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The Skills of Friendship

Norman Kafer

Alison is shy and finds it difficult to meet new people. She habitually stands back a little when approached, seldom looks people in the eye for long, and masks many of her emotional expressions. Her new classmates misread her nonverbal cues as lack of interest in their friendly overtures. Margaret also finds meeting new people difficuIt. When approached by strangers, she tends to talk louder and more often, stands too close, and she frowns or giggles at inappropriate times. She is often 'pushy' or aggressive. Can we teach Alison and Margaret, and thosc many other children who cannot establish and maintain friends, the skills of friendship? There are classroom programmes - social skills intervention programmes - which attempt to do this.

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