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11 Signs That You Two Are in a Committed Relationship

11 Signs That You Two Are in a Committed Relationship

So you want to know if your relationship is a committed one. These days it’s not enough to assume that traditional labels of “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or even “partner” are enough to confirm your exclusivity status. Besides the more obvious actions of living together and becoming engaged, there are some things that never change, and chances are if your relationship has any of the following 11 characteristics, there’s a strong possibility that you’re in a committed one.

1. You Spend Significant Time Together

One of the very first signs of commitment in a relationship is when two people spend lots of time together. Outside of normal working hours and with all the things you could be doing in a day, there usually isn’t much time left over to spare. And since time is one of the few commodities that none of us can get back, the fact that you and your significant other choose to make time for each other on a regular basis is a good sign that you’re both committed.

2. You Include Each Other in Your Regular Purchases

I had a friend who confessed to me that she realized she was in a committed relationship the day she found herself in line at the grocery store with more items in her shopping cart for her partner than for herself — and they weren’t even living together. Such acts of thoughtfulness may be small and seemingly insignificant or as extravagant as buying matching jewelry. Whatever the purchase, when you keep each other in mind to the point where you’re considering them in your regular purchases, you’re probably in a committed relationship.

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3. You Get a Key

Remember when giving someone a key to your house was no big deal? Yeah, neither do I.

This rite of committed relationship passage is so iconic that entire movie scenes and magazine articles have been dedicated to its discussion. If one or both of you have keys to the other’s house, you’re in! I mean, how many people have keys to your place? Chances are not many, but if they do and they’re not your parents, it’s a good sign you’re in a committed relationship.

4. You Don’t Shun Social Media Shout-Outs

In this age of media mayhem, it’s no surprise that one of the first signs of commitment tends to be a public announcement on some form of social media. You’ve seen them: the infamous couple’s selfie, the heartfelt note for all to see, and the hashtags like “me and my baby.” These public displays are usually a pretty good sign that things are going well and that you’re both comfortable enough to broadcast your affection to the world. Such public displays can only mean “we’re committed and we want everyone to know.”

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5. You Enter Into Contracts Together

I think it’s fair to say that going into a major contract (other than marriage) with someone, such as buying property or a car, is a sign that things are pretty serious between you and your boo. The reason why contracts are such a big deal is that they’re generally much harder to get out of than they are to get into, so most people take care when signing on the dotted line and expect to be committed for a long time.

6. You Vacation Together

Vacations usually happen over the course of several days and can sometimes take several weeks, so if you’re going to take company along you’ll want to make sure you really like them. You’re also making memories that last for a lifetime. Generally speaking, people who take vacations together not only enjoy each other’s company, but are happy to make memories together, so if you take vacations together it’s a good sign that you and your love are truly committed.

7. You Talk About Bodily Functions

You probably don’t talk about your groin injury or irritable bowel syndrome around the dinner table. Those conversations are usually reserved for medical appointments and the occasional funny story. However, if you find that you can speak with your lover about intimate bodily functions, you’re probably more than casual friends; especially if you find that typically private and personal conversations become commonplace between the two of you.

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8. You Plan for the Future Together

If you consider that the average life expectancy is between 70 and 80 years of age and that a third of that time is spent sleeping, the fact that you and your sweetheart talk about how to spend the hours you have remaining together is significant. When you’re single you can make decisions based on your wants alone. In a committed relationship, however, it matters what the other person wants to do and where they see themselves in the future. So if you and your partner are making plans together, there’s a good likelihood that your relationship is in for the long haul.

9. You Share Passwords and PIN Numbers

These days with the limits on the amount of personal privacy any of us has, passwords and PIN numbers might mark the final frontier of the few things we have entire control over. So deciding to share this extremely private information is not to be taken lightly or with casual friendships. While experts admit that sharing passwords can strengthen relationships, this is a sign of commitment because it demonstrates ultimate trust. So unless you’re in a committed relationship, it’s still best practice to keep your passwords and PIN numbers private.

10. You Go Out of Your Way for One Another

Part of being a good world citizen is caring for other human beings, which may include going out of your way sometimes. But when going out of your way for your beloved is less effort and more this-is-just-how-we-behave, you’ve got yourself a keeper and you’re definitely committed. Examples of going out of your way might look like taking your lunch break to run an errand for them, rearranging your travel plans to make sure they get can get the time off to join you, or giving up your car to make sure they make it to that meeting on time (and vice versa, of course). Anything less and there’s no guarantee that you’re relationship is actually a committed one.

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11. You Make Decisions Based on the Other Person’s Situation

Has your mate given up their favorite candy bar because of your peanut allergy (no kissing for you), or traded in that meat-lover’s pizza for your vegan one? Well, you can be sure that when they start making changes to their routines and behaviors based on your beliefs, situation, or circumstance there’s no doubt that they’re committed. I mean, who else does that?

As in any relationship, it’s up to the people in them to convey love, respect and trust irrespective of how long they ultimately last. But if yours has the characteristics of any of the 11 points above, congratulations, you’ve found yourself in a committed relationship.

Featured photo credit: .craig via Flickr via flickr.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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