How to connect emotionally?

Contents

Emotional Connection

Source: photo by Dianne Grande

Many of you have probably heard complaints from your partner about “not feeling connected.” If you have not spent some time considering your own emotional needs, you may have no idea of what s/he is talking about. Here I will address three basic questions: What does it mean to feel connected? How do two people get disconnected? What can be done to minimize the problem of disconnection?

What does it mean to “feel connected”?

Basically, feeling connected means feeling in touch with someone who cares about us. Most people acknowledge that children need to feel a safe attachment to an adult who cares for them. The reality is that adults also need a secure attachment to another adult. Each of us has an innate need to feel safely attached to another person who will be there in our times of physical or emotional need. When we enter into a committed relationship, this need actually intensifies due to the hope that this one special person will consistently be there for us. Specifically, we hope that this one adult will meet our emotional needs in three ways. (Susan Johnson, 2008).

1. Can I get your attention when I need it? When I ask for your attention, can you be available to me? Can you listen to what I am saying? Am I a top priority to you? To sum up, Are you accessible to me?

2. Can you comfort me when I am anxious, sad, lonely, or afraid? Will you make some effort to comfort me in those situations? In other words, Are you responsive to me?

3. Do you care about my well-being even when we are not together? I need to know that you care about my joys, hurts, and fears. Will you care about me consistently and reliably? Are we truly engaged in each other’s lives?

How do two people get disconnected?

Often the offending partner is not even aware of the behavior that led to a loss of connection or the threat to secure attachment. It is not humanly possible to stay constantly tuned in to your partner’s emotional needs. Even if you are both trying to be attentive, you may miss each other’s signals about sensing detachment.

In the case of one of my therapy couples, Kari became accustomed to getting an affectionate hug from Jim every evening before going to sleep. When the hug went missing for several nights in a row, she began to feel a disconnection from him. It seemed to her that he had stopped feeling affection for her, which signaled to her that their attachment was no longer secure. This triggered a deep fear in Kari. Jim missed the signals of her emotional distress and was unable to reassure her of his commitment before they spiraled down into an argument about “how cold and unloving he was.”

All couples have instances of emotional disconnection. Many times, these lead to complaints, defensive reactions, and heated arguments.

What can we do to minimize the distress and the arguments that usually result?

Here are three steps involved in avoiding the arguments that result from disconnection: 1. Become aware of the patterns of your arguments, 2. identify emotional triggers that lead you and your partner to feel the loss of connection, and 3. learn to ask for and to provide comfort.

1. Many arguments fall into recognizable patterns. To illustrate one common pattern, I will again use the example of my therapy couple. Kari stops receiving hugs and files a complaint to Jim. She feels disconnected due to the loss of affection, but rather than saying that, she tells him that he is “not affectionate enough.” Jim defends himself; he has been preoccupied lately and caught up in his own thoughts at night. Kari then feels further disconnected because she has filed her complaint and is still not getting what she needs – a sign of his ongoing love for her. Her increased frustration quickly escalates to anger because now she feels “not heard” or “ignored.” Her increased anger leads Jim to shut down emotionally, hoping that somehow her anger will stop if he does not react to it. This strategy fails, of course. It is no more effective (or advised) to ignore a distressed spouse than it is to ignore a distressed child. Both need comfort and reassurance.

Let’s consider another pattern, that of finding out “who’s to blame.” John files a complaint with Sara that her 12-year-old daughter (his step-daughter) is a “spoiled brat.” Sara spends much of her evening and weekend time driving her daughter to various activities, leaving John feeling lonely. Neither of them recognizes that John is feeling sad and left out. Sara responds to the criticism of her daughter with the accusation that John is not making an effort to bond with the child. Now John is feeling both left out and inadequate, which is overwhelming for him and triggers more angry comments from him, in an attempt to put the blame back on Sara.

It is critical to recognize the pattern of arguments between partners and to see them for what they really are: pleas for a sign that the other person cares.

2. Each of us has emotional triggers that cause our innate fear of abandonment to spike. Sue Johnson calls these our “raw spots.” Partners unintentionally hurt each other’s emotional raw spots. When we learn to identify these sensitivities in ourselves and in each other, we can make an effort to avoid them. In my sample case, Kari is sensitive to a loss of affection and to “being ignored.” Jim is sensitive to being criticized as “cold and unloving.” John’s sensitivities include feeling left out and feeling inadequate.

3. The final step sounds simple but may take a lot of practice. We often have misguided ideas about how to get our emotional needs met. Too often, we expect a partner to know what we’re feeling and what type of comfort we need. This is unrealistic. Kari might have simply asked Jim for a hug when she needed some affection from him. A second hurdle to getting through step 3 is the fact that many of us were raised with messages such as “Don’t express feelings,” “Don’t be vulnerable,” or “Don’t let them see you cry.” We may have even been ridiculed for having feelings. These types of messages must be seen as preventing two loving adults from expressing the need for comfort from each other. The better message to tell yourself is: Have courage, and trust that your partner loves you. S/he wants the connection as much as you do. There may be times when the other person’s attention is focused upon other matters, but be patient and reach out in a loving way.

For professional help in sorting out your feelings about connection, see a therapist experienced in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.

(Note that the names used for the sample therapy couples are fictional.)

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Emotional Detachment: Why It’s Affecting You More Than You Think

Emotions are everywhere. In fact, probably more than we think. As humans, we thrive on connection. It is so much a part of our lives that when we aren’t able to feel, it can be hard to connect with others. Empathy and understanding our fellow humans is more important than ever. However, emotional detachment is a very real phenomenon which can affect your personal life.

