Tag Archives: learning

Love, Part 3 of 5: She’s Just Not That Into You

4 Mar

Even if you didn’t see the 2009 all-star movie adaptation of “He’s Just Not That Into You” (helloooo Bradley Cooper), you are probably familiar with the premise of the famous self-help book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. If not, here is the synopsis: Men aren’t complicated. They don’t send mixed signals. In fact, men are pretty black and white. The long and short of it is this: If you are boring your girlfriends obsessing over if he likes you or not, he’s probably not that into you. Trust me, this is not an easy concept for any emotionally charged woman to accept. We are hard-wired to obsess, over-analyze, gossip, worry, freak-out, misunderstand, etc. Especially over the opposite sex.

I was one of these women for the better part of 25 years. Then-somehow between my high school sweetheart marrying my college roommate and my last breakup-I completely changed. Now, I tend to play the role of dude with every guy I date. I’m the girl who wishes someone would write a book for guys on the subject: “She’s Just Not That Into You.”

Now that I’ve started dating again, I really (really) wish this book existed. Dating is exhausting. Allow me to clarify: Actually “going out” with someone is the easy part. The exhausting part is the “Are we on the same page?” dance post first date. The texts. The emails. The phone calls. The “Are we going to have a second date?” question. Even worse, the “I’m pretty sure only one of us felt this was a date” situation (So awesome. Not). Ugh. Can I just pop out of a lantern like “I Dream of Jeannie” and already be married to my hot, amazing, funny, non-cheating husband and have 1.5 adorable well-behaved children? No? Fine. Whatever. You all stink. Keep reading.

I’m not alone. As single, busy adults in our late 20s, none of us have time for guessing games. Instead, we need to grow up, read the signs for what they are, and either move in or or move on. This is when mutual understanding of “Just Not That Into You” would really come in handy. Today, I’m going to help the chicas a bit (cue empowering Beyonce song).

A quick little note before we begin. Of late, I’ve grown some serious cajones. If I’m not feeling a guy after a few times we’ve been out, I tell him in the nicest way possible. It’s a lot easier than you think, the whole honesty thing (Go figure, I know). It’s truly not that hard to say “Hey, it’s been awesome getting to know you, but I just don’t think we’re a good match,” or “I don’t think this is going anywhere romantically, but I do see a good friendship. Would that be OK with you?” These aren’t lines, they are truth. Wasting someone’s time isn’t cool. Neither is playing with their feelings.

Alright ladies, I hear you. Most of you aren’t comfortable being this forward with a guy. Instead, you wish there were subtle ways you could give him the hint without being mean. This latter part being the key: Without being mean. This means not partaking in mean girl behavior like not answering his texts, phone calls or lying to get out of dates (See “the Shimmy Out” blog post from a few weeks ago). All of these are terrible ways of telling him you’re not interested. Don’t do it. Refrain.

So how do you let him down easy? My hot list of “She’s Just Not That Into You” pointers, that’s how. Read up and take it all in. All of the following will help him get the hint. Even better, he won’t think you’re a bitch throughout the process. Winner winner chicken dinner.

“She’s Just Not That Into You”: Strategies to Achieve

1. No Touchie: Men are sensitive to touch. If a woman touches a man while hanging out (the arm, leg, shoulder, face, etc.) he takes it as a sign you find him attractive. If you aren’t into him, DON’T touch him except for a polite hug at the beginning and end of the hang out

2. No Kissing: Women like to make out. They make out with a guy even if they don’t like them because, well, it’s something to do (I’m lumped in here, too). NO kissing him. Period. He will get the wrong idea. This brings us to #3

3. Two Drink Rule: A drunk woman = a flirty woman. Flirty sometimes leads to more than that and you’ll hate yourself later. Leave it at two drinks (max) and go home…or go meet up with your girlfriends and drink your face off there

4. 50/50: Always offer to split the check. If he won’t let you, make sure you make it a point to say you’ll get whatever the next thing you’re doing and/or next time you hang out (as FRIENDS). Paying for a woman = date mode. Take the date part out of it by offering to pay

5. Talk About Dating: Please note I’m NOT suggesting you bring up your exes. That’s awful, mean and rude. Instead, I’m suggesting you talk about the dating “landscape” and ask him active questions about his experience dating in your city…you get the point. Friends talk to other friends about how awful it is to be single. If you are moving him to the friend zone, this topic can be brought up. It drops the hint you are not on a date

6. Ring Ring/Type Type: If he calls, do not call him right back. Wait a little bit. This shouldn’t be hard (because you don’t really like him, anyway). If you really liked him, you’d call him back 2.5 seconds after he called and drop everything to do so. However, make sure you DO call him back at some point (Because otherwise, you’re mean). Here’s a good rule of thumb: Watch one Lifetime movie or three of your favorite sitcoms before calling him back. This is a long enough time. Same goes for text messages, emails, FB, Twitter…the list goes on

7. Every Two Weeks+: If he likes you, he will ask you to hang out at least once a week. Do not do that. Every two weeks (plus) is sufficient if you have no interest in dating him. Any more frequent and it will send the wrong message

Hint to dudes: There ARE times she won’t call you/write you back for a long time because she’s genuinely busy/not available. If there is a long time in-between, there is one tell-tale sign if she meant to or not: If she was really tied up, she’ll apologize it took so long to get back to you and give you a reason. For example, “Hey there! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’ve been at the hairdressers/gym/writing a paper, etc. Can I call you back in 20?”

