When to Take the Risk and When to Play it Safe


A little adventure has never hurt anyone, right? Well, in fact, adventure can and does hurt people. Muggings, robberies, and violence can all occur when a little risk is involved. Where do we draw the line between trying something new and protecting ourselves from potential danger?

It’s hard to read people. You may think you know someone but you may only know the person that they want you to see. There may come a time where you really need that person and they let you down. Or, you may find that person cannot be trusted, that will use or hurt you. With this in mind, it becomes difficult to find encouragement to go out and meet new people or to try new activities with them.

On the flip side, stepping outside your comfort zone by exploring new places and meeting new people can be a thrill. You can gain valuable new perspectives about the world as well as develop a better understanding of yourself. There’s something special that occurs when you speak with a stranger about yourself. When you attempt to explain your experiences, stances, and personal attributes to someone who knows nothing about you, you are given the chance to envision yourself as you may appear to the world. Likewise, you have the opportunity to watch them do the same thing. While having these explanatory conversations, both parties involved gain better understanding of each other and improve their own self-knowledge.

With a little effort, it can be relatively easy to break out of your shell and start a conversation with a stranger,  especially when you are by yourself in a new and foreign environment. This, of course, seems intimidating, and it very well is. But, by removing your security blanket, you can dig deeper and find yourself. If it helps in any way, strangers to a new and foreign place likely feel just as off-centered as you feel. By looking beyond your comfort zone and seeking to engage with and include others in conversation and activities, you can truly help someone feel accepted.

The real risk associated with these interactions is not with stepping out of your comfort zone to meet new people, it’s when you put yourself in dangerous situations (e.g. nightlife-bars, dance clubs, dark alleys) and have limited protection (e.g. no cell phone, no friends or family aware of where you are or who you are with). These are the scary situations that have few benefits associated with them. Even if you come out with no negative consequences, the threat of these dangers can make the experience of little value. Why do something when you feel scared the whole time and at the end of the experience are just glad you are alive?

Additionally, how do you find the balance between trying new things and remaining safe?

I would stress it is important to seek out new people to socialize with in the daytime. Even if you hang out with the person later that night, at least you had the prior experience of speaking with them when you were both alert and logical. On that note, it is also vital to stay sober when you are meeting new people. While intoxication may take the edge off these interactions, it also restrains how much new people are able to learn about the real you. You also may have what you believe are fantastic conversations with these new people, but after sobering up, you might find that you cannot remember the topics discussed. Strictly meeting people when intoxicated also limits the personal growth you experience. By using substances as a crutch, the real you does not have much room to grow and develop.

Trying new things can be an amazing experience, but it is important to do them safely. When you allow yourself to take that risk in putting yourself out there and learning something new from someone you just met, you gain a whole new perspective and understanding of the world.