Sometimes, this missed opportunity to acknowledge our personality flaws can drive an even bigger wedge between us and the people we love. The last thing we need is for our firmest relationships to fall apart because we haven’t faced the facts about our own individual behavior.
If you’ve ever looked around and wondered how things could be better, we have to start with making changes within ourselves. That means identifying what’s really behind the fancy curtain we present to the world and making some adjustments behind the scenes. Let’s dig deep and discover how a poor attitude can create blocks in our lives and how to make a breakthrough toward better relationships.
A Poor Attitude Will Shatter Your Social Interactions
Have you ever been in a circle of friends and tried to get a word in on a conversation only to be drowned out by others? It doesn’t feel the greatest, does it? If this sounds like you, then it’s essential that we look within to see if we’re guilty of poor social manners ourselves.
Good manners can go a long way in promoting a healthy exchange between you and your friends. When we think of manners, we tend to focus on saying “please” and “thank you.” But it runs deeper than the typical superficial platitudes.
The art of conversation reveals much about whether our social manners are still intact. Having good manners involves giving your friends or a date enough time to discuss their day — their successes and their issues — and not being so quick to interrupt and talk about yourself, or draw comparisons to your own life.
Pay close attention to the person holding the floor — and they’ll do the same for you.
Now, turn this scenario around, look through the same lens and see how you could be making others feel the same way in your own relationships. Just think of how it would feel if you were in your friends’ shoes. When you’re telling a story about your own daily happenings, you might feel a bit annoyed or even disrespected if someone frequently interrupted you to share their viewpoints. It may even feel like the person doesn’t actually care about you. This is exactly what a poor attitude in a social interaction feels like.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lecture in social intelligence to make a 180 degree turn in our attitude. Make it a regular practice to withhold talking about yourself and your accomplishments and happenings until you’re asked, while paying close attention to the person holding the floor — and they’ll do the same for you. This is an example of reciprocity, where we give back what we’ve received, and putting this virtue into motion can help build and restore bonds in your friendships.
Poor Body Language Cues Are Pushing Them Away
Tired, bored, irritated, hungry, sleepy? Most of us can relate. But when we’re hanging with our best pals or even going on a date, it’s important that we feel like ourselves so that we can give undivided attention to those keeping us company. After all, hanging out with others is about togetherness. But poor body language resulting from unmet needs can put a damper on the day.
Imagine you’re out with a bestie but she’s not hearing a word you’ve said. While you’re talking, she’s tuned out, scrolling her social feeds and not responding like an active listener should. Turns out, she’s been brooding about a heated argument she had with her boyfriend. If you’re thinking, “What does her issue have to do with me?” you’re correct. But turn the mirror around. In what ways are you, too, sending poor cues when on a date or spending time with family and friends? How do you know that you’re fully tuned in to your relationships? Are you truly prioritizing the people in your life?
The people who love and care for you are paying attention to and interpreting your body language.
Remember that everyone — especially the people who love and care for you — is paying attention to your behavior. If you’re tuned out, arms folded, rolling your eyes, not paying attention, rushing conversations, and seeming detached, chances are you could be giving out signals that you need some space (even if space isn’t what you’re needing). But by avoiding mixed signals and speaking up about your problems, you can not only keep from pushing others away but you’ll actually take your relationships to new levels. Your friends and family members will be more empathetic and understanding if you communicate with them about your actual needs.
Ultimately, you want to try and avoid being that friend, the one who never wants to do anything, is always too tired, and never has anything positive to say about herself or others. There’s no shade intended here; just a call to improve and elevate ourselves to be the best we can for others. Remember, while we may need our friends, they may need us, too. And to be a shoulder to lean on means to be upright and strong enough to offer support.
You’ve Tapped Out on the Gossip Gold Mine
Everyone has shared gossip, so this one isn’t about whether gossip is good or bad. Rather, it’s essential to focus on how excessive gossip can create distance, or worse, friction and conflict, in an otherwise healthy friendship. “Tea parties” might be the thing keeping a friendship going at first. (After all, gossip can seem entertaining, much like reading tabloids.) But this momentum only lasts until someone’s feelings are hurt.
It’s possible you’ve spilled a little too much tea about somebody your friend deeply respects, leaving your friend with questions about whether they should continue talking to you. The phone calls get shorter and shorter, then fewer and fewer. Then you find yourself checking in with your friend on rare occasions. While you’re wondering why you’ve been ghosted, your friend could be experiencing a conflict in loyalties. Your gossip session was too close for comfort. The tea was so hot, it burned her and she’s not coming back for seconds. This is a perfect example of how sharing isn’t always caring.
When conversing with friends, only speak positively about others.
This is the unfortunate fate of gossip. It’s juicy until it dries out. It’s fresh until it goes bad, and at that point, no one wants it. If you’re the neighborhood gossip girl, it can feel isolating when one or more friends begin to back away from your basket of forbidden fruit. Fortunately, friendships don’t have to be built on a flimsy foundation such as gossip. Instead, make an attitude adjustment and do the very opposite. When conversing with friends, make it a challenge to only speak positively about others, and this will create an uplifting exchange that’s refreshing, energizing, and encouraging. Besides, positivity is infectious and who knows, someone could be saying great things about you, too!
When it comes to forging great relationships, a positive attitude is as good as gold. While it’s easy to look on the outside and analyze what other people could do better, we must turn and face the mirror ourselves and see how we, too, could be blocking ourselves from getting the best out of life. But like anything worth striving for, having a great attitude isn’t a destination but a life-long journey of gratitude and appreciation for yourself and those around you. May this follow you wherever you go.
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