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10 Things Only Loved Ones of People Who Do Shift Work Would Understand

10 Things Only Loved Ones of People Who Do Shift Work Would Understand

Many of us are aware that it’s not easy to do shift work. Disruption of normal sleep patterns is just one of the many challenges only shift workers would understand. But do you ever take a moment to think about the difficulties and struggles that the loved ones of people who do shift work face?

Few people think about what these people go through, and sadly seldom do we talk about what these loving people are up against. So today we are going to break the silence and honor these affectionate souls by highlighting some of the struggles only you, as a loved one of someone who does shift work, would understand.

1. You hardly ever get the chance to just sit and enjoy quality time with them.

That’s because your loved one who does shift work is always away working when you’d have loved to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. While this upsets you sometimes, you understand that they have to go to work.

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2. You don’t get time to go out together anymore.

You used to spend mornings out together or go on fun date nights with them, but now you don’t dare ask them to go out with you because you both have different sleep schedules and they need to catch their sleep on off-hours. Even on holidays when you might want to go out and have some fun with them, they don’t feel like spending the day out. And you completely understand because they have to work the next night.

3. You can’t just pick up the phone and call them anytime you want.

That’s because you don’t know if they’re sleeping or not. They’re always moving from night shift to day shift and vise versa, and it’s difficult to know for sure whether they are free to take calls. Besides, some work places have strict cell phone policies and you don’t want to get them in trouble by calling them when they are at work.

4. You have a hard time making plans in advance that include them.

They might tell you their boss has promised a rotation to allow them to attend an event you’re planning, but you can’t be sure that the promise will pan out. So you put them under the “Maybe” category of those coming to your event, even if they said they’ll be there. Usually this is the case until the day before the event when you, hopefully, realize their shift duty was actually moved and they will indeed be there.

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5. You expect them to miss or skip most social gatherings.

Why? Because you know they don’t have the weekends free to meet up with friends and family like everyone else does. They work odd hours, and sometimes that means missing important social gatherings, including birthday parties, graduations, and family meetings. It makes you sad that you rarely see them and that their youngest cousins usually have no idea who they are. But you try to understand that love—no matter how important and fulfilling it is—doesn’t pay the bills.

6. It is hard to spend time with them because they always seem so tired.

This happens when they somehow manage to beat the system and show up to hang out and spend time with you and other loved ones. You may even notice they are moody or irritable with their own children, relatives, and friends because of being so tired.

7. You sometimes feel as though you both exist in parallel universes.

This is especially true if you are a married couple with kids. You may feel like you’re not a team as parents, not because of any conflicting parenting styles, but because it seems like they don’t have time for you and the kids. Your kids, parents, and even close friends often ask about their absence, and it secretly hurts you inside to answer why he/she is not there with you.

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8. You sometimes feel lonely and emotionally isolated.

That’s because your partner or loved one is never there. You just wish you would have more time to spend with them, but you know demanding more time will only create stress. You understand that your loved one has a difficult work schedule and needs their sleep and time to rest, just like everyone else.

9. You always hope that they’ll be available for Christmas.

Christmas is always a busy time for everyone. But if you do shift work, this time of the year is often more hectic than usual. It may be that Christmas doesn’t stop your loved one from working. So each year you cross your fingers and hope they will get a break and be available to spend Christmas with you, which unfortunately doesn’t always happen.

10. You’re heartbroken every time you see those bags under their eyes.

When he or she comes back home or walks in the room and you notice that major sleep face and those fierce bags under their eyes, it just breaks your heart. And you never mention how tired you are yourself to them because you know they’ve been up working the shift since 1 in the morning!

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Featured photo credit: Healthy Morning Snack with a Tea/VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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