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6 Red Flags To Watch For When You’re Dating Someone

6 Red Flags To Watch For When You’re Dating Someone

We have all been there! We have all been excited about this new person we were seeing only to find out they weren’t as great as they appeared to be! Sometimes we end up staying with these same people weeks, even months, and sometimes years before we find out that we could have spent our time more effectively. We have all ended up feeling hurt, abused, abandoned, and misled by those same people who we trusted and loved, ignoring warning signs that could have helped us avoid our insurmountable heartache.

Red flags are violations of proper dating etiquette and standards. Everyone dating should protect their hearts and minds from those looking to abuse them. Everyone wants love, and everyone deserves love. No one, however, deserves to be abused.

These six red flags below indicate things to watch out for when you’re dating someone. If someone is currently treating you this way or starts to treat you in any of these ways in the future, RUN! Don’t look back!

1. They Want to Change You

Have you only been dating for a short period of time and they are already telling you they hate your life-long friends? That is a HUGE red flag! Have they already been encouraging you to move in with them, or worse yet, move out from where you’re currently living with family, friends, or your own apartment to a place they feel will be more fitting, alone? Do they complain about the way you do your hair, what clothes you wear, and try to watch your every move? Do they laugh at your dreams and goals telling you that they are stupid or that you should focus on something else?

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You, my friend, are dating a control freak, and you should run as fast as you can! Control freaks don’t really love you or accept you the way you are. They simply want you to fit the narrative of what they feel the perfect partner is for them. They want someone they can watch and break down. Life is too short to live it the way someone else thinks you should live it.

2. Some of Their Habits Are Questionable

Does your significant other drink too often or go out too much? Do they not even invite you when they go out? Do they become a completely different person when they do drink? Do they scare you? Do they become sexually coercive or hit on other men/women when they are drunk? Do they do drugs?

If your significant other has habits that are questionable, you should break up with them as quickly as possible and move on. Staying in the relationship can lead to abuse or trouble with the law, and no one wants that.

3. They Are Abusive

Unless it’s in physical self-defense, there is never a good reason to hit someone else. It doesn’t matter if they cheated, lied, or deceived you in any way. Abuse is wrong. This is the biggest and most obvious red flag. If your significant other is being sexually coercive, and then trying to make it up to you with gifts and kind words, that doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. That’s how an abuser keeps the abused around, by messing with them emotionally and psychologically.

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If your significant other is abusing you, making you cover yourself so no one sees bruises, or is telling you to not tell anyone about their abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, or emotional, you should run. Period. Again, there is never a good excuse for abusive behavior.

 4. You Are A Secret

Are you in a secret  relationship? Are you always with your significant other but they refuse to introduce you to their friends and family, and if they do, do they just call you a friend? Have you talked to them about it and they’ve done nothing to rectify the matter? Is your significant other a flake?

You’re being used. So, the question is, are you okay with being used by someone who treats you like a dirty secret and less of a human being? I don’t think so. Also, imagine how many other people your significant other has lied to in the same way? You may not be the only secret boyfriend/girlfriend. They may have a husband/wife on the side. Why settle for less than what you deserve? Dump your secret lover and move on to someone who is proud to say that you are all theirs!

5. You Feel Worse About Yourself In The Relationship

Are you planning out all the dates? Do you go out of your way to make time for them and they always have something else going on or don’t prioritize you in the same way? Do you feel alone in your relationship, as if you’re in a relationship with yourself?

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If you feel sad when you think about the relationship or are wondering why it’s not going the way you would like, then that’s a sign that it’s time to move on. You deserve someone who is willing to move mountains to make you feel special and make time for you.

6. Your Family Doesn’t Approve of The Relationship

Sometimes family members can see when someone is wrong for you before you even know yourself. Sometimes family members can be wrong, as well, but they are always worth listening to.  Your immediate family members love you more than anyone else, and want to see you happy. They don’t tell you they dislike your significant other to be spiteful or rude. They do it because they know how special you are and what you deserve. Sometimes what you deserve is better.

It’s always nice to know someone identifies with you or that you can tell them your deepest, darkest secrets, but that’s not all there is to life! And, let’s face it, who doesn’t appreciate a good cuddle? But, that’s no excuse to ignore warning signs. If you really need someone to cuddle with, go buy a pet! They are more loyal than a person, and they won’t wake up one day and tell you they no longer want to be with you.

There’s always something new we can learn on our own about ourselves, and while relationships can be great, it’s also a wonderful thing to be able to spend time alone and enjoy being single!

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Featured photo credit: Day 14:I Don’t Know ANY Of This!/Lourdes Nightingale via commons.wikimedia.org

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Emina Dedic

TEFL Instructor, Traveler, Professional Writer, Model

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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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