If you’ve ever “clicked” with someone, you’re no stranger to the experience of meeting a new human and feeling an inexplicable bond after just a few short conversations. What forms an instant connection, though? Based off of experience we’ve had and some reading we’ve done, we’ve boiled down the the “click” to a few specific contributing factors:
First, connections often happen because of a shared identity or experience. Sometimes, they form when people stand on common ground - an issue they care about or involvement in the same organization or programming, for example. And third, (and unsurprisingly) a typical trend is that folks find quick companions through laughter - together as a pair, or within a group.
A couple of common myths? Experiencing this phenomenon is easier for people who are outgoing, or you have to share values or beliefs in order to create an instantaneous bond. Truthfully, neither of these could hurt, but they’re definitely not essential. What is essential is entering into new conversations feeling worthy of building new, strong relationships - with the desire to be authentic, honest, and vulnerable, and, of course, to be open to and encouraging of reciprocity from your new companion.
You probably already realized that alternative breaks are the quintessential place to make fast friends. Though we can’t explain the exact science behind this seemingly magical occurrence - we can speculate it’s because breakers are entering into trips with the intent of building new relationships, engaging in challenging conversations, and being open to humility and learning. With this awareness, we can consider (as executive board members, site leaders, or participants) how to either facilitate or partake in relationship building like this.
There’s a chance that you’ve made one or two of these connections unexpectedly, but if you enter into new spaces ready to exemplify the factors that help build immediate relationships, you may be surprised to find that the next “click” is likely the next hand you shake.