Word about Attitude Yours

Before I begin listing some of the good places to find somebody fun, let me encourage you to be open — not open-minded about what I'm going to suggest, but open to spontaneity. If you're in Macy's and a great-looking person asks whether a particular color looks good with his or her hair, you should hear bells and whistles: potential date, potential date, potential date. Potential dates are everywhere, once you start looking. Just keep a few things in mind:

Be aware. Both men and women are understandably cautious about being picked up by strangers, so if you're the one doing the approaching, the hallmarks of your approach have to be gentility, civility, humor, and gentleness. Otherwise, somebody's likely to call the cops on you. I know — so what's the problem? Cops are cute. Pay attention here; I'm being serious.

Be considerate. If someone has found the courage to approach you and you're not interested, unless they're really, really scary, say no civilly. You don't have to be nasty.

Don't panic. If I were to promise you that you would meet the person of your dreams in ten years, and the two of you would be wildly happy for the rest of your lives, would you be willing to wait that ten years? Of course you would (unless you're already 110 years old — more about that in Appendix A). So assume that meeting your dreamboat is just a matter of time and, in the meantime, have fun, which definitely increases your chances of being appealing when you run into that date-to-be ten minutes, months, years, or decades from now.

Overcoming shyness

Most people are a little shy around new people, especially people to whom they're attracted. A little shy is okay. A lot shy can keep you from the three fundamentals of dating: 1) getting out there, 2) taking chances, and 3) enjoying life. These are the three fundamentals to dating, so it's important to shake that shyness if it's getting in the way. To do that, here's some stuff you can try:

I Meander around a busy public place for an hour or two so you get used to being around people.

I Practice smiling and making eye contact. Lift your chin off your chest and nonverbally connect with people who seem nice and interesting to you. (No touching; just look and smile.)

I Decide to chat with one new person a week. You can do this in the grocery store, the school cafeteria, or the line at the bank. Nothing breeds success like success.

I Act "as if." If all people waited until they were totally comfortable before trying anything new, no one would do anything new! Pretend you're not shy and act "as if" you're full of confidence.

I Calm yourself by telling yourself over and over again that you're safe and everything's going to be okay. Say it aloud in private and in your head in public as often as necessary.

I Identify the worst-case scenario. What's the most hideous thing that could happen if you walked up to someone you liked and said, "Hi"? Putting a face on your fear helps reduce it to a manageable size. For example, the worst thing that might happen is the person turns around and walks away. Yeah, rejection hurts, but you're not going to die from it. Acceptance feels great, and you'll never experience it if you don't take a chance.

I Have fun! Shift the focus away from your own fears and zero in on what makes someone else tick. Before you know it, you'll forget all about being shy.

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