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8 Signs It’s Time To Break Up With A Friend (Even If You Feel Deeply Sorry)

8 Signs It’s Time To Break Up With A Friend (Even If You Feel Deeply Sorry)

Deciding whether or not to break up with a friend can feel like a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Yet when considered logically, it could clearly be the healthiest choice.

As we go through life, we naturally make new acquaintances and form friendships with a select few. While we put great importance on carefully choosing who we let in, we should remember to cut ties with those who start to drag us down.

It’s really nothing to feel ashamed of. Naturally, people change and you may find yourselves in totally different places. Don’t assume that friends must always be forever, at times it simply can’t be fixed or reconciled. Sometimes you’ve got to consider your own long-term happiness and keep your social circle lean.

It can be a painful experience a friendship changes for the worst, but there’s no need to prolong the hurt. If your relationship possesses any of these eight indicators, it may be time gracefully part ways!

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1. Your Relationship Has Become One-Sided

If your relationship has fallen off-balance and shows no sign of returning, it’s likely they don’t value you as you do them. Constantly having to pursue a friend without much return is terrible, it can even harm your self-worth.

If you’ve let your friend know and it still hasn’t made a difference, quit wasting your energy and let them go!

2. Manipulating and Controlling Behavior Runs Rampant

Stop to reflect on your relationship for a second, have you lost sight of being the real you? If you feel you’re no longer being authentic, relationship toxicity will be building up. Consider whether you or your friend manipulating each other, and why?

Healthy friendships are about sharing the depth of our character, not exploiting each other. If this is the case, it may be time to reassess the whole relationship.

3. They Are Dragging You Down With Them

Are you starting to feel guilty by association? If your friend has a questionable character or behavior, you may want to consider how it reflects back upon you. If they regularly exhibit bullying behavior, others may start to see you in the same light. Or worse yet, it may start to bring out the bully in you!

You’ve got to be careful with who you align or associate yourself with, you may pick up their qualities and mannerisms too.

4. There’s Spiteful Jealous and Furious Competition Between You

Your friendship is well on truly on the rocks if you find yourselves in bouts of jealousy and ruthless one-upping. The constant need to prove yourselves to each other is exhausting rather than comforting.

Remember, friendships should be empowering and encouraging not antagonizing!

5. The Best Thing Between You is History

Sometimes, we find ourselves holding onto lifelong friends for little more than the rich history. But what’s the point of holding on if the only positive part is a recollection of a childhood friendship. You’re now living in the present, where you, your friend and life may be radically different.

The last thing you want to do is hold onto stale relationships purely out of historic honor!

6. They No Longer Contribute Anything Positive to Your Life

Sometimes we’ve simply got to stand up for ourselves. If someone does nothing but bring us down, we must respect ourselves enough to let them go. Friends should be a natural extension of your life, as you should be to theirs.

Whether it’s cheering each other up, spurring each other on or even just having a laugh together. Everyone contributes something different, but make sure it’s positive!

7. The Negative Situations Over-Shadow the Positive Ones

If the bad has begun to outweigh the good, it’s likely your friendship is beginning to sour. A friendship should be mutually beneficial and make both of you happy, not provoke emotional situations or altercations.

While an occasional fallout is quite common, having consistent problems is a strong indicator of incompatibility.

8. They Are Chipping Away At Your Self-Esteem

True friends provide a crucial support system for each other, especially within the associated stresses of modern living. Whenever either one has problems, troubles or doubts, their buddies will rally to provide moral support. This single most important aspect of friendships is raising each other’s self-esteem.

Breaking up with a friend is never easy, but if they are working against your self-confidence and causing you to doubt yourself, it’s definitely time to jump ship!

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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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