Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Emily Jasper on August 7, 2009

This is a recent guest post of mine forTwin Cities Thursday Happy Hour (Twitter). Be sure to follow them and their great blog Thanks guys for including me!!

I love to volunteer for groups because you not only meet great people, you get to hear about some good restaurants. If you’re lucky enough, you get to try them. This is important to me because I still consider myself new to the Twin Cities and there are so many great spots, I have a lot to learn. Being exposed to some of these awesome joints also means you get exposure to new situations.

Like a Biker Rally at your favorite pizza joint.

One of my groups consistently meets at Dulono’s in Uptown because you get some yummy food in a quiet restaurant with a great mix of people. You never know if cops, blue grass musicians, or tourists are going to walk in the door.

And then it was the First Thursday of the month. Biker day.

No one in our group lives in the Uptown area, so we all set the meeting date and time totally unaware that the neighborhood transforms into Rolling Thunderon Memorial Day weekend. I’d like to paint a picture for you:

Three twenty-something women in a crowd of bikers…I was wearing pearls, another was in a lace tank with purple top, and the third had a cute yellow sweater. We were standing out like a sore thumb.

But that was ok!

While we may have been dressed inappropriately for a biker rally, we were comfortable enough to go with it. In fact, being the standouts could have worked for us if we were prowling for guys. Being unique in an environment of the same means that you will draw attention.

Tips for breaking out of your social comfort zone:

  1. Go somewhere new. This seems like a no brainer, but I don’t mean a new restaurant of the same type, I’m talking about a whole new situation. A biker rally might be intimidating your first time out, but how about a karaoke bar? Kayaking club? Something new you haven’t tried yet but you always wanted to.
  2. Bring a friend. There’s safety in numbers (but not a huge group), and that’s why there’s such a thing as a wingman. Not only is he/she there to help you mix and mingle, they’re also your exit strategy should things get wily.
  3. Give it an honest effort. You are the guest in this situation, so walking in with a negative energy won’t help your experience. Have an open mind to what you’re experiencing.
  4. Leverage what you know. I may have been in pearls, but I do know a couple things about carburetors, so I could have faked my way through a biker conversation. Ok, probably not fake, I did go through anAmerican Chopper phase in college. But if you’re trying something new, do a little research so you feel comfortable if one of the natives starts a conversation with you.
  5. Make a habit of it. You will probably discover not only interesting things about your local social scene, but new things about yourself. You could have hidden talents or pick up a new hobby (in addition to a hubby). Plus, you know you’ll always have an adventure.

Good luck with your social experiment, and say hi if you see a girl in pearls at a biker rally.