8. Beauty Tone-Down: Find a balance between looking hot-and not-and go with that look. You do not want to wear your best outfit/try out your best lip gloss when you are going out with this guy if you aren’t really into him. Instead, save those clothes/make-up/hair poofing for a guy you really like

9. Daytime Fun for Everyone: Keep nighttime hangouts to a minimum, as many nighttime activities scream “date” to a guy. Instead, try museums, bowling, walks/runs, parades…ok, well maybe not parades, but you see where I’m going with this. Keep weekend hangouts to a minimum/non-existent level, too. A guy hates giving up a weekend night to a woman. Period. If he likes you-and he gives up a weekend night with the boys to take you out-it’s big. It means he picked YOU over going out and finding other women. If you know you don’t like him, end it before it gets to a Friday/Saturday night hang out. It’s only fair

10. Group it Up: Suggest hanging out with other friends-his or yours-when you hang out. If he’s not getting the hint with numbers 1-9 above, this one should help. If you keep suggesting to hang out with other people, it screams friend zone

Ladies, honesty is the best policy. If you’re a few dates in and you aren’t feeling it, it’s always better to be upfront. He’ll understand and respect you for it, promise. If he doesn’t, he’s the bitch, not you. However, if you really can’t bring yourself to tell him, tips 1-10 should help the process along. It may take a bit longer, but he’ll get the hint and move on, as you will too.

Share this blog with your friends and don’t forget to leave your comments. I love hearing from you.

Stuck in the Middle? Exploring Adult Friendships: Part 1

16 Dec

Friends. With so many definitions, how do you really define these people in your life? Sure, friends are people you call on bad days. In fact, they are the same people you call on good days. You laugh together, cry together, and tell each other things you don’t normally tell others. This sounds pretty simple, right? Someone either is your friend, or they’re not.

Unfortunately, as adults, friendships are not so simple. Why? Because the above definition is truly made for friends under the age of 12.

In your 20s and 30s, friendships change. Sometimes they change for the better and sometimes they don’t. If a friendship falls into the latter category, it’s probably not because you got into a physical or verbal fight (both more common during our younger years). Instead, it’s usually life’s fault, throwing roadblocks, challenges, or changes into the friendship neither of you anticipated. Some of these factors include boyfriends/girlfriends, getting married, babies, job changes, moving away, etc. All of these changes sound natural and logical, so why are we consistently disappointed when friendships change? Why can’t we accept the fact people change and thus, subsequent relationships change too?

If only this rationale was so easy to accept.

A wise friend once told me adult friendships fall into three buckets. First, you have your best friends. These people fall in the top-tier of your existence. These are the people you simply can’t live without. Second, you have a middle bucket. This middle bucket includes everyday acquaintances or people who dropped from best friendship bucket. In the latter situation, you may have grown apart, but you like person and sometimes enjoy their company (the happy hour/sometimes dinner friend, if you will). Finally, there is the “non-friend” category. This category includes all “other” people, the people to whom you are – at best – consistently polite (because you aren’t mean) or simply don’t like at all.

In 29 years, I’ve never used these buckets. Honestly, I think everyone is my best friend (I recognize how unrealistic this is, trust me). In fact, I have less than a handful in the “non-friend” category (if I don’t like you, it’s probably because you/I/we were hurt in some way. Thus, you/I/we couldn’t get over it). You could say I thought I was immune to the friend buckets…until recently, as I became increasingly upset over a few (seemling) misconstrued text messages, emails, or phone/in-person conversations.

Low and behold, the problem wasn’t them – it was me…and my all-or-nothing system.

Over the past year, I’ve had many friends move away, get married, have babies, etc. It’s amazing watching all these life changes happen and truly be happy for them in the process. However, as lives change and communication becomes less frequent, some friendships I use to consider “best” don’t feel as “best” anymore. I’m sure many of you are familiar with these feelings: only one person is putting in the effort, one-sided conversation, self-absorption, consistent plan-cancelling, not listening, missing big events, hurt involved, and the list goes on. I’ve been on both sides and neither is fun. You leave these conversations feeling unsatisfied and helpless, trying to understand what went wrong and how to get things back to where they use to be.

