How to Get to Know Someone Better

Three Parts:Establishing InterestInteracting with Your FriendDeepening Your Relationship

Relationships are an important part of any person’s life. From friends to love interests, coworkers or even someone you just met, you may feel a connection with an individual and want to get to know the person better. But it can be difficult to figure out how best to deepen your relationship without coming across as rushing it or being overbearing. By establishing interest, opening up to the person, and deepening your relationship, you can get to know someone better.

Part 1
Establishing Interest

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    Initiate a conversation. Having conversations is one of the best ways of getting to know someone better. Getting a person’s attention through chatting can send the signals that you’d like to know him or her better.[1]
    • Use different means to start your conversation. You can approach the person or send a text or email. Keep it light to start and ask questions to which the person can respond. For example, you could walk up to the person and say, “Hi Sara, I really enjoyed your presentation today, especially the graphics. How did you do that?” If you’re texting or emailing the person, you could write, “Great talk today, Sara! I am really interested in how you did the graphics—would you mind telling me some more about how you put them together?”[2]
    • Remember to keep it casual and not broach personal subjects. Not only are personal subjects more appropriate when you know the person better, but some people may confuse this as you hitting on them.
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    Show your best self. People are more likely to want to get to know you better if you are positive and put together. This shows the person that you respect yourself—and your friendship.[3]
    • Pull together your appearance without overdoing it. Wear clean clothes, comb your hair, and avoid too much makeup or cologne. This signals the person that you are approachable and welcome to getting to know him or her better.
    • Stay positive and encouraging. While everyone has a bad day now and then, no friend wants to be around a person who is always negative and a downer. If you had a bad day, acknowledge it to your friend and then say something like, “But now we’re hanging out and I’m really happy to leave my bad day behind me.”
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    Be friendly. Everyone enjoys being around others who are confident and at ease with themselves. Being positive, kind, friendly and open to the person you would like to know better can help draw them to you.
    • Maintain eye contact with the person and use open body language to show your interest and that you’re friendly.[4] For example, smile, lean in with your body, and tilt your head towards the person.[5]
    • Avoid negative talk about other people because this may turn off the person you would like to know better. Negative comments may make the person ask, “What is she saying about me when I am not present?”[6]
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    Be patient. Getting to know someone can take a long time. Gradually increasing your interactions with the person shows mutual respect and interest. It also allows each of you to reveal your true and full personality, which can ultimately lead to a strong friendship.

