Before city life, our ancestors spent most of their time dealing face-to-face with people they knew. Today, we spend a great deal of time interacting with strangers.

SWEATY PALMS - No social experience is more stressful than the encounter with a stranger, an unknown and potentially threatening fellow human being.

RESEARCH REPORTS - A mild form of stranger anxiety creates social jeopardy. Just by saying something, the speaker opens himself up (a generic term) to the possibility that the intended recipients will think him forward, foolish, or offensive in what he has said. Or worse, the fear one might freeze for fear of saying the wrong thing, or anticipating the possibility he can't think of anything appropriate to say.

Yes, talking to a stranger is a formidable hurdle for many people in today's society. And yet, contact with strangers is essential if one is to move beyond posturing to intimacy.

ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION - Am I letting the circumstances that scare me most be the architect of my life and my future?

FEARS BUILD WALLS - If you choose to build walls to keep fear and pain away, you can and it works. But, you are also walling yourself in and walling out potential new friends and alliances.

Even more importantly, you are letting the circumstances that scare you the most be the architects of your life and destiny. Now, are you willing to let your social fears determine your future? 

STRANGER ANXIETY can be offset by deliberate and purposeful preparation - Learning how to meet and greet strangers; what to say to open a conversation. Equally important is how to control the direction of the conversation, and how to end a conversation amicably.

And finally, how to manage rejection and even insults when you encounter unpleasant individuals. Also, how to deal with affronts or what seems to be rejection. 

You must banish forever the fear of meeting new people. When you shed your inhibitions and stop exempting yourself from engaging others in conversation, life will get a whole lot better. Good things will begin to happen to your life. Your future will take an entirely new direction.

- Oscar Bruce