“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.”
– Sarah Dessen
Best friends are in a special category in our lives. They did not earn the accolade ‘best’ for nothing, That joint prize was won after lots of joy, effort, hardship, companionship and affection.
With best friends, you make an investment for life and the dividends are priceless. Here are 20 differences which illustrate the differences between friends and best friends.
1. Friends will always be complimentary, but best friends will give you honest feedback.
Friends will always be ready to pat you on the back or praise you, but never dare to criticize you or give you honest feedback. Best friends, however, are there when you might have to confront a drinking problem or get a nasty looking lesion on your back treated. They will tell you straight on that you are going down the wrong road.
2. Friends may call you often, but best friends call you every day.
How many times have you heard of friends who say they have lost touch with their other friends? Friendship, like a garden, needs daily watering. With best friends, you call each other every day and your friendship will always blossom.Advertising
3. Friends will not root for you, but your best friends will.
When you break up with a significant other, your best friend sympathizes and empathizes and says something like, “That bitch/bastard, you dodged a bullet there.”
Friends will probably ask what you will do now and simply put on a worried look.
4. Friends won’t give you advice when you really need it, but best friends will.
Friends may take the time out to listen, but there is no guarantee they will be able to guide you. Your best friend will sit down and offer his or her advice and practical wisdom when things go pear shaped.
5. Friends may be cautious about invites, but your best friends are not.
You invite some friends to a party and all they want to know is who will be there and what their relationship statuses are. Best friends will go with you, whatever the scene.
They are just great fun to be with and will inspire you with their good humor and zest for life, without asking cautious questions beforehand.
6. Friends will not care about loyalty, but best friends value it highly.
When people start to talk badly about you, friends may steer clear and will certainly not stand up for you because they are not committed. Best friends, on the other hand, know and value loyalty and will defend you to the hilt.Advertising
7. Friends may be lukewarm supporters, but your best friends are always there.
When you want to apply for that dream job, friends have a habit of warning you of the competition that you may face. Best friends might do that too, but they are the ones who will also tell you to go for it.
They always remind you of all your great qualities, skills and experience.
8. Friends may joke, but your best friends remember all of your inside jokes.
Your best friend has all your inside jokes on his or her Rolodex and is ready to trot them out on the right occasion. Friends will probably have difficulty in remembering that particular little episode or may have forgotten it completely.
9. Friends may help you out, but best friends are there 24/7.
You might hesitate to call a friend if you have a soaring temperature at 2.a.m., but you can always phone your best friend for advice or just a sympathetic word.
10. Friends cannot always keep secrets, but best friends can.
We once had a mutual friend who always told her friends that “This is strictly confidential.” It never was! With your best friends, you know that your secrets are 100% safe.
11. Friends will rarely mention your mistakes, but your best friends will.
We all make mistakes in relationships, work and in family matters. Friends will rarely go the extra mile, but your best friends will always be able to tell you what went wrong and help you not to make the same mistake again.Advertising
12. Friends are conscious of paying back, but best friends never think about that.
Whether it is money or favors, friends are always willing to pay back and expect their friends to remember to do so! With best friends, this is never even an issue and there is no counting to be done.
13. Friends do not understand the ins and outs of your love life, but best friends do.
Friends may not be willing to invest all that time and effort, and you may not feel confident enough to go into all the details. Best friends are great listeners and they know all the details, good and bad.
14. Friends may be strict timekeepers, but best friends are flexible.
We know punctuality is important, but sometimes friends take it to extremes and your 20 minutes to get ready seems like a spaceship launch countdown when certain friends are present. Best friends are totally relaxed and can occupy their time by doing something else while waiting.
15. Friends are wary of your obsessions, but best friends accept them.
We all have our obsessions. With friends, we may have to be a little careful because they seem to think that being weird is not quite mainstream and they may often frown. Best friends just laugh off each other’s obsessions though and can joke about them.
16. Friends do not want to hear the same things all the time, but best friends thrive on repetition.
The same old stories, the inside jokes, the things we repeat over and over again, are all doled out carefully with friends because we are afraid of being repetitive. Best friends tolerate and thrive on repeating the same old things and know how it adds reassurance and comfort to a friendship.
17. Friends do not view you as a real soul mate, but best friends do.
Friends are great for company, fun and being supportive. But best friends are like getting an upgrade. The idea of being a soul mate is completely natural for them because you will always be there for each other and understand each other perfectly.Advertising
18. Friends may not be there in the hard times, but best friends will.
Have you noticed how friends are suddenly busy when illness, hardship and depression strike? They fade away like melting snow. Watch the video here to show how best friends will never have to face that problem.
19. Friends may be happy about your wedding, but your best friend is over the moon.
When you announce your wedding or some other happy event, your friends will smile and be enthusiastic. But your best friends go one step further and get more excited about it than you even are.
20. Friends may be jealous, but best friends never are.
Jealousy can wreck many a friendship. There may be sensitivities that are never revealed and they may then ruin a friendship like weeds in a garden. Best friends are never jealous because their bond has thrived on openness, trust, loyalty and being supportive. Their garden is in full bloom.
Featured photo credit: Best friends forever/Don LaVange via flickr.com
Published on May 18, 2021
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.
Table of Contents
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.
Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.
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. And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.
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.
Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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
- 11 Tips to Help Improve Your Active Listening Skills
- 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home
- How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com
|||^||NCBI: Listening Effort: How the Cognitive Consequences of Acoustic Challenge Are Reflected in Brain and Behavior|
|||^||NCBI: The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory|
|||^||NCBI: Brain Mechanisms Underlying Human Communication|
|||^||NCBI: Body language in the brain: constructing meaning from expressive movement|
|||^||NCBI: The Role of the Human Mirror Neuron System in Supporting Communication in a Digital World|
|||^||Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences: The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress|