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Two students walking through the Boise State campus with fall trees surrounding them.
Fall campus scenes, Allison Corona photo.

Spoiler alert — life is busy. Between school, work, and other things on our to-do-lists, sometimes it can be hard to connect with others. Whether it be our friends, classmates, family, or really anyone in our social circles, it’s important to not let human-to-human connection slip under the radar. So, we’ve nailed down 5 ½ things that can help strengthen and make the connections in your life all the more meaningful.

1) Make the first move

Making the first move in building connections can often be a difficult thing. However, you can rest assured that it only gets easier from there. See, if you can push yourself to go to the first meeting of a club or organization you’ve been wanting to check out or ask that classmate if they want to grab coffee or lunch sometime, taking that first step can work wonders for your confidence.

2) Ask questions

One of the easiest ways to show someone that you care about them and what they’re saying is to ask questions. It can be as simple as asking how their day is or how that big exam went. When you’re closer with someone, questions can even be deeper or more personal, building deeper empathy and understanding between you both. How easy is that? (Question! Get it? Alright, moving on…)

3) Make eye contact and be engaged

Eye contact and being present is a great way to show someone you respect them. How many times have you been in a conversation with someone and you watch their eyes drift to something behind you? Or, maybe even worse, they find the notification that just buzzed on their phone more interesting? When you’re around others, try to be with them.

4) Be around when you’re not around

When you’re just not around family or friends — perhaps they live out-of-state or go to another college — it can be harder to feel connected. Luckily, we live in a generation where we aren’t truly ever too far away from those we care about. Send a text or Snapchat to your sibling or friend and ask them how they’ve been. Maybe give your grandparents a FaceTime or phone call. Be thankful we live in the smartphone age!

5) Smile

This one may seem silly, but it’s true that when you smile at those around you, it not only spreads good vibes, but also shows that you’re a friendly face (literally). Building meaningful connections can really start with something that simple :) !

 5 ½) Connect with you

Sometimes to connect with others, you need to connect with yourself first. Don’t forget to check in with you!

A cat with cucumbers on its eyes which says take a break and relax

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