“If I have failed more than you have, I have won”- Seth Godin
We happen to think we are big failures when we are failing. We aren’t failures, we just need to go through the process of life when we try things. That’s the reality. We have to overcome the negativity. The sad part is that we low-key know about this but ‘fail” to take this approach because it’s unconventional. But you know what? Everything I have ever succeeded at was done through failing many times and not giving up.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
Volleyball had many practicing hours before I could even learn to serve. Writing took me writing 83 essays to every 1 my classmates wrote so I could top them. In all of those essays, 1 in every 15 would be really amazing. My driving test took me two attempts. So what I want you to do is to learn to fight the thought of failure being a bad thing. See the word “fail” and turn it mentally to “learn”. It’s hard but only through failing will we learn the most. It’s painful but it shouldn’t have to be.
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel
Bear with me for a second.
I asked my boyfriend what “failing” means to him. His response was “The End”.Advertising
What really is “failing”? I googled it and look what I found
You see this? A weakness in a character! A weakness! Weaknesses can be strengthened if practiced enough! Failing isn’t a life-ending and detrimental factor. It’s a good thing. It shows you what needs to be strengthened, not what needs to make you feel like you’re the worse person on earth and that you have no purpose. Ugh! I just hate it when people over-exaggerate. Don’t fall for their trap of allowing you to not believe that you can accomplish your dreams.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Here are a few things we often “fail” at but it turns out beautifully if you keep working at them with an open mind:
You’ll fail with friendships
Friends forever? Ahh no. There will be times when your “friends” aren’t who you expect them to be. It hurts but it’s just one of those things that we have to get through as humans. Some will lie to you, have babies, get married and straight up not have the time for you. These are all normal because through it all, a select few will always be there no matter what and more than likely you will develop more friendships as you go along. Well, those often are more worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to allow this process to take its course. Be open to it and let it transition. Here you will learn who really has your back and who will be there for you no matter what. Most importantly, you’ll learn to be much wiser.
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch
You’ll fail to make big decisions
As a 20-something, I cannot explain how many decisions I’ve failed at. Nope, I’d probably be embarrassed to say it all. Well, I’d look beyond that; anything for you. The point is that especially when you don’t have guidance (there is always some sort) we tend to make the crappiest decisions and then feel bad after. One thing is sure, if you’re tired of this happening then this is a pain point to make a change. Read more, find a mentor, a coach… something. How long will we be comfortable making the same bad decisions? Guidance from someone who is more knowledgeable at life will suffice. You can even get Cheatsheets on how to turn your life around on the internet. Here’s one I wrote specifically for you guys.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael JordanAdvertising
When you get older, naturally your priorities will change. Parties, liquor and whatever else is there to distract you doesn’t count as much. Getting ahead in your life becomes the main objective. You will begin to get curious and try new things to secure a future. However, trying new things has much trial and error in it. This can sometimes be a burden. We fail a lot by not having the results we want immediately but who cares? It’s okay to fail. Yes… it’s not okay to give up after you have failed though. This will teach determination and discipline. Keep going until you win! And you will win!
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson
You’ll fail to compromise
As a 20 something we feel so many pressures from everyone. We want to find what our purpose is but try to please our moms and dads at the same time. That within itself curates failure. Don’t worry, we always figure it out. Just know it takes some time. By going through this process, you learn patience, kindness and the ability to reason from someone else’s point of view.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
You’ll fail to look after your body
Before you get to that stability level, you will fall short and cheat on certain things. Sugar, salt, alcohol, exercise you name it. It will take tonnes of effort to get to eating healthy but sometimes you’ll succumb to the junk. Look at it this way, when you wake up in the morning, beat it in your head that today is a brand new day. Forget the failures from yesterday then exercise that “discipline muscle” and start one more time. The biggest investment is you. No one should beat you up for this. Learning about mind conditioning and will power will do wonders for you. Trust me.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
You’ll fail to invest in the future
“You only live once” is the mantra of most 20-somethings. That sounds pretty fun doesn’t it? Time and time again you’ll know what to do deep within yourself. You know it would be right for you but your mind will wander. Remember, if you want to have a family and keep it, more than one relationship isn’t as smart a move. The same goes for any long term goal. You will learn to be laser-visioned.Advertising
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
You’ll fail to develop your own style
Society, family, & friends brainwashed most of us. When we see the whole pattern and is willing to change that, it will take much concentration to find what our “real” personalities are. Our personalities will lean less toward what’s trending and create our own styles. Easier said than done but why not learn about self development?
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to socialize differently
It’s kind of hard to put down our phones every once in a while and take a walk somewhere and strike up a conversation with someone new. It’s the norm for us so to go out of our comfort zones will be uninteresting and obsolete. My question to you is how far will the “norm” take you in life? It will absolutely change your life to put your phone down, leave it at home for a few hours and go try to speak to someone new. I dare you to try it. If you have issues making friends, you can find tips here. Now you are challenged to build on social skills.
“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to manage your money
Majority of 20 somethings don’t have a set plan. It’s these years that you try to find your purpose and what you should be doing. While some have their lives together, some are in college completing the wrong degree and others are just sitting around waiting for life to make a change for them. You probably know…Life won’t. We just don’t always have it all figured out. It’s the same with money. Funds often slip by until you learn the language of money. Buy what you need only, invest in something long term and in a couple of years, you will have the financial freedom you deserve. Oh how would it feel to buy a car but unable to buy gas? Don’t buy a whole pizza today if you’re not that hungry and don’t know what you will eat tomorrow. Change the perspective young grasshopper. It will take much living from paycheck to paycheck and struggles to teach you to develop your investment skills.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
You’ll fail to value your family
Teenagers and 20 somethings grow intensely apart from their families due to miscommunication and feeling misunderstood. That’s a regular thing but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of talking back, just be quiet even if you’re tuning them out. This helps a lot. Instead of spitting fire with your tongue in return of a conflict, let it slide… just this one time. Your parents will be amazed by this. I know mine was when I figured out this tactic. I failed many times too. Just try it and you too will learn the value of silence.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
You’ll fail to stand up for yourself
We really have been manipulative as kids trying to guilt trip people for what we want. Getting out in the real world where people are hard inside, it gets tough. Here, our defensive mechanism falters. We find it hard to ask for raises and even break down when people put us down. Well, just like a kid it takes years to master getting what we want, we must master standing up for ourselves. This too will take a while. Here you will definitely learn how to strategies, be creative and be quick on your feet. All in all you learn how to become very Independent.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
You’ll fail to love yourself
This is the hardest of them all to me and that’s why so many of us suffer from depression and anxiety. This is just my opinion. There are other scientific and proven reasons of course. I just know that when I felt ugly because of the excess weight I had was because I didn’t work on loving myself enough. I cared more of what others thought of me. Until I learned to tell myself that I was the one living my life, took control and did something about my health, I could not have felt beautiful and love myself the way I do now. Did I fail? What do you think? You’ll be more than successful when you learn self-love.
Unless you want to keep winning and not learn anything which is a bit of an illusion, then learn to think of failure as a good thing. In my tribe, we fail to win. We never give up. I believe in you and I love you! Keep trying <3
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com
Last Updated on January 15, 2019
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!
Table of Contents
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. Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 12 Tactics to Negotiate Better and Not Be a Pushover
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
- How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way
- How to Handle Rejection and Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com
|||^||Dev Psychobiol.: Adrenocortical responses to strangers in preschoolers: relations with parenting, temperament, and psychopathology.|
|||^||Psychology Today: Cortisol: Why the “Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1|