When you're younger, it's easier to click with someone over sharing the same classes or participating in the same activities. However, as you get older, you might find that you feel less close to the people around you. Luckily, there are a number of different ways to bond with someone, whether you're trying to get to know your neighbors, your coworkers, or even a romantic partner. Having a bunch of acquaintances can be fun, but there's nothing like having a close, intimate relationship with someone you like.
"Having people in your life with whom there's mutual trust and genuine caring is an important part of the human experience and is essential to living a healthy, successful life," says relationship expert Antonia Hall over email. "Creating a bond instills an emotional attachment, which is foundational for relationships."
Although there is no magic secret to instantly clicking with someone, there are some different things you can to increase your feelings of closeness. Real bonds take time, but they can be expedited with certain activities that create intimacy. If you're looking to strengthen your relationships — or even forge new ones — pay attention to these nine surprising ways you can bond with someone.
1Create A Common Goal
"Sharing in a mutual goal with others creates a bonding experience that's based on a support system, which is a healthy way to build upon a relationship with friends or loved ones," says Hall. Whether you create a fitness goal together, try to focus on your career, or aim to cut down on TV time, creating a shared purpose is a sure-fire way to encourage closeness.
2Go On A Trip
You don't have to plan a big vacation abroad – even a day trip together can work to facilitate intimacy. "Getting away together has many bonding components," says Hall. "You'll share space together, explore new places, and chose mutual activities, all of which can lend to serious bonding time."
3Do Something Adventurous
"Shared activities with an edge of danger increase bonding with another," says Hall. "Choose an activity outside of your comfort zone, like skydiving, ziplining, or paragliding." Although this more applies to dating, research from multiples studies show that doing something thrilling can lead to increased attraction.
4Frequent A Shared Space
Occupying the same shared space can subconsciously make people feel more comfortable with you, according to Ori Brafman, coauthor of Click, a who spoke to Cosmopolitan. Anywhere with defined borders can be seen as "intimate," so chat up your coworker in the break room, a friend waiting in line for the bathroom, or that guy you were eyeing in your neighborhood coffee shop.
5Share A Meal
Eating together is more than just getting to the same place at the same time. Going out to a restaurant works, but if you want to kick it up a notch, you can create a meal together. "Cooking and eating with someone is a bonding experience as old as the human experience," says Hall. "We care more for those with whom we've shared meals, and time in the kitchen can be a playful way to get to know someone better.
6Dive Deep Into Personal Questions
Intimacy is essential for a bond, and talking about personal things off the bat helps accelerate that closeness. Researcher Arthur Aron came up with 36 questions that help feel better about each other and want to see each other again, according to a study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology. Use these as a starting point to begin having a meaningful conversation.
7Share Your Hardships With Each Other
It's not the most fun way, but expressing your struggles or hardships can help for a bond with someone, as it indicates a level of trust. "When you experience a life tragedy together or go through times or hardships, even stress or drama in the office it can bring two people close," says relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein over email. "There are those feelings of support and understanding."
8Do Something Nice
Offering to help someone is a great way to take your relationship to the next level, whether it's for a friend or someone you're dating. If you are in a romantic relationship, it's best to focus on the little things you can do everyday rather than opting for grand gestures. Research shows that smaller gestures of support are more effective than overt favors, which can make someone feel trapped or obligated, according to Psychology Today.
9Create Physical Contact
Physical touch is a way to create bonds — given you respect someone's boundaries, of course. Multiple studies show that emotions can even be conveyed through just touching alone. Think a hug, a pat on the back, or other signs of affection that can create intimacy.