Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 04 Aug 2021 20:19:33 -0700 Single FileĀ® from Creators Syndicate fbb70048f9e7e62444c30cacb1517c44 Girls Just Want To... for 08/04/2021 Wed, 04 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: I'm a young, attractive woman who cannot for the life of me get a date. I try, but those I'm attracted to don't reciprocate my interest. Now, I'm not shy, I'm receptive to men and have no desire for a relationship or commitment. Really, I just want to meet a nice guy and have a good time. What should I do? &#8212; From the "Single File" Blog</p> <p>DEAR BLOGGER: Cyndi Lauper said it so well: "Girls just want to have fun". Trouble is, no one believes her. Girls just want more than that: impressive engagement ring, pretty house in the country, big bank account, private school for the children. Between you and me, if I were male, I'd be very skittish about the other gender, no matter how pretty or nice. So, my prescription for you, a young attractive woman, is to delete dating from your to-do list. Yep. You read it right. No more dates &#8212; or mooning about them &#8212; for a solid month. Instead, get yourself into the things that really and truly ring your bell. If it's cooking, sign up for a cooking class. And maybe a golf class, swimming instruction, music theory or a book club. What it is doesn't matter nearly as much as its excitement factor. Give yourself a month (at least) to mosey around your world for its most interesting parts. If at the end of 30 days you're eager to get back to man-hunting, well, it's your call. But I'm betting you're bored by silly dating and energized by the passion you feel for your interests. Think about it. <span class="column--highlighted-text">By deleting dating, you've become so much more desirable.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Aug 04, 2021</p> a061b0b86d2a9e6f70ac46bc63f6ee97 Church as Connection for 07/28/2021 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>You can commune with God as you perceive Him while you're out walking or riding in a car &#8212; anytime the need surfaces. Out of that fundamental craving for connection comes a deeper hunger to go beyond known boundaries and reach a level higher than human. </p> <p>That hunger I call "churchness" draws some people toward one another, and their common pursuit forms a linkage like no other. This is why I suggest that you go to your house of worship soon to discover those who find their churchness together. I am hoping that visit will be the beginning of a new connection in your life. I'd like to suggest making your first churchness experience a service followed by a reception; that could make it easier for you to introduce yourself as a newcomer and mingle as such. Consider meeting with the spiritual leader beforehand, so they are prepared to make introductions for you. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 28, 2021</p> eab871f7d6a59b4332e97563cec0af7b Community as Connection for 07/21/2021 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Linking yourself to the community is the next step to widen your circle of connectedness. By joining a voluntary organization or international agency (whichever seems more important to you and seems to need you more), by manning a hotline for a battered-women's shelter or helping to organize and international fast day for world hunger, you're pouring goodwill out into the world community. Who knows how far that goodness will spread? <span class="column--highlighted-text">Positive actions radiate far beyond their originator, you know. And the world could certainly use more love! Sharing yours makes you part of the sea of helpfulness around all of us.</span></p> <p>And while you're helping, you're also defining yourself in ways that go (far) beyond marital status. Involved, you're not a single anything! You're a helper, reaching beyond her own community into the wider one in positive, generous ways. Who gives a damn about your marital status when you're in the company of other good people in a common cause?! When you're part of goodness, what counts is your solidity of character, follow-through, strength of purpose and loyalty of spirit. A far cry from single dances, I'd say; actually, a world apart.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 21, 2021</p> d38ae3e12010a77bf5b56d864fea7bac Walking Single File for 07/14/2021 Wed, 14 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Married or not, each of us walks single file through life's landscape, because everyone has a "single" part , our unique individuality &#8212; separate and apart from the crowd. Yet from time to time we may travel in lockstep, two by two, when someone we like comes nearby and walks with us. Drawn by love's force, this person may stay with us a lifetime &#8212; or not. </p> <p>Lifelong partnership in a world so full of temptations and random events is rare, and so most women, even in a long marriage, will again walk single file as survivor. Divorce and widowhood are practically scripted into the female DNA. And even without wifehood, she can experience loving relatedness with several partners and still have many uncoupled phases within her lifetime.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 14, 2021</p> b9c9dbba4603602511693a14b48e0915 Freedom to Be for 07/07/2021 Wed, 07 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>From one of my favorite books, "Risking," by David Viscott, here are some truths that resonate today as powerfully (maybe even more so) as they did when they were first published. Please give each one the time it deserves, and let me know your thoughts about them.