Dear Feelings Doctor: I am at a loss for words around how to get a smile out of the people who are in the people business! No matter where I went today, there was always a face frowning on the other side of my exchange. My daughter even noticed how rude the girl was at the checkout counter and said something to me when we got in the car.

What is going on with the young people of today? How do I handle a situation like that?

— Upset in Town in Santa Barbara

Dear Upset: When we have an exchange of any kind during our day with another person, it is really nice to share a smile or a hello. When we are kind to the ones who seem so mean, the people who are the most challenging to like or be patient with, that’s when we become part of the shift from negative to positive in the world. Plus, we never know what kind of a day someone else may be having.

The easiest thing to do when you see someone without a smile, give them yours. It sounds silly, but it’s true; it really works.

Dear Feelings Doctor: My fiance took me to dinner the other night and said before we get married he wanted me to take some etiquette classes. Of all the crazy things to request! We have been dating for five years and engaged for two. So what’s the big deal?

— Seeing Red! in Santa Barbara

Dear Seeing Red: It seems to be a pretty important issue with your fiancé. The one thing that marriage is filled with is compromise. So if you are not willing to meet him somewhere in the middle, red may be all you will be seeing with no white wedding dress in your future!

How awful could it be to brush up on a few things and put your best foot forward? Especially when you know your efforts will make your partner happy!

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Imagine This …

Sitting in judgment is such a waste of time. The view is horrible from there; you can’t see a thing!

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.