Getting comfortable around others is the sweet spot of a relationship.
It’s the first name basis, “drop by anytime” stage that can feel liberating: being freed from the shackles of social expectations of each other.
It’s when people get to relax the formalities and reveal who they really are. This is when a relationship gets to flourish.
Getting to this stage, however, will take time. Certain people can be difficult to read.
There are often doubts about whether or not someone truly enjoys being in your presence or is just good at keeping up the facade.
Since it isn’t often that someone declares that they’re finally comfortable with you, here are 11 signs to help you understand if they are.
1) Awkward silence isn’t awkward anymore
When we first meet someone, we tend to feel the need to keep the conversation flowing.
We’re afraid that sitting in silence with a stranger could fill the air with a heavy and palpable awkwardness.
It’s why restaurants and elevators have music playing in the background, to fill the dead air if (or when) there is one.
Once we’ve known someone long enough, there’s no longer the need to keep talking. Sometimes, it could feel like you’ve already talked enough.
You’re able to understand each other without even having to say another word.
Sitting quietly with each other without feeling tense or anxious is a good sign that they feel comfortable with you.
2) You have nicknames for each other
One of the most important areas to pay attention to in social etiquette is how to address other people.
There are people, usually of a higher stature, that would not accept being called by their first name, especially from someone they’ve never met before.
Forgetting the “Attorney”, “Principal”, or “Sir/Madam” is commonly seen as a sign of disrespect.
That’s why it’s always a good sign when someone says “Please, call me ____” and then provide you with either their first name or a nickname that only their friends call them by.
By giving you the license to call them by their first name or nickname, it shows that they’ve warmed up to you already. They no longer see you as just another stranger anymore.
3) They relax their outfits around you
What people wear is commonly a reflection of not just their personality but what they think of someone.
They also dress for the appropriate situation, as a way to adhere to the accepted social conduct.
Since people want to make a good first impression, they’ll make sure to tidy up their look, style their hair, and get their hygiene in order.
When a man dons a fine suit for a first date, it’s a message that says, “I respect you”.
People save their casual outfits for their personal life.
So seeing your partner in an old t-shirt, shorts, and some sandals tells you that they’re willing to welcome you into their personal life.
You’ve passed their test and they’re allowing you to see them for who they really are, in their natural habitat.
4) They’re not afraid to show their quirks
People tend to hide their quirks around others to conform to the crowd. They don’t want to appear too weird.
That’s why they don’t let anyone know that they’re secretly obsessed with trains or that they have to have their things organized a certain way or else they’ll bring about bad luck.
We each have our own quirks that we tuck away when we’re going out in public.
When someone willingly shows you theirs, it’s a sign that says that they trust you enough not to judge them.
In fact, quirks stop becoming quirks the longer the relationship goes on; it begins to fade into their character so much that you don’t even notice it anymore.
5) What’s theirs is yours
Usually the more personal a possession is, the less people get to interact with it.
It becomes like a sacred object to someone, one that should be shown reverence and respect.
It may be your father’s car, someone’s bedroom, or a collection that your friend spent years amassing.
These things have values that aren’t quantifiable. Only a select few are allowed to experience them in their full glory.
That’s why it’s a big deal when the other person allows you to take a drive in their car, walk into their bedroom, or check out their collection. It means that they know you and trust you enough that you’ll be careful; they aren’t worried about you anymore.
6) Your conversations range from shallow to deep
When meeting someone new, it’s natural to break out the small talk; asking how the drive was before they arrived or what they do for a living are all par for the course when first introduced to someone.
That changes when someone gets comfortable with you, however.
A close friend will bring up even the silliest and most outrageous thoughts that float by their mind.
They’re also not afraid to bring up topics about the future, the meaning of life, or even talk to you about a personal problem that they’re going through.
They don’t care about looking weird or strange because they trust you.
7) You’re their go-to person to tell things to
When someone gets a promotion or plans on buying something online, if you’re one of the first people they tell, that means they’re comfortable with you.
You’re one of the first people they tell because they value your opinion.
They don’t care about what other people think — but they care about what you think.
They keep you in their mind, so when something comes up, they aren’t afraid to tell you about it — even if it’s something small and seemingly insignificant.
The more insignificant the detail, the more comfortable they are with you.
8) They let you be yourself
Being our authentic selves in public is challenging.
There’s always that lingering fear of judgment in the air with every presentation of who we really are.
That’s why it’s common for people’s public and private selves to have some kind of dissonance.
What someone appears to be like in the public eye may not be who they really are at home.
Once you’ve felt the freedom of holding nothing back in your relationship with someone, that’s a clear sign that says that you’re in a comfortable point of the relationship.
Relationships are two-way streets, after all.
The other person plays a hand in creating a safe, non-judgemental space in the relationship for both of you to be as authentic as possible with each other.
This authenticity is the foundation of every healthy relationship.
9) They aren’t afraid to disagree
People tend to remain agreeable to stay polite.
They wouldn’t want to cause any scene or conflict when talking to someone they disagree with. There are such things as a civil disagreement, however.
It’s when two or more people are able to agree to disagree, respectfully acknowledging that they each have different views on certain topics and that it shouldn’t get in the way of their friendship.
Indeed, sometimes the most fruitful of friendships comes from the unlikeliest of pairings.
It’s because they’re able to set aside their differences, or even fully embrace their differences, in favor of keeping the relationship afloat.
10) They speak casually with you
Speaking formally is the usual mode we get into when we meet someone new.
We make sure to stay polite and respectful, addressing them with their title, being cautious with what we have to say.
It can be shocking, then, when someone starts talking to you with a more laid-back tone of voice — may be even swearing in front of you.
They’re open about their opinions, not giving much concern about if it’s going to be the most well-liked or not.
They don’t watch their words with you.
Instead, they can often be quite honest about what they think.
These are signs that say that they’re comfortable with you.
11) They open up to you
People tend to cover up the parts of them that they might feel ashamed of or insecure about it. It’s only natural.
To be so exposed and vulnerable with others isn’t an easy task.
That’s why when someone begins talking to you about their life story — their biggest failures, their regrets, and disappointments, what they wish they were — that’s a clear sign that they find comfort in you.
Your relationship has become a safe space for them to get rid of the mask that can be tiring to wear in public.
When someone begins opening up to you about their personal problems, that’s where the most meaningful relationships can be made.
Comfortable relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.
Without being guaranteed those prerequisites, people tend to be more careful about what they say and how they carry themselves.
This covers up a person’s most authentic self. Without reaching the comfortable stage of a relationship, an authentic and lasting bond will be difficult to forge.
That’s why when someone is comfortable with you, it’d be wise not to take it for granted.
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