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8 Traits Of People Who Build Extraordinary Relationships

8 Traits Of People Who Build Extraordinary Relationships

Strong relationships are the base of any healthy life. People who are successful seem to have skills that enable them to form strong, fulfilling relationships. These extraordinary relationships not only boost their health but also allow them to move ahead in their careers. Below are 8 traits that of people who build extraordinary relationships.

1. Value the importance of listening

People who build strong relationships know how important it is to listen to what the other person is saying. In doing that, they remember details about the other person that helps strengthen the relationship. They are also able to form meaningful conversation, as they are attentive listeners. Being able to listen is important, as the person on the other end of the conversation feels valued.

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2. Make time

They understand that forming strong relationships requires the effort and time. People who build strong relationships set aside time for the other people so they give them an important place in their life. If a friend makes plans with you to meet for dinner and drinks, don’t ditch them at the last minute. Make time to build the relationship or the friendship will never get shallow. They make sure they leave at least five minutes a day to communicate with the other person. This makes the other person feel important and in turn strengthens the bond they share.

3. Be present when you are needed

They are always there when the other person is going through a rough patch. This is important as people grow to rely on them, which helps grow and maintain relationships. They always check in on them, which make the people they are relationships in feel like they are cared about. Some of the best advice you can follow is to make dinner for the person that is struggling, pick up their kids to babysit, or just be physically there for them. In tough times, your loved one may be hesitant to ask for specific help because they are so overwhelmed.

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4. Admit when you are wrong

People who build strong relationships aren’t afraid to admit when they have made a mistake. They are able to admit they made a mistake, apologize and move forward.  This reminds people that everyone is human and helps make for a stronger relationship. Being able to accept when you are wrong is an important trait to have in any relationship as it prevents any conflict and allows any small issues to be resolved.

5. Give good advice

When they are committed to solving a problem, people who build strong relationships are determined to find a valid solution. They spend a lot of their time thinking of solutions which allow them to provide meaningful feedback. Thus they build strong, extraordinary relationships with people who always look to them for their good advice.

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6. Be empathetic

They are able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes, which is an important skill to have. They are sensitive to what the other person is feeling. This enables them to avoid doing things that would hurt the other person. Thus they build strong relationships based on their empathy. If you don’t know where to start with empathy, you have to just say, “How would I feel if this happened to me?” or try to relate it to something similar that has happened in your life. People with strong relationships consider other people’s feelings before they do or say certain things and therefore avoid unnecessary conflict. They are able to phrase any criticism in a way that still considers the other person’s feelings while at the same time addressing certain issues.

7. Commit to trusting others

People who build strong relationships understand that a relationship is a two-way street. They not only are great listeners, they also trust others with their problems. They trust the other person to help them and support them. Letting people in is a big part of building and maintaining relationships. They put their faith in the people they are in relationships with and this allows the relationship to grow. Allowing yourself to trust someone is difficult but necessary in building a deep relationship. The best relationships in life are reciprocal.

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8. Always think of the other person

The most important skill that people who build extraordinary relationships have is that they prioritize their relationships. Thus they find themselves constantly thinking of the other person. They are able to find a space in their lives for the other person and make them part of their priorities.

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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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