The 4 Key Components for Connection That Will Change Your Relationships

March 30, 2021

Today I’m walking you through the 4-part framework I developed that will completely change how you connect with people and lead to better relationships.

  1. Curiosity
  2. Communication / Conversation
  3. Compassion
  4. Connection

In my opinion, the one that gets neglected the most?

Genuine curiosity.

I can promise that no matter how well you think you know someone, there’s always more to discover.  And what a beautiful gift that is.

Listen, we’re human. We all like to talk about ourselves, it’s in our nature.

But aren’t you curious about other people? How they operate? Why they do what they do? Their life story?

I’ve been fascinated by the human psyche for as long as I can remember.

People watching has always been one of my favourite things, even as a child, and I’ve always loved inventing stories about people or wondering what kind of interesting life they’ve lived that you could never guess from outward appearances or circumstances.

Research has shown that curious people:

-Connect socially with others more easily

-Better able to recover from social rejection

-Less aggressive (potentially because their curiosity leads them to try and take the perspective of others to learn different ways of thinking)

-Enjoy socializing more – even for those who identify as socially anxious

-More likely to keep the interest alive in romantic relationships ????

And if you’re not naturally curious? It’s a trait that can be practiced and learned.

You can:

Ask more open-ended questions

Ask better questions. Example: instead of the standard “what do you do?” ask “what lights you up? What’s exciting you most right now?”

Actively listen (as in, put the damn phone away.) True connection requires PRESENCE. Your full, undivided presence in order for the connection to thrive.

Secret bonus tip about curiosity: you have to make time for it.

If you’re on a tight schedule 24/7 with every single moment of your day scheduled, you may miss out on some powerful connections.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel people are super rushed, I’m less likely to open up or say much because those types of conversations only really happen when there’s space for the conversation to breathe.

Leave space in your calendar for the magic to happen.

Curiosity is a huge advantage, and one of the most important part of the framework.

Let’s dive into all of this, including real-life examples!

Curiosity for Connection

You’re listening to Episode 264 of the Room to Grow podcast. I’m Emily Gough, a human connection coach, speaker and mental health advocate with an insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure, always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn and grow. It’s about allowing for room to grow. And this podcast focuses on three main pillars: human connection, personal growth, and freedom. We cover topics like relationships, and cultivating genuine supportive connections with ourselves and others, speaking your truth, shattering personal barriers, radical self acceptance, and courageously leaning into your skill sets. Whether it’s a solo episode, or bringing on highly curated guests with incredible stories, experiences and expertise to share, we’re leaning in and taking the entire idea of growth to the next level, all while still covering the uncomfortable topics that many of us like to avoid, there’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this.

Hey, welcome back to the Room to Grow podcast, Emily Gough here. And today, we’re going to be talking about the four key components for connection that will change your relationships. This is actually, I’m going to be walking you through the four, four C’s framework that I have developed, that is all around connection, human connection, and how to really connect with people on a deeper level. Because so many of us, so many of the people I talked to, are either struggling with feeling like they have very surface level connections, and not feeling seen, heard, understood, or they have connections that are decent, they’re, they’re good, but they’re still feeling a little bit like they, like they want more. And they want to really improve those relationships, especially romantic relationships. But these can be applied to any type of connection or relationship in your life. And they will absolutely change and shift the entire ground upon which that connection stands in the best possible ways, assuming that the other person is responsive. But the way that I’m going to teach this to you is that these types of tools, if you use these tools in a really genuine way, I can almost guarantee that they are going to completely shift how you show up for people, and how people then in turn show up for you. And to be able to be a little bit more vulnerable to really like to connect with people on a deeper level. And this is something that we all want and need. This is a basic human need and desire. So let’s go through this a little bit. 

