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9 Things To Remember If You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Easily Show Affection

9 Things To Remember If You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Easily Show Affection

Love is a complicated subject, and it becomes even more complicated if the person you love isn’t showing clear signs of affection. My husband (then boyfriend) started out exactly like that. He was shy and rarely touched me. It wasn’t because he didn’t love me. That’s just the way he was. He wasn’t showy and he didn’t like public displays of affection.

Here are nine things that I took to heart when I got used to my inexpressive partner.

1. Love does not always require physical touch.

A kiss isn’t the only way to say “I care” and a hug isn’t the only way to show how much you missed a person. My partner’s presence was always appreciated, even if he didn’t snuggle with me all the time. As long as we’re together, no matter what we’re doing, we know that we are in love.

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2. The small things have the biggest impact.

When my partner wrote me a heartfelt letter on our first anniversary, it meant a lot to me. It was a long, handwritten piece which he wrote on pretty stationery. It was simple, childish, but it was the sweetest thing. It may not be worth much in terms of money, but it was truly valuable to me because I know that he spent time, thought, and effort to write such beautiful words.

3. “Sweetness” is a whole new concept.

What’s sweet to others will no longer be the same thing for you. When our relationship first started, I thought that my partner was so unaffectionate that he couldn’t show any sweetness. But his sweetness was really with his words and other gestures, like making me a cup of coffee when I’m pulling an all-nighter or buying my favorite cupcakes when I have menstrual cramps.

4. You will get asked a lot by well-meaning friends and family.

“Is your relationship on the rocks?” is what I frequently hear when I bring my partner to family events. My friends also tell me that my partner might not be happy anymore that’s why he’s avoiding me physically. In truth, my partner and I were the only ones who could understand his lack of physical affection. He may not always want to hold hands, but he will make sure I feel special whenever we’re together.

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5. Your relationship is often seen as platonic.

Plenty of times, my partner was mistaken for a brother or cousin. There have even been times when I was hit on in front of him, and vice versa. It’s an advantage, in a way, because I know which girls are interested in him. What’s great about him is that he never makes me feel insecure around them.

6. You get plenty of perks in lieu of physical affection.

I’m not materialistic and neither is my partner, but he likes to give me nice things to make me feel really special. On our third anniversary as a couple, he gave me a gorgeous pearl necklace that was absolutely amazing. Five years later, I still hold the necklace very dearly. He is also great at cooking which totally compensates for his lack of affection. When we fight, instead of hugging me, he cooks my favorite pasta dish to say he wants to make up.

7. You will grow to become more mature.

Young love is exciting but it’s also immature, filled with physical yearning and sexual impulse. We started dating in our mid 20’s and he was very mature. It’s not all about sex, but rather about your life together. He taught me to look forward to our future and that’s exactly what we did. Now, we have been married for three years and it’s the most wonderful experience.

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8. Your time together is always special.

I have learned that his presence alone makes up for his lack of intimacy. He loves to talk about our future, especially our dreams together. He always makes complicated issues simple and amicable which helps us understand what we both want to do. Our time is spent sharing our deepest desires, which I think is more meaningful than just physical affection.

9. When physical affection happens, it’s magical.

On the rare occasions that you do touch, especially when you make love, it’s a magical experience that’s truly memorable. You grow closer to each other and learn a little bit more about yourselves which ultimately strengthens your bond. You are also able to prove that your love doesn’t need constant physical signals to be genuine.

Although it can be hard at first, loving someone who isn’t expressive may take time to get used to. In the long run, you will also understand why it’s not necessary for your partner to always hold hands or cuddle when you’re together. Love can be expressed in many ways, from a simple smile to a generous act of kindness. It doesn’t have to always be physical. It can be emotional, mental, spiritual, and psychological.

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How do you show your partner how much you love them?

Featured photo credit: 12 Things To Remember If You Love Someone Who Doesn’t Easily Show Affection via google.com

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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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