Susan Deitz

DEAR SUSAN: Your "Single File" blog is a good thing; it lets us bounce around ideas with fellow bloggers and find our own answers. One blogger asked about the right and wrong ways to find a relationship. I think it's about trying things and learning what works and what doesn't. Some of that is self-improvement, and we see its importance in letters that come to you -- for example, grooming, how you hold a conversation, developing your interests and mingling with people who share them. By the way, I've had friends who had bad love lives until they moved several states away, but that's not for everyone. As for the consideration of right and wrong, I am agnostic, but I tend to come at things from a Buddhist perspective because Buddhist teachings and views of the world match best with mine. (Not that I always succeed, but it gives me a goal to work toward.) I think reconsidering what hasn't worked is actually a reasonable thing to do, especially if there is chronic frustration. It's a principle I've tried to apply to my own life. If something hasn't worked the past 10 times you tried, why do you think doing the same exact thing the 11th time will? Sometimes the tricky part is figuring out how to try something differently; that can be scary. But taking risks and doing things a little out of our "comfort zone" are the best ways to learn and grow. Even if we try some things and fail, we can learn from failure -- as long as we want to learn.

From the "Single File" blog

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DEAR BLOGGER: The "Single File" blog is, for me, a dream come true. I see it as a haven, a resting place where unmarried men and women can kick back and be themselves. No pretense needed. Here, what you see is what you get, a credo that encourages honest interaction. And does it ever! There is a fine line between putting in my two cents and guiding the interaction, and I do my best to stay on the sidelines unless specifically mentioned. I love the action on the blog. I love the interweaving of personalities, the lessons being learned and the ones still to be learned. So far, we've avoided squabbles over petty things and kept the dialogue on an even keel. But the real pleasure for me is seeing good people help one another to live in a way that feels right to themselves. There's so much good stuff exchanged that I often have to muzzle my instincts and step back from the earnest words.

But responding to your words in particular, my blond head keeps strenuously nodding agreement. The part about taking risks and trying new things got particularly vigorous nods because those things are the prods that continue to move my life into daring new territory. That "comfort zone" phrase is one to be researched, because leaving it periodically is one of the best exercises in singleness I know. My homework -- learned from the blog -- is to take tiny risks often so that one day I can leap the borders of what I thought possible and happily land in challenging and gratifying new territory. I wish it for all bloggers.