Forget what your mother told you

I came across this Wikihow article about how to talk to strangers. I know you’re thinking, “Hold on now, Tim! You’re not supposed to talk to strangers.” Yes, this is true when you are 5 years old and the “strangers” are sketchy men with big mustaches that drive vans with no windows, and offer you candy. Yes, you probably shouldn’t talk to those types of people. But what about all the amazing interesting people that aren’t going to kidnap you?

I have had the unfortunate problem of being extremely shy my entire life. I can’t give any concrete reasons why I grew up this way. It has just always been how I am. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I finally started branching out and talking to people that I didn’t know. And even then, that was in the safe environment of college where the people were just fellow classmates and such. After college I worked for Cingular (At&T now) for a couple of months selling cell phones. This experience kind of helped me get over my fear of talking to people I didn’t know, mostly because I was forced to all day. It’s amazing how just like anything else, talking to strangers becomes easier and easier the more you do it. The biggest thing I had to get over is caring so deeply about what people thought about me.  It’s easy to say, but it’s extremely hard to get into the mindset of just being yourself and not caring what others think. While I was at Cingular I had the privilege (if you want to call it that) of people getting pissed of and screaming at me on a daily basis. While this may sound horrible, and it was on a few occasions, it also helped me get over my fear of people. After you’ve been yelled at a couple times a day for a few months, it really doesn’t phase you any more. It’s a strange effect. There is some kind of strange freedom that comes with not caring what people think about you. How often do we hold ourselves back from doing new and exciting things just because of the chance that others might think we are weird or not like us?

Now as for the present, I’m afraid that I have lost some of that outgoing/not caring attitude that I developed a few years ago. I love the part in the article where it says “rejection is certainly a possibility. But failure is exciting.” I’ve heard before that success is nothing more than overcoming the fear of failure, or something like that. So as a challenge to myself, I’m going to make it a point to just start talking to strangers. Imagine all the interesting and fascinating people that I could meet.

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~ by twentyfivetolife on January 15, 2009.

3 Responses to “Forget what your mother told you”

  1. Well, you know what? I think I may just set myself the same challenge tomorrow.

    I could have written that post, it sounds all too familiar and I’m sick of it! I feel I’m wasting far too many opportunities by being shy. And sometimes I think that people, instead of recognising my behaviour as shyness, think I’m being rude, which is awful!

    So tomorrow, I shall make conversation with at least two strangers… and if I never blog again, you’ll know I picked the wrong guy!

    Good luck with it!

  2. I agree. After being told I’m a horrible person because I didn’t deliver someone’s dance video fast enough or offend someone because J Crew doesn’t sell men’s pantyhose for cross dressing men, I don’t get offended as easily. Being shy is tough though. Good post.

  3. […] in their own answers to the same questions? Well I took a chance. Remember how I wanted to work on talking to more strangers? I found out that the guy next to me was named Terrance and the cute smiling girl was […]

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