Shyness a Common Hurdle in Meeting People
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Dear Christine,

My mind goes blank every time I get close to an attractive girl. I usually end up stuttering and making a fool of myself, leaving the girl thinking that either I’m a moron or I don’t like her. Truth is, I’m just shy.

I watch other people talk to the opposite sex and wish I could be as relaxed and outgoing as them. Any suggestions? -- TIMID – TIMMINS, ONTARIO

Dear Timid in Timmins,

Shyness is a very common obstacle to meeting people.

For starters, think about situations in which you’re shy. Then watch other people in the same situations. Listen to what they’re saying; watch their facial expressions and their body language. Then do as they do.

Also, everyone likes a good listener. When you talk to a girl, ask her about her family, her job, where she grew up. By taking your mind off yourself, you’ll become more at ease.

Most of all, keep in mind the girl you are talking to also has things she’s self-conscious about. She’s probably too preoccupied wondering if she looks fat in those pants to notice your insecurities.

Dear Christine,

I made the decision long ago never to have children. So it’s just my luck to have fallen in love with a man who has two kids.

After a year and a half, we finally decided to move in together. It wasn’t long before I saw how he just lets things slide when the kids don’t do their household chores or have friends over without permission or stay out past curfew or whatever. Soon I became stressed and angry all the time. I could see he was walking on eggshells around me. And the kids, who used to like me, began resenting me. No one was happy, so I ended it.

Now that I’ve moved out, I realize I don’t want to lose him. But, given the situation with his 16- and 18-year-old kids, I have my doubts about starting back up with him. His kids aren’t all bad. I just can’t stand the way their father fails to discipline them.

Is there some way for me to win them over and teach them about consequences?

Is it possible to revive this relationship?

I keep telling myself if I’m patient we’ll be alone soon enough, since it won’t be long before the kids move out on their own. -- NOBODY’S MOMMY – LONDON, ONTARIO

Dear Nobody’s Mommy,

You’ll never be able to discipline the kids to your complete satisfaction. Even biological parents rarely accomplish that magical feat. But there might be room for compromise.

Be warned—it is you who will have to compromise the most. First, you’ll have to come to terms with the decision to change your lifestyle from “childless by choice” to “step-mom.” You may want to consider seeing him without living together right now.

If you do decide to move back in while the kids are still living there, you’ll first need to have a parent-to-parent meeting to discuss your feelings and set some rules. Then have a meeting with the kids. Get it all out on the table and try to come to some agreements. At least then you’ll be moving back in with more mutual respect and rules than you had last time.

As for your thoughts of them leaving home and not being in your life, I have one word for you: grandchildren.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at:

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