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1-on-1 Bonding Algorithm


There often comes a point when for whatever purpose, there is a need/want to become closer with another person. However, we often struggle to get closer to someone without being awkward. Here is an algorithm to follow to become closer to anyone. 


Always embody active vulnerability and active listening

Getting close:

  • Identify their priorities

  • Understand their passions

  • Go through the 36 Questions or Card Game to understand mutual identities

Maintaining closeness:

  • Create a mutual interest

  • Schedule occasional check-ins


The following are themes to embody whenever implementing the bonding algorithm. The algorithm isn’t a rulebook, it’s a set of guidelines. Use your own judgement when reading through and implementing the algorithm.


#1 Active Vulnerability

In order for trust to be fostered between two people, they must understand each others’ intentions and personalities. The only way to reach a high level of understanding within a short time period is through active vulnerability. Thus, throughout the initial conversations, you must try to be as vulnerable as you can with the other person. 


Although this may be difficult, you will open the opportunity to be understood, and make your partner feel comfortable sharing parts of themselves too. Of course, don’t reveal your innermost insecurities and desires, but it can be surprising how much of yourself you are willing to tell.


#2 Active Listening

Many conversations that are held in our social lives are, frankly, empty and meaningless. Information is exchanged and the conversation is forgotten in seconds. In order for a conversation to be memorable, both parties must feel a sense of emotional connection. 


Unfortunately, we have been conditioned by society so that we are subconsciously self-aware to the point where we naturally listen for the purpose of responding instead of understanding. Thus, the concept of active listening means that you will listen to what the other person is saying in order to understand them. It’s very simple, but very difficult in practice. However, active listening will pay you infinite dividends.



#1 Stating Your Intentions

This is an optional action that may or may not suit your personality. You may explicitly tell the other person the purpose that you are trying to achieve, which is becoming closer and understanding them. However, this may not work for all scenarios and all personalities, so use caution when deciding whether to state your intentions.


However, if the person you are trying to become closer to is a colleague, it is advisable for you to state your intentions.


#2 Identifying Their Priorities

One of the most talked-about topics and most indicative of identity is a person’s day-to-day priorities. If a person doesn’t have too much going on in their life that they are excited about, it’s likely that they aren’t that interesting of a person (sad, but true). 


It’s pretty simple to identify someone’s priorities; just ask them what’s going on in their life that they look forward to every day. Your partner’s priorities will tell you a lot about their values and to which activity they dedicate their energy. 


#3 Understanding Their Passions

Every person has something that they are passionate about, which means that a person’s passions tell you a lot about their identity. If this topic was reached when asking about your partner’s priorities, encourage them to elaborate further.


You and your partner may or may not have passions that are currently being pursued. No matter what, share your passions of anything from cooking to anime to dropshipping. If no common interests can be found, take it as an opportunity to learn more about another topic. Understand why your partner loves their passion and what it means to them.


More: Getting Deeper

After identifying your partner’s priorities and understanding their passions, you already know more about them than an acquaintance. For some relationships, this is a safe place to stop and maintain closeness, as some relationships that are legal, academic, or business-related must be kept at a safe emotional boundary away.


However, there will be a need for you to become closer to other people. These people can range anywhere from the people with whom you work to your own family members. Since you will be spending a considerable amount of time with them in your life, you may be interested in strengthening and deepening your relationship with them. 


With some people in life that you meet, you will instantly have multiple hours-long conversations with them right when you meet them simply because of common values, goals, interests, etc. However, it is more difficult to connect with someone who does not share obvious similarities. 


Thus, here are 2 gems that I found which, when correctly implemented, can yield tremendous conversations. 


It’s important to keep in mind the values of Active Vulnerability and Active Listening when conversing. These values will help your partner feel more welcome to share and more accepted in their feelings.


I recommend spending anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours going through the 36 questions. Personally, I’ve spent 6 hours talking with someone about these questions once, so there is no time limit. However, no matter who I talked to, I always got closer and felt more connected to them at the end of the conversation as the questions help you deeply understand both people. 



Maintaining Closeness

It is one thing to become close to someone, but another thing entirely to remain close. There are countless people whom I have gotten close to and drifted apart from in my life. There’s a pretty simple explanation why so many of our relationships end up to become fleeting, but sufficient in the short-term. 


Many relationships start and end because of common interests or goals. Relationships ranging from someone you meet at a conference to your colleague to your teammate are all caused by mutual interests. You have likely met your closest friends through mutual interest. 


Why Is It Difficult?

The reason why people drift apart from even close friends after a mutual interest ends (switch workplaces, graduate from school) is that in every person's lifetime, they will only meet a few people who the person will be willing to keep in their life no matter what, due to the natural bond between them. These people are either family members, best friends, or romantic partners. In all 3 cases, genuine love is formed where people are connected through their bond alone. Of course, genuine love is one of the rarest phenomena to ever occur.


There may be a reason that you wish to remain close to someone despite a lack of genuine love from both sides. Maybe you want to continue the relationship, but are unable to contact them as frequently as before. Maybe you wish to transition to another type of relationship with them. No matter the case, below are some tips for maintaining close relationships.


No matter the reason, it can be difficult to maintain a deep level of understanding with people that you do not talk to as often anymore. Thus, below are some activities to maintain social contact and a common understanding of each others’ identities.


Creating Mutual Interest

As mentioned before, the primary reason for most relationships is mutual interest. Once the mutual interest separates, there is no longer a strong reason for two people to consistently contact each other. Thus, one solution may be simply creating a long-term mutual interest to provide a reason for consistent contact.


Be aware that this method may take more effort on the parts of both parties, as having a mutual interest is often time-consuming if done seriously.


Scheduling Occasional Check-Ins

One of the more efficient ways of staying in touch is through occasional check-in conversations. Check-ins have such a negative connotation around them. However, I believe that it is perfectly fine to have check-ins with anyone in our lives. In fact, I have periodic check-ins with many of my friends with whom I do not regularly communicate. This method is very efficient in updating each other on significant life events and maintaining casual but strong relationships.


Note: if you are struggling to maintain a relationship, odds are that it isn’t worth investing your time and effort into a single relationship (generally speaking). The relationship should still feel natural and not “forced” after implementing these guidelines.



Closeness and intimacy within relationships are crucial to maintaining positive mental health and having a support system. This guide is meant to provide you with an easy formula to follow when you are struggling to connect with someone. This guide is not meant to help you understand why close relationships are important and the theory behind every action; if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me!

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