Written by Reclaim Today, Art by @colorsbybianca

Whether you’ve recently moved and are looking for new friends, or have stayed in the same spot for several years, chances are, you have a relationship you’d like to move beyond talking about weather and the latest shows.

The thing is, God created us for community. We need friends for hard times (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10), and we also need them to help us become better versions of ourselves (Proverbs 27:17). Furthermore, we’re called to be good friends, to love and serve those around us (1 Peter 4:7-10). But how, in the day to day, do we foster opportunities for creating meaningful connections? Here are a few things I’ve learned from others and been trying out for myself.


Tip #1 for Creating Meaningful Connections: Listen Carefully and Ask Follow-up Questions

The pastor’s wife of the church I attend regularly made a point of stopping to chat after the service. She would ask the usual questions (How classes are going, summer plans, etc.). But the difference was, she would listen carefully, and ask intentional follow up questions.

It told me that she was genuinely interested in me and valued hearing my experiences. Even better, she would follow up with me the next time we met—“you mentioned a math exam last week. How did that go?” Sometimes, creating meaningful connections can be as simple as listening carefully and following through.



Tip #2 for Creating Meaningful Connections: Offer to Pray for Someone, on the Spot

One pastor I came to know through a student fellowship had a habit of asking for prayer requests at the end of conversations. Instead of simply promising to pray for us, he would regularly ask, “would it be alright if I prayed for you now?”

It’s one thing to know that someone is probably going to pray for you at some point. It’s another thing to actually hear the person petitioning God on your behalf. Praying for people is always a great option, but being able to pray with them not only has the benefit of feeling more real and immediate, but it also avoids the chance of accidentally forgetting to do so later on.

Get busy creating meaningful connections through prayer!



Tip #3 for Creating Meaningful Connections: Invite Someone Over for Dinner

There was an elderly couple at church who made a point of inviting the college kids to their home for dinner several times a year. Eager for a break from cafeteria food, we always went. And after weeks of dormitory living, I realized that there was something special about being in someone’s home.

Food is always a great excuse for bringing people together. In some seasons of life, going out for dinner and splitting the bill is the best we can manage. But if you’re able, try inviting some friends over to your place for food. What’s better for creating meaningful connections than fostering a sense of intimacy and authenticity by opening up your home?



Tip #4 for Creating Meaningful Connections: Do Something Together

I remember a time when a young couple invited me over to hang out, and the conversation reached a natural pause. As I am neither a natural conversationalist, nor a fan of awkward pauses, I searched frantically for something to talk about. As I was still searching, the husband pulled a game out from under the coffee table, and asked if I had ever played it before.

It was a wonderful change of pace. We did not have to worry about what to talk about, but could focus on the game and some friendly competition. Since then, I’ve realized that people who balk at going out to coffee might be the first to say yes to a game night, or to signing up for a cooking class, or exploring a new store in the neighborhood together.

It may sound obvious, but actually doing something together is a great step towards creating meaningful connections with others.



Tip #5 for Creating Meaningful Connections: Consistently Show Small Acts of Love

My aunt is a master of this. She’s the person that will randomly call you up to see how you are doing. Or invite you on an impromptu shopping trip. If she hears even a rumor that you might be under the weather, she will show up on your doorstep with hot soup or porridge. And when you are in the prime of your health, you will be the frequent receiver of baked goods.

Not all of us are cooks, but we can always send a text asking how someone’s day is going, drop a handwritten note in the mail, pass on coupons to a friend’s favorite store, or craft something small to show that we’re thinking of them.

Through these small but consistent “I’m thinking of you” acts, we’ll be on our way to creating meaningful connections.


Creating Meaningful Connections Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Finally, as we look for deep connection and community, the most important ingredients are time and prayer. Let’s pray that God guides us and blesses our interactions, and let’s be faithful in seeking opportunities. After all, creating meaningful connections takes time and patience. If you don’t “click” with someone in the first conversation, don’t stress about it. Try again. And again. The more we invest into those around us, the more opportunity we have for creating truly meaningful connections.