Day 19 – Socialise in a Relaxed Manner

No, that’s not a misspelling in the title – I’m giving Mme. Ferris a pass on the “s” in “socialize” due to her New Zealand roots. (If she reads this, I hope she’ll take into consideration my American upbringing, and give me a similar pass!) Today, she suggests that we learn to “socialise in a relaxed manner.”

Vacation is a lovely way to cement more deeply into place some of these habits I’m trying, particularly those dealing with creating a calm, low-drama environment. Solo vacations – which I enjoy for a few days, although I (of course) miss my husband, the kitties, and our home – are lovely opportunities to spend a short amount of time doing precisely what I please, when I please. In my everyday life, that just isn’t a possibility and I’d say that all of us who share our homes with other people understand that.

On vacation, I enjoy having at least a day where I don’t drive because everything I need is at my fingertips. Let me explain what that looks like for me, since that day was today. I lounged around in slippers with my Cafe du Monde chicory coffee (that my husband doesn’t care for, finding it too bitter to drink black. I use it for cafe au lait and it’s divine); went walking on the windy, shell-covered beach; lunched on homemade soup; went for a long bike ride; and then continued with my vigorous lounging, before having a simple supper of grilled chicken over salad, along with sparkling water. Not an exciting day, I suppose, but exactly the day I wanted.

I tell you this to let you know that I didn’t practice today’s tip – the only people I saw today were the ones I waved at on the beach or while I was riding my bike. However, she has good advice in today’s tip and I can relate to her recollection of being shy as a child and hesitant to speak with others for fear of being thought silly or of saying the “wrong thing.”

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There’s a reason this is from an ad – most of us aren’t this comfortable! Maybe it’s the lack of 7-Up.

She overcame this through associating with groups like Toastmasters, which is not at all a bad idea. She reminds us that there are very few people who don’t enjoy talking about themselves, so really – the trick is simply giving them a way to do that. Ask a couple of open-ended questions and let them take the lead. (The bonus of this technique is that you’ll often come away from the encounter with the other person thinking you are an individual of rare refinement and charisma!)

She also reminds us that, when the tables are turned and we’re the ones talking, it’s perfectly okay to not answer every question we’re asked, especially if it seems prying and rude. Simply smile and say nothing – they’ll get the hint and if they don’t, they’ll start babbling. (Aside – silence really is powerful! It’s also an incredible negotiating tool, by the way.)

For me, an especially useful part of today’s tip is her exhortation to “carry a relaxed attitude towards life.” Being terribly upset over relatively minor issues takes a tremendous amount of energy and being considered “high maintenance” is not a compliment!  Life is full of imperfections and yes – some are certainly worth getting in a twist over. But many are not. Learning to tell the difference is one of the keys to a happier, calmer life. And for an absolute hoot – check out this link about exploring “gracious living” books from earlier generations. I was hooked as soon as I read the author’s comment about Joan Crawford’s book containing tips that were “cheerfully deranged!”

Tomorrow – time to talk about cooking!

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