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50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

Be honest. Are you living your dream yet? Is this the way you wanted your life to be?

You were sure by now you’d be living In Menlo Park working for Facebook, making enough money to buy whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. You were sure you wouldn’t be sleeping with two dogs and empty sushi containers. Where is that special someone who’s supposed to be beside you? What is going on? Why is this happening?

If you can handle it (and I hope and pray that you’re ready), here are 50 mistakes that you should stop making right now if you want to turn your dreams into reality.

1. Living in Denial.

It’s time to grow up and face reality.

2. Avoiding a trip into the real you.

Don’t be afraid to take a good look in the mirror. It’s not as bad as you think. If you look beyond the surface, you will see an awesome side of yourself that you’ve never seen before.

3. Lying to yourself and others.

Admit it — admit everything. Let it all go. If things aren’t working out for you, something needs to change right now.

4. Being untrue to your unique self.

To thine own self be true. Take an honest self-inventory. It’s all the only way you will find your hidden talents, gifts, and abilities.

5. Saying “I want it.”

Ask yourself if you really want it or if you just want to want it. Sometimes you think you want something, but it’s just something your mother, girlfriend or boyfriend thinks you should be getting or doing.

6. Thinking you have to love everything you do.

I’m sorry to tell you, but the hard reality of life is that you have to do things you don’t love, and sometimes you have to do things you hate. How do you think Kevin Durant got good at his game? Do you think he loved every minute he practiced shooting hoops?

7. Making excuses.

You’re right, there are many reasons you shouldn’t change; but how long do you want to go on like this?

8. Avoiding debt.

Ignoring debt collectors does not make them go away. Debt accumulates. Start chipping away at your pile of bills by making small monthly payments.

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9. Complaining

If you stop complaining, you’ll be able to see that you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. If you flip the switch on your negative outlook, you will begin to see the good things in your life. Complaining people are not happy people.

10. Over-sharing your life on Instagram.

The world does not need to see everything you eat or every time you get in your car. Dignify yourself. Share the good stuff.

11. Putting your drinking pictures on Facebook.

Even though your boss isn’t your Facebook “friend,” she might be friends with your friends and know the real reason you called in sick to work. Be careful what you make public. Think about who might see what you post.

12. Saying “it’s too hard.”

This is a sabotage statement. The more you say it, the less you will accomplish. Try saying, “it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to push my way through the rough spots.”

13. Being a victim.

“Poor me” doesn’t cut it anymore. Take action to change your perspective. This will change your life.

14. Doubting your abilities. 

Develop a new “I can handle this” attitude. You’ll be surprised when you find talents you didn’t know you had.

15. Calling your mother with every little problem you have.

Be resourceful. Google it. All the answers you need are there; if not, you are smart enough to figure it out. Save the big drama for your mama. You can manage the small stuff.

16. Texting everything.

Once in awhile, pick up the phone and let someone hear the sweet sound of your voice.

17. Thinking you’re not good enough.

You are capable of so much more. Think of the times when your strengths and talents shined. Everyone has them. Find yours.

18. Blaming your parents.

Yes, they made mistakes, but they did the best they knew how at the time. They were 20-somethings once, and also made mistakes.

19. Living week-to-week financially.

Get off your butt and find a second job. If you want to stay home all day, then start a money-making blog or online business. The internet is a goldmine open to everyone.

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20. Being lazy.

Get out of bed and shut off the TV. Work harder. You can never tell where your passion might be hiding. A job at the local bistro could inspire you to go to France for cooking school. One day, you can have a business of your own.

21. Buying things you can’t afford.

Budgeting is a helpful skill that will stabilize you for the rest of your life. Ask yourself, “do I really need this? Can I afford this right now?”

22. Drinking during the week.

Parties are for weekends. Curb your alcohol appetite. It might be interfering with your ability to wake up on time the next morning.

23. Sticking out your tongue when you take a picture.

Unless you are licking a lollipop at Disneyland, keep your tongue in your mouth. It’s not your best look.

24. Saying “I don’t care.”

You really do care — you just don’t want to get upset if things don’t work out for you.

25. Avoiding reality.

How long can you keep hiding from it? Bills need to be paid. Jobs need to be found. (Unless you’re willing to live without water, electricity or a cell phone.)

26. I can’t go back to school — I have no money.

This is one thing your parents will be happy to help you with. If they say no, bartend.

27. Taking in another animal.

Do you really have the money to take care of another pet? It needs shots, flea medicine and grooming. Can you afford that?

28. Eating out every night.

It’s expensive and fattening. Learn to cook. It’s fun, and homemade food is much healthier than smothered cheeseburgers and beer. Invite your friends over for dinner.

29. Saying “I’m bored.”

Learn a new language. Go to they gym. Ride your bike.

30. Watching a full season of Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

Sure, they’re awesome — but break it up into segments.

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31. Asking your parents for money.

If you don’t have enough, earn more.

32. Remembering your past failures.

We’ve all got them. Mistakes are the best teachers.

33. Thinking if you get knocked down you won’t get back up.

You are resilient. You’re a survivor. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

34. Being afraid.

FEAR= False expectations appearing real. Fear is not reality; it’s all in your head.

35. Making excuses.

Develop a no more excuses frame of mind. Your dog ate your homework when you were in fifth grade, but the time has come to accept responsibility and speak the truth.

36. Quitting everything you start.

Fight through the yuck. When times get tough, just get tougher.

37. Procrastinating.

The pressure of procrastination does help you get things done, but it’s also stressing you out. Be prepared.

38. Gaming.

Games are programmed so that you become addicted to them.

39. Saying “I don’t feel like it.”

That worked when you were five, but it doesn’t work anymore.

40. Squashing your dreams.

Make them real. Envision them, then go after them.

41. Feeling overwhelmed.

Little baby steps get you to your goal. Seeing how high a mountain is, can definitely keep you from climbing it.

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42. Expressing every emotion you feel. 

Chill out. Breathe in and slow down before the words come flying out of your mouth. Think before you speak.

43. Being narcissistic.

Everything isn’t about you. Think of others.

44. Eating unhealthy foods.

You’ll be shocked at how great you’ll feel afterwards. You won’t run to the bathroom or fall asleep.

45. Making excuses for not going to the gym.

You are tired. Your friends call you to go out. You just want to hang on the couch and space out. Getting to the gym is the hard part, but it’s so worth it when you can easily zip up your tight jeans.

46. Comparing yourself to others.

There are people better than you. There are also people whose lives are much worse than yours. Check out thebadassproject.com if you want to compare yourself to someone.

47. Blaming your genetics.

Ok, so maybe your father was an alcoholic — that doesn’t mean you have to be one. It means you have to stay on guard. You cannot drink. Have a coke, and no one will know the difference. Who cares if they do?

48. Worrying about what other people think.

Do you really know what other people are thinking? Own your choices. Listen to your inner voice. If it’s wrong? Oh well, you are now smarter and stronger.

49. Living in the past.

It’s over, done. What happened happened, and you can’t change it.  Learn from it and then throw it in the trash.

50. Believing this is who you are.

It’s not. These are simply bad habits that you’ve gotten used to. Replace them with good habits.

Stop these mistakes, and you will be as awesome as your mother thinks you are.

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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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