It’s not always easy to make friends, even if you consider yourself a “people person”. Moving to a new place, changing jobs or schools, marrying into another family, or becoming active in your community can throw you into unfamiliar territory that you may or may not feel comfortable in. Any of us can struggle with temporary or long-term shyness, especially if she hasn’t tapped into her natural-born feminine powers.
Did you know that, as a woman, you’re hardwired with special relationship skills? It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, a tomboy or a girly-girl, you’ve got what you need to have a special edge in the social world. It’s all in your feminine DNA, and in the connectivity of your brain.
You might have already read the Brain Matters chapter of Fascinating Womanhood for the Timeless Woman, and if you have you’ll have learned that women’s brains are more strongly connected from side to side. Because of this, we females are able to access both our intuitive and rational minds simultaneously with a lot less effort than most men (who are connected more front to back) can. What this means in practical value for us is that it allows us to more easily put feelings into words and makes us more likely to be sensitive to the feelings and even actions of others.
Females are naturally interested in relationships and tend to prioritize them, just as men, who are target-oriented, will tend to prioritize tasks and goals. Being focused on people makes us more sensitive to them, to their body language and words, facial expressions and vibes. Even when we’re seemingly not trying, we can sense a general feeling in a room, and often the more specific emotions of people we come in contact with.
Even when we’re seemingly not trying,
we can sense a general feeling in a room,
and often the more specific emotions of
people we come in contact with.
But sensing is just the beginning. As born nurturers (some more than others, I know, but still more typically than men are) we have a wonderful ability to validate.
recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.
What makes giving validation a great accomplishment or talent is that it tends to be best given in real time. By this, I mean that when someone is talking to you, or when you see something praiseworthy in another person, your side-to-side brain wiring kicks in and whispers important things in your ears such as:
• “You’re seeing some very valuable traits in this person right now. Perhaps they’d benefit from hearing what those traits are since they may not even be aware of them.”
• “If you want to validate this person, now is a good time because he/she is giving you a furtive, hopeful look. Why not tell them what you’ve been thinking (for the last few minutes of observing them) by saying ‘Wow, you’ve really impressed me with your ability to ______’.”
• “I know you really want to add your own similar accomplishments to the mix here and get some validation yourself, but if you do that you might eclipse this person’s spotlight. See how she/he has been standing a little taller and smiling more? Don’t ruin it. Let them have their moment.”
Because it’s much easier for you as a female to quickly respond to the nuanced input of the world around you and your own inner dialogue, you’re going to have an edge in the relationship department. People crave validation, and giving it can be one of the most powerful gifts you can bestow on another person. Think of the friends you’ve adored over the years, and you’ll likely remember the ways they’ve given you the validation you’ve needed, right when you needed it. You can quite easily be that same type of irreplaceable friend when you play to your feminine strengths.
People crave validation, and giving
it can be one of the most powerful
gifts you can bestow on another person.
Body Language and Microexpressions
See how sneaky I was, sliding those ideas into the validation section? I showed you how important a furtive or hopeful look is, and how posture can actually be a warning not to burst someone’s bubble. Hopefully we all know what body language is (posture, hand movements, foot position, head tilts, etc. that indicate what a person is truly feeling, despite anything they might say to the contrary). But I want to briefly give a definition of the other term to distinguish it from broad facial expressions and easy-to-see physical clues:
“A microexpression is a facial expression that only lasts for a short moment. It is the innate result of a voluntary and an involuntary emotional response occurring simultaneously and conflicting with one another. This results in the individual very briefly displaying their true emotions followed by a false emotional reaction.” – Elena Svetieva; Mark G. Frank (April 2016)
Microexpressions are incredibly subtle, like the twitch of a mouth or a flash of recognition in the eyes. These tiny expressions typically last only about ½ a second, and that’s not much time to gauge the emotions people are often trying to hide. Because you are female, you have a heightened ability to identify these things with your intuitive mind and then send them across that wonderful, side-to-side, connective bridge to your rational mind, where you’re then able to form helpful ideas and dialogue, leading to speech and behaviors that are not just appropriate, but helpful.
Microexpressions are incredibly subtle, like the
twitch of a mouth or a flash of recognition in the eyes.
Whether you’re observing and processing microexpressions, or picking up on more easily visible body language, the way you handle that information can make or break a social interaction. You are in a position to harm or help, to charm or repel, based on what you do, say, or even don’t say. Perhaps you will ignore the twinge of discomfort you see flitting across a friend’s face because you don’t want to get into a lengthy conversation. Or you might turn on the magnetism when the guy you’re interested in keeps running a hand through his hair but maintains eye contact and a warm expression, showing he’s both nervous and attracted in your presence.
You know the part I mentioned above where the brain whispers advice about not eclipsing someone or ruining the moment? Restraint in social situations is in many ways a lost art. As humans we long for appreciation, respect, and in many cases to be center stage. But modern society seems to be all about ME ME MEEE. Take what you can get, follow YOUR dream. I’m not saying you should forget your life’s desires, but it’s important to see where another person needs their moment to shine.
If you remember Mary Bennett, the bookish younger sister of the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, you’ll know she showed a certain obliviousness regarding the feelings of others when she “entertained” everyone with her endless piano playing at a social gathering. It seems her goal was to let everyone know she had musical skills, but the effect was to set herself up unintentionally as a socially selfish bore. Her father stepped in to stop her playing, telling her to give the other girls a chance at the spotlight, but the damage was done and Mary’s reputation went so far as to taint her sisters by association.
Don’t be so obsessed with yourself and your own accomplishments that you bulldoze others socially. This is one of the quickest ways to lose friends and poison the water for future relationships. No one would ever do this on purpose, I suppose, but most of us are guilty of having tried to focus attention on our accomplishments or opinions at inappropriate times. It’s natural for humans to desire being seen, to be “caught” in the act of accomplishing something spectacular. But drawing attention to ourselves can often close the curtain prematurely on someone else’s monologue. Sure, they might be doing a selfish thing too. But the height of graciousness is to step aside for a moment and do that first thing I mentioned: validate. And guess what? You’ll end up shining anyway as a result, even if it’s not immediate, because gracious people don’t have to toot their own horns; grateful friends toot it for them.
It’s natural for humans to desire being seen, to be “caught” in the act of accomplishing something spectacular.
Everything I’m telling you about social skills and natural feminine abilities is interconnected. And since females are the Empresses of Interconnectivity (brainwise), we excel at combining different skills into one great whole. In simple terms, you see a facial expression or subtle body language cue, and you’re able to recognize how someone is showing you (perhaps unintentionally) their hidden feelings. From there, you can express validation and restrain yourself from bursting bubbles.
My dear ladies, we are the Gatekeepers of Civilization. In the social realm, this means we literally hold people’s hearts in our hands. Though we can’t control how they will ultimately feel, we can have a warm and nurturing influence that builds, strengthens and encourages the human race. You have everything you need to develop strong and long-lasting, loving relationships with the people around you, and believe me when I say I’ll be cheering for you.