Interview with Wendy Atterberry from dearwendy.com

Starting out as a regular column on CNN, Wendy now writes about love and relationships on her blog dearwendy.com.

She describes her blog as “a place for people to pose questions about their relationship issues and get the kind of advice and feedback their best friend is probably too skeerd to give them. “

I found her community-driven site really inspiring and called her up for an interview.

You’ve been writing your blog for 6 years now. What motivates you the most?

It’s actually been seven years that I’ve been writing the Dear Wendy blog, but I’ve been blogging personally and professionally for 14 years this May and my motivation has remained pretty consistent. I’ve always wanted to share stories as a way of connecting to and entertaining people, making sense of my own life, and to help others make sense of their lives and to feel a little less alone in their trials, tribulations, and joy.

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What piece of information or habit has had the most positive effect on your life socially the last years?

My husband had a grandmother whom I never got to meet but who was a very positive influence on him (especially after he lost his mom at a young age). One of best pieces of advice she imparted on him has become a guiding influence in my life since he shared it with me: she always said that “one of the best things a person could do is to make two new friends every year.” As we get older, it gets harder to not only meet new people, but to make the time to foster new relationships. But it’s really important! New friends enlighten us to new things and open doors in our lives we might not have even known were closed. And the mere effort of making new friends keeps our social skills sharp and continues pushing us to step outside our comfort zone (which is where all our personal growth happens).

What is some realization or understanding about social life that you wish everyone would know?

That it’s ok to stop being friends with people who no longer add anything positive to your life. It’s like clearing weeds so that something new and wonderful has room to grow.

Another part of having a social life that I wish everyone understood is something I wrote about here, and that is that one of the most important things you can do as a friend is to show up. People underestimate the power of this one act, and that’s too bad because it’s truly the glue that holds friendships together.

If you could restart your life knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? (Assuming your major relationships today wouldn’t change.)

I would have gotten a professional bra fitting a lot earlier than I did.

What’s your best advice to someone who tends to overthink social interaction?

It’s amazing how interesting and lovely people think you are when you spend the majority of a conversation asking them questions about themselves and showing interest in their responses. People generally love an opportunity to talk — especially about themselves — and to feel heard.

What kind of person should visit your site?

The kind of person who likes to eavesdrop on conversations in public places and secretly wishes they could weigh in; people who don’t have it all totally figured out; people looking for an online community of smart, dynamic, opinionated women (and a few men!) to share personal stories and advice.

Let me know if you want more interviews like this in the comments below! Any questions are welcome too, of course.

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David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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