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23 Reasons to Say “Thank You Mom”

23 Reasons to Say “Thank You Mom”

“All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”

—Abe Lincoln

We sometimes take advantage of our mothers’ presence in our lives and forget to thank them for the little things they do and have done to help us grow into who we are today. They encourage us, help us, cry with us, laugh with us and sometimes, we just forget that a simple thank you can go a long way. So here it is—here’s to all you mothers out there! Thank you for being you!

Dear Mom,

1. Thank you for doing my laundry before I knew how.

Thank you Mom, for making sure I had clean clothes to wear each day free from grass, food and blood stains. Thanks for waking up at 6 a.m. to make sure all of the laundry got done in time for breakfast.

2. Thank you for making my meals, all of them.

Thank you for waking up each day to make breakfast and also my lunch before school. Thank you for having a snack ready for after school and then preparing dinner.

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3. Thank you for teaching me to see the best in people.

Thank you for being there to show me that there is good in everyone and to see the silver lining in every situation.

4. Thank you for being selfless.

Thank you for giving up everything you want so that I could have the world. You sacrifices are appreciated. That time you wanted to just relax after work, but I needed help on a school project will not be forgotten.

5. Thank you for making sure I checked in when I went out with friends.

Thank you for teaching me to eventually be responsible and check in with you so that you know I am still alive.

6. Thank you for dealing with my case of the Mondays even though Monday was five days ago.

This is basically for the mood swings that you had to endure as I went through my teenage years. The mood swings, the yelling, the sobbing, the “I HATE YOU”s are not easy things to put up with and I am thankful you did.

7. Thank you for doing your job as a mom all year round, in addition to your actual job.

Thank you for waking up in the middle of the night to find my cold medicine and clean up barf and checking for ghosts underneath my bed. I know sleep is precious to you, but you got up anyways.

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8. Thank you for teaching me how to handle money.

Thank you for the allowance and not giving me a penny more. It taught me the value of money and to get the thought that “everything is free” out of my head.

9. Thank you for forgiving me even though I hurt your feelings.

Thank you for having thick skin when I said hurtful things and still doing your motherly duties. I know you could have just let me starve or find a way to school after a stupid fight but you packed my lunch and drove me anyways.

10. Thank you for teaching me how to handle conflict.

Thank you for showing me to keep quiet on not act out on my emotions and say things I don’t mean. Thank you also for teaching me how to speak up and stand up for what I believe in.

11. Thank you for making sure I used my manners.

Thank you for making me say “please” and “thank you” to everyone and use my manners. Now I understand how awful it looks when people don’t use their manners and I am glad you made sure I did.

12. Thank you for helping me with my homework.

Thank you for helping me (forcing me to) do my homework. It helped in school (even if I don’t want to admit it).

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13. Thank you for teaching me the importance of hygiene.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a clean person because, well, everyone likes a clean person.

14. Thank you for the gift of persistence.

Thank you for teaching me to keep at something if I want to get better at it and keep doing it. I understand now that great things take time and effort.

15. Thank you for the thick skin and teaching the meaning of the word “fair.”

Thank you for teaching me that not everything is just going to magically turn out in my favor or go my way. It taught me to work for what I want and not be self entitled.

16. Thank you for tucking me in at night.

Thank you for helping me sleep better by tucking me in at night. Now I realize that not everyone is that lucky to have someone to do that for them and I did.

17. Thank you for teaching me patience.

Thank you for teaching me how to wait and be patient because in life, that is all you can do at times.

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18. Thank you for all the answers and for teaching me to keep asking questions.

Thank you for answering all my why’s, how’s, who’s and what’s. Thank you also for teaching me to continue to keep asking questions because knowledge is an amazing tool to have in your tool box and you can’t know unless you ask.

19. Thank you for your friendship.

Thank you for being my assigned friend. You are there when I feel up, down, confused and just plain angry. Thank you for being my best friend, even though it took me several years to see you as that.

20. Thank you for the laughter.

Thank you for all the laughter you have provided me from my childhood up until this day and making sure I had the opportunity to laugh.

21. Thank you for letting me worry about irrelevant things.

Thank you for letting me sob about prom, an old boyfriend (of two weeks), not being able to go out past ten and not seeing rated R movies. Thank you for letting me be a teenager and not forcing me to grow up too fast.

22. Thank you for teaching me to always be myself.

Thank you for letting me know it is okay to be myself. You taught me that it is okay to be happy with who I am and to only better myself if I wanted. Thank you also for the drive and the want to better myself.

23. Thank you for teaching me family is important.

Thank you for always having open arms no matter what was going on and teaching me the meaning of unconditional love. You are the reason I am who I am today and have taught me that family will always be there for you.

Featured photo credit: Maternity- Sara K Byrne via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

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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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