Archive | November, 2009

How to Get a Friend Back

7 Nov
  • Determine why your friend has changed his or her tune. Maybe you’ve done something wrong that you can apologize for, or perhaps your behavior needs to change.
  • Be as nice as you can. This will make your friend start thinking that maybe you’ve changed. It’s a start! Don’t try to upset your friend in any way.
  • Start a conversation if you can. Start saying “hi” or “how you doing?” when you see them. Say “looking good” or “love your hair”. It’s hard for people to resist compliments.
  • Watch your friend for cues to start talking more. Maybe she or he will smile at you or say “hi” back. Don’t miss your chance!
  • Invite them to your house or to hang out at the mall. Casual, no-pressure situations will help them ease back into being your friend.
  • Talk to them and ask whether you can still be friends. Being as direct and honest as possible is best.
  • Take it slow
  • If it is their fault; tell them you forgive them and then take it from there.
  • [edit] Tips

    • Take it slow. This plan won’t work if you go too fast.
    • Have a lot of patience.
    • Smile a lot.
    • Tell people your friend is awesome
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    How to Have a Great Conversation

    7 Nov

    Listen. This is the most important part of any conversation. Pay attention to what is being said. Make acknowledging noises or movements to indicate that you are still listening. A conversation will not go anywhere if you are too busy thinking of anything else, including what you plan to say next. If you listen well, the other person’s statements will suggest questions for you to ask. Allow the other person to do most of the talking. They will often not realize that it was they who did most of the talking, and you get the credit for being a good conversationalist – which of course, you are!

  • Find out what the other person is interested in. You can even do some research in advance when you know you will have an opportunity to talk with a specific person. Complimenting them is a great place to start. Everyone likes sincere compliments, and that can be a great ice-breaker.
  • Ask questions. What do they like to do? What sort of things have they done in their lives? What is happening to them now? What did they do today or last weekend? Identify things about them that you might be interested in hearing about, and politely ask questions. Remember, there was a reason that you wanted to talk to them, so obviously there was something about them that you found interesting. However, try to space out your questions or they’ll feel like you’re interrogating them which is very bad and closes off friendships.
  • Forget yourself. Dale Carnegie once said, “It’s much easier to become interested in others than it is to convince them to be interested in you.” If you are too busy thinking about yourself, what you look like, or what the other person might be thinking, you will never be able to relax. Introduce yourself, shake hands, then forget yourself and focus on them instead.

  • Practice active listening skills. Part of listening is letting the other person know that you are listening. Make eye contact. Nod. Say “Yes,” “I see,” “That’s interesting,” or something similar to give them clues that you are paying attention and not thinking about something else – such as what you are going to say next.
  • Ask clarifying questions. If the topic seems to be one they are interested in, ask them to clarify what they think or feel about it. If they are talking about an occupation or activity you do not understand, take the opportunity to learn from them. Everyone loves having a chance to teach another willing and interested person about their hobby or subject of expertise.
  • Paraphrase back what you have heard, using your own words. This seems like an easy skill to learn, but takes some practice to master. Conversation happens in turns, each person taking a turn to listen and a turn to speak or to respond. It shows respect for the other person when you use your “speaking turn” to show you have been listening and not just to say something new. They then have a chance to correct your understanding, affirm it, or embellish on it.
  • Consider your response before disagreeing. If the point was not important, ignore it rather than risk appearing argumentative. If you consider it important then politely point out your difference of opinion. Do not disagree merely to set yourself apart, but remember these points:
    • It is the differences in people–and their conversation–that make them interesting.
    • Agreeing with everything can kill a conversation just as easily as disagreeing with everything.
    • A person is interesting when they are different from you; a person is obnoxious when they can not agree with anything you say, or if they use the point to make themselves appear superior.
    • Try to omit the word “but” from your conversation when disagreeing as this word often puts people on the defensive. Instead, try substituting the word “and”, it has less of an antagonistic effect.
  • Consider playing devil’s advocate – which requires care. If your conversation partner makes a point, you can keep the conversation going by bringing up the opposite point of view (introduce it with something like “I agree, and…”). If you overuse this technique, however, you could end up appearing disagreeable or even hostile.
  • Do not panic over lulls. This is a point where you could easily inject your thoughts into the discussion. If the topic seems to have run out, use the pause to think for a moment and identify another conversation topic or question to ask them. Did something they said remind you of something else you have heard, something that happened to you, or bring up a question or topic in your mind? Mention it and you’ll transition smoothly into further conversation!
  • Know when the conversation is over. Even the best conversations will eventually run out of steam or be ended by an interruption. Smile if you’re leaving, and tell them you can’t wait to talk to them again soon. Ending on a positive note will leave a good impression and likely bring them back later for more!
  • Make a good first impression. Smile, ask questions that require more than a yes/no answer, and really listen. Maintain eye contact and keep as friendly and polite as possible.
  • [edit] Tips

