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Expat Tips: Just Say Yes

Our main goal at InterNations is to support and inspire expats around the world to step out of their comfort zones and engage in expat life. In Lauren’s recent Expat Tips from a Friend video, she mentions how important it is to say yes to opportunities, especially at the beginning of your time abroad. This is often easier said than done. So, instead of writing about what you can “just say yes” to, this article focuses on how to make you feel comfortable enough to say that three letter word when you’re taking on expat life. Whether it’s a yoga class or an afterwork drinks invite from a colleague, here’s how to boost your confidence so you can say yes to anything.


Confidence Is Key

Meeting new people, trying new things, and settling into a new country are all situations which might leave you feeling a little shaken in your confidence. When you’re not quite yourself, you’re less likely to say yes and agree to try out new things.

So, here’s a tip: focus on your strengths! We all have insecurities and parts of us that maybe we feel a little protective over. That’s normal, and it’s what makes you human. However, this should never stop you from achieving what you want in life. Confidence is desirable and infectious. Walking into a room with your head held high, filled with the knowledge that you are enough, is your best bet for success. Before you go into a new situation take a second to sidestep the negative comments which might be rolling around your head and think about what you do have to offer.

We all have different strengths and quirks, and this is what makes you you. Think of three things you like about yourself and repeat them daily and whenever you need a pep talk. Confidence tends to shine from the inside out, so by feeling more comfortable with yourself, you’ll appear more at ease and therefore more approachable, giving you more potential invitations to say yes to.

Have an Opinion

This is an aspect which I’ve personally had to work quite hard on in recent years. Now, we’re not saying that you need to spark highly controversial debates on your first meet and mingle with new people. Instead, we realize that sometimes it’s super easy to just nod your head and agree with the general consensus of a group. However, this can lead to sticky situations. You might end up agreeing with one opinion and then contradicting yourself later that evening which, if picked up on, can cause quite a faux pas.

Holding your own opinion in a conversation is important. It demonstrates you’re capable of individual thought and can communicate your values and beliefs. Be understanding of others’ points of view and try not to cause too much of a stir on your first encounter with them. However, it sends a good impression when you can defend your beliefs in casual conversation and says a lot about your personality.

Shake Up Your Schedule

Establishing a routine in your new home abroad is important and often helps people feel more settled in their surroundings. It’s also important to remember that sometimes routines can be broken and that, although it’s normally pizza night tonight, the alternative which you hadn’t anticipated might be even better than you expected.

This might mess with your head if you’re a planner like me — social events thrown my way without prior warning can sometimes leave me hyperventilating. It’s important to remind yourself that you can’t plan for everything. Unplanned events can sometimes turn into the most memorable adventures. Whether it’s a spur of the moment decision to do a day trip or an eventful evening with friends, keeping your mind open and knowing that the schedule isn’t set in stone will allow you to say yes more often.

Always Look on the Bright Side

As Monty Python so rightly said, and apologies if the song associated with this sentence is now lodged in your head for good, you need to stay optimistic. I used to agree to an event, social gathering, or activity and then spend the next few hours or days leading up to it worrying about all the things which could go wrong. What if I embarrass myself in front of people? What if I say the wrong thing?

In general, this is simply wasted brain power. You can’t predict the future, so why are you worrying about it now? Instead, think about all the things which could go right! You could meet some really amazing people, discover a hidden talent, try new food, or simply have a great day. Re-center your mind when you start to feel it run off with itself into the abyss of worry and bring it back to the basics. Focus on the positives and try to ignore the worries and niggles which might try to take over. This mindset is sure to set you on the right path for saying yes to anything life throws at you.

A Few Mantras for You to Take Away

You are enough.

You can live your life outside of a routine.

It’s never going to be as bad as you imagine it to be.