by Jonathan Robinson
We all crave deep connection. Yet nowadays, many of us don’t have much time to dive as deep as we would like with our friends, family, or romantic partner. What to do? Luckily, it need not take a lot of time in order to create a profound, intimate connection with those we care about. It just requires the right method. In my book, More Love, Less Conflict, I describe over thirty simple techniques for quickly creating the intimacy we desire. One of those methods, which I call “The Relationship Tune-Up,” takes just fifteen minutes, but leads to two people feeling fully “seen,” appreciated, and valued by each other.
Before I reveal the five questions in this powerful method, let me say why it works so well. To create an intimate connection between people, the secret method for creating intimacy is hidden in the word: into me see. When we reveal vulnerable information about ourselves, intimacy is created. Yet, because we are often busy and distracted, this can be hard to do unless we have a specific method to guide us in this manner. The five questions of the “Relationship Tune-up” can help us reveal ourselves in a way that supports another person to feel connected to us.
The Relationship Tune-Up consists of taking turns with a partner asking and answering five specific questions. You can take as long as you like to complete each question. Once you’ve answered one of the questions, the person you’re doing the exercise with proceeds to answer the same question. In this manner, you both are taking a small risk that leads to the sense of connection you desire. Here are the five questions:
1.What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?
2.What is something you’ve been feeling lately?
3.What is something you’ve been wanting lately?
4.When was a time you felt really connected to me?
5.What is something you appreciate about me?
Let me briefly explain why each of these five questions can lead to a profound connection with anyone in your life. The first question encourages each person to look back and remember a recent positive experience. Research shows that when people reveal and acknowledge each other’s positive moments, it helps to create a lasting bond.
The second and third questions help to uncover what each person is feeling and wanting. Knowing how you feel and what you want are possibly the two most important pieces of information you can reveal to someone you want a deeper connection with. Like a good map, this information discloses exactly where you are and where you want to go. We often get so lost in our heads that we forget the power and simplicity of knowing the direction we want to take. Once you’ve revealed where you are emotionally and where you want to be, you’ll feel more relaxed and on purpose.
The fourth question asks about when you’ve felt most connected to the person you’re doing the exercise with. This question has two purposes. First, it helps you remember a special moment you shared together. Such memories feel good to remember. Moreover, by answering this question, you indirectly inform your friend or mate of the type of moments you really appreciate and enjoy together. That information will help them know what you truly value, and make it more likely he or she will create more moments like that in the future.
The last question focuses on appreciation. It provides a great way to end the exercise on a positive note. When friends or partners share what they appreciate about each other, it makes both of them feel good. It also helps to create an even deeper connection in the future.
The Relationship Tune-Up can be used in almost any relationship—friend, family member, or lover. It’s an example of the type of powerful exercises and ideas I’ll be revealing in my upcoming class: “Instant Intimacy: The Art of Profound Communication.” In this fun workshop, people will practice their new skills with other participants, and learn over a dozen quick ways to gain rapport, trust, and deep connection with virtually anyone. It will forever impact all of your future relationships.