What is Emotional Detachment

Emotional detachment is a psychological experience characterized by a lack of emotional connection to things around you, usually brought on by a traumatic event. The person in mind subconsciously mutes their emotions in order to protect themselves. This can manifest in multiple ways.

One way is when a person avoids situations that make them feel anxious or uncomfortable. Another way it can be expressed is through people maintaining personal boundaries by putting themselves apart physically when dealing with an emotional situation. Both reflect a similar feeling. So let’s take a closer look at detachment and what it means.

Detachment Definition

In definition, detachment means being objective. You are able to separate yourself from the situation emotionally. Life can often have a way of throwing just about everything it has at us sometimes, and detachment is one way to deal with it. Detachment itself can take many forms.

Whether in relationships, work, friends, hobbies, or other activities, detachment is stepping back and removing yourself from the equation to look at things objectively.

While detachment is often seen as dispassion and disinterest, there can be another side to it. You can view it as objectivity, impartiality, or neutrality. In a broader sense, think of this as a way to be fair.

In regards to emotional detachment, it is a feeling of being unable to connect and open up to people. Sure, not everyone. But emotional detachment disorder is something worth investigating that has real-world signs.

Emotional Detachment Symptoms

There are certain things to look for if you think that you or someone you love has emotional detachment. The first sign of emotional detachment disorder is someone being unable to share their emotions. Your partner might be suddenly quiet and not want to talk. Perhaps they don’t share their day or sit on their phone most of the time instead of being with you.

Also, there is an inability to show compassion and empathy for the feelings of another person. If you find yourself feeling emotionally numb or unable to identify your emotions, this might be something you are struggling with. Alternatively, someone might stop showing sympathy and support for a difficult time you are going through.

Another sign is not wanting to commit to things, particularly in a relationship. This could include someone who just thinks that they would rather live in the moment than talk about the future. Also, they might enjoy relationships with people who are not physically around them. Long-distance relationships in which people don’t have to get as close tend to appeal to people who feel detached.

Also, they can seem to be insensitive to other people’s needs or have incredibly high expectations. It might seem like they are being particularly hurtful on purpose, or trying to be mean. However, this might not be the case. It is a lack of understanding of what it means to have empathy and sensitivity.

In a relationship, it might present in other ways. For instance, you might not make your partner a priority, or maybe you don’t bother fighting anymore. Perhaps you might subtly give your partner a hard time or bring outside stress into the relationship. Emotional detachment can put a lot of strain on a relationship so being aware of the signs will help you recognize it.

Examples of Symptoms

Here is a list of some symptoms to look for regarding emotional detachment.

  • Emotional numbness or lack of emotion – Someone might feel a kind of numbness of feeling, unable to feel emotionally connected to experiences. When other people are experiencing lots of feelings, they might not.
  • Being subtly rude – This can be a sign of lack of empathy. It is important to remember that this sort of being rude might not be an attempt to be hurtful.
  • Treating someone like a child – This refers to a relationship more, if a person is treating their partner without even respect and equality. This might be a sign that one person has a low self-esteem and can further the problem of being emotionally detached.
  • Not talking about what is really going on – Often times, we can talk without saying very much at all. Hiding what is going on, not discussing the real issues that are upsetting someone. You might not what to share, or not know what to say, or avoid difficult conversations altogether.
  • Not making your partner a priority – In relationships, this is a sign someone may have detached. Priorities shift when we aren’t able to connect. Being involved in your partner’s life and making them a priority signifies care and compassion. If it is lacking, there may be something more going on.

What Causes Emotional Detachment Disorder

There are so many things that can cause emotional detachment. While some things are universal, the human experience varies greatly from person to person. Therefore, it makes sense that we all have different underlying causes. Often, emotional detachment comes from a place of hardship or traumatic events. But, it can come from something as common as a difficult break-up.

Many times, people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder will also feel detachment. Post-traumatic stress is when someone has suffered a shocking, scary, or dangerous event in their lives. This can be physical or emotional trauma. This changes how people think and act, as we have seen from people coming from war or other harrowing experiences.

People who were raised in strict households or were abused more commonly have the disorder. A child might start to believe their feelings and emotions are dangerous and lock them away as a result. They withdraw their emotions because their needs for an emotional connection weren’t being met.

We can’t always tell what causes these things. In fact, it is possible that you might start to feel this way and not know why. Not to mention, there is certainly a spectrum. It is possible that something small and seemingly insignificant made you feel detached from some emotions or aspects of your life. That is ok. You won’t experience it the same way as everyone else.

Additionally, there are some medical conditions that are associated with emotional detachment. People with Psychopathy, Asperger’s Syndrome, Borderline Personality Disorder, or those who experience personal dissociation can also experience emotional detachment disorder.

What to Do if You’re Emotionally Detached

Emotional detachment is a tough thing to deal with. You might not feel like you care enough to change. However, it can be worked on and overcome. It is helpful to get a counselor or other professional help to work through whatever is making you feel detached.

This can be something that really affects relationships as well. As most people know, the key to any relationship is communication. Knowing what your partner needs and wants is important in a healthy relationship. So if you or your partner are feeling emotionally detached, it is worth bringing to light. Your long-term relationship will be better off for it.

Learning how to understand and express emotions can be scary. However, you can get quite a rush from learning how to connect with people.Being able to feel again and learning how to deal with emotions is a key part of overcoming the disorder and feeling different in day-to-day life.

