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8 Signs It Is Time To Let Go

8 Signs It Is Time To Let Go

Letting go. What does that really mean? Does it mean that you lose something? Or gain something? Perhaps a little bit of both. There are probably many things (and people) in your life you should probably let go. It could be difficult people, your past, your stagnant job, your adult children, or your unrealized expectations for your life. But how do you know when – or if – the time is right? Here are eight things to remember when you think you might need to let go:

1. A person’s words and actions don’t match

So you thought you met the perfect romantic partner or the perfect friend. He or she might have “appeared” to be perfect for quite some time. But then somewhere along the way, you noticed his or her “perfect” facade was crumbling. He or she says one thing, but does something else. You can’t count on him or her. He or she exhausts and frustrates you. And he or she eventually becomes an “Energy Vampire” who sucks the life out of you. If this has happened to you with any people in your life, then it might be time to let them go.

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2. Someone always expects you to be someone you are not

Maybe your friend always wants you to go out and party with him or her, but you are more of a homebody. And if you are always doing what they want you to do, then you are repressing who you really are. Or maybe the guy you are dating expects you to be a stay-at-home mom if you get married, but you are more of a career woman. If you try to become something just because other people want you to live up to their expectations, then you won’t be happy. Stay true to yourself. Have conversations with them about it, but if you can’t come to a mutually satisfying agreement, then it could be time to let go.

3. You always feel like a victim

People who have a “victim-mentality” think life happens to them and they don’t have any personal power to change things. This could not be farther from the truth. There is always something you can do to make your life better – you just have to believe it. Even if it’s changing your viewpoint about the situation, that will change how you feel. But if you are in a situation or a relationship in which you are always feeling like a victim, then you are not in a supportive environment. And it might be time to let go.

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4. You are stuck too firmly in your comfort zone

Not everyone is an adrenaline-junkie. In fact, many people prefer to stay safe and sound in their comfort zone. It’s familiar, easy and doesn’t take much effort. But staying in your comfort zone leads to stagnation. Just like a pond that doesn’t move and grows algae because of it, so does your life. So if you see metaphorical algae growing in your life, then it might be time to move on. There is no growth in stagnation.

5. You constantly judge yourself or others for what happened in the past

You might be in a relationship or a situation in which one or more people wronged the other. If you keep holding on to resentment because of it, you are staying in a toxic environment. First, try to remove the resentment and judgement. But if you can’t seem to find a way to do that, then maybe it’s best to remove yourself from the situation altogether.

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6. You are not growing and changing for the better

This is similar to #4 and #5, but slightly different. If you pair up your comfort zone (habit) with a toxic situation, then you are not growing and changing for the better. The only thing worse than being stagnant is moving backwards and becoming a worse person. If you have turned into a person even you don’t like, then get out. Find a relationship or situation that brings out the best in you… not the worst in you.

7. You don’t like any current situation

There are many people who are literally addicted to their pain. It’s almost like it has become their identity and they would be lost without it. But that is no way to live. Life is meant to be happy. So if you’re not enjoying your current situation, then it is alright to let go! It’s okay to leave. Really, it is. You don’t have to stay for any reason (unless you are a parent, because then you need to stay for your child). But most other scenarios in life are optional.

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8. You are carrying around resentment

Carrying around resentment is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die. In other words, we think that not forgiving someone is going to “teach them a lesson.” So people hang on to their anger in hopes that other people will apologize and change their ways. But many times, the person who wronged you doesn’t even know you’re carrying around resentment. Or if they do, they may not care. So the only person you are really hurting is yourself. So it’s time to let go not only of the resentment, but the person or situation as well.

Letting go isn’t easy, but if you want to be happy, sometimes it’s necessary. So do yourself a favor – love yourself enough to let go. You will be better because of it.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is a communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

Dealing With Anxious Attachment: Advice from a Relationship Therapist Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner) How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People Why It’s Okay to Hit the Wall and How to Overcome It Fast

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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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