    • If, after the conversation concludes, you come away feeling full of yourself there is a chance you maneuvered the talk to serve your own agenda and steam-rolled your counterpart. You used the occasion to show off your wit and knowledge. Try to keep from using a conversation to boost your ego.
    • Try to get them talking about something they enjoy thinking about and something that you’re interested in hearing or else the conversation isn’t fulfilling and one of you will feel unsatisfied with it.
    • Don’t be worried about the conversation and where it will go. People have natural conversation reflexes built into them. Why can’t you ever remember how a good conversation started? The reason is because you had a conversation starter and then you let the reflexes kick in. This made the conversation transition smoothly, enjoyably, and naturally. Thinking too much will make an awkward conversation that is difficult to keep going.
    • The best conversations come from gaining new understanding about the topic discussed or the person. Try to lead into personal stories and anecdotes. These give limitless conversation and are revealing about the character of a person.
    • It’s okay to talk about yourself some as long as the person listening is interested and getting new information about you or the topic. People don’t like to rehash things they already know or have thought about so try to give a new perspective or way of thinking if you’re the one speaking.
    • Always think before you speak. Do not take a long time to answer but listen well to keep on the right track with the conversation. Try not to make an embarrassing mistake, such as giving an opinion which may disrespect someone else. Choose your words carefully, but do not create pointless silences by keeping your conversation partner waiting for 5 minutes before you answer a simple question.
    • Remember that sometimes if a conversation isn’t going well, it might not be your fault! Sometimes the other person is distracted/lost in thought, isn’t willing to contribute, or is having a bad day. If they don’t speak or listen, then they are the ones not using good conversation skills, not you.

    How to Improve Your Memory

    7 Nov
    1. Convince yourself that you do have a good memory that will improve. Too many people get stuck here and convince themselves that their memory is bad, that they are just not good with names, that numbers just slip out of their minds for some reason. Erase those thoughts and vow to improve your memory. Commit yourself to the task and bask in your achievements — it’s hard to keep motivated if you beat yourself down every time you make a little bit of progress.
    2. Exercise your brain. Regularly “exercising” the brain keeps it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory. By developing new mental skills—especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument—and challenging your brain with puzzles and games you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning. Try some puzzle exercises everyday such as word cross, sudoku and some other games as easy to put into your mobile phone and practice it maybe once for 30 minutes per day.
    3. Exercise daily. Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body, including in the brain, and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with aging. Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental “pictures.”
    4. Reduce stress. Chronic stress, although it does not physically damage the brain, can make remembering much more difficult. After prolonged stress the brain will be damaged. Stressful situations are recognized by the hypothalamus, which in turn signals the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secreted adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)which influences the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and later cortisol(corticosteroids). The corticosteroids can weaken the blood-brain barrier and damage the hippocampus(the memory center). Ironically, the hippocampus controls the secretion of the hormone released by the hypothalamus through a process of negative feedback. After chronic stress it will be damaged and it will not be as efficient in regulating the degenerative corticosteroids and memory will be harmed. Neurogenesis (formation of new neurons) indeed exists in the hippocampus but stress inhibits it. To recapitulate and synthesis, chronic stress will affect your health and your memory, it will damage the brain so the best option is to learn to control stress. Stress will never be eliminated, but it definitely can be controlled. [http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Stress-Effects-Neurotransmitters&id=19510]Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things. Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress as soon as possible.
    5. Eat well and eat right. There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests (although small studies have shown some promising results for ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine). A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants—broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example—and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning. Feed your brain with such supplements as Thiamine, Vitamin E, Niacin and Vitamin B-6. Grazing, eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain.
    6. Take better pictures. Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. Often we don’t really learn people’s names at first because we aren’t really concentrating on remembering them. You’ll find that if you make a conscious effort to remember such things, you’ll do much better. One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as many details as you can about the photograph. Try closing your eyes and picturing the photo in your mind. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find you’re able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.
    7. Give yourself time to form a memory. Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when you’re trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes.
    8. Create vivid, memorable images. You remember information more easily if you can visualize it. If you want to associate a child with a book, try not to visualize the child reading the book – that’s too simple and forgettable. Instead, come up with something more jarring, something that sticks, like the book chasing the child, or the child eating the book. It’s your mind – make the images as shocking and emotional as possible to keep the associations strong.
    9. Repeat things you need to learn. The more times you hear, see, or think about something, the more surely you’ll remember it, right? It’s a no-brainer. When you want to remember something, be it your new coworker’s name or your best friend’s birthday, repeat it, either out loud or silently. Try writing it down; think about it. The key lies in “Spaced Repetition” learning. I’m sure everyone is familiar with flash cards. They’re usually used when you want to revise for an exam. It’s essentialy a card with a question on one side and the answer on the other. In the course of learning a topic you would have a stack of cards and would go through them testing yourself. Those that you got right you would put to one side and review a few days later. The more difficult ones might take several days to fix in the brain. However, when is the ideal time to review the cards that you have temporarily remembered. Leave it too long and, like all memories, it may have faded and we forget the answer. If we review it too soon then we waste time looking at it. We need some system to know exactly when to review each card. Here enters the exciting world of “Spaced Repetition Software”. This software automatically works out the most efficient time to test you on each card for optimum memory retention. There are a number of free bits of software out there for you to use.
    10. Group things you need to remember. Random lists of things (a shopping list, for example) can be especially difficult to remember. To make it easier, try categorizing the individual things from the list. If you can remember that, among other things, you wanted to buy four different kinds of vegetables, you’ll find it easier to remember all four.
    11. Organize your life. Keep items that you frequently need, such as keys and eyeglasses, in the same place every time. Use an electronic organizer or daily planner to keep track of appointments, due dates for bills, and other tasks. Keep phone numbers and addresses in an address book or enter them into your computer or cell phone. Improved organization can help free up your powers of concentration so that you can remember less routine things. Even if being organized doesn’t improve your memory, you’ll receive a lot of the same benefits (i.e. you won’t have to search for your keys anymore).
    12. Try meditation. Research now suggests that people who regularly practice “mindfulness” meditation are able to focus better and may have better memories. Mindfulness (also known as awareness or insight meditation) is the type commonly practiced in Western countries and is easy to learn. Studies at Massachusetts General Hospital show that regular meditation thickens the cerebral cortex in the brain by increasing the blood flow to that region. Some researchers believe this can enhance attention span, focus, and memory.
    13. Sleep well. The amount of sleep we get affects the brain’s ability to recall recently learned information. Getting a good night’s sleep – a minimum of seven hours a night – may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School.
    14. Build your memorization arsenal. Learn pegs, memory palaces, and the Dominic System. These techniques form the foundation for mnemonic techniques, and will visibly improve your memory.
    15. Venture out and learn from your mistakes. Go ahead and take a stab at memorizing the first one hundred digits of pi, or, if you’ve done that already, the first one thousand. Memorize the monarchs of England through your memory palaces, or your grocery list through visualization. Through diligent effort you will eventually master the art of memorization.

