This post is in response to The Sweetie Search Part I by Isadora Alman

You have spoken to yourself, you have spoken to your friends, and now it's time to speak to an attractive other. Why does initiating a conversation strike such terror in the hearts of so many? It's the "attractive" part. So much more is perceived to be riding on the possibility that you will be found wanting. Is it worth the risk? How to start? Here you are, there the other person is, now what?

Most people think a positive or negative reception is all about looks, and it might be momentarily, but only momentarily. If you look threatening or angry I will likely turn away. If you smile at me, I will likely be a bit more encouraged to be assertive. If I make some innocuous social noise as a conversational opener - "Lovely day, isn't it?" - and you don't respond, so what? It has nothing to do with me unless I tell myself that your lack of response is because I'm funny-looking, scary, or smelly. If I tell myself your lack of response is because you're lost in thought or your mother's lesson of never talking to strangers is deeply ingrained then, well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

One way to magnify your chances of receiving a positive response from a stranger is to make eye contact first, followed by a smile. If the other person won't meet your eyes or does not smile in return they are not very likely to want to engage in conversation. Whether it's shyness on their part, disinterest, or downright aversion, it's your choice to discover or pass on by.

I am a person who plunges right in. However,if starting a conversation with a stranger, let alone one whom you are attracted to, seems a difficult way to begin here are a few easier ways of initiating contact passively.

* Wear or carry something remarkable. A cute child or frisky puppy are wonderful inducers for having others smile at you and comment. If you don't happen to have either handy, wearing a fresh flowers or an interesting piece of jewelry, carrying a book or wearing a political lapel button are all conventional encouragers for others to speak first.

* Stop traffic. With your stunning good looks would be a great way, but if you are not a traffic stopping beauty station yourself near the buffet, at the doorway, near the only bathroom. People will have to address you on their way to where they are going and you might be able to take the conversation from there.

* Play a role. If you volunteer to staff the sign-in table, hand out programs, usher guests, take coats, whatever, it's easy to look over everyone at the event and to start a conversation by offering help in your official capacity.

The process of connecting with new people can be as delightful or as onerous as you make it. The more contact you make with as many people as possible, not only Sweetie prospects, the easier you will become in your social skills. If the first dance does not lead to the Wedding March, it can be a delightful waltz all by itself. Learn to enjoy the process, enjoy other people, and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

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