Part 2
Interacting with Your Friend

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    Talk about your respective interests. As a part of your conversations, talk about what types of things interest the person. Knowing what the individual likes and dislikes can better cue you into your friend’s personality.[7]
    • Pick up on comments about the person’s interests and incorporate them into your conversation. This may stimulate further conversation and help you learn more about the person. It can also lead to doing activities together, which can also deepen your relationship to the person. For example, say, “Did you just mention that you love Vietnamese food? I’ve never had it before—what are some of your favorite dishes?”[8]
    • Ask questions about the person’s interests. For example, if you want to get to know the person sitting next to you better say, “I noticed that really beautiful picture on your desk. Where did you take it?”
    • Mention your interests as a part of your conversation. This can help the other person get to know you better and shows your interest in having a dialogue with your friend. Consider using the person’s interests as a way to introduce yours. For example, if you’re talking about food you could say, “I am a huge fan of trying new cuisines and Mexican is one I just don’t know well. Can you tell me a little more about it and what types of dishes you like?”
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    Pay close attention to the person. In order to pick up on the person’s interests and personality, listen and watch closely to what your friend says and does. This shows your interest and gives you a point from which to start a conversation or suggest getting together for an activity.[9]
    • Talk about a mixture of serious and more lighthearted subjects to get a better sense of the person’s personality. For example, talk about something such as pets for lighter topics. You could say, “What kind of dog do you have or want to get?” For more serious topics, keep it non-controversial at first so that you don’t offend the person. You could say, “Can you believe how mean-spirited the race for president has become?”
    • Ask questions about the person’s statements to show your interest in getting to know him.
    • Notice something about the person and compliment him or her on it. This is also a good way to keep a conversation going and show your interest in the person.[10] For example, you could say, “Your ability to tackle anything thrown your way is really impressive! How do you do it with such grace?”
    • Watch the person’s habits. Does your friend always hold doors for others? This can show you that the person is polite and considerate.
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    Stay independent. You may be tempted to spend a lot of time together as you get to know and become friends with someone, but it’s important to maintain your independence. This shows the person—and yourself—respect and may help you to get to better know your friend’s personality.[11]
    • Continue to assert your opinions, which may stimulate more meaningful conversations. Show your friend you’re capable of forming opinions. Having meaningful exchanges and conversations keeps your friendship fresh.[12]
    • Avoid making yourself too available. This shows the person that you are not clingy as well as that you are able to maintain other relationships.
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    Spend time together. One of the best ways to get to know someone better is by doing different activities together. This can help you see new aspects of the person’s life or personality and also shows your interest in deepening the relationship.[13]
    • Consider starting off by doing something you both enjoy. For example, suggest going to dinner at a restaurant you’ve both wanted to try. You could also cook together.
    • Keep the time you spend together commensurate with how well you know the person. For example, you might not want to book a vacation together if you’ve only known the person for a few months. Instead, consider taking a day trip to do something both of you enjoy.
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    Accept the positive and negative. No person has a one-dimensional personality. Part of getting to know someone better is realizing that there are positive and negative aspects of the person. Taking these ups and downs in stride can help you get to know the person better and forge a strong relationship.[14]
    • Keep your interactions as positive as possible. Begin conversations with good news or something positive that happened to you. This can relax the mood, allowing you or the person to broach negative topics, which can further cue you into their personality.
    • Be understanding the person seems to be having a bad day. No one is immune to a bit of negativity and watching how the person handles it can help you know him or her better. If you want, discuss what is troubling the person and then offer your help.

Part 3
Deepening Your Relationship

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    Let the person know your interest. There is no harm in telling a friend you’d like to get to know him or her better as a friend or have romantic feelings for the person. As a part of a casual conversation, mention, “I really enjoy talking to you and I hope we’ll have a chance to develop our friendship more in the future.” Be sure to highlight the platonic aspect by saying “our friendship” so that you don’t confuse the person. If you do have romantic feelings, you should also be clear about this. You could say, “You know, we’ve been spending a lot of time together and my feelings are developing beyond friendship. I hope you feel the same way, but I understand if you don’t.” These types of statements show interest without overwhelming the person with expectations.
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    Share information and feelings. When you’ve had a chance to get to know the person more than superficially, you can start telling them personal information and feelings. This shows the other person you’d like to get to know them better and helps establish a bond of trust between the two of you.
    • Avoid sharing information or feelings that are too personal. Keep what you say commensurate with how well you’ve gotten to know the person. For example, don’t mention your sex life or ask about the other person’s. This type of information is something shared best within very close friendships and not with someone you want to know better.[15] Instead, share bits such as, “I am about to have surgery on my knee,” or “My husband just got a promotion but his company expects us to move away.”
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    Invite the person to gatherings. In many cases, your friends may offer interesting perspective on someone you want to know better. Including your friend in activities with your other friends can help you see how the person acts with different people or even other parts of his or her personality.[16]
    • Remember to keep your invitation commensurate with how well you know the person. For example, avoid inviting someone out for a night of cocktails if you’ve just begun to get to know the person. Instead, consider asking the person to dinner with friends, which will give all of you a chance to talk and get to know more about each other.
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    Spend more time together. As you and the person get to know each other better, consider spending more time together. Having regular meetings or going on vacation with the person can help you get to know them very well.[17]
    • Consider having a regular “date” over something like dinner or cocktails. This allows you to pick up on conversations or discuss things happening in your respective lives.
    • Schedule day trips or vacations together. Being in close proximity to the person during a relaxing trip can help you really know who she is. Just remember that it’s acceptable if you want to have some “me” time during vacations, too.

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-actually-make-friends-as-a-grown-woman_55dca87fe4b0a40aa3ac5860
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shasta-nelson-mdiv/ten-steps-to-starting-friendships_b_6851524.html
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shasta-nelson-mdiv/ten-steps-to-starting-friendships_b_6851524.html
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Article Info

Categories: Forming Friendships