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14 Things To Know Before Dating A Book Addict

14 Things To Know Before Dating A Book Addict

Book addicts have long lists of lovers. Of course, they’re not always real. Many of our crushes are fictional, but just because they only exist in books doesn’t mean we don’t love them and need them more than our flesh-and-blood partners. We’re definitely addicted, and just because our drug of choice is books, don’t think it’s not a powerful one. If you happen to fall for one of us, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to make the relationship work.

1. True book addicts live in their own worlds. You’re just visiting.

That’s not entirely true. We like the real world and we like you in it—we just like our ever-changing fictional world better. Don’t be surprised if we bust out with some variation of “there’s a scene for that” when you’re talking about everyday life. Literally, there’s a scene in some book that mirrors your experience and we book addicts are happy to make the comparison. After all, it’s SO obvious.

“Oh, that same thing totally happened to Hazel Grace and Augustus, minus the whole prosthetic leg/oxygen tube getting in the way thing.”

2. The good news is we are the easiest people to shop for.

Unless you’re a complete idiot, you’ll never screw up birthdays or holidays again. We’re totally smitten with gift cards, as long as it’s not from Old Navy or Sephora. Not that there’s anything wrong with those cards, but you might as well feed our book addiction and make us happy. Go for a Barnes & Noble card or an Amazon card or any card that allows us to buy books. That way we’ll know that you “get us” and you’ve been paying attention. If you’re really good, you’ll look for that one book we talk about—there’s always one—, whether it’s the new one coming out or that first edition that’s been getting us so hot and bothered. Find THAT book and you just might get a gift back.

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3. Warning: We sniff books.

Get over it. It’s creepy, we know, but we’ll never, ever, stop. Books smell good. New ones, old ones, hardcover, paperback—doesn’t matter. They smell good and book addicts love the olfactory sensation. We’d rather smell books than food.

4. If you’re brave enough to see the movie version of a book, be prepared for the endless conversations afterwards.

Book addicts are notorious for hating the movie versions of books. We can’t help it. We’ve already made the movie in our heads—that’s how bookies read. We create scenes in our heads and directors just screw things up. Or they leave scenes out. Or they change scenes to make sure the movie lasts approximately one hour and forty five minutes. Don’t even get me started on the Twilight series. It’s hard enough dealing with actors who don’t live up to the characters you’ve built in your head. Just know that dating a book addict means seeing movies. Any book-to-movie date means signing up for a four-hour conversation about the differences between the book and the film. Good luck with that!

5. We won’t call you “Boo.”

That’s because we all know the original Boo is Boo Radley. If I have to explain further, you’d better not be dating a book addict or you’re in serious trouble.

6. You can never say that we have too many books.

Contrary to what it looks like—books on the floor, the side tables, the kitchen counter, the toilet—we don’t have too many books. We have a lack of shelves. Don’t ever make the mistake of saying, “You have too many books.” Instead, say this, “Honey, I noticed your wonderful collection of literature doesn’t have a proper display system. Can I fix that for you?”

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Can you say grand romantic gesture? Moves like this are always rewarded.

7. Make some room in your suitcase for our books.

We bring books on vacation because, let’s face it, the whole point of vacation is to relax and the best way to relax is to settle down with a great book. When we’re not busy reading, we like to explore new areas. Some of our favorite tourist stops are off-the-grid, locals-only bookstores. Who doesn’t want copies of The Hunger Games from four different countries in four different languages? Don’t forget to pick up an adorable new carryon for the newly acquired literary gems.

8. Don’t expect us to just walk by a bookstore.

It’s not in our nature. It’s not in our blood. It’s not within our self-control. Unless we’ve taken a heavy dose of anti-anxiety medications or have a serious case of love going on, we can’t walk by a bookstore without at least stopping to stare at the window display. Looking at new releases and best sellers is like charging our renewable batteries. It’s like smelling salts after fainting. It’s what chocolate is to a chocoholic. Yes, it’s that good. There’s only one thing better than stopping to look.

9. Breakfast at Barne’s & Noble is better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Bonus points for anyone who watches Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a significant other as part of a night of romance. Who can forget the moment that gorgeous Audrey Hepburn hops out of the cab in the rain to search for “cat,” or how you feel inside when you finally hear that meow?

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If you really want to rack up the points with your book-addicted lover, take them on an impromptu trip to the bookstore, but be willing to stick around for a while. There’s nothing better than hanging with someone who lets us get completely lost within aisles of books, wouldn’t dream of rushing us, and even points out the pretties in the store—by “pretties,” we’re ALWAYS referring to books. Don’t even think about pointing out pretty people. Ah, who are we kidding, we probably wouldn’t notice or care about any hotties in the bookstore anyway. Especially if said hot person was standing in front of something as amazing as, say, a new release of the Harry Potter series in which Harry is all grown-up—Seriously, just the thought of this makes us shake with anticipation.

Disclaimer: We would, however, care about you, because you’re our date and you thought enough to bring us to the Promised Land (otherwise known as “the bookstore”).

10. We’d go broke buying books.

Long-term savings plans are always squelched by our addiction. We can’t help it. Blame Goodreads or Twitter. Authors, publishers, and fellow addicts are enablers. They reel us in. We have access to covers, back covers, front pages, and taglines. We can participate in blog hops,  we can “talk” to authors, we can tweet publishers and editors—we’re practically authors. Heck, one click on your Amazon Prime account and and voilà! You’ve got a stack of books on your doorstep in two days. It’s the closest thing there is to magic. Book addicts would give up food if it meant buying more books. Priorities, people.

11. Do not dare to touch or rearrange our bookshelves.

This is our special place. Every book addict has their own method, but we all do it. We all arrange and rearrange the books on our shelves. It’s a constant effort because there is a constant influx of new property. Like little kids with their toys, we’ll know in an instant if one book’s been moved or misplaced. You can look. You can admire. You can’t touch, unless you ask (and even then…).

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12. Moving in with your book addict means moving books, books, and more books.

The good news is moving our furniture, clothes, and other belongings will be a piece of cake.

The bad news is once you think you’re done and you’re ready for that pizza and (insert drink of choice), we’ll inform you that there are about seventeen additional boxes of books you didn’t know even existed because you thought you already moved ALL the books. We’ll grin and promise some kind of reward for your efforts.

13. Speaking of moving, if space is limited in the new digs, don’t expect us to get rid of our books.

This isn’t even an option. Obviously, you’ll be expected to pare down your belongings to make room in the newly shared home. Seriously, what were you thinking?

14. Dating a book addict is an adventure.

That’s because at any given point we’re not who we say we are, not where we say we are, and not doing what we say we’re doing. We’re other characters, with other characters, in other parts of the world, or in completely other worlds, doing all kinds of magical, mythical, miraculous, or maniacal things. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We do live in the real world and we do enjoy real relationships. If you’re willing to live with our quirky bookish selves, we just might put you before any of our fictional crushes. And hey—that’s huge!

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Featured photo credit: John Nakamura Remy via flickr.com

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Missy Mitchell

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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