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20 Reasons Why Brothers Are the Best Friends

20 Reasons Why Brothers Are the Best Friends

Having a brother is certainly a unique experience. Though brothers are likely to push your buttons, overall brothers will also have your back and defend you against others. Since brothers tend to be protective and care deeply, these oversized teddy bears make for a more enjoyable life. Get ready to turn on the game and warm up your PlayStation, these 20 reasons will have you appreciating your brother in a whole new light.

He’s Always There When You Need Advice

Brothers are excellent sounding boards if you need advice. Because brothers tend to approach situations head on, it’s refreshing to ask their opinion. Brothers will always listen to your woes, without blowing them out of proportion. 

He Doesn’t Over Do It Either

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    When you go to a brother for advice, they’re likely to keep their reactions to a minimum. The typical male approach to conversation makes for succinct and direct advice. This means you can vent your frustrations, without your brother making things bigger than they need to be.

    He’s Easy To Hang Out With

    Most brothers value silence. Being men, brothers are usually more happy to watch their favorite sport then constantly chat and engage. This makes your brother the perfect person to hang out with when you need a break from your social circles.

    He’s Got Your Back

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      Sure, brothers are prone to push our buttons, poke fun at us, and otherwise drive you crazy, but when someone else tries to do the same, your brother will be there. Even if he’s not the biggest guy on the playground, your brother will play the alpha male for as long as it takes to scare your bullies away.

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      He Can Help You Woo Your Significant Other

      Whether older or younger, brothers are usually full of tips and tricks to help you seem smoother than you are. Especially when you’re trying to impress the object of your affections, brothers will always help out. From cooking tips to creative date ideas, brothers know how to give you a boost.

      He’s Usually Got Something To Laugh About

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        Another perk to having a brother, is boys are much happier playing games and laughing than getting wrapped up in social drama. When life has you down, it’s likely that your brother has something new to make you chuckle.

        He Can Help You With Technology/DIY

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          Most brothers have different skills then you do, even if they’re happy to remind you constantly. Even though brothers try to sound important with their skills, when it comes right down to it, he’ll be glad to help you learn too. Even if your brother isn’t skilled in typical male areas like cars or sports, he’s likely to know more than you when it comes to technology or basic do it yourself repairs. Not only is it easier to learn when you have someone you can go to at any time, he’s likely going to take more time to explain it to you than anyone else.

          He’s Usually Got New, Exciting Games To Play

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            Speaking of technology, brothers usually know all the current, innovative video games. Besides keeping you up-to-date, this can go a long way in helping you vent your frustrations and learn new things.

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            He’s Not Interested In The Gossip

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              Where your other friends might be excited about social drama, brothers tend to ignore it. When social drama and difficult situations come into your life, it’s the perfect time to hang out with your brother. We all need someone who would rather sit on the couch playing video games with you then make you relive your embarrassing times.

              He’s Been There

              No matter how crazy your problems, somehow your brother has done something similar. When you do complain to your brother, it’s almost guaranteed he has a story to make you feel better.

              He’s Protective

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                Not only will your brother listen to your problems without judging or giving too much advice, he’s also defensive when things go wrong in life. Whether it’s tricky social situations, or flat out bullying, your brother never allows someone else to hurt you.

                He Will Tell It To You Straight

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                  Brothers are also incredible because when you have a problem, they’re going to tell it to you straight. Boys rarely feel the need to sugarcoat things, so your brother can be the perfect subject when you need a straight answer.

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                  He’s A Wealth Of Good Prank Ideas

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                    Should you need to get back at someone, or just need an idea for April Fools’ Day, brothers are a wealth of excellent prank ideas. Years of locker room stunts and camping mischief can help you out when you’re in need of a new idea. Just don’t forget that sometimes these pranks will be set on you.

                    He Can Usually Teach You New Sports

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                      While many brothers may not be the best at sports, a lot of them can at least teach you a few pointers. This is particularly valuable to those of us who struggle in gym class, where brothers are happy to help you find the right approach.

                      He’ll Eat Junk Food With You

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                        Brothers are also the perfect people to pig out with. Where sisters or female friends might be more conscious of what they’re eating, brothers are likely to just dig in. Whether you’re a guy who just wants to have a feast, or a girl who needs a break from societal expectations, brothers are always willing to grab a snack, holiday or not.

                        He’s Always Willing To Eat Your Scraps

                        Not only are brothers always willing to dig in when it comes to food, they can be very helpful when you’re small. As a kid, when parents expect you to finish everything on your plate and you just don’t have it in you, your brother comes to the rescue. Your brother is likely happy to grab a few extra bites of food, especially since boys grow like weeds. 

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                        He’ll Show You New, Better Movies

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                          Brothers are also a wealth of information when it comes to movies and entertainment. Your brother likely has very different interests from you, so his favorite movies are probably ones you haven’t seen yet. Particularly when it comes to kung fu, action, and comedy films, your brother likely has some excellent titles you need to see.

                          He’s Competitive

                          Brothers tend to be competitive, which can actually be a good thing. As long as you can bring your “A” game too, a competitive sibling can actually help push you to be your best.

                          He’s Straightforward

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                            Even when you’re not asking for advice, everyone needs someone in life who can tell it like it is.

                            He’ll Always Try To Cheer You Up

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                              Love them or hate them, brothers are really just big teddy bears. So much so, that when they see you suffering, thier first instinct is usually to get you out of your funk. Having someone around who wants to cheer you up is incredibly helpful on days when you don’t feel like yourself.

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                              Alicia Prince

                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                              Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                              8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                              8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                              How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                              Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                              When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                              Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                              What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                              Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                              1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                              Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                              Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                              It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                              2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                              This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                              Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                              3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                              It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                              I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                              If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                              4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                              While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                              To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                              My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                              Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                              Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                              How To Be a Better Listener

                              For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                              1. Pay Attention

                              A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                              According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                              As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                              I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                              2. Use Positive Body Language

                              You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                              A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                              People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                              But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                              According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                              “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                              Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                              3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                              I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                              Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                              Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                              Be polite and wait your turn!

                              4. Ask Questions

                              Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                              5. Just Listen

                              This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                              I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                              I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                              6. Remember and Follow Up

                              Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                              For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                              According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                              It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                              7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                              If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                              Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                              Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                              Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                              NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                              1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                              2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                              8. Maintain Eye Contact

                              When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                              Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                              By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                              Final Thoughts

                              Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                              You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                              And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                              More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                              [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                              [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                              [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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