</p> <p>&#8212;For a relationship to work, both partners must have all the freedom, privacy and opportunity they need, even though this provides a chance to be unfaithful, hurtful or undermining. You cannot control your partner's feelings. You have to risk loving without possessing.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 07, 2021</p> aaabfb7f4ca3e408e64112733e670776 Mystery for 06/30/2021 Wed, 30 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I love mystery. No, not the grisly murder-mayhem crime scene. The mystery that moves me (and maybe you, too, after I make my case) is the aura, the enchantment, the spell we women can weave around our femininity. But before we get to that, I want you to know <i> my </i> concept of feminine mystery has absolutely nothing to do with game-playing or deceit. With that understood, here are my thoughts on making the most of your feminine mystique: </p> <p>First and last, cut down the verbiage. Resist the urge to fill every pause with chatter. Your new friend doesn't need (or want) to know details of your workday, your family history or your hemorrhoid surgery. All of that's important, sure, but not right now. Affection is in its earliest stage; it makes no sense to clutter those feelings with excess verbosity while impressions are forming. (He's sniffing bath oil you've strategically splashed on your pulse points, and you're weighing whether he's worth the cost.) <p>Updated: Wed Jun 30, 2021</p> 19d74b599749bd973ac1f52d27d68c6f Create Love for 06/23/2021 Wed, 23 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>You sigh for it &#8212; and sometimes, your sighing deepens into outright yearning. You dream of discovering a lover and best friend in one wonderful one. Your yearning is hidden from the daylight a zillion ways, but in the dark of night, masks slip and our yearning for The Real Thing becomes our bedmate. (Deep, deep sigh). </p> <p>Listen up. Did it ever occur to you that your yearning can be activated? That you can actually DO something to attract love? For most of us, the thought is surprising &#8212; if not downright shocking. But I find the thought so delicious that right here and now, I'm asking you to put your doubts on hold and dream along with me ... </p> <p>The setting for my dream scene is everyday real. You're the star, of course, on your way to work or class, thinking your usual morning thoughts, planning your workload, when wham! You find yourself face to face with an appealing someone (gender of your choosing) who looks deep into your baby blues and edges a step closer. What happens next? Well, if you've been busy making yourself into a love magnet, the future looks rosy.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 23, 2021</p> a326cbdb0a61d1ca3a664ef4c22d200f Summer Tips for 06/16/2021 Wed, 16 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Ask yourself when love comes to a halt: What now, what can I do to nourish myself, to fill the emptiness? Has my life changed so totally that I need to figure things out again? Or is there something I postponed for the sake of being coupled? And is this the perfect time to get it done, no excuses accepted? But for the next romantic go-round, am I a little wiser? Maybe I expected too much from them &#8212; and from myself. And here's the killer: Did I <i> expect too much from </i> love itself?(!) Oh, my friend, only you know the answer to that. </p> <p>Next time you're at a playground, stop and take a look &#8212; a close look &#8212; at the children playing. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The way I see it, they're the model of true single fulfillment: living in the present moment, totally engrossed. </span>Remember them as you work toward whatever it is you want from your life, because they are the ideal, not a bit self-conscious that they're solo. They are who they are, and they came to be part of what's going on. It seems to me that's the only commonality needed. Think about it.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 16, 2021</p> d8372ee7da36489b58724e455892a6a7 Your Mission for 06/09/2021 Wed, 09 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Somewhere along the way, you may find one man you like better than the others. He may not look like Hugh Jackman (look him up if you're not familiar with the name), but there will be something about his sense of humor or the way he sees life that hits home. This is the moment the real challenge presents itself: to continue treating a man like your best buddy when you care about him romantically. (Ironically, pretending he's a female friend is a way to make sure he'll become your best male friend!) If he gets promoted or has a birthday coming up, be sure to send a card or telegram. Make it very clear that you are befriending, not pursuing. (Ahem!) If you're naturally flirtatious, that means keeping the lid on more tightly than ever. Yes, there's a chance this will lead to something more than platonic friendship, and you may be hoping it does, but your mission at this point (should you choose to accept it) is to keep in mind that anything more than friendship is strictly a plus, not at all the object of this exercise. Yes, I know that's a lot to ask, but there's a lot at stake here. So, bear with me. