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14 Undeniable Lessons About Friendship From Saturday Night Live

14 Undeniable Lessons About Friendship From Saturday Night Live

A truly iconic tv show, Saturday Night Live has been on the air for an incredible 40 seasons. Starting in 1975, this sketch show has always strived to bring the spirit of New York comedy to the world. Not only becoming one of the longest running shows on television, Saturday Night Live has also launched some incredible careers. Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Julia Louise-Dreyfus and Amy Poehler all found their start on this innovative show, but the magic of SNL reaches even farther than that. Over several decades, SNL has made us laugh and even taught us a few things about life. Since Saturday Night Live players are famous for collaborating together throughout their careers, SNL has particularly strong things to say about the enduring bond of friendship.

1. Fight Through Breaks

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    Everyone experiences times when they struggle to connect with their friends, or have to work through disagreements. In comedy, “breaking” means laughing in the middle of a sketch. Appropriately enough, a performance has to move on, so cast members must fight through the break. Just like real life, our friendships are more important than little bumps in the road, and it’s important to keep going.

    2. It’s Ok To Be Up Front

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      The truest friends will accept you exactly as you are – though that might not mean a speedo to the office.

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      3. Share The Stage

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        Big names and new talents tend to collide on Saturday Night Live, yet the show consistently retains it’s ensemble feel. Much like relationships, if one person is always the centre of attention, the group will be less effective. A strong reminder for all of us to make our friends feel included.

        4. It’s Ok To Be Weird

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          Weirdness is a constant occurrence on Saturday Night Live. Similarly, some of our best friends come from people we first judged to be a little bizarre. A solid reminder that eccentricities shouldn’t stand in your way when getting to know a new friend.

          5. Laugh At Yourself

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            After Saturday Night Live cast members leave the show, many find success in Hollywood. So many cast members making the switch to the West coast led to the rise of The Californians segment. A biting satire of self obsession in the golden state, this recurring segment reminds us that friendships function best when you stay down to earth.

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            6. Stand By Each Other

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              For a show that’s employed so many comedians, impressively few have been rumored to hate each other. With so many strong personalities, this show truly speaks to appreciating everyone for who they are.

              7. Unexpected Situations Bring The Best Rewards

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                Originally brought on to SNL as a writer, Tina Fey didn’t like being on camera, and stuck to background roles in sketches. One year, when the show couldn’t find a cohost they liked for the Weekend Update segment, the show’s producer asked Tina to audition. From there, she became a mainstay on the show. Audiences will remember her spot on imitation of Sarah Palin, but that too is another situation Tina Fey originally shied away from. Days before the first Sarah Palin sketch, Tina’s child mistook the real Sarah Palin on TV for Tina Fey, convincing Tina she could accurately portray the politician. Two career changing decisions that were completely unexpected, show us that our chance meetings can indeed become important friends.

                8. Embrace Creativity

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                  SNL is consistently original, quirky and creative. A winning recipe for success, friendships too are an important place where we should be creative. Gift giving, weekend plans and random outings are all most enjoyable for everyone when you’re not afraid to get a little wacky.

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                  9. Be Welcoming

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                    Saturday Night Live brings in new cast members nearly every season, yet newcomers often rise quickly to the top. Just like SNL, being welcoming with your friends and acquaintances will lead you to better, more developed relationships.

                    10. Love Your Found Family

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                      Bringing in so many different talents from around the country undoubtedly presents challenges for SNL’s production staff. Despite this, cast members regularly give a strong impression of working as one. Being open to new people and fully embracing your friendships is crucial to feeling supported in life. Loving your friends, and treating everyone as family, is another powerful lesson from Saturday Night Live.

                      11. Never Rule Out The Little Guy

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                        Many SNL sketches’ biggest laughs come from cast members who may not be stars of their season. Just like overlooked cast members bringing unforgettable performances to the table, our less outgoing friends deserve just as much attention and care as everyone else in our lives.

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                        12. New Friends Are Important

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                          Over and over again, the funniest cast members are untested talents. New members of this show have a lot to offer, as do new acquaintances and friends. You never know who will be your closest friends in the future.

                          13. Encourage Each Other

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                            Beloved comedy duos frequently rise to the top of audience’s hearts on Saturday Night Live. From Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to Will Ferrel and Kathryn Hahn, our favourite moments often come from two cast members working together. Don’t forget to encourage your friends and work together – sometimes two heads really are better than one.

                            14. Don’t Be Afraid To Look Stupid

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                              Just like embracing odd characters, we shouldn’t be afraid of being our truest, most stupid selves with our friends. Comedy often requires an actor or actress willing to look silly, but can produce a spectacular moment. Be brave enough to be kooky with your friends, even if you sometimes look a little dumb.

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                              Alicia Prince

                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations 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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