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25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

When your brother or sister has a kid, you’re flooded with nostalgia, overwhelmed with joy and see life in an expansive way you never knew before.

After the initial mind blowing sensation has settled in, the moments you share with these new little people are profound, powerful, beautiful and revitalizing.

Here are 25 things only someone who has a niece or nephew could understand.

1. How fun it is when they start to talk and you can joke around with them

While poop jokes are always a winner, starting to banter more and more with your nieces and nephews becomes an increasingly stimulating experience as they get older.

Not only are they some of the funniest people you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, the experience of witnessing their developing minds is so rewarding.

2. Finding out what their “favorites” are

Favorite ice cream flavor, favorite color, favorite animal: as whimsical as these decisions can be for a kid, getting to see them decide what they like and don’t like is fascinating.

3. Hearing them trying to pronounce your name

There are few things cuter than listening to a toddler trying to figure out how to make the sounds of your name with their newly wielded skill of speech.

The shortcut nickname they come up with is your favorite thing to be called from then on.

4. How hard it is not to laugh when they sass back

You’re trying to be a supportive grown-up, but it’s hard not to laugh when they quip back to a parent’s correction with a zinger you just couldn’t see coming.

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“No Billy, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing about a joke I heard earlier. Listen to your mom.”

5. How cool it is to wake them up to make an epic pancake breakfast

There’s nothing more fun than spending the night at your sibling’s place and waking the kids up early to help you make a pancake breakfast.

The excitement in their sleepy little faces and an ensuing battering of questions like, “Can we add sprinkles?” make for some lifetime memories.

6. How incredibly messy it is when you try to make an epic pancake breakfast with little kids

Wow. The idyllic vision of the pancake breakfast quickly becomes a flurry of flour vision, spilled milk and eggs with the fate of Humpty Dumpty on the kitchen floor.

So, so messy. But so, so worth it.

7. The look in their eyes when you read something magical to them for the first time

The Hobbit; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Harry Potter: these are a few classics of our time that excite the imagination and instill a sense of wonder.

Seeing the possibilities well up in their eyes as you spend time reading and connecting with them is absolutely priceless.

8. The feeling when they fall asleep with their little arms slung around you

The connection you feel when one of these precious little people surrenders to sleep, feeling safe with you, is completely disarming.

When this happens you have no desire to move, to put them in bed or to do anything else but experience the moment.

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9. How funny it is when they use grown up phrases

From the likes of “Hey, Lady” or “How ya doin’ sweetheart?”, kids really do say the darndest things just when you don’t expect them to. And it’s the most adorable thing in the stinking world.

10. What it’s like to see their personalities blossom

Even from the first time you lay eyes on those new little creatures, their personalities can already shine through.

My first niece was a firecracker right from the start. She screamed until she was red all over when she was born. My second niece whimpered a little, but calmed right down once they got her bundled up like the little snuggle bunny she is.

To this day their personalities couldn’t be more divergent, and they complement each other beautifully.

11. How they help keep you grounded

There’s no reality check like the kind you receive from the astoundingly insightful five-year-old who can see through, not just your excuses, but all the trappings of the grown up world.

Sometimes kids are smarter than adults.

12. How they help you remember what it was like to be a kid

The simplicity, the fearlessness, the view from three feet above the ground, these are things that playing with your nieces and nephews brings you back to.

At their level,  you’re back in a place where you can really enjoy things as simple as the deep satisfaction that comes from building an adequate sandcastle.

13. How badly you want to protect them from anything that could ever hurt them

You begin to understand how and why your parents worried so much about you. Watching these little ones grow up stirs up the beginnings of parental protective impulses.

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If only there was a way to protect them from heartache, danger or any kind of pain. And you will do just that to the extent that you can.

14. How they make you glad to be an aunt or uncle, not a mom or dad just yet

Kids are awesome. They can also be absolutely awful. And when they are, It’s nice that it’s not your job to figure out the best disciplinary methods. Phew!

The hugeness of the responsibility settles in when you see people close to you raise kids. They need braces? Though your empathetic toward your siblings, you’re also secretly relieved that it’s not your job to figure out how to fund “Project Tammy’s Teeth” and other technical parenting stuff.

15. How they make having your own kids seem less intimidating

At the same time, the vague mysterious idea of “raising kids” is disassembled when you interact with your nieces and nephews. You come to realize that, kids are just people, imperfect interested and fascinating.

The pressure of raising kids “right” is lessened when you see your siblings struggle and triumph in a range of ways which comes out in the personalities of their kids.

16. How much better a hug feels when it comes from arms that can barely reach around you

Tiny, pure, and heartfelt. That’s the way it feels when you get a hug from one of the rambunctious little souls.

17. How fun it is to introduce them to things that interest them

When you’re the one who first sat them down to watch Star Wars, took them to a baseball game or helped them snap a picture on your SLR, you get to cultivate their individual interests.

It makes you feel every bit the cool aunt or uncle and like you’re a part of helping them develop a rich life full of passions.

18. How uninhibited they can be

Still learning social norms, it’s not uncommon for a kid to tell your romantic interest that you farted in the car earlier or to ask you why, by the way, you drive such a junky car?

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Unpredictable and uninhibited, your nieces and nephews say what’s on their minds. They’re not trying to people please, so their perspectives are incredibly refreshing, if jarring at times.

19. Getting to know their idiosyncrasies

Seeing the way they decide to categorize their matchbox collection and how ardent they are about not getting it “mixed up”, strikes you with admiration of the varieties of their little quirks and preferences.

20. How blind they are to your imperfections

It doesn’t matter how unenthusiastic you feel, how much you screwed up at work, or what suitor didn’t find you suitable, when you see your nieces and nephews, all that just fades away and you actually feel as cool as they see you. Their optimism is contagious.

21. How cool it is to see similarities and differences from your siblings in them

Like a variation in piece of music, your nieces and nephews are a blending of your sibling and their partner both in mannerisms and personalities. They’re also their very own entirely new force in the world.

It instills a sense of wonder for existence at its very core.

22. How weird it is to see them start to grow up

When the egg-shape-headed baby from the hospital drives your car for practice in a parking lot for the first time, it’s surreal.

When did they start using compete sentences, much less operating motor vehicles?

23. How heartbreaking it is to tell them you’re moving far away

This is the worst. Trying to explain to a little kid that you won’t be able to see them as much any more because the distance between you will be so much greater, is rebutted with comments like, “Well, come over anyway.”

It jump starts your mind to a time when things were just that simple, the world was expansive and solutions were always clear. Trying to explain miles will break your heart.

24. Coming home for the holidays to a houseful of munchkin voices calling your name out in unison

It’s one of the most welcoming things you can experience and fills your heart with love and a sense of family you never understood before. It’s also unbelievably cute and makes the holidays so much more special.

25. How real and limitless your bond is

No matter how much distance separates you or how much time passes, spending time with your nieces and nephews will always be one of the most precious and rewarding experiences in life. They’ll always be your little pals.

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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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