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Here’s What Happy Couples Do To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

Here’s What Happy Couples Do To Keep Their Relationships Fresh

Ralph Waldo Emerson was once quoted as saying that “True Love is the residue that’s left once the excitements of love banish away.”

As the new season approaches, we tend to have hopes and dreams of advancing our lives and taking them to a new level. The question is: do we ever think of behaviors we can adapt which can lead to a fresh new start for our current relationship?

The reason why most relationships become dull is that couples abandon the duties and efforts which are essential in keeping the relationship alive. I am sure you have heard before about how couples should make New Year resolutions to keep their relationships fresh. Be honest — have you ever thought about how you can make resolutions in your relationship? If your answer is no, then it’s high time that you reassess your approach to your relationship.

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Below are some simple steps which will help you and your partner to mold your mature relationship and keep that fire burning with freshness and excitement.

Share most of your time with your partner

This may sound crazy to some football fans out there, but the truth is that sacrificing the time you spend watching football with your friends to be with your partner can really boost your relationship. Happy couples always spend most of their time doing what their partners love. Furthermore, you can decide to be more helpful to your partner through helping them in their tasks and becoming part of their successes.

Try something new together

You might have always wished to infuse your old relationship with something new but have been reluctant for a variety of reasons. The moment you adapt new ideas and relate them to your relationship, you will be able to achieve more happiness and bonding with your partner. Ensure that your relationship is fun-filled and adventurous.

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When I first met my wife, I would always spring surprises on her just to see her smile and fill her heart with love and adoration. Take your partner back to the days when the relationship was new and see them light up again.

Maintain outside relationships

It’s important to note that a couple’s relationship can either be enhanced or corrupted by outside relationships. Not all outside relationships are positive — some are bad and should be avoided at all cost.

An example of a healthy outside relationship includes spending time with other couples who are in a very strong relationship. Look for couples who have strong values and character and who are able to influence your relationship positively. Through this, you will gain insight on the importance of commitment and keeping the relationship exciting.

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At the same time, couples should choose the types of friends they hang out with. These types of friends help you to develop a social life, which is important in keeping a relationship fresh.

Try a joint project

Most of us know the story of Ken Blanchard and how he became a spiritual motivational speaker and a renowned author. Ken and his wife Marjorie decided to form a joint project by starting a company which could offer high-quality training to young investors on how to make a difference in a business platform. Through hard work and sacrifice, they managed to launch the Ken Blanchard Company, which quickly gained worldwide recognition for offering International Management training and counseling programs on leadership qualities.

Couples should create common goals which they can work on and achieve together. An example of a joint project may include a financial goal where both of you can save a certain amount of money to go on a vacation. Or, it could include saving some cash to buy something you have always wished for. Through accomplishing your goals together, you feel more like a team — something which strengthens your love bonds. Be it shopping for running shoes together or scouring trampoline reviews to find an outdoor trampoline you could both enjoy, any kind of common hobby or interest will help cement the bond between the two of you.

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Discuss your dreams and ideas

When you first met your partner, conversation was probably never lacking at the dinner table. You talked about hopes, dreams, and things you wished to achieve in the future. With time, such conversations likely vanished. It’s important to spend time discussing your dreams and the things you wish to achieve in the future.

Keep surprising your partner

Keeping the element of surprise alive is among the most basic things that most couples do to keep their relationships fresh. Here’s how: choose one day of the week to go home early carrying a small gift. Alternatively, you can decide to cook your partner’s favorite meal or book a surprise holiday getaway. It doesn’t have to be much, but nothing works as well as giving small and unexpected gifts. These small surprises help to enhance your relationship, decorating it with freshness and novelty and preventing it from getting stuck.

Let them know how much you admire them

When you first met your spouse, there were certain qualities which attracted you to them. Maybe it’s beauty, intelligence, or their ability to speak freely and intelligently. Whatever it is that drove you mad still exists. You should tell them how beautiful, handsome, intelligent, or humorous they are from time to time. This will make them feel loved, valued, and special.

Bottom line

Even though you may find these steps hard to achieve or outside of your comfort zone, they are the best cure for bringing a dull relationship back to life. Psychological studies have revealed that the most important thing in your life is your relationship. So, make it a good one.

Featured photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões via flickr.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.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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