Four

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My phone was unlocked, sitting on my desk. I stared at the empty text bubble. My hands were folded in front of my face. I sat at my desk, thinking of the best way to direct the conversation. For the most part, I seemed to understand the basic formula for engaging in conversations to make life lasting friendships. They all followed the same pattern.

First, you compliment them on something and ask them a question about it. Then, they will give a response, and you'll be able to give a small, witty reply. Slip in something about yourself that relates to what they just said but keep the focus on them. Continue the praising of their work to the point where they will eventually downplay themselves, claiming they are alright for where they are but could do better or something along those lines. Reassure them. Tell them that they still had come a long way since not knowing anything at all and to be proud of the work they put in. If you followed everything up to that point correctly, surely they would respond with gratitude and then ask questions about yourself. Answer questions honestly and look for key traits that the two of you would share. By the time you have to let them go, tell them you had a great conversation and hope to continue talking more the next day. If everything went smoothly, they'll most likely agree or tell you why they can't but suggest another day as to when you two can talk.

When it came to Flirting 101, it was always important to keep the focus on the other person first before talking about yourself. If they ask questions about you, it means they like you. By forcing yourself onto people with information they may not care about, then it proves useless, and you've wasted your time.

My issue was that I didn't know where to start. While saying "Hello" was a good idea, it wouldn't lead anywhere.

Hello.

Hi. How are you?

Good. How are you?

Fine. What are you up to?

Nothing much? Yourself.

Same. On the computer.

The conversation proves to be dull and goes nowhere. If I was going to get a boyfriend to help me learn what it meant to be romantic with someone to make my writing better, I better be sure to engage in a conversation worth my time.

"Hello, darling," my mom sang as she burst into my room.

"Mom," I groaned, sliding my face into my hands. "What do you want?"

"What? Can't I just see how my daughter's day went? How was your session with Dr. Myers?"

"Great as always."

"What did you talk about?"

"Classified."

I loved my mom. There was no doubt about that. I hated how she was always so adamant on prying into my life. Not everything I did had to be on display for her. I had secrets to hide from her for reasons. I only wished she would have respected that more.

Yet at the same time, I couldn't blame her. After losing my dad, she basically lost her best friend. The two used to tell each other everything, but when he began to fall out of love with her, he lied and kept it going until he couldn't take it anymore. She found his behavior to come out of nowhere and was quite confused. That caused multiple arguments to spread amongst the two and eventually resulted in a divorce. I was sure she was afraid that I was hiding things from her too, which I was, and I would eventually snap and leave her too.

I could never do that to her. She was one of the most important people in my life, if not the most important person. I only kept things a secret from her that were miniscule and weren't quite so important. Like how much it hurt to be called her daughter rather than her child. Or to be called by my dead name. No matter how much it sucked, I suffered through it for her sake.

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