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10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work

10 Reasons A Long-Distance Relationship Will Work

While relatively high divorce rates and evolving family values appear to be marginalizing the concept of marriage, romance and chivalry remain prominent in contemporary society. A recent story on BBC News underlined this fact, by revealing that a couple have recently begun a relationship after their guide dogs ‘fell in love’ during a training camp in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK.

Research conducted by London-based events company Chillisauce also suggested that today’s generation of men have a keen understanding about the importance of romance, despite the influence of technology and the numerous obstacles that can stand in the way of love. This should offer hope for cynics out there, who remain skeptical about the idea of love and traditional romantic values.

One of the main obstacles that can alter the course of love is distance, as it can be extremely difficult for individuals to enjoy a relationship when they are separated by cities, oceans or continents. It is not impossible to maintain a long-distance relationship, however, so long as each party retains an open mind and keeps the following points in mind:

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1. Maintain Open Lines of Communication

A successful relationship requires the investment of time and attention, whether a couple lives together in the same home, or are separated by geographical barriers. It is therefore crucial that you adopt a proactive approach and strive to keep the lines of communication at all times, initially by scheduling regular telephone calls and communicating through emails and live chat resources. Simply by making a concerted effort and interacting regularly with your partner, a long-distance relationship can thrive for as long as necessary.

2. Embrace Technological Advancements

On a similar note, technological advancement has created an innovative range of affordable, real-time communication methods. Resources such as Skype have subsequently made it easier and cheaper than ever to make international or long-distance calls, meaning that couples can remain in constant contact, regardless of their location. By embracing these developments, there is no reason why your relationship cannot remain strong over time.

3. Maintain a Level Head and Work on Resolving Trust Issues

While communicating regularly with your partner will fortify your long-distance relationship, you will also need to maintain a level head during periods where you are not in contact. Absence can create serious feelings of insecurity and paranoia, especially if your partner has relocated for work purposes and is socializing with new friends and colleagues. You therefore need to confront any trust issues as they arise, and resolve these through honest and direct communication with your partner.

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4. Remember the Reason Why You Formed a Relationship with Your Partner

When dealing with trust issues, you will also need to remain focused on your relationship and the reasons why you engaged romantically with your partner in the first instance. By remembering their unique qualities and the feelings of love that underpin your relationship, you can quickly put your mind at ease and negate any doubt that may exist in your mind. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that distance does not automatically alter feelings or an individual’s personal characteristics.

5. Make the Most of Any Time Spent Together

Depending on the precise circumstances of your relationship and the distance involved, the chances are that you will at least get to spend a minimal amount of time with your partner. This must be optimized if your union is to succeed, as it serves as a physical reminder of the nature of your love and the true depths of your feelings. So strive to plan activities in advance, and ensure that you make the most of every single moment together.

6. Keep the Spark of Physical Attraction Alive

Adapting to any transition in your relationship can be difficult, especially if it involves relocation or a lack of time spent together. This can cause genuine feelings of sadness and depression, which in turn can cause you to neglect your personal appearance and develop a negative approach to life. It is important that you remain motivated and energized for the good of the relationship, however, and ensure that the sparks of physical and romantic attraction remain omni-present at all times.

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7. Understand your Romantic and Professional Goals

Succeeding in a long-distance relationship demands a keen sense of assurance and security, as otherwise you will constantly question the union and the long-term intentions of your partner. Ultimately, you must have a clear understanding of your romantic and professional goals, while also taking the time to comprehend those of your partner. This ensures that your relationship will have the best possible chance of survival, while it also confirms that you and your partner share similar goals in life and in love.

8. Consider the Benefits of Time Apart

Often, conducting a long-term relationship relies on your ability to think positively and make the best from a less than ideal situation. If you approach your relationship with an open and forward-thinking mind, for example, it is possible to recognize the benefits of spending time apart from a loved one and use this realization to strengthen the bonds of love and fondness. This takes time, however, so you must also be patient and allow yourself to adapt to your newly enforced circumstances.

9. Be Spontaneous When Possible

While routine and scheduled visits are crucial to the longevity of long-distance relationships, there is always room for spontaneity and adventure in any union. This can help to keep your relationship fresh and exciting, while it also underlines your motivation not to take your partner for granted. So when possible, commit to making surprise and unannounced visits to your partner’s new location, and do not be afraid to send gifts such as flowers and chocolates. On a fundamental level, this should help both you and your partner to adapt to your new circumstances.

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10. Maintain an Active Social Life

You partner may have been the epicenter of your social life, but this does not mean that you have to become a recluse who spends their time waiting by the telephone once they have relocated. In fact, it is important to remain active and commit to enjoying a rich and busy social life even after your partner has moved. This will aid the transition process enormously, while it also helps you to maintain perspective and remain positive about your situation.

Featured photo credit: Young girl on train station says goodbye before catching her via shutterstock.com

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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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