People judge you less than you think. Sometimes we’re so worried about the opinions of others that we don’t go after the things we want.
A couple of summers ago, a friend and I were walking down Newbury Street, the busiest shopping stretch in Boston. We had just finished eating and he explained how he was too afraid to strike up random conversation with women he found interesting.
When I asked why, he gave me a long list of reasons of why it was impossible to do:
- What if people saw him approach her?
- What if they were watching as he continued talking?
- What if she thought he was weird?
- What if he made a total fool of himself?
His excuses all came back to the same fear of being judged.
No matter how hard I tried to convince him that it didn’t make a difference, he still could not conquer his anxiety.
I could relate to him because I had experienced the same difficulties but pushed myself to get through them. I even went over and talked to a girl taking pictures nearby.
Nothing was helping him, so I chose to do something drastic.
At that moment, a group of girls was walking towards us and it was the perfect shot. I told him that I was going to yell at the top of my lungs right there in front of everyone.
Underestimating my determination, he didn’t believe me.
I dropped to my knees, looked directly at the oncoming group, and began screaming loudly. I held it for about 10 seconds until the group was only a few feet in front of us.
Then, I stood up, smiled, reached out my hand, and introduced myself with “Hi, I’m Nick.” They thought it was hilarious and burst into laughter.
We all ended up talking for a while and exchanged phone numbers to hang out again.
Did they think I was crazy? Maybe, but I still got their attention in a unique way and ended on a positive note.
Did people stare at me as they walked by? Sure.
Was it the end of the world? Well, I’m still alive, aren’t I?
To this day, my friend remembers that moment and the effect it had on him. He still gets cold feet sometimes when meeting a new person — it’s only natural.
Now, he uses that nervous energy to propel him forward rather than let it hold him back.