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5 Stages Every Pair Of Best Friends Endures

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5 Stages Every Pair Of Best Friends Endures

Where would we be without friendship? Being socially and emotionally connected to other people is part of what gives us purpose in life. The development of a very close friendship, one where we become best friends, is a process. One in which both parties experience a journey of discovery. While the events that unfold over this period will be different for each friendship the steps we go through are the same.

Finding a new bestie is an exciting experience, one where we learn as much about ourselves as we do our new friend. To preserve ourselves, we remember previous friendships and shape our behavior to avoid mistakes we’ve made before.

Some of us are conservative because we’ve been let down in the past but for a true friendship to thrive we must let go at some point and just be ourselves. These are the steps we take in building a beautiful best friendship

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1. “Getting To Know You” Stage

When potential best friends first meet there is no rule book to say that they will immediately hit it off. In fact, I know best friends who were bitter rivals before they ever became comrades. Initially we need to take the time to get to know each other. Then, there is a chance those misguided first impressions will be replaced with a more realistic opinion.

At this point in the friendship we aren’t so comfortable with each other that we just turn up at each other’s homes without warning – we text or call in advance – and we quite possibly bring a little gift with us . But we are learning more about each other and discovering that we actually have quite a lot in common. We initiate outings or friendship dates and talk for hours about things like our families, work, your neighbor arguing at three in the morning – everyday stuff.

2. “Building Trust” Stage

This stage is crucial if this person is to ever become your best friend. This is the time during which we open up about the things in our lives which are most personal to us. The high school secrets we prefer to forget, the affair we had last year, the reason why we got kicked out of college. Everyone’s got their secrets and to make it to the best friend category you will find yourself wanting share, share, share. (On the other hand, you also should be listening).

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Of course, as we pour our hearts out, we open up old wounds leaving ourselves at the mercy of our new best friend to console us. If we do a good job of consoling each other during this outpouring, we are on the way to sealing the deal on our friendship. Now, we have qualified as best buddy ever.

3. “The Adventure” Stage

Now that we are super close, it’s okay to turn up unannounced. Hell, we practically live together at this stage.

This is a time for fun and adventure. Best friends going through the adventure stage like to go out together all the time – often to the detriment of their romantic relationships. They go to dinner, the park, each other’s families, holidaying in Europe, lets not forget shopping – you name it, they’ve been there and they have the photos to prove it.

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There is a great bond between the best friends now as they know each other very well and they’re making memories together everyday. They have learned to trust each other. They feel a sense of loyalty for each other and they know they have a shoulder to cry on when they need one. These are the qualities of a close friendship – one that can last the distance… or does it?

4. “The Breakdown” Stage

It has to happen eventually- someone slips up and lets the cat out of the bag on a secret – or maybe someone leaves the other in a club to find their own way home. Either way, every friendship is tested eventually when someone messes up and does something to hurt the feelings of another.

We are all human after all and sometimes we make mistakes, but when you have been let down by someone you thought you could trust, it can take some time to forgive.

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This is where the friendship is truly tested – where both parties, given the time to reflect must decide whether or not they value the other person enough to try again. No doubt the offender will feel terrible and will be trying desperately to get through to the injured party. Copious amounts of texting and calling will take place until eventually the victim will soften and open discussions.

5. “The Make-Up” Stage

Before making up there must first be a re-hashing of events. This could get messy for the less mature amongst us, in some cases you may need to expect tears and tantrums. But for the more mature duo ,this will involve some over and back of “I felt hurt when you laughed at my chubby ankles, I told you I didn’t like my ankles” followed by “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, you can laugh at my big toes if you want”.

Good communication is key here, talking and listening to each other – that way we reach a conclusion fast and can get back to being best friends again just like before. On making up, the friendship is even closer than before. We come away with a more realistic perspective on the relationship. Things may cool down a little before balance is restored finally.

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Steps 4 and 5 may be repeated again throughout the lifetime of any friendship. Friendships are tested over and over because without intending to we are all capable of hurting each other. Only true best friends manage to go the distance despite this.

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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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