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20 Things Only Sisters Who Live Apart Would Understand

20 Things Only Sisters Who Live Apart Would Understand

Do you have a sister? Being close to your sister is a blessing, as she was there from the start and has had your back ever since. Friendships between sisters are filled with highs and lows, but either way, you’ll always miss her whenever she is far away.

Here are 20 struggles sisters who live far apart go through.

1. Wanting To Speak To Each Other But Being In Different Time Zones

You’ve spent the whole day looking forward to getting home from work so you can finally catch up with your sister – only to realize it’s 3a.m where she is, and there’s no way she is awake. Eventually you get used to Skyping at the weirdest times.

2. Having To Reassure Your Parents That Your Sister Is Fine And Healthy – Every Day

Your worried parents hassle you every day to find out how your sister is doing – which is pretty annoying, because you’re not always 100% sure of the answer.

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3. Feeling Weirdly Grown Up When You Tell Her About Your Life

Once upon a time, all you and your sister talked about was toys and new games. So sometimes it feels weird when you tell her about the promotion you want, and the yoga class you just started. When did you two become adults?!

4. Planning A Skype Chat That Is Ruined By Slow Internet

You had the Skype catch up session planned for five days, but you didn’t plan for your internet to be too slow to even sign in to Skype. Maybe tomorrow night?

5. Having To Stalk Her On Social Media To Know What Is Going On In Her Life

You haven’t managed to get through to your sister for a week, and so you’ve spent the last 20 minutes scrolling through her Facebook, looking for new pictures and status up-dates. You just want to make sure she’s okay – and to see what her new friends look like.

6. Feeling Weird About Visiting Your Parents And Your Sister Not Being There

Every time you go home, you feel a little sad that your sister isn’t right beside you. It just isn’t the same without her.

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7. Trying To Talk But Having No Signal

You’re finally both free at the same time! But just as the phone call starts getting interesting, your phone cuts out. And so begins half an hour of re-dialling, missing each other’s calls and getting cut off again. How will you find out what happened when she went out last night?!

8. Using Skype To Remind Each Other What You Look Like

It’s been a long time since you actually saw each other face to face – so you feel a little teary eyed when you finally see her smiling back at you.

9. Trying To Avoid Mentioning All Of The Crazy Stories Your Sister Told You To Your Parents

After a long catch-up, your parents want to know everything you and your sister spoke about, but you wisely decide to leave out the story about her getting drunk and throwing up in a taxi. In fact, you only feel comfortable repeating about quarter of the conversation to your parents.

10. Unplanned Skyping At Four In The Morning Because You’re Finally Online At The Same Time

Yes, you were totally asleep, but you can finally discuss the season finale of your favorite show with your sister!

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11. Being Confused By The New Words And Phrases She Uses

She has picked up all of the cool words and phrases where she lives; unfortunately, you’ve only visited her twice and you have no idea what she means.

12. Sending Essay Emails Because You Don’t Want To Miss Out Anything

The email may be as long as a short novel, but you need to tell your sister about absolutely everything, from the meals you’ve eaten to updating her on your work drama.

13. Worrying About If She Is Making Friends

You know she’s the nicest, funniest person you know – but what will other people think? You spend hours worrying about if she has made friends – only for her to end a call shortly so she can go for a night out with her new crew. You feel relief and jealousy that you are staying in tonight.

14. Passionately Hating People Who Are Mean To Your Sister

She told you over two months ago that one of her bosses turned down a good idea she had, and he is still at the top of your enemy list today.

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15. Feeling Jealous Of Her Flatmate

They get to see your sister every day, they can spend their evenings cooking food and watching TV shows – you’re not sure when you last felt this jealous.

16. Noticing She Took Some Of Your Clothes With Her

Last time you Skyped, you noticed your favorite dress in the background, and you went crazy. Now that she lives so far away, it’s basically hers by default.

17. Finding Your Parents Twice As Annoying Now Your Sister Isn’t Here

You didn’t realize it at the time, but your sister helped dilute your parents. Now, it’s just you in the firing line.

18. Wanting To See Each Other But Not Being Able To Afford It

If you could, you would visit every single weekend for a few drinks and a catch up, but your bank balance won’t allow it. For now, you message each other every day and patiently wait until pay day.

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19. Reminiscing On The Times You Shared A Home

All of the inside jokes, games and fights – you both love to discuss all of the great memories you have together, while wishing you could still see each other every day.

20. Realizing Nothing Has Changed Besides The Distance

She may live far away, but nothing has changed for either of you. You both can’t wait to get on the phone for a catch up, and she still knows you always have her back, even if you can’t always be with her.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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