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Soulmates Aren’t Always Lovers

Soulmates Aren’t Always Lovers

We meet people for a moment, a season, or even for a lifetime. Whether they were put in front of you to love you, to hurt you, or to even teach you, it is always for a reason. It’s funny how the universe works. If you think back to the people you have met in the past, were there certain people that came when you needed them? Even if they did hurt you, did they not teach you something valuable?

Everyone I have met, those that came and went, or those that are still in my life, have brought something real to me. They gave me friendship, love, respect, lessons, or even just showing me a new way of thinking.

I am going to talk about two particular people in my life that came when I needed them the most, even if at the time I didn’t know it. If they happen to read this, I know they will know I am speaking of them.

I believe these two people were godsent. I truly believe that they were my soulmates, just not in a romantic way. I feel the universe brought us together and we crossed paths because we had something we needed to learn from each other. These two people are still in my life and we keep in touch occasionally. I haven’t seen either of them for a while as they are both on the other side of the world, but they both hold a special place in my heart.

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My first soulmate was a guy. Initially, he thought I was a snob. Meanwhile, I thought he was just some cute guy that knew he was good-looking and wanted to charm everyone. He told me later that he had tried to get to know me and tried to initiate conversations but I just didn’t give much back. After all, he was from the other side of the world. As I saw it, he wasn’t going to be around for long and was just passing through, so why bother? I know, it was a terrible mindset. Back then, I was extremely guarded. Little did he (or I know) that he would be the very reason I would learn to open myself up to others and the world.

We eventually became friends and the more I got to know him, the more I saw what a beautiful soul he had. He would tell me stories of all his travels. Every time he told them, he had a sparkle in his eyes. He was so caring, friendly, polite, and open to every one that it fascinated me as I was really only nice to people I knew and warmed up to.

He taught me that people weren’t all out to get me. He also taught me that not all men were a**holes just trying to sleep with me. We became best friends in the year before he left Australia. We were always together, our friends would always invite both of us to every event or gathering. We would run by the water, go tanning, and hit the gym. We would also talk for hours about life, our pasts, our hopes and dreams. We even went on a few adventures together. We never did sleep together, even though a lot of our mutual friends thought we had, or thought something would happen. I think this was mainly because we were opposite sexes. We had something else. It was something I still can’t explain.

I cared for him very much. In a way, I fell in love with him, and not in a “I want you to be my boyfriend” kind of way. I fell in love with his soul. I fell in love with the way he saw the world. I fell in love with how genuine he was towards others. I also fell in love with the way he made me feel like I could do anything. He inspired me. To this day, I will still say that he was brought into my life to open my eyes and teach me that the world really is my oyster. There is so much more out there than the rat race we live in. He was the very reason I grew the confidence to leave the rut I was in and go explore.

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He never told me to do anything. He never told me what I should or shouldn’t do. Somehow, without actually saying, he made me realize that I was better than the four year relationship I felt stuck in. The last year of those four, it became one of those on again/off again relationships that become quite draining and tiring. My friend taught me that sometimes relationships run its course and the best thing you can do is to let go, so you have room to let in a better future.

He also taught me that you didn’t need to be rich to go explore. He taught me that if you wanted something, just do it. If you are doing something that feeds your soul, somehow the universe helps you along the way. I definitely saw this was true when I decided to book my one-way ticket to Thailand and then didn’t return home for a few years. There were times I was broke, there were some times I wanted to cry, and there were times I felt so alone. There are always highs and lows; however, when you are travelling, the highs definitely outweigh the lows and make it all worth it. I am forever grateful to have met him and I really don’t think he knows just how much of an impact he made on my life.

Let’s move on to my second soulmate, who just happens to be a female. Again, it was nothing romantic, but it was like I knew her forever. We just got each other. It was kind of weird because we both came from small towns next to each other. We knew all the same people growing up but we never really met. It was like we were living lives completely aligned with each other but never crossed paths until the moment that we both really needed each other. We laugh about it now, saying we were both lost teenagers and if we had met back then, we would’ve been bad influences on each other.

We met when she returned from traveling overseas. I had already settled back in Australia at this point and I was with my ex boyfriend when I met her. He was supposed to be with us for the group outing. I think it was meant to be that he didn’t come because I probably wouldn’t have chatted up a storm with her otherwise. Unfortunately, my ex didn’t quite like it if I spoke to other people too much.

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When we met, we spoke of travels and we spoke of life. Actually, we spoke of nearly everything. We just clicked. I didn’t see her again until I broke up with my ex. She also broke up with her ex a couple of weeks before me. When we met again, we hit it off and found that we shared the same perspective on a lot of topics. Even when we didn’t, we both communicated in a way that we could understand each other’s perspective. We could even communicate without saying anything to each other. It was crazy. It was like we had known each other for a lifetime.

We spent a lot of time together, even at family outings, where I would be her other half and vice versa. I told her things about me that no one else knew. She told me about her life. We would spend weekends watching documentaries, TV series, and movies. We’d also explore cafes, restaurants, libraries, and nature. Sometimes we would stay up all night talking or go get drunk together.

We both started learning more about meditation and spirituality. We kept each other grounded. She was the very first person I literally bared my soul to. She was exactly what I needed after my break up and I was what she needed after hers. We helped each other get through difficult times.

I also fell in love with her, not romantically, but in a similar way to my other soulmate. I fell in love with her soul. I loved how she composed herself so well yet had a mind filled with so many convictions and ideas. She was worldly, she was funny, she was smart, and she had class. I admired her. She was that girl that had guys crawling on their knees, but she never batted an eyelash. She wasn’t about that. She was much deeper than that, and that is one of the many reasons I loved her.

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It was so easy to talk to her. There was one night I told her something about me that caused me a lot of pain. After I finished, she cried. I could see that she felt my pain. We cared for each other immensely. She helped me realize that after everything I had been through, I actually turned out pretty darn good. In fact, she made me see that I was a beautiful human being, and that I should be proud of how far I had come. She also made me realize just how strong I am. Despite all I experienced, I still had an open heart and had an energy about me that drew people to me.

She told me she admired how I exude confidence. She liked that I was just so raw and said things how they were. I felt she taught me something so much more valuable. She taught me to value myself. I may have exuded confidence, I may have looked to the outside world that “I had it all together”, but I was never at peace with myself. That is, until I met her.

She is the only person I know that I can literally talk to for hours. She may be on the other side of the world, but when we chat, we chat. One time, I spoke to her from 9pm at night until 8am in the morning. I have not had a connection like this with any one. I have no idea what we talked about for that long, but all I know is that she is one special woman. It’s so beautiful that no matter how far away we are or if we don’t see each other, we still have such a strong bond.

So, there you have it. Two of the most significant people in my life thus far. They both have given me something so special that I will forever hold them in my heart. It is never “goodbye” with them, it’s just “see you later”. I truly hope that life brings them much joy and goodness. They both deserve nothing but the best.

I feel soulmates aren’t necessarily lovers, they come in all shapes and forms. Soulmates show up in your life to shake it up, to teach you something important, and to help you grow. The bond you share is deeper than words could ever explain.

Have you ever had a soulmate that wasn’t a lover?

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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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