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16 Things You Don’t Need To Say Yes All the Time (Though You Think You Do)

16 Things You Don’t Need To Say Yes All the Time (Though You Think You Do)

There are two words I consider one of the most powerful and influential, namely “yes and “no.” The right combination of them and using the right one according to the situation guarantees you more happiness, health and wealth.

To be nice and avoid hurting others, we often say yes though we feel like saying no. Whereas empathy is a good feature to have, being a people-pleaser has terrible consequences.

If you ever regretted saying yes, these 16 examples will help you to not make the same mistake again.

1. You don’t need to say yes to people asking for your time.

Some say time is money, but in reality, there’s one thing that makes time the real wealth. Namely, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Whereas money can always be made up, time never goes back.

Now, don’t misunderstand it with being insensitive ignorant, it’s far from that! When someone ask for your time, don’t say yes when it conflicts with your personal priorities. If you think this person deserves your attention, schedule one day of a month when you can devote your attention to them.

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2. You don’t need to say yes to people asking for your money.

There is an adage which says don’t let your friends borrow money unless you don’t mind never getting it back. If you can’t accept them never paying back, it’s a sign you should decline. Borrowing money can destroy your relationships with other people and make your life really tense. Oftentimes, it’s better to deal with the temporary discontent when you say no than experience the problems later on.

3. You don’t need to say yes to people who clearly exploit you.

When someone approaches you only during struggles, you are just a tool to solve their problems. It’s when somebody only takes and never gives that you should consider stop saying yes. Sure, you should contribute value to other people’s lives, but folks who batten on generosity are not ones who deserve it.

4. You don’t need to say yes to please your friends.

Saying no to a friend is tricky. You care about them and feel obliged to act accordingly. The truth is, a real friend will accept your refusal because they value your close friendship. It’s false people who leave you in case of disagreement.

5. You don’t need to say yes while under social pressure.

Social pressure can be a huge obstacle to overcome. People expect you to go with the flow and please them. Saying no requires courage and confidence but oftentimes it’s a lifesaving decision. Every time you don’t say yes under a big group pressure, you clearly show your values which everyone respects even whey they don’t admit it.

6. You don’t need to say yes so you fit in.

Similar to the previous example, people in the crowd subordinate so in order to not stick out, you are expected to submit to their influence. But at some point everyone comes to the conclusion that fitting in is unnecessary and only causes regrets.

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7. You don’t need to say yes when rules and dogmas limit you.

Different environments set clear expectations toward behavior within the group. Whereas some rules are necessary so the society can function, there are many dogmas you have a full right not to follow. Embrace who you are and don’t let the outdated doctrines change it.

8. You don’t need to say yes to tradition and religion.

Born among people who set religion and tradition as the highest priority, you are expected to worship these values. If, however, deep in heart you don’t consider them as truths, that’s a clear sign to refuse following them.

When I stated to my family that I see religion differently than they do, I faced disapproval. As the time goes by, however, the tension expires and you feel proud of being your true self.

9. You don’t need to say yes to your parents.

Being able to do this is might be as hard as it is to differentiate between following your heart and being unappreciative toward your parents. They love you and want you to live the best life possible, but sometimes it’s you who knows better your deepest desires.

When you parents expect you to choose a certain career path, remember it’s you and not them who will be obliged to that lifestyle.

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10. You don’t need to say yes to your boss.

Be cautious, I don’t intend to make you lose your job! But then again, if you do have alternatives and your current boss destroys your life, maybe it’s time to say goodbye and part ways.

11. You don’t need to say yes to things that make your priorities secondary.

If you don’t respect your values, nobody will. You are responsible for what happens in your life and it’s the moment when you fully accept this responsibility when you can finally give your goals the top priority.

12. You don’t need to say yes to things fighting for your attention.

Today’s world attacks you with distractions on a regular basis. A skill to ignore stuff begging for your attention is invaluable to survive. Remember, whatever you decide to pay attention to, you might be neglecting things that actually matter.

13. You don’t need to say yes to sales and extra offers.

I know it’s often hard not to lose your mind during the sales. And marketers are people who know it best. Various psychology tricks are applied to make you say yes and follow the sales funnel.

At first, you feel instant happiness, but then, as your wallet gets thinner and what you bought collects dust, you begin questioning whether saying no wouldn’t be a wiser decision.

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14. You don’t need to say yes to email offers.

As someone who likes to subscribe to interesting newsletters, I know how  tempting certain offers are. You are presented with an almost perfect offer. As a result, a new need is created and a product for its satisfaction sold. But if you wouldn’t open the email, would you even desire that very product or service?

15. You don’t need to say yes to time-suckers.

Television, Internet or Social Media, these are all the wonders of technology which revolutionized the world of communication and information. But if you don’t control them, they will control you. It’s easy to get lost staring at the screen and mindlessly wasting your time. Your brain tends to say yes to comfortable situations and time-suckers definitely count to that.

As we determined in the first point, your time is the most precious resource so protecting it is obligatory.

16. You don’t need to say yes to notifications.

I disabled every possible digital notification, expect an app that reminds me to work out and it does it at the right time. But it wasn’t always like that. Facebook notifications would immediately catch my attention and destroy my focus. Almost any serious app makes sure to notify its users so they stay engaged and active.

Whereas it’s definitely beneficial to the founders, it’s incredibly harmful to yourself. Turn off every unnecessary notification and never again say yes to distractions begging for your attention.

Featured photo credit: web4camguy 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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