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16 Harsh Truths About Modern Dating You Must Face

16 Harsh Truths About Modern Dating You Must Face

Modern dating is complicated. It can be everything and nothing all at the same time. It’s a revolving door of people with expectations. You’re running on empty if you don’t keep up. Here are some harsh truths about modern dating that will help you deal with reality and prepare you for the unexpected.

People lie.

Face it. No matter how “honest” someone appears there is more reward through lying when you first meet. If you don’t accept everything you hear as the truth, you will give yourself some time. Down the line, you may see the truth for yourself, which is far better than words.

You lie.

Big lies. White lies. You do it. Beware, however, the bigger your lie, the more likely you are to date someone hiding an even bigger lie. To avoid this, date less, and establish intimacy with a few chosen people you want to get to know. That level of comfort will make you more open and honest.

Texting means you’re low on the priority list.

Texting has possibly changed modern dating for the worse. It builds fantasies, false hope, and misunderstandings that complicate communication. It’s meaningful to hear your lover’s voice on the other line. The ebbs, flows and hesitations tell you much more about his mood, personality and what’s really on his mind.

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People got issues.

No one is going to come cookie cutter clean. Everyone has a bad or dark side whether they admit it or not. Just hope you meet the person who knows what her dark side is because she will most likely have compassion when you show yours. Every one you date is a teacher. If you think this way, no relationship is wasted.

There are a lot of options.

From online dating to speed dating, it’s easy to feel like modern dating is a full-time job. Don’t do everything. Find what best suits your personality. An extrovert may love the nightlife and meeting people out on the town. An introvert may prefer online dating or a structured, timed format like speed dating.

You will pay dearly for someone else’s childhood trauma.

If there is unresolved childhood trauma, be prepared for dating to be quite tumultuous. If you experience an adult-child who is acting as if they are stuck on six, instead of 36, because he has not progressed emotionally from what happened, take a step back. Establish boundaries early. It is your job to protect yourself.

You will be disappointed.

Again, and again. You disappoint yourself often, how do you expect someone else not to disappoint you? Learn to live with frustration. If you dump everyone who disappoints you, you’ll never find anyone.

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You will have to change.

You will find someone you’re dating who is going to dig up all your bad qualities. Consider this a good thing. It will help you grow, shift and accept parts of your personality you discarded. If you meet someone who suddenly has you interested in running sprints on Friday nights instead of binging on alcohol that is a huge improvement for your quality of life.

You are not the only one they are dating.

There is less pressure to perform when you keep this in mind. Be comfortable with the fact the person you are dating may be interested in others. It’s all fair game until you become exclusive.

Your “issues” will magnify and scare people away (eventually).

People will dump you when you stop being nice. Eventually, they will see parts of you that are not what they want. Accept this. Stop taking on the choices other people make. This rarely has anything to do with you. We are all on our own journeys and must find the people who will get us there.

Stop being “perfect.”

Being a doormat or a yes man is not going to make dating easier. In fact, it puts you on a pedestal. Sitting on someone’s pedestal is pretty lonely. You can’t be yourself, or share your deepest needs. Express your needs whether he or she likes it or not.

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Unconditional love is earned, not automatic.

No one is going to love or accept you unconditionally out of the gate. If he says he does, you haven’t given him a reason yet. You eventually will. Unconditional love is earned through time and problem-solving. You need to feel confident in someone’s loyalty to you, and that is rare. However, you can always trick yourself into it, by ignoring everything he or she does.

You will never fully know someone.

There is always a side to someone he or she keeps from the world. There are parents who have raised honorable children, and still don’t know why little Johnny is stuck in Mexico on a drug charge. Dating is not the place to “get to know someone.” Get to know yourself first, and trust yourself to make the right decisions. Leave other people to account for themselves.

If you aren’t a top priority, your invitation to spend time together will be a “maybe.”

You will know if you are a priority by where you fall on the list. If you want to be #1 don’t take “maybe” for an answer. Let the other person make the effort to set up the dates. That is a good indication of his interest in you.

The person who cares less has all the power.

This is difficult when you are head over heels for someone. After a few months of dating, you care a lot. You want the other person to know. Forget it. It makes you appear less valuable.

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People want people other people want.

It’s human nature; the whole law of scarcity thing. Don’t make yourself too available or an over-sharer. Let the other person set the pace until you both find balance. It’s only natural for her to feel you slipping away, and want back in.

Give up on relationships. Improve yourself first to attract better dating prospects. Once you feel whole and complete with your good and bad parts, people will stick to you like butter on toast. Men and women are attracted to partners who are most comfortable with who they are. That’s why “bad boys” and “bad girls” seem to have all the fun.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3275748024/ 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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