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5 Ways to Enjoy Festivals With Pets

5 Ways to Enjoy Festivals With Pets

We might all find ourselves smiling at the sound of the word “festival.” A festival, based on the dictionary, is defined as a celebration of an event. One example is a parade which gathers people from far and wide without restrictions and without prejudice. These are times when you can find people smiling, laughing, chatting and singing, and people are filled with fun and joy.

However, many pet owners have a misconception that a festival is impossible to enjoy when you’ve got to take care of another being. When you’ve got to feed, clean and pay attention to another creature who plays a major role of your life. However, there’s always a way you can have fun with your furry friends.

How do you do it? This article will clearly explain how you can enjoy festivals and parties even with a pet around. It’s a compilation of various personal experiences and stories that will help shed light on this issue.

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1. Train Your Pets To Be Crowd-Friendly

One of the best things about having pets, especially dogs, is that you can easily train them to be people-friendly. Pets emulate their owners, since they have the need and desire to be accepted and to be part of a family. The saying “Be Roman in Rome” fits our pets’ personalities very well, so training them to enjoy being part of a crowd can be helpful.

However, if you’re heading to a music festival or somewhere where it’s easy for a pet to get lost, train your pets to always come back to a specific destination. Through training their senses, especially their senses of smell and direction, you will help them to find you again if they wander while you party. However, this concept applies more to dogs than to other pets.

A pet that knows how to find you is a dependable pet.

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2. Always Be Ready for Camping

If you’re going to a festival, especially a music festival, it’s best to camp. Camping allows you the liberty to choose your location and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the party while being close to your tent. This way, your pet can also be close to you.

Based on my personal experience, one of my favorite festivals would be the Sziget Music Festival in Budapest. Known to be one of the largest music festivals in Europe, it’s one place where me and my dog always attend together. The trick is that I’ve always left him around the tent, which is close to the river, where he can chill if the day gets too hot. I’ve always placed some food hidden around the tent’s surroundings to allow him to explore and walk around looking for food.

This way, my dog will never become lost, as he always comes back to the food. Even if he’s a few feet away, I can always find him.

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3. Leave Enough Food for Your Pet

Our animals thrive on being instinctual, more like the way humans were once upon a time. Even though we base our thoughts and our decisions on logic, the one aspect we can never ignore is the feeling of hunger. Hunger makes us act based on our instincts, and it also changes our thought processes, hence the term “Hangry” came about. Being extremely hungry can lead to the emotion of anger.

The one thing you should always remember is to leave enough food for your pet outside your tent or around it. When your pet gets hungry and there’s no food, it will tend to wander until it finds something to eat. Its sense of smell will take over its behavior, and its need for food will only lead it farther and farther away from the place you left it.

Therefore, in order for your pet to not get lost and for you to not lose your pet, always remember to feed it. Also, situate yourself in a location where there’s plenty of drinking water for your pet.

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4. A Tracking Chip for Extra Caution

Our technology has developed far beyond where it was in the 80s, when festivals were symbolized by wild celebration and were places fit for no pet. We have developed technologies that can do things from building artificial organs to tracking people with a simple chip. However, not all chips needed to be implanted in one’s body; advancements in pet monitoring have provided simpler options for pet owners.

You can either opt to use a collar with a tracking device or use an ingestible tracking device. You can find tracking collars for your pets in various high-end pet stores. These trackers are customized, and you can program them either to your phone or to a separate GPS. On the other hand, an ingestible tracker can be given to your pet in its food, and the device is usually pooped out by your pet within a certain duration. Both of these types of devices can be programmed to your phone or monitored using your GPS device.

However, these are rather costly methods, so if you’re considering them, you need to be willing to dig up the budget for the. Before using an ingestible tracker, it would be wise to consult your veterinarian for advice, as you wouldn’t want to harm your beloved pet.

In Conclusion

Our pets are an important part of our lives. They keep us grounded and calm, hence there’s no reason they shouldn’t be at a festival with us. With these tips, you will find it easier to enjoy festivals with your pets accompanying you. However, if you find it a hassle, you can always find a pet-sitter.

Featured photo credit: Google Images via tpsnews.co.il

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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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