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

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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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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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