To be honest, it isn't something that can happen overnight. I've learned that I need to make sure that I'm always present in the moment with that person I'm connecting with. Also, I need to really listen, with the intention of connecting, and having a true understanding of what the other person is trying to say. I think it's also important to understand the difference between really connecting with someone, and just mindless conversation. I personally am not a fan of small talk, although I use it quite often. I use it because I'm usually in a situation where I am with others I don't always feel connected to, which is mostly at work. I enjoy my job, and the people, but there are only a few co-workers that I care to have a great connection with.
I found the first step was to build a wonderful relationship with myself. I needed to understand what self care looked like and how to make sure that I am the most important person in my world. I feel much more confident, settled, calm and overall happy because I have taken a lot of time to really learn who I am. I needed to start with myself before anyone else. I've always put others before me, and it was my time to take the wheel.
I am now starting to really examine the relationships I have with others and how I can be as authentic and real with them as possible. I've never really thought about my friendships before, and I used to think I was a crappy friend. I was never good about getting back to people, or making plans. I'm now starting to realize it was because I wasn't really connecting with these individuals, and I was trying too hard to make our friendship work. Needless to say, I was mostly indifferent towards my relationship with them, and that is not the way I want to be now.
I now see the error in my ways before, and even though I identify with being a bit of an introvert, I have made connections with others whom I truly feel are supposed to be apart of my life for the long haul. I feel so lucky to have met a few people in my town who I feel I connected to emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It's changed my perspective on what real connections to others can be like.
I encourage you to do the same; to take the time to understand what you need from other people, and to not pair yourself with others who do not meet your needs. It's an incredibly fantastic feeling, and I couldn't be happier on this journey.