Smiling can help shy daughter avoid isolation in big city

Q: I am really worried about our daughter. She graduated from high school earlier this spring and has since found a job in the city. It is a great job. She would be foolish not to take it.

But our daughter does not easily make friends. Most everyone here in our little town knows her, and the two or three girls with whom she chums around do not put a lot of demands on her.

Our daughter is just shy and when she gets into the city I am worried that she will become completely isolated. She will not meet that many people at work.

She is going to the accounting department of a large firm. She does not commonly go to church, work out at a gym or renew her franchise in the Thank God, It’s Friday club. She does not do anything to help herself.

I would like to give her some guidance to help her with the move, but I am not too sure what to say.

Have you got any suggestions for either her or both of us?

A: The late Victor Borge (pianist, comedian, humanitarian) was quoted as saying that the shortest distance between two people is a smile. Isn’t that great? It overwhelms all of those other suggestions for success found in the many self-help books crowding the shelves in the bookstore.

Tell your daughter to smile as much as she can, even when it is a bit of chore to do so. All that it takes is a captivating smile to draw her into the social network in just about any community.

I have never met a popular person who did not have a wonderful smile.

What is neat about smiles is that they are contagious. The more your daughter smiles, the more likely it is that others will smile back at her, and when that happens the greater is the probability that she will enjoy the day.

To the extent possible your daughter needs to get out of the car. She is going to meet more people walking, jogging, riding her bike or waiting for buses than she ever will meet while driving to and from work.

Of course, she has to be somewhat judicious about all of this. She should not be walking all by herself through an isolated park later in the evening. She needs to make sure that she is safe when she is not protected by her car.

Finally, I think that your daughter would do well to line herself up with a good counsellor to help her fortify her self-confidence.

I am not suggesting that she engage in heavy duty psychoanalysis. She probably does not need that kind of intensity.

However, having someone in the background who can quietly cheer her on when she has a bit of success and at the same time encourage her when she meets with the inevitable disappointment or two is going to make the transition from rural to urban significantly more comfortable for her.

I hope that your daughter does well.

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