Nothing's better when you're stressed or have had a long day than to hang out with a person who is calming to be around. When you're with them, it's almost impossible not to feel more relaxed, as their chill vibes wash over you. They listen to your stories, they make you feel seen and heard, and often, you leave the experience of feeling a little bit lighter after seeing them.
Folks who have such a relaxing way about them might seem a bit magical. But really, these calming traits can be adopted by anyone. And there are so many benefits to be had in doing so. First off, once you figure out how to take on a calmer energy for yourself, "you'll have more clarity and command in your life and be less likely to get easily triggered by other people's behavior or stressful situations," Kelli Reese, a certified leadership and transition coach, tells Bustle.
And from there, you can be one of those people who also gives off super calm vibes, puts their friends at ease, and moves through the world with a confident energy. So, how can you start to shift yourself toward this calmer direction? If you'd like to give off these vibes, try working on some of the habits below, which experts say all calming people have in common.
1. They Are Present In The Moment
The most calming people excel at living in the moment, and being fully present with whoever they're talking to. "They do not have their head in their device or in other thoughts," intimacy coach Xanet Pailet tells Bustle. Instead, they make eye contact, "which immediately brings our defenses down. When someone makes eye contact with us, we feel that we are being seen, because they are really paying attention to us." It may seem like such a simple thing, but it's a trick we can all adopt to put others at ease.
2. They Respect Your Personal Space
One thing a calming person will never do is invade your personal space. "Calm people are ... very grounded in their body, [which] is actually a requirement to be present," says Pailet. "Being aware of your body in physical space helps you negotiate physical boundaries with other people. Calm people ... give you the amount of space you need to feel safe and comfortable."
3. They Move A Bit Slower
We all love our excitable friends who are animated and fun to talk to. And they can certainly be calming, in their own way. But the people who tend to relax us move at a slower pace, and therefore establish a calmer environment around them.
"Again, this happens because they are grounded, focused on you, and completely in present time," Pailet says. "So they have the time and space to chose their words carefully and to be a great listener."
4. They Really, Truly Listen
Speaking of listening, there's a big difference between listening to someone speak, and just being quiet while you wait for your turn to talk. And calming folks definitely occupy that former space.
"They can sit patiently and listen without judgment, and many people find this trait not only calming, but it can also offer a deeper sense of security within the relationship," author and self-care coach Carley Schweet tells Bustle.
And this is something we should all be working on. As Schweet says, it's "beneficial ... to learn this habit because truly listening, without waiting to respond, allows us to create more connection and develop a deeper sense of compassion."
5. They Go With The Flow
While almost everyone gets upset occasionally, the calmest people have a knack for going with the flow. When sh*t hits the fan, they shrug it off, laugh, or find a way to make it work for them. But most importantly, they make an effort to move on.
"People who have a calming effect on others tend to not dwell on things: especially little things that really don't matter," author and natural lifestyle expert Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "This ability to go with the flow has a calming effect on people, even if they can't figure out exactly what it is."
6. They're Warm & Friendly
Think of the most calming person you know, and there's a good chance they radiate a warm, friendly energy. They might make great eye contact, for example, have open body language, or flash a smile that gives off friendly vibes.
As Myra says, "There's something about a smile that can pick up your spirits, put you in a good mood, or just generally help you feel more relaxed about life in general. Smiling triggers the brain to think happy thoughts. When you're happier, you're more relaxed. When you're around people who smile frequently, it's apt to have a calming effect on your mood."
7. They Use Positive Words
People who are cool, calm, and collected use calming language, that not only feels pleasant, but also encourages whoever they're with. "A person who is relaxing and calming uses words that are optimistic and reassuring, such as 'All is good ... this is going to work out, all will be OK,' etc.," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle. "These words send a message to us that the world around us is OK in their eyes, which has a calming effect on us." After all, often all it takes to get through a stressful experience is that one person who looks confident, and then everyone else is instantly at ease.
8. They're Empathetic
When talking to someone who gives off calming vibes, you almost always leave the conversation feeling like they truly "get you." And that's because they're pros when it comes to empathy.
"Due to their compassionate nature and interest in helping others, [people who are calming] offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen," licensed psychotherapist Lisa Hutchison, LMHC tells Bustle. "They feel deeply and put themselves in the other person's shoes. When people feel understood, they open up and connect with you more."
9. They Know How To Lighten The Mood
Another way these people create a relaxing atmosphere? Perfectly timed jokes. Calming people know how to "utilize humor effectively," therapist Laura Jordan, MA, LPC, LMFT tells Bustle. If things are getting tense, or they notice others are getting stressed, they know just what to say to lighten the mood.
"Humor ... has a disarming effect and brings levity to otherwise tense situations," Jordan says. With the well-timed quip, or lighthearted joke, they can magically put everyone at ease.
10. They're Trustworthy
Nothing says "calming" quite like a conversation with someone who is trustworthy — who you know you can speak to, and they won't turn around and share what you said.
"They don’t gossip about others and generally have an attitude of good intention," licensed psychotherapist Dr. Jill Murray tells Bustle. And that has a lot to do with what they bring to the convo, too.
Ever notice how calming people hardly ever gossip? "Because they aren’t sniping about others, you can rest assured that they aren’t gossiping about you when you aren’t around," Murray says.
11. They Are Problem Solvers
As mentioned above, calming people tend to go with the flow. But that doesn't mean they get swept along, or that they don't know how to take care of themselves. In fact, these folks tend to be excellent problem solvers, and are thus able to sit down, look at the facts, and figure out solutions to stressful situations.
"Calm people always look for the solution or any action that can be taken to resolve the situation," business coach and spiritual advisor Sharifah Hardie tells Bustle. "People who are problem solvers make everyone else feel as if they are safe, taken care of, and that everything will be OK. They are able to pull people into their calm, instead of allowing people to pull them into their storm."
When you hang out with a calming person, you're often better for it, which is why it might be beneficial to scoop up a few of these traits and experience the calmness for yourself, so that you can help spread that energy to others.