It’s time to take a stand and talk to different faces.
Just take it from me. There were periods when I felt ostracized around other people. At school, I gained friends and embraced the social atmosphere with an open heart, but then I began to lose them and land back into what I believed was exile. It occurred to me that I was friendless.
But that wasn’t the problem, since I could easily start conversations with others, use confident body language, and engage in small talk if I really wanted to. The real problem was both feeling too afraid to talk, and that other was unable to talk to me. The media, some leaders, clubs and people in general teach us to bunch into cliques, excluding a lot of vulnerable people, promoting the comfort of a tight group.
This must change.
What we all should learn is how to have the courage within us to chat to more distinct individuals, people who don’t talk much, souls you would rather push away than be near, and those whom you might think are weird or strange. See that kid at a group who suffers from mood swings? Instead of gossiping behind their back, ask them what their favourite hobbies are. Notice your cousin looking down at their feet often at family gatherings? Greet them with a warm compliment.
Still, I have an unfortunate tendency to not gaze into others’ eyes at the right moment and am hesitant to start conversations. I can’t exactly define the cause – it might be traumatic experiences from past relationships, lack of an early social skill education, a disability, or simple nervousness. But I’m not afraid to admit that not enough of us are willing to reach out, possibly saving lives. Talking more openly and actually being heard can, according to wide research, reduce stress, promote longevity, and increase happiness for others and yourself. They’re literally changing the world, and rest assured, you don’t have to abandon your friends either.
But why don’t more practice it? I think it might be because not enough of us question. In other words, I believe if more of us developed knowledge-seeking attitudes, we may, in turn, search for more people to converse with, not only seeing them as landfills of information, but people to banter with and share a laugh. From my own experience, wanting to know more has inspired me to think about getting to know people better.
Eventually, I realized that I was transforming myself into a powerless victim instead of choosing to heroically seize the day. Although it’s not longer the beginning of the year, I’ve come up with a new resolution; talk to everyone more, not matter how afraid or uncertain or rejected I feel, rebelling against what I’ve been told and, most importantly, what I’ve made myself believe.
Hopefully it will become one of yours too.