I’m an anxious person. If I were a stray dog, my temperament would take me so far away from adoption material that the animal shelter employees would probably just pretend I didn’t exist.
When I was in college, my academic adviser and I once bonded a little too strongly over this e-card and the joke that calm people make us even more anxious. Then there was a long silence when we simultaneously realized it wasn’t a joke.
Whereas calm people can date calm people and anxious people can date calm people (they’re kind of like the Type O of monogamy), under no circumstances can anxious people date other anxious people. It takes a calm person to neutralize an anxious person, and it takes a very specific type of person to neutralize me.
I used to pick the most inane fights with my boyfriend. I’m neurotic, high-strung, prone to overreacting, very into hypothetical scenarios, and kind of an undocumented Freudian case study, so this should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. We’ve been together for eight years, and more relevantly, I’m me, so we kind of have our own relationship Rule 34: If it exists, we’ve fought about it. Or rather, I’ve insisted that we fight about it and he’s more or less patiently waited for me to get it together and stop being such a drag.
Whenever we were in the heat of an argument, I would be entirely convinced that everything I spoke was of the utmost truth and wisdom. I was also convinced that he was always wrong, which was logical, as I was obviously right or I wouldn’t have started fighting in the first place. Duh.
After a few years of this (I’m a late bloomer), I took some time to reflect on our relationship. During this time, a flood of fights came back to me, and I struggled to think of a single one that involved any initiation at all on his part. There were none. This isn’t to say he’s never done anything to legitimately upset me or that he sat silently on the couch while I berated him, but he has never started an argument with me, provoked me, or gotten mad at me about something that didn’t warrant some degree of anger. I can’t say the same for myself. Like, not even a little bit.
While these fights were typically meaningless bickering and of no real consequence, they were all so unnecessary because I was being so unnecessary. I wasn’t right. I was the problem.
If any of this sounds embarrassingly familiar, here’s what you need to do before you open your mouth and ruin a perfectly good camping trip or dinner or day or night or week (I’m really sorry about all of those, by the way):
1. First of all, figure out if whatever is on your mind is going to bother you a few days from now. If it’s not, stop. Just stop.
2. Ask yourself what you’re going to get out of this. Peace of mind? An honest answer? A solution? Or are you talk in circles for an hour trying to make an issue out of something that isn’t an issue?
3. If you’re still not sure, get a second opinion. Friends are just therapists who actually like you. They want to be on your side. When they’re not, you’ve probably messed up.
That’s it. These three little things that I imagine the rest of the world is already in on have set me free. And instead of spending my days making him listen to my unwarranted anxiety, we have so much more free time to do the things that really matter. For instance, tonight when he gets home from work, we’re going to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Photo found on http://yamsixteen.com/post/4511722614
Lying in bed with him ? check. My head is nuzzled up on his chest and overlapping in a good way on his neck? Check. I’m super into him? Check. He’s super into me? Check.
Yes, I do tend to cuddle on occasion. I’m not a hardcore cuddler, and if there was a Facebook cuddle group I doubt I’d be interested in joining, but there are a few men who have broken me in, cuddle wise. In those moments I like it. I lose myself for a minute in the comfort that is someone else. Someone who I actually care about (and am willing to see his face that close up), and with someone who cares about me in a whole we are-emotionally-attached-to-each-other-kind-of-way. I know…heavy. I feel calm and cool, until I realize that my hand is awkwardly resting sandwich styles between our bodies. I begin to notice it as the pins and needles initially strike. Now what, I begin to wonder? I suddenly feel awkward about it and spend a moment plotting where I can move it to in a sexy and dignified, so-unobvious kind of way. But there never is one because there is no damn place for that random arm to go. It just sits there limp between us as we lie facing one another. So after thinking about it for some time (some is an understatement), I mention it to my softie of a partner. I almost feel like I have to mention it to break the awkwardness because he so must know it’s as awkward as I do. Certainly he is thinking about my arm. My arm that is now asleep. My arm that I so desperately want to/need to move for my own sanity, yet I don’t want to kill ‘the moment’.
Have you and your arm been stuck in this dreaded position? Or are you perhaps a more lovey-dovey kind of folk and you don’t even notice the random arm caught between the two of you as you gaze into his eyes, which are so extremely close up (almost too extremely close up) to your face? I’m not going to lie…sometimes I get wrapped up in that moment that it’s almost worth keeping my mouth shut about the arm mixed up in a concoction of being half asleep and half in pain, in order to stay in that exact moment. Awww. I know, I know. Let’s not dwell on this.
