The birth of an exercise

I discovered this technique of writing personal ads quite by accident in therapy with a young woman who tearfully told me she kept picking the wrong guys. I had her write an ad. She initially focused on what she wanted in a guy, and we looked at that together. It turned out she was looking for a daddy to take care of her, but then she would get aggravated when he treated her like a child. Bingo. This discovery short-circuited months or maybe even years of therapy.

Then we turned to a description of herself, which she hadn't even included originally beyond the physical description (you know, single white female, 28, and so on). It was a very efficient insight into what she felt her strengths and weaknesses were. She focused on her generous hips while completely overlooking her gorgeous skin — although she did realize her eyes were her best feature.

In short, charm is a butterfly's touch on a flower petal, the breeze of a hummingbird's wing: The key is easy does it. Charm is fun and potentially a very profitable tool in interpersonal relationships, and it's crucial to dating. So practice and enjoy.

Continue reading here: Reading the personals

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