Building Connection in Relationships


What is building connection?

Building connection means creating or deepening emotional intimacy in your relationships. It involves finding ways to feel closer to the other person and for that person to feel closer to you.

Why is building connection important?

We rely on other people to share in our joys and to support us when we are feeling down. People who lack closer relationships are more likely to feel isolated or depressed.

Suggestions for building connection in relationships

Do something nice for someone you care about. Our lives are busy and stressful. It’s so much easier to vegetate in front of the TV after work than to take the time to show someone you care. Whether it’s bringing your boyfriend flowers for no particular reason, or doing the dishes for your girlfriend, caring gestures go a long way towards building closeness in relationships.

Do things you both enjoy. Sometimes each of us has to make compromises in a relationship. When you want to strengthen the good feelings in your relationship, it’s important to do things together that you both enjoy.

Share about yourself. One of the best ways to build emotional intimacy in a relationship is through mutual self-disclosure. Mutual disclosure means sharing a little something about yourself and then giving the other person room to share something as well. However, one of the biggest mistakes we tend to make when using this skill is to disclose too much, too quickly. Emotional closeness, whether it’s with a friend or a prospective romantic partner, is best done slowly and judiciously, unless you already know the person well.


  • Remember that people feel closeness in different ways. Some feel close through sharing activities. Some feel close through having conversations. Ask your partner what makes them feel close, and think about what makes you feel close. Don’t assume they’re the same thing.
  • It can be difficult to do something nice for someone you care about when you aren’t feeling especially close to that person. Remember that doing something nice is a way to feel more connected. Do it when you already feel close but also when you want to feel closer.
  • Sometimes people worry they don’t have the money or time to do something nice for someone else or to engage in a fun shared activity. Remember that small gestures (e.g. folding the laundry, making someone a cup of tea) can reap big rewards when it comes to building closeness.
  • When you’re spending time with someone with whom you want to feel closer, be sure to be mindful of all pleasant feelings. For example, if you and our partner are taking a walk together, notice what it feels like to hold hands. If you and a friend are having coffee together, really notice how much you appreciate talking with her.

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