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12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

Regardless of what society would have you believe, your 20s are the best years to make mistakes. You should have no regrets making mistakes now, because every mistake can be a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities in your 20s, you are also in a unique position to more easily start over. Failures and missteps are often crucial in finding what works for you, so don’t fret, especially if you’re in the middle of the following 12 key learning experiences.

1. Get too drunk

Feel no regrets if you have too many one night; your twenties are when you should learn your limits. Sure, you might act a little foolish, but wouldn’t you rather figure out where your line is with friends now, rather than with business associates later? That being said, absolutely make sure you have a safe way home, or a sober friend along with you for the night. Safety is a crucial quality in keeping a fun night fun. Additionally, our bodies recover better from all types of wear and tear when we’re young, so you’ll feel less destroyed than you will if you party later in life.

2. Sleep with the wrong people

As dead end as it sounds, sleeping with the wrong people should give you no regrets. There’s nothing wrong with a few bad one-night stands, especially when you’re figuring out the world in your twenties. First off, you have a clearer picture of what to look for when you’re with someone who just doesn’t fit. Plus, you’ll start to figure out what type of person you are in bed, and what will make you satisfied. While a strong emotional bond is absolutely key in relationships, complimentary qualities in your sex life are crucial too. It’s completely normal to learn things by trial and error in other areas in life, so have no regrets if your sex life is the same.

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3. Trust the wrong person

Similar to learning what you don’t need in bed, it’s okay to find out who you don’t need as friends too. Trusting the wrong person will undoubtedly hurt, but you will be more alert to red flags when making friends in the future. It’s particularly useful to find out how to spot a snake in the grass now, since you’ll likely have a lot more at stake, personally and professionally, in your 30s and 40s.

4. Let go with no regrets

It is okay to feel heartbroken over letting someone, or something, go in your twenties. Invariably, you will grow in different directions than those around you in life. Learning how to let things go with grace now will be an invaluable tool for adult life. Whether the loss is sudden or expected, it’s important to know how to move on.

5. Cut off friendships

In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, it can be tempting to keep up with every acquaintance you’ve ever met. However, if other people are taking too much time away from your life, there’s no need to feel bad about trimming your social circle. It’s natural to grow in different directions from your friends, especially those you knew when you were much younger. Streamlining your social life can do a lot for making you more productive and focused, and shouldn’t be seen as self-centered. Your life is yours, and it’s important to have people around you that contribute to your goals, not take time away from them.

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6. Pursue the wrong long-term relationship

Just as important as learning how to let things go is learning how to let people in. Even if your first few long-term relationships don’t lead to a lifetime together, loving and committing to someone else can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you can learn to love and trust other people now, you’ll be more confident, and selfless, in your relationship when you find the one. 

7. Spend money on experiences

We all know we should save every penny, but don’t underestimate the value of splurging on experiences while you’re young. Certainly balance your spending with responsible money management, but spending on a once in a lifetime experience now is irreplaceable. Even if your goals include higher income in the future, you never know what responsibilities will come with it. Traveling and seeking new experiences will teach you valuable lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life, even if others are critical of your spending.

8. Experience failure

In your twenties, you have less responsibility than you’re likely to have in the rest of your life. Among many other reasons, that makes your twenties the ideal time to experiment. Follow ideas or pursuits that might fail, even if you’re scared. In failure, we learn innumerable important lessons. Plus you never feel quite as vulnerable afterwards. By failing now, you’ll lose less than if you crash and burn later in life. If you’re struggling with failure now, try to be excited: you are setting yourself up to be more skilled, and more able to manage risk in the future.

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9. Pursue a passion in place of work

Everyone should have the experience of doing what they love. You never know what the future holds, so seize the day now. Regardless of whether it’s a hobby or professional venture, following your passion can lead to incredible places. You might not have the freedom to pursue anything you choose later, so have no regrets following what you love now. Even if friends and colleagues are immediately pursuing professional options, there is no rule for when you must begin your career. Following a passion over financial gain should give you no regrets.

10. Sleep too much

Again, you never know what the future holds. Whether it’s a demanding career, kids, or multiple jobs, you have the rest of your life to lose sleep over responsibilities. Let yourself feel no regret over days when you sleep a lot in your 20s. Sleep is essential in performing well, plus you’re likely to have more demands on your time during your 30s and 40s. Enjoy the reprieve now–there’s no shame in taking time to relax.

11. Take a horrible job

Much like dating the wrong person will better inform you on who you’re looking for, taking the wrong job will give you a better view on what you want to do. Working the wrong job should give you no regrets, especially if you’re someone who isn’t sure what career to pursue. Being unhappy with your work will give you motivation to look elsewhere. It may also help reveal what you do like. Instead of regretting your decision to take the job, use the time to consider exactly what makes it so horrible so you know what to look for next time.

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12. Follow someone else’s dream

Following the wrong dream can reveal a lot about yourself. Not only will following the wrong dream better show you what you want, you are better able to cut and run in your twenties. If you don’t learn what the wrong dream looks like now, you might fall into the wrong life plan when you’re older–and in less of a position to start over. Have no regrets over taking a wrong turn now, as you’ll be more able to find the right road, and be content later.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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