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These Simple Gestures You Do Will Make Your Relationship Happier, Even Though You Don’t Feel So

These Simple Gestures You Do Will Make Your Relationship Happier, Even Though You Don’t Feel So

Being thoughtful is the easiest way to build and keep a stronger, happier relationship. Everyone’s life gets busy, but taking the time to do something nice for your honey will not go unnoticed. When one person in a couple is thoughtful, usually the other half feels inspired to be so as well. And when both partners are finding simple ways to remind each other they care, it makes for a really sweet, loving relationship where the focus is positivity and happiness. In a world where there are so many things to worry about, wouldn’t it be nice to have a relationship that fills you with joy?

Finding ways to be thoughtful will not only make your significant other feel great, they will leave you with a smile too! Doing nice acts is contagious and fuels a pleasant environment. Don’t underestimate the value of the little things in life!

1. Mail a Letter

Romance is not dead! Just because we have the internet and texting, don’t underestimate the sentimentality of mailing your love a letter. Long or short, the effort of sending a piece of mail (even if you live together) is very sweet and thoughtful. You can express how your partner makes you feel, or you can just wish him or her a good day. This small gesture will be a great surprise when he or she opens their mail and it’s not all bills!

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2. Plan a Picnic

Alone time is always special, but taking that little extra moment to plan a meal that isn’t made at home, or even at a restaurant, shows you went above and beyond. Whether you pack caviar or just PB and J, the good deed won’t go unnoticed.

3. Hide a Note

Whether it’s in your babe’s pants pocket, luggage or lunch — the surprise of finding a little love letter is always wonderful. The fact that you took the time to wish your love well, or to have a good day really will brighten his or her mood. This one never gets old!

4. Show Up at Work

Work can be stressful and/or boring. A visit to your partner’s office is a simple way to brighten his or her day. You don’t need flowers or lunch, sometimes just a great hug from the one you love can really heighten a dull day.

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5. Arrange for a Surprise Visit From a Friend

A good surprise can take a lot of time, thought and effort, but when it’s pulled off everyone involved feels elated and excited. Take a moment to call your love’s friends or family and arrange for a get together. Whether near or far, coming home or showing up at a restaurant where a long-lost pal is waiting is a wonderful shock. This idea will be talked about for weeks thereafter!

6. Fill the Fridge With Favorites

Do you know what your honey loves to snack on? Why not go out and buy those goodies and put them in the fridge or cupboard. No notes necessary, when he or she realizes you took the time to think of his or her favorites, the consideration will be greatly treasured.

7. Clean the Car

Having a messy car can be stressful to some, and who wants to put in the effort to get it cleaned? Offering to clean the car or surprising your beloved with this act is sure to bring smiles all around.

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8. Give a Massage

Light a few candles, get out some good lotion or massage oil and get ready to lather your loved one down. You don’t have to be the best masseuse to try and help your hun relax. If a whole body massage is intimidating, perhaps just try a foot rub while watching TV together. The idea that you want to make him or her feel good will certainly set the tone for a great night.

9. Buy a Gift for No Reason

When you are out and about, if you see something that makes you think of your significant other, buy it! Gifts don’t have to be just for birthdays, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. They are so much sweeter and more thoughtful when they are bought as a “just because.” Your loved one is sure to have a big reaction to this, and you will be feeling good as well!

10. Give Up the Remote

It’s very common to have different tastes and interests as far as what you like to relax in front of. But every once in a while, give up the remote! Cuddling and snuggling actually releases endorphins that make you both feel satisfied. Your show can wait, the idea that you just wanted to be next to your dearest will not be overlooked.

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We tend to put forth our best selves in the beginning of a relationship, and then as time passes we forget the little things that made our union so special and exciting. Bring it back with these thoughtful gestures. No act is too small to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” Sometimes, the smallest acts are really what mean the most. Challenge yourself to do something thoughtful every day. Not only will you see a change in your partner, but you will see a change in yourself. As the energy in the relationship elevates, your entire life will brighten. Doesn’t a world where people are happy and nice to each other sound great? Make it happen, it’s not that hard!

Featured photo credit: The Kiss Pedro Ribeiro Simões 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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