...I realise that before I can interact freely with another, I have to establish some kind of connection...
The term you're looking for here is 'rapport'. It's a word that is remarkably offensive to some people, as it suggests a certain shallowness to interpersonal communications to them. It's really not the case -- it's a question of whether the person speaking to you sets you at ease through the use of a myriad of things -- posture, tone, verbiage, etc. -- or whether they are unfamiliar to you, cause you discomfort, etc.
You are what you think.