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    7 Tips for Having Meaningful Conversations That Go Beyond “How Are You?”

    Every conversation is an opportunity to cultivate real, human connections—whether that’s by nurturing existing relationships or creating new ones—and having meaningful conversations can help us process and learn from our individual experiences, together.  
    But still, it can be hard to go beyond the standard, “How are you?” Often, “How are you?” can feel like an overwhelming question. So, we say, “Good!” or “Hanging in there,” because how we’re really doing either feels like too much to unpack or too heavy to share with someone else.
    It can be even harder when the person we’re talking to has differing opinions on the social and political issues happening around us. Often we find ourselves talking at each other, against each other, or over each other, and not with each other. In these moments, we miss the chance to learn from people who challenge our assumptions; conversations that encourage us to reflect on our existing perceptions, create new ideas, and progress mentally. So, why do we have such a hard time having conversations that make us feel more connected, fulfilled, and ultimately, happier?
    It’s helpful to think of conversations as a microcosm of a relationship. There needs to be a give and take in the sense that both parties are teaching and learning, talking, and listening. And like a relationship, a good conversation creates an environment where both people feel respected and safe to voice their thoughts. This trust establishes a strong foundation for the conversation to build around. The good news is that most people want to connect on a deeper level. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

    1. Start with curiosity
    Whether it’s with your friends, family, Bumble date, or Uber driver, every conversation is an invitation to learn something. Curiosity keeps us engaged in the conversation. Not only that, but we learn faster and remember more when we actually want to learn it. It’s pretty likely that the person you’re talking to knows something you don’t, whether it’s about an experience you’re having, a place you’ve always wanted to visit, or something they saw on the news. So if you don’t know something, ask. If someone mentions something you want to learn more about, ask. If someone has a different opinion than yours, ask questions to help you find out why. Curiosity pushes the conversation beyond surface-level small talk and helps us feel closer to the person with whom we’re speaking.

    2. Avoid self-fulfilling questions 
    We tend to ask questions that push our own expectations and bias onto others. When we ask, “Did that make you mad?” or “Were you happy?” we will likely get a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, asking, “How did that make you feel?” invites the other person to steer the conversation without judgment and to answer without fear of criticism. 
    Wording questions more open-endedly also encourages the other person to process what they are experiencing and how they are feeling on a deeper level. You can expect to get more complex, surprising, and illuminating answers this way, which helps you better understand and can help the conversation go deeper than a “yes” or a “no.”

    3. Let go
    Not every thought that drifts into your head needs a mic. Sometimes, it’s better to let thoughts pass without saying them out loud. Don’t stop listening to or interrupt the other person because you want to make sure you don’t forget to share a clever comment or story. Make sure to let the other person fully finish speaking—and if what you wanted to say is no longer relevant or doesn’t contribute to pushing the conversation further, then let it go. 

    4. Practice empathy
    Empathy is the capacity to set aside your own biases and to understand someone else’s feelings based on that person’s own unique experiences, perspective, and frame of mind. In order to empathize, it’s important to acknowledge that we are all biased and that actively working to keep it in check is a lifelong commitment. When listening with empathy, you’re making an active decision to understand someone else’s opinions and values without criticism. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they are saying, but you are respecting their right to voice it and be heard.

    5. Remember: Their struggles are not your own
    If someone is talking about struggling with work, family, a relationship, or anything else, don’t use it as an opportunity to talk about that ex you broke up with five years ago. While it may seem like you are comforting someone by sharing your own semi-related story, this can make people feel overlooked and like you have made their struggle about you. Your experience is not the same—it is not about you. 
    If you have a habit of jumping in with your own story, next time, make a conscious effort to stay quiet until the other person is done talking, and take this time to truly listen. If at this point you still feel like you can shed some insight on their experience, let them know that you went through something similar and leave it up to them to decide if they want to hear your story.

    6. Be honest
    Speaking your own truth can be hard to do when the other person has differing values and opinions. However, being able to express your authentic opinions and, in turn, have them challenged is where a lot of the learning and growth happens in a deeper conversation. To speak candidly and respectfully, here are some things to keep in mind:

    Letting people know that you hear and understand their viewpoints helps assure them that you are coming from a place of honesty and respect.
    Don’t step onto a soapbox. Speak to people directly and not at them. A good conversation begins and ends on the same level. One opinion is not superior to the other, and the goal is to both grow and learn together. 
    Speak calmly and with purpose. Ask yourself what you are trying to say and what the best way to convey it might be. If you need to take a moment to think about this, pause. Silence during a conversation offers the space to reflect on what’s been said and taking the time to be authentic benefits everyone in the conversation. People want to know the real you so that they can show you their real self as well. 

    7. Be present
    It’s easy to let our minds wander during a conversation, whether it’s thinking about the million things on your to-do list or that snarky email your boss sent. Yet, if your mind is elsewhere, you won’t fully pay attention to the conversation. Remember that the other person’s time is just as valuable as yours, so give them your undivided attention. This means more than just tucking your phone away and keeping eye contact. To really listen is a practice in mindfulness:

    Don’t worry about what you’re going to say next. If you’re waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can say what you’re thinking, you aren’t paying attention. Instead, focus on what they are trying to communicate to you and where they are coming from.
    React less and reflect more. It’s natural to have knee-jerk reactions to things people say. However, in order to fully understand what someone is saying, we need to give them the floor to explain—and sometimes figure out—their thoughts. So before you jump to a conclusion, reflect on why and how that person came to form their values and opinions. And if you don’t know, ask questions to help you understand.

