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You Know The Relationship Should End When These 10 Things Happen

You Know The Relationship Should End When These 10 Things Happen

Sometimes you just get a feeling that your relationship isn’t working out.  You may still care a lot about your significant other, so this can be a tough decision.  If most of these things apply to your relationship, you should probably consider whether it’s time to end it.

1. You don’t look forward to telling your partner funny stories about your day.

It’s one thing to avoid talking your partner’s ear off about every little thing that happened to you at work or school, but it’s another thing when you feel no compulsion to share anything funny, interesting, or exciting with them at all. Even worse if you find yourself sharing these things with someone else instead, like that funny new coworker.

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2. You have different values about important things, like money, education, marriage, or religion.

This stuff doesn’t get better over time, it gets worse. Do you want to find yourself unhappy years from now, wishing that you had just listened when your partner said he never wanted kids or would never want to get married?  Incompatibility about issues of deep importance is a  major red flag.

3. You would rather spend time with your friends than your partner.

It’s great to have a solid network of friends to rely on and hang out with. But it’s not great when the time you spend with your partner pales in comparison to the fun that you have with your friends. When hanging out with your friends strikes you as that a lot more fun than spending time with your partner, you have to ask yourself why.

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4. You don’t hug or kiss much. And to be honest, sex has gotten a lot less fun.

Physical affection isn’t everything, but it is one important aspect of a relationship.  It often acts as a barometer of how the relationship is going.  And if you’re feeling physically and sexually distant, it’s likely you feel distant in other areas of the relationship as well.

5. Your family never really liked your partner, and still doesn’t.

If you have a close and respectful relationship with your family, you have to wonder why they persist in thinking that your partner isn’t worthy of you. It might just be that they see something that you don’t have the distance and objectivity to see on your own.

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6. You never grew to like their friends, and vice versa.

If after all these months or years you still can’t find any kindred spirits in your partner’s friend group, it is a pretty bad sign. After all, your partner likes these people and must be similar to them in some ways, so if you can’t stand any of them, what does it mean about how you feel about your partner?  Also, what does it mean that he doesn’t like your friends?  You know they are awesome and they’re a lot like you. Maybe it means he’s just not that compatible with or into you either.

7. You are bored when your partner talks.

We’re not talking about one topic, like his job in finance or her scrapbook hobby. The great majority of the time you feel your eyes glaze over, because you honestly aren’t that interested in the conversation.  Ever.

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8. You don’t really care how you look anymore.

Again, the physical aspect of the relationship isn’t everything, but if you no longer care at all about your partner thinking you look attractive, this isn’t the best sign that you’re still invested in the relationship.

9. You fantasize about dating other people. A lot.

Thinking other people are cute is natural.  Having extensive thoughts about what it would be like to date other specific people is not.  In fact, it’s a sign that maybe you ought to be dating some of those people instead.

10. You can’t picture being with them this time next year, or you can and it makes you feel stuck and unhappy.

If you’re not happily looking forward to the future with your significant other, there is not much point in remaining in the present with them.  Things won’t magically improve with time.

If many of these ten things resonate with you, it may be time to throw in the towel.  Good luck, and be true to yourself.

More by this author

Samantha Rodman

Clinical psychologist, author, blogger, wife and mommy.

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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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