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A strategy for introverts to meet people

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By Carolyn Hax
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn:
In a previous column you advised someone that they should start dating again when they met someone they wanted to date. Iíd like to hear more about that.
Iíve been single for a number of years, mostly because I havenít met someone I want to date, and Iím not very good at the online thing (shy, awkward, etc.). It seems like online dating is better suited to extroverts. Iím perfectly happy with my life as it is, but eventually Iíd like a partner. Should I just keep on living and enjoying life, and date when thereís someone I want to date, or do I need to make a more concerted effort to date people just to date?
ó Dating
I think the more comfortable approach for an introvert is to ďjust keep on living and enjoying life,Ē but in ways that are deliberately geared toward circulating among new people. Thereís a lot of room between being perfectly happy socializing with your familiar crowd of people (and then staying home for three nights afterward with a good book), and forcing yourself to go on dates just to date.
Instead, think of it as getting out just to get out. All the better if you can gear this out-getting toward an existing talent, skill, interest or strength of yours. That way, you increase your chances of meeting like-minded people, even just as friends ó who often can help widen your social circle.
Even if you donít make any new connections worth cultivating, youíll be smoothing out some of your awkwardness through the extra social practice, made easier by having that shared interest to occupy you and break any ice.
Take all that away and still you have the fact that youíre spending time on something that interests you, possibly improving your quality of life in lasting ways.

Dear Carolyn:
I grew up in a family where both parents had terrible anger issuesó often manifesting itself in physical abuse. Consequently, my husband and I have a very strict no-physical-punishment rule in our home.
However, I find myself not knowing where the line is with my kids in terms of yelling/losing temper. Is it NEVER OK to yell at your kids? I never, ever insult them or call them names, but I do raise my voice, especially when Iíve had to tell them 10 times to do something.
This may seem like a basic question, but I honestly have no idea, not having a healthy model to base my own parenting on.
ó Anonymous
I think of yelling as inevitable but a mistake. I apologize to my kids when I do it: ďIím sorry I lost my cool.Ē Quick and out, unless I need to apologize also for being wrong about what originally upset me. I think raising oneís voice, too, doesnít demand an apology the way yelling does. Sometimes a grown-upís gotta be heard.
Please also ask your family doctor about good, local parenting classes. It sounds as if youíve broken your familyís abusive tradition, good stuff, but even parents with good role models can use a reliable guide.
Email Carolyn at tellme@,
Washington Post Writers Group

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