    Conversations have the power to remind us that we are seen, heard, and valued. The way we listen and talk to one another can impact how we move forward as both individuals and a community. And when we are present and show up for each other, conversations will be what bring us together.

    How to Maintain a Friendship When You’re in Different Life Stages More

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    What To Do When You Start Catching Feelings In A Situationship (Oh, oh)

    “Yes to lots of safe sex, definitely no sleepovers, no calling each other on our birthdays, no unnecessary check-ins unless it’s to set up a booty call and most importantly, no acting up when you see me with someone else.” So go the rules of many situationships, often declared at the very beginning to prevent either party from falling in love with the other.
    If you’ve been living under a rock (for some reason), a situationship is a half-baked ‘relationship’ that is neither official or unconfirmed. Most importantly, it’s meant to be uncomplicated. But when have feelings ever respected boundaries?
    Sex with no strings attached can be fun, but can also get complicated really fast. If you happen to wake up pining for your f*** buddy (not in that lust, but the ‘I just want to hear your voice sense’) it could mean that your feelings have gone and crossed the boundary line — without first consulting you nodal! First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up for developing feelings: Women are biologically wired to feel attached to their sexual partners, so it’s not only common, it’s natural.
    Women release oxytocin, a bonding hormone, when they have sex (and particularly when they orgasm), so in many cases, it’s hard not to feel at least a little attached. And of course, the more you spend any kind of physical time with someone, the more you’re likely to learn about them and get to know them on a more personal level. So, yeah… chances are, if you’re regularly having casual sex with the same person, you’re going to start to feel the feels.
    By now, we’ve all established that relationships are complex AF. WH advisor and therapist Dr Chloe tackles your most confusing issues and burning Qs.
    Makes sense. So I shouldn’t worry that my casual-sex thing doesn’t feel that casual?
    “Let’s not pretend this isn’t an issue — clearly, you’re here for a reason, and my guess is that the reason is you think this person doesn’t have those same feelings for you and you’re not sure how to proceed. Perhaps you went into this thing with a mutual understanding that the sex wouldn’t progress into a relationship and your feelings honestly took you by surprise.
    But it could also be the case that, on some deeper level, you sought out a casual-sex situation because you thought it’d be emotionally safer to stick to an arrangement where they can’t reject you. If you’re not ‘putting yourself out there’ in that vulnerable way, you can’t get hurt, right? I know the thinking.
    READ MORE: The 10 Rules Of Casual Dating Every Woman Should Know
    Here’s the truth, though: If you frequently (if not always) find yourself developing feelings for someone you’re having casual sex with, I urge you to consider if a non-relationship is really what you want. If you think casual sex is a way of guaranteeing you won’t be disappointed by a partner because you’re not even putting the idea of a relationship on the table, you’re actually encouraging self-denial, not self-awareness (which as a maturing adult, isn’t the way to go!).
    It’s kind of like overtraining at the gym and then popping a bunch of painkillers to remove the soreness: You might not feel the pain anymore, but the muscle damage is still there. Similarly, having sex with someone you like but who doesn’t cherish you is painful, whether you act like you care or not (by continuing to sleep with them with no strings attached).
    If that’s you — if you’ve never really been able to separate sex from emotions — casual sex might not be the healthiest thing for you. Try limiting yourself to having sex with people who reciprocate a desire for a relationship and emotional intimacy. Even though there’s no way of guaranteeing that a long-term relationship will come out of it, at least you’re not setting yourself up to be heartbroken and disappointed from the get-go.”
    Uuuhhhmmm, Dr Chloe… but that doesn’t help me now.
    “What to do in your current situation? The answer is simple: Be honest. You have absolutely nothing to gain by keeping your feelings to yourself or pretending that they aren’t there. In most cases, feelings only grow with time, so you’re doing yourself no favours by getting in deeper with someone who doesn’t want what you want.
    So tell them. Yes, I know it’s scary, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll gain after! Try saying: ‘I thought you should know that I’ve started to like you-like you. I think I need to step back, because when I got into this, I didn’t plan for these feelings.’
    READ MORE: 11 Signs Of An Emotionally Unavailable Partner — And WTH To Do About It
    This approach lets them know how you feel but doesn’t put any pressure on them to reciprocate — which you only want them to do if they truly feel the same way as you do. You don’t want a potential partner to stick around just so they can keep their Nice Guy (or Nice Girl) card, so let them know that you’ve decided to walk away without expressing any negativity toward them. That way, if they come back and tell you they want more, you know it’s because they actually want more.
    Now, if they don’t end up coming around with their own declaration of feelings or desire for a relationship on their own time, know this: You just did yourself a solid. The relationship you’re imagining in your head is with a relationship-oriented person who feels a certain way about you, too. And if that’s not them — they only want casual sex, or they just don’t see you in particular as something more than that — then you can accept the reality and let go. It’s much, much easier to move on from someone who isn’t what you want than someone who is.
    Got it. Is there any way to rein my feelings in in the future?
    Of course! If you do decide to enter into another casual-sex shindig because that’s what you really, truly, deeply want, try the following to minimise the chances of getting in too deep:

    Avoid sharing or learning deep personal stories (about your family, hobbies, childhood, etc.), which forms strong connections.
    Avoid frequent or daily texting — only talk for purposes of meeting up for your rendezvous — because frequency and duration of contact is how humans build trust and grow closer.
    Avoid replaying encounters in your mind, which makes your brain grow fonder of them.

