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We Will Never Grow Apart: Why Long-Distance Friendships Make The Strongest Bonds

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We Will Never Grow Apart: Why Long-Distance Friendships Make The Strongest Bonds

Friendship. What is friendship? Friendship is a bond created when you meet a stranger inside your radar. Your radar is defined as the scope in which you detect other strangers. The instant bond and vibe that is created is what causes friendship to be formed. It is the bond that is there to support you when you are sad and the bond that is there to share your happiness. It is the bond that interlinks two different life together into one.

These are the bonds that will make you chuckle like a kid whenever you think of your best friend. The kind that makes you feel glad you are alive. This bond that is shared, it’s what makes you both key components in each other’s lives. You will feel grateful for the existence of each other and never regret your friendship.

However, this friendship may be put to the mettle when certain circumstances occur. You and your friend may graduate from school and your best friend moves back to his hometown or maybe your best friend migrated to another country. The bond you have forged with your best friend is now being tested.

I was at a dining restaurant just a few weeks back. It was a posh restaurant with an exquisite design. I looked around as we were brought to our seats to be seated. As soon as I sat down, the aroma of fried cutlet chicken drifted and danced around me. It reminded me of my best friend immediately.

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His favorite food is fried chicken cutlet and he loved it. He always chooses fried chicken cutlet if there was a choice. I still remembered how we made a bet on how many days he can go without eating fried cutlet chicken. He failed and I won myself 2 pieces of home made fried cutlet chicken. It was good and I sat there going through memory lane. I immediately texted him and said “I miss you” and continued with my meal. I knew he will not be able to reply since he sleeps very early and it was 10 pm for him. I miss him and longed to meet him again and during that process, our bond grew even stronger.

Here are a few of the many concepts I’ve learned during our long distance friendship.

1. You will cherish them even more

When your schedules and timezone clash, it will be hard for you to spend time with your best friend. Every time any opportunity arises, you will cherish this bond even more as you have put in extra effort to secure it.

2. You have precious memories that cannot be forgotten

All the memories you forged together will never be forgotten. Your memories that are shared with your friend are always so precious and valuable that they can never be forgotten.

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3. Every little incident reminds you of them

Once, my best friend migrated over to japan. He used a certain hair wax that has a distinctive fragrance to it. Even today I am still constantly being reminded of him whenever I smell that distinctive smell.

4. They will always be there for you

They will always be there to hear you out. Even though they are not beside you, their hearts will always have you in it. You will always share your biggest problems with your best friend and they will definitely help you solve it, one way or another.

5. You will never forget their laughter

Despite the distance between you and your best friend, you will never forget about your best friend’s laughter. The weird chuckle they makes or the hysterical high pitch laughter, it will always be deeply etched in your mind.

6. You will always remember to buy them gifts

It could be a birthday gift or a souvenir you got from another country. They will always be in one of your top priorities. You will never forget to sent them a present when you go overseas.

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7. You will never forget their birthdays

No need for social media to remind you of their birthday. Their birthday are stored in your heart automatically. You will have a clock in your head that rings whenever their birthday is approaching soon.

8. Sending a letter is a common thing

Sending an letter to your best friend, half way across the world, is the primary way you communicate with each other. You make it a point to convey your feelings across to them using physical writing.

9. You will always look forward to the day you meet-up

Every conversation will end with you asking your best friend to meet-up soon. You will always look forward to the day where you and your best friend will meet again.

10. You will remember their favorite food

I remember my best friend’s favorite food. It is fried cutlet chicken. You will never forget their favorite food and will always be reminded of them when you see the favorite food.

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11. You will feel grateful and blissful

Every time you are feeling down, you know that somewhere across the globe, your best friend is there to support you and you will feel extremely blissful inside. You will feel glad that you have a friend that will always be there for you.

No matter what happens, your best friend will never ever judge you, dislike you, hate you or even hold a grudge against you. This is because the friendship you have forged is too valuable to receive such treatment. You will feel that nothing is impossible and one day, you will eventually meet up with your best friend and have a blast together.

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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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