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23 Things People Who Are Great At Relationships Do Differently

23 Things People Who Are Great At Relationships Do Differently

The perfect couple. You’ve seen them in the park walking hand-in-hand or sitting across from each other in a restaurant (having a conversation, not looking at their phones). They have that special look. There’s a peace in the space between them. You wonder how they do it. What makes their relationship special? What are they even talking about? How do they have so much to say to each other?

A good relationship is not easy. Not everyone can maintain one. Instead of giving into every emotional outburst and speaking every word that they think; solid relationships have the skills to stay glued together, no matter how hard life tugs at them, as it tries to pull them apart.

1. They don’t let their past define their present.

The traumas and dramas of years gone by serve no purpose now. Everyone has a story. Healthy partners leave their stories in the past. They remember the lessons learned then move forward to build a bright future together.

2. They are authentic.

Solid relationships are genuine. They don’t play mental games or act phony. They are free to be who they are with each other. What you see is what you get.

They are honest but know how to use good judgment. They know that every word does not have to be spoken. Often people confuse honesty with authenticity. Great relationships know how to be authentic and when to say the right words.

3. They try to inspire each other rather than change their partner.

Solid partnerships motivate and inspire each other to flourish and grow in the direction of their dreams. These relationships bring out the best in each other.

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4. They let themselves be vulnerable.

There’s an invisible zone between them; a safe space to be able to let their true feelings show. It’s a place where deep dark secrets can be revealed, without the fear of rejection or abandonment.

5. They give willingly.

They don’t see “giving in” as a sacrifice. They give and expect nothing in return. There are no scorecards in a great partnership. It’s not about the time I went to your parent’s house but you didn’t come with me to my friend’s dinner party. When they give, it is pure and only because they want to make their partner happy.

6. They don’t hold grudges.

What’s done is done. Problems are resolved and finished. Their love for each other and value for the relationship overrules any lingering discontent.

7. They allow their partner to be the expert in something.

Each person has his/her strengths and weaknesses. These relationships value the each other’s strengths and allow them to have their own area of expertise. If one person is great with managing finances, both people agree that person is the expert who manages the budget. The other partner knows this and is not insulted or walking away with a bruised ego.

8. They make each other laugh (even if the jokes are bad).

Not everyone has the same sense of humor: different jokes for different folks. But in a great relationship, there is a comical connection. You can make each other laugh and sometimes, even laugh at each other. Just seeing your partner laugh makes you laugh, whether you think it’s funny or not.

9. They can see the positive side to a negative annoying habit.

Every trait has a negative and positive side to it. Great relationships can flip to the positive side of an annoying behavior. When your partner gets on your nerves because he/she wants everything done immediately, asks a lot of questions, and wants every item in the fridge in its proper place, (believe it or not) the smart partner sees this as the trait that makes him/her the president of a successful company.

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10. They respect each other’s differences.

Great relationships don’t “agree to disagree.” They hear what their partner is saying, give it credibility, honor it as simply another point of view, and then discuss the pros and cons of each opinion. The words, “No, you’re wrong,” are never heard.

11. They don’t scream at each other or engage in nasty arguments.

Loud voices, cursing, and insults are never an option. They don’t put each other down or make of checklist of their partner’s negative qualities. Of course, there are angry moments (even in the best relationships), but great relationships never let anger turn into nastiness.

12. They sit down and talk things out and know when to talk.

When problems arise (as they certainly will), they need to be discussed. Great relationships know how to do talk it out during stressful times. A smart woman knows to never present an issue to a man with an empty stomach (and vice versa). It’s always best to know when the time is right to have a talk. They also know when to “pick their battles” knowing that every problem does not require a discussion.

13.  They know how to pause.

They know when to be quiet. There are times when it’s best to let things settle, when no answer is the best response. And when silence is healing. Great relationships know when it’s time to take a time-out and when it’s time to re-visit the situation.

14. They share life goals.

Even though they both may take a different route, they desire the same end result. Opposites do attract as long as they are opposites with shared life goals.

15. They have the same values, moral, and ethics.

Values are different than goals. Ethics, morals, and values are what you live by as you are striving towards your goals. Great relationships share the same basic values.

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16. They show up for one another.

There’s a deep (sometimes silent) connection. They can read each other’s mind. It may be as simple as a text that says, “Hi honey, I’m thinking about you. Are you ok?”  Or “Let’s shut the TV tonight and hang out together.” They know when they are needed and they make themselves available.

17. They don’t keep a relationship scorecard.

There’s no saying, “I went to your mother’s house, why can’t I go out with my friends.” It’s not measure for measure or tit for tat. They know that there are times when the give-and-take balances out and each person will feel they had their fair share.

18. They greet each other when they enter the house.

After a busy day, it’s easy to come home carrying a bag of stress along with your bag of groceries. It’s important to pay attention to each other. If you’re chatting on the phone with your friends, great partners say, “I want to hang up now. My honey just came home.” A little attention goes a long way.

19. They gently remind each other that “maybe you could have said that a little nicer.”

Sometimes it’s important to give a gentle reminder that harsh words were spoken. Not everything has to turn into a dramatic scene. Once in awhile, it’s ok to say, “Next time could you try to be a little nicer?”

 20. They make their relationship a priority.

Bottom line is, their relationship comes first. It comes before their friendships, family, and yes; even before their children. They make time for each other and time for their relationship.

 21. They know when to put their egos aside.

It’s easy to jump into a conflict and fight to be right. Good relationships don’t let that happen. They value the relationship over their ego.

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 22. They are in it for the long haul.

Fights don’t make them run home to their mothers. They have a solid commitment to maintaining a long relationship. A conflict or disagreement is not a marriage-breaker, it’s simply a difference of opinion that needs to be worked out.

 23. They bring out the best in each other.

Most important of all, in a fabulous relationship each person makes the other one an even better person. They balance each other as well as elevate each other. They feed off each other’s good character traits and grow from them.

Life changes people. There are tests, crises, and stages of growth that everyone goes through. Great relationships are on solid ground.

Even though times get tough and the waves rock their boat; great partnerships work to keep the ship afloat, steering the sails through the storms, together.

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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