    Space out encounters or keep them to long-distance situations. Seeing someone often (and sleeping with them) pumps out all kinds of chemical hormones that can make you feel “addicted” to them.
    At the end of the day, casual sex without attachment is possible, but it’s tricky. As long as you stay true to yourself and your heart along the way, you’ll be just fine. I promise.
    This article was originally published on  More

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    How To Handle Your Crush On A Colleague In A Professional Manner

    If only life was like the set of the Netflix series The Bold Type. A magazine fashion assistant falls in love with the company’s in-house attorney. After fooling around for months, anxious that they’d get caught, the pair decide to go public with their relationship. Except, Sutton the assistant is worried that she’ll be branded ‘The girl who slept her way to the top’. Both move on, but still wondering what would’ve been had they given their office romance a shot in a normal setting.
    Unfortunately, life is no reenaction of a TV story line. When it comes to shooting your shot in a real-life office setting, telling your colleague you’re ‘feeling them’ and then promptly diving into their mouth tongue-first isn’t the best idea… especially since you’re going to see them every day, whether or not things work out the way you fantasized at your desk.
    Playing it subtly is key when water cooler conversations turn flirtatious, says Dr Jane Greer, a relationship expert and author of What About Me?.
    Here’s how to handle crushing on a colleague:
    1. Check in on company policy.
    Dust off that employee handbook and learn whether or not relationships between employees are even allowed, Greer says.
    “It’s totally fine to have a crush on a coworker, but it’s all about how you handle it,” she explains. Before you offer up your heart and soul, know whether doing so could put your career in jeopardy. If it can, you might want to try some dating apps instead.
    READ MORE: Curving Is The Newest Dating Trend, And It Might Be Even Worse Than Ghosting
    2. If you choose to proceed in secrecy, know the risks.
    “Sometimes you can’t help if you fall in love with somebody,” says Greer. “The problem with that is everybody feels the energy, and people will know.” Resentful colleagues might threaten to expose you, the stress of keeping your relationship under wraps might cause strain, and if a superior finds out, you might get knocked off the promotion track, or worse, get fired.
    So, instead of violating company policy, take stock of your options. If you want to act on your feelings that badly, consider moving to a different department, or switching to another company entirely before betting your job stability on a crush.
    But hey, if love conquers job, Greer says, do you. Just remember, you’ve been warned.
    3. If coworker relationships are allowed, turn up the flirtation—but keep it cool.
    “Show them behaviorally that they’re on your mind,” says Greer. You might ask them what kind of coffee they enjoy and later bring them a cup, strike up brief conversations about upcoming local events, or ask them about their latest work project, so you can establish a rapport.
    Basically, you want to be thoughtful, but super subtle in your flirting—call it micro-flirting, if you will. “You don’t want to engage in anything that is overt or seductive or that can be misinterpreted as sexual harassment,” says Greer. Whatever you say needs to be suitable for the workplace.
    And once your coworker feels comfortable around you, and maybe even initiates conversation, you can move on to the next step.
    READ MORE: 14 Emotional Affair Signs You Need To Be Aware Of
    4. Take it outside.
    While you can (internally) thank your boss for inadvertently playing matchmaker, limit the budding romance to outside office doors. Hopefully, through the thoughtful gestures, Greer says, your crush might warm up to the idea of getting to know you after hours.
    To keep the pressure off, invite them to something casual. Greer suggests asking them to join you for a post-work cup of coffee or drink. “Depending on their response, that gives you an idea of whether they’re even remotely interested in getting to know you better, or not,” she explains.
    5. If they’re into it, go for it.
    While a date with your office crush is super exciting, remember you’re going to be face-to-face with them—at work—in a less than 24 hours. You’ve established your workplace camaraderie, sure, but your romantic chemistry is still up in the air.
    Greer wants you to “let your hair down,” but keep in mind that, unlike a blind date or casual hookup, the two of you are now straddling two environments—work and personal life—that you’ll need to engage in. If things work out according to your fantasies, eventually navigating between the two will feel like second nature since you’ll have established ground rules on how to engage in the office. But for now, tread lightly.
    6. If they’re not, bow out.
    As it turns out, not all crushes are reciprocated (who knew? Jk, I did).
    If your crush doesn’t want to go out for drinks, or if they agree and after aren’t interested in doing it again, don’t push it, says Greer. Doing so would “put you in a potentially vulnerable position and put the other person in an extremely uncomfortable one.” What you might see as trying to “talk it out” might make your crush uneasy and could even motivate them to alert a supervisor about your behaviour.
    Instead, “continue being friendly and demonstrating thoughtfulness, but tone it [waaayy] down,” says Greer. She also recommends giving your crush some space.
    And in that time apart, take care of yourself. “Limit your encounters so that you’re not putting yourself in a position of feeling rejected or disappointed by their lack of interest,” says Greer. Soon enough, your crush will go back to being just another person at your office.
    This article was originally published on  More

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    A ‘cold, unemotional’ full moon is coming – here’s everything you need to know


    by Team Emirates Woman
    1 minute ago

    Words by Kirstyn Lewis – Founder of the Karmic Soul
    A cold, unemotional Full Moon in Capricorn looks to be having second thoughts about an intimate relationship.
    It points to a decision that needs to be made. It looks like someone got a little too close for comfort. Perhaps the image they wanted to portray in a partnership wasn’t quite right. Someone wants to be recognised as more important than they may in fact be. What a mess. Emotional control is at play.
    If they want to change the game plan, let them. Why not get what you need to say out in the open? A cover will soon be blown and real feelings revealed. There is no need for the inevitable nastiness about the whole situation that may be simmering inside; keep to the facts. The stars say: act with wisdom, and patience, don’t be wiled into their game. Above all, be respectful.
    You may be feeling super sensitive because of your insecurities. That’s Capricorn for you, he hates tears, drama and weakness in another. Women appear to handle this particular Full Moon better than men. Why are they so broody? There is introspection and curiosity around the time you risked and possibly lost.
    What is your intuition telling you? If you value your health and your heart, this is nothing more than an uncomfortable move to a better place. Mars in Taurus in the 8th house suggests elimination issues – so listen. Your body may well be feeling the same. Doesn’t it feel better when a ‘blockage’ has cleared?

