If you want to be able to connect and befriend anyone, you’ll first need to build rapport with them. This is an important first step in making new friends, but it’s not something a lot of people ever even consider. Don’t fall under this mistake. Otherwise, you’ll be left baffled and wondering what to do next after engaging a stranger in conversation.
There are a lot of things you can and should keep in mind when interacting with someone. That is if your goal is to ultimately befriend them. Knowing these things will help you build rapport with them. Once that rapport is built, becoming friends with them moving forward becomes much easier.
That said, here are the ways to properly build rapport with anyone.
Show actual interest
If you want to build rapport with anyone, the first thing you’ll need to keep in mind is to show interest. Always make it known through your actions and words that you’re interested in getting to know them. Whenever they talk about their interests, show excitement. Let them feel that you’re invested in knowing more about them.
A person will immediately feel comfortable with you as long as you show signs of being interested. They’ll almost feel grateful for it.
Give them your full and undivided attention
Pay the person you’re interacting with the respect of giving them your full attention. This is one of the best things you can follow if you want to build rapport. When they’re speaking, make sure your eyes aren’t darting around. Make sure you aren’t thinking about anything else. Just focus your attention on them.
Aside from helping you build rapport, giving someone else your full and undivided attention will also help you interact with them better. You’ll be able to understand everything they’re saying this way. In turn, you’ll be able to respond properly. Conversations will be fluid and natural.
This is also one of the things you can do to show someone you’re interested in getting to know them. Simply ask questions about them. Ask about their interests, goals, dreams, history, hobbies, etc.
Just keep in mind when making use of this tip: don’t ask questions that are too personal. Simply ask questions that will scratch the surface of who they really are. Ask probing questions that will let them know you’re interested in knowing them more.
Asking questions is also a very great way of keeping conversations flowing. When you keep asking questions, they’ll keep answering them. They might even throw a question or two your way. As long as you can keep your conversation with them going, you’ll be able to build rapport naturally.
Don’t clash if their views are different from yours
As you meet more and more people, you’re bound to come across individuals who have different beliefs from you. When this happens, make sure your first instinct isn’t to clash with them. Instead, promote a healthy discussion. Encourage them to speak up their minds. You, on the other hand, should pay attention to them.
You should also voice your opinions. While you shouldn’t clash with them, you also shouldn’t flake on your beliefs quickly. Let them know the things you believe in. At the end of the day, if you both can’t reach common ground, you can simply agree to disagree. Remain respectful towards one another. This is how you can build rapport with someone despite them having different beliefs from you.
Be a better listener
There are more ways of becoming a better listener than just paying attention to someone. While that’s a good first step, there are more things you can do to really get better at it. You’ll want to practice what’s called “active listening.”
Active listening allows you to fully comprehend what another person is trying to say. It’s not just understanding the words that are said, it’s knowing the point they’re making behind those words. Active listening also includes clarification. If there are things the other person said that you did not quite understand, ask them to expand upon that thing. Or ask them to make their point more easily digestible.
If you’re an active listener, any conversations you’ll have with anyone is meaningful. This is a great way of building rapport. Make sure to learn how to achieve this skill.
Have a relaxed body language
If your body is tense while you’re interacting with someone, they’ll notice it immediately. They might start thinking you’re uncomfortable being around them. Even if you’re not, if your body says it, they’ll believe it.
That said, relax. Don’t be too tense. Interact with anyone like you would a long-time friend.
You also shouldn’t portray a “weak” body language. It’s advised that you don’t tense and harden up, but you also shouldn’t melt and slouch either.
Maintain the balance that says you’re comfortable. Maintain proper posture. Keep eye contact. Let your hands and arms flow. Don’t cross your arms. Allow yourself to be open. Keep these things up and the other person will feel comfortable with you as well.
Share stories from your past
It’s good for you to get to know everything you can about the person you’re trying to build rapport with, but you should also give them a glimpse of you. Make the exchange fair and balanced. If they share things from their past, share things from yours as well.
When you share things about your past, it gives the other person insight into how you became the way you are now. It’s a very intimate exchange that encourages friendship to flourish. Naturally, it’s a great thing you can do to build rapport.
Once again, don’t go overboard with this. Don’t share things that are too personal. At least, not yet. Keep it light and informative.
Tell them what your dreams and goals are
On top of letting another person know your past, you should also give them a glimpse of your future. Or at least, the future you want to achieve. Share what your dreams and goals are. It will make them see you as someone who’s ambitious, passionate, and driven. These are all appealing characteristics one would want in a friend.
