What is the Minimum Connection You Should Feel Before Starting or Continuing a Relationship?

Dinner date illustration
So there you are…you are being approached by someone or you are approaching someone and you are asking yourself the ever-common question “What minimum connection must I feel with this person to be comfortable moving forward?”

This may sound like a simple question but some of the stories I have heard lately are just proof that matters of the heart can be complicated and things that should be plain to see could be very elusive.Now I know that there are the cliche responses to that “minimum connection” question. You know…you should have a spiritual connection, a mental connection, an emotional connection and all that. Those are great. Problem is…for most people, that’s very vague. PLUS these things could take a little bit of time to figure out.

I think that in order to even determine whether or not to consider starting a relationship you have to have even more basic types of connections that are easier and faster to identify.

Here they are:

Courtesy connection:

This means that you share the ability to show simple courtesy to each other. Basic manners. Again…this sounds so cliche but if you are single and looking you have probably come across people who just don’t have any relationship manners even in the”talking” phase. They don’t return phone calls. (I’m not really a “phone person” they say – but then have an itch when you don’t return their calls). They say they will do something…then let you down but find it too hard to say I’m sorry.

They are always making you wait but show no remorse for it. Oh how about this one…they seem allergic to saying “Thank you”. Here is another one – You have plans for a certain time but they wait till 24.7 seconds before you were supposed to meet up to tell you they can’t make it (and it’s clear they had like 4 hrs to let you know but didn’t).

One more and I’ll rest my case – They decide they don’t want to move forward with you but they don’t want to look bad and don’t have the backbone to have a conversation about it so they push your buttons to extract a reaction out of you and then latch on to that reaction (which wasn’t even that bad) as the reason they don’t want to move forward. I went through my share of that when I was single and Ugghh that can be so annoying.

If you are going to consider being with someone, you must both have and share a courtesy connection.

And this applies to both men and women.
As a woman, it is not asking for too much for a man to show you common sense courtesy. A lot of men out there unfortunately just don’t get it and are not mature enough to man up and be gentlemen. Tell him “Boy Bye!”. If he can’t be a gentleman when he is pursuing you and hasn’t tasted all the great things about you, when will he be that gentleman?
I have heard from multiple women recently about men who start the pursuit so hot and then just vanish but don’t have the common courtesy to at least pick up the phone and tell them like a man that he is no longer interested.
It is not asking for too much to ask that a man has simple courtesy and shows a bit of respect.

However, as a man, it is also not asking too much for a woman to show you common sense courtesy too. A lot of ladies out there are really rude because they are so high on their horses because they are being pursued so much so that they forget that the men are human beings. If she is rude to you, doesn’t respect you as a person, clearly takes you for granted….bro …please keep it moving.

It’s like men assume that women can’t be players because the narrative is so monopolized by women who complain about men’s inability to commit and all that, that many men forget that it is very possible for a woman to be a player too. In fact, if we take sex/sexual cheating out of the equation, we will see that sometimes even the best of women will come across as players…in the name of “being confused” about which man to pick.
I have heard from men who pursue a woman for months and it is clear that she is just enjoying the attention (without committing) until Mr right comes along.

Relatability connection

This has to do with the ability to simply relate but from two angles. Relating WITH and Relating TO

Angle A is about just enjoying each other’s company and being able to relate well WITH each other. It’s about just being able to talk to each other and have interesting conversations. To share points of views that are somewhat similar. This is about being able to relate to each other’s past,

Angle B is about being able to relate TO each other. To share points of views that are somewhat similar. This is about being able to relate to each other’s past, dreams, struggles, fears, opinions, goals etc.

This doesn’t mean you have to have the same dreams, fears, struggles and so on. This is about being with someone who “gets it” (whatever “it” is for you).

So for example, guy grew up in Makoko (a slum section of Lagos Nigeria) and girl grew up in a Brazilian Favela ( a Itsslum in Brazil).
They can relate. OR

Maybe girl braided hair to make it through college and guy worked at the local restaurant to make it through college.
They can relate.

This type of connection is important because there are some things about you or that you do that just can’t be explained neatly unless someone can relate.

So as you hang out and get to know each other, it’s a good idea to have things you can both relate to.

By the way, it doesn’t have to be a direct correlation. So one person went to a great school because parents could afford it and that immensely helped their career, and the other person had to work really hard to get a scholarship to get an OK education that still immensely helped their career. Even though both people had very different experiences with education, both people could still end up in Starbucks looking into each other’s eyes talking about how important education is.

Values connection

This one is similar to the the Relatability connection but it takes it up a notch. I break this all the way down in my FREE eBook “How To Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned. (It’s here in case you haven’t read it).

You have to have a connection when it comes to at least some of your values…at least your core values.

Values are not desires…they are not opinions….they are not interests. Values are the things that drive us…the things that dictate the direction, pace and operations of our lives.

Values determine what will still get done when you don’t have a lot of time
Values determine how your money will be spent when you don’t have a lot of it …and so on. (Read that ebook!)

Now…Real quick. There are a couple of connections you DO NOT want to depend on to determine if you should date someone. These connections are NOT BAD. They are great additions…extras if you will…but not the foundational connections you can build a relationship on. Here they are:

Social connection

It can be very attractive to share social connection with someone. So for example…having mutual friends or like finding out your sister used to hang out with this person’s sister…or that you used to hang out at the same spot when you were both in -Insert whatever city-. Basically, anything that validates the 6 degrees (or less) of separation between you two.
Here is why.
It is easy to start filling in the blanks about this person simply because of the social connection (Especially the mutual friends connection). So we start to think….if this person is friends with my friends, and I get along with my friends, then I should get along pretty well with this person. Or (here is a good one) we assume that since our friends already like this person, that sort of means they have somehow been “vetted”. Oh how dangerous.

