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16 Things You Need to Do on Your Own Before Doing with Someone Else

16 Things You Need to Do on Your Own Before Doing with Someone Else

Since times unknown, being alone has been equated to loneliness. This is one of the biggest myths and deep-rooted beliefs that make very little sense. Some people feel terribly lonely surrounded by hundreds of people, but experience the highest level of freedom in isolation.

I am a big believer in finding happiness by doing things on my own. Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with being an introvert, having no friends, or being lost in abandonment. In fact, I am very social and have the most amazing family, friends, co-workers and mentors. While I enjoy spending time with them, I also enjoy my own company. It is not only fun and rewarding, but a great way to reassure yourself that you are capable and independent.

Not convinced? Scared? Out of your comfort zone? I urge you to try these things on your own, unaided and unaccompanied. Disclaimer: You are most likely to experience pure ecstasy.

1. Immerse in a murder mystery.

Pick up any Hercule Poirot novel by Agatha Christie from your nearest bookstore. They are easy to read but gripping enough to let you lose track of time. For more nail-biting thrillers, try Jo Nesbo or choose from the list of best murder mysteries of all times.

2. It’s time for fine dining, at home.

What is your favorite dish? Replicate it at home, buying fresh ingredients and following a trustworthy recipe from a cookbook or the Internet. Create an ambiance in your dining space with your best dinnerware, a glass of wine, candlelight and music. Dress up and treat yourself like a king. You deserve it!

DinnerAlone2

    3. Play Scrabble® with yourself.

    No one will rush you, and there will be no annoying Mr. Smarty Pants to compete with. You don’t have to resist looking at the dictionary either. At the end of the day you will have some new words under your belt. It’s a win-win situation.

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    Scrabble

      4. Create an inspirational word art.

      Even if the paintbrush is not your friend, tap into your hidden creativity by making a simple piece of art using words. Use leftover newspaper, magazines, pens and other random objects lying around your home. Go crazy with your imagination as you make your own rules. Once done, hang it on the wall and pat yourself on the back.

      InspirationalArt

        5. Travel to a new city.

        If you haven’t been on a getaway by yourself, it’s high time you do it. Don’t rob yourself from the joy of getting lost in an unknown city. Wake up whenever, go wherever and eat whatever you want. Discover and explore the beauty of the world, without a timetable.

        TravelAlone

          6. Exercise your vocal muscles.

          Want to feel heard and liberated? Sing at the top of your lungs, while no one is around. The neighbors might hear you. If you enjoy it too much, you may actually break into a dance, which brings me to the next point.

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          Singer

            7. Dance until you drop.

            Warm up at home and master your moves. Then hit the dance club. Don’t be shy; you may actually end up having a fan following. Freestyle dancing helps increase your self esteem, improve flexibility, balance better and burn calories. What are you waiting for? 5-6-7-8!

            Dance

              8. Head to the theaters for an animated film.

              Who needs company to watch an animated movie? You spend approximately two hours gazing at the screen engaged in some serious laughter. Most of the time, you don’t even remember who you came to the movies with. Besides, you own that whole bag of popcorn.

              AnimatedFilm

                9. Meditate in style.

                One of the best solitary activities that can energize you, refresh you, and take all your stress away is meditation. Take time off your routine activities to reflect and introspect. Delve into your inner self and find harmony. For some unconventional meditation techniques, look here.

                Meditate

                  10. Take an epic ‘selfie’ video.

                  Select a solo scene of your favorite actor or actress. Get into the character and record yourself enacting that scene. Perfection takes practice, so you may need a few takes. Brave enough to put it on Youtube?

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                  Selfie

                    11. Be the first person in the gym.

                    Wake up early and wait for the gym doors to open. There is nothing like working out in a clean sweat-free environment, while no one is judging your flab. No gym membership? Mother nature is your treadmill.

                    Gym

                      12. Sip a martini like 007.

                      Happy hour can be happier when you go the bar alone and stylishly ask for a martini. Savor each sip and open yourself to the opportunity of making new friends.

                      Martini

                        13. Go for a picnic in the park

                        Give up time spent in opinionated discussions, all for the perfect spot in the park. Soak in the sun, let the breeze flirt with you and observe your surroundings. People-watching is an underrated educational activity.

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                        Park

                          14. Be your personal shopper.

                          Take yourself shopping for a makeover. If you’re on a budget, accept the challenge and find atypical stores. Getting a new look can be a huge confidence booster.

                          MakeOver

                            15. Strike off the longest living item on your to-do list..

                            What is that one thing featured on your ‘things to do today’ that’s been there since last month? Take time on a weekend to finally do it. Find a sense of accomplishment from life’s little things.

                            ToDoList

                              16. Make your own Happiness Jar.

                              Every time you enjoy doing something alone, write the activity on a piece of paper. Drop it in a container and label it “My Happiness Jar.’ If you are bored, feeling blue, or stressed, simply draw a random slip of paper from this jar and do what is written.

                              HappinessJar

                                Photo Credit: Featured Image and many other post images are sourced from Creative Commons, license 2.0.

                                Featured photo credit: Jump over Mt. Rainier/The U.S. Army 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.

                                More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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