I have a phobia of the phone, don’t have time to write lengthy emails, and my handwriting is so out of practice that signing my rent check each month feels like a chore, so Instant Messenger/GChat is my preferred method of communication (followed by texting, though “in-person interaction” trumps both with certain humanoids). It allows me to keep in touch with friends and do business with colleagues, while multi-tasking on everything else I like to do. When someone tells me they don’t use IM/GChat, I kind of feel like they’re from another planet and I don’t really trust them. (No offense. I mean, I still use the same AOL AIM handle I’ve had for, like, a decade, even though I’ve never had an AOL email address. So the rest of you, join me in the 1990s, please, the water is warm!)
But even those people with whom I IM/GChat on the regular manage to drive me insane sometimes. Here are four bad IM/GChat habits that makes me kind of want to block your ass. Keep reading »
My senior year of college I mentored a group of teen girls at an alternative high school outside of Portland, and it was one of the most powerful and moving experiences I’ve ever had. Not only did I meet my best friend in the process (she was my co-mentor), I saw what an amazing impact we can have on the lives of teens if we just give them a safe space to express themselves. The 5 young women in the group didn’t know each other that well, and they didn’t know my friend and me at all, but when we gathered around a table and asked them to tell us about their lives, the results were absolutely magical. I’ve always believed that since I made it out of adolescence relatively unscathed, the least I can do is offer other young women a little guidance and support along the way. Whether you’re an aunt, a big sister, or a family friend of a teenage girl, you can make a huge difference in that young woman’s life, so I encourage you to reach out and try.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in my years of mentoring. Every girl’s communication style is unique, and every interaction might not be perfect, but remember: every conversation is valuable, and every effort really does make a difference. Keep reading »
The first and only time my husband called me a “nag” invoked a cringe-worthy shudder, followed by the thought, “Am I seriously turning into my mother?!” In my personal catalog of unsavory labels, “nag” occupies a space somewhere between “brownnoser” and “snob,” insults I neither want to be called nor become, yet sting fiercely because they often embody a flicker of truth. No woman aspires to be a nag. Yet the moniker remains synonymous with marriage, as though men across the globe all spat, “Nag!” when the word “Wife” is drawn in those psychological word association tests.
The stereotype that all wives are nags is filed neatly under another catalog of mine, the Marriage Myths List. My favorite examples include “married couples don’t have sex” (really?), “all husbands are under the thumb” (mine’s not), and “new moms inevitably let themselves go” (yes, she’s a model, but has anyone seen Miranda Kerr lately?). Since I am in the business of debunking matrimonial fables, it’s worthwhile to expose the easy and cliché tag for wives who mean well everywhere. Truthfully, nagging should be defined as a breakdown in communication that can characterize any relationship, not just marriage. Keep reading »
It’s a rare man who knows how to deal with an emotional woman. I know that “feelings” scare a lot of dudes and in their fear and perfectly admirable desire to “fix things,” they become inert, inept, or insensitive. I’ll never forget the first time my most serious boyfriend saw me cry. He didn’t say anything at all, he just started to tear up with me. I remember thinking the man was a f**king genius! And I love him! And he should write a guide book for the rest of mankind! Not that I expect every man to cry with me, not at all, I just want them to let me feel without trying to make it stop, to comfort me without making me uncomfortable. But that’s rare. In the midst of an emotional jag, I usually end up reassuring the man that my emotions will soon come to an end and life as they know it will resume. This is why I prefer going to my female friends when I’m upset, they know better than to tell me to “buck up” or something lame like that. Just shut up and pass the tissues. After the jump, some things guys say when we’re emotional that really don’t work and some much better alternatives. Keep reading »
We all felt a special bond with our childhood dogs … well those of us that had them. My apologies to those who didn’t. When I was a kid, I considered my Bichon Frise Mandy my best friend. I don’t know if that’s sweet or sad. Probably sad. Anyhow, I used to have long conversations with her, I even wrote an original song for her called “Yummy Yummy.” Sometimes we would fight. She wouldn’t lick my face for an entire day when I got a stuffed dog and started sleeping with it. I literally had to take the stuffed animal out of my room before she’d pay attention to me again. Good ol’, Mandy. We just got each other.
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Lately we’ve been talking a bit about breakups and the lessons we learn from relationships that have ended — but do men actually get more out of a “failed” relationship than women? A guy friend of mine, let’s call him Adam, says — and we’re both aware that this is generalization — that men are almost always better boyfriends in their next relationship than they were in the one that came before it. Hence the reason why women can sometimes be heard complaining, post-breakup, something along the lines of, “The girl who gets him next is getting all of the benefits of my hard work! He wasn’t this sensitive/emotional mature/considerate when we first started dating — I had to teach him all that! And now some other chick is going to get to enjoy all those things, having no idea that it was my doing. No fair!” C’mon, you know you’ve at least thought something similar about an ex. I know I have! Keep reading »
Psychologist Robert Leahy made a list of reasons why men don’t listen to women. Sure maybe he’s not listening to us because he want us to be rational rather than emotional, but it’s pretty likely that at that point, we’re not listening to him either. While this list is an interesting look at why communication breaks down between the sexes from the male perspective, we thought it would only be fair to make a list of reasons why women tune men out. Check them out after the jump. Why do you stop listening? Share in the comments. Keep reading »
We know that couples, family members, and best friends love to brag about how they share a brain, which results in all that annoying finishing each other’s sentences stuff. Just because they claim to know what the other is thinking, that may not mean they actually understand each other any better than two strangers. A new study says that when two people are very close, communication suffers. Why? Because we assume we get them, whereas with strangers we don’t. Basically our brains get used to another’s language patterns and we become lazy at interpreting what they actually mean, which leads to long-term disagreements. You can see why the divorce rate is so high and family dinners can be so uncomfortable. Humans are delusional idiots. We could probably fix this problem by treating our loved ones like strangers. Wait, that sounds weird. [Telegraph] Keep reading »
Every few years some enterprising publisher knocks off the world’s most famous “how to change yourself to get a man to love you” book, The Rules (which itself knocks off Fascinating Womanhood). We know what condescending “rules” these books teach: men are simple, men are visual creatures, don’t nag them or they turn into little boys, men like to “chase.” The #1 rule is generally a version of be “Put away your penis!”, as Patti Stanger might say.
The 2011 incarnation is The Man Whisperer: A Gentle, Results-Oriented Approach To Communication, a book about “a new method of communication” called (duh) Man Whispering. Penned by “dating experts” Donna Sozio and Samantha Brett, I want to say it’s like The Rules on steroids, but really it’s like The Rules after a few too many Cosmos: Whoever wrote this must have been drunk. Did I say Cosmos? Scratch that. Four Lokos.
So, I bravely fished The Man Whisperer out of the The Frisky’s “books to donate” pile and got reading. Here’s what I learned: Keep reading »