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7 Signs That Your Friends Are The Real Deal

7 Signs That Your Friends Are The Real Deal

We all have friends we hang out with every week or so, and maybe grab a cup of coffee with when our schedules line up. But if we are lucky, we also have friends who keep us updated on their daily digestive movements, come over uninvited on the weekends, and share pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with us. Those friends are the ones you come to know as the real deal. Here are seven signs which show that you have true friends.

1. You feel completely comfortable around them.

    The phrase “pants optional” applies here. In fact, you could probably walk naked around your true friends and they wouldn’t even be confused. That’s just how comfortable you are with them. You’ll know you’ve got a real true friend when you feel almost the same ease with them that you do with your family. You feel as though you can say, do, or be anything around them without ever feeling awkward or judged. After all, a true friend accepts you in all your weirdness and even reciprocates it. Pants-less watching Disney throwbacks together? No problem, just as long as you remember to pass the ice cream back.

    2. You Know They’re Trustworthy.

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      Friends who are the real deal have seen you at your best but they’ve also seen you at your very worst. They have a photo album on their phone practically dedicated to that one time you mixed Vodka and Fireball, and that was only one of your many embarrassing nights they’ve witnessed. But even with all the potential blackmail they’ve collected over the years, you know they would never show it to a single soul if you didn’t want them to, and vice versa. I mean, they’ve had their nights, too. Still you just don’t show the pictures of those nights to others to prove it.

      3. You Can Communicate Telepathically .

        You know what they say: the friends who are telepathic together, stick together … or something like that. A true friend can read you like a book, regardless of your cover. They’ve observed all your social cues enough to know when it’s time for them to leave you alone or to get you the heck out of somewhere. All it takes is a glance and they’re there, coming up with some brilliant excuse to rescue you from your personal hell. The only problem is when they’re not physically there to pick up on your signals. That’s when you have to rely on their telepathic skills over text, sending them gibberish “help me” codes only they might understand.

        4. You Do Everything Together.

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          It’s not a “you braid my hair, I braid your hair” thing. It’s a “we do more together than most married couples” type thing. When you and a true friend are hanging out, it’s almost as if you two mold into one person. Their interests become your interests as well as the other way around. And even if you don’t like the same things, you find ways to compromise so both of you win.

          “Want to go to an art show?”, you ask. “Sure,” they reply and add: “Want to get El Pollo Loco after?”  “Yeah, why not.” And some day might ask: “Want to move in and never leave my side again?” And you’ll reply: “Thought you’d never ask.”

          A true friend is someone you can do everything with and never get tired, except when they overstay their welcome by eating your hidden stash of chocolate. Now that’s just plain rude.

          5. You Like and Dislike the Same People.

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            Have you ever liked a person’s character originally and then had a close friend tell you they didn’t like them? At first, you try and defend the reasons you like the other person while your friend lists all the reasons they don’t. Afterward, you start to question why you even like the person yourself, and then, all of a sudden, it happens. You’ve begun to dislike them as well. I’m not saying that a true friend will try to sway your opinions of people. In fact, it’s the opposite. You trust your close friend’s opinion so much that you’ve come to trust it as much as your own so when that joint intuition kicks in, you know that your friend is the real deal.

            6, You Realize They’re There For You No Matter What.

              On a more sentimental note, a true friend is there for you even in the worst of circumstances. They’re the ones comforting you after a break up, defending you when you’re being hit with criticism, running alongside you when your car’s about to be towed, and helping you get back on your feet when you trip and fall (while laughing hysterically of course). They’re your Superman when you don’t want to be saved but need to be rescued. And as cheesy as it sounds, they’re the ones you consider to be your future bridesmaid or best man because no day will ever be special without them by your side. Heck, you might as well marry them. They’re already a huge part of your life.

              7.  You Can’t Live With Them But Most Definitely Can’t Live Without Them.

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                No matter how close you are to a true friend, you both are going to have your days when neither of you can stand the other. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the circumstances surrounding the issue that caused such an apocalypse are. There will come a time when you and your true friend aren’t getting along. That being said, when a friend is the real deal, there is no cataclysmic happening that will ever be able to drive you two permanently apart.

                While you may be annoyed almost to the point of temporary loathing, you know this too shall pass, and soon enough, you and your friend will make up and be merry once again because you know your friendship is unbreakable. Again though, if they don’t learn to pass the ice cream or respect your chocolate drawer, things could turn ugly. Just saying.

                Featured photo credit: Adventure Time/hperticarati via flickr.com

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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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