Have you ever wondered what leads to the very first contact with someone? What makes us recognise each other in a crowd, what makes us talk to each other for the first time? Why we like one person more than another? Why certain relationships last longer? Here are a few ideas on the mechanisms that make up an encounter and what makes it last.
A new kind of human relationship
Connecting. Being connected. It’s something that is very present in this day and age, one that is characterised by mass technologies and networks designed to facilitate contact. To initiate it but also to maintain it over time while increasing the number of people with whom we are connected. In one way or another, passive or active, artificial or even superficial. And yet, nothing is more human, personal and deep than a relationship. So, in order to establish human relationships, don’t we sometimes need to take a step back from what our relationships are? Should we ask ourselves what they are, what they bring us? Should we “embody” our smartphone contact list? And take opportunity to put it away, even when we feel uncomfortable, at a party, a training course or on the metro, thus finding ourselves face to face with this other person: are we going to give ourselves the opportunity to meet face-to-face at the beginning of the relationship?
How do we connect?
The psychology of form called Gestalt divides the encounter into four phases:
- The pre-contact phase, which is focused on oneself, is that of non-verbal language: how will the person you are meeting make you react? This is the famous first impression that allows you to gather information about your “target”.
- Contact is the part of the exchange during which you will discover “singular common grounds which will be the basis of your interaction1“.
- You are then able to connect and give life to a more substantial relationship: a conversation, another opportunity to meet, to get to know each other better.
- Finally, the post-contact period allows you to “digest the relationship and make it part of your history1“.
Why do we connect?
Human beings are social animals. They nourish their affection and their reflection from the relationships they create. There are some people we click with right from the start but how do we explain the effortlessness of certain encounters when others seem so difficult? Our brain cannot function without a common link: it is indeed easier to bond with people who share the same professional or personal interests, a common experience or knowledge. Or even a common interest. It is the notion of survival of our primitive identity: the identification of what the other can bring to us to allow us to move forward, according to our Maslovian position. Whether it is the compatibility of character, or the values we hold, what we envy in the other person and what they can bring to us, their mood, their charisma, their way of seeing life. But also security, appreciation, recognition, freedom, listening, a service that we can benefit from, interested attention. Or simply because it makes us feel good.
Are you ready to take the risk?
Do you feel ready? Because to establish a new relationship you have to want it! You have to be open to the other person, otherwise you stay in your comfort zone and in your known circle. Establishing a relationship can be intimidating, for example because of a natural fear of rejection, it therefore implies overcoming one’s resistance to change and accepting situations that may make one uncomfortable. How far are you willing to go?
What makes the relationship last
Maintaining contact does not necessarily mean nurturing it. It means staying in touch but beyond that it is what happens to the relationship that counts. Is it destined to fail from the start? Is it destined to cease as soon as the need is fulfilled, the common interest lost? Is it destined to remain firmly in place, whatever the circumstances, or to develop differently? One thing is certain, only time will deepen the links and it is up to us – the two of us, for relationships are mutual – to make them last.
And in companies?
At Itecor we have observed that knowledge sharing is a real opportunity to meet and to get together. In person. It is not so much the technical skills that we are aiming for, but what we as individuals do with our knowledge. Or how we apply it.
Our consultants make a difference. And so do our clients. Together we cultivate values of courage, authenticity and creativity/curiosity that are the foundation of a long-term relationship. These values are reflected in the responsibility we take for each of the mandates entrusted to us; in the transparency and continuous learning that drive us to improve; and finally in the innovation and search for the best human and technological solutions. Thus, for the past 30 years, most of our clients have honoured us with their trust and renewed commitments for 5, 10, 20 years and more.