Emotional Detachment: Final Thoughts

Emotional Detachment can be a hard thing to talk about. Emotional pain stays with us for a long time and when you’re finally ready to deal with it, it isn’t easy to face.

However, living a life void of emotion is no way to live. After all, connection to others is a vital part of living a full life.

Sources

Emotional Connection: What it is and how to get it

In my blog called Why Relationships Fail, I presented Dr. Sue Johnson’s argument that most fights are actually protests against emotional disconnection. I shared the first three steps from her Emotion Focused Therapy, which help couples build a platform for emotional safety by halting or containing their negative patterns.

This week I will share how to take this a few steps further and create a new, secure sense of emotional connection with your partner.

Dr. Johnson’s proposes couples conversations in her book Hold Me Tight that are specifically designed to help partners engage, forgive and bond with each other. In doing so, they are essentially rewriting the script of their relationship.

Emotional Connection: What is it?

But first, what is emotional connection? It’s an overused term that means many things. In this context, emotional connection is not just affection, terms of endearment, or closeness in day-to-day living. Rather, it is the knowledge that your partner empathizes with you and will turn toward you when you need them. Emotional connection is the kind of primal safety you get from knowing that you are seen, valued, and comforted in your most vulnerable moments.

This kind of safety is crucial to the foundation of relationships. It increases partners’ ability to problem solve as well as cope with power struggles, disappointments, and transgressions. When couples feel their partners are there for them, they are more resilient, and less likely to think in catastrophic terms.

I would go so far as to say that emotional connection is the number one factor in building healthy relationships.

Emotional connection: Four Key Steps

If you don’t feel your partner cares about your feelings or, conversely, if you think you have turned away from your partner, try the conversations below to restore your connection. (Please notes these are more effective if you do the first three steps beforehand).)

1. Engaging and Connecting

Understand your own attachment needs by asking yourself the following two questions: “What am I most afraid of?” and “What do I need most from my partner?”

Are you afraid of feeling overwhelmed, out of control, alone, misunderstood, unloved, or needy? Be specific.

Then, speak openly about your needs in a way that invites your partner into a new dialogue. For example: “I want you to accept that I am more emotional than you. When I’m upset I want you to touch me.” This process must be reciprocal.

2. Forgiving Injuries

Unresolved traumas do not heal on their own. They must be confronted and healed together.

But what exactly is forgiveness? Forgiveness is not a moral decision, nor is it acceptance of transgressions. Rather, it is a healing conversation that involves deep empathy, accountability and the willingness to trust again.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • The partner who is hurt speaks their pain.
  • The injuring partner stays emotionally present and acknowledges the pain, remaining curious.
  • The hurt partner commits to reversing the “never again” philosophy that came from the injury, by allowing their psyche to update the script. For example, the hurt partner will let go of: “Never again will I seek reassurance from you.”
  • The injuring partner takes ownership of the injury, and expresses regret and remorse. This cannot be defensive or detached, like “Look, I’m sorry, ok?”
  • The hurt partner identifies what they need right now to bring closure to the trauma. Ask directly.

Together both partners create a new story about the trauma, the impact it had and–most importantly–how they confronted and began to heal it as a team.

3. Bonding through Sex and Touch

Move away from sex that is primarily about seeking orgasm, sexual power, or reassurance of your value or desirability. Instead, create a sex life that is built on emotional openness, responsiveness and erotic exploration all at the same time.

To do so, first answer these questions for yourself:

  • What helps you feel emotionally safe in bed with your partner?
  • What are your four most important expectations of intimacy?
  • What do you like?
  • How do you like to be seduced?
  • What makes you the most uncomfortable?

If this conversation is too hard at first, then just begin talking about the difficulty you are having.

4. Maintaining your progress

To take your growth into the future, make the time to follow these steps:

  • Recap the danger points in your relationship, ie. where you slide into old habits,
  • Celebrate the positive moments, big and small,
  • Plan rituals around the moments of separation and reunion,
  • Identify recurring arguments and deciding how to handle them up front,
  • Create a “resilient relationship story” (rewriting your script), and
  • Create a future love story. Outline what you’d like your bond to look like years from now, and how you can each make this vision a reality.

If you would like more in-depth descriptions of these healing conversations, see Dr. Sue Johnson’s book on Emotion Focused Therapy called Hold Me Tight.

Otherwise, try these steps with your partner. It is truly possible to change the default mode of your relationship and find true, safe connection.

Let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

How do you know if you have a close bond with someone?

I think the answer varies vastly with people’s personalities and attachment styles. In my case, a close bond is when I feel what the other person feels, know what they think. No analysis required. Sometimes it’s out of the blue, other times it’s more predictable – when it involves people I know well, have lived with for a while, and so on. I am curious what other experiences are here on this forum. My challenge over the years has been to tone down the intensity of this perception and focus it on people who matter and who are good for me. Oh, and not confusing this with having feelings for someone! Those require a stronger foundation and proof of trust. I would say you are quite lucky to have a level-headed approach to building bonds, and to be unencumbered by the misleading intensity of the so-called ‘instant connections’. Other people though nurture their empathic abilities to establish bonds that go beyond closeness or friendship – therapeutic bonds. I’m thinking of all those working as counsellors, psychologists, and so on. I am impressed by their mastery of their own emotional processes and the way they relate to people – with depth and purpose, but keeping their core intact. I am so not there! I’m merely content to avoid being overwhelmed by people’s unspoken thoughts and feelings, and focus on the few who matter instead. And did I say ‘don’t worry, the bonds and awareness you’ve got are probably just fine’? 🙂

8 ways to bond with a friend to become even closer

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Chances are good that you, like many people, have that one friend in your life who you love to be around and talk to, even if you can’t call them a “close friend” yet. You both have fun hanging out whenever you see each other, and maybe you sometimes do things without a group, but you’re not at a level where you could call them if you needed someone to vent to, or just show up at their house and immediately feel comfortable there. And while every friend doesn’t have to be your best friend ever, maybe you’d like to bring this particular friendship to the next level. If that’s the case, there are a few ways to bond with a friend to become even closer than you already are.

