Book Review: “Personal Village”

PERSONAL VILLAGE: How to Have People in Your Life by Choice, Not Chance
By Marvin Thomas, MSW
(Hara Publishing Group, 2003)

By Alyssa McFarland

"Personal Village" book cover

I once went shopping with a friend and was amazed at her ability to meet new people (like store clerks and waitresses), and within minutes develop enough rapport to exchange contact info with them. Personal Village explains the secrets of people like my friend, with advice on how to turn strangers into potential friends. But there’s more – a lot more!

The basic premise of Personal Village is that it’s possible to create a satisfying social life for yourself and not just be content with whatever random people happen to be in your life. It also explains how to go into a new group of people and successfully navigate the social landscape. Here are a couple of examples: How do you deal with social jitters in a group where you know no one? Try offering to help with setup or cleanup. Who should you try to talk to first? Thomas suggests you get to know leaders and popular people first, and steer clear of the complainers and troublemakers.

“Make many brief appearances and keep showing up,” suggests the author.

Gatherings like book clubs, salons, classes, and potlucks give opportunities to mingle and find common ground with others. Just by going to the same place often, whether a café, senior center, meditation hall, or book store, you can establish a sense of belonging and be accepted as a regular. “Make many brief appearances and keep showing up,” suggests the author.

Imagine you were hanging out in a café alone, reading a book about your latest passion —let’s say bird watching—and a stranger approaches you and inquires about the book. You find out this stranger is a fellow bird watcher and he connects you to a bird watching group you didn’t even know existed. It sounds crazy, but things like this have happened. The author spoke of two individuals who felt alone for various reasons – one had lost her husband and had no family nearby, the other had recently moved to a new state – and both were able to find a community of like-minded people just by becoming regulars in cafés.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in not just expanding their social network, but in finding meaningful connections and friendships.

[ This book is from a local Seattle author. Ed. ]


Find this book!

Seattle Public Library:  (book not currently owned by SPL)





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