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11 Kinds Of People We Shouldn’t Take To Heart To Ruin Our Happiness

11 Kinds Of People We Shouldn’t Take To Heart To Ruin Our Happiness

We all have toxic people in our lives. You know them – the people who just suck out your happiness, energy, and enthusiasm whenever they are around or when you let them take up space in your “universe,” either physically or emotionally. How about that person who, when their name pops up on your caller ID, you silently groan? You don’t want to answer the call, because you know you are in for an hour of draining conversation, and yet you feel guilty not taking the call. Who is in charge here? If you take that call, that toxic person is in charge! One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to get rid of these “blood suckers” and move on. Here is a list of 12 kinds of people who may have invaded your space and your well-being. Identify them in your life and dump them!

1. The Drama King/Queen

This is the individual who is not happy unless there is huge drama all around them and they want to suck into their drama as well. Whether it’s a slight by one of their relatives or a kid who is going through some pain, this individual has to broadcast the situation to all who will listen, and that listener may be you a lot of the time. Every situation, no matter how small and insignificant must be exaggerated into a major crisis. Learn to cut them off. Tell them you have something urgent to attend to, and maybe you can talk later (but don’t let that later ever come). If this is happening in the work place, you have an additional issue, because that individual is impacting your productivity. Cutting them off and getting back to the business at hand will benefit you in your career.

2. The Negative Nellie or Nelson

Nothing is ever right or good enough for Nellie or Nelson. This person could win the lottery and still find some negative aspects of that win. The problem with keeping this person in your life is that they will inevitably find negative things about your successes and accomplishments. You’re in a new relationship, and you are thrilled. Nellie or Nelson will point out all of the things that could go wrong, until you are second-guessing yourself about the whole thing. Dump this person. Do not engage them in any conversation; do not share anything about your personal or professional life; and stop making “dates” with this person!

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3. The Unreasonable Boss

If you have not yet experienced a really horrible situation with a boss, then you are lucky. Many have bosses who are just to hard to impress, unreasonable in their expectations, who throw “hissy” fits, who publicly belittle and bully their subordinates, and who seem to “get off” on making life miserable for those who work for them. And on top of this, these bosses are often responsible for performance reviews! You may try all of the normal things to lease such a boss to no avail. If you cannot get a transfer out of his/her department or is you are in a small

4. The Person Who Won’t Shut Up

Most of us like balance in our lives. We have times when we want to be social, to engage in lots of conversation with lots of people; we also have times when we want silence – time to reflect, to be at peace, and to be alone with our own selves. This is what a mentally healthy person does! If you have someone in your life who cannot stop talking, who calls you, emails you, messages you incessantly on Facebook, and who is generally bombarding you with conversation, you have to reduce that relationship.

You must be in charge of our own time and your own balance. Don’t answer that call; don’t respond to that email; and if the person is someone you must be around daily (e.g., work), you will have to find ways to excuse yourself from their presence. The incessant “talkers” of the world are those who are not comfortable in their own skin, who cannot be left alone with their own thoughts. You can feel sorry for them, but you do not have to put yourself in a position to be dominated by them.

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5. The Needy Person

This type does seem to be able to make a decision or to do anything on their own, and you have become the one person they can rely on. Please do their taxes for them; please write this letter for them; please make this phone call for them; please go shopping with them and make their clothing selection decisions. Stop it! If you stop, they will go and find someone else to latch onto. You may have to be blunt, and you will simply have to say “no” enough times, until they move on to the next victim.

6. People Who Use You

You know the type. They call you when they need something – favors, money, or help. In between times, they never call. They are “pseudo-friends.” Do you really need that kind of person in your life? Of course not – they do not contribute to your happiness, peace or comfort. From now on, your answer is “no.” You should leave such toxic relationships now.

7. People Who Do Not Respect You

These are generally people with very poor self-images. They cannot feel good about themselves unless they can belittle you or embarrass you in front of others. Further, they will never be mindful of your needs in a relationship; and your opinions do not matter. You may be in a co-dependent relationship with this individual, and it is tough to break out from that. If you begin to surround yourself with those who do respect you, the relationship will wither and die.

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8. People Who Hurt You

This pain can be physical or emotional, but both are bad. The emotional “hurts” include leaving you out of activities, cancelling engagements you have made, not showing up, making promises and commitments that they then don’t keep the physical “hurts” don’t even need explaining. The problem is that these people are usually those you care deeply about and it is painful to imagine life without them. If you are unable to break the hold such a person has on you, then you should get some help – you will be amazed at the ultimate relief you have when that person is out of your life.

9. Backstabbers

You know who they are – they are the ones who are backstabbing other people when they talk with you. Do you think you are somehow not the victim of the same treatment? Think again. This individual ruins reputations, harms relationships between other people, and gets some kind of sick pleasure out of doing so. Do not respond to the talk of a backstabber in any way. Do not be available for conversations or outings. Eventually, they will get the idea.

10. People Who Want You In Your Old Box

There is a great analogy of this kind of relationship. If you put one crab in a bucket, it will crawl out. If you put two crabs in a bucket, they will die in there. Why? Because as soon as one attempts to crawl out, the other will grab onto it. Neither will ever get out. There are people in your life like that. They don’t want you to “move on,” to grow, and to become more than you were in your past. And so, they will attempt to keep you in either your current situation or to return you to a previous situation or lifestyle that you have long ago discarded. You know people who never “grew up.” Perhaps it is the college friend from years ago who still drinks too much, still parties too much, still enjoys taking risks and being irresponsible. This is the person you may want to see once a year or so, but as a frequent friend? No.

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11. The Space Holders

These largely non-contributing souls are in your life for no purpose whatsoever. They don’t contribute to your well-being, to your peace, or to your happiness in any way. Why are you continuing to spend time with them? Are there not others with whom time is much more well-spent? Would you not be more productive is you were alone with yourself rather than with a space-holder? These people are generally not destructive or dangerous; but they are a waste of your time and energy.

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Elena Prokopets

Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on 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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