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10 Signs You’re an Old Soul

10 Signs You’re an Old Soul

Being an old soul is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you grow up having the almost super-human gift of perspective unlike any of your peers. On the other, this often alienates you from everyone else your age. You grow up thinking many of the things your peers are interested in are silly and childish, and end up being caught on the outside looking in. However, the best part of being an old soul is, as you grow older, you continue to grow into your personality and toward your inner age. You might be an old soul if…

1. You’re bored by your peers interests

When you have an old soul, you are able to get along with your peers but you may be bored by them. An old soul will find themselves out with friends in a place that everyone else thinks is fun, but they think is not ideal. If you are an old soul, you might find yourself thinking, “I don’t want to be here”. An old soul likely has friends but much prefers being in a situation where deep conversation is the focus of the activity. For example, you may find yourself preferring meaningful discussions with teachers rather than superficial interaction with peers. As your peers age, they just might catch up to your inner age and you will share more common interests than when you were younger.

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2. You bore your peers

As an old soul, you probably have a lot to be passionate about. Unfortunately, this passion is most likely not shared by many of your peers. At a young age, you might care deeply about a variety of social and political issues, while others are more concerned with what they’re going to wear tomorrow or who won the big game last night. Again, even though your friends enjoy your company on the whole, they sometimes have no idea what you’re talking about. This is why you tend to gravitate toward older people who share your worldly perspective.

3. You’re not taken seriously by older people

Even though you enjoy the company of people older than you, you’re often not taken seriously by them at a younger age. Unfortunately, this is cannot be avoided. Until you reach a certain age, you’ll be seen as “just a kid” by adults, no matter how mature you may be. This is simply because you don’t have the years of experience to back up your thoughts and ideas. Even five to ten years from now, you may be surprised at how much your ideals and beliefs completely shift. Give it some time. You have the rest of your life to be old.

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4. You’re okay with being on your own

So you’re not accepted by your peers, and you’re not taken seriously by your elders. Being an old soul can feel like an isolating experience. Often, old souls find themselves feeling okay with being isolated. This is because you’d much rather stand up for your beliefs and yourself than fall down for the newest trend or fad. Because you feel isolated from almost every other age group, you probably spend a lot of time in deep thought and taking up solitary hobbies like writing. Of course, this only contributes even further to your old soul persona. Tough it out; one day you’ll be old enough to just be considered a “true soul.”

5. You’re usually an observer

As an old soul you often stay on the outskirts of your friend circle, being more of an observer. There isn’t anything wrong with this. You simply need to embrace this aspect of your personality and put it to good use. For example, many of the most successful writers are good because they have spent so much time observing others and listening to their stories.As an observer, you most likely have a knack for understanding what the masses are into, so take advantage of your analytic abilities and create something that just might be the next big thing.

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6. You’re not bothered by “small stuff”

As an old soul, the minutiae that bothers most people your age just seems frivolous to you. You simply don’t spend time worrying about what you’re wearing or how your hair looks; you’re more worried about the major issues affecting modern society. Your apathy toward “the small stuff” even furthers your “old soul persona,” as you appear much calmer than most others around you.

7. You’re more reserved than most of your friends

When you think of someone making a scene, you either think of a small child throwing a tantrum, or an adult who hasn’t quite learned how to act in public. Old souls hate calling attention to themselves, and even when they find themselves in situations in which it’s socially acceptable to “let loose” a bit, they won’t drop their cool, calm demeanor. While many of your friends may have been the crazy teenagers or college kids willing to do anything for a laugh, you could never imagine making such a fool of yourself. Again, you’d much rather sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

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8. You’re extremely sensitive

You’ve probably been told to “lighten up” by your peers more times than you can possibly imagine. Same for being told you’re “boring.” Don’t let these statements get to you; they usually come from people who have no clue about what makes you tick. On the other side of the coin, you also probably have elders telling you your ideas are “cute” or something equally dismissive. Again, to them, you’re just a young kid trying to act mature. Stay persistent, be true to who you are, and soon enough your ideas will be taken seriously.

9. You think mainstream society is silly

Old souls have the uncanny ability to look at mainstream society and not take it too seriously. You are able to see all of the silly facets of mainstream society. From the obsession with celebrity’s relationships to the invention of products like the beer helmet, you see how ridiculous things truly are. Old souls don’t get so caught up in what is trendy or cool, they focus on deeper issues. This could leave you on the outskirts of groups made up of your peers.

10. You’re always looked to for advice

As you grow older, your peers and elders will realize you’ve been right about a lot of the ideas you’ve had over the years. They’ll probably start soliciting advice from you, regardless of how many times they’ve ignored it in the past. Don’t be “that guy” that refuses them. Be a good friend, and help them out. They’re not “using you”; they actually have just realized how valuable your input is. Appreciate them, no matter how long it took them to appreciate you.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm7.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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