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">In fact, even if this man does eventually become special in your life/heart, your goal is still ahead of you: Continue asking other men to casual events, which serve as practice sessions in your plan. </span>The more often you are around men in low-stress settings, the sooner you'll be able to show grace under higher tension &#8212; as in, romance! Naturally, some men you will like more than others, just as with women. But the main payoff is you'll no longer see the male as alien and enemy. In fact, as you walk in their size-10s for a while, you'll probably feel greater compassion for the gender expected to always make the first move! And you'll be more of a woman because you do. (This exercise has the potential for triggering some pretty exciting growth on your part.) Your confidence in initiating will increase as you keep practicing. Remember to prod yourself out of lethargy at group meetings, on your child's school committee, in your house of worship, in your family clan. You'll not blossom into a mover and shaker overnight, but you will become more effective and pleased with the way people react to you. That's a promise. </p> <p>So many readers complain that romance is dead. I don't agree. I think it's just greatly overstressed from too many years of one-sidedness. (Ahem.) And it's my sense that women are preparing to breathe new life into the male-female situation, readying to assume the responsibility (!) that comes with being an equal in an enormously important relationship. The safety net you're weaving into your life as a single woman will prove to be the linchpin of your transition into that loving partnership. You'll see.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 09, 2021</p> 2f83808e0e7d3b4b387daf39a56d603f How Do You Spell 'Success'? for 06/02/2021 Wed, 02 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The following are classic definitions of success. Number them 1 to 10, No. 1 being the most important to you. (And do feel free to add some of your own!)</p> <p>Money <p>Updated: Wed Jun 02, 2021</p> 7aaa2ed86b719816b587f0a6ec48e5df Learning to Complain for 05/26/2021 Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Opening your mouth isn't only for feeding; it's also for complaining. But let's face it: Most women don't have much experience expressing negative opinions; our function as the calmer of troubled waters is so deeply ingrained it's almost a genetic trait! We've been conditioned to skirt around confrontation and head-on collisions in any form. So it's just logical that in those rare times when we have no choice but to gripe, we come across as too loud or too timid, either suffering in pained silence or raging in inappropriate aggression. Well, <span class="column--highlighted-text">yours truly thinks it's time to make your opinions heard in a style that represents you as you'd like to be heard</span>. Together, here with me, we're going to practice this art form until you and I get it just right!</p> <p>Step No. 1: Speak to the people who serve: waiters, countermen, mail carriers, delivery people. Make a comment to them about a missing item or late delivery. And when you do complain, fight the old impulse to eat your words and apologize for the bother. Make a point of noticing your own gestures, your voice, your inner tension. The goal here is to learn how to complain when appropriate but be on the lookout for opportunities to speak up. And when you do find one, you'll be heard when you use a moderate tone and body language. <p>Updated: Wed May 26, 2021</p> 5d8e8cafb28d2d214c4e17add1251caa Children as Connection for 05/19/2021 Wed, 19 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Skip today's column if you're looking for startling new techniques guaranteed to benefit the children of mateless mothers like you. <span class="column--highlighted-text">As much as I feel a special tenderness for young people who grow up with a single parent (my own son Scott was only 4 when he became part of a two-person family), what we're interested in right now is you. </span>Resilient, resourceful and valued, those children will grow up and leave home to follow their own destinies. And the adult they leave behind, you, will only be as self-reliant and contented as the connections you formed while they were still in the nest. That's the challenge: giving enough to your family while giving it to yourself. And no one (including me) is saying it can be accomplished without plenty of inner conflict. </p> <p>Really, this all boils down to an identity crisis. The identity is yours, and ignoring its need for expression could bring crisis into your life. It probably won't happen now, while the children are keeping you occupied with their needs, but sometime later, when they drift off (as they should and must) to follow their own path, or around the time you see the first gray hairs and crow's-feet and start to think about middle age and life's short span. That's when bridges into the world pay off in interests and friendships and self-esteem. They need time to develop, and you need to begin to develop them. Now. <p>Updated: Wed May 19, 2021</p> 181b8e466e5205f2cd64a66119740a9a Career as Connection for 05/12/2021 Wed, 12 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Goal-oriented, ongoing, meaningful work is the ultimate connection, the taproot into the world around