the fact that I'm currently not living in the same country as my family, and that a lot of my friends are all over the world. But here we go, maybe you can use it to show up. And when I mean is physically show up, you'll be surprised at the amount of people that say that they will show up or say that they will come visit and then just never do it. If you have a friend that's even another city you know, it doesn't even have to be abroad. But in another city, if you just actually book a flight book, a train Now, whenever that's possible again, and just show up at their doorstep, that's just that proves that you will make an effort for that person. And you will notice that your relationships will become so much better just based on the fact that you actually are the type of person who makes an effort. Now, there is another one that's a bit easier, but that also can have a very similar effect. And that is, like sent a physical gift card or a physical gift to someone. Because it also shows that again, you made that effort. They actually thought about their birthday, one week ahead of time, because you actually had to go out buy a postcard and then sending to them now. This might be something that is more for Yeah, the the younger generation I would say maybe you are like Ah, it's still send postcards to everyone for their birthday. I know I still get one from my grandparents but yeah, that that's about it. And so if friends actually remember an important time in my life, whether it's a birthday or a special events or whatever, and then sends a physical gift or a physical Yeah, postcards, it just, it's it's so amazing because it's that idea of in today's world, it's so easy to have Facebook remind you that it's your friend's birthday today and then just sending them a little message on their wall. Now another one of these that will give this proportionate results I swear is actually recording a little video for someone for their birthday for their marriage, anniversary for whatever is going on in their life. And yeah, I'm sending it to them. That also makes a really big difference between just texting and actually showing that you can't. Nine then the last one is, it might sound a little bit manipulative. So just putting a little disclaimer here. But it's actually not because you're using it for the greater good, right? But the idea is to find out what people pride themselves on, and then as their help in that area, and so making other people feel appreciated and respected for what they believe is something that they are really good at. You'll see that that just will live them up. And and I have a couple of examples of this. So one of the examples is we're actually someone didn't do it and I was really angry. So In this case, my brother, he had an ecommerce website, and he just never asked for my health. Like, I kind of know my marketing. And the fact that he didn't ask for my health just made me wonder whether he thought that I wasn't good at what I was doing. Or if he didn't want my help, or I don't know, whatever it is, but it just like, you're like, hey, why didn't you just ask? Like, I would have gladly helped you with this. But for some reason, you didn't want my help. Now, the same is true for my mom, who's an excellent cook. She's amazing at cooking, and she prides itself on it. And the truth is, I'm not. So when I have a cooking question, actually calling my mom and asking her the question, rather than just trying to figure it out on my own and googling makes her feel appreciated and respected and makes her feel like she can share something that she really cares about. And so having almost like a list of things, of the people in your life that you want to have these close relationships with, and knowing what they pride themselves on, will allow you to ask for help, and to make them feel appreciated. And I'm sure that if you think about it, like, you know that you would love to help the people around you in certain areas, because it just it doesn't, it doesn't bother you like it doesn't cost you any effort. Because that's, I think that's like, often the problem when when people think about asking for help, the first reaction is like, Oh, I'm gonna bother this person if I ask them for help. But the opposite is true. It's if you didn't ask them for help, then you can actually be in the situation like I was with my brother, where I was like, hey, like this This hurts like the fact that you didn't ask me for help. Like, that's insulting. And so knowing will people pride themselves on and then actually asking them for help in that area will really show that you care.

These are a couple of things that I try to keep front and center when I think about my interactions with my friends with my family.

And I'm sure that there are other tips and tricks, other things that you are doing that I could be doing, and I would love to hear from you. So please go to the website, and let's have a conversation. Maybe there are some things I didn't agree with in this episode. Maybe this gave you a really good insight. Just go ahead and share your thoughts with me. Thank you for listening and talk to you soon.


Let's Discuss!

I shared 6 things that I started doing to improve my relationships... What about you?

Did you try these techniques and saw a difference? Is there something else you started doing that got you great results? Is there something from the episode you don't agree with?

Let me know in the comments below!

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SELECTED episode:

WBS 02: How to Create Meaningful Connections 

About the Show

Hi there. I'm Hanne, host of the Well Balanced Success podcast (WBS) in this weekly podcast, we explore how you can have it all. How you can have a successful career, an active social life, a thriving love and family life all that while being healthy and happy. Now if that sounds like something you would like, then subscribe to get notified.

Your Host: Hanne Vervaeck

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