Has your man complained about his awkward arm, asking you to move off of him mid-cuddle, complaining of pins and needles? Let’s not take this request personally. In this day in age where hooking up is the norm, the cuddle session is few and far between that many ladies see the cuddle as something to take part in with a partner they feel strongly for, after their buzz fades. That means women are opening themselves up to the chance to read into way too many things, and those silent actions are killers. We totally misconstrue stories in our head always expecting the worst. Face it ladies, if he’s cuddling you and you are sober, he’s probably into you. So when he asks you to move off his arm, realize the random all-revved-up-with-no-place-to-go arm has made a come back, get off his arm almost immediately (because God knows he likely waited a long enough time to get up the courage to ruin the moment and ask you to change positions). It’s not you, it’s not him, it’s the trapped arm that still remains an unsolved mystery in the cuddle department of couples everywhere.
Here is my recent post for the super smart USA Today College. If you have not checked them out, they are a must. Recently, I found myself in a random, yet fascinating, conversation at one of my favorite coffee shops (a.k.a. “my office”) on a snowy afternoon. To be honest, conversations with strangers are one of my favorite things on Earth. Knowing you may never see them again allows a pure honesty that you don’t always get with people you see on a day-to-day basis. In this quickly intimate conversation, we began talking about friendships – and he made one of the most thought-provoking statements that I had heard in a long time. “We are represented by our five closest friends.” The comment was almost flippant, but it sent me reeling. I have always been a proponent of “you are who you surround yourself with,” but the simplicity of this utterance made me wonder about my five people – and am I really OK with them representing me? College is an interesting time for friendships and sometimes we end up hanging on to friendships with freshmen dorm roommates and floormates instead of people who support, inspire us and make our days better. Without even realizing it, you might find yourself spending your time talking, studying, eating and socializing with people you don’t have much in common with, let alone even like. Why does this matter – and what does it have to do with dating? Well, everything. Friends impact us in many, many ways. They can affect our mood, confidence, lifestyle choices, social life, schedule, etc. In other words, they are either helping or hurting. So, here are three types of friends who may be keeping you from your best love life. Do any of them sound familiar? Read the rest of the story on USA Today.
I was trying clothes on the other day and I sweat more in a changing station than I do at Lifetime fitness (that shiz is a lot of work). I needed a new outfit for a house party I was (embarrassingly enough) going to. I was tearing off clothes, putting them on, shoving clothes onto racks, getting deodorant all over non-purchased items…). I found a great top at one of my favorite stores in the Mall of America – Franchesca. I spun in many little circles, letting the fabric hit my legs. I fell in love. It was just to flawless and beautiful! But the practical side of my wallet, (the little slit on the outer edge that stores a few one dollar bills from restaurant tips) said no. Brittany, buy lunch today instead. Feed yourself.
So, I went to the next store. A cheaper one. Embarrassingly enough, I went to Old Navy. Once there, I found a simalar outfit I could get in place of the other. I tried it on, sweating my little life away in the dressing room and looked at myself in the mirror. For some reason, wearing the new outfit – made me want the other one more. Once the new fabric was against my legs, I compared it to the other fabric. I compared how my boobs looked in the other fabric, what people would say to me when I was wearing it….and I wanted it all back.
I wanted the dress from Franchesca. Now, after trying something else on – more than ever.
Does the same thing happen in relationships? Does it take one relationship to want another one even more?
I mean, it makes a lot of sense to me. You are given the ample opportunity to compare two relationships by actually trying another one on. Don’t your teeth look whiter when you put nude lipstick on? What about this metaphor? When you eat more spicy food, doesn’t the next food you eat taste bland? Relationships are all stronger (or not stronger) in contrast. We are able to physically compare. It’s effective, hands on, physical, and very experienced. But why does this happen? Do we crave dipping into other relationships to have a go ahead nod that you really enjoyed a recent one? Do we crave dipping into other relationships just to experience things more than we had before? Are we routinely inclined to do so? Why can’t we just figure it out? Why can’t we just openly understand who’s right for us and who’s not? Maybe we want to taste the spicy food first, maybe we want our teeth to look whiter. Does toying with our own minds and others in relationships constitute that?
It’s especially frustrating, because it’s too late to go back. In a way, a recent relationship we failed to understand before is understood better after we visually see and feel a new thing. We are able to compare real elements to other’s – and view another relationship from a place we were unable to before. How is this fair? What makes us feel the need to go through that? I would think my taste buds had a fewer less morals than my own heart and mind.
Is this the way we should go about living? Is it all a waste of time? Maybe the games are not a waste of time. Maybe they let us learn the hard way, but treat us the right way. Maybe we wouldn’t do things the same or act upon things if we didn’t explore this way. If we didn’t “date other people” we wouldn’t get a chance to see the greatness in another good thing.