you. By its very nature, it places you in the middle of a varied support group &#8212; from the bank clerk who cashes your check to the salesperson who sells you clothes for the office to the people who work beside you. The routine of work itself is a bridge to the outside world, pulling you out of self-absorption and prodding you to compare your thoughts with others' thoughts and your opinions with others' opinions, and to discover alternative ways of structuring your reality and making a life. </p> <p>I'm not talking about "just a job" whose sale satisfaction is a paycheck but about a (gasp) career, which implies the sort of in-depth knowledge that can only be accumulated through dedication and focus. It needn't be in a field as esoteric as molecular biology; you may decide to become a potter or a farmer, a bus driver or a store manager. But you do have to sort through your strengths and interests and commit yourself to tracking a long-term career path with one of them. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The key is to become good at something you love and then specialize in it. </span>That kind of deep dedication requires pinpointed attention and inevitably results in stability and cohesion. <p>Updated: Wed May 12, 2021</p> 584b5da2a25712271201968aa064249f Autonomy and Cookies for 05/05/2021 Wed, 05 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Today, start thinking about how much togetherness you require and how much on-your-own-time you want combined in one relationship. The starting point is to look within yourself &#8212; you don't want to kid your best buddy, do you? &#8212; and come up with an honest answer. Remember, this exercise is strictly between you and you. No one else is entitled to a peek or an opinion. (You might just be surprised at your own musings.) I promise you this tiny exercise will influence your thinking on the people you've been dating, your contentment quotient, and the talks you have with friends and family. I also promise you won't have a moment's peace until you take the first step. </p> <p>Some learned philosopher called the issue a tug of war between sovereignty and fellowship. After years of counseling couples, he realized most internal conflicts between partners were miniwars about whose will would prevail. And he realized that <span class="column--highlighted-text">each partner needed to become part of a dance, a back-and-forth rhythm of alternating and surrendering, for the greater good of the relationship</span>. Most of us want to be part of the dance. Nobody wants to be a wallflower, on the sidelines being passed over and left on one's own. It's not that we don't feel the back-and-forth rhythm of loving relatedness. We do. Trouble is, we expect to feel it from the first instant we look into someone's eyes ... and it doesn't happen that way. Solid relationships are the result of time and effort &#8212; not hard work, exactly, but most definitely some amount of thought and awareness. Quitters don't win. <p>Updated: Wed May 05, 2021</p> 259049760393133b8eb64c0f75444a2a Quiz for Those Never Married for 04/28/2021 Wed, 28 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR READERS: For your reading pleasure, I offer a quiz. As always, <span class="column--highlighted-text">the purpose is not to judge yourself as giving a right or wrong response. It's to hold up a mirror to yourself and search within for the current truth.</span> Yes, our feelings change, and our opinions change (or should) as we become more knowing about this life we've been given. This particular quiz is aimed at the never-married &#8212; or, if you prefer, the always-single. But enough preamble ...</p> <p>&#8212; Have you chosen not to marry because you want to grow? Do you think it's possible to grow as an individual within a marriage? <p>Updated: Wed Apr 28, 2021</p> bbbb7ecfeea5e036259edac0b01c10cf Generic Blues for 04/21/2021 Wed, 21 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: I feel down in the dumps. No special reason, just a lot of nothingness in my life. I never write to advice columnists, but you and "Single File" seem to have some good ideas. Do you have any for me? </p> <p>DEAR BLOGGER: The way I see them, some low feelings are perennial; they crop up no matter how many times you think you've weeded them out of your secret garden. These are generic blues: a vague, unspecified unease. Yet low-grade as they are, they make an ideal breeding ground for bona fide troubles and can escalate a simple problem into a full-blown case of self-pity. So, it's important to deal with them at the first sign. ere 'm not dealing with If But But answering your letter takes me into the realm of the shortcut, the simple and effective way to deal with momentary difficulties. The habitual ones require second and third opinions, and sometimes professional intervention. (If you've been hanging around this column for a while, you know how deeply I endorse therapy.) <p>Updated: Wed Apr 21, 2021</p> 6b8975832ecce00349acc439938424c1 Bending for 04/14/2021 Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>No, dear readers, this has nothing to do with exercises. At least not the physical kind. This has to do with attitude and making a relationship (of any kind) run smoothly, with very (very) few flare-ups. That's got to be of interest, since this is a world of many voices and too little calm, rational compromise. </p> <p>That C word used to bring terror to women in those heady days of bra burning. All men were the Enemy, and the slightest amount of give-and-take with one of Them was to wave the white flag, thereby saying farewell to our long-slumbering dream of equality/personhood/independence. To show men our seriousness, we took the pads from our bras and put them into what was to be our workday uniform: severely tailored suits designed to suppress the best of us ... again! Here we were, doing all we could to take a stand for equality, and what was the outcome? We were doing all we could to become a clone, a sexless cardboard image of the very gender we were accusing of standing between us and primary personhood. In our rush to equality, we were trampling on the very best parts of us. Self-defeating, I'd say. And not well reasoned.