Jumping from just plain “friend” to “close friend” or “best friend” can take time. Sometimes, you and the person just click, and you immediately become joined at the hip. Other times, the friendship moves a little bit slower, and that’s okay too. Bonding doesn’t come naturally to everyone: as a shy girl who often has trouble opening up to people, I know that firsthand.

So I reached out to a few experts to get tips on how to build deeper friendships. Below are some ways to bond with a friend, any friend, so that you guys can get one step closer to calling each other besties.

1Share the bad things, as well as the good.

One of the best things about having friends is having someone to celebrate all of the good stuff with. But one of the best things about having good friends is having someone you can go to with the bad stuff, too. That’s the difference between friends and close friends. If you want to become closer to someone, you need to learn to open up to them.

2Figure out what you have in common.

Becoming closer to a friend can almost feel like dating sometimes—you aren’t sure exactly what to do together, you don’t want to do or say the wrong thing, and you don’t totally know what you’re doing in general because you don’t know the person super well just yet.

So as you’re trying to bond with your friend and become closer, base hang-out sessions on what you know you two have in common. Emily Roberts, a psychotherapist who is also known as The Guidance Girl, said, “If you both like outdoor activities or come from the same part of town, invite them to do something you’d think they would like, too.”

3Really listen to them when they talk.

Simply saying “listen to them” may sound obvious, but it’s something that so many people struggle with, even if they don’t realize it. Be super mindful when your friend is talking, and genuinely listen to them.

Mental health clinician Celeste Viciere told HelloGiggles, “When we get to know a friend and really listen to them, they are able to see how invested we are in them. In today’s society, we do not engage and instead are caught up in our own world. will allow a potential close friend to see you are serious about building a friendship.”

In other words: put down your phone when you’re together, give them your full attention, and don’t always feel the need to interrupt them with advice or your own story.

4Keep things simple.

Again, planning a hang-out sesh with a new friend can be similar to going on a third or fourth date. When getting together, you don’t need to overthink things or try to do anything crazy. Just keep it simple, and don’t try too hard!

Said Roberts, “If you make it solely about what you think she would like, you’re going to feel anxious before you even hang out, and people pick up on this. Start with small activities—dinner, or a walk to the farmers’ market…don’t aim for too much friend time too soon. This comes naturally.”

5. Always be yourself.

Again: don’t try too hard. If you’re not being authentic, this person is going to pick up on that, and it might be a turnoff.

“When trying to cultivate a close friendship, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself,” Viciere said. “Sometimes we do not know ourselves, so we end up trying to be what we think our friend wants us to be. Doing that may cause us to lose ourselves in someone we’re not. Stay true to yourself when creating a close friendship with someone.”

This doesn’t apply to just talking, but also to making plans together. Roberts said, “Don’t commit to plans that interfere with your schedule or your life. I know a lot of women who have stayed silent in order to feel like they fit in with new friends. Going to expensive dinners you can’t afford, weekends away that make you anxious since you’re not that close yet, or staying out later than your body wants you to only makes them think you’re someone you’re not. If you’re building a strong foundation with the right person, one who respects you, then she’ll totally understand if you can’t go out or need to head home early. If she doesn’t, then she’s not someone you really want to be that close with, right?”

Right.

6Don’t compare your new friend to older friends.

If you’ve had bad friends before, you might compare this friendship to those—and that’s not fair to anyone. Roberts said, “Just like in romantic relationships, she’s not your ex. Don’t project your old fears onto her.” Remember: this is a new person, and she’s not going to be the same as the last person you were friendly with.

Another thing to keep in mind is how much you’re trash-talking your old friends. Roberts advised, “You’ll likely bond more over the ex-friends, but be sure not to bash them too hard. That sends the sign that you may do the same to her. Don’t talk about your friends behind their back with her—it shows that you’ll do the same thing about her.”

7Don’t ditch your old friends in the process.

You might get so caught up in this awesome new friendship that you slowly start to bail on your other friends. You feel comfortable enough with the old friends to do this, so it kind of makes sense—but that doesn’t make it great behavior.

Said Roberts, “If you want, invite other friends to hang with you guys, but remember: your other friends are important too, so don’t leave them out of your life or make your new friend take top priority.” You don’t want to push your other friends away, ever!

8Don’t rush things.

Roberts notes that building deep, supportive friendships is a marathon not a sprint, and it’s important to commit to getting to know a friend the way you would a potential romantic partner—slow and steady. So take your time!

Oh, and don’t forget: Bonding with a friend should be fun and kind of exciting. Don’t overthink anything, and just have a good time with it.

  • By Jessica Booth

It takes time to get to know someone. Some people like to get to know you before they consider going on a date with you. If they feel some type of connection while they are getting to know you, they may be willing to take you up on that date.

