Archive for the ‘Articles I think you should read’ Category

The New York Times ran an article in their real estate section about New York couples who, though they both live within the five boroughs, have a very long trip on the subway (sometimes multiple subways, with a leg on a bus as well) to see each other. It’s like a long distance relationship! In any large city where a decent proportion of the population lives without cars, you’re going to find yourself staying within the confines of a two-mile radius from your apartment. I know this because I have lived in two different large cities with good public transit, and I’ve never owned a car. Most of my good friends live within blocks of me. Unlike many people I know, I get out more because I do a reverse commute to the suburbs. Many of my friends refuse to date anyone outside of very specific geographic boundaries! And single friends who move waaay out into the suburbs have to defend their decisions to those who think they’re committing social suicide. Readers, what are your limits when it comes to how far you’ll travel to date someone?

So, what’s a person to do when it takes an hour to get home from your S.O.’s neighborhood? Today I came upon the perfect solution: the Walk of Shame Kit. (Or I guess you could just meet in the middle.) Either way, the Walk of Shame Kit would make a hilarious gift for your female friends who pick up guys in every bar. We all know someone like that.

Really, I just wanted to work the kit into a blog posting.


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Check it out.

Not surprisingly, good grammar and spelling will take you far. Few people would want to go out with someone who types “wats up.” This isn’t middle school.

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Somehow, I will tie this back into dating, but even if I don’t, I just wanted to share. This article from the Washington Post is an interesting read, and the comments are worth a look. The jist: Sarah Fine, who started teaching for a charter school in D.C. in 2005, is quitting. She articulately lists the reasons she so quickly burned out on a job that had once been her passion. The comments range from sympathy and support to flat-out insults. People accuse her of being coddled and self-entitled, because though she claims she went into teaching for altruistic reasons, she’s leaving for selfish ones. Several commenters say that they don’t need “quitters like her.”

For some reason, comments like that struck a nerve with me. Some time ago I switched jobs, and there was definitely the mindset from some co-workers that I was selling out and they didn’t need quitters like me who couldn’t hack it (this was an extremely small minority, most co-workers very completely supportive). To which I say: whatever. I’m not out to impress anyone. I’m not out to save the world. I’m out to find something to do for 40+ hours a week where I don’t come home feeling worthless and exhausted, and I don’t fear Mondays. So the nay-sayers can keep their “ideals,” I will keep my soul.

So, obviously, I side with Sarah Fine on this. Life is too short to put up with shit. Really! That whole thing about never quitting and “staying the course”…seriously? This isn’t Iraq. And even that’s a questionable use of time and resources.

In the past few years, I’ve become a fan of quitting things that don’t work for me. Job no good? Find a better one and quit. Friends bringing you down? Cull the herd and only stick to those with whom you can have a positive, fulfilling friendship. Is your relationship unhealthy to the point where no amount of talking or counseling will fix it? Don’t waste your time when you could be spending that time with someone better for you.

This philosophy might make some people think I’m an inconstant friend, a poor employee, and a cruddy girlfriend. That isn’t true. I’m loyal to friends, but not when the friendship becomes one-sided and I end up having to pick up after an emotional mess who refuses professional help when they need it. I’m a solid worker, but I don’t let my job become my life. I’d be one hell of a girlfriend to the guy who appreciates it.

Don’t think of it so much as quitting. Think of it as editing your life. You don’t need clutter in the form of an emotionally-draining job, friend, or significant other. Life is short and it is to be enjoyed. The world needs quitters like Sarah Fine. Sometimes, the best way to make your point is to vote with your feet.

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Read it here.

What I find interesting is that this article tells you to listen to your intuition. Simple advice, isn’t it? But so many of us don’t. That little voice in your mind, or that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, will not steer you in the wrong direction. If something’s telling you a relationship isn’t good, listen. The rest of your body tends to realize things much sooner than your heart.

Another good line from this article: “People who have great relationships don’t spend very much time talking about them to others.” True story! I can tell when a friend of mine has met someone good when I ask “Hey, how’s [significant other]?” and all they have to respond with is “They’re great!” before changing the subject to the fact that the Mad Men season premiere is next week. It’s when I ask and they launch into this long speech filled with rationalizations that I see the doubt in their eyes.

So, the takeaways: Listen to your gut, and the more you need to analyze about your relationship, the worse it’s probably going.

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There’s an article in today’s Washington Post about a woman who works as a consultant, helping Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y people get along in the workplace. Often, she teaches Boomers how to figure those Gen Y kids out. As a Millenial, I’m stereotyped as having a poor work ethic. Supposedly everything was handed to me by my indulgent parents, and I got trophies even if I came in last place, and I don’t talk to anyone in person, just on Facebook. Read the comments. Some of them are pretty insightful.