Excuse the cheesy winter analogy for a moment, but adult friendships are like snowflakes. They are individual in nature (and very fragile) but if you find the good ones (equal and reciprocal), it’s amazing how beautiful, strong, and powerful they are. However, – without care, tending, and effort – snowflakes are many, fleeting, disheartening, and forgettable. Further, they disintegrate quickly. No matter how many more snowflakes fall, they are unique in nature. You’ll never get the same one twice.

Let us return to this mysterious middle bucket, the bucket housing the acquaintance friends. It is this bucket I have difficulty accepting. Why? Truth be told, if I adopt this bucket into my social set, my friendships are no longer black and white. Instead, these friendships fall into a place of ambiguity and I can no longer hold them to “best friendship” expectations. You guessed it – that also means I need to stop being hurt or disappointed when expectations aren’t met.

I challenge you all to take a long, hard look at your friends. Who are the people you call with exciting news? Who are the people you’d do anything for? Which friendships are equal in effort and appeal? These people are probably your best friends. If you are struggling with a particular friendship, ask yourself why. Is it because you no longer like them? Cut your losses and place them in the “non-friend” bucket. Does your friend never ask about your life? Do they never call you back and/or are always too busy? It may be time to move the friendship to the middle bucket. Are you hurt by something they said or did or, did you hurt them? Ask yourself if you both can get past it. If yes, work it out and forget about it (grudges are toxic). If not, you have two other buckets to work with.

Adult friendships are complicated. The best ones make you feel happy, complete, and supported no matter where life takes you. The others – if not properly managed – can suck the life right out of you. Figure out who you want in your life and put your efforts into these relationships. Carefully scrutinize the others and understand what benefits they bring to the table. If the negatives outweigh the benefits, you need to stop trying and let the relationship take its natural path to another bucket.

What are your thoughts on adult friendships?

Look for Part 2 next week, when I explore what elements make up a fabulous adult best friend. Happy Holidays!

Why I Went to Graduate School

4 Oct

Last night, I received my monthly bill for my graduate studies at NYU. Per usual, I winced, shed a tear, and wrote the check. Going to bed, I asked myself the same question I do every month – why did I go to grad school?

The honest Abe answer? A mix between the delirium of Arizona heat (I lived in Phoenix at the time) and needing career advancement.

It wasn’t like I was going to be a doctor, lawyer, or anything else that required further study. I was going to end up in advertising or marketing – where I started. I chose an M.S. in public relations program so I could merge my existing skill set with one that fine-tuned my writing skills and overall, make me into a more mature, refined individual. I also was moving from Phoenix to New York City, so demanding more money with an M.S. was absolutely part of the plan. I also knew I wanted to teach, and I couldn’t do that with just a B.A. I also wanted to be closer to my family (in the Boston area). Thus, in January 2010, I packed my bags and to University I went.

Almost three years later, I still ponder my decision. 

Let me start with the bennies – I absolutely did merge my existing skill set with a new one and broke the mold by using my PR degree to further my current career path. I’m confident I’m the best writer I can be, thanks to my PR professors. Post-graduation, I also earned an adjunct instructor gig. Out of everything I do on a daily basis, teaching is, by far, my most rewarding endeavor. I am so in love (I’ll expand on this in a future blog post). I also experienced invaluable networking opportunities and made many new friends. The latter points are well-worth the money.

Here’s the bad news: When I looked for a corporate job after grad school, potential employers couldn’t have cared less about my advanced degree. It didn’t affect salary negotiations and for the most part, that pretty diploma was ignored. Further, when it was previously assumed you could get a professor position with a master’s degree, frankly, you can’t. You need a doctorate, and there is no way I’m going back to school unless someone else pays for it. Lastly, the classroom is not real life. Every company has a different feel and style and you’ll have to adapt accordingly. Almost nothing you had on a test will be applicable to the real world. However, in contrast, the relationship skills and work ethic you develop in graduate school are very applicable. You develop both by going outside the standard curriculum.

This latter point is of particular interest, as I’m seeing many students shy away from the more difficult classes and projects. This is a shame as it’s these projects that teach you the ropes of world and I don’t just mean academically. It’s the harder classes and projects that teach you how to work in teams, handle different personalities, and push you to think outside the box. These are the elements of real life. Students are doing themselves a disservice by trying to take the easy way out. If there was any overarching lesson I learned in graduate school, this would be it. 

Is it clear why I went to grad school? No. Did I get everything I needed out of the experience? 80/20. Do I regret my decision? Only when the bill comes. For people thinking about heading to grad school, it’s important you keep your expectations in check. Additionally, as much as you want to live in the now, think about what this degree is going to do for your future. Also, if you do pursue, get the most possible out of it – challenge yourself. You’re not just paying for a piece of paper, you’re paying for the preparation to be the best employee you can be. You need to push yourself to learn material that isn’t comfortable and work with people you don’t like. If you don’t, the real world can be very cruel.

At the end of the day, I’m glad I went to graduate school. Not only did I gain confidence in my abilities, but I went on to do some pretty amazing things. The pretty diploma looks nice hanging, too.