People think I’m weird. They have done for a long time. But it’s not because I wear socks with my sandals or talk to myself in the street (I can reassure you that I do neither), it’s because I break social norms. You know, societies rules such as saying ‘pardon’ when you burp (something women never do of course 😉 ) or talking to yourself in the street (though even people with ‘hands free’ kits still look like idiots) but if you start breaking a couple of the right ones, it can work for building up confidence and hopefully getting rid of travel nerves you might have…
This past weekend I broke about 4 big social norms and you know what? I had great fun doing it 🙂
I sang in the street.
Well, ok, I mouthed along to the words but I didn’t sing with sound because, well, that really WOULD be weird; this isn’t Glee you know. You may think ‘everyone does that’ but I can assure you they don’t. The earphones go in, the facial expression stays neutral and they walk like zombies; you do it, I’ve done it, everyone does THAT but they DON’T mouth along to the words or have smiles on their faces whilst doing it but why shouldn’t you? Let’s be honest, if you’re walking down a quite residential street, no one is really going to see you anyway and if you’re walking down the highstreet, the likelihood is that you’re never going to see the people again anyway so what does it even matter if they think you’re strange?
I danced in the queue
No, I’m not like the cast of the Full Monty queue dancing crew but I did have a little bit of groove going on (though my ‘cool’ rating has just nose-dived since I used the word ‘groove’).
We’re not talking wild, crazy lap dancing here but just the occasional bop (and there goes my cool rating again using ‘bop’) of the head and a body jiggle (ok, this is ridiculous, I’m beginning to sound like an out of touch grandparent using these words). Sure people looked at me like I was weird but who cares? I’m listening to dance music and I’m ‘feeling it’ (to quote the young generation 😉 ) so why wouldn’t I want to have a bit of a dance? Unless they’re the rudest people on the planet, it’s unlikely that they’ll actually say anything like ‘you’re a weirdo’ to your face and since you can’t read their minds, why worry what they think of you?
Walk passed a guy and tell him he looks hot
I know, I know, I can hear the ‘OMGs’ but let me explain. You’re in a bar with your friends and a cute guy is coming towards your area, you’d let him walk passed wouldn’t you? Well, why not subtly point at him telling your friends ‘ooh he’s cute’. The worst scenario is that he doesn’t hear or does and carries on walking but the best scenario? He smiles, walks over to you and you get his number (which I’ve successfully managed!) . My friends recoil in horror whenever I do this and I’ve been known to do it when I’m in the supermarket walking passed a hot guy but who cares? You make him smile, you’ve said what’s on your mind and both of you go your separate ways. Saying what’s on your mind is a big part of confidence (though obviously you shouldn’t be mean with it) and if you take that confidence when you’re backpacking, I guarantee the travel nerves won’t feel so big.
Borrow a mum (or something in equal standing)
‘WTF’ springs to mind doesn’t it?! Well picture this…I’m clothes shopping by myself yesterday and I think I’ve found an amazing dress but because I know my mum so well, I know what she would say if she was with me: ‘well, you’ve got fairly big hips and a bit of a bum so it might not be too flattering’ (take note; honesty without cruelty) and so, whilst seeing a mum give her opinion to her 16 year old daughter, I ask if I could ‘borrow her for a mum’s opinion’ which she gave me. I could tell that she thought it was weird (to begin with) but think about it…you are asking a stranger for an HONEST opinion; one not tainted by emotional attachment etc. After talking to her, I decided that I would get the dress and as I was leaving the unisex dressing room, the guy in charge said, ‘you really did look beautiful in that dress’ which MADE MY DAY! (see how well a random compliment can make someone feel?!). So why not try asking the person next to you in the fitting room for an opinion? They’re a stranger, what do you REALLY care what they think?
On ‘cyber paper’, I sound like a crazy person but so what if you make an idiot out of yourself? If you can’t do stupid things like this and learn how to cope at home, your travel nerves won’t have eased and you won’t have the confidence to talk to random (but potentially amazing) people when you’re backpacking and you could miss out on experiencing some incredible stuff. You should also note that NONE of these social norms I break hurt anyone so the only question I have left to ask is….what are you waiting for?