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 14, 2021</p> 8d04747be440af40da70dd587c4ea2bc What? Me, Marry? for 04/07/2021 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Yes, you! It just might happen that you meet someone you can't get out of your mind, a Wonderful One whose chemistry seems to mesh perfectly with yours. The mere thought of the person makes you grin with a happy secret between you and &#8212; well, you. In other words, for the very first time in a long time, you're floored. And private time spent with this Candidate in Question only seems to make you more certain this relationship could very well be IT. And yet, and yet ... there are those early-morning hours that rumble you upright in your bed and begin the questioning. </p> <p>&#8212; Is this person in my corner, on my side, an ally? Is he FOR me? <p>Updated: Wed Apr 07, 2021</p> caefb4ee7cdec6067c296bfa0f21491a Support System for 03/31/2021 Wed, 31 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: Face it. Being singular is a trip. It's not necessarily exotic; it's not always fun. But when you take Susan's advice and strengthen your singleness with savvy people willing to supply you with the information or services you need &#8212; when you need it &#8212; single life gets much easier. And things go much more smoothly, the way they should in a carefully planned life. I'm starting to sound like Susan's press agent, so I'll sign off now. But I'm speaking from my own experience when I say her advice is worth a listen. </p> <p>DEAR BLOGGER: I know the impact of my words, because I've lived each one, with my experiences as a single woman and single mom. These experiences brought me from confusion and passivity to the security of knowing I can &#8212; with a strong support system behind me &#8212; make my most personal dreams reality. <span class="column--highlighted-text">That support system becomes a pillar of strength as you whittle down the negatives of singleness and build on its positives.</span> Yes, I've lived my message, so I can bring it to you with total conviction: YOU alone can make your life the way you want it to be. (Please read that again, for emphasis) And you know me better than to think I'm talking magic wands and potions. Not at all. Getting what you want from your life is a daily process of making choices based on your life plan. (Ahem.) So choose your support system carefully, speaking to each person honestly, asking how their expertise can mesh with your needs &#8212; bank officer, physician, attorney, insurance agent, pizza delivery person and so on. Get a pen and begin now making your list of necessary people and services. The basic support, of course, comes from your family, your friends, your BFF, your spiritual leader. Organize this single file your way, to suit your needs. (It's a perfect project for a rainy day, a creepy mood, a slow weekend.) Any doubts or questions? I'm here.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 31, 2021</p> f43e2f8d3b8cf1d9fde6b418c4f3b270 The Greens for 03/24/2021 Wed, 24 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>DEAR SUSAN: My friend is so jealous; she tries to outdo me in every way. But we like each other and would be BFF (we've known each other since ninth grade) if it weren't for her envy. What to do? </p> <p>DEAR BLOGGER: (Sigh.) Our gender is forever being brainwashed in a zillion ways to believe that looking better and being more clever than the next woman (in this case, you) will win you the prize &#8212; which is, you guessed it, Mr. Wonderful. By seeing you as competitor, your erstwhile friend is perpetuating old ways of relating that do nothing but keep her (and all women) frazzled and less than excited about woman-to-woman relating. She's turned her life into a race, forgetting that she (and all of us) is one-of-a-kind and desirable. Comparing herself to you &#8212; or any other woman &#8212; is an exercise in futility, and that's one exercise I don't recommend! One day, when you're feeling sorry for her, you might tell her that boosting her personal strength and building on them will bring much more gratification than envying yours. And since self-development has no finish line, a life lived true to its credo won't have time to worry about rivals. There are none; it's between you and your goals. Period. Still, if she thrives on competition, suggest she compete with herself, hold an inner Olympics and be gentle with the runner-up. Or, you could suggest that she learn from the things about you she envies. But most of all, she should keep on piling up life experiences, because interesting people are rarities!<p>Updated: Wed Mar 24, 2021</p>