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13 Things People Who Are Tough On the Outside But Soft On the Inside Never Told You

13 Things People Who Are Tough On the Outside But Soft On the Inside Never Told You

Have you ever met people who are like eggs? They are tough on the outside but soft on the inside. Initially, they seem rather unapproachable and cold, but as you get to know them, you discover that they have a warm side too.

People who are outwardly tough are easily mistaken as rocks. They are respected for their strength and confidence, but at the same time, other people feel intimidated by their achievements or feel incompetent around them. Some might even mistake their confidence as arrogance. They are typically not the first people you approach to be friends with.

However, some of these people have a heart of gold. If you take the time to understand them, you might find a friend for life. Not only are they warm and caring, they have the mental toughness to help you resolve your problems. If you have a friend who is tough on the outside but soft on the inside, treasure them.

Here are 13 things to help you get to know them better, so that you can be better friends with them.

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1. They don’t know how to talk about intimate feelings.

Tough people are easily mistaken as cold because they don’t express their feelings much. But it’s not that they don’t have any feelings. It’s just that they find it difficult to express their emotions in words. Don’t force them to talk about their feelings. It’s just not one of their strengths.

2. They are blunt because they care about you.

Tough people have a different approach when it comes to caring for others. They are usually very honest and direct with their words. Sometimes, they may sound harsh and critical. But they are not trying to be mean. They genuinely want to help you. They are just not someone who is soft in their delivery.

3. They get hurt by unkind words too.

Although they are blunt, they mean well. If someone else was to misunderstand their kindness and call them offensive names, they do feel the pain inside. They might act like nothing is wrong on the outside, but it hurts them as much as it hurts you in the inside. They are normal human beings.

4. They don’t listen to your troubles when they know they can’t help you.

Again, it’s not because they don’t care. It’s because they know they can’t help you. They understand that the key to a better life depends on the individual. If you don’t want to change your life for the better, there’s nothing they can do about it. So they don’t waste time listening to you complain about stuff that you don’t wish to change.

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5. They have problems too.

They aren’t supermen or wonder women. Just because they are tough doesn’t mean they have no problems at all. They don’t complain and whine to others because they know that complaining and whining don’t help the situation at all. So they prefer to spend time alone thinking how to resolve their problems themselves.

6. They need help from other people too.

Tough people are self-sufficient and independent. They can do a lot of things on their own. But they need help from other people too. Sometimes, they may not know how to approach others or feel shy about asking others for help. As a friend, you should offer them help once in a while even if they are silent about it.

7. They are afraid to appear weak.

One reason why tough people don’t display their emotions publicly is because they are afraid to be seen as weak or pushovers. They are afraid that others might take advantage of their vulnerability, so they prefer to hide their feelings away from public view.

8. They build walls to protect themselves emotionally.

Tough people have their insecurities too. They find it hard to be vulnerable and emotionally close to another person because they might have been hurt by others in the past. So they put on a strong front to protect themselves from getting hurt again.

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9. They have a hard time opening up themselves.

They feel deeply but they have a hard time opening up themselves to others. They only open up to friends they trust and keep new people they meet at a safe distance. It takes time for them to trust other people. So be patient with them and allow them to reveal themselves to you slowly.

10. They don’t trust their emotions that much.

Although they are softies inside, they don’t really trust their emotions. They believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. They are also afraid that their emotions will guide them wrongly. So they prefer to rely on their logical thinking and mental toughness to make those hard decisions.

11. They are much harder on themselves than on others.

If you think that their expectation of you is high, think of their expectation of themselves. It’s so much higher. As bonding with others wasn’t their best strength growing up, they focus on achievements and working hard instead. Being tough is how they get to where they are in life. They see the value in it, so they keep challenging themselves to higher standards.

12. They take their relationships seriously.

Tough people with a tender heart tend to be selective with their friends and choose their relationships carefully. They have fewer friends but they are close with their friends. They are supportive and loyal to their friends despite appearing uncaring.

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13. They need love and connection like everyone else.

They might appear uninterested in love and relationships. But deep down inside, they wish to find a loving partner and want to be loved. They can be really shy about dating. And their independence might push potential partners away. As a friend, be there for them and talk to them when they feel alone.

Conclusion: Be Kind With Tough People

Next time you meet a tough person, be in their shoes and be friendly towards them. Understand that some of them are just protecting their tender hearts with a strong front. And if you are friends with tough people, keep in touch with them. They might be independent, but they need friends too.

Featured photo credit: young beautiful short blue hair hipster woman with headphones music in the city via shutterstock.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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