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8 Clever Ways to Deal With Shameless People

8 Clever Ways to Deal With Shameless People

If you’ve ever had to deal with a completely shameless person in your life, you know it can be a pain. They walk over, run through, embarrass, and shame those around them, without seeming to bat an eye. So how do you deal with such a person? Here are 8 clever ways to cope.

1. Keep your cool.

Shameless people are usually doing boisterous things to get attention. By not engaging in their drama, you take their power away and remove the wind from their sails. But if you fall into the trap of whatever catastrophe they’re trying to create, you’ll end up the embarrassed one. By not engaging, you separate yourself from the consequences as well as the emotional turmoil.

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2. Avoid shaming them.

According to an article in Psychology Today, shameless people are usually full of deep shame, and their “I don’t care” attitude is how they’re coping with it. What that means to you, is that if you shame them deeper, you’re likely to cause them to act out in a greater way. So return to step one, and keep your cool. You don’t want to set off a chain of events that are targeted at you.

3. Get some sleep.

This may seem entirely unrelated to dealing with shameless people, but not getting enough sleep makes everything and everyone harder to deal with. Sleep recharges your brain, shuffling and discarding memories while you slumber (dreams), so you can wake up refreshed and clear-headed. Your memory, self-control, and attention span are reduced when you’re tired, and sleep deprivation raises hormones causing stress even without an aggravator. So if you are facing an obnoxious over-sharer, or an inappropriately dressed co-worker, you’re going to be much more irritated than you would have been if you’d slept well.

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4. Don’t forget what they’ve done.

I’m all for forgiving people for stupid things they’ve done, because harboring toxic feelings inside is a recipe for disaster. But to forgive, does not mean to forget. If you forget that they have no problem yelling loudly inappropriate phrases in public, then you’ll be the one stuck with egg on your face when everyone in the nice restaurant you’re eating lunch at, is staring in shock. You can make peace without making friends. People don’t change as often as we’d like to think.

5. Set boundaries.

It’s okay to tell people what you find acceptable and what you will not stand for. If you have a co-worker who makes sexual comments, or is a little more “hands on” than you’re comfortable with, it’s perfectly okay to tell them not to treat you that way. Be specific, articulate, and clear. You don’t want there to be any room for interpretation. “I’m not comfortable with physical touch of any kind, or with you referencing my body in any way.” When you set clear boundaries, you will be more capable of taking action against the shameless person, should they cross the line.

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6. Sort out the facts from the drama.

Shameless people are often perpetual liars who boldly and authoritatively spew lie after lie to draw attention to themselves. And they get away with it because no one wants to confront or embarrass them. This can be frustrating, and even confusing at times. But the more ridiculous it is, the easier it will be to sort through it all to find the facts. When you ignore the added drama, and address only the hard facts, it takes away the power of the lies, and discourages that kind of behavior. It shows them that they’ll get attention for being truthful, and so they’ll want to steer more in that direction. And even if they don’t, it will help you to feel more in control.

7. Stay aware.

Getting caught off guard can suck you right into the trap of a shameless person. Before you know what’s happening, you’re angry and arguing, when you could have kept your cool. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons, if you don’t see it coming. If you’re alert, you can remove yourself from the situation and take a moment to regroup. While you’re alone, come up with a plan to deal with the situation, and attack it head on. In this way, you’ll focus more on the solution than the problem, which will help you to alleviate some of the frustration and anger that can arise when the problem is all you can see.

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8. Maintain a great support system.

Some shameless people are more work than any individual can take on alone, and maintaining a great support system of rational people, can help you to keep a clear perspective. When someone is ranting loudly at you about their biased thinking all day long, it can start making you feel like you’re the cray one, but if you have friends or coworkers that are rational, they’ll set the record straight. They may even be able to laugh about it with you, which will alleviate some of the stress it’s causing.

Featured photo credit: Ryan Mcguire via gratisography.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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