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When You’re Away From Home, You Understand These 20 Amazing Things

When You’re Away From Home, You Understand These 20 Amazing Things

Living away from home is a big step for many reasons. There are so many phases of emotion people go through when they first move, but eventually they realise it was the best thing they have ever done. The lessons you learn when you’re alone are lessons you use for the rest of your life. It’s also a great way to have hilarious stories to tell your friends. Here are twenty things only people who live away from home can really understand.

1. You learn to enjoy being alone.

The quiet is disturbing at first, and you may find it difficult to get used to. Eventually, you learn to enjoy the quiet and learn that being alone is time for you to spend with yourself, which is very therapeutic. It becomes something you miss when you go back to visit your family from time to time.

2. You have the opportunity to figure out what your thoughts on things are.

When you live at home, you are surrounded by people who have different opinions and these opinions have an effect on how you think. When you are alone, you have time to really find out what you think about certain things and develop your own set of beliefs.

3. You realise you are stronger than you had realized.

When you’re faced with adversity, you seem to muster up strength you never knew you had. Only when you live alone do you really see how strong you actually are when dealing with stressful situations.

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4. You appreciate the little things.

You never realised what a blessing it was to have a fridge full of groceries and a table ready with dinner when you were living at home. When you live away from home, you come home to a dark house and bills. You will never take things for granted ever again.

5. You learn to be more aware of your responsibilities.

When you live alone, you develop a biological alarm clock that reminds you to do important things. This biological alarm clock doesn’t exist initially; it grows over time, and when it does, you end up being pretty proud of yourself.

6. You can blast music throughout your house and dance with no inhibitions.

There is nothing more liberating than turning up the volume and just letting go of all your stress, which is something you can only do if your not in a house full of people.

7. You become more aware of money and when not to spend it.

You have the balance of your debit account recorded in your mind, and you mentally subtract from it every time you spend, making sure you don’t go past your budget. Sometimes you do spend too much, and when that does happen, you spend the rest of the month never leaving your apartment.

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8. You tend to double check if you locked the door and turned the stove off multiple times in one night.

You can never be too careful. You do not want to be the person that sets the fire alarm off at three in the morning.

9. You learn to appreciate just how much you enjoyed being around your family, even if you didn’t realize it when you were living with them.

You miss their dumb jokes at the dinner table. You actually just miss having them at the dinner table. Any chance to Skype with them is just bliss.

10. You learn to self motivate.

With no one around to tell you what to do, it’s easy to get carried away, but you find a way to motivate yourself to do work. When you do end up getting work done, you feel pretty good about yourself.

11. You develop some kind of organizational skills.

Even if things don’t seem organized to everyone around you, you understand your system and that’s the most important thing.

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12. You learn to appreciate the things that were done for you when you did live at home.

Now that you have to do them all yourself, you see how hard they actually were. Paying bills and writing checks are not exactly fun jobs. You are grateful that these jobs were once done for you, but appreciate that you are learning to do them yourself.

13. You become an expert multi-tasker.

Multi-tasking is the best way you can make maximum use of your time. You never realized there would come a time when you had to stir spaghetti sauce whilst you were sweeping the floor and reading simultaneously.

14. You find that almost everything in life requires filling out forms.

You spend ninety percent of your time ticking boxes and signing on dotted lines. If these forms were a final exam you would probably get a hundred percent.

15. When you take important phone calls, you find that you have slowly transitioned from being awkward to actually sounding like a grown-up.

You hang up and you realize that you managed to make it through the phone call without saying anything awkward and that’s when you know you have won at life.

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16. You fake being an adult so well that you eventually become a fully functioning one.

During some point of your life away from home, you will have an out of body experience where you will watch yourself be such a grown up that you won’t even recognize yourself. It’s a pretty spectacular moment that you’ll cherish for a long time.

17. You become good at responding to unexpected changes.

You eventually deal with them calmly and rationally, which is a change from how you first used to deal with them. You are impressed with how well you handle erratic situations, but are glad you developed this vital life skill.

18. You are a master at keeping in touch with people because you are so used to living away from people you love

Technology is your best friend when it comes to keeping in touch with people.

19. You learn to enjoy change and transitioning more than you used to

You learn that change is a part of life and you find that change builds character. You look at any potential changes as challenges that you will eventually master and learn valuable lessons from.

20. You hold on to things less tightly

You become good at letting go of things and moving on, which is a big part of growing up.

Featured photo credit: young hipster man looking at the mountains via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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