Early les­son in so­cial graces helps shy­ness

Miami Herald - - Fun & Games - JEANNE PHILLIPS Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

Dear Abby: When I was a young adult, I had dif­fi­culty speak­ing with strangers. I re­call, some years later, at­tend­ing a party in honor of some­one I truly ad­mired. Most of the peo­ple there didn’t know each other.

Some­one had the bright idea for each of us to tell how we knew the hon­oree. We went around the cir­cle de­scrib­ing our con­nec­tion to the per­son. This not only kept the spot­light on the hon­oree, but it was a great ice­breaker.

I learned a valu­able les­son that night. Cu­rios­ity is won­der­ful, and as you have pointed out, peo­ple like to talk about them­selves. Now I am no longer shy about at­tend­ing gath­er­ings where I won’t know any­one. I ac­tu­ally like meet­ing new folks.

Abby, thank you for your col­umn and for of­fer­ing your book­let that teaches peo­ple how to be more com­fort­able in so­cial sit­u­a­tions. I’m sure more than a few of your readers need it. — Mix­ing and Min­gling in Napa, Calif.

Dear M and M: You’re wel­come. No one is born know­ing how to be so­cial. So­cial adept­ness is a skill like any other. Peo­ple don’t have to be bril­liant or a laugh riot. Part of be­ing so­cial — some­thing you picked up on at that party — is the im­por­tance of show­ing an in­ter­est in other peo­ple. A smile is an ex­cel­lent ice­breaker.

My book­let “How to Be Pop­u­lar” con­tains many use­ful tips for pol­ish­ing so­cial skills — how to ap­proach oth­ers, what to say and what not to say. It can be or­dered by send­ing your name and ad­dress, plus a check or money order for $8 (U.S. Funds), to: Dear Abby pop­u­lar­ity book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 610540447. Ship­ping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.

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