Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Why Youth is a Time of No Regret

5 Reasons Why Youth is a Time of No Regret

It feels like you have absolutely no control.

Authority is a challenge, friends are a double-edge sword, many of the stuff you are learning seem pointless and relationships are this messy thing you can’t quite figure out. Everything is too confusing; too real; too huge. You are no longer a kid neither an ‘adult’, or whatever that means, but responsibilities keep piling over your shoulders.

People say it is a phase and that it will pass: ‘things will get better’, ‘you will understand it when you grow up’. But the truth is that when you are in your teens, words don’t really matter. They aren’t YOU, right? How could they possibly know? Well, my friend, the thing is that we were once young.

We all have been stupidly wrong and been too proud to admit it. We also thought we found our soul mate and later had to cry ourselves to sleep. We all said “You are my best friend”, and we all thought we could achieve anything in life. And we survived. Even better: we learned.

There are many things you don’t appreciate until they are gone, people say. Your youth is one of them, and I want you to understand and realize how precious this time is. It might not be the best —or maybe it is-, but it is definitely not a time to regret but rather a period to embrace on its plenitude.

Why?

1. People that Failed You Will be Replaced by Better Ones

After twenty five years on earth, I can state that human relationships are messy and confusing. There is no way you can deny that.

We all have had ‘best friends’ who eventually became strangers and that first, amazing love that, well… might not have turned out that well —if it did, congrats!

Advertising

When you are younger, friends are a huge pillar in your live. They are your gang, your pack and the people whom you most identify with. You probably share common interests, hobbies and, after all, you are growing up together. But the truth is that your expectations and interests will get in conflict all the time with others. Others who, the same as you, are trying to find their place.

Figuring out how to make relationships —of any kind- work is tough. For a teenager who is just realizing about all the social rules and norm, is even harder. I can’t think about all the fights and troubles and struggles I have been through with all the people I have met. But I learned something: Time will teach you about betrays and lies, but also about how incredible some people are.

Yes, you will get really hurt during the process, as everybody else. And you will hurt people even if you don’t want to, just because what you expect and what others might expect always creates tensions and conflicts. Just think about how many people live in the world right now. It is impossible to not get out there and find a jerk. That is pure statistics. But all that, all the messy friends-drama that seems overwhelming now, will help you to discern among the people that are worth trusting. And not only that, it will also help you to know yourself and realize what do you stand for; what are your values.

Some friends and lovers will be gone forever, but other will stay with you for the rest of your life.

2. All the Stupid Things You Did, You Won’t even Remember Them

In youth we learn; in age we understand. — Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

You failed a few courses. You lied to your parents. You got drunk. You fought with your friends. You embarrassed yourself in public. You were rejected. And you are still with us, right? Great, because I have good news for you. Even if you don’t believe it, all those things will make you stronger; they are part of the person you are today.

Somehow, everything converges at some point creating that person you find in the mirror every morning. You might like or dislike that person, but that is who you are, indeed. The thing is: there is no point on looking into the past. You can’t change it! So if you don’t like who you are, try to do better. Change. Learn from what happened.

I know it is hard to see the value of all those stupid and embarrassing moments, especially when those things seem like life-changing events. But life is way too long, my friend. At some point, all those things will be just faded memories. A great exercise to relieve some stress about all the problems you have right now is ask yourself this simple question: Will I remember this in twenty years? Or even ten years. Do you remember the fights you had in your childhood? Because I am sure you had a few, or that you did something that annoyed your parents.

Advertising

If the answer is no, well, what is the point on overthinking it? In twenty years, who will remember that?

3. What Others Think about You Doesn’t Really Matter

We all have suffered the pressure of ‘what will they think about me if…’ Probably you are still worried about that sometimes. Maybe it is the way you dress, what you do, how you behave, with who do you hang-out… Thousands of things.

Let me share a secret with you: If you think carefully, you will realize that we spend our lives judging. It doesn’t have to be a bad kind of judgement, but we do it simply because that is the way we organize our reality. If you see something, let’s say a person acting weirdly on the street, you apply what you know making a judgement of value.  And most likely ten minutes later you will forgot about it.

It works both ways. I know that trying to prove yourself all the time as a unique individual is tough. There are many confusing things happening at the moment. I know it because I have been there, of course. But the truth is that nobody cares. Or almost nobody besides your parents, who are praying for you to grow up already. But the rest of the human beings are way too busy with their own problems to pay attention to you. And besides, they have been teenagers too. With time you will be more and more aware about this, and all those worries will go away. And you will also realize that if somebody spends too much time criticizing you, a) they are jealous, or b) their lives are so meaningless that their best way to kill time is look at what others are doing.

Do you really think their opinion matters? Do you really believe that what anybody thinks about you is something worth worrying about? Hell, no. It doesn’t.

It is your life and your decisions, and if you do something wrong, well, let it be your mistake and not others’ fault.

4. Your Teens is Great Period to Explore Yourself

You won’t get another chance to be so free. Believe me. Yes, being an adult has some perks like economic freedom, no parents and so. But those advantages come with a price: the price of reality. Soon you will start feeling the pressure of getting a real job, finishing school, settle down, blablabla… It might seem far away, but trust me, it will be here before you know it. And, hey, I am not saying that being an adult is not cool. It is pretty awesome, but you will miss something. Do you know what is that something?

It is the ability to dream and be yourself. Is the chance to say ‘f*** the world, I am going to do this or that’. It is the energy to do crazy things and staying up late and live life full-time. You have the rush of youth, and that is a gift that will only last a few more years.

Advertising

It might not sound like much but, Gosh, you have no idea how much I miss all that. You don’t have to worry about bills or taxes or payments; you can just enjoy time with friends and make plans and dream about all the things you want to when you grow up.

Don’t give up on that. Hold on tight to those things, seriously, because one they are gone you will miss them.

A lot.

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth. — Pearl S. Buck

5. Youth is Not the Greatest Time of Your Life

This is probably the greatest gift. Yes, being young and crazy is great, but the best part is that it is not over. Eventually the ‘lost’ sensation will fade and life will slowly start to make sense. You will then experience the OMG-I’m-getting-old feeling, and it is okay. We all will have to go over that. But what comes next is also amazing and it will be part of who you are, the same way that all the things you have experience before.

Casy Neistat mentioned on one of his videos that “You spend you twenties figuring out what you want to do and your thirties doing it”.

You will step-by-step start to trek a more profound path that leads to understand yourself and what do you want to do with your life, and all that wouldn’t have been possible without those crazy years full of ‘regrets’. It all converges together and you only have to look at people around you or even people that you admire:

Their youth shaped part of their lives today.

Advertising

Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. — Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Call to Action

You don’t have to live scared of all the mistakes you are doing. You don’t have to give up.

Soon, all that will be in the past and the best way to don’t let that settle down is not look back but look ahead to be the person you want to be.

You only have to open your eyes and be ready to surf the wave when it arrives.

Don’t regret your youth: embrace it and learn, because more incredible things are coming.

Featured photo credit: Brooklyn Morgan via unsplash.com

More by this author

A Sorry Letter To Myself, Though That “Me” Doesn’t Exist Anymore What It Really Feels Like To Have Depression 5 Reasons Why Youth is a Time of No Regret Step-By-Step Guide: How To Manage Your Anger

Trending in Communication

1 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 2 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 3 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 4 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 5 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Read Next