A lot of people feel alone. They feel like they don’t have a connection to those around them.

I know how that feels. When I was younger I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, I didn’t get a whole lot of practice socializing with people my own age.

Spending most of my time with doctors, nurses and my mom made me feel alienated when it came time to engage with others at my school.

But there was an upside.

Doctors and nurses are some of the most caring people you will ever meet. They are intelligent, polite and empathetic. Every time I was in their care I felt appreciated and important. They were family to me.

I’ve wondered what made my connection with these people so deep and profound. I can still picture the faces and emotions associated with so many of the beautiful people I met at different hospitals.

Here are three conversational habits I internalized that helped me foster a deep connection with those around me.

Make eye contact and listen intently.

My doctor would walk into the room and greet my mother. He would then make his way over to me, bend down to my eye level, look me right in the eyes and give me a firm handshake.

The entire time we talked he would keep eye contact with me. I felt like he absorbed every single word I said. His focus never drifted from me, it made me feel like I mattered.

Too often we have conversations that we aren’t fully invested in. When someone is talking we take that as an opportunity to think about what we are going to say next instead of paying attention to what the other person is saying.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
-Stephen R. Covey

Worse yet, we might take the chance to check our phones, think about our day and zone out the other person completely.

Don’t waste the time talking to someone if you aren’t going to listen as well.

Cater the conversation to the other person.

The nurses and doctors would always ask about me.

“How are you feeling? How was your day? What are you thinking about?”

We all know that one person who will tell the same story to everyone they see in a given day and make every conversation about themselves. Maybe they bought a new phone and now they’ll show it to everyone. Maybe they didn’t get a lot of sleep and now that will be their topic of the day.

They somehow seem to direct every conversation to themselves.

Guess what. Not only is this terribly self important, but it’s also boring. Do you really want to have the same conversation about your new phone ten times in one day?

When you start wondering how other people are and what is going through their mind, you get a lot more out of your conversations. More variety, more connection, more perspectives.

If you have something nice to say, say it!

My mom would always tell me “Steven, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

That is fine and dandy, I can agree with that.

But that isn’t my main concern. In this day and age compliments are rare. I hear friends tell me “Wow, that girl has nice eyes.” but they never actually tell the girl.

What if that compliment would have made her day?

She might be having a horrible morning. She might be feeling down in the dumps after a bad break up. One compliment can change a persons entire mood.

I live my life by the motto “If you have something nice to say, say it!” I want to point out every single piece of good that I see in the people around me.

When you give someone a compliment they like you more, and their connection with you deepens. A compliment may not change their life, but it might change their life for that moment. Isn’t that good enough?

So, I hope that these tips will help you foster a deeper connection with everyone around you. It is one of the most noble goals you can pursue.

I’ll never get to thank the people I met that have made such a deep impact on me, but I hope to leave the same impact on those around me.

As always, I’ll see you next Friday.

With love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys


  1. This is such a good post. I fully agree. My parents said the same thing about speaking. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say at all. This world could definitely do with more positivity and genuine people around.


  2. I agree – paying compliments is very important. We all need to feel appreciated. A genuine compliment benefits both parties involved – the giver and receiver.


  3. thanks for posting this, it is so true. I have been seeing things from a different perspective, in that I feel when friends ask me how I am that i feel I am saying the same conversation on a different day as I have chronic pain that doesn’t change, so i feel like I’m repeating myself and they won’t want to hear it again so I turn the conversation on to them. this article has made me see that maybe i should give friends the opportunity to listen to me as well as me listening to them!


    1. You are right on the nail with this one. We often tend to sound like a broken record, saying roughly the same thing again and again. It’s not just you, I do it as well. I have to remind myself to explore what other people are thinking and feeling. Thanks for commenting, I love your input!


  4. Active listening is purposeful. It conveys that you are truly interested in what that person has to say, because you care. Your post is awesome!!! While we all enjoy getting some new stuff, and telling someone about it. Life is really about the true connections you make with people each day and the impact you have on them and conversely the impact they have on you. Again, good post.


    1. Talking about things that interest you isn’t so bad, it’s just when people say the same thing to every person they see and make every conversation about themselves that it becomes a problem. At that point yo aren’t making connections and every conversation is destined to turn out roughly the same. Plus, people will eventually realize that all you talk about is yourself. Thank you for sharing you kind words.


  5. It’s so true! I love complimenting people and sometimes I’m surprised how grateful – sometimes even shocked! – they seem to be that someone noticed them.

    Too much focus on shredding each other these days. Thanks for helping us get on each other’s level and lift each other up. 🙂

    Peace, always,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. A compliment can go so far to improve someone’s day. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s kind of rare these days so if you go out of your way to compliment people you will stand out.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. that was really an insightful read Steven. I don’t know too much about you two. I found you somehow on Youtube a while back and was cracking up. Why did you spend time in a hospital when you were a kid? Forgive me for not knowing as I’m sort of new to your blog.


  7. I don’t know much about being in bs out of hospitals, but I can definitely use some work on some of the points you made. I like to read and work during lunch tends to be extra reading time rather than meeting and talking to coworkers. Just the other day I noticed that the one girl was wearing really cute shoes and I wanted to say something and ask where she got them but refrained because I didn’t want to seem weird. That’s pretty much been my problem since I was a kid though. Now that I write stories and such it’s just gotten worse because I tend to get stuck in my own head thinking of characters and story lines.


