Relationships – How do I connect with others?

What this is about:

  • The Need for Belonging. There is an epidemic of loneliness in medicine. We have a need for community and belonging.
  • Trust, Commonality and Vulnerability. To build community we need to have trust. To build trust, we need to establish commonality and vulnerability with others. 
  • Contribute Towards Others. As members of the community. We build and strengthen our community through our attitude of care and giving towards others. 

Why it matters:

  • Our Well-Being. We need to have meaningful relationships with other people. Our health depends on it
  • Effectiveness with Patients. Our ability to develop trust makes us more effective with patients. 
  • Cultivating Mentors and Collaborators. We can develop mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues. 

Prompts for Reflection:

  • The ways that I naturally connect with people is through…


  • The situations which most easily “trigger” me are…


  • The words that describe the way I want to treat other people is…


  • The ways that I can provide more value to my relations are…


Reflections & Exercises:

  • Be a Better Listener: One of the most important things you can give someone is your attention. One of the ways to do that is through your listening. We all know that we can get better at that. So pick a few people with whom you would like to improve your relationship, and when you’re with them, focus on your listening. Listen with your ears, but also listen with your eyes and your whole body. Try to understand their point of view instead of formulating what you want to say. Your relationship with that person is bound to improve.
  • When meeting with others, focus on “how I can be of service” to that person: A second strategy to improve your relationships is to focus on how you might be of service to that other person. By default, we are thinking about what we want. Instead, think about how this interaction can benefit the other person. Place that intention in your mind prior and during the engagement.
  • Meditate: If you develop a disciplined habit of daily meditation, you will find that you will have greater access to the relaxation response during interactions, which will allow you to maintain presence and composure during interactions, especially heated ones.