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Why There’s Nothing Wrong With You Being Single

Why There’s Nothing Wrong With You Being Single

“I’m single because I was born that way.” – Mae West

Are you worried about being single and coping with all those rather nosy questions about your status?  Numerically, no need to worry at all because one in two people in Manhattan are actually single. Nationwide that adds up to 100 million people and growing, according to the Census Bureau.

Guess what?  Numbers apart, if you are single, you are much more likely to do better in your career, be more sociable, be healthier and also do voluntary work. These are the findings of Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist who wrote a book called Going Solo.

Still not convinced?  Read on because I am going to list 10 reasons why there is nothing wrong with being single. Welcome to singledom.

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1. Because you relish your freedom and independence

This goes for both singles and divorced women. Studies done at the Kingston University in London found that women following divorce were happier than they had ever been (for up to 5 years) after divorce. Being free of any awkward and messy ties was a big part of this. As for singles, you never have to ask your partner or spouse before deciding anything. You are totally free to spend money as you please, go to bed when you want to, and watch that late night film without having to negotiate anyone’s permission.

2. Because you know what you want

One of the reasons for so many unhappy marriages and long –term relationships is that the fear of loneliness took over when deciding to get hitched. This means that many singles made the wrong choice. But you know what you want in a partner and you are not going to compromise just because of parental and peer pressure. No, your standards are not too high and don’t let anyone try to persuade you otherwise.

3. Because you are happy

You have enough interests, friends and job satisfaction to keep you going for a long time yet. You are happy when alone and think of it as ‘restorative solitude’, rather than a negative feeling. Above all, you feel that you are self fulfilled as a single entity.  You are also keenly aware that the happiness of married men and women has been steadily declining over the last three decades as a University of Pennsylvania study has shown. Marriage does not always mean happiness and one study of over 1,000 couples found that marriage was a ‘blip’ and had no long term effect on happiness.

4. Because you know your limits and defects

You have enough self awareness to know that you are not the Mr or Ms Perfect. You are well aware of your defects and how they could be obstacles in a long lasting relationship. Above all, you are able to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made in the past but you do not let these pollute your outlook on life.

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5. Because you enjoy the financial benefits

Have you ever thought why so much marketing is aimed at singles?  They have done their homework and like you are aware of the enormous scope for spending when in singledom. You can spend much more on fitness, clothes and holidays than you would if you were married. You do better financially when buying a house and also in planning retirement benefits. You can also save up to 5 percent of monthly salary according to Forbes magazine.

6. Because you can really appreciate your family and friends

“A single rose can be my garden – a single friend, my world .” – Leo Buscaglia

If you have maintained a healthy and affectionate relationship with your family, you really appreciate them. In addition, your friends are just as important to you as your immediate family is. If you are a woman, you have a greater capacity for making friendships with other women. Men have more difficulty in bonding with other men.

7. Because you can really work on your career

Family obligations for men and women are not always recognized in the workplace. They should be of course, and ought not to be a barrier to having a brilliant career. Recent legislation in the USA is now concentrating on how this can be eradicated.

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While singles often have to take care of elderly parents, they are in many ways free of other responsibilities such as bearing and rearing children.

While you are aware of the favorable bias towards married people with children in the workplace, you are not let that going to stop you. You are the one who is free to read, study and attend extra training skills programs. You will never have to ask your spouse for permission. Being single is going to really help you in your career.

8. Because you are healthier and will live longer

Most experts have reported that marriage can help you live longer. But this is not always true as a lot depends on the lifestyle and the mental stability of the partners in any marriage.  But look at these advantages:

  • You have a much better quality of sleep being single. No worries about having to put up with snoring.
  • You do not need to spend much time on housework.
  • You have more time for fitness, running and the gym.
  • You are much less likely to suffer from stress because of family problems, children and marital conflicts.
  • You have more time for friends than married people.
  • You can have fabulous holidays without being encumbered by a family in tow.

 9. You are in total control

Enjoying singledom means discovering yourself, your passions, what you really appreciate and what makes you happy. Being yourself is the great benefit when you are in total control. There is another wonderful advantage in that moving house, changing job and relocating all become so much easier when you are the one who decides.

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10. You can always change your mind

The greatest advantage of all is that you have the wonderful option of changing your mind, should you want to opt for a more long term relationship or even marriage. Nobody can dictate when, how or with whom you could do this. You haven’t signed anything yet!

“As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.”– Hermann Hesse

Let us know why you are happy or unhappy being single in the comments below.

 

Featured photo credit: Single tree/Martin Fisch via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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