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10 Things True Friends Don’t Do

10 Things True Friends Don’t Do

A person’s belief system is often a direct reflection of who they spend their time with. To ensure a positive social environment built for your success, make sure the people you trust the most aren’t guilty of these ten things true friends don’t do.

1. They don’t gossip behind your back.

True friends distance themselves from unnecessary drama. If a close one spreads rumors or shares secrets that you asked to be kept private, then they aren’t a true friend worthy of your trust.

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2. They don’t resort to personal attacks.

True friends aren’t in the business of making you feel bad about yourself. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. They focus on your similarities, not your differences. They speak of your qualities, not your shortcomings.

3. They don’t start pointless arguments.

True friends know that there is nothing less productive than starting an argument you can’t win. “Reading that status update sure made me rethink my entire existence,” said nobody, anywhere, ever. A true friend should be willing to accept a person as they are, whether they agree or not. This isn’t to say you can’t have friends you disagree with (in fact, I highly recommend it as it puts things in perspective). But if you’re going to argue, do so respectfully.

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4. They don’t interrupt your every word.

True friends aren’t so obsessed with themselves that they aren’t interested in how you feel. A fair and balanced friendship can’t exist in a situation where one half does all of the talking and none of the listening.

5. They don’t discourage you from pursuing your goals.

True friends are willing to offer feedback without mincing words if they feel it is necessary for your personal development, but they don’t do so in a condescending or hateful fashion. Instead, they offer constructive, helpful advice that inspires you to become a better version of yourself.

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6. They don’t look down on you for your past.

True friends aren’t concerned with your past, no matter how colorful it might be. If you’re courageous enough to reveal a few skeletons living in your closet, a true friend shouldn’t think any less of you; instead, they should offer you comfort and support, expressing an appreciation for your willingness to open up.

7. They don’t abandon you in social situations.

True friends are emotionally intelligent enough to know that bringing a friend to a party where they don’t know anyone, and then proceeding to throw them to the fishes, is a very inconsiderate thing to do (especially if said friend happens to be an introvert).

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8. They don’t get jealous of your success.

True friends don’t waste their time in a pit of jealousy when something good happens to another person. They know it is much more productive to be happy for other people’s success (and maybe even take some notes about how they did it), than it is to be pout and play the “Why didn’t they pick me?” game. Less complaining, more hustling.

9. They don’t judge you or try to “fix” you.

True friends know it’s silly to try to “fix” a person while their own inner-houses are in disorder. As Jesus Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Recall that Jesus spent most of the Gospels hanging out with the very sinners people love to judge today instead of the moralizing Pharisees, who were so blinded by judgment that they couldn’t take an honest look at themselves and their own faults. True friends can admit that they themselves are far from perfect, so it’s a bit absurd to expect anything more from another person. You might not be perfect, but you are good enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. They don’t take your friendship for granted.

True friends don’t see a relationship as a short-term fling that can be tossed aside when it becomes inconvenient, but rather a long-term commitment of high importance. A friend worth having isn’t only interested in doing fun stuff like drinking Tequila shots, playing miniature golf, watching goofy videos on the Internet, riding roller coasters, lounging on the beach or dancing at the club; they are also willing to help you through difficult times by doing things like supporting you after a death in the family, and encouraging you to put yourself back together after a brutal break-up or unexpected job loss. Will Smith captured this top trait of true friends when he said, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

Featured photo credit: three friends woman in urban contest via shutterstock.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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