“Making verbal contact is important, but the non-verbal aspects of psychological contact are more important.”
Whether we succeed or fail in achieving rapport with the people we relate with depends a lot on the establishment of contact (closeness). Do they allow themselves their availability to be with us? Do we allow ourselves our availability to be with them? Are we personally available? Only when one makes effort and the other notices, can there be the initiation of warming activities, where hearts and minds begin to flux in semblances of togetherness.
We each need to make effort, just as it’s best if each of us is aware of the reasons for, and barriers to, contact. This contact we speak of is psychological contact; a contact essential for decent relationships.
Understanding Their Barriers
There are countless reasons why people find it hard, even impossible at times, to be completely themselves before us. Most of these reasons have nothing to do with us, yet we commonly self-attribute such barriers as rejection. Because we fear rejection most of all, we may run at an awareness of their reticence for contact.
Still, again, their reticence could be, and most often is, of their own creating, as they battle their own social demons and the demons of their thinking.
Truly understanding their barriers is more about keeping an open mind about what perplexes them in the given moment. This ignites a curiosity within us. Instead of judging them, we find ourselves interested to learn what drives their thinking and why they’re feeling the way that they are.
Their barriers may provoke thought regarding what our barriers might be; when our thought processes are complete. The mere existence of their barriers highlights that we, too, have our challenges in establishing contact.
Even More Important, Understanding Our Barriers
If we can see how other people have their barriers to contact with us, we can begin to see how our barriers prevent our contact with them.
We may be deluded in thinking ‘I have it all together’ when, realistically, our barriers to contact with other people are no less significant than theirs are. This is a freeing truth. It qualifies us as human beings, capable of thinking and feeling and developing perceptions—however warped from the truth they may be.
When we struggle to release ourselves for contact with another, we should ask ourselves why.
These are opportunities to love people. Yet, there’ll always be situations where we find it near impossible to be free enough to do that. Awareness cannot be understated. Where we’re aware of the barriers to contact we can do something about them—even if that’s simply to maintain our awareness.
Developing warm relationships depends on mutual psychological contact.
Being able to enjoy closeness and warmth is a matter of reducing barriers to contact. Then trust can blossom. Two people are responsible for a relationship, yet it takes just one to begin melting these barriers. Reach out and risk.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.