So the four C’s framework here. The very first one is curiosity. And that’s the one that we’re going to be focusing on the most today. And there’s even research to back this up and everything else is actually really, really fascinating stuff we’re going to get into today. But curiosity is the first one, then communication and conversation, right. And communication skills in general are really, really important. I’ve done other episodes about some really crucial communication skills, including how to have hard conversations. So I will link that episode up, it’s Episode 241. It’s been super, super popular. And those there are tools in that episode that I teach that have literally changed the entire way I interact with humans in the best possible ways. So definitely go check out Episode 241 as well. The third one is that we’ve got curiosity, we’ve got communication, we have compassion is the third one. This is so important and often underutilized. Compassion is just such an incredible part of the conversation. And not just compassion for others, but compassion for ourselves too, because that changes how we show up in the world. And that’s something that I work closely with my one on one clients around as well. And it actually tends to be the thing that when, when my clients and I, when I ask them what they have learned the most from me, it actually kind of surprises me. But that actually tends to be the most common answer, is compassion, and having more compassion for themselves. It’s interesting, because if you asked me what my superpower was, I would say compassion. But sometimes just like any other human, I sometimes struggle with having as much compassion for myself, as I do for everybody else. And that’s an active practice. For me. That’s something that I’m always working to improve upon. And I love seeing the differences that people notice in themselves. When I work with them, they start to be a little bit kinder to themselves, and it’s life changing. It’s absolutely life changing. So we’ve got curiosity, we’ve got communication, we have compassion, and the last one is connection. And the connection is the part of the framework that comes as a more natural result of Curiosity, the communication and the compassion, and everything that goes with all of those things. 

So today we’re going to dive a little bit more into curiosity in particular, because this is the one that to me, I think often gets neglected the most out of these four, in my opinion, you know, will, if you’re in sort of the the personal development world at all, or if you kind of do do some homework on relationships and stuff like that, the things that come up the most are things like communication skills. And those are so important. So, so, so important. But it doesn’t address some of the underlying issues that have to come first, which is just having a natural curiosity about the person that you’re trying to connect with. And the reason why I think that gets neglected is that there are a variety of reasons, sometimes I think that that part might get neglected, because we start to believe that we know everything about someone. That’s a lie, by the way, but sometimes we can start to believe that I have certainly believed that before. I’m like, oh, like I know virtually everything about that person. I have, I have learned in the hardest possible ways that that is never true. But that’s certainly a trap that we can sometimes think of. Or maybe we think that the other person has become predictable. Right? Like, think back to the days when you were first getting to know someone and how exciting it was to learn more about them, especially if we’re talking you know, in terms of romantic relationship, right? how fun it was to find out things you never would have guessed about them. You almost wish you could have bottled that feeling. But that feeling is just curiosity. And yeah, there’s you know, more of an element of surprise and stuff like that maybe in the very beginning, because you have so much to learn about somebody. But there’s always more to learn about someone, I promise you, I promise you, there’s always more to learn. The problem is when we stop being curious, we stop asking questions. And then we wonder why people don’t tell us certain things. I do this a lot. I’m a very open person. But I often will only share things if I’m asked about something that is related. And I don’t think that’s unusual. I think a lot of us are like that. There’s certain things that we just either won’t even think of, or we just won’t necessarily bring up or talk about ourselves. Unless somebody asks us about it. or something, you know that that would be part of our answer, right? Or let’s turn this around. 

In terms of the reason why curiosity maybe gets neglected sometimes, like maybe you feel misunderstood in some of your relationships, or you wish that people knew you better, right, like when we hold back and we wait for somebody else to ask us the questions. And we want somebody to show more interest in us that we wish that they took more care in, in showing that interest and asking questions. Maybe you want to just kind of spice up a relationship, all of these things come down to curiosity. All of these things come down to curiosity. And I can promise you that no matter how well you think, you know, someone, there’s always more to discover and what a beautiful fucking gift that is. What a beautiful gift that is that we are all such layered human beings that you can live with somebody for. I can’t speak from experience in this. But I imagine and I have heard from relationships that are really solid and have stood the test of time, over 30-40 years. The best relationships I know that have stood the test of time, are the ones where each of the people in that relationship stayed really curious about the other and was always seeking to understand the other one better to understand their point of view a little bit better. And, truly, if you want to know what’s missing from some of your relationships, it’s genuine curiosity, because that’s the other thing, it has to be genuine. 

