Bonding in Adulthood: Finding your true self.
Bonding in adulthood can be a bit different than bonding during childhood or adolescence, but it is still an important aspect of forming close relationships with others.
Here are some tips on how to bond in adulthood:
- Share experiences: Sharing new experiences is a powerful way to transform what might be considered a friendly acquaintance into a deeper connection. If it is a new experience for both of you, the risks and surprises along the adventure create shared memories. This could be going on a trip together, trying a new hobby, or simply going out for dinner at a restaurant that is new to both of you. When you share an experience with someone, it creates a connection and gives you something to talk about on future dates.
- Listen actively: Listening actively is a key part of bonding with others. When someone is talking to you, demonstratean effort to really listen and engage with what they are saying. Use eye contact, lean forward in the conversation, and ask questions to show interest in their life and experiences.
- Show vulnerability: Being vulnerable can be uncomfortable or even scary, but it can also help deepen your connections with others. When you share your own struggles and challenges, it allows others to relate to you and feel more connected to you. Self-disclosure is a powerful experience and quickly changes the relationship from what was just a friendly acquaintance to a deeper and closer friendship.
- Practice empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When you practice empathy, you show that you care about others and are willing to put yourself in their shoes. Reflect what you heard them share, and then express either a sense of understanding, or your desire to better understand the depth of their struggle.
- Make time for others: Bonding with others takes time and effort. Make sure you are carving out time in your schedule to spend with friends, family, or romantic partners. When you demonstrate a willingness to prioritize that person, they experience a sense of being valued and a sense of acceptance and belonging.
- Communicate openly and honestly: Communication is essential for any healthy relationship. Be honest with others about your thoughts, feelings, and needs, and encourage them to do the same.
Find common interests: Having shared interests with others can help you bond and give you something to talk about. At the same time, acknowledge and honor differences so neither of you feels judged for having differing views or opinions. Look for groups or activities that align with your interests and try to meet new people who share those interests.
Overall, bonding in adulthood requires effort, openness, and a willingness to connect with others. By putting in the work, you can form deep, meaningful relationships that will enrich your life. Most importantly, adult bonding is like caring for a garden. The bonding effort must be continuous and consistent throughout the relationship so the bond deepens, strengthens, and becomes a fortifying barrier to the challenges and adversities of life.
Healthy bonding in adulthood has a positive impact on our lives since the quality of our relationships are so important to our wellbeing and life satisfaction. To learn more about adult bonding you can read more about attachment in adults. There is a large body of research that will help you learn more about yourself and how to improve your ability to bond. Attachment based therapy, such as Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy or the 3 Pillars Model with the Ideal Parent Figure are all helpful and provided here at the EFT Counseling and Education Center.