Sometimes people that say they want to get to know you better before they go on a date are actually being dishonest. Sometimes what they are really saying is, “Hey I’m not interested, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Being able to tell the difference between someone that is dishonest and someone that wants to feel more comfortable with you can save you a lot of time.

The quickest way to form a bond with another human is to share a very emotional circumstance.

This is no secret. It’s been the theme of many romantic comedies, especially ones involving apocalyptic or hopeless scenarios.

How many times have two people fallen in love right before the world is about to end? The same two people that would have walked by each other in a normal world. But then they realize they are in love, share some intimate moments, and wish for more time together — while everyone in the theater is in tears over their dialogue.

This type of bonding is real. The stronger the event, the greater the chance of a bond — catastrophes and thrills work the best because they invoke fear and joy.

If you help someone flee from a murderer, the chances you’re going to form an immediate bond are extremely high. If you find each other physically attractive, the likelihood you’re going to become intimate is all but certain at this point.

On the other side, bonds can also be formed by positive emotions. Business partners often become intimate with each other when business is doing well. When two people are working together to close deals and make a lot of money, the passion they both share and the joy it brings will unite them.

Anytime there is an emotional trigger when two people meet or an emotional trigger when two people are together, it opens the door for intimacy and speeds up the bonding process.

So if there is a person you like, it might be a good idea to hire a hitman to chase you around for a day. Then you can bond through fear while feeling like fugitives on the run.

If that’s too extreme for you, try something very thrilling, like a rollercoaster ride, a concert, or a vacation. Go big or go home right?

Keep in mind that lots of people have built-in defense mechanisms that prevent them from being exposed to highly emotional things. In this case they’ll tell you they just want to be simple and get to know you first before you go to that concert. If you’re in this scenario, you might want to consider the hitman approach — or maybe the old purse snatcher trick.

This is how strong emotional bonds are created quickly.

The more dramatic the event, the greater the chance of bonding — fear always works best. Nothing says “let’s hump” better than hiding out in a dingy motel room while on the run for your lives.

Make sure you have what it takes to keep going. Your relationship and bond can fade just as rapidly as it started when the thrill or fear wears off. If it was a person trying to hurt you and the threat disappears you no longer have a common enemy. This forces people to face each other for the very first time to see if they built enough of a foundation for it to last. Sometimes people split and go their separate ways by simply realizing how naive they were.

When business starts to falter or the deals stop coming through or someone gets a promotion or does other work, the business bond you formed will also begin to deteriorate.

This rapid emotional bond only bridges the gap of what you have in common with that person. The more passionate you are about what you have in common the quicker you will form a bond — when you lose something you have in common, the bond weakens.

10 Ways To Create TRUE Emotional Connection With Your Partner

Build safety and security into your relationship by focusing on emotions.

As I was standing in line waiting, a man was standing nearby. He was talking to his wife on the phone trying to figure out her order. His voice was loud, back and forth the conversation went, he trying to get her order correct and growing more frustrated and condescending with each interchange of the conversation. The conversation dragged on for what seemed like hours to me.

The tone of his voice sent me into major anxiety and I wanted to run out of the store. It took all the strength I could muster to wait for my order to be completed. It felt intolerable for the 5 minutes it lasted.

I couldn’t help but think about what this couple must feel each time they have an exchange similar to that phone call. If a couple has most conversations like this one in their relationship it can be called emotional trauma for both people. It certainly was traumatic for me to listen to his end of the conversation that day.

As a couple’s therapist who focuses on intimacy issues, I’m interested in helping people to feel safe and to support a secure bond with each other. Most couples come to therapy wanting help because they are feeling unsafe emotionally or have experienced some form of betrayal of trust which has shattered the secure bond between them.

Safety and developing a secure bond in the relationship can be created by improving true emotional connection with your partner. That means doing some things differently to improve your relationship.

Here’s how to create an emotional connection with your partner and foster proper communication skills.

1. Identify and name your feelings.

The first step to identifying your feelings is to recognize you are having a feeling. Many guys and some women are unable to even recognize they are feeling anything. When asked what they are feeling, reply “I don’t know”. If you are human and you are alive you have feelings, period.

2. Share your feelings with your partner.

Once you can identify your feelings, then you need to share them with your partner. Your partner wants to know you and your feelings are part of knowing you. You can’t share what you dont know. If you don’t know your own feelings then you can’t share much of who you are. You learning about your own feelings helps you learn how to connect to yourself emotionally which helps you to learn how to create an emotional connection.

3. Practice one person at a time sharing, and listening for understanding.

This technique helps people share one idea or perception at a time. One person shares their feeling first, then the other person listens for understanding and repeats back what they heard. If they got it right then switch roles; if not, try again.

4. Spend quality time together.

Spend time together where you are present emotionally, physically, and spiritually with each other. Be in the present moment.

5. Make your partner your go-to person 24/7.

Find ways to make your partner feel they are your number one priority. Return phone calls promptly. Send positive text messages to each other throughout the day. Be creative.

6. Do what you say you are going to do.

If you say you will mow the lawn, mow the lawn. If you don’t intend to take out the garbage before work, don’t indicate you will do it.

7. Love all of your partner, warts and all.

Don’t point out their weakness; they already know. Accept your partner in all things, all of their weird little quirks. Remember, you have them too, and you want the same respect from your partner.

8. Build up your partner in words and actions.

Be positive and help your partner to be the best they can be. In turn, they will help you be the best you.