But what if you have to hurt someone to get to that realization? I know I’ve hurt a few people to get there. I try them on, see they just don’t work – and shamelessly run back to something that didn’t even work out before. However, we probably gave them a lesson in return – as long as we were kind and honest. In retrospect, they got to try you on as well. If they really liked you, their standards for others was heightened. They are able to choose someone else based upon their recent (and pleasant) relationship. Now isn’t that nice? Seeing the bright sliver in the dark hole. If they didn’t like you – even better. They got rid of you (and know not to date anyone with a donut addiction) or whatever the issue may be.
Therefore, I’ve come to a brief realization that relationships are for trying on. They hang up on racks like clothes, you page through them, bust a sweat trying them on and tearing them off…they go on sale – you wear them once. They are crazy expensive, and you just keep going back to the store if they are available on clearance. Essentially, you get what you pay for in relationships. You get cash back or store credit if you return and if you work hard and make enough – you will get what you want in the end. Hopefully, you will try something on, find it is the perfect fit and it’s not even on the clearance rack.
There are books out there advising women that in order to get a man, we should “play hard to get.” I am not quite certain all women are getting the right track when these authors tell them to “play hard to get.” Friends of mine would tell me that if a guy calls to ask them out on a date for the same day, they simply would reply they couldn’t because they already have plans, even if all they have planned for the night is a date with their TV and couch. When I ask them why, they say it is because they don’t want to seem so available and that it served him right to ask them out on the day of.
My response to them: “I understand that it sucks they are asking you out on short notice, but some guys just don’t plan, and if you really like him, why not just go out and see how it goes?
How do you expect for a guy to fall for you if you never spend any time with him?”
I am not trying to make excuses for men because of course I also would like some advance notice, but I understand that men don’t function like women. They tend to be one track minded, while us women are rulers at multi-tasking. Why else do you think a majority of households are still dominated by matriarch reign? My mom worked, cooked, cleaned, and made sure we were properly cared for, while my dad relied on my mom for such matters.
My point is: don’t play games. If you don’t have plans and you want to see him, then see him. I think the point these authors are trying to make is that we should not revolve our lives around a man who comes into it.
Too many times I have witnessed my friends (and I am guilty of having done the same) rearrange their schedule and lives to be more accommodating to his. Keep your dinner dates with your girlfriends, have drinks with your colleagues after work, get to know new people, and have your own life. If you do that, you are naturally “playing hard to get,” and if the guy you like wants you in it, he will compromise and make you a priority.
Photo found on http://weheartit.com/entry/95632439
Today I decided to clean out my Gmail inbox. It was a mighty task. I had nearly 3,000 messages that needed to be sorted through. As I was nearing the end of the massive amounts of e-mail (so refreshing when it was done), I got to some messages that made me nostalgic. They were from when my boyfriend and I had just started dating and I was studying abroad in London. Since we couldn’t just go out together or stay in and rent movies, we had to rely on Skype and e-mail to build a foundation for our new relationship. People thought we were crazy for beginning a relationship right as I was going abroad, but the circumstances actually ended up benefitting us. When you first start dating someone, it’s easy to get so caught up in the physical stuff that you forget to talk and create a closeness between the two of you. When you’re stuck with e-mail and Skype, you have no choice but to get to know each other on a more, shall we say, “intellectual” level. Even though my semester abroad was nearly three years ago, I still cherish the e-mails (and hand-written letters) my boyfriend and I sent each other while I was in London. They’re special and romantic. It’s also fun to re-read what was going on in each of our lives at the time. It’s like reading an old diary, except I don’t have to roll my eyes at my own dramatic tales of boys who don’t return my affections or bitchy girls in math class. After reading these messages, I’ve decided that I’m bringing love letters back. Yeah, my boyfriend and I live together. We also work in the same office. I could walk into the next room, get my boyfriend’s attention and say, “I love you.” But just because you see someone all the time doesn’t mean love letters have to become a thing of the past. In fact, I think they become even more special when you write them even though they’re not necessary. There’s something so unique about knowing that your significant other took the time and care to write a sweet note just for you. If you’re in a relationship and it’s been a while since you took the time to really tell that person what he/she means to you, take five minutes and write it down on paper. Tape it to the bathroom mirror or put it on the steering wheel of his/her car. Slip it into a notebook or planner he/she uses all the time. Leave it somewhere unexpected and fun, but not somewhere where it will get lost. I say this because I once thought I would be cute and fun by leaving a love note tucked under my boyfriend’s windshield. He didn’t see it and drove off and away the note went. Whoops. What do you think about bringing love notes back? Is this something you’d try? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me on my blog Life with Lauren. Photo found on http://ophidiophobic.tumblr.com/post/15982886297
It’s the morning after a night out (and by morning, I mean afternoon). You wake up in a haze, as you place yourself. Instantly, a montage of images from last night creep into your pretty lil’ head. The same head that is aching, might I add. It’s the morning after. You went out last night and promised yourself you’d stick to a two drink maximum policy. But as the second one was coming to a sad and lonely end, you couldn’t resist. What’s one more drink?