    Others will soon be around for you – are they picking up your broken heart? Comedy heals, so learn to laugh at yourself; others will love your self-deprecation. Who knew you had the funniest stories about how you missed the obvious clues that someone was stringing you along with their tall tales.
    You will like this one. Revenge looks to be sweet as the devil wants to strike once, hard and fast for you. Even he wants you to let go of any disheartenment and take a break. He is dying to show off what he can do. Remain at arm’s length. This time you can just sit back, watch and wait for his pièce de résistance! Mon Dieu!
    Step back from the drama and make peace with your life. End relationships that aren’t working by July 26 to 27.
    On a positive note, who is travelling to a foreign land? I bet you can’t wait. Is it for business or somewhere you can improve or build on your career? Your energy will need to be a little more contained for where you’re going or what you’re doing, but expect your light to shine. Pull back on what you already know and go with the flow; it’s not forever.
    The Full Moon in Capricorn asks you to put yourself, your work and your thoughts for the future, first. Others may think you’re a little conniving, but you are simply showing those who love you how you play the game of life and win. Who is following in your footsteps? What impression do you want them to have of you?
    Take control by using your head not your heart.
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Yana Potter Art Instagram, Feature Image: Sara Shakeel Instagram More

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    How to Have a Better Relationship, According to Your Enneagram

    Let’s be real: Relationships can be complicated. The good news? They don’t have to be. Thanks to the Enneagram, we can show up as our best and most authentic selves in our relationships while better understanding ourselves and our other halves, no matter how different they are. And the result is deeper connection, mutual respect, and empathy. Grab your partner and read on to learn the strengths, differences, and motivations of each Enneagram type and find out where you fit. 

    Type Ones are great in relationships because they always have a sense of their priorities. It’s rare you’ll meet a Type One who doesn’t have a grasp on what it is they want in a relationship and where you fall in line with their other duties and identities. They’re also known for being faithful, helpful, and dedicated in relationships, meaning you can expect them to be all-in. 
    On the other side, Ones are known for being perfectionists, which can mean they’re critical and have overly high expectations of a partner. Type Ones should be aware of their expectations and work on finding a medium with their partner. Instead of expecting your partner to have the dishes done when you get home (without asking first) or wondering why they haven’t asked about your weekend plans yet, ask for what you want. I know, this goes against basically everything in your nature as a Type One, but unless your partner can read minds (we’re all jealous), there’s no way for them to know what you want and, in turn, meet your expectations. 

    The Helper is all about doing what they can for their loved ones. They know how to make you feel loved and appreciated, and they’re great at validating the feelings of others (even if it means doubting their own). 
    Because Type Twos are so focused on what the other person wants or needs, they often struggle to get their own needs met in a relationship. Instead of worrying about what your partner wants for dinner or how they’re feeling after a fight, ask for what you need. If your feelings were hurt or you feel like they’re not taking your ideas into consideration, this is your chance to tell them how you feel and exactly how they can support you too. A relationship goes both ways, and because a Two is so focused on their partner, they often forget to prioritize their needs too. 
    Twos can also be possessive at times, causing them to show an excess of love to their partner in an attempt to woo them or keep them in their lives. Talk to your partner about how they personally want to feel love (might we suggest the Love Languages test?) so you can give them exactly what they want too.

    If you’re familiar with Love Languages, Threes almost always feel loved through words of affirmation. They like knowing their partner is proud of their achievements, whether it’s something big, such as a promotion at work, or small, like finding the best new restaurant for date nights. Threes love to feel appreciated, and because of this, they enjoy giving to their partner too. 
    Because Threes put so much of their worth into their career, they often bring that into relationships. Talking about work over dinner, being absentminded when you’re together, and putting your work-related stress onto your partner can make your partner feel like they’re not as important to you as your career. To combat this, create work-free times with your partner. Much like some of us are with our cell phones (guilty), Threes can often be that way about their career. Give yourself two hours when you’re out to dinner or just catching up on Bridgerton where you occupy yourself with your partner. No work, all play. 

    Fours are known for being creative, but in relationships, they are playful, fun, and spirited. They are open to new experiences and love getting to share their creativity and passion with someone else. They are typically emotional and have a strong idea of who they are. In relationships, this means they’re romantic and intuitive. They love sending love notes, cards, and gifts to their loved ones, and they feel loved when their partner understands and compliments their self-expression (such as their art!). 
    In a relationship, a Four can be a little overbearing at times. They can be moody and have a hard time separating their emotions from their day-to-day lives. As a Four, it is important to remind your partner that they aren’t to blame for your emotions. Fours do not like being called overdramatic or being told they’re overreacting in a situation; therefore, it’s important to talk with your partner about your emotions instead of closing them off. You don’t have to be alone with your feelings!