9. Have your partner’s back at all times.

No throwing them under the bus. Building safety and trust means protecting your partner and making sure you are always standing together through every life circumstance with strength.

10. Protect your relationship from other people.

By protecting your relationship from other people — whether it is an in-law or the threat of a flirty coworker — it is up to the two of you to make sure your relationship is strong and secure with each other.

Make sure you address threats to the marriage or relationship and make accommodations that strengthen your relationship above your individual needs. By serving the marriage, you will learn how to create an emotional connection in a more stable and satisfying way.

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This article was originally published at Couples Thrive. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Building Emotional Connections with your Customers Doesn’t Have to be Hard, Try These 4 Tips

What do the most powerful and most profitable companies in the world have in common? They are good at building emotional connections with their customers! No matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re in B2C or B2B sales, it’s more important than ever before to build strong relationships with your customers. No matter what you sell, even if it’s a technical product or complex solution, you need to build emotional bonds with your customers — because people like to buy from people that they like!

Tips on Building Emotional Connections with Customers

Here are a few tips on how to build better emotional connections with customers:

1. Give them a sense of comfort and order. Customers need to know that they are in capable hands. Is your sales process well organized and consistent? You need to help guide the customer through the process and answer their questions with confidence along the way. Even if customers are already well informed about your product and have done their research — even if they seem to already have a strong opinion about what they want to buy and what is the right fit for their needs — they will still respect you more if they see that your sales process is professionally handled at every step of the way. This makes your customers more likely to buy from you again in the future, and makes them more likely to refer you to friends.

2. Give them a delightful customer experience. One of the biggest competitive advantages in today’s economic climate is to have an amazing, memorable, thoughtful customer experience. Look for ways to be creative in delivering moments of delight, where you pleasantly surprise your customers by over-delivering above and beyond their expectations. Could you send flowers to your best customers on their birthdays? Could you have a special dedicated phone line for your best customers where they never have to go to voice mail or wait for a call back? Set up a special loyalty rewards program or “anniversary celebration” where you celebrate your long-time customer relationships. Your customer experience is often your most effective form of “marketing.” When people see what it’s like to work with you and buy from you, they will hopefully want to keep coming back.

3. Don’t be afraid to get personal and use humor. Of course, in the business world we need to be professional and respectful and use appropriate language and decorum. However — that doesn’t mean you have to totally leave your authentic human self at home. Don’t be afraid to open up a bit with customers — talk about your favorite music or movies or sports teams; learn more about what your customers like to do in their spare time. This can open up a new level of understanding and connection between you and your customers. You’ll soon find you can have more fun conversations and build a deeper rapport. Don’t be afraid to be “real” and be human! Does your company have a sense of humor? It should! Not in a way that offends people, of course — but it’s totally possible to use humor in a business setting in a way that shows your authentic human warmth and personality. People will often respond well to this, even in highly “technical” industries. It doesn’t hurt to have fun while we’re making money, and the best customers tend to appreciate this more than ever.

4. Keep your promises. Part of building a great customer relationship involves establishing trust. This means keeping your promises at every stage of the customer’s journey. Call back when you say you will. Be responsive. Be available at the times that you promise. Don’t nickel and dime them. Honor your price quotes. Put it in writing. You need to show your customers that you and your company will keep your word and honor your commitments. Over time, you will build trust and your customers will be more likely to relax and give you more of their business.

So much of the business world is based on simple trust and on the timeless idea of human relationships. People need each other, and people like to buy from people that they like and trust and can count on. You might find that building stronger emotional connections is not just about having a well written website or a well-designed product. It’s about simple things like getting people to trust you by keeping your promises and giving people a well-organized experience of working with you.

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Without emotional intimacy, relationships founder on the reefs of emotional discord or flatness—no matter how heated the sex, no matter how much we hold in common—leaving us marooned from the interpersonal closeness for which we yearn.

En route to developing emotional intimacy, we must learn to find a fitting balance between containment (as when our anger is on the verge of turning into hostility) and expression (as when our held-back anger needs to be given emphatic voice). There’s a lot of debate about the merits of expressing versus not expressing emotions, particularly those that are labeled “negative,” but beyond the sniping between these two camps is another approach: we can make skillful room for both expression and nonexpression, so that expression ceases to be self-indulgent or harmful, and nonexpression ceases to be mere repression. Imagine emotional restraint and emotional uninhibitedness in savvy sync, coexisting consciously and compassionately.

If we want more depth and connection and joy in our relationships, we’re going to have to develop more emotional intimacy with our partners, our friends, our family, our coworkers. It’s that simple and that challenging. Connecting only through our upbeat emotions is not enough—we also need to find, and keep finding, relationship-deepening connection through all our emotions. And there is no way we can do this if we are not significantly intimate with our emotions.

Here are 7 ways to emotionally connect with your partner:

1. When you realize you’re being reactive, say “I’m being reactive.”

How simple this sounds, and yet how challenging to put into practice — mostly because of the shame we’re on the edge of fully feeling as we become aware of our reactivity.

And once you’ve stated that you’re being reactive, STOP, no matter how tempted you might be to continue your reactivity. Soften your belly, breathe more deeply, and wait until you’re ready to say what you’re feeling and nothing more.

2. Learn to express your remorse from your heart.

Don’t settle for shallow or emotionally flat expressions. If you’re not sorry, don’t say you are — but if you’ve done something that’s hurt another and you feel bad about this, and the words “I’m sorry” get stuck in your throat, say that you’re having hard time saying it. Such a confession will usually soften you enough to allow your remorse a fitting voice.

