Advertising
Advertising

20 Amazing Things Only People Who Have Been Best Friends For A Decade Would Understand

20 Amazing Things Only People Who Have Been Best Friends For A Decade Would Understand

Several years ago, I brought the guy I was dating with me to my oldest friend’s wedding. The fact that he was more nervous about meeting her than he was about meeting my straight-laced, Italian Catholic parents speaks volumes about the depth of our friendship. After eight hours of traveling, several cups of bad airport coffee, and four packets of Biscoff cookies, my friend and I launched ourselves at each other and, foregoing formal greetings, we started talking. We didn’t stop until she and her fiancé left us at the door to our hotel room. Once inside, my boyfriend dropped his bags, turned to me, and said, “I have absolutely no idea what just happened. Can you translate?” Anyone who’s had the privilege of nurturing a friendship for more than a decade has probably enacted a scene like the one I just described and can relate to the fact that no one around you can understand the language you’re speaking because nearly every sentence you utter begins with some variation of the phrase “Do you remember that time when…?” You’ve laughed together, cried together, eaten approximately 10 million pounds of pizza, ice-cream, and Oreos together, and you’ve probably known each other since you were running around the lawn with no clothes on. Here are twenty amazing things only people who’ve been friends for at least a decade can understand.

1. You’ve developed a complex secret language

Whether code names for your sixth grade crush or naming your least favorite teachers after unlikable characters in the Harry Potter series so as to discuss them in comfortable anonymity, the ludicrous lexicon you’ve perfected for communicating with each other leaves people around you shaking their heads in bafflement. While such secret signaling lends itself well to strengthening the bonds of friendship, half the time you just want to make sure no one discovers your plot to achieve world domination. Because you were always going to conquer the world…if you could just pass Algebra.

2. You call one another’s parents Mom and Dad

This is inevitable given that you’re still trying to work out whether or not you were separated at birth and you grew up spending so many weekends at each other’s houses that you still have a spare toothbrush in the guest bathroom and a pair of Power Rangers boxers from 1995 that you’ve been meaning to remember to take home.

3. You see nothing wrong with standing in the bathroom doorway to carry on a chat while the other of you is having a pee

This is particularly true of long-time female friends.No one knows why, but somehow dissecting your latest awkward sexual encounter over bodily functions just doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy.

Advertising

4. You’ve gone through all of your “firsts” together

Name it, you’ve been through it: first date, first training bra, first car, first “real” significant other, first hangover, first baby…but when the person you were best friends with when you lost your first tooth is still around for your first colonoscopy, it’s pretty clear neither of you is going to jump ship in this relationship any time soon.

5. You still remember the nonsense songs you sang in school, and you sing them to one another’s children

Nothing says continuity like bouncing your best friend’s newborn on your knee to the tune of “Miss Susie had a Steamboat.” Those songs are only immortable because your friendship is.

6. You remember playing dolls as if it were yesterday, so how are you holding your best friend’s first-born child?

Things like starting a family have occurred so seamlessly and so apparently overnight that you feel a little disoriented when you realize just how much time has passed, and you don’t recall how you’ve gotten here. But all that matters is that your best friend is here too.

7. You’ve had at least one serious discussion in which you can sense he/she has a conversational grenade to drop on your head, and you just take matters into your own hands and pull the pin, because you know what’s coming anyway

When I finally decided to tell one of my best friends that I was in love with him, because I’d been dragging the secret around like an extra leg, he stopped me mid-sentence, pulled me into a hug, and said gently, “I know. And I think you know I know.” “I knew you knew,” I answered, “but I didn’t want you to know I knew you knew.” Thirteen years later, he still finds this hysterical. (I’m slowly coming to see the humor in the situation. Give me another decade).

Advertising

8. You’ve been mistaken for siblings

You’ve known each other for so long that you’ve developed similar speech patterns and body language, and you might even look alike (though this might have something to do with the fact that you have a standing agreement to treat each other’s closets like the clearance rack at Express). For whatever reason, this is the highest compliment anyone can pay your friendship.

