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5 Things You Do That Are Seriously Affecting Your Relationships

5 Things You Do That Are Seriously Affecting Your Relationships

We all know that relationships are hard work, but they don’t have to be. Here are some much needed solutions to the things you are doing that seriously affect your relationships.

You are clingy.

Sorry to say it, but this is the number one thing that is affecting your relationships. We all know what it’s like to have someone cling to everything you do. At first it can be considered cute. The other person might think you really like them and really enjoy spending time with them. BUT eventually it gets to be too much. Being clingy can lead to the exact opposite of what you are going for. It can end up pushing the other person away.

So what is an example of being clingy? Trust me there are many, but lets stick with the most common. For one, you text or call your significant other more than an acceptable amount of times in one hour. It’s totally fine to see how someone is doing throughout the day. However, you don’t want to do this by sending 15 text messages in one hour asking the same questions. It’s okay to go a few hours without constant communication. You don’t want to be an anoyance to your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you definitely don’t want to seem demanding of all their time. Another good example of being clingy is pressuring someone to say they love you, and you haven’t been together very long. Although you might feel that way, don’t force it on them.

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What’s the solution, then, to being clingy? Give them space. You don’t need to change who you are to be less clingy. Let them text or call you sometimes. Every relationship has a natural flow, and you should let yours have one too. Realize that space doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t care about you as much as you care about them. Take the time you would be focusing on them to focus on yourself. This will create a much healthier relationship, and help you get rid of the label clingy.

You are jealous/overprotective.

At times this can be just as bad as being clingy. Being a jealous person in a relationship can really put a strain on things. Sometimes being jealous is just a reaction, and you can’t always help it. Say your significant other is getting hit on right in front of you; this may cause jealousy no matter what you do. However, you don’t need to get worked up about it and cause a scene. Take it as a compliment. That’s your man/woman, and if you are in a trusting committed relationship they should react accordingly. An example of being jealous/overprotective is when you get mad at your bf/gf for having a night out with their friends (without you). You get jealous and tell them they can’t go, or you invite yourself, or even just show up. First of all this is not a good look for you. Now the friends will have an impression of you being a jealous person as well.

What is a solution to being jealous/overprotective? Take a breath before you react. You might be a jealous person, but if you want this to stop affecting your relationships then you need to think before you speak. Ask yourself some questions: Do you trust them? If not, then you really shouldn’t be with them anyways. Is it really as serious as I am making it? If not, don’t cause an argument that doesn’t need to happen.

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You need constant reassurance of love and affection.

It’s normal to want to know how your significant other feels about you. However, constantly asking them is not the way to go about it. If this is you, then you probably ask multiple times how they feel about you. Do you love me? How much do you love me? Are you sure? The list goes on. You also likely need to have constant affection from them (kisses, holding hands, ect.). This can become overbearing for the other person, and will likely lead to the demise of your relationship.

What is the solution to needing constant reassurance? This might take some time, because there is likely an unresolved issue within yourself. No matter what the issue is, take some time and figure out who you truly are. Once you figure out who you are, what makes you tick, what your greatest assets are, ect. then you can have a serious relationship again. When you know your self worth, you won’t need constant reassurance of how your bf/gf feels about you.

You give the impression you only care about sex.

Ah, here it is, the thing that is affecting you from having a real relationship. We all know that sex is an important part of any committed relationship. However, if you give off the impression that sex is all you care about–you probably wont last long.. in the relationship. If this is you, you might even be known as a “friend with benefits,” but you never get further than that. No real feeling develop because you don’t allow them to.

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What’s the solution to this problem affecting your relationships? It’s simple – open up to someone without making everything about sex. You will be amazed to find out how much better sex is when there are feelings attached. So, open up to the possibility that there is more to a relationship than sex.

You are terrified of being alone.

If this is you, you jump from one relationship to the next. You currently have a backup plan in case your current relationship doesn’t work out. This isn’t just related to a committed relationship, it is also true for your friendships. You are literally never alone. This starts to affect your relationships because you don’t have any time apart. It could also cause problems because you seem insecure, and that in itself is enough baggage to ruin a relationship.

What’s the solution to being terrified of being alone? It might sound crazy… but you should spend some time alone. It will be extremely scary at first, but it will be worth it in the end. You always hear people talking about how you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first—this is so true! Time alone with yourself will help you begin to love yourself. Like I said before, figure yourself out first. A relationship won’t last if you rely on the other person to make you feel good all the time. Also, having time away from each other is good. It helps the relationship, and makes the other person realize how much they care about you when you’re gone.

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Featured photo credit: N/A via mrg.bz

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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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