Connect – David Bradford, Ph.D., Carole Robin, Ph.D. Book Summary

Connect – David Bradford, Ph.D., Carole Robin, Ph.D. | Free Book Summary

Connect – David Bradford, Ph.D., Carole Robin, Ph.D.

Change your mindset.

Exceptional relationships

Exceptional relationships can be developed. They have six hallmarks:

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  • You can be more fully yourself, and so can the other person.
  • Both of you are willing to be vulnerable.
  • You trust that self-disclosures will not be used against you.
  • You can be honest with each other.
  • You deal with conflict productively.
  • Both of you are committed to each other’s growth and development.

In these relationships, you feel seen, known, and appreciated for who you really are, not an edited version of yourself.

Letting yourself be more fully known

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Most of us have countless interactions each day with people who don’t really know us well. At times, you may yearn for deeper and more meaningful connections, but you don’t always know how to get there.

Letting yourself be more fully known is crucial to developing exceptional relationships. Self-disclosure creates more opportunities to connect and increases trust. It is also enormously validating to be accepted for who you really are. That said, it’s not risk-free.

Try the 15 percent rule

Consider three concentric rings that represent decreasing safety as you move out from the center.

In the middle is the Zone of Comfort: what you feel completely safe to say or do.

The outermost ring is the Zone of Danger: things you wouldn’t consider doing.

The Zone of Learning: The ring between “comfort” and “danger,” where you are unsure about how another will respond, is the zone in which people learn. Learning at the risk of unintentionally ending up in Danger, test the waters by stretching into the zone of learning by 15%. You can then consider venturing out another 15 % from there.

Sharing Feelings

Sharing facts starts to build a larger picture of who we are but only goes so far. What tends to have more impact is sharing feelings.

Feelings can indicate the intensity of an experience. In reacting to another’s behavior, you could be slightly bothered, annoyed, upset, angry, or furious. These different degrees are crucial in human interaction; they illustrate a lot about who you are.

Feelings provide color, drawing others to us in a way that being utterly unemotional and rational does not.

Having agency

Social scientists call the belief in our ability to act in the world “having agency.”

But too often, people think they have no choice in how to respond to what has happened to them.

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