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9 Things You Should Know About Love When You’re Still Young

9 Things You Should Know About Love When You’re Still Young

Who doesn’t love love? It’s one of the best, purest emotions out there. This means, of course, that it has the most drama connected to it. Everyone worries about collecting a lot of relationship baggage while they’re young, but the truth is it’s going to happen regardless of how you try to avoid it. Instead of trying to prevent lots of missteps, read these tips and find out what you should know about love when you’re still young. Find comfort in knowing that everyone goes through these things, and we all make it out on the other side.

1. You’ll make mistakes.

It’s ok to make mistakes when you’re young – especially in love! Love isn’t a rational feeling, it’s something that makes you feel the highest of happiness during the good times, and the lowest of sadness during the bad times. You’re going to date people you shouldn’t; you’re going to have arguments that aren’t worth having; and you’re going to say the wrong things during these fights. It’s ok because you’re going to learn from each of these mistakes, and that will make your true love that much sweeter.

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    2. You can be selfish.

    It’s normal to be selfish when you’re young, because you need to figure out who you are and what you want from life. It’s acceptable to break up with someone over something that might seem a bit petty just because they don’t seem right for you – because they probably aren’t! When you’re in your teens and twenties, you need to focus on yourself, because you need to discover who you are and what your career will be. You need to work on things like this, including loving yourself, before you try to make a partnership work for the long haul.

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    3. You can be single.

    And you should be! Too many young people think they always need to be in a relationship. If you have this mindset, then you’re more likely to date people who are bad for you just so you’ll be with someone. It’s ok to be single! No one is watching you and keeping track of how long you’re single versus how long you’re in a relationship. It’s important to be single so you can focus on your own life; when you do find that special someone, your relationship will be that much better because it will be special. You’ll be a well-rounded person, and you won’t have a history of hopping from relationship to relationship with no substance.

    4. You’ll fall in love with the wrong person.

    This is the hardest lesson to learn, because people rarely seem wrong for you at the start of a relationship. When you feel the sparks and the butterflies, you can’t imagine that someone could be bad for you. But they can be, and they will be, and you need to learn how to identify this in others. Your partner might be a great person; they don’t have to be mean or abusive or inconsiderate! They can be kind and still be wrong — for you. You should be with someone who brings out the best in you, who is sweet and encouraging and compatible with you, not who you think you should be with to make anyone else happy.

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    5. It’s ok to fall in love.

    So you’ve met the wrong person, and maybe you kind of even know they’re wrong for you, but you can’t help it — you’re falling in love. That’s ok! It’s good to let yourself feel things for others. If you’re too hesitant to fall in love, then you might never let loose enough to find your special someone. Love is a beautiful feeling, and it’s never wrong to feel it for someone as long as you believe it’s true.

    6. Live and love in the moment.

    Never chastise yourself for falling in love. When you feel something in the moment, you need to let yourself feel that emotion completely. Fall in love, daydream about your future, and, as hard as it may be to do, let yourself get hurt. You’ll learn from all of these moments and all of these emotions. It seems like you’d look back and kick yourself for having a crush on someone who was so obviously wrong for you, but you’ll see the past through rose-colored glasses and be glad that you experienced as much as you did.

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    7. You don’t need to have a timeline.

    When you’re young, you get so used to people asking what you’re majoring in or what you want to be when you grow up that you start planning out your whole life. It seems more stable to think “I should be married by the time I’m 25 so I can have kids before I’m 30,” than to fly by the seat of your pants. But the truth is, those timelines rarely work out. If they do, it might just because you feel pressured to stick to them. What if you’re dating the wrong person when you’re 25, but still feel like you have to get married to meet your goal? Scrap any timeline you have in mind. Life is going to throw you curveballs whether you have plans or not, so see who you meet, who you fall in love with, and go with the flow.

    8. Don’t put others before yourself.

    When you’re older and in a committed relationship or marriage, there will be times when you need to put your own wants on the back burner and let your spouse reach some of their personal goals. It’s ok to put others before yourself if you’re being supportive and not letting your own needs and wants fall to the wayside, but it shouldn’t become a habit. If you’re in a relationship where your partner constantly needs to be the center of attention and won’t let you have interests of your own or time to yourself, you need to get out of that. Realize that it’s not only acceptable to put yourself first, but it’s necessary when you’re young and still have so much growing and learning to do.

    9. Love yourself.

    You’ll fall in love with good people and you’ll fall in love with bad people, but above all, you need to love yourself. If you love who you are, then you’ll be more open to loving others. Love is always a great thing to share, but loving yourself also means you won’t have to find that love in others. You can love someone without needing something from them to feel validated. Loving yourself is the most powerful love you can experience.

    Featured photo credit: Kelley Boone 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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