    Tips

    • Most people’s brains are not very good at remembering abstract information, such as numbers. This is one of the things that separate those with eidetic memory from those with a great, normal memory. The key to being able to recall such things is to build associations and links that evoke the memory. This is why almost anybody with normal brain functioning can dramatically improve their ability to recall things using mnemonics. While building a memory palace, for example, actually requires that you “remember” more, by associating the thing to be remembered with other things (emotions, other memories, images, etc.) you build more mental “links” to the memory, thus making it easier to access.
    • A large number of memory improvement products are available (a search on the internet will produce hundreds of such products). Most of these products actually teach you mnemonic strategies, and while some are no doubt bunk, some are legitimate.
    • One easy method to help you remember people’s names is to look at the person when you are introduced and say the person’s name: “Nice to meet you, Bill.”
    • Try memorizing the order of a deck of playing cards. Although this may seem like a pointless task, it will allow you to discover memorization techniques that work best for you.
    • Try a tray of objects (say, 10 objects). Study them for 30 seconds. Take the tray away and write down all the objects you can. Increase the number of items for more mind excercise. Or get someone else to find the objects on the tray; this makes them harder to remember and will test you more.
    • Put black ink at the end of your palm to remember any important thing for the next day or for that day itself. Whenever you see the black dot, you’ll remember what to do.
    • Visualize whatever you have to do as part of something you see every day. For example, if you have to give your dog some medicine, visualize your dog in your fridge every time you walk past it or look inside. This will keep your dog fresh in your mind.
    • Write the event or task down immediately. If you don’t have a pen, one thing you can do is change the time on your watch; later on you will remember why it is set at the wrong time. You could also wear your watch upside down.
    • Write in a diary or journal every day without fail. Even small issues should be written down — this is a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything.
    • Leave yourself a telephone message reminding yourself of important “to do” tasks.
    • Memorize your favorite song or poem until you can say it to yourself without any help. Try to do this often.
    • A study by Harvard University shows that people who sleep tend to remember things better. So sleep and see how much you remember things better.