I found connecting super easy when we led a Bible study for college kids. Really. All I had to do was open the door. They came with plenty of good, juicy topics to discuss, and the juicier the topic, the better we bonded (Word to the wise: If you're not willing to talk about anything, and I mean ANYTHING, don't attempt to hook up with college kids.). All I had to do was sit down in my favorite chair in the living room and let the games begin. No skill involved whatsoever. Fun, fun times. (Miss you, girls!)
Contrast that with my difficulty when we first moved to our community. I am naturally an introverted, shy person. Meeting people was a skill I had to learn, one which did not come without some personal discomfort. Our first years here, I found myself using my young children as a crutch. Instead of chatting with people at the conclusion of church, I'd rush back to the nursery and take my time fetching my kids to avoid the awkwardness. I'd use my children as a reason I couldn't be a part of groups. To be uber honest here, I looked for reasons to stay home altogether--the baby didn't sleep too well, I think my son is getting a cold, I better not infect others, it's too hot, my toddler is crabby, we've got nothing to wear, the dog gets lonely. . .you name it, I probably used it. Essentially, I made myself unavailable. I avoided the butterflies in my stomach getting to know new people, but I was very lonely. It was a good way to stay comfortable and safe, but a bad way to make friends.
The difference in these scenarios? My availability. When I made myself available to people, I realized conversing was not so tough and people could be refreshing. When I wasn't available, there was no chance for a friendship to form. It doesn't take too much to connect with people. Relationships can be formed simply by opening up your house and often just an ear to really hear another person.
Being available is one of the easiest ways to connect, requiring little skill and no preparation. It's only a matter of being there.
More Steps to Connection:
Understand All Have Insecurities
A Related Post: The Art of Hospitality