    Fives love to approach situations with data on hand. They’re natural teachers who observe their surroundings and analyze situations deeply before committing or speaking up. Unlike Fours, they take time alone to process and understand their emotions before acting on them, which can make a partner think they’re uninterested or uninterrupted by a conflict (which isn’t usually the case). They have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn, making them a great companion for intellectual dates, such as going to new exhibitions, museums, libraries, and events in your city. 
    In their quest for knowledge, Fives can seem somewhat withdrawn or even contentious or irritated with a partner. While they are generally introverted and prefer to stay in, they can get frustrated when a partner always wants to pull them out of their comfort zone. Similar to Type Three, create times with your partner to discuss your lives without judgment. Your partner wants to know what you’re learning and what is interesting to you at the moment, so don’t be afraid to geek out about your latest project. They love that side of you too!

    We all know Sixes are all about commitment, making them perfect for long-term relationships. They’re loyal and feel content knowing their relationships are safe and secure. They can be introverted and extroverted, so they’re easy to open up to but also to have fun with. Helping others is important to a Six, and they feel irresponsible when they think they haven’t fulfilled that duty. They are also independent, so they’re able to do their own thing once in a while without worrying about their partner.
    Sixes are some of the most trustworthy people; however, they’re not quick to trust others themselves. This can make them seem self-conscious, nervous, and even defensive in relationships where the other person doesn’t feel trusted or accepted. Trusting another person is hard at first, but it takes being confident in yourself and your relationship to get you there. Spend some time every day focusing on building up your own self-confidence. You can’t be the best version of yourself with a partner if you’re constantly worrying about how you look or if they still like you (you look great, and, yes, they do!). Then, start building trust by allowing yourself to be vulnerable at times. Open up to your partner about your insecurities in the relationship, and discuss from there.

    The adventurers of the Enneagram, Sevens are all about a party. They’re upbeat and positive, knowing how to find the good in most situations. They almost always seem happy and carefree, which can sometimes seem stressful to a partner who’s another type. 
    Although Sevens are the life of the party, they can also seem narcissistic and distracted in relationships. They have a short attention span, which is great for having fun but stressful for discussing issues in a relationship. We know it’s hard, but Sevens, you have to slow down. Allow your partner to get serious every once in a while. Being an optimist doesn’t have to mean you never discuss negativity or the stress and anxiety each other goes through. However, make sure you’re letting your partner speak up. While they certainly love your center-of-attention personality, they also want to feel understood and heard too.

    Eights are confident and outgoing, but this can also manifest itself as arrogance and competition. They are natural leaders who view life’s challenges as exciting, and they’re never afraid of conflict. When issues arise in a relationship, they’re the first to be honest and ready to discuss what’s going on with their partner. 
    A reminder to Eights: It’s OK to show your vulnerable side. Eights feel like they have to have everything together all the time, and they can’t share the tender side of themselves without getting angry or frustrated first. To make this easier, practice active listening with your partner. No more trying to come up with a response before the other person is even finished (as an Eight, I totally understand this!). Listen to your partner as they speak, and empathize with whatever they’re going through, no matter how big or small it may seem to you. You’ll be able to relate to them on a deeper level while also prioritizing some quality time.

    Nines can often be mistyped as Twos because they are overly accommodating in relationships and can be people-pleasers. However, what makes them different from Twos is their drive to keep harmony and peace in their relationships. Known as the peacemakers, they are active listeners and sensitive to other people’s emotions. 
    Nines will do anything to avoid conflict, which can sometimes cause situations to never reach a solution (the opposite of Eights!). Instead of your usual, speak up about what’s going on with you and your partner. Whether it’s about your sex life, someone forgetting to take out the trash, or something bigger, be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Remember that not all conflict has to be disruptive; there is such a thing as productive conflict. 

    The Enneagram Type You Should Date
    (based on your own Enneagram) More

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    17 Unromantic Signs This Person Might Be ‘The One’

    Everything from the classic love affair in Pride and Prejudice to the will-they-or-won’t-they drama of Ross and Rachel teaches us that love is supposed to be extraordinary, make it impossible to sleep or eat, and always ends with a “happily ever after.” As much as rom-coms and the Twilight Saga would have us believe, romance is not actually always about flowers and love poems or grand gestures and public declarations when you find “the one.”
    In real life, the rom-com doesn’t end at the “I do” scene, but it keeps going: through paying bills and tax season, through toddlers and newborns preventing your sleep for days, and through terrifying health scares, boring daily chores, and deaths of the people you love.
    The one you choose to spend forever with is not just your personal romantic comedy—it’s the most important interview of your life. A happy life is about more than love letters and PDA, so you better make sure there’s more to your relationship too. Here are 17 signs the person you’re with might be “the one” that have absolutely nothing to do with butterflies, grand gestures, or romance.

    1. You don’t have to pretend to be interested in them or wish they would be more interested in you
    It’s likely that you and your partner will have many different interests—in fact, you should, or else dating another you would just be boring! You may not always be interested in their passion or hobbies, but you’ll want to learn more because you know how much it matters to them, and you’ll genuinely want to be able to share what they love. You also won’t have to pretend you don’t love broadway musicals as much as you actually do or feel like you can never talk about the latest fashion trends that you know your partner couldn’t care less about—they’ll want to love everything you love and talk about everything you want to talk about.

    2. Errands are kind of… fun
    Going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, and cleaning the house are all part of the mundane routine we have to keep up with through the rest of our lives (sounds depressing, doesn’t it?). But when you do it together, there’s something inherently fun and enjoyable about the tasks that are usually mundane and tedious. Something about your partner makes even the boring feel fun and the average seem exciting.

    3. You don’t have to think twice about asking them for help
    Whether it’s to pick you up from the airport, unclog your drain, or give you advice on a problem you need their perspective on, you don’t have to think about asking your partner for help—you just do it. You trust their opinion, their advice, and their desire to care for you without having to question it for a minute.

