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20 Amazing Things Only People Who Have a Big Sister Would Understand

20 Amazing Things Only People Who Have a Big Sister Would Understand

Growing up, sisters played a part in our development. Having an older sister was a plus rather than a minus. The early years may have been awkward, but both of you came to understand why you have to always be together and be there for each other. Through these times, there are amazing memories that will forever be a part of you.

1. You had someone to protect you.

In the mission to become a better person and enjoy the adventures life has to offer, your older sister was there to have your back. She didn’t just protect you; she also made sure you were always safe from the terror of the world.

2. You had someone to look up to.

An older sister is there to act as a pacesetter to all the achievements you will forever make. If she was getting a C, you had to get an A. At least there was something to look up to and records you had to surpass.

3. She was the mother when your parents were not around.

You never had to be lonely when your parents were gone. She stood as a shield and quickly took on the mantle of responsibility in making sure you were well taken care of.

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4. There was someone to be proud of.

Whether you felt intimidated or envious when she graduated sum cum laude from a prestigious college or not, you had something to share on your Instagram page.

5. You had someone you could call when you got knocked down.

Life has its way of throwing stones at us. However having an older sister made sure you were not overwhelmed with the frustrating times and you were not beaten by them. You had someone to give a call to provide an illumination when it all seemed dark.

6. There were clothes and toys that you could borrow.

Your sister’s items could also be borrowed and you could feel proud wearing her shoes or clothes to that dinner party because she shared her best items with you.

7. There was someone to give you a good laugh.

You knew your sister wouldn’t fake or pretend. She was always herself around you. That was why humor between the two of you was real and clear.

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8. She offered solid advice about the opposite sex.

Yes, she has been through it all, and she could relate with any issues you have about the opposite sex. She never restrained from telling you what she knew. And oh, how this proved beneficial.

9. There were ugly times, but both of you conquered.

There were disagreements and sometimes, it was not just okay between you two. However, you knew how important it was for you to stick together and pummel through the ugly times and build something everlasting.

10. She never forgot your birthdays.

It hurt your feelings when others forgot to recognize such special moments in your life, but to your older sister, it was a duty not only to remember your birthday, but to make sure you got a special gift.

11. She gave you the best graduation party.

She was someone who cherished your achievements just as much as you cherished hers. She was there on your graduation day and made that photo complete.

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12. She wanted the best future for you.

Yes, there were times when you just didn’t feel right about what will happen next and did not know what direction your future would take. But she made a future with you. If there was any opportunity, she let you know about it. She planned what would be the best option for you to take.

13. She loved you unconditionally.

It wasn’t about the circumstance being favorable or not. It wasn’t about if she was positive or negative about what choices you were making. She loved you unconditionally and supported you all the way.

14. She was there to build your character.

Having a bigger sister doesn’t mean that you had someone who pampered you outrageously. There were also limitations. If you had to be in your room when her friends were around, that was it. Somehow these limitations made you see the reality of dealing with people and how you could rise above an obstacle.

15. She covered for you.

Sometimes when things went wrong in the house, you never took the blame—your older sister did. She could be scolded or grounded, but that didn’t stop her from going on another risky adventure with you.

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16. You were popular in school because your older sister made it so.

Before your first day in school, you were already expected. People referred to you as so-and-so’s sister and somehow you got shielded from all the bullies who would have been happy to take a shot at you.

17. She made a fool of you sometimes.

You would never have taken her too seriously, right? Because despite all her accusations of you being the adopted one, she was only trying to pull a fast one on you and make you look stupid.

18. She was the best babysitter you ever had.

There were other babysitters but she was a special babysitter. Because after the curtains came down, she was the most consistent babysitter you ever had.

19. She was your best friend.

There were secrets between you two—secrets your parents will never hear about. And these secrets bonded you better and made you best friends.

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20. She challenged you to become the best person you could be.

Looking back now at all the memories and all the times you spent together and played together, you can’t help but admit that your sister defined and shaped a part of you. She challenged you and gave you more understanding than any teacher would ever give you.

Featured photo credit: Two sisters in green on grass, st patricks day via shutterstock.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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