At the beginning of the Fit4Love program, my coach, Sheila Paxton and I worked out a time for my weekly coaching session. This makes it easier for me to manage my time and I would imagine it makes it easier for Sheila also. However, this past week I had an extra work commitment and wasn’t able to keep our appointment. Sheila offered alternative slots but it was easier for me to skip the session this week, which Sheila was also comfortable with. So I was happy to know that the program, while designed to be ten-weeks is flexible to work around typical, every day changes in routine and I think that would be an important consideration before committing to any coaching program.
Initiating a conversation
You may recall part of my last assignment was to practice initiating a conversation. I don’t feel I’ve been too successful at this but while I was out walking this morning I decided I was making a bigger deal of it than it truly is. I’m building it up in my mind to be this assignment that I have to report back to Sheila on and that’s making it more intimidating. Again, I’m waiting for the “perfect opportunity” instead of just going with the flow. It could simply be a casual remark to the cashier at the supermarket or to someone I pass in the corridor at work. As this was dawning on me this morning, I was passing by a house where a gentleman was sitting on his front porch enjoying his morning coffee. He waved to me. I waved back and said,
“Looks like you have a nice sunny spot there.”
So I’ve done it and it wasn’t difficult and it wasn’t awkward. I’m on my way.
BTW Sheila didn’t limit this exercise to making conversation with men and while I can see that this practice even with women would make me friendlier, I’m generally more comfortable around women and not feel that initiating conversation is a challenge so I’m not tracking those conversations.
This wasn’t Sheila’s assignment but The Garter Brides said that being solo at an event makes you more approachable. Going solo to places isn’t something I’m comfortable with and it’s never been something I’ve done. I’m OK driving myself somewhere if I know I’m going to meet up with a friend and can sit with them or stand with them but the thought of going somewhere without that security makes me anxious and I’ll typically just choose to not go.
I think their advice makes sense but the key to starting this, at least for me, is finding situations where I will be comfortable going solo. So this past week, I did go to the high school football game alone … my son plays in the marching band so I like to go and watch the half-time show. There are usually lots of people I know there but they’re usually already sitting in groups etc. My friend that I usually go with was having date night with her husband and so I thought this would be perfect event to take The Garter Brides’ advice. I went, found a seat, waved to a few friends and before long the father of one of son’s friends arrived and sat next to me.
I did also go alone to a book signing event at a local bookstore. As it happened, I did know several people there so going solo wasn’t a big deal and even if I hadn’t known anyone, I would have been comfortable.
I think the value of this exercise is getting over the barrier of going alone, being OK with the possibility of not knowing anyone at the event. I know these two events are very small steps – there are still lots of places I wouldn’t go alone but hopefully it’ll be a progression. This coming week, my town has a First Friday event and I think that’ll be a good event to go to solo and it will also be a place to practice initiating conversation.
I’d love to hear your tips for initiating conversations and what about going solo? Are you comfortable going out alone? What helps you be comfortable? Are there some types of events you won’t go to alone?
Disclosure: Fit4Love has waived the fee for my participation in the Fit4Love program but Fit4Love has no editorial influence or rights over the posts I’m writing.
Photo credit: tadolo