    Source: @jessiebbernhardt

    4. They’ll pick up your slack without being asked
    Maybe you came home to your clean laundry that they just threw in with a load of theirs or they bought you a new face serum from CVS when you mentioned you ran out a couple of days ago. It’s more than just the household chores the two of you divide up—it’s the little things they don’t have to do but do just to make your life a little easier and your day a little better.

    5. You can share annoyance, anger, and doubt without worrying about their reaction
    There are absolutely no more deal breakers, and you know it—you can be in a horrible mood without feeling like they’ll think less of you or not want to be around you, and you know they’ll be supportive of your feelings before being defensive of their own if you experience any doubts along the way. You can be more honest with them than you’ve ever been because bigger than anything you’ll ever say or do, you both have a shared understanding that you’re in this life together.

    6. You both have your own thing
    Whether it’s Bachelor Mondays with the girls, painting classes, or hiking trips a couple times a year, you’re both supportive of the other pursuing their own interests and having their own time alone. Time apart doesn’t make either of you insecure, and you should feel like your partner supports you pursuing your passions over their own needs. Plus, you’ll be so excited to tell them about your time apart, whether it’s to rehash the latest gossip between your friends or what you learned in painting class (remember #1?).

    Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

    7. They’ll ask about your day every day
    Perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to be with someone who will ask about your day every day and—wait for it—actually want to hear about it. If the first thing they do when they get home or the first thing they ask when they call is “how was your day?” every single day, you’ve found one of the good ones. Trust me.

    8. You can look at them and, for no reason at all, they make you laugh
    The best friendships are the ones that make you silly for no reason at all—where you just can’t stop laughing, right? If you’re going to spend your life with someone, it better be the best friendship you’ve ever had. If your partner brings out your silliest self and can make you laugh at nothing, you know they’re going to keep you laughing when things get hard, boring, or mundane. Life should be about enjoyment—make a lifelong commitment with someone who brings out the most fun in you.

    9. Bodily functions don’t make you blink
    You should be able to complain about your heavy flow or let out an *accidental* bodily function post-Taco Bell without it feeling like the end of the world. In fact, when you start doing gross things like shave their back or have them pop your pimples (it gets real) and you’re still just as turned on by each other as ever, that’s when you know.

    10. You can talk openly about money
    Besides just being a crucial conversation to have with the person you’re going to be spending your life with, if you’re able to talk about such a tough topic, it’s a good sign that you trust each other. While nothing is less sexy than the money talk (except maybe shaving that back hair), if you can share your financial past, goals, and current habits openly and honestly and you two share financial values similar enough that you don’t go into anaphylactic shock when you hear about theirs, you probably have a pretty strong foundation.

    Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

    11. They call you out when you need to be called out
    “The One” will be the person who is fully dedicated to helping you live your fullest, best, happiest life. This means that they will check you on your destructive habits and hold you accountable when no one else would. They’ll be honest with you—for the sake of making you better, not for the sake of putting you down. They’ll also stand by you, encourage you, and support you when you’re working through issues or going through hard times without any judgment.

    12. Your PDA is less PDA-y
    You don’t necessarily need to go make out on a park bench like you’re teenagers or feel the need to post collages on Instagram with paragraph-long captions about your oh-so-perfect relationship to celebrate every monthiversary. Instead of overt PDA, you display affection by mere accident—exchanging smirks across the room or holding hands under the table. Instead of the public make outs, fondling, or displaying your love all over social media, you publicly tease each other, brag about each other’s accomplishments, and maybe steal a kiss or hug when you don’t think anyone is looking.

    Source: @sassyredlipstick

    13. Date nights out are great, but you have the most fun at home
    When you can sneak away for a night out, of course it’s fun to dress up and go somewhere new or exciting. But if we’re being honest and if we’ve found The One, the most fun “date nights” are sitting at home with a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine, laughing at The Office, talking for hours, or playing the same card game—again. The things that would sound boring to anyone else are the things you find yourself preferring over those fancy dates.
    Anyone can get in the mood for romance when fancy clothing and candlelight are involved, but when it’s just the two of you, with sweatpants and take-out, and it’s somehow the best night ever, you know you could do it for the rest of your life.

    14. You’ve developed your own language no one else can understand
    If your daily conversations are laced with inside jokes or you consistently refer back to movie quotes or moments that will have you both dying with laughter, this person will certainly have you laughing the rest of your life. You share more than the same life and relationship—you share the same humor, and that can make all the difference in the length of a lifetime.

    Source: @hikarimurakami

    15. At the worst times, you want them there
    For most of your past relationships or crushes, it’s likely that they’re the last person you would’ve wanted to be present when you’re hunched over the toilet with food poisoning or crying in your room with a bad panic attack—so embarrassing! But if this partner is the right one, you’ll find yourself calling them when you’re having a panic attack or wishing they were there when you’re really sick (and not just because you know they’d clean up your vomit). Maybe you’ve even considered putting them down as your emergency contact—you know that when anything bad is happening, you’ll feel more comforted and protected with them there.

    16. You don’t question or second guess how they act when you’re not around
    When a friend’s Bachelor/Bachelorette party in Vegas comes up, you don’t feel a pit in your stomach or worry they won’t behave; you’ll just be excited to hear the funny stories when they get home. You also don’t doubt that as nice and wonderful as they are to you is exactly how they act when you’re not around too. You believe with all your heart that however they act, out in the world—whether it’s to other girls or people they don’t have to be nice to like waiters or servers—they treat all other people with the utmost respect and graciousness and will always do you proud.