For anyone who’s new to this podcast, you may not have heard this before. But I talk about this all the time. I will never preach anything, unless it is done with genuine intent. Like I will never recommend that somebody go out there and be curious about something with some sort of ulterior motive. No, everything, everything we do. And everything we talked about on this podcast has to be if you’re going to take it out into the world It has to be done with genuine intent. So if you’re going to be curious about somebody you need to be curious because you’re actually curious. And because you want to get to know them better. You want to connect with them more deeply. And listen like we’re all human. We all like to talk about ourselves. It’s in our nature. But are you curious about other people like how they operate and why they do what they do in their life story. I’ve been fascinated by the human psyche for as long as I can remember, like, I always loved people watching even as a child. I’ve always loved inventing stories about people or wondering what kind of interesting life they’ve lived that you could never guess from outward appearances or circumstances. And that kind of curiosity is so beautiful, right? Like, we see this in children all the time, this really beautiful, pure, innocent curiosity. And somewhere along the way, it often gets stamped out where, you know, we’ll ask lots of why too many times. And we’ve all had that little kid in front of us or they’re like, why? And then you answer and they’re like why, why, why. And sometimes we can get overwhelmed or frustrated by things that we’re like, well, I don’t know, I don’t know the answer to that why. And sometimes that we have that kind of reaction, I think that that kind of reaction can really stamp out that beautiful, natural sense of curiosity in us even as children. And then we grow into adults that have learned to not ask questions. And how sad is that? So this curiosity piece is so crucial. And research has actually shown that people who are curious, connect socially with others more easily, they’re better able to recover from social rejection. They’re less aggressive, potentially, because their curiosity leads them to try to take the perspective of others to learn different ways of thinking and understanding, right, they generally enjoy socializing more, even for those who identify as socially anxious, the people who were curious, still enjoyed socializing more. And curious people are also more likely to keep the interest alive in romantic relationships. And to me, more likely to keep the interest alive in virtually any relationship. But we all know that romantic relationships are the ones where that is just such a crucial component. 

But if you feel like you’re not somebody who’s naturally curious, it’s still a trait that can be practiced and learned, you can ask more open ended questions, you can ask better questions. So for example, instead of the standard, like what do you do, ask what lights you up? Or what’s exciting you the most right now I always ask people those questions. And sometimes they look at me a little bit weird. And then I see excitement bubble up, because it’s like, oh, nobody’s ever asked me that. And they’ll start, I can almost see joy, like they start to radiate from them, because they’ll start to tell me this really cool thing they’re working on, or this is a really neat idea they’re having, and it’s beautiful. It’s so cool. And the other problem is that when we ask questions, like what do you do, some people hold a lot of shame around the job that they have. Because it might be one where they don’t actually feel in alignment with that job. It’s not something that they want to be doing. I felt that way. When I was in the corporate world, I did not want to be in that world. I did not want to be in that world. It was a great job. I was so well treated there. It was, it was amazing. It paid the bills, I learned so much at that job. But it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. And people would ask what I did, and I didn’t want, sometimes I would try to sidestep the question. And I didn’t really want to answer it not because I was ashamed of the job, exactly, exactly. It wasn’t that it was that I was ashamed that I wasn’t doing something that I felt like, belonged to me, or fulfilled me in any way. And I didn’t want to be judged as a human based on what I did for a living. So that’s a really, you know, kind of long drawn out way of explaining why it’s really important to ask different questions here. And if you’re talking to your partner or friend that you maybe know on a deeper level, ask them about their childhood. Ask them about their favorite memory with you. When they realized something really important about themselves. There’s so many there are an endless array of questions that you can ask people. And if you want some help with this, I really recommend checking out we’re not, we’re not really strangers. It’s a card game. For anybody who doesn’t know it’s a card game. I think they literally title it a card game for emotional people. So of course I’m attracted to it. But it’s a card game where it’s literally just cards with questions on them. But you end up leaving the game, realizing it’s not even really a game exactly. But you end up leaving having had the most beautiful conversations and feeling so much more deeply connected to people because it is promoting curiosity. I’m actually looking to create a deck of my own around this like sort of a similar idea, friend, and I’ve been tossing ideas back and forth about how to make one that’s different from anything else we’ve seen on the market. So stay tuned for that might be happening later this year. I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how it goes. 

