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14 Things To Know Before Dating A Book Addict

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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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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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