    17. No matter what mistakes you make or how bad you look, you know they’ll still think of you the same
    In the end, you can be your truest self knowing that’s the you that they love the most. You can make a mistake or say something mean, and they’ll still think the world of you. You can wear second-day leggings and not wash your hair for four days and know they’ll still look at you the same as when you’re in a fancy dress with a blowout. The most romantic moments of our lives are often what happens in the most unromantic times—the bad times, the hard times, the gross times, the lazy times, and the boring times. The One will still see you in those times just as they would in the best times.
    Find the person who loves you for exactly whatever you are—good, bad, grumpy, bloated, messy, scattered, anxious, unfiltered—and to use the quote from Juno that taught me the most about love: “The right person will still think the sun shines out your ass.” Now that’s romantic.

    10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationship Right Now More

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    6 (Non Awkward) Ways To Approach Someone You Want To Be Friends With

    Making friends when we’re kids can be as simple as sharing a toy or deciding that we’re suddenly “best friends.” But the older we get, the significantly less straightforward it becomes and the more friendship changes. It’s probably been a while since many of us had to put ourselves out there; we might feel out of practice and, at the very least, a little confused about what we should actually say to someone we’d like to get to know better (are we coming off creepy? Desperate? Weird?). While there isn’t one right way to make new friends as an adult, here are six ice breakers that can help.

    1. Highlight a similarity
    The root of friendship is often an underlying similarity, whether it’s a shared interest, hobby, or sense of humor. That’s why pointing out something you have in common is a great way to approach someone you want to be friends with. Commenting on your shared love of camping, sushi, or rap music shows that you’re paying attention to and are interested in the other person. Plus, you can set the stage for future plans more easily when there’s something in common (“I’ve been dying to try the new hiking trail! Want to check it out together?” or “There’s a great sushi restaurant nearby if you want to go sometime!”). The key is to not force it. Avoid exaggerating and don’t try to be someone you’re not just to find something in common. Noticing and highlighting genuine similarities will not only make you both feel more comfortable, it’ll also help you come across as authentic and increases the chances the two of you will connect.

    Source: @hauteofftherack

    2. Ask them questions
    We often think that to win people over, we have to be impressive: we have to have interesting things to say, be well informed about the topic, or be hilarious and entertaining. But the secret to winning friends and building connections is actually the opposite: make the other person feel like they are impressive and they’ll like you. People like talking about themselves—it’s just fact. So focus on other people and genuinely care about what they have to say. Come up with thoughtful, open-ended questions (forget boring small talk).
    If it’s a brand new friendship or you’re just meeting, ask for a restaurant recommendation, a new workout class, or the best nearby cafe to work from. If it’s someone you know a little bit, focus on getting to know them better instead of stating your opinion or talking about yourself. For example, if they’re talking about balancing a career and a side hustle, ask them how hard it is or what they’re most passionate about instead of stepping in with your experience right away. Asking questions shows that you have an interest in the other person’s opinion, and feeling comfortable opening up will make them want to build a connection with you.

    3. Give them a compliment
    Compliments from strangers or people we don’t know well can be so powerful. Since they’re unexpected, they might even be more appreciated; one compliment to a potential new friend could be memorable enough to be the start of a strong connection. It might feel easier to compliment the things that are obvious, like physical appearance or style, but if you feel up to it, make it something a little more personal. Compliment their work ethic, creativity, or great laugh. These kinds of genuine, perceptive compliments are the ones that stick with us. Plus, moving beyond the superficial (“cute top!”) can make people feel seen and heard in ways that really foster connection and friendship. No need to go overboard and base the entire conversation around various compliments: one thoughtful compliment will come off much more genuine and lay the foundation for the conversation to flow from there.

    Source: Colorjoy Stock

    4. Offer help
    One of the main things that separates good friends from casual acquaintances is emotional, practical, and social support. That’s why letting someone know that you’re available if they need help is a great way to approach them and subtly let them know that you’re interested in being friends. For example, if they mention that they’re moving to a new building, offer to move some boxes on moving day or help them pick out furniture. If they’re stressed about a work presentation or an exam at school, offer to drop off a coffee later or go through flashcards together. This can work especially well if you’re able to work together toward a common goal (like if you’re both training for a marathon or trying to meal prep more often). Offering tangible support or having a concrete goal for you to both help each other can form a connection and let the potential friend know that you’re trustworthy, supportive, and thoughtful. 

    5. Use humor
    After all, what’s the point of friendships if not to have a good laugh? Humor is actually an important basis of friendships, but it’s not about knock-knock jokes or trying to show off your wit and charm (remember #2!). It actually has very little to do with impressing someone else and everything to do with trying to make both of you feel more at ease. Sharing a lighthearted joke or making a humorous comment about the situation you’re in lets the other person get a glimpse of your personality. Plus, you’ll both be able to relax and get to know each other when you’re not taking everything so seriously. Just remember that humor shouldn’t come at anyone’s expense because it might come off mean-spirited and uncomfortable instead of funny (if you ever have to say “It was just a joke,” it wasn’t). Bottom line: be your hilarious, fun self, and at the very least, it can be a helpful test to see whether you share the same humor or not and if you two have friendship chemistry. 