People are friends and associates of people for different reasons. The need that person is filling in the life of someone you know, is often different from the need you may want this person to fill in yours and their capacity to meet those needs for others you know, is not always indicative of their ability to meet yours.

Again…social connection is not a bad thing to have. It can be a fantastic addition to the dynamics of a relationship. I am simply saying don’t get carried away by it at the expense of really evaluating the person.

Goals and profile connection

This one is so sly. It’s when we are attracted to the potential future version of this person…when we are attracted to or feel a connection with their goals but think you are connected to the person. They are studying to be an astro-bio-physio-chemical-legal-environmental- cosmic-spiritual analyst and we just think woooowww!

Sometimes we feel a connection with their “profile”. You know…who they are “on paper”. We feel that the person who is like this on paper surely must me able to relate to you in abc manner or be xyz or have the capacity for 123.

Sometimes we are right, but many times we are wrong.

Phew! That’s it.So what do you think? Have you experienced any of this stuff? Comment below and

So what do you think? Have you experienced any of this stuff? Comment below and don’t forget to share

  • Lekan Lawal

    Great article. Thanks and God bless you.

  • Tolu

    lool at “boy bye”
    On a real note, I have fallen for the “goals and profile connection” one and boy does it vanish quickly when you begin to see a lack in the courtesy and reliability connections.

    Yet another insightful one! More Grace Tobi!

  • Adun

    yup..guilty of ‘goals and profile connection too’ but unlike Tolu.. mine didnt even vanish in an instant.. maybe cos.. i didnt realise on time that was what i was attracted too.
    but thankfully, I’m over him now.

  • Great perspective…Deep question… “where am I falsifying my own connection?” . Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Funlayo Buraimoh

    Tobi, i have been married for over 8yrs and i have been on your mailing list for as long as I can remember- 5 or 6 yrs? Excellent article! i was just having this discussion with my friend yday- sometimes what people really seek is connection and yes some connections as you have rightly put are way higher in rank than others.

    I know you dont want to put social/goals on the necessary list- but as my psychologist colleague @docayomide- without some of this connection- the marriage can still work but it would be just there jare. lol! i mean you really dont need any connection to drag urselves together to a religious house/registry and declare marriage (not even wanting to be married- as childbrides) but yeah- thats all u’d have pretty much.

    I am obliged to therefore mentally place social and goals connection on the essential list. i agree it should not be over the other 3 but my position is that it is almost essential for a happy home in these social age without giving rom for affairs. (another hot topic right- but let’us not get started on that). You really should be able to share experiences with this person that stem from memories and can even project to the future. This can be gradually built but its important. Goals are almost intertwined with values for me. we dont have to have similar but we must aspire along the same threads i think.

    • Wow, Funlayo! 5-6 years? amazing! Thanks for that!
      So here is the thing.
      The social and goals connections are necessary …but not more necessary than the courtesy/relatability/values connection.
      No matter how connected you are in goals if they don’t treat you with courtesy, what’s the point?
      whats the point of having so many shared friends or having such common goals if we don’t absolutely enjoy each other’s company when it’s just us?
      what’s the point of both having/sharing these goals and social connections but we don’t share the values that determine HOW we achieve those goals and HOW we will manage our lives when we achieve those goals?
      Also, what happens is that people fall for the WHAT not the WHO. They fall in love with what the person is trying to do, who they could become, what their goals are, but then ignore the PERSON behind these goals and aspirations and then find themselves in trouble.
      So yea your friend is right. its important that the social and goal connections are there. However, they don not fall on the same level of basic necessity as courtesy, relatability and values.
      Thanks for being here!!

  • Mez

    Oh my goodness, excellent article! I have been dumped in the early stages of a relationship based on the “you have different goals to me” which the person just looked at the surface of but didn’t see that our goals were still compatible, he wanted things to be exactly aligned (his way of course). This actually has happened several times, but that’s okay when it is early on because I see it as the other person being short-sighted and naïve about having everything their own way. If a person doesn’t know how to compromise, they will bale out of potential relationships because the other person isn’t willing to align their own goals to suit them. It is a severe lack of maturity, but that’s their problem.

    I absolutely agree with the connections listed one should look for, if you know from the beginning you have incompatible values this isn’t likely to get resolved. It is exciting when you discover that someone believes in the same life principles as you do, and unfortunately we are sometimes shamed into not “giving people a chance” despite us knowing that there are incompatibilities that make just physical attraction not enough. I love the idea of “relatability” connection. My mother and I have opposite personalities but the same values and we relate to these mutual conclusions from different experiences which validate each other. It is awesome to be able to relate to another and yet come from a different perspective, you don’t have to have the same personality, goals or interests to discover that you are compatible by how well you relate to each other’s expressions/train of thought.

    And AMEN to the courtesy connection. It is an absolute turn off to have your thoughts or feelings devalued by a man who is pursuing you. How can you expect to ask me out or propose to me when you’ve been insulting me with a lack of courtesy or respect towards things you know are important to me? Reminds me of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice “Your conceit and your selfish disdain for the feeling of others… I had not known you a month before I reckoned you were the last man in the world whom I could ever marry”. They shared so many values in common, they had raport and related to each other well, but his lack of courtesy to herself and her family eliminated him (until he changed his behavior) from being a potential suitor.