3. If you’re being defensive and know it, don’t hesitate to say so.

Be your own whistleblower. Don’t wait for the other to pressure you into owning up to your defensiveness. And don’t slip into being defensive about being defensive!

4. Don’t allow emotional disconnection to last any longer than necessary.

When you lose touch with the other, reestablish it as soon as possible. If you’re staying emotionally disconnected to punish the other, confess that as soon as possible, regardless of how uncomfortable that may be.

5. Never threaten to leave the relationship in order to get your own way or to make your partner beg you to stay.

If you feel like being manipulative, say so, rather than acting it out. Threats are negative promises, and are usually mood-dependent. If you really want to leave a relationship, such wanting will remain present no matter how good, bad, or indifferent you feel.

6. Instead of using sex to build connection, let sex be a fully embodied expression of already-present connection.

When you want to have sex when you are not very connected to the other, turn your attention to your emotional state and do what it takes to bring that into your heart.

7. Don’t forget that the deeper you dive, the less you’ll mind upsetting waves.

View your relationship as an ever-evolving adventure, potentially deepened by all that happens, however unpleasant. You may hurt more as you mature, but you’ll mind less.

Excerpted from Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions by Robert Augustus Masters, PhD. Copyright © 2013 Robert Augustus Masters. Published by Sounds True.

1. Brand loyalty is driven by emotional connections

Every company wants a slew of loyal customers who are excited about new products, features, and offerings. Indeed, there are many brands with cult-like followings. Customers will drop everything to attend a sale, try out a new feature, or write a positive review. But why isn’t this level of fandom a reality for every brand?

According to Exploring the Value of Emotion-driven Engagement, a new report from Deloitte Digital, brands can build impressive levels of customer loyalty by connecting emotionally with their audiences. But this does not need to be done on an individual level with each customer. Rather, today’s platforms can help brands leverage emotional data to support these connections.

The ability to leverage emotionally intelligent platforms to recognize and use emotional data at scale is one of the biggest, most important opportunities for companies going forward.

In this article, we’re sharing the four key findings from Deloitte’s report to help you understand how you might use emotional connections to drive loyalty for your brand. Deloitte’s study integrated data from 800 consumers, a 12-person online panel, and analyzed 91 million social media posts as well as 2,090 completed Voice of the Customer surveys.

It’s tempting to think that if you can relate to a customer on an emotional level, your work is done. However, Deloitte found that consumers usually use an overarching cycle to establish their feelings about a brand. Customers first use rational considerations such as price, promotions, and loyalty programs to consider if a product is right for them. They also use these rational considerations when they choose to leave–70% of people leave for rational reasons such as high prices or incorrect orders.

Although relationships may start and end with rational considerations, emotional connection drives nearly everything in between. According to Deloitte, emotional attachment takes over as a relationship progresses, making rational considerations less and less important. Furthermore, these emotional relationships are not simply driven by shared values. Deloitte found that a mere 3% of consumers would recommend a company based on their values or principles, whereas 44% would recommend it based on emotional criteria.

2. Sustaining these connections goes both ways

Today’s customers are well-informed and have a wide array of options when it comes to choosing which companies they want to invest in. More than ever before, customers expect companies to treat them with care and be as responsive as possible. In short, customers expect that brands will act like friends.

According to Deloitte 70% of consumers believe that a brand relationship includes providing feedback. Not only that, but this feedback is expected to drive responsive action. Nearly half of consumers say they love it when companies bring up their last interaction, while two-thirds expect brands to integrate their feedback into future products and services.

This suggests that consumers want to feel as though they’re in a reciprocal relationship where they are heard and seen. As a result, mirroring positive human relationships and real-life friendships can help a brand create brand loyalists.

3. Companies need to toe the line between responsive and invasive

If a brand acts as a friend, then surely there is a point where they cross the line into being too responsive. Suddenly, customers no longer perceive the brand as helpful. Instead, the brand is seen as invasive (at best) or creepy (at worst). Although consumers want a deep relationship with brands, they aren’t comfortable with companies knowing everything about them.

Even so, customers expect that their favorite brands understand why they purchased products, as well as how satisfied they were. They also expect brands to respond within 24 hours if they register a complaint.

According to Deloitte, consumers believe that trust is the most important emotional metric that influences their connection to a favorite brand. While brands can do a lot to generate trust, it can also easily be broken.

Companies need to toe the line–they should be responsive to customer needs and personalize their efforts without going overboard.

4. Consistent reliable branding and voice matter to customers

According to Deloitte’s report, trust is built because people know what to expect from someone else. The same rings true for when a brand builds relationships with customers. When customers know what to expect and receive consistent, predictable, positive experiences, they’re more likely to develop brand loyalty.

Customer service is paramount here, as 70% of customers believe that “reliable, great customer service” contributes to making a brand their favorite place to shop. When brands can’t deliver in this arena, emotional bonds will be broken. Rational considerations are likely to take over and brands may be in danger of losing loyal customers.

This is why it’s essential that branding and voice are kept consistent through every stage in the customer journey. When customers know what to expect and the brand meets their expectations, they’re likely to remain happy and loyal.

Conclusion on customer loyalty

When your customers interact with your brand, they’re looking for more than a transaction. It may be rational considerations that cause them to choose your product or service in the first place. However, once they’ve made a commitment, it’s on the brand to begin to foster an emotional relationship so that the customer wants to stick around. If trust is broken, rational considerations will kick in again, and brands are in danger of losing their customers.