    1. Try imagining yourself as a character that everyone loves. Someone who shares a smile with every person they see. Someone who makes eye contact and cares about others. Confidence is all about “fake it until you make it.” I guarantee the first time you push yourself to do something you thought you couldn’t, you will get addicted and want to keep pushing those boundaries. I hope that you give at least two compliments everyday to someone you see. Thanks for dropping by, friend!


  8. Steven, this post is particularly important for people on the Autism Spectrum. Those of us who are on the high functioning portion of the spectrum need help with social interactions. We tend to be very awkward socially, so tips like these are very useful indeed to our community. When I started my career, these tips would have helped me tremendously. Thank you again. I have shared this post with other Adults with Aspergers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This comment touched my heart. I can’t explain how happy it made me that this post could potentially help people in the autism community. When I saw this comment I immediately showed my fellow “HelpfulGuy” Leroy Milton and it felt like we had accomplished something worth while. I truly hope that this message helps as many people as possible. Thank you so much for sharing it.


  9. Love this post. These are the kinds of actions and awarenesses that (when undertaken with sincerity) make life and human interaction meaningful. Thanks for posting this. I’m going to share it with my HS students for one of our “think/write” activities. 🙂


    1. You are completely right. When you make your interactions with other people meaningful, your whole life is meaningful. All it takes is a little effort and you can dramatically change your relationships with the people around you. Thank you for sharing this with your students, I’m so proud that I think I’m blushing a little. ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I went to a dinner party earlier this year. Over half the guest were on the internet with their phones with other friends. They were so focused on that, I found them extremely rude. We could have stayed at home and talked to them over the internet and had a better time. We would have talked with them more than we did at the party. We left the party early because of it.


    1. This is exactly the type of situation we find ourselves running into more and more often. It drives me up the walls that people no longer value the personal touch. It’s fine to chat over the internet, but there is a time and place, and it’s not when you have people right in front of you that you should be interacting with. I would have left early as well. Thanks for dropping by and sharing this.


      1. They were taking selfies and posting about how great the party was and they were missing the party. You use to do that when you got home that you would share the photos with friends. It just seems they are out of touch with the now. They are not enjoying life because they are too busy documenting their lives. I use to think that it is a generation thing. I do not any more because group was from 30 to 83.


      2. I completely agree. People are too excited to turn their life into a show for others to watch and comment on rather than actually living it. They want to show everyone what a great time they are having but they aren’t appreciating the time passing right in front of them. It is a problem that now permeates through all age groups. I can’t even imagine what it is going to be like in a decade. Hopefully people start to appreciate the beauty of being in the moment before it’s gone.


  11. hello 2 helpful guys its dennis the vizsla dog hay i hav fownd that a gud way to konnekt with peepul is to be a dog!!! peepul ar always trying to pet me and say hello to me and sumtimes they eeven giv me treets!!! sadly most hyoomans cannot tern themselvs into dogs so it is gud that yoo can giv advice to those poor souls!!! ok bye


  12. Loved this! Lovely words! It’s so sad how often people just talk without listening… I often find myself not talking at all anymore because I feel like it doesn’t matter anyway… Or maybe it’s just a good time to realise who you should spend your time with ^_^ certainly more with those who listen and truly want to connect 🙂 xxx have a good day!


  13. This was very insightful. Thank you. I have a friend who makes a point of noticing one positive thing about every person she meets and telling them. Everyone feels better about themselves when they’re in her company.


    1. I love people like that! I am like that myself, it really can make everyone around you have a good day, including yourself. Thanks for sharing that. I’m glad to hear there are more people out there who know that compliments are best given often.


  14. This post reminds me of one of my favourite sayings…”it’s nice to be important but more important to be nice”. Genuinely listening to others really helps makes them feel heard and we also get to learn more about others which is always interesting.


  15. Thanks for pausing on my island. I enjoyed your lovely post. The theme obviously resonates with poeple visiting here.
    From my work as therapist I know how very few people had the experience of being truly listened to. The practice gets no attention in education, which means the pressure of ‘I want a word in’ is perpetuated.
    Being reflected in another person’s eyes, being able to tell one’s story, and in the process hear our own counsel, not only affirms our existence, it also teaches us to listen to ourselves.


    1. To truly listen is to truly appreciate. It is a beautiful thing! I bet that you understand quite a lot about active listening and the effects it can have on people. I like the point you said about listening in our education, it’s so true that it gets no attention. Thank you for sharing this insight!


  16. Excellent points each and every one. Funny how I never thought of the gift you mention in the time I’ve spent in conversation with professional care-givers. I missed a lot of opportunities to appreciate them for what they were giving me, maybe I won’t be so cavalier in the future. Thanks for the wake-up call. They’re always appreciated when they’re deserved. Thanks again.


  17. Great post, and a great blog you have here! I look forward to reading more. You are going to laugh, but when I was at uni, I felt so hopeless in the area of meeting people outside my “usual” sphere that I borrowed some books on the topic, including one called “People Skills”. The points you made in this post are reminscent of what I read in that book, yet down to earth because you have shared them from experience. I would love to read more posts on the topic of relating to people if you feel like writing them.


    1. I have found that this post affected a lot of people, so I will probably be writing more in the near future. I have read quite a bit on the subject as well, so don’t be embarrassed! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to share this with me, it has made my day that much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. A light entertaining views of you, and I can relay to your topic for I have a similar traits of what you have written. Am quite a shy person and a less talk person and choosy. Thanks for sharing.


  19. A great post. The difference between active listening and “waiting to talk” is so critical. It is especially bad on the phone, where you can tell if the other person is hearing anything you say, as they move on to a completely different subject. At least in person, you have a shot at eye contact.


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