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20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

20 Sentences You Should Never Tell Your Good Friends

How would you define a good friend? If you are like me, you would expect a good friend to be great company, loyal, reliable, sincere, and trustworthy. This is someone you can phone at any time for advice or to chat. These friendships take time to build and effort to maintain, and they are reciprocal. So, what are some things you should never tell your good friends? Here are twenty sentences you should definitely avoid.

1. “Flossing my teeth” (AKA the Facebook status update)

The problem with taking your friendship online is that the whole world sees it! Use social media for trivial chitchat, but have a real conversation with your best friend. If he is far away, write him a decent email.

 “Posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition.” – William Deresiewicz

2. “Let’s phone each other sometime”

This is a vague and rather wishy-washy commitment. We use it all the time for acquaintances we have just met. It works fine for people we don’t intend to see again, but using a sentence like this with a good friend gives the impression that you can’t be bothered. Why not make a firmer commitment by saying, “We must phone each other every Wednesday evening?”

3. “Let me just check my cell phone”

Cell phones ruin many relationships and friendships. Text addiction is now part of our consumer mentality but it can erode a friendship or relationship in no time at all. If you are always checking your phone, your friend may get the signal that he or she is not worth your time. You’re letting them watch you manipulate an electronic device. Isn’t your friendship worth more than that? Give your friend your full attention while you are together — switch off your phone! Tell him or her, “I can take this call later, what have you been up to since we last met?”

4. “Can we talk about this at another time?”

Your friend may need your help and advice, and she has rung at an inconvenient time. Perhaps you’re watching your favorite comedian or preparing dinner. Asking her when she is in tears to phone later on is not what she expects from you as a good friend. Being available when the other party needs you is an important element in friendship and it is what you yourself would expect if you were going through hell. Instead, you should say, “I’m here for you, tell me all about it.”

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5. “You never get it right”

Who wants criticism all the time? Are we not together to bolster each other’s self esteem and confidence? There may be moments when we have to face or give criticism and a real friendship will survive these moments. But constant criticism will erode your friendship. Friends are there to celebrate, rejuvenate, and to rely on. Try something encouraging, like, “It will go better next time.”

6. “I can’t tell you – it’s private”

Telling your good friend this means that you do not trust them enough with confidential information. True friendship is about sharing our real selves and that will include private stuff. Start something confidential with “I know I can trust you with this.”

7. “I never have enough time”

In ancient times, friendship was such a high calling and a privilege that it was often more valued than marriage. Achilles and Patroclus spring to mind, as do David and Jonathan. Time is an essential ingredient in nurturing friendships. Telling a good friend you have not enough time is a real turn off. Try saying, “I’ll always have enough time for you.”

8. “I know I talk too much but I have so much to tell you”

Being a sympathetic and empathic listener should be two-way traffic! Exchanging news and updates can be a fun way of nurturing the friendship. You should never try to dominate the conversation. You should say, “I know I’m talkative but I want to hear about what you have been doing too, so please forgive me if I go on a bit too much.”

“Exchanging stories is like making love: probing, questing, questioning, caressing. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill – and it teaches them all, too.” – William Deresiewicz

9. “I am going to be late”

This shouldn’t sound like a chronic condition. A lack of punctuality can mean missed restaurant bookings or walking into a film that has already started. If you are unpunctual, it might be time to start getting more organized. You should say, “I really am going to get my unpunctuality under control.”

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10. “I didn’t tell you the whole truth about X”

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

We could write a book about how lying betrays trust and leads to all sorts of problems. Withholding a truth puts a friendship is at risk. There are those people who argue that a white lie is sometimes necessary to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but think carefully about the justification for the lie and its consequences later on. “I am going to tell you everything, no holding back on anything,” is a good start.

11. “You can decide where we are going”

Letting your friend decide everything can be damaging. The other end of the spectrum is where you make all the decisions and you are a control freak. Obviously, a happy medium needs to be found where you both take part in the decision making. “Let’s decide together what we want to do,” will offer more democracy.

12. “But we have always done it like this”

Real friends push each other out of their comfort zones. Doing the same old thing offers a comforting routine but it can also lead to fossilization! Why not suggest new venues, different activities, alternative restaurants and so on? This is important because we tend to become locked into our own little worlds. Instead try, “We should be trying out some new things, don’t you think?”

13. “You could have asked me for advice or help”

The truth is that good friends know when to be there and when to lend a shoulder to cry on. You should not need to be asked or told. You should say, “You know that I am always around, if you need help with anything.”

14. “I told Y all about your problems”

Gossip and betrayal will damage a friendship irrevocably. A true test of friendship is communicating fully with each other. You can rely on each other not to gossip and this adds a great sense of security and serenity to your friendship. With a good friend, “You can trust me, I won’t tell anyone else.”

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15. “I told you there was no point in applying for that job”

“A true friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”- Aristotle

Saying this will not help your friend see the positive side of things. It is not very encouraging. You should say, “It is always worth trying, because whatever way it goes, it will give you a new insight on how things work.”

16. “You know I never criticize you”

A test of a real friendship is when you are able to gently point out some faults in your friend’s character. Good friends are not afraid of indicating where they have screwed up, without being overcritical or harsh. Be constructive: “Maybe that was not the best way to respond when the boss reprimanded you.”

17. “I forgot that you were getting your medical results”

Being there also means not forgetting the important moments when your friend may have to face a stressful situation as regards health, work, or family issues. Genuine friends make a note and send a text to wish their friend well. Put a reminder on your phone and tell them, “I will give you a call when you get your results.”

18. “I am never going to nag you about your laziness”

Good friends are going to be on the lookout to help each other get over a lack of drive or initiative. Saying that you cannot be bothered to even gently nag means that you do not value the freindship very highly. You should say, “I know it’s a pain, but you should really try to get some more exercise. We should go to the gym together, maybe.”

19. “I cannot really offer any advice about your being bullied”

Whether at school or work, people often find they are in a stressful situation and they may be bullied. Don’t leave your friend to fend for himself — at least offer some advice or help. Extend a hand by saying, “Tell me about it because my brother was bullied at work and he was able to resolve the issue.” Genuine friendships can also help to reduce the stress in these situations, one study has found.

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20. “I do not think friendships can last for ever”

This is sending the wrong message. Not every friendship can last a lifetime but those that do are pure gold. You should say that you value the friendship, for example, “Honestly, the fact that you are always on the other end of the phone is a great source of comfort to me.”

Did you know that people who have more friendships in their old age are much more likely to live longer? This was the result of several studies which have highlighted how friendships and social interaction are the greatest health resource you could have as you approach your old age.

Let us know in the comments what really makes a good friend for you.

Featured photo credit: Friendship/Mathias Klang via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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