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Chapter 15. Get a Social Life—or Change ... > Socializing Online - Pg. 158

Get a Social Life--or Change the One You Have 158 When you meet someone new, try to get an e-mail address in addition to, or instead of, a phone number. Then, if you're hesitant to pick up the phone and call the person for fear that the person might not want to hear from you, you can use the less direct (and therefore less intimidating) method of e-mailing first. You might say, "Oh, he didn't really mean it when he said let's get together." Or, "I'm sure she was just being polite. She doesn't really want me to call. She's too busy." Or you worry that you'll look like a loser, someone desperate for a friend. What a shame to let those sorts of self-defeating--and usually unfounded and irrational--thoughts hold you back. Pick up the phone and call. What's the worst that could happen? Socializing Online Americans send 2.2 billion e-mail messages a day, compared with 293 million pieces of first-class snail mail. At least a third of the country sends e-mail. Without a doubt, the Internet has not only revolutionized how people do business, it's dramatically changed social life as well. Socializing online is a godsend for procrastinators. Meeting people in chat rooms or staying in touch with old friends by e-mail removes all of the inconvenience factors of face-to-face socializing. It also removes some of the anxiety associated with a social life in that it is relatively anonymous, and unless photos are exchanged electronically, it doesn't matter what you look like. Of course, it does have its down side. Not only can it make you a hermit, it can also be dangerous if that charming screen name on the other side of cyberspace ends up being a psychopath. Safety on the Internet is no joking matter, so if you opt for socializing online, tread carefully. When Your Social Life Becomes a Chore You have a social life, but does it bring challenges and extra commitments that can sometimes be overwhelming? We tend to think of procrastination as being a problem with tasks that are drudgery, a hassle, or difficult. Yet most of us have the same problem when it comes to the fun things that go with an active social life: shopping for the right cards and gifts for birthdays and other occasions, planning celebrations, and preparing for major holidays. Does it have to be that way? Not if you have a strategy. Quicksand! If you don't have a strategy, you'll find yourself in the Belated Birthday section of your card store most of the time or phoning in your greetings at the last minute. Instead, try buying a supply of cards in advance. Take your birthday list and shop for a full year's worth of cards. Pick up some blank ones and spares, too, for other occasions you're likely to encounter. If you do wait until the last minute and your birthday person is plugged in, send an online greeting card!