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7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

7 Ways To Have Amazing Relationships When Chasing Dreams

I read somewhere the right person always comes into your life at the wrong time. In my experiences, this is very accurate. I think this happens because we don’t truly appreciate something when it’s handed to us. Most people feel more possessive of what we’ve worked for, be it a goal, item or person’s affection.

We’ve all had dreams. You might have wanted to be a fireman, school teacher, doctor or business person who makes so much money you could buy anything your heart desired and crush anyone in your path. Whatever your dream is, the way you get to the end result is to set goals. Your dream is the long-term goal but a lot needs to happen before you get there. Inevitably along the way, you will be smitten with someone.

You might decide to focus on the end game and pass on taking on anything which could distract you from your goal. Or you may decide to take a chance and give the relationship a shot. Deciding to accept another person into your life will immediately split up your free time and focus. Below are essential things you’ll need to do if you want the relationship to last after the new relationship feeling wears off.

Take your relationship seriously.

Making your relationship a priority is important. When you are focused on chasing dreams, it’s easy to put blinders on and give everything else the minimum amount of attention needed. Minimum attention might work here and there once you have an established relationship, but you need a great foundation first.

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When you are a couple of months into a relationship, you start to slack off and fall back into your old habits and routines. Slacking off at this point is a mistake if you want to keep the relationship going. Showing effort to talk and share company can go a long way.

Listening to your partner is a must.

Listening means more than hearing words. Aside from small talk, people tell you things because they want you to know about their life. They want to involve you. Sure what they are saying can be mind-numbingly boring to you, but they are telling you for a reason. Try to be part of the conversation instead of just a pair of ears to talk at.

Asking a few questions about what they are talking about can give you insight into the way they think and why they react to things the way they do. You might not know your new boyfriend lets out a girlish shriek when he sees a ladybug due to trauma caused by his older brother when they were kids. Listening to his story about how he was driving to work and had to screech the car to a halt because there was a bug in the car might clue you in. Asking about the incident might help you know him better.

Set relationship goals like you did for your dreams.

Goals in a relationship might seem a little bit out of place to some. However, knowing if your partner wants kids, marriage, to travel the world or all of the above is very advantageous to the relationship. When the two of you aren’t on the same path and there isn’t a middle ground, consider calling it quits. A relationship is a collaboration of your lives to make one happy life for two people.

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Goals aren’t always marriage, travel and stuff like that. Relationship goals can be financial goals such as getting out of debt, moving in together or how to be involved in a child’s life when one of you is a single parent. Remember, not all of your goals need to be lofty; they are meant to be something to work toward together.

Take a deep breath, think and respond to loved ones.

Stress can take its toll on a relationship. When one or both of you is overwhelmed, you can easily take out your frustration on the other. When you feel overwhelmed, remember your better half is there for you. When you belittle and take out your frustrations on him or her, he or she is not the cause of your frustration.

When things aren’t going your way, try taking a deep breath, relax and talk with your partner. Having a civilized talk will accomplish a couple of things for you and your relationship. While talking about your situation out loud to someone else, you could come up with a solution. It works for the people on Wheel of Fortune doesn’t it?

Talking it over with your partner will help him or her feel a part of the relationship. He or she will appreciate you valuing him or her enough to involve him or her. If you try to do everything yourself, the other person in the relationship can wonder where to fit into your life.

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Little things add up and make a big difference.

Little things are just that, little. Making it a habit to pay attention to the person you choose to be in a relationship with will go a long way. Here’s an example: If your girlfriend asks you to go to an antique store and points out a beat up kid’s rocking chair she really likes, you might not see it as anything more than something you’re going to kick in the dark on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. However, if you were to go back and buy it for her, she will see it in a couple of ways.

She will see you didn’t just zone out when she took you to a place she likes. She will also see you listened to her and why she liked the rocking chair. A lot of times it’s the gesture more than the actual action that counts. The saying about it’s the thought that counts applies here. When she says, “AWWWWW… you remembered I liked the chair because it’s like the one I had as a little girl!,” you did it right.

No matter how busy your schedule, make time for your partner.

Some people will disagree with me, but date nights work. The key is not to have the same dinner and a movie date every single time. Mix it up. One time you pick the activity and the next time let him. I have begrudgingly agreed to go places and do things I had no interest in but now I really look forward to those things.

When both of you have busy schedules, making the gesture to spend time with someone means that much more.

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Talk to your partner in a way he or she understands.

I’m sure you know how differently men and women are when it comes to how they need to hear things. The same can be true for two people. When one of you is going to school for a masters degree in journalism, you will value some things differently when your husband is focusing on being the best step-dad he can.

Getting to know the person you share your days with will clue you into wording to use to describe your thoughts and actions. I don’t mean you should get to know how to sweet-talk, I mean you should know if he wants to know just the facts, if you need to beat around the bush and let him guess, if he likes it sugared up or if you need to use more layman’s terms to talk about your situation. When he can understand what the heck you are talking about, you will get a lot further and the conversation will be more productive.

Talking about what’s going on and what the other person’s focus is can seem like a time-suck and not necessary but it really is. If you aren’t talking to your partner, he or she can only assume what you’re doing based on past experiences. Speculation is rarely a good thing in a relationship. The more you play the “what if” game, the more misunderstandings you’ll have. Just talk it out.

While I talked mostly about a spouse, these apply to relationships with family and friends too. Any relationship can get stagnant and fizzle out if you don’t work at it. Every relationship is the result of the work both put into it.

Featured photo credit: chase-your-dreams via flickr.com

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Trevor Dobrygoski

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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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