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4 Bonding Tips For New Couples

4 Bonding Tips For New Couples

The ability to form deep and meaningful relationships has always been one of the most important traits of humans. We enjoy love, comfort, and sharing together. However, strong relationships are formed after a long period of tolerance, acceptance, and acknowledging differences. Therefore, being in a new relationship can become stressful and frustrating these days.

There are many ways couples can ensure their relationship stays together and moves past the initial phase. However, many often give up within a few weeks, with little or no effort put into ensuring the relationship’s longevity. “Couples who play together, live together” isn’t just a saying — it’s a mantra for new couples.

There are tips and tricks one can use to create a lasting bond. However, effort should be put in by both partners at the same time.

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1. Place Less Importance On The Word “Me.”

In the beginning of the relationship, we feel responsible for showing the best of ourselves. We put on our best face and constantly focus on the words “me,” “my,” “I,” and “mine.” We fail to acknowledge our partner and their needs and we tend to ignore until the bubble bursts.

In order to create a bond, one has to take the initiative to get to know their counterpart. Instead of focusing on your strengths, ask your partner about theirs. Play to their strengths and allow yourself to be vulnerable. If the best of you is the only part visible at the beginning, when your flaws do show up in the midst of your relationship they may be a surprise to your partner.

None of us are perfect beings, so let your partner see the real you. You should both place a focus on each other rather than on yourselves.

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2. Practice A Hobby Together.

Shared hobbies are the best way to create bonds. We use hobbies as a way to bond with ourselves and understand ourselves; therefore, creating one together allows you to better know one another. The best way to find the perfect hobby is to indulge in activities where you can fail, learn, and grow together while still having fun.

For example, initially in my personal relationship, we were both terrible at cooking. We decided the best way to get to know one another would be to take cooking lessons and try to prepare dinner for one another. Our first dinner gave us both food poisoning, but eventually we got better. Now it has become a tradition that we make Saturday night dinners together.

3. Get A Pet Together.

Pets are great for bonding. They give you the incentive and need to cooperate and make decisions together. When you’re new in a relationship, fights over differences are common. However, many fail to realize that having a pet together could actually be a solution.

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Animals are generally very intuitive towards their masters; they understand their moods and auras around them. A negative ambiance makes them react differently compared to a positive one. Having a pet can allow a chance for better communication because instinctively your pet might initiate the reconciliation to avoid anymore negative energy.

4. Experience Extreme Adventures Together.

The couples who are capable of constantly creating memories together are the couples that are able to make extreme decisions. However, the terms “extreme” and “adventure” may bear different definitions to different individuals. For an adrenaline junkie, writing letters and going on a quiet walk may seem like a new adventure, while for those quiet gems, going on a hike or jumping into a bottomless pond may seem quite extreme.

Understand your partner and take them on an adventure they will never forget. You may fail, you may laugh, you may talk, and you may be forced to make decisions. Overall, you’ll create memories with one another. These memories may help you to develop a tolerance to your partner’s habits and serve a purpose as reconciliation tools in the future.

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Overall, we are all instinctually tuned to put on a mask to impress. However, as the mask wears off and our flaws surface, we fail to realize that flaws are part of being human. We avoid or quit the one adventure that could be our companion when we’re 70 and gray.

Therefore, make an effort to create a bond at the start of your relationship to ensure a great adventure until the end.

Featured photo credit: Shenkeri Chandramohan via facebook.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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