As a brand that wants to improve the overall customer experience, it’s beneficial to consider what you’re doing to foster and sustain emotional relationships with your customers. These emotional connections can make a dramatic difference in customer retention over time.

Learn how GetFeedback can help you exceed customers’ expectations—start your free trial today.

10 Tips to Emotionally Engage Your Partner

Being emotionally engaged is not about love or loudness. It’s about having a deep discussion where everyone feels heard. Things around you will go much better, whatever the situation, when you are able to talk to others without causing—or feeling—stress. Try doing the following to improve your communication.

1. Identify your feelings. Knowing how you feel can be tricky. Don’t just go with your first emotional rush; stay with it for a few minutes and get in touch with what you really feel.

2. Share your true emotions. When you speak from your heart, the other person feels it and your message will get through to him or her.

3. Feel the fire, but don’t get burned. If something really excites you or makes you angry, it is best to not display feelings that may make someone else uncomfortable. Share your exhilaration or ire with words, not volume.

4. Ask for a response. Sometimes people won’t answer your questions or acknowledge your feelings. If they don’t and you want some input from them, ask for it.

5. Find a safe place where you can vent. If you have negative emotions that you need to release, find a person you trust to talk with. Releasing your feelings will help you gain clarity on what the real issues are and then you can discuss them like an adult.

6. Never assume you know how someone else feels. If you are not absolutely sure, then ask. When you know what’s going on emotionally, you can tailor your conversation to make it helpful (or at least not hurtful).

7. Make the dialogue meaningful. If both of you are really getting something from talking, it’s going to make this discussion a potent one and future conversations much easier.

8. Accept that you may not feel great afterwards. Not every conversation will end the way you want it to. You may not get what you want, or you may have to have another chat, and you will be sitting with some feelings that may be uncomfortable.

9. Speak how you want to be spoken to. Doing so will set the tone for the entire conversation. If you start out with an attack, you could end up in a war. If you begin with kindness and clarity, you will have a much easier time dealing with the problem.

10. If you don’t get what you need, get help. If you can’t make progress by yourself, bring in a third party. If you’re having an issue at work, the other person can be from the office or even an outside consultant. Or if it’s a personal issue, find a good counselor. Most times an objective listener can guide everyone involved to a common resolution.

Miscommunication is a major reason why people don’t get along. Whether it’s from a lack of understanding or something misspoken, you can use your emotions to help you heal the hurt with a thoughtful conversation.

Why can’t they feel it?

Is your partner constantly complaining that you don’t show how you feel even though you think you are?

Do you complain that your partner isn’t showing enough emotions?
This is a common problem that many people go through and in many cases it leads to the termination of the relationship.

Not having the ability to show emotions well certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t have them, but in order to truly fix this you need to know why this problem actually happens and what to do about it.

Illusion of transparency

Most people have an illusion that our emotions are transparent and are very obvious when in fact this belief is very much overrated.

Due to this belief, many people fear public speaking for example because they are worried that other people can clearly see how worried they are. In reality, what you are feeling is not that obvious to people and this idea alone had been proven by many studies.

In one study in which people gave speeches in front of an audience, they asked the speakers to rate their own nervousness which was compared with the audience ratings. Of course the results again showed how people tend to overrate their own nervousness against how they actually appeared to others. (see also Public speaking tips)

This thought alone also affects the self confidence levels that people have in communication, since fear is the biggest obstacle to making an impression. Many people are constantly afraid that people have noticed that they were uncomfortable or worried, when most of the time they don’t even notice it and when they do it doesn’t appear the way we rated it in our heads.

Are people faking emotions?

In reality, when you are with your partner you’d be surprised to know that what you think is obvious, is not really very obvious most of the time. This brings us to a very important question; does this mean that the people who show emotions well are all faking it?

Not at all. People who express themselves well have learned this skill through their experience of communicating with people and have learned its importance. The reason most people pick up the importance of showing how they feel is that body language and tone of voice represent almost 93% of communication between people.

Showing their emotions has become an unconscious skill that they do without even thinking about it, and so they are now displaying what they really feel. This however also explains why some people who lie, can pull it off well and be believed a lot of the time.

So when it comes to showing emotions to your partner, you actually have to put a little effort for them to see what you feel.

How do I show them how I feel?

Rather than going through all the details of endless different body language postures that you can use, I will show you the ideology behind how you can always figure it out for yourself.

Now that you are aware of the fact that they don’t always see what you feel, make a decision of making it a habit to show what you feel every time you feel something warm or positive toward your partner. Second try to do more of the following whenever you experience emotions; longer eye contact, smile, tender touches and pauses.

Longer eye contact and tender touches produce the release of oxytocin chemicals in your brains making you experience more love emotions together. (see also How can i love my husband again)

Smiling is a very powerful way to show emotions whenever you want to project it because it releases endorphins which makes you both experience happiness and positive emotions.
These simple acts actually make a huge difference and by time they will increase the activity in the area responsible for emotional intelligence in your brain and you will be able to display emotions to your partner effortlessly.

In my book How to have a healthy relationship I mentioned that you need to pause a little when you display emotions. This means don’t take the advice above and do it for a quick second and then let go. When you display emotions, pause for a couple of seconds to make sure you emphasize what you’re feeling and to give yourselves time to experience the release of chemicals responsible for making you happy and more in love.

2knowmyself is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

The Solid confidence program was launched by 2knowmyself.com; the program will either help you become more confident or give you your money back.

Want to know more?

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