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Emails to my Therapist

Bold Living: at Parties

At a party last night, I had a talk with the hostess, a woman in her seventies whom I’d never met before, and was impressed by the fact that she seemed entirely “for real” through the whole conversation. I asked myself what gave me that feeling. She seemed:

* relaxed, but not ostentatiously so
* forthcoming yet not eager to entertain or impress
* free of any sign of anxiety
* mildly flirtatious with the men who happened by
* in the moment, rather than orchestrating the coming moment
* and interested in the conversation

She, like almost every one else at the party, was a group psychotherapist, and perhaps in her case that played a part. But I also know that there are plenty of therapists who are shy as rabbits.

I mentioned to my husband my view of this woman. He agreed and said: Isn’t she gracious? and she doesn’t just blurt out whatever comes to mind.

My own party style has evolved: I used to talk until I was giddy and had a fine time. Over time, without meaning to, I’ve slowed it down quite a bit; regrettably though, I haven’t liked parties as much since, which is sad.

I think last night’s hostess has somehow found what the Buddhists call “The Middle Way.” Best of all, it seemed to come naturally. I think it can come naturally for anyone. But a lot of us need help getting the conversation started: a search turned up hundreds of thousands of websites on how to start a conversation.

My mother, a pure example of extroverted, calls the process “finding their topic.”

On the other hand, I get tired of my topics. I like it when someone steers me into an interest I didn’t know I had.

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Categories: bold living, self expression

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