Advertising
Advertising

7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

I absolutely love How I Met Your Mother. Not only does it make you laugh and cry, it teaches you some great life lessons in each episode. We can learn many things from How I Met Your Mother, from what it takes to get your dream job, to finding love in our current modern world.

Spoiler alert: This article contains elements from all seasons, including the ending. Do not read on if you do not want to know!

1. It’s not about who wins; it’s about compromise.

“I guess sometimes you just have to set your ego aside…” Marshall

“… And remember that the love that you have for that other person is way more important than winning.” Lily

In season four of How I Met Your Mother, Lily and Marshall have a falling out over dirty dishes. Barney has managed to convince Marshall that he shouldn’t have to put his dirty dishes in the sink (which we know is bad advice). Several arguments later and my favorite HIMYM couple come to realize their errors (as they always do). They agree that it isn’t about who wins; it’s all about compromise.

Advertising

I have come to find that this statement is very true. For a relationship to work, you should learn to compromise. As Lily and Marshall said, the love you have for that person is way more important than winning. You have to learn to come to an agreement with your partner by meeting them halfway.

2. You won’t find love by constantly looking for it.

“You can’t force destiny. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.” Ted

Ted has taught us a lot about finding love. The biggest lesson we can ever learn from Ted is, you won’t find love by looking for it. No matter how hard Ted tried, he struggled to find love and his happy ending. Yet in the end, he found love when he wasn’t looking. When he met his future wife, he did not do a typical “Ted” and go chasing after her, declaring his undeviating love for her. Instead, he decided to let it happen and, as we all know, it did.

Ted spent years of his life searching for love, instead of enjoying himself without the worry that he wouldn’t find it. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone, so don’t spend time looking for them. They will find you when the time is right.

3. Long distance relationships rarely work.

“Long distance is a lie teenagers tell each other to get laid the summer before college.” Ted

In season one of How I Met Your Mother, Ted fell in love with Victoria, who unexpectedly moved away to Germany. After debating whether to end their relationship or not, they decide that they wanted to try a long distance relationship. We come to find in the very next episode that this was a mistake. Ted finds that their phone conversations have become boring as they have nothing to talk about. He even finds himself falling asleep on the phone to Victoria! Their relationship finally comes to a abrupt end when Victoria discovers Ted is trying to sleep with Robin.

Although some long distance relationships can work, in my experience, I have learned they don’t. Even Lily and Marshall admitted when they tried long distance briefly, it nearly “killed” them. The problem is simple: you can’t fully develop a relationship without seeing each other. Yes, you can talk and text all you want, but being with someone in person gives you more intimacy (and I’m not just talking about sex).

4. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.

“Kids, your grandma always used to say to me, ‘Nothing good happens after 2:00 a.m.,’ and she was right. When 2:00 a.m. rolls around, just go home and go to sleep.” Ted

The concept is simple, nothing good happens after 2 a.m. We come across this is the same episode where Ted breaks up with Victoria in Season one. Ted’s long distance relationship with Victoria has become stale, when Robin, the love of Ted’s life, wants Ted to come over to her place. Ted ends up lying to Robin, saying that he has broken up with Victoria and wants to be with Robin. When Victoria calls and speaks to Robin, she realizes Ted has lied to her.

We can learn from this that 2 a.m. is never a good time to make decisions. It is too late (or too early) to think clearly, so instead you should rest up and save your energy.

Advertising

6. You won’t get your dream job overnight.

This is a great lesson you can learn from Robin. Throughout the series, we watch Robin as she struggles to get her dream job as a TV Anchor. She spends years taking on horrid jobs, including doing the “fluff” pieces on the news to the dreaded 2 a.m. slot. We see Robin grow agitated as she worries she will never get her dream job. In the season finale, we see that Robin is finally a famous TV Anchor. Ted comments to Robin on this, saying that her face is everywhere, just before a bus passes with Robin’s face on it.

This lesson is very simple. You won’t get your dream job overnight; it requires hard work. If you want to be a writer, you can’t expect that writing one article will turn you into an overnight success. It takes time and practice to get your dream job. If you put that time and attention into your work, you will succeed.

7. Friendships come and go.

“And that’s how it goes kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch.” Ted

In series nine of How I Met Your Mother, we find that eventually people move on and we lose contact with friends. The gang learn this when they are all debating on whether Gary Blauman should be at Robin and Barney’s wedding. When their arguing causes Gary to leave, our favorite gang come to realize that they might never see Gary again. This is when they come to realize that if you want that person in your live, you have to do something about it. As Ted puts it, “You will be shocked when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”

Over time, people change and with it friendships fizzle out. We learn this as years later on, the How I Met Your Mother gang no longer spend long nights down the bar. Robin, having not settled down and focusing on a career, loses contact with the gang and continues on with her own life. The biggest lesson we learn from this is that time changes people, and we must make the most of the time we have with friends.

Advertising

8. There is someone out there for everyone.

“You can ask the universe for signs all you want but ultimately we’ll only see what we want to see…when we’re ready to see it.” Ted

How I Met Your Mother has come to an end, but we can learn one big lesson from the finale. In the last double episode special, we finally get the opportunity to meet the mother. After years of searching, we see Ted find the love of his life. Unfortunately this reaches a unhappy ending when the mother becomes terminally ill and dies. Yet Ted is not left alone because he can, at last, be with Robin.

We learn that no matter what age you are, how many years you spend looking for love, there’s always someone out there for everyone. Barney teaches us this too when his baby daughter, Ellie, is born. He expresses clearly “You are the love of my life.”

So there we have it, my all-time favorite How I Met Your Mother Life Lessons, but what are your favorites?

If you liked this, why don’t you try:

Advertising

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/17-lessons-love-has-taught.html[/seealse]

Featured photo credit: Alastair2003 via farm3.staticflickr.com

More by this author

Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

Living in the Past? 7 Ways to Let Go and Live a Happy Life 10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing 40 Inspirational Quotes About Getting Through Tough Times 14 Signs That You’re A Truly Beautiful Girl Brighten up someone's day 50 Ways to Brighten up Someone’s Day

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next