9. You’re often mistaken for significant others, or a married couple

I’ve experienced this numerous times with both my best girl friend and guy friend respectively. Like the above example, we also consider this a testament to our comfort level. Depending on our moods, my girl friend and I will sometimes neglect to correct the mistake; my guy friend and I have gotten bored with the cliché assumption that we’re a couple, but to be fair, the fact that I had a blatantly obvious crush on him in high school does lend credence to the theory.

10. You have, like married couples, a “the day we met” story

You’re lucky if you manage to tell it all the way through though, because you’re usually laughing too hysterically by the end to finish your sentences. Fortunately for you…

11. You finish each other’s sentences (and probably sandwiches too)

Under the rules of conventional conversation etiquette, this would be classified as interrupting. For you and your bff, it’s just the natural result of your brains operating on the same intellectual frequency for most of your lives.

Advertising

12. You’ve shared so many secrets that at this point, breaking up would be a liability

You just have too much classified information. Besides, someone needs to sift through your computer’s hard drive if you die and make sure the masterpiece you’ve been slaving over is posthumously published, or delete the “Big Bang Theory” fanfiction you secretly write on Saturday nights. Either way, there are some things you just don’t need falling into the wrong hands.

13. You have no problem giving each other unsolicited advice

Because, let’s face it, they know they need to hear what you have to say, even if they’re afraid to ask, so why waste precious talk time on the formalities? (Besides, your phone battery is about to die, and this is important).

14. You remember “passing notes” in class. On actual paper

21st century technology might have made cryptic communication easier when you can just text beneath your desk, but it takes the fun out of surreptitiously sliding a piece of paper across the aisle with your shoe. (And trying it again in detention after you get caught). Today’s teenagers just don’t know what they’re missing.

15. You made each other best friend mixtapes. On actual cassettes

And you still have them. You no longer have a device in your house that will play them, but that’s beside the point. Sentimental value, people.

Advertising

16. You have absolutely no boundaries. (See number 3)

You hold hands, you walk arm in arm, you undress in front of each other, you cuddle.You’ve seen one another’s bodies in various stages of development, from baby fat to body hair, so there’s no point hiding anything. Personal space? What personal space?

17. You grieve over the loss of each other’s family pets as if they were your own

When your friendship lasts longer than the life of the average dog or cat, this is unavoidable, and when you get the call from your best friend, you let them cry, and cry along with them, because you remember all the Saturday mornings when you woke up in their bed after a sleepover to the smell of bacon and the sensation of Snuggles perched serenely on your head like an absurd cat hat.

18. You can’t go public with any news without telling each other first

You’re pregnant. You got a new job. You changed your hair color. You slept with Tom Hiddleston. However miniscule or mind-blowingly awesome, if you dare as much as tweet about it before telling each other first, there will be Hell to pay.

19. You still call each other just to say “I love you.”

Because you were friends before “texting” ever entered urban slang, and nothing brightens your day like your best friend’s voice.

Advertising

20. You’ve actually kept the pact you made on the playground to be best friends forever

It’s one thing to Pinky Swear in elementary school to be each other’s Bridesmaids, but when you’re actually standing on the altar beside your best friend, and you realise the guy she’s pledging her love to isn’t a Ken Doll, you realise just how far you’ve come.

Featured photo credit: PinkyYoung hipster best friends having fun posing in urban area – Concept of youth and friendship with alternative lifestyle Swear by cherylholt via Pixabay via shutterstock.com

More by this author

8 Creative Ways To Motivate Yourself To Reach Goals picture of colorful blue plastic spoons 6 Simple Life Lessons To Be Learned From Spoon Theory image of a girl relaxing in a hotel reading magazines Five Ways Reading Improves Your Life 10 Things Only Book Nerds Can Appreciate Book cover of Emma (1815) by Jane Austen 10 Quotes From Jane Austen’s Emma That Can Teach Us About Life

Trending in Communication

1 Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? 2 How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication 3 11 Facts About Volunteering That Will Surely Impress You 4 I Hate My Wife – Why a Husband Would Resent His Spouse 5 How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

Advertising

Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

Advertising

Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

Advertising

Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

Advertising

This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Advertising

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next