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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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