    6. Be upfront
    While this strategy might feel the most vulnerable, it can also be the most impactful. It’s hard to put yourself out there when there’s always the possibility of rejection (yes, even with friendships). If you’ve had only brief interactions with someone you want to get to know better, it’s absolutely OK to share that you’re looking to meet new people and you’d love to get coffee, drinks, or [insert other amazingly fun friendship date here]. Being direct doesn’t have to come off as creepy or clingy. In fact, it typically comes off confident and flattering.
    To try this strategy for yourself, invite the potential friend to get together in a different context (“I really enjoyed meeting you! Would you be interested in grabbing a coffee sometime?” or “I actually just moved here and don’t really know anyone. I’d love to find a time to go for a walk together.”). The truth is that making the first move is scary in friendships, just as it is in dating, so the other person will likely be relieved that they know where you stand.  More

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    10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Relationship by the End of the Day

    Grand romantic gestures often get all the credit, but it’s usually the minor, daily ways in which we express love and connect with each other that set the tone for a healthy and happy relationship. Even the best relationships can still find new ways to connect. All relationships take work, but to quote the movie One Day (you know you love it), “Affection is when you see someone’s strengths; love is when you accept someone’s flaws.” Here are 10 things you can do to improve your relationship, today. 
    1. Make them a cup of coffee.
    Small acts of kindness can mean all the difference in a relationship where people, especially in long term relationships, can feel unappreciated or unattended to. Small acts that show you going out of your way to do something nice for your partner will make them feel cared for and thought of. Try making them a cup of coffee in the morning before they get out of bed. It will set the tone for the rest of the day of being thoughtful to one another.

    Source: The Creative Exchange | Unsplash

    2. Say “thank you”
    Especially in relationships that have gone on for years and fall into routines, we get so comfortable in our relationships that we expect our partner to meet all of our needs, whether it’s in how they treat us or the daily chores they do. Saying a simple “thank you” for cleaning the dishes after dinner or giving you a compliment enforces their good behavior and makes them feel appreciated, as well as making you remember why you love them. It’s also important to express appreciation and gratitude for them being in your life and how much they mean to your life, not just what they do for you.

    3. Work out together
    I know, I know: your hot yoga flow or spin class is typically your escape from all of the people in your life. But try heading over to your partner’s gym with them or bringing them along to your barre class. Activities that get your heart rate up release endorphins, which are like feel-good chemicals in your brain, making you both feel happy, energized, and excited. It’s also a new way to bond!

    Source: The Creative Exchange | Unsplash

    4. Give them a hug
    It may seem like the most basic and simplest of acts, but physical touch goes a long way in keeping romance and connection alive in long term relationships. Try to avoid physical touch routines, meaning the only physical touch in your daily life is a kiss goodbye or a hug hello (though these are also important gestures). In addition to your hellos and goodbyes, hug them unexpectedly, hold their hand in the car or while watching TV, or even just pat them on the arm to feel close. Physical closeness can translate to emotional closeness.

    5. Send them an unexpected text message
    If you are apart from morning until dinnertime, sending a text in the middle of the day that feels a little out of the blue will surprise your partner and make them feel some of the excitement that comes from a new relationship. Try sending them a message to tell them something you love about them, something you’re thankful for, or a romantic/funny memory you share.

    6. …But put away your phone!
    Try to have at least some quality time together every day where you put away your phones — trust me, Instagrams and emails can wait for you to be done with dinner. While this may feel like a hard goal in our busy lives, it is an extremely important aspect of a happy relationship. Many studies have found a direct correlation with heavy-phone-usage and relationship wellness. And if you’re angry, try to limit texting. It might be easier for you to resort to texting when you’re angry about something, but try to always talk through issues in person, or at least over a phone call. Texting fights only create distance.

    Source: Mathilde Langevin | Unsplash

    7. Go to bed at the same time
    While this may seem like an impossible feat for the couples whose schedules or preferences require different sleeping time, bedtime is a crucial time for a relationship. It’s a way of reconnecting from a busy day, a moment of quietness, and alone time before the busyness of the next day. For many couples, it’s the only moment of alone time all day. Even if you’re a night owl and your partner gets to bed by 8pm, at least try to stay in bed until they fall asleep. It’s an important and easy way to reconnect and feel close.

    8. Schedule a check-in
    Scheduling might not seem very sexy and spontaneous, but making sure you’re regularly checking in with each other will keep your relationship strong. It can be easy to let annoyance after annoyance build up until it gets to a full-blown fight, so checking in means fewer fights, more communication, and better connection. After all, a relationship is just two people trying to get their needs met. Use a check-in to discuss any recent triggers, problems, and even all the good things (which deserve recognition too!). Try monthly, weekly, or even daily (like at the end of the day), and put it on your calendars so you don’t forget or skip.

    Source: Tallie Robinson | Unsplash

    9. Laugh together
    Relationships are just friendships with exclusivity; while loving each other is crucial, liking each other is important too. While the life-partner stuff (like dividing chores) or the romantic stuff (like holding hands) might be top priorities to improve your relationship, remember that the friendship stuff is just as important. Laugh together at least once every day, whether it’s sharing a funny story that happened to you at the grocery store, bringing up an inside joke, or watching the show that makes you both LOL. Laughing not only bonds us, but helps us remember that the point of being in a relationship is to enjoy the person we love. 

    10. Make time for yourself
    While me-time might sound counterintuitive when the goal is we-time, how you feel about yourself is how you’ll act in a relationship. If you depend on your partner for fulfillment, you’ll expect too much from the relationship, and if you don’t love yourself, you’re probably worried your partner doesn’t truly love you either. Spending time alone not only ensures you’re living the most fulfilling life possible, whether that means indulging in self-care or pursuing your own interests, but it also means you’ll be able to show up as your best, truest self when you spend time together. And just as an added bonus, there’s nothing more attractive than confidence.

    What daily things do you do for your partner or relationship? Which of these ways would you try today? More