It will also let them know you’re comfortable enough with them to let them know your long-term goals. It will encourage them to share theirs with you as well.
Better yet, once you’re done talking about your dreams and goals, ask them about theirs. Encourage them to share their dreams and goals with you. If this information about yourselves is shared between the two of you, this builds a level of camaraderie which makes building rapport become easier.
Show them your interests
You can also share your interests and hobbies with someone to build rapport with them. Give them an idea of what excites you. The things you do outside of your professional life that you find enjoyable and entertaining.
For example, if you’re a movie buff, talk about your favorite movies. Share why you enjoy them. Share why you love movies in general. Whatever your interests and hobbies are, approach it in a similar manner.
Who knows, you might even have interests they’re also interested in. Making this happen makes building rapport much easier. Having said that, one of the best things you can do to build rapport with someone is to…
Find a common ground
Find the common ground you may have with another person. Once you can do this, the process of building rapport with them thereafter becomes much easier.
As mentioned in the previous point, one of the things you can do to make this happen is to talk about your interests and beliefs. If you share an interest, they’ll let you know.
You can also have this go the other way around. Ask them what their interests are. Find one you can relate to. You can then build a conversation from that alone. You can use that common ground to really connect with them. It creates a level of comfort between the two of you.
Empathy is a powerful tool you can use to build rapport with anyone. In addition to being an active listener, using empathy will allow you to properly get to know someone. You won’t just understand everything they’re trying to tell you, you’ll also feel everything they need you to feel.
To be empathetic, picture yourself in their position. When they’re telling their stories, assess what the emotion is behind them. Is the story sad? Is it happy? Are you supposed to laugh, or be afraid? Then, picture yourself being in those situations. Imagine how would you feel if those things actually happened to you.
With that, you’ll be able to properly deduce the emotion behind the person’s words. You’ll be able to understand how they feel. This allows you to connect with them better. As a result, you’ll be able to build rapport with them easily.
Keep your phone in your pocket
This is a minor tip but you must follow it religiously. If you want to properly build rapport with someone, you can’t be on your phone all the time. That is, of course, unless you’re interacting with them via chat or text. If you’re interacting with someone in person, keep your phone in your pocket. Better yet, keep it on silent. That way, you won’t be bothered by notifications and such while you’re attempting to build rapport with someone.
Another minor thing you can keep in mind to build rapport with anyone much faster is to be presentable. Keep a neat and tidy appearance. You shouldn’t just look presentable, you also have to look respectable.
Any advice that involves your physical appearance has a tendency to sound shallow. However, as unfortunate as it may seem, people tend to feel more comfortable toward those who look presentable and respectable. Mind you, you don’t need to look like a supermodel or the like, you just need to look like you care about yourself.
That said, take the time to have your hair properly groomed. Trim your nails. Iron your clothes. Look as neat as you can be. Besides, making yourself look good will make you feel good. You’ll need this level of confidence so you can properly interact with people you don’t know yet.
Know your boundaries
Throughout this whole process, be sure to always remember to know your boundaries. As iterated in this article already, you should always know not to make things too personal. Don’t ask them questions that are too personal. Don’t share things that are too revealing.
On top of those, this tip applies to other things as well. For example, you also should know when to stop asking questions. You’ll want it to be a conversation, not an interrogation. Remembering this tip and applying them to other aspects of the interaction will make it more nuanced and natural. It will make you seem curious and interested, but not too pushy.
Answer their questions properly
If the other person asks you a question, be sure to answer them properly. Give them an answer that’s straightforward and satisfactory. Be willing to satisfy their curiosity. This shows that you’re appreciative of their questions and are willing to divulge more about yourself and the things you know.
Answering another person’s questions will also encourage them to return the favor, should you ask them more questions.
Make them laugh
One of the best things you can do to build rapport with someone is to make them laugh. Humor is a wonderful thing. If you’re someone who’s naturally capable of making others laugh with your stories and jokes, take advantage of this ability. Make them have the time of their life just by laughing.
If you believe you’re someone who’s not naturally funny, don’t worry. This is definitely a skill you can learn and master. One of the things you can do is to observe funny people. Stand-up comedians, for example, are masterfully skilled at crafting stories in such a way that they’re engaging and hilarious. They make a living off of that, after all.
