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12 Moments You Feel Grateful For Having A Close Female Friendship

12 Moments You Feel Grateful For Having A Close Female Friendship

Friendships are hard. They require unconditional love and a lot of devotion, but each emotional investment you make in this relationship has a way of coming back to you when you need it the most. Although all friendships are different and unique, we can all agree that there are certain characteristics that distinguish female from male friendships, right?

Somehow, the whole world came to realize that female friendships are insincere and superficial, but I’d have to strongly disagree. Unlike boys, girls tend to get more emotionally involved and I believe that that’s what makes female friendships more turbulent. Fights and makeups are generally louder and with more tears, which is where this stereotype comes from.

All of you out there who are lucky to have a BFF will most definitely recognize precious moments I found to be the core of female friendship, and I’m sure you’ll have more than a couple of things of your own to add here.

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1. A Secret Language

People say twins can be weird because they sort of create a world of their own, but they are no stranger than BFFs. The fact is that most girls talk a lot – and I mean a lot – but sometimes just a look is enough. However, you’d be foolish to think that’s an everyday ordinary look girls are exchanging. Years and years of practice led us to the moment when a minor difference in a facial expression can add a whole new meaning to the situation.

But that’s far from all – I’m sure that every female friendship is programmed to react on at least one keyword, no matter if it’s the notorious nickname of an ex-boyfriend or a euphemism for “save me now”. It’s like constantly reading between the lines, and most of those lines aren’t simple to decode.

2. Confessions

There’s probably isn’t a situation that makes a person feel more accepted than the moment when you make a confession without being judged or having that awful guilt feeling. Girls do this all the time, and they do so elaborately. This is like therapy, because it helps you deal with your conscience, for me at least.

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3. Breakups

Well, this one is not a particularly positive moment, but it’s inevitable, really – relationships end and that’s a fact. However, having to go through a breakup is somewhat easier when you know that there will be someone who will pick up the broken pieces and put them back together. It doesn’t really matter if you and your BFF decide to go with ice-cream and wine or clubbing, the point is quite the same.

4. Trash Talking

Speaking of breakups – that bitter aftertaste is only natural and it’s important to get it out. That’s what friends are for; I don’t believe there’s a person other than your best friend who’d know what things to say and which exact words to use in order to make you feel better by… well basically, by making your ex look worse. Trash talking isn’t something any of us are proud of, but it’s kind of an essential part of getting over someone. We know men do it, too, just not quite the same way.

5. Shopping

Being friends for that long usually results in you knowing each other’s bodies well and understanding what flatters them. Combining that with detailed knowledge of current trends makes shopping a whole lot easier – it’s like you’re a fashion duo that has a doctor’s degree in finding perfect outfits for any occasion. A quite practical side of having a BFF, isn’t it?

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6. Texting

The thing with female friendships is that they are codependent, at least most of them. But a bit of mental instability is nothing compared to sharing every minute you want to with your BFF by texting. Everyday things and huge events in our lives become real the moment we tell them to our friend, and that’s when they gain their true significance. No matter what’s going on, texting throughout the entire day simply makes it better. It’s like never being alone.

7. Inside Jokes

Having a sense of humor that another person in this world fully understands is priceless. It’s a whole new level of feeling appreciated and like you belong with someone. Whether they are practical, intellectual, petty or sarcastic, inside jokes are one of those small things that really make life worth living. It’s a way for two people to express themselves simultaneously, and it’s pretty awesome.

8. Moving

Getting a new place is usually overwhelming and time-consuming, and it’s a cause of stress that seems to be never-ending. Having your bestie at your side at that moment is very reassuring – there’s some thorough cleaning that needs to be done, additional shopping for all sorts of products and pieces of furniture, and so on. Besides, asking someone else for help may just creating more work for you – considering the fact that your two minds think alike, your BFF and you will be a lot more productive.

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9. Sincere Advice

The truth may sometimes hurt, but it’s not like it will become any less of a fact if you decide to ignore it. Some of them may go unspoken, but recognized, while others simply must be told out loud, so you can go through a healthy reality check, and that’s when your bestie comes in. It’s usually not pleasant nor easy, but admit it – you love your BFF and her moments of sincerity.

10. The “No Matter What” Vow

Whether you two decided to go with a magical ritual or if it goes without saying, the “no matter what” vow is a big part of every female friendship. It’s a safety net, and no matter what you do or where life takes you, you know that you’ll always have a home wherever your BFF is.

It’s a short list of what makes us feel grateful for having a bestie, I know, but I believe it’s universal. This is a relationship that needs to be nurtured and cherished, but it’s eternally worth it. What would you add to my list?

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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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