Have you ever met someone and thought, déjà vu—I’ve met you before? That’s not just your lunch talking. It’s likely that you have “met” that person, either through posts on a mutual friend’s Facebook status, or a particular tweet (or a retweet), or maybe through mutual connections on LinkedIn.

Herein lies the beauty of social networking—it’s connecting strangers and making our world smaller than ever before.

I’m not an advocate of living out your life and relationships online—we’re probably all a little guilty of lazy communication (texts, emails, Facebook messages, etc.) and need to come up for air from our laptops once in a while. Face-to-face interaction with both friends and clients still trumps digital connection. However, complete strangers are becoming a thing of the past. We meet so many people online and in our social networks now that it makes meeting them in person that much warmer and easier to interact. There’s a predetermined connection.

On a local or a global scale, if you want to know something about a brand or an individual, the opportunity is right at your fingertips. Since I’m not really a small talk kind of person and I like getting to the heart of a conversation quickly, I love that we have social media to get us past the initial “Hi, I’m Bryan” stage. In my mind, social sets us up to connect and converge in real life in a more meaningful way.

Here are 5 things you can do online to give your future relationships a jumpstart:

1) Share authentically. Whether on your blog, in a tweet or in your LinkedIn profile, be who you be. Drop the false pretense and speak authentically. People will get a better sense of who you are if you’re writing about yourself and your passions with honesty and conviction. Anything predetermined or over-thought is going against the law of attraction.

2) Don’t be afraid to share. You have thoughts every day, right? And somebody will benefit from them—so don’t keep them to yourself. Share them. In spurts on Twitter or at length on your blog. Think of what we could accomplish if we didn’t let fear of others’ reactions keep us from putting our stuff out there. Create warmth in your future relationships by being willing to share your thoughts and your passions, even before that first handshake. People will feel like they already know you even before they do.

3) Develop rapport. Conversations are meant for two or more people. If you are just shouting out from your own Facebook page, expecting likes and comments but not instigating conversation (and thus, developing relationships), then you might as well talk to a mirror. It’ll be fun for a while, but it’s a bit narcissistic and the end result won’t get you far. LinkedIn has all the information you need to know before you meet someone face-to-face. If you do your homework, it could make your real life interaction that much more meaningful.

4) Listen. Too much talking and not enough listening makes for unbalanced relationships, take it from a Libra. The same applies in social networks, with both companies and individuals. If you think about it, the same listening strategies in life apply to those online. Build a listening strategy that gives you insights, and you will probably get more out of it than what your current engagement strategy is providing.

5) Have fun. Seriously. Have some fun. Life is too short to be serious all the time, plus social media is not the place to get too corporate and uptight. People do business with people. It’s about engaging, not selling. It’s about connecting, not simply self-promoting. If you aren’t happy with your personal brand, ask yourself why, then lighten up a bit and have some fun with it. Maybe a rebranding is in order. People like to connect with interesting individuals, and they certainly appreciate a company that shows it has a fun human side.

Key Takeaway: Remember that thanks to social media, there are no strangers in this world… only future friends, colleagues and clients. Contribute to global warming (the good kind) and be your fearless, sharing authentic self in every place you communicate.