I still let fear get in the way of me living my life and meeting new people
It happened yesterday, about 6 different times. No matter how much practice I get at approaching strangers, fear still grips me every now and then.
I was out shooting video for my YouTube channel. I’m making a video about ghosting and wanted to interview people about their experience. Even though I had a legitimate reason to approach people, I was still scared.
What exactly was I scared of?
Rejection. Not knowing what to say. Bothering people. Not having anything worthwhile to contribute. Looking stupid. Not being able to explain myself. The list goes on….
Fear isn’t really useful anymore. It came in handy when we were trying to not get eaten by mountain lions and dinosaurs. It kept us alert and helped us escape danger.
Now it mostly gets in the way of us doing what we want to do.
I have a lot of fear, but I also have a lot of things I want to do and accomplish.
I do scary things even though I’m scared of them
No matter how scared I am of doing something, fear won’t kill me. It can’t.
Here’s a current list of things that scare me that I choose to do anyway:
- Making videos on YouTube. This is the scariest thing for me right now.
- Doing standup comedy. I have an 8 minute set tonight. I’m terrified. I’m going to do it anyway.
- Public speaking. The worse. Everyone hates this. I’m joining a Toastmasters club, my first meeting is next Tuesday.
- Talking to strangers. I still get scared. More on this later in the blog.
- Being honest with people I’m dating instead of ghosting them.
It’s OK to have the fear, it’s what you do with it that counts
I learned a lot in therapy. I learned about having sex without alcohol. I learned about not going to the hardware store for bread.
I also learned that having emotions is OK, it’s what you do with those emotions that matter.
I used to get angry a lot. My therapist said that anger is a normal reaction, it’s what you do with that anger that counts. Do I throw things and yell at my girlfriend (I’ve done both those things)? Or do I go for a walk, write about it, and call a friend to talk it out?
Same with fear. When I feel fear, do I walk away telling myself that I’m a loser? Or do I walk through the fear with my chin up, telling myself that I’m a badass?
Well. both. But I strive to do more scary things with my chin up.
The fear is usually worse than the reality
Every time I walk through a scary new experience, I learn that it was scarier in my brain than it actually was.
I didn’t quit smoking for years because I was terrified of how terrible I thought it was going to be. I was convinced that I would suffer for months and be a total pain to be around.
Turns out the fear of quitting smoking was worse than the reality. Sure it was hard, and I was a pain to be around, but nowhere near as bad as my mind had made it out to be.
Same with meeting new people. When I see someone I want to talk to, my brain still tries to get in the way, telling me that it’s not worth it, that I’ll get rejected.
But I like meeting new people and while I’m happy being single, I don’t want to be single forever. If I want to meet new people, I have to get over the fear of meeting new people.
So I wrote this.
Three Kickass Conversation Starters
I wrote this document for me initially. I like lists and I like strategies. But I need it to be easy, or else I’ll forget what to say.
Meeting new people can be really scary, and I wanted to reduce the anxiety around meeting new people.
At the same time, I want to have fun with people. The best approaches are playful and honest, not pick up lines. I wanted fun, playful, and honest approaches to meeting new people.
I came up with 3. And then I put them in this PDF. You can have it, it’s free. Click on the image and I’ll email it to you right away.
Enjoy these, they work in nearly all situations, not just for cute people you want to say hi to. Use them in your daily life and see your fear melt away when meeting new people.
Well, for the most part.