But if you want some ideas, I really recommend going to check that out because there’s so many ways that we can connect with people.  Sometimes that connection can feel so out of reach that it’s heartbreaking and we can end up feeling really alone. That’s how people, it’s how so many of us will end up feeling really depressed or totally isolated especially given the events of the past year. So this is why this connection piece is so crucial and when you’re asking more questions here’s another part that’s really important, you need to actively listen as in put the fucking phone away, okay put the phone away. But this part this always frustrates me i actually will get annoyed even if i met with a group of people and we’re having conversation at dinner or something like that like everybody’s on their phone i’m like guys put the phone away i am that person who will literally tell the table i’m like nope no phones for next 30 minutes like everybody put your phones away. True connection requires presence, your full undivided presence in order for the connection to thrive and we can feel when someone isn’t truly tuned into us and it doesn’t feel good we’ve all felt that way and it doesn’t even have to involve a cell phone you can put someone’s phone away but their their mind may still be 1000 miles away and of course we’ve all had that sometimes we’ve all experienced that where we’ve been the person with our mind is as 1000 miles away but if it’s a pattern if it’s happening a lot, like it’s happening in all kinds of different conversations you are the common denominator so you have to take a closer look at that within yourself because this true connection if you want to feel more connected to people if you want your relationships to thrive it requires presence i have ended relationships with people because of a lack of presence and i’m not the only one i know a lot of people who have done that you have to be willing to give another human being your full attention which leads into another point this is sort of a secret bonus tip of book curiosity you have to make time for it you have to make time to be curious because if you are in a tight schedule 24 seven with every single moment of your day scheduled you may miss out on some powerful powerful connections and i’m not talking powerful in terms of like powerful people i’m talking about powerful in terms of the level of depth of connection that you can have with someone because i don’t know about you but when i feel people are super rushed like they’re like running around all the time i’m far less likely to open up or or say much because those types of conversations that that have a huge amount of depth they only really happen when there’s space for the conversation to breathe, we have to leave space on our calendar for that kind of magic to happen you can’t schedule a time for somebody and you know we’re all busy we all have schedules absolutely i’m not faulting that at all but i’m just saying that if this is again a pattern if this is something that’s happening all the time where every minute of your day is scheduled all the time and you’re trying to connect more deeply with your partner something and you schedule like a dinner date with them from like I don’t know is 7pm to 8:30pm i’m just using this as an example but you may be you’re not even fully present while you’re there because you’re so busy that you’re you’re thinking about a million other things and you aren’t you’re you’re basically so focused on the schedule and about what you’re going to be doing next and what you just did the activity you just came from and all these things it doesn’t leave space for that that curiosity it doesn’t leave space for that curiosity to breed the deeper connection. 

