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10 Things To Remember If You Are In Love With An Only Child

10 Things To Remember If You Are In Love With An Only Child

Being an only child myself, and having been in love, I know that we can be quite difficult to be in a relationship in. But there’s a good reason for this, when we were growing up, we spent a lot of time by ourselves and so we’ve had lesser interactions than those who have had siblings. It is probably one of the main reasons why we developed our social skills much later on in life.

But saying that, we do have some unique characteristic traits which can only be found in those who have no siblings. And to help you unravel these gems so you can see our true selves, here are 10 things that you need to remember if you are in love with an only child.

1. We want to be appreciated and adored

When we were growing up, our parents made us the centre of their attention. So we were well loved and admired during our childhood years and we carried this weight of expectation in our  relationships. This can be burden to many people who are in a relationship with an only child. But you should not let this put you off. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded that the world doesn’t revolved around us. It will take a while for us to get used to this notion, but we’ll get the hang of it.

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2. We want to be part of a big family

As you’d expect, when we were growing up, it was just me, mum and my dad. We envied our friends who had brothers and sisters and we always imagined what our lives would have been liked if we did have brothers and sisters. So when we do seek a relationship, we would like to be with someone who is part of a big family. It’s our own natural way of making up for growing up in a tight knit family and having less interaction.

3. We see our parents as our best friends

We don’t see our parents as just a parent. We see them as our friends and we also have very strong bond with them. There are no barriers or restrictions to what we can talk about and we always frequently keep in touch with them. My parents know all about my previous girlfriends and what happened during my day. Although, I won’t say absolutely everything (if you know what I mean).

We do tend to be quite attached to our parents, because we know we can trust them. And by keeping in touch with them, it is our way of saying thank you for giving us all the love they gave us when we were growing up. But take this as a good sign, because if we can look after our folks, we can look after your folks.

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4. We don’t usually ask for help

I may not speak for every only child, but I certainly knew that when I was growing up, I certainly had a hard time asking people for help. Just recently, I was trying to clean the gutter and my friendly neighbour asked me if I needed help. I said no, but the extra help would have been nice.

Since we never had any siblings, we didn’t have anyone to ask for help. We’ve never had a bigger brother to stand by our sides, never had someone to talk to at home who was from my generation, so we just had ourselves to rely on. But the plus side to this is that we became very self-reliant, so we don’t usually need to ask people for help.

5. We crave closeness

This probably stems back to being centre of attention. Since we’ve never had many opportunities to share experiences with someone other than our parents, we do crave intimacy and creating a strong bond with different people. And here’s another thing, we tend to be quite touchy and feely too. So if you are sleeping in the same bed with an only child, be prepared to be the little spoon.

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6. We don’t like being called spoilt

A lot of people assume that an only child is spoilt. On behalf of every only child this is a yes and no. Yes we were the centre of attention to our parents and they did fully support us in whatever we wanted to do in our lives. But we were really grateful of their support. We never take our parents support for granted and we always made sure that we can make them happy for what we do. So when someone calls us a spoilt brat, we do tend to take it to heart. We never take anything for granted.

7. We spend a lot of time with our thoughts.

Since we spent quite a lot of time by ourselves, we spend a lot of time inside our head. This can be a good and bad thing. It is good because we come up with loads of crazy and wacky ideas, but it can be bad because some of these thoughts can lead on to some unnecessary worries. But in time, we learn to spend less time in our head and more on what is happening in the present moment.

8. We don’t want to have just one kid

After going through motions as an only child, we definitely don’t want to be a parent to just one child. We will know what they will go through based on our personal experiences. We want to give them the things we never had.

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9. We are extremely loyal

We value our best friends. They are like the brothers or sisters that we’ve never had (literally). And because we are extremely loyal, our friendships tend to be long lasting. At the age of 28, I am still in contact with my best friends from school and university.

10. We need time to ourselves

Like most people who are an only child, we tend to be introverts. We like to read and like to spend some alone time. We are so used to spending time with ourselves that we are hardwired to use our alone time to recharge our batteries. We don’t need that long, but it will benefit us in the long term by keeping our energy levels in check.

Featured photo credit: Pascal via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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