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10 Devastating Behaviors That Can Destroy Your Relationship

10 Devastating Behaviors That Can Destroy Your Relationship

While many of us commit ourselves fully to the relationships that we enter into, these good intentions do not always guarantee success. In fact, our devotion to a loved one can blind us to the relationship mistakes that we all make from time to time, which in turn have the potential to irreparably damage even the most secure of unions.

Many of us make these mistakes unknowingly, while also ignoring the potentially damaging behaviour of our partners. Given this and the impact of these mistakes, it is crucial that we make an effort to understand the issues and tackle them before they begin to take root within a relationship.

10 Relationship Mistakes that Can Have Devastating Impacts

With this in mind, here are some universal mistakes that can undermine your relationship and errode the trust that exists betwen two people: –

1. Being Financially Irresponsible

The topic of money can make or break relationship, especially if your issues stem from a reckless attitude to spending or an unwillingness to save. Problems can also arise if only assume financial responsibility for your self, as this creates a divide within the relationship and shows a lack of consideration. To avoid this, adopt a financially responsible attitude that reassures your partner that you have a future together, while also planning your expenditure to account for the needs of a loved one.

2. Having no other Interests outside of your relationship

At the other end of the behavioural spectrum, it is just as debilitating to be completely and utterly consumed by your love for somebody else. This can cause you to adopt a rigid, single-minded focus on your partner, which in turn prevents you from having any other interests outside of the relationship. Such an attitude can prevent you from developing as a person, while also bringing out negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and paranoia.

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According to Dr. Seth Myers, the best way to negate this is to make a list of how and when you used to spend your free time when you were single. This provides a handy reminder of your interests, while it also offers some inspiration outside of the relationship and will allow your partner to breathe.

3. Creating a Co-dependent Relationship

This leads us neatly onto the topic of co-dependency, which can often evolve in relationships where one or both individuals have few outside interests. This type of relationship is defined by a pattern of behaviour in which you become dependent on your partner for your confidence and self-worth, meaning that you spend the majority of your time seeking validation.

Of course, interdependences can have an incredibly positive impact in fields such as art, sport and business, while the entire concept of a relationship is built on the idea of two lives joining as one. It is crucial that you maintain a sense of self-worth and your own unique identity, however, this prevents you from becoming too reliant on your partner to fulfil your emotional needs.

4. Acting like you are single

While we have touched on the dangers of co-dependency, it is important to remember that a loving relationship is defined by two people who love, support and interact positively with one another. Balance is therefore key, as while you should avoid the pitfalls of a co-dependent relationship you must also remember not to behave as though you are single.

When you act like you are single without the consent of your partner, you behave in a way that marginalises them and disrespects your feelings. Always keep in mind that you are part of a loving union and be willing to compromise on your single lifestyle, using the attributes that attracted you to your partner in the first place as inspiration.

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5. Acting in an Insecure and Overly Sensitive Way

We all have periods during which we feel sad, unworthy or depressed, and this can have a negative impact on our outlooks and behaviours. Such feelings can also wreak havoc within a relationship, as they negatively affect your partner and trigger emotions such as insecurity and jealously. No matter how much your partner loves you, they cannot be expected to constantly deal with your own insecurities or lack of self-worth, particularly if their conduct does not warrant such emotions.

Feeling of this type are likely to be rooted in past relationship failures, but it is crucial that you recognise this and strive to break past patterns. By realising that the problem lies with you and evaluating your relationship objectively, you can begin to live in the present rather than being haunted by the ghosts of the past.

6. Showing a Lack of Affection

Not all people are created equal, and while some of us are extremely affectionate others struggle to display their feelings through physical intimacy or touch. While most relationships can tolerate this difference to some degree, there needs to be some compromise and you must make an effort to show affection in any way that you can. Without this your relationship can become stale and drift into friendship, while your partner can begin to feel unloved or undervalued.

Hand-holding, cuddling and hugging are simple ways to showcase affection without compromising your physical boundaries. Even if you do not like public displays of affection, you can at least make the effort to do these things in private and behind closed doors.

7. Excessive Criticism and Nagging

Excessive nagging or criticism of a partner can drag any relationship down, no matter how long two people have known or cared for one another. There are many reasons for this, but the primary issue is that it drives negative reinforcement and focuses on what an individual is not doing rather than their positive contributions to a relationship. It can also trigger feelings of resentment, both in adult relationships and those between parents and children.

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Over time, this can also create a breakdown in communication where one person constantly makes requests and the other simply ignores them. It is therefore important to tackle this dynamic before it takes hold of the relationship and becomes ingrained, so try to address this by using positive enforcement when asking for things to be done (or done better). It is also important to show empathy and allow your partner time to respond.

8. Display a lack of Attention or Communication skills

Before, we mentioned that a sustained lack of affection can hinder your relationship. The same principle applies in instances where one partner does not pay attention to the other, or at least fail to communicate their interest in their thoughts, words or achievements. Our obsession with technology has made this a more prominent issue in the modern age, as couple spend a great deal of their time immersed in social and digital media rather than conversing with one another.

Fortunately, recognising this issue is the main step towards resolving it. From here, you can make a concerted effort to spend time together without technology or distractions, as you instead talk to one another and commit fully to the conversation. Technology should be discarded at meal times, as this provides a great opportunity for loved ones to talk and connect with one another.

9. Being Dishonest

It is suggested that we all lie at one point in time or another, either to create a false belief or hide the evidence of a wrong-doing. In most instances these are small, insignificant fabrications, but it is important to remember that lying is a compulsive behaviour that can quickly escalate out of control and cause huge damage to a relationship. Whether this manifests itself in infidelity or a series of small, related lies that gradually begin to take hold, this behaviour creates mistrust and destroys the fabric of any relationship.

The only answer to this is to be honest, and trust in the bond that you have with your partner. A loved one is far more likely to forgive transgressions if you are courageous and honest with them, so this is always the preferred course of action if you are serious about enjoying a long and fruitful relationship. If you are incapable of this, you are not ready to be in a relationship or prioritise the needs of others ahead of your own.

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10. Following Impulses and Compulsions

Unfortunately, lying is just one of the many compulsive behaviours that can ruin your relationship. These can offer occur as a result of unhappiness or resentment within a relationship, as we indulge in a particular action to find comfort and solace. This can manifest itself in numerous ways, from shopping and gambling to over-eating.

These behaviours also show scant regard for your partner and your relationship, particularly as it suggests that you are unable to share the innermost feelings that are causing such conduct. You must therefore become open to being vulnerable and communicate your emotions to your loved one, as you work together to resolve the underlying issues and become stronger as a couple.

Only then, and by heeding the other warnings here, can you avoid these relationship mistakes and look forward to a long and happy union!

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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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