And in my opinion a curiosity is an advantage is an absolute advantage in every area of life do you ever think that there was any one, do you think let’s just use i don’t know Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or something as an example do you think that if either of those humans had level zero curiosity we will be benefiting from their inventions and the things that they have done and accomplished? No if they didn’t have that natural curiosity we wouldn’t have the things you know the products like the the macbook pro computer that i’m recording this on right now that would not exist, that wouldn’t happen and the the technological advances that that’s just one example the far more important one to me is the connection piece because who are we without our relationships are you going to coast through life wishing that you had posted that one more thing on instagram no you are going to be craving that deeper human connection but you have to come to the table with the curiosity for it to happen because when you’re ready regularly seeking and this is why I feel like curiosity is such an advantage. Because when you’re regularly seeking new ideas and perspectives and facts, experiences, information, wisdom, communication, all of those things, you’re going to end up farther ahead than someone who isn’t interested in that kind of expansion. And more importantly, it allows you to open up to your full potential. To come curious, to start the conversation to show up with compassion and to watch your connections flourish. 

The four C’s, curiosity, conversation, compassion, and connection. And the most beautiful part about humanity is that we share so many similarities and ultimately end up having so many of the same experiences just with different details. We’ve all experienced the wide range of human emotions from joy to grief, and everything in between anger, sadness, fear, like I could go on all day, every possible human emotion that you can think of, we have all experienced it, it’s part of our humanity. And yet, we often end up feeling so alone and so separate from those around us. You can even be wildly lonely even with the person that you think knows you best in the world, sitting right next to you. I’ve lived that too. And what’s missing is connection. And taking the time to consciously, intentionally connect with people. However, you cannot sit around waiting, wishing and hoping for others to magically start connecting with you more deeply, you have to take responsibility for this first, we always come back to this. on virtually every episode, I feel like you have to take responsibility for this. But you will be amazed at how people open up and soften and allow you closer to their hearts when you show genuine care and interest in them. And that starts with a natural sense of curiosity. Gift people with your full presence. Show them that they are more important to you by scrolling the Instagram feed for the 27th time in the last half hour. And listen, we’ve all done that we have all been on both sides of this. I have been guilty of that as well. There have been moments where I have felt more interested in scrolling in Instagram feed than connecting with the person beside me. And yet, then we wonder why we feel so disconnected. Are you more curious about the people you follow on Instagram? Are you more curious about the person sitting beside you? Which one means more to you? The strangers on the internet or the person that you go to bed with every night? Right? So I really want you to think about this. And to implement this kind of curiosity, this beautiful, childlike quality that you can inject into your relationships. And to utilize the four C’s framework around curiosity conversation, showing compassion and connection. And I have a lot more to say, especially about the compassion piece. Because I’ve ended up working closely with clients around this as one of the tools that we sort of developed together. And I get a lot of questions about compassion as well. 

So I will be talking a lot more about compassion and come up with some episodes around that. And if you want to work with me one on one as well. I do have spaces available right now. I would love, love love to connect with you. I’m working, I always just have just really cool, amazing people that I get to connect with. And then when I get to work with them, it’s even more exciting. So I would love to hear from you. I’d love to hear your story. I would love to hear about your natural sense of curiosity or your experience with this and how you’ve maybe noticed this show show up in your own life. And if you want to work together, I would love that too. So send me a DM I’m over @emilygoughcoach on Instagram. Please share this episode rate and subscribe to it truly it goes such a long way to help support this podcast and to help me keep it going. I am a one woman show over here when it comes to some of the a lot of the podcast stuff. I have a really incredible assistant who helps me with the show notes and all that but everything else is on me. So goes such a long way. I would love to be able to hear from you and to hear how this episode landed for you. Okay, so send me a DM, rate subscribe all the things and we’ll be back next time.

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. It means the absolute world to me and I’m so grateful for any references in the episode and all show notes. Be sure to jump over to, and if this episode touched your heart It would mean so much if you would take a quick And to hit subscribe, write a review and share on social media over someone who really needs to hear today’s message. It makes such a difference to keep this podcast going so I can continue to bring you amazing content and absolutely incredible guests. Be sure to tag me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach so that I can thank you in real time for listening and connect with you. We’re back every Tuesday and Thursday with new episodes and I’m looking forward to growing with you!

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