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Welcome to Bradley's Bistro!

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So, I'm really shy when I first meet somebody.

If I was to meet any of you at some kind of social event, I'd smile, say "hello," and wait to see if you were going to shake hands. Where things went from there would be in your court. It's not that I'm stuck-up or anything. I'm just really shy when I first meet somebody.

After maybe a few minutes of chatting I'd probably start getting comfortable and I'd be talking a little freerer. If we both felt comfortable with each other, I'd probably just be my "normal" self after a while. I'm really easy to talk to, it's just that it takes me a little longer to warm up at the beginning.

I've learned a lot about being less shy by watching Matty. He's a real extrovert but doesn't come across as overbearing. If you were to meet him at a social event, he'd have a really nice, warm smile on his face, and you'd think you had known him all your life. Very easy to talk to (as well as being easy on the eyes - lol!).

I think I took a big step in being a little less shy recently. One of the courses I'm taking this semester is called Introduction to Comparative Politics. During the very first class, the prof in this political science course kept using a lot of phrases that involved food metaphors. Chef Bradley thought for a minute he was in a culinary class.

When he was going over the syllabus he would mention how important it was for us to understand domestic politics in other countries. He said if we didn't understand these political systems, " would be a recipe for disaster."

He also talked about the many different political systems in the world and how we would "...look at the different ingredients in those systems."

Then we were going to discuss what happens inside a country when "...the temperature on the stove gets turned up too high."

There were other examples as he continued to drop a food metaphor about every five minutes.

Sitting next to me was a guy who had been chatting with me before the class started. When the class was over he looked at me and said, "I don't know about you but after all that talk about food, I'm starving."

I said, "Yeah. Maybe his day job is a Chef."

We chuckled and he told me he actually wanted to be a chef some day. I somehow managed to blurt out, "Really? Me too."

He told me his name was Tony and I found out he lives not too far from us! I told him the street we live on and he and his girlfriend have an apartment about 5 or 6 blocks from us!

I'm sure Tony had absolutely no clue how excited I was feeling inside! Was I actually making a friend? On the first day of school?

Nah. He's just being friendly. With his easy smile and outgoing manner, he probably has tons of friends. Why me? Am I just misreading this? Calm down. Just chill.

We exchanged phone numbers and he said maybe he and Carol, his girlfriend, could meet Matty and me for lunch.

Well, yesterday was our big lunch date. We met them at a local pizza joint and while Tony and I were bonding around our common interest in all things culinary, Matty and Carol were bonding around their love of basketball. It seems Carol played on her high school girls basketball team and Matty is going to introduce her to the guys he plays pickup basketball with in our neighborhood.

Tony and I could care less about basketball, other than the fact that our sweeties are both passionate about it. We talked about how we got interested in cooking professionally, the types of food we both enjoy, and some favorite chefs we follow.

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The four of us really hit it off, so this Saturday morning Matty and Carol are playing basketball with some locals at a nearby park in the neighborhood, and Tony and I are going to be the Cheerleaders!

I told him we ought to bring some pom poms and he burst out laughing at that one. But guess what? He's game! Seriously. We're going shopping for pom poms! No lie! Not sure if City Sports carries them, but we'll find them somewhere. He's committed now! How fun is that?

Then later in the afternoon, Tony and I are meeting at their apartment to plan the menu for dinner we're serving the two basketeers that evening! Then we're off on a food shopping expedition to get everything we need. After that, we're heading over to Bradley's Bistro (aka, our dining room!). We agreed to call our Bistro by his name when he and Carol host at their apartment.

The thing to remember about people who are shy is that just telling them, "Don't be shy," doesn't work. At all. It's not something you can turn on and off like a switch. Matty has never put any pressure on me to be more sociable. The best thing he's ever done about my shyness is to tell me, "Just be yourself. Don't ever try to be something you're not. Plus, I think there's actually a certain cuteness about being shy."

How's that for turning something I've always seen as a shortcoming into a strength?

Oh, maybe when you visit the real Bradley's Bistro sometime in the future, the chef might come out to your table to see how you like the dinner. After he returns to the kitchen, maybe, just maybe, you might say to your dining guest, "What a nice personality Chef Bradley has!"
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