I think it’s kind of weird to have someone work as a consultant, helping people figure out Gen Y. Pretty soon we’ll be in our 40s, trying to figure out those kids who were born in the (gasp!) early 21st century. Besides, didn’t the parents of the Boomers think their kids were a bunch of wild, irresponsible hippies? The Boomers in their heyday made sexting look like church. My point is, no one likes to be told how they “are” based on sweeping generalizations. Don’t tell me I’m a lazy, self-entitled waste of space. I actually never work overtime because I’m so insanely efficient at work that I don’t have to. What can I say? I’m a list-maker.

That brings me to my latest Don’t Be This Girl: The Bitter Single. These women have been burned a few times by guys, or are at least terribly afraid of being burned, and so they “protect” themselves by assuming that all men are shit. If you ever hear someone say (or hear yourself saying), “ALL men are [negative trait here],” that is the trademark of The Bitter Single. These women commiserate with their gal pals over pink cocktails, comforting each other after a bad break-up. “It’s not you,” they coo. “It’s him. It’s men! Men are all pigs.”

No, they aren’t all pigs, and maybe it actually is you. I don’t get why male-bashing is so popular. Men could just as easily assume that all women are snobby bitches, and that wouldn’t be at all fair to the down-to-earth ladies looking for a nice man. When you make broad generalizations like this, you close yourself off from being able to see the good in people. When someone believes that all 24-year-olds are incapable of taking work seriously, they won’t notice the ones who do. When a woman declares that all men are douchebags, and her friends sing a chorus of, “Mm hmm, that’s right!” in the background, she will scare away good men. They can smell The Bitter Single from miles away.

Most people are good people. Stop generalizing and look at each person for who they are.

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Okay, last post where I basically just link to the On Happiness blog. Promise. But you really do need to start reading it. Anyway, this is a good one when it comes to dating, or going out in general. Control your exit!

As a rule, I don’t like to go out to a place where I’m not sure how I’ll be able to get home. If it’s not close enough to walk, there’s no access to public transit, and cabs are scarce, I tend to suggest altering the night’s plans. I don’t feel limited geographically by this rule of mine. You can explore plenty of a large city by foot/train/bus/cab. As for the rest, well, there be dragons.

Not only do I know I’ll make it home safely, but I also know that when I start yawning, or I’d like to head out to another bar, I can leave without ruining the evening of people who’d like to stay longer.

If you’re going out on a blind date, or even a non-blind date with someone you don’t know too well yet, it is imperitave that you can get yourself home. Pick a location in a familiar and non-sketchy neighborhood. Have your train card and enough cash for a cab ride, plus whatever you eat or drink, plus some extra. If you drove there, one drink maximum. Not only is all of this important for your safety, but it’s also important for your sanity! If the date goes bust, there’s no awkward 20 minutes in their car as they drive you home. You can make your speedy exit right after a friend phones with a fake emergency or you climb out of the bathroom window. Knowing how you’ll get home will allow you to relax and (hopefully) enjoy the date.

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When I get sad, I stop being sad, and be AWESOME instead. True story.

Barney Stinson

Lately I’ve been getting into the Slate blog The Happiness Project. In it, Gretchen Rubin explores the topic of happiness from all angles: tips on becoming happy, studies on happiness, and so on. I wonder why I haven’t bothered to read this earlier, because it’s really interesting!

Much of what she talks about applies to the unlucky in love. Whether you’re in a stale relationship, or you’re single and bitter, focusing on finding happiness can be a huge help. One of her postings caught my eye — Life’s Cruel Truth: You Get More of What You Already Have. In it, she raises an excellent point:

When you feel friendly, people want to be your friend. When you feel sexy, people are attracted to you. When you feel confident, others have confidence in you.

This truth is cruel because so often, you want others to give you what you feel you’re lacking. It’s when you’re feeling isolated and awkward that you want people to be friendly. When you’re feeling ugly, you want someone to tell you how sexy you are. When you’re feeling insecure, you wish someone would express confidence in you.

I suppose the jist is fake it ’til you make it, which can seem inauthentic. But consider this scenario: You’re at a party. Who do you gravitate to (besides people you might already know)? The wallflower frowning into their warm beer in a dark corner, or the smiling, funny life of the party who’s telling a captive audience about the time they went hanggliding in South America?

How many times do you put on the pouty face when out with friends because they dragged you out of the house when you’d rather have stayed in? Are you often angry at your boyfriend or girlfriend when they aren’t affectionate toward you, when lately you haven’t been particularly affectionate toward them either? Do you want to have more fun when you go out? Do you want a relationship that’s more affectionate? Look like you’re having fun. Randomly hug your significant other more often.

I don’t think you should feel like you must automatically snap out of a bad mood. It’s okay to be angry or upset and stew a bit in order to articulate why you feel that way, and work toward fixing the situation that got you in a funk in the first place. But as Rubin points out, venting about anger or isolating yourself to mope don’t actually make you feel better in the end, even though that tends to be what we automatically feel like doing.

Let’s bring this back to dating. To put it not-so-delicately, no one wants a shriveled-up bitter person who complains all the time! Work to achieve greater happiness, and you might find yourself more easily making new friends and meeting potential dates.

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