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Keep A “Friend Bank” So You Can Maintain The Right Kind Of Friendship!

Keep A “Friend Bank” So You Can Maintain The Right Kind Of Friendship!

On Facebook I have close to three hundred friends, someone else I know has well over one thousand. What does that mean?
Does it mean, that, when I want to hang out with friends, I contact three hundred people, or them, one thousand?
Clearly not. If not that, then are most of them friends at all?

Making someone a real friend takes considerable time and effort. Sometimes, instead of making the effort to establish someone as a friend, we might instead choose to have a large number of shallow acquaintances instead of friends.
On social media, someone you met once in passing at some house party, can become listed as a friend, even if there is little chance or little intention of you meeting them again.

Having a big list of “friends” may make us feel good, it might make us feel extremely popular. However in the end all of this could be bad for us, as we may lose out in making real profound human connection. Especially if we no longer see the need in making the necessary effort.

In our all too busy lives, we can easily lose sight of the simple fact that good friendships are not determined by quantity, but quality.

Who are your real friends?

When you add someone as a friend on social media, their actual connection to you and your emotional connection to them isn’t considered by the website. The site may highlight people you interact with online more, but generally real connections aren’t considered and all appear the same.
People that you care about and care about you may fall from sight. As such it can be important to do the slightly unusual task of taking stock. To determine who are, and who are not, your real friends.

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How does the “Friend bank” work?

Perhaps the best method to cut through this cloud of uncertainty is to take time and create a friend bank. To mentally group those who you are closest to and happiest with.
These days our lives are incredibly busy, we might have a family to feed, work commitments, or intense study schedules. In any case, the time we have to cultivate any form of relationship, let alone friendships, can be brief. It could be useful to better ascertain who to spend time with.

Also, paradoxically, though, thanks to social media, we seem to have an abundance of friends. The number of people we want to spend our free time with may actually be quite small. Considering a friendship tier system will help you mentally clarify things.

With this in mind, there are three different tiers of friends to consider.

Top Tier-Best friends
These are the ones who are the most important to you. You are happiest with them and think they are happy with you. Your friendship runs deep and as such you have a great deal of treasured memories with them and know that there will be many more great memories to come. You are willing to whatever it takes to maintain the friendship and you know they feel the same.

Right now you can probably think of many people that fulfil this category. These are the ones that are so close and important to you, that they almost seem a part of you.

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    Middle Tier- Good Friends
    These are the ones you really like spending time with. But you know deep down you have different tastes and values which sometimes results in you feeling distant from them. Sometimes it’s enough for you to simply stay in contact with them through social media.

    You hope your friendship with them will continue, and are willing to make some effort to maintain it, but in that is dependent on them as well. Friendship is a two-way street, and it’s only really worth it if they give as well as you.

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      Bottom Tier – Distant friends
      You like these people, and they like you. In the past you’ve had some good times. But you feel that you and they are slightly drifting apart, and that doesn’t bother you too much. Your conversations with them are shallow, bordering on small talk, as quite simply, you don’t have anything in common with them anymore.
      You and they rarely meet up or hang out.
      You think your feelings about them are mutual and feel you may drift apart entirely and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      These people are like old friends from childhood, school, college, or work. People that you really associated with due to proximity and never became all that close, or were once close but the distance has become great.

      Everyone else is perhaps not your friends and are just acquaintances or perhaps even friends to be.

      It is important to note that none of these tiers is set in stone. Someone now in the top tier can tumble to the bottom, and someone from the bottom tier can climb to the top. It’s quite fluid, and entirely dependent on your thoughts and feelings about them.

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      You might find that the next time you meet with someone in the bottom tier, you really enjoy their company and come to consider them good friends or even best friends. This would be wonderful news, and so don’t hesitate to put them higher up on the list. Equally, if you fall out with someone in the top tier, you might find you want to place them lower.

      In the end this isn’t us telling you to carefully pick and choose your friends. Nor are we encouraging you to drop out of touch with some people.
      But considering such a tier system may help to clarify things for you, to organize your relationships. In the age of 1000+ friends list such an exercise could prove to be important, allowing you to realize who your true friends are, allowing you to appreciate them even more. Deepening your relationship and happiness with them.

        Photo credit: Source

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        Arthur Peirce

        Lifestyle Writer

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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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