That said, watch a couple of stand-up routines. Watch comedy movies. Watch funny talk show hosts. See how their stories and jokes are crafted. Gather inspiration from them. Then, take a story from your past that you consider funny. Practice telling that so you can do so the next time you’re out there interacting with a stranger.
This is a skill you won’t learn overnight. Make this one of the things you’ll want to master from now on and you’ll eventually get there.
Mirror their movements
This is a very subtle thing you can do to build a better connection with someone. This, in turn, will allow you to build rapport with them.
Mirror their movements. Don’t be too blatant about it. Keep it subtle and natural. For example, if the person you’re talking to puts one hand on their pocket, do the same after about 10 seconds.
Keep up this practice. This synchronicity will make the both of you somewhat connected. It will make you and them comfortable with each other. As long as you remain subtle about it, this becomes highly effective.
Go by first name basis
If you’re interacting with someone and you want to build rapport with them, be sure to not be too formal. Going by first name basis is the solution to this. Don’t call them “sir,” mam,” “mister,” or “miss.” Call them by their first name.
This also creates an atmosphere of familiarity between you two. Say their name often when speaking to them. This does two things well. First, it lets them feel comfortable and familiar with you. Hearing you say their name helps them see you as a friend.
Second, it helps you as well. It helps you remember their name intently. This is a minor bonus, but it helps in the grand scheme of your goal.
Remember to smile
Smiling is an activity that is always beneficial in a social setting. That said, when in conversation with someone, be sure to smile as often as you can. Wear a smile when listening to their wonderful stories. Smile when you’re telling a wonderful story of your own. Laugh and smile and keep portraying positive emotions.
This is another thing that you can do to make the other person feel comfortable with you. This helps you become a warmer and more positive presence. Most people are drawn to positive individuals. Be that individual and you can build rapport with anyone.
Don’t rush the process
This process can take a while. Sure, in some instances, you can build rapport with someone instantly. There are some people who just have chemistry that makes them close after just one interaction. The keyword there is “some.” This doesn’t happen all the time. If it doesn’t happen instantly for you, you shouldn’t worry too much.
Some friendships take time to blossom. Building rapport can either take an hour, or it can take multiple interactions. Remain willing, patient, and dedicated throughout this process. If there’s someone you really want to get to know and it’s taking a while to build rapport with them, just keep it up. You’ll get there eventually.
Make sure your voice and tone are loud and clear enough so that the person you’re talking to can understand you well. You can make nuanced conversations by doing this. This removes the possibility of misunderstanding and misinformation.
Having a clear and proper voice also portrays confidence. You’ll be able to carry yourself properly in any conversation as long as you can keep this up. Keep this tip in mind moving forward. If you have the tendency to mumble your words, now is the time to officially stop that.
Open up the possibility of reconnecting
Once you’ve finally interacted with someone and it’s about to be over, be sure to cap it all off with the possibility of another interaction in the future. Tell them that you had a great time speaking with them. Tell them that it would be a pleasure to see them again in the future. As long as your interaction with them was entertaining and meaningful, they’ll surely want the same thing too. That said, you can then begin exchanging contact information.
Don’t forget this process. This is very integral if you want to build rapport with someone. You will easily destroy the chance of ever befriending someone, much less building a rapport with them if you miss this step.
Adjust according to their preferences
This tip is especially useful if you’ve already met the person once and are reconnecting with them once more.
Reach out to them and establish a place to meet. Be sure to ask them where they want to go. If they ask you to decide, ask them what kind of atmosphere they prefer.
Adjust the plans to meet once more according to their preferences. That way, you’ll make them comfortable. They’ll also be very thankful for your consideration. Building rapport with them and doing this makes the process go much faster. You might even succeed then.
Be more socially adept
Finally, the ultimate thing you can do if you want to build rapport with anyone is to improve your social skills. Be socially adept and you’ll be able to interact with anyone masterfully. You won’t even have to think about the idea of building rapport anymore. They’ll simply happen to you very organically.
If you’re someone who isn’t very socially adept yet, now is the time to learn. You’ll find an abundance of articles on this site that will help you learn a ton of social skills. From knowing how to be approachable, making small talk, being a people magnet, to more regarding socializing as an introvert, you’ll surely find articles for social skills you can use out there.
Build rapport with someone and you’ll have the start of a wonderful friendship ahead. Take the time to re-read this article if you need to, and read the other articles on the site as well. Just remember, this process may take a while, but you shouldn’t give up just because it’s not going as fast as you want it to be.