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Talking about “the power of positive thinking” doesn’t do much for me. The whole idea strikes me as a bit hokey — a little too much like BS, to be frank. What: You flip some switch in your brain — some flip I personally cannot always find — and once you do that, it effects real change? It suddenly helps you find the man of your dreams, happiness, meaning? Por favor


But in her new book, Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match, my friend Amy Spencer makes a pretty convincing case about the concrete changes that optimism can bring about — and also offers some handy suggestions about how you can FORCE yourself to be more optimistic.

1. Make an effort to have real conversations with as many people as possible this month. And I don’t just mean the members of the sex you’re attracted to. Engage all the people who cross your path. Okay, okay, you don’t have to chat up every single person in the subway car with you, or on the crosstown bus. But if you’re in the elevator and someone else pops in, ask him or her how her day is going, which company she works for, etc. Or, if you’re on line at Trader Joe’s, ask the person behind you if that Cream of Tomato soup is any good. Ask the guy at the bookstore about the best book he read recently. You never know what it might lead to — an invite to some club where your new acquaintance is DJing, or a good business connection … or a date.

2. Say yes to all the invitations you receive this month. Go to your block association meeting, your lame colleague’s Lonely Hearts Valentine’s Party, and that museum event some friend of yours keeps trying to talk you into. Or agree to go salsa dancing! When you’re not just following the same old routine, the chances that someone new might stroll into your life your chances are much higher.

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