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How To Keep Your Cool During Summer Events

How To Keep Your Cool During Summer Events

Summer brings an array of welcome things: sunshine, vacations, travelling, and hammocks — just to name a few. But summer is also the season for parties and gatherings and I’m sure your weekends are already filling up with weddings, showers, reunions, etc.

Some of us may welcome these these festivities as easily as we would lemonade. For us introverts, however, we’d rather hide from the faces that fill up these nerve-wracking engagements.

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But just as you hit the gym to prepare for that bikini and beach, you can also do some prep work for these events.

Rehearse Your Answers

You know the questions are coming. The questions about your job, your love life, your diet, etc. People will ask anything and everything, either out of genuine interest or out of idle curiosity. To keep them from putting you on the spot, rehearse your answers and get ready to fill them in.

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Write Your Autobiography

If you’re already comparing yourself to old friends who (you think) are doing better and cooler things than you, stop! And write up your own bio. Focus on the things you love and what you’re proud. When it comes your turn to share, you won’t cower behind both your insecurities and their accomplishments.

Be A Politician

As I mentioned above, people will ask you what they want to know, but you get to tell them exactly what you want them to know. Pretend to be a politician who always manages to give the answer that he or she wants you to hear, irrespective of the question asked.

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Prepare For The Small Talk

You might not enjoy small talk, but it’s an inevitable part of social gatherings, and when I find myself dreading it, I say my own, positive affirmation: “I find the perfect words to say.” It helps me feel more comfortable during the chit-chat. You can also check out icebreakers or dating questionnaires. They’re not only for first dates; they’re a fun way to engage with fellow partiers. Similarly, dating expert Matthew Hussey offers advice on how to have a great conversation in his YouTube video, 3 Steps to Become a Great Conversationalist. It doesn’t apply specifically to dating at all — anyone and everyone can benefit from it!

Deal With Claustrophobia

If your inner introvert doesn’t like crowds and all that noise, take a pause, even if it’s only for five minutes. Think of those people who meander outside, cigarette in hand, without being considered antisocial. Give yourself a smoking break too, only without the cigarette. Find a place to breathe, focus, and be mindful. It’s not about escaping from people as much as it is about returning to yourself again.

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Counter Your Jealousy

When we see friends getting married, having babies, or earning degrees, we might feel a bit green with envy. To counter this negativity, you can say a positive affirmation like, “All is coming to me,” Or, “I am open to all the beautiful things coming my way.” Similarly, you can picture yourself as the bride, the new mom, or the PhD student and try to empathize with them and share in their joy.

Be Entertained

You might not be the center of it all and you probably don’t want to be either! But you can certainly watch the colorful movie playing before your eyes. The characters, conversations, and costumes are all a display of life and this doesn’t have to intimidate you. It can inspire you!

In the end, summer is a busy time, and to keep us from getting fed up, we just have to do some prep work. It’s all a show and, like any show, you can perform like a true star with a little practice.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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