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RELATIONSHIPS: Meeting Someone New

You're smart, fun, open minded, in the bloom of youth--and you're ready to find that special someone and create the perfect union. (A) First of all, you must take risks. It is unlikely that someone is going to walk right up to you and say, "I think you are attractive. Do you want to have coffee?" so you have to be proactive. Don't be too shy to initiate contact with others.

Before you ask someone out you should find out if he or she is interested in you. Flirting goes a long way in establishing interest. What you say is important, but nonverbal communication is equally vital. Making eye contact and smiling are very useful tools when flirting. Be playful. Flirting should be fun! Joking around and laughing are sure ways to make someone feel at ease. But don't show off. That's a certain way to make the interested party lose interest quickly. Modesty can go a long way. Flattery is also effective, but in small doses. Tell the person what you like about him or her, but don't go overboard. Too much flattery can be embarrassing and awkward.

Dating

So you set up a first date and you want it to be interesting. (B) The most important thing to consider is what to do. Most of all, you want to have fun. The right first date should make both of you feel relaxed and facilitate getting to know each other. For example, don't go out for a candlelit dinner right away because it may be too romantic and make both of you uncomfortable. However, you don't want to go to a loud rock concert that would make it impossible to talk. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have fun. Why not go skating or on a picnic? How about an outdoor concert, where you can listen to music and talk casually?

How do you get to the second date, or the third? (C) As the relationship progresses, you want to get to know each other better, so now's the time to start revealing a little more about yourself. Be honest, but don't reveal too much too soon, especially about past relationships. Would you want to hear about your date's last ex? Even if past relationships come up in conversation, talk about them briefly and then move on to the next topic. In the early stages of a relationship, romance is fueled by mystery and uncertainty. Wondering about another person makes you want to know more.

Breaking up with Someone

At some point in your life, you will be faced with the painful decision of breaking up with someone you care about. How do you do it without causing undue suffering? Breaking up is never easy, and guilty feelings can make you postpone the inevitable. Don't wait too long. Be honest and sincere. Talk to the person face to face. Treating your relationship and the other person with respect and dignity will go a long way in helping minimize the grief of being dumped.

Surviving a Breakup

When a partner leaves you, you might feel as though the world has come to an end. You may think you'll never feel the same way about another person. Your dreams about a life with your partner have been shattered. But don't despair. You will eventually meet new people and have new experiences, and your breakup will be a distant memory, something to learn from in a long line of experiences. (D) Take some time to recover and then go right back to Step 1: Meeting Someone New. Getting back into dating again can go a long way toward helping you move on.

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