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10 Things Your Older Sister Never Told You

10 Things Your Older Sister Never Told You

When you are the younger child in a family you have to listen not only to your parents, but to older siblings as well. A younger sister will often complain about being treated like a baby, or being bossed around by her much older sister when they were younger, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for big sis either. There are a bunch of things that your older sister never really complained about or feel the need to tell you about, knowing that you will come to understand such things when you get older.

1. She spent years as a single child and lived under stricter rules

When your parents had her they didn’t really know what they were doing and they felt incredibly protective, so your sister ended up living under very strict rules. By the time you came along, they had already learned to be a bit more lenient. Your sister essentially paved the way for you, and there were times when she wished you appreciated that fact a bit more.

2. She was put up to higher standards because she was the older one

Not only did she have to take the full brunt of your parents’ attention before you came along, but she was actually held accountable later on, because she was the older one who needs to know better. She’d take a bullet for you from time to time, and while it was frustrating it helped her become a more mature and responsible person, and having a successful older sibling can be beneficial for you as well.

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3. More often than not, she’d find herself trying to be a good role model

Since your older sister was forced to act a lot more mature than other kids her age, she’d end up thinking about her choices and actions, because she knew full well that you looked up to her. Although she might have wanted to be a bit irresponsible and have fun, at times she had to use self-control and try to set a good example.

4. She made things easier for you by giving you her hard-earned bits of wisdom

When she went through rough times, got in fights with mom and dad, had trouble in school – she had to figure it all out for herself. She had to take a few hard falls in order to get back up stronger, but she was more than happy to give you all the little tips, tricks and gems of wisdom that she learned the hard way. The advice might have seemed as nagging at times, but she just didn’t want you to go through all the troubled that she did.  

5. She knew you’d have to make some of the same mistakes, but couldn’t talk you out of it

While she did her best to give you some pointers and guidelines, some things you just have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate. There were times when she watched you make mistakes, and she knew that you wouldn’t listen, but she was still there to comfort you afterwards.

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6. She also gave your parents tips and helped them deal with you

Of course, it is inevitable to have a few stern talks with your parents and get punished, but what you didn’t appreciate when you were younger was the fact that your older sister gave parents some insight into how you felt and helped them find the best way to approach you in that situation. She took up the role of mediator when it was necessary, and even sided with you when you were clearly in the wrong.

7. It both excited and frightened her when you became old enough to start dating

When you have a much older sister you are always the baby in the family, but as you grow older there comes a point where you can speak to each other as friends as well. It’s usually about the time you start dating. She gives you tips on how to deal with the confusing mess that is the teenage girl’s psyche, and you can also learn some useful tips on makeup and what to expect from boys.

Talking with your parents about sex is a weird experience, but your older sister can provide some much-needed guidance without you feel too uncomfortable. On one hand your sister was glad that she will be able to share such things with you, but on the other hand she was worried that you might get your heart broken.

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8. When she critiqued you or teased you, it was so that you would become a better person

Sometimes your older sister would seem mean, like she didn’t care about your problems or like she just wanted to tease you for the fun of it. However, a lot of the time it was used as a means of motivating you to do better or to toughen up – wanting to prove someone wrong or “show them” is the best source of motivation. If things go a little too far, it’s easy to make a sincere apology and make up, so this tough love tends to become a common strategy.

9. She had to act as teacher, caretaker and bodyguard, and she didn’t always know what she was doing

An older sister will stand up for you, help you out with bullies, feed you, help you out with homework and teach you valuable skills. The thing is, she didn’t receive any formal training and she didn’t really know what she was doing a lot of the time. However, that didn’t stop her from trying her best to keep you safe and help you out with anything you needed. An older sister’s boyfriend is also a great influence and can have “the talk” with your new boyfriend.

10. She knew that she’d be the first one you call in an emergency and was ready for anything

An older sister has to be ready for literally anything. Driving you home wasted from a party, helping you sober up and cleaning up the mess so the parents don’t find out? Check. Taking you shopping? Check. Borrowing you cash so you can go to a concert you’ve been waiting for? Check. Your sister used to get into all kinds of trouble herself and understand that she has to be ready to help you out with similar problems, and perhaps even some unique ones that she never came across. It’s not a big surprise to her when you come to her in a panic, but she will make sure that you know how big of a favor she is doing for you.

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These are just some of the things that a much older sister went through, but never really wanted to mention. At the end of the day, she loves you like no one else in the whole world, and while she did help make you into the person you are today, she is aware that you, in turn, had a big positive effect on her life as well.

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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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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