Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out how to get out there and meet people. Alternatively, it may be easy to meet new people but tough to maintain those new connections. Here are six tips for cultivating human connections.

1. Be There for People

One of the easiest things you can do to cultivate human connection is to try to be there for the people you care about. Whether you’re agreeing to pet-sit for a friend while he or she is away on a trip, helping someone move or offering comfort in a time of emotional turmoil, providing support is a great way to show someone your love. Keep in mind, you shouldn’t continue to offer support to someone who never bothers to reciprocate. Neither should you agree to help someone if you’re already stretched thin and feel like you can’t take on any more work. Take care of yourself, too.

2. Make Your Space Inviting

This doesn’t mean you need to decorate your home in such a way that others feel comfortable there and you don’t. It’s still your home. However, there are things you can do to make your space more suitable for guests. You can make sure there is enough comfortable furniture for guests to utilize. When you invite people over, you can add extra touches, like adding an arrangement of seasonal flowers or purchasing your guest’s favorite snack. There are ways to make outdoor spaces more inviting, too. For example, you could look up how much does an inground pool cost versus how much does a jacuzzi cost if you want to incorporate an easy way to host outdoor gatherings.

3. Talk about Your Passions

Small talk about sports or the weather can be a good way to start a conversation, but to really get to know someone you should work up to talking about the things you really care about. That doesn’t mean you should immediately jump into discussing politics or morality, though. Instead, talk about your hobbies, something in the community you’re interested in or your family. Find common ground with conversation partners and develop deep, meaningful conversations.

4. Allow Others To Care for You

Remember that cultivating relationships is a two-way street. As much as you need to work on being there for others, you should also allow them to support you. If someone wants to do something for you, whether it be as small as offering to pay for a meal or as big as supporting you through the death of a loved one, accept his or her help and make sure he or she knows you’re grateful. Remember, relationships are built on mutual support. You shouldn’t be the only one offering support, but you also shouldn’t expect support without providing it in return.

5. Be Vulnerable

In general, people tend to have problems with being seen as vulnerable. You may not like to be viewed as emotional, incompetent or naive, but it’s actually unlikely those who care about you will see you this way. Hiding your problems can instead make you seem aloof or condescending. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up about your problems, without being overbearing about them, you’ll be able to develop deeper connections with people and possibly bond over shared or similar problems.

6. Listen Mindfully

One of the most important skills you can have when cultivating human connections is mindful listening. You can’t just hear people, you need to listen to them with intention. Try not to start formulating a response to what someone is saying before he or she even finishes talking. Instead, take time to digest what has been said and consider your response. Keep from interrupting your conversation partner and reserve judgment regarding the topic. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something rather than making assumptions.

If you make an effort to express your authentic self and make it clear you’re looking for a mutual and mutually beneficial connection, you’ll be better able to connect with people and cultivate those relationships.