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8 Secrets Most Single And Independent Women Won’t Tell You

8 Secrets Most Single And Independent Women Won’t Tell You

Just take a look around, and you’ll see more single, independent, and successful women than ever before. We’re working hard on our careers and education, instead of marrying the first guy who comes along. We’ve got our eyes out for that special guy, but we’re too busy to just sit around and wait. We’re hoping to meet that special someone, but most of us are busy working and spending time with friends.

With the trend toward marrying later, we’ve got lots of company, and we’re enjoying the freedom that comes with our independence. Going it alone has its downsides, but we don’t dwell on them. People have some misconceptions about us, though. Hopefully, the list below will give you some insight into what we want to say, but don’t.

1. Our Friends Are Like Family

We wish people understood that our friends are just as important as husband and boyfriends. When you don’t have a significant other, your close friends share your heartbreaks and joys, are there for you when the chips are down, and make you laugh till you choke.

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Different than a boyfriend or husband, these friends are just as important, and provide support that’s different, but no less valuable, than we get from our blood relatives.

2. The Calling Thing

We wish men would tell us, once and for all, if it’s ok to call first. Ditto on women asking men out. Just because we’re independent doesn’t mean we’ve got this dating thing figured out.

3. We’d Like a Party, Too

How about a “single’s shower”? Don’t get us wrong, we’re genuinely happy when our friends get engaged, married, pregnant, and we (mostly) don’t mind buying all of the shower gifts that go along with these happy events.

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But after we’ve been single and taking care of ourselves for a while, we think it would be nice if our friends and family reciprocated and threw us a party to celebrate our making it on our own. After all, single women need toasters, too!

4. We Like To Feel Feminine

We’re independent and in control at work, but we still want to feel like a woman. We have to compete with men at work, so we want to let our feminine side out when we’re with a man we’re attracted to. So don’t worry that we’ll be offended if you treat us like a lady (hint: flowers are always welcome).

5. We Wish You’d Stop Asking “The Question”

We wish people would stop asking us if we’re “still single,” and assuming that getting hitched must be our first priority in life. The same goes for comments about our biological clocks. Single doesn’t mean desperate: for us, it means having standards for who we couple up with. We’d rather be single than married to the wrong person.

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6. We Believe That Going Solo Can Be More Fun Than Couple-dom

We wish those same people understood that being single can be more fun than being coupled up with the wrong person. The freedom to stay out all night with friends having fun instead of being stuck at home watching sports (when you hate sports) with someone who bores you senseless is a definite upside to going solo.

7. We Wish People Knew How Strong We Really Are

Making it as a single woman makes us resourceful, capable, competent, and interesting. We can’t depend on someone else to handle everything for us, so we learn how to take care of ourselves. Flat tires, leaky pipes, work conflicts: we learn how to handle them like the strong, capable women we are. When things get tough, we keep going.

8.  We Wish We Didn’t Have To Be So Strong Sometimes

We’re proud of our independence, but sometimes we wish someone would step in and help with that flat tire, help us put together that Ikea bookcase, and most importantly, be a shoulder to rest on when life gets overwhelming. Sometimes we just want to be taken care of. The most independent woman has times when she wishes for a significant other to lean on.

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To sum it all up, we’re interesting, intelligent, and living full lives. We’re open to the possibilities that singledom gives us, and are having a great time working and playing while we audition candidates for The One. All in all, it’s a great life!

Featured photo credit: Summer girl portrait. Photo by Maridav.

Featured photo credit: Deposit Photos via depositphotos.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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