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5 Things Independent Women Should Keep In Mind Before Starting A Relationship

5 Things Independent Women Should Keep In Mind Before Starting A Relationship

Independent women are used to making fulfilling their individual potential as their first priority, but they need to know that certain sacrifices and compromises need to be made in a relationship.

1. You don’t lose individuality, when your partner and you become “we”

Every independent woman is disgusted when couples become “we”, and there is no “I” anymore. “We like the film. We hate that new restaurant. We, we, we…” And all the independent women ask themselves, why has individuality disappeared and what happened to having your own opinion?However, there is nothing wrong with becoming “we”, and it is often an indicator of having a relationship with an actual future. Also, after a few years of a relationship, it’s normal that you are “we”, as you will have experienced a lot of things together.

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When you are an independent woman, becoming “we” is an improvement of a healthy relationship, because you’ll be aware of your needs and opinions, and at the same time share some thoughts with your loved one. Women who cannot imagine being alone or single tend to adopt all the habits and opinions of their partner, which results only in having an unfulfilled relationship, as you lose yourself in it. When you realize that your relationship has improved, don’t freak out, just go with the flow and enjoy sharing experiences, as your independence won’t let you forget your habits. Moreover, it will help you understand your partner’s habits and needs better.

2. You will not put your partner in first place, but he will become one of your priorities

When in a relationship, most women start neglecting their friends, family and, most importantly, themselves, as they put their partner first. An independent woman won’t let her relationship become an obstacle to having a life, but will have to learn that it is a huge part of their life. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you have to stop hitting the clubs with your friends, so, stop looking at it like an obligation, or even worse, a waste of time. When you get in a relationship, you need to invest in it, especially emotionally.

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As time goes by and you get attached to your partner, he will become one of your priorities, and you’ll learn when it is appropriate that he comes first, and when he needs to be second on the priority list. Keep in mind that he surely puts you on the top of his list too, and if you really love him, he deserves to be a consideration when certain decisions are made.

3. You don’t like compromise, but you’ll actually enjoy doing things your partner likes

As an independent woman, you certainly don’t like making compromises in a relationship, as you may think that your boyfriend is playing a minor role in the story of your life. Imagine that someone said this about you – you would feel unimportant, like you were insignificant to your partner. This might come as a shock to you, but when you are in an excellent relationship, it becomes the main story and your partner and you are the main characters. It won’t happen immediately, but as your relationship develops, you’ll find out that the relationship keeps you going in life and that your partner is the biggest support you have.

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Independent women have a huge advantage, because when making compromises they’ll actually understand their partner and his habits. This way you’ll avoid fights about what someone has done for the other in a relationship. Moreover, you won’t get bored by the things he likes, as you’ll make compromises reasonably and enjoy exploring your partner’s individuality. Getting to fully know one person is a beautiful experience, which you will understand and know to appreciate. Also, your partner will feel respected, as all independent women like to embrace their partner’s hobbies, habits and opinions, while also preserving their own.

4. You have high expectations and you won’t settle for less

Having high expectations is a good thing, and you know that there is a man who will meet these expectations. When you have certain expectations, such as wanting your man to be a gentleman and respectful of you, it means that you respect yourself and know what you deserve. Women who have expectations, know what they want from a man and respect themselves, will also know how to respect their partner and reach his expectations.

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Try not to set the bar too high for your partner, because there is no need to invest deeply in small details or petty matters. The only expectations you should have are regarding the way he behaves around you, and how he treats you. I am sure, that you as an independent woman know how you would like to be treated. Therefore, don’t settle for less.

5. You know how to spend a quality time with your partner

You don’t need anyone to keep you company and amuse you in order to have fun. When single, you explore many things and work on improving some of your skills. Moreover, you know how to have fun, and you don’t just wander aimlessly around your apartment and waste your time. So, when you start a relationship, you’ll know how to spend some quality time with your partner. Moreover, you’ll actually want to spend that time with him, and you’ll both know how to enjoy each other’s company. You know that the best time you can have with someone is a fun conversation over some nice wine, just enjoying the moment.

Being independent is a good thing, just be careful not to push your partner away by being cold and unavailable. Your characteristics will work for you – they’ll make your relationship healthy, fulfilling and fun. However, you’ll need to learn that, sometimes you just need to go with the flow and, most importantly, learn to let somebody else play a major role in your life.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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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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