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4 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be A Nerd

4 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be A Nerd

Personally, looking back to 20 years ago, I wasn’t the usual ‘nerdy’ type at school. However, I certainly had a few nerdy obsessions, namely drawing, reading and gardening. None of which were ever going score me points in the popularity stakes, but looking back I can honestly say, hand on heart, I am glad that being a nerd wasn’t seen as a good thing back then. Why? Because I’d have fit in, making me just like everyone else, and that was never going to make me into the person I am today!

Sadly, however, these days being unique isn’t embraced as it should be. Actually, for some reason, caring what matters in the world hasn’t the same importance as things like, for example, competing with others for grade A status, having the latest iPhone or acquiring the latest fashion item. BUT, imagine this, if as children we grew up differently, and not loving what we have or what we can buy, but instead learning to love what we already have and cherishing it. Then the world might just be better place for us all to live in.

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Being a nerd isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s something to be proud of and most definitely an awesome way to be!  With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few reasons why this is the case:

You know who you are

When you are a ‘nerd’ you know what you like, what you dislike and you’ll stand by it till the bitter end. You’ll be the kind of person who has an attitude that says ‘you either like it or lump it’ with no bending or shaping who you are to please others. Being a nerd means that you understand what goes on in the world and where your place is among it all. You’ll be true to yourself, even through difficult times and because of that you’ll encourage others to be the same.

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You know your loves and passions

This is what makes you most unique, because your loves and passions are what drive you in life. For many, these have mostly gone unchecked or hidden out of sight. Yet a nerd will embrace them wholeheartedly, shouting from the roof tops and willing to share with whomever will listen. Your dreams will come from such desires, and will no doubt push you towards them quicker than those who don’t have any. You’ll defend your loves and passions till the very end, travel far and wide to achieve them and — the best thing about being a nerd — you’ll never be afraid. You understand better than anyone that your loves and passions are what make you who you are, and make life so rewarding.

You’ll surround yourself with other nerds

It has been said that ‘you are the average of 5 people you surround yourself with,’ meaning that if you surround yourself with positive, uplifting, aspiring people you will be just like them or vice versa.

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When it comes to being a nerd, you are more likely to surround yourself with people that you feel are like you. Those kinds of people wouldn’t usually be the type to laugh at your funny ways, your intellect perhaps or who criticise your obsession with comic books. No, these people share your obsession, because they actually ‘get you’ and encourage you to be just as individual, as creative and as nerdy as they are! Being a nerd means that you’ll know yourself well enough to not put up with those who put you down, instead you’ll be happy in the knowledge that those you share yourself fully with are ‘kindred spirits’.

You aspire to be honest, compassionate and kind

For me, as a nerd, I felt real compassion for those who were bullied at school just because they were labelled ‘different’.  It seemed to me that those who were unique in some way, were always the good kids, the ones who worked hard and kept out of everyone’s way. Yet these kids were always made to be in the spotlight usually subjected to some kind of torment, when rather they’d have preferred to naturally shy away from it. They, including myself, weren’t the liars, the cheats, the bullies or the ones who clowned around in class. No, they were the ones who stood out because they stood for what they believed, always had time for their friends and were the kind of kids who’d even be kind to their enemies.

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Being a nerd means that you have an innate ability to see things differently, to be in-tune with what’s going on around you, rather than just going along for the ride like everyone else.  They are usually the deep, meaningful and compassionate people; they know how to be themselves with no pretence or trying to be one up on everyone else.

Personally I’d say that nerds are our future; if they aren’t then it’s safe to say we won’t have much of a future left if we carry on the way we are.

So ask yourself, are you a nerd deep down and are you willing to be as awesome as you were born to be?

Featured photo credit: theaftershock 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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