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10 Things You Cared About Growing Up 10 Years Ago but Don’t Now

10 Things You Cared About Growing Up 10 Years Ago but Don’t Now

Getting older is inevitable. Looking back on our past is a way to see how much we have grown, and evaluate where we want to go in the future. Our past has made us who we are today. However, the things that we used to care about 10 years ago, are nowhere near as important to us today as they used to be. Here are 10 things that you cared about 10 years ago, but don’t today.

1. You cared about what people thought about you

Ten years ago, when you were trying to fit in and find your place, you actually cared what people thought about you. Today, that couldn’t be more wrong. Within the last 10 years you have learned what makes you tick, what you’re good at, what you love, what you hate- you just know who you are. If someone doesn’t like it too bad. They can keep it movin’ forward just like you.

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2. You cared about having name brand clothes

Ten years ago you cared about what kind of clothes you wore. You would not be caught dead in some Walmart or Target brand clothing. You/your parents spent way too much money on those those as well. Today, you have matured and have come to the realization that money is better spent on other things. You still have some name brand clothing, but you don’t care one way or another if people notice it. It’s just not that important to you anymore, as you have far more things to worry about today than you did 10 years ago.

3. You cared about gossip

This might be more true for the ladies, but I know guys talk just as much as us. 10 years  ago you cared way more about who was dating who and what drama everyone was talking about. You never wanted to be the last person to know what was going on. Today when you hear gossip it’s just not as entertaining. Your life doesn’t revolve around it, and you are probably the last one to know about it. Lets face it, today you just have more to worry about than someone else’s drama.

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4.  You cared about school

Ten years ago you were probably in school, whether it was high school, college, graduate, ect. and you actually cared about how you did. Majority of your free time during the week was spent doing homework, or at least putting your homework off until the last minute. Today, you have made it past that in one way or another, and you are working. Sometimes you actually wish you could go back to those days of less responsibility, but then you wouldn’t be as successful as you are today. Today you are hopefully glad you went – but it’s just not part of your life anymore.

5. You cared about being able to drive

Ten years ago you might have been starting to drive, or not quite 21. You cared about getting the car from your parents, or having your own car. You cared about being able to drive anywhere you wanted, and were usually the one of your friends who drove everyone-everywhere. Today, its the opposite. If you don’t have to drive you won’t. On the weekend you are worried about who will be the sober cab, and probably crossing your fingers that it won’t be you. Instead of loving the road, you are hating the morning and rush hour traffic. You have developed some form of road rage. Simply put, you don’t want to drive.

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6. You cared about keeping a good image in front of your parents

Ten years ago you cared about not getting caught sneaking out, or doing something you shouldn’t be – by your parents. Whether you cared about keeping a good image in their eyes, or just cared about not getting in trouble; you did your best to avoid being caught. Today, you will gladly open up to them about how you would throw parties when they went out of town.Your relationship with your parents today is a lot different than it was 10 years ago. Today your parents are your close friends, rather than an authority. You have come to the realization that your parents love you no matter what you did then, or now.

7. You cared about keeping up with TV shows

Ten years ago you had days of the week and times picked out that you had to be at a TV to watch your favorite show. Whether it was American Idol, The OC, Survivor, or Lost you had to be at a TV (or you wouldn’t know what happened with that mysterious button ). Today, we don’t care about what time our favorite shows come on. With the invention of DVR you no longer have to be home at the exact time a show is on to watch it – best television invention ever.

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8. You cared about being skinny

Ten years ago you wanted to be as skinny as the models you saw in the magazines and on TV. You either worked your ass off daily to get the body you wanted, or you tried ridiculous diets. Today, you have matured in caring about your health rather than being stick thin. You have realized that fit is better than skinny, and you have developed a healthier lifestyle to maintain the body you want. You don’t have as much time to hit the gym as you used to, but you still make the effort, and eat how you want.

9. You cared about what other people thought you should do with your life

Ten years ago you cared about other people’s opinions about what you should do in your life, whether it was career wise, relationship, or school. You wanted to know what people thought you would be good at, and you might even have gone along with it. Today, you have matured and realized that you really do know you best. You are the one that has to live with all your choices. It’s nice to know what people think you are good at, but it’s not what drives you.

10. You cared about people’s words

Ten years ago you took people at face value. You cared about what people said to you, and whatever promises they made you. Today, you know better. You now care about people’s actions, rather than their words. Words are great, but actions speak volumes.

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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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