Well let me tell you what it is: One more drink is waking up and needing to check your phone in panic, uncertain of who you sent a drunk text to/who you drunk dialed, etc. One more drink is having pictures on your camera (The Hangover style), when you don’t even remember bringing your camera out in the first place. One more drink is pulling a Frank the Tank – sure it tastes so good when it hits your lips – but it doesn’t feel as good when you awake. One more drink is needing to spend a day in bed to recuperate.
I love my bed – especially the day following a night out. I’ve spent many a morning afters in that bed, for hours on end, only leaving to do the basics: get food (to bring to my bed to eat, of course), and washroom visits. But it came with a cost. It has cost me many a days’ where I could have been living my life. I could ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda,’ all these days in a regretful, bitter tone, but I prefer to take the optimists’ way out. Yes, I’ve missed many opportunities to be active and get stuff accomplished on days past. I accept that, and I will move forward knowing that this is something I’d like to change, and am changing, starting today.
How can you possibly go out of your house – let alone get out of your bed – when you feel like absolute head-killing, room-spinning, raccoon-eyed, garbage? Let alone, you can’t seem to scrub that stamp off your hand. I’ll tell you how: They say our behavior directly affects our mood. Rinse off that Debbie Downer hangover in the shower, take some time to do your hair and put on a feel-good outfit, and head out of your house – even just to grab a bite to eat or a Non-Fat Grande Vanilla Latte (with a Venti ice water on the side) from your neighborhood Starbucks. It will get you out of your house, and just going through the motions will make you feel great. This coming from the girl who’s typing these words onto her screen in the corner of Starbucks, hiding between a trendy-looking, messy-hair-hiding fedora. At least I’m not in bed, right?
I’ve run into a few old friends, and have communicated with the outside world. It feels good. I urge you to try it. As you read these words on the screen you may entertain the idea, but the devil over your shoulders will likely chime in ‘Who are you kidding? It’s the morning after. You are not cut out for this.’ Well picture me (fedora and all,) as if I am your life coach. Here I sit, cheering for you to test out this theory. ‘Do it!’ I say, way too enthusiastically for a somber Friday. Running through the actions will make you feel fabulous, and best of all, you won’t look back at your college days in regret, because you’ll know you made the most of them.
Still not convinced? Let me know your hangover go-to tricks to make the morning after not seem like a chore.
OK, I give up. I was talking to a friend at a party last night and he said something that made me want to climb into a dark hole and pretend society was never invented. I may be a little melodramatic, but at least I have a heart of gold… Or something.
So this friend and I were exchanging stories of awkward dates (or in my case, what I didn’t even realize was a date until I was in a ball-gown at a fancy hotel and it was too late, but that’s a story for another day). We got to talking about the dynamics of crushes and all, and he tells me that he’s more the shy type, so if he really likes a girl, he’ll talk about the weather but won’t actually ask her out, for fear of messing things up.
“What if she asks you to hang out sometime?”
“No, I wouldn’t. Definitely not. Because talking about the weather is safe, but if we hang out and something happens, I could say or do something stupid to ruin it and then I’d feel bad. I just don’t want to feel bad, I’d rather be friends.”
I’m not kidding. This happened. It was like something out of a bad psychology class improv game. (Do they play improv games in psych class? Well, they do now.) Personally, I’d rather take the risk and enjoy the thrill, and the clarifying of things that comes along with being open. But who am I to say what’s right?
Clearly this guy is not an alpha male. For one, I was having a lovely conversation with him, so that’s an indicator right there (I seriously can’t deal with alphas). He’s also a self-proclaimed shy guy. And really, he seems like a great catch. But what he said made my brain fall out of my head and run away up the street. He also proceeded to follow it up with an assertion that it makes sense because men are more often the ones who fall in love first in a relationship. This is apparently a scientific fact. And justification for being a total wuss.
Is this real? Is this actually a thing? Are there people who would rather let go of someone they’re really into because it’s less scary than seeing if it could work out? Well, I guess there must be since there are all sorts of people running around out there. It just makes no sense. What’s the point of being friends with someone you’re all giddy for if you’re not going to even try connecting in a more significant and meaningful way? No sense at all. Here, let’s turn it into a math problem, maybe that will help:
Possibly dating awesome person < Irrational fear of emotional response
Ok, no, I’m still lost. And what if the girl reciprocates? Not only would he never find out, but she’ll probably feel bad that he didn’t try and thinks he doesn’t even like her. And then not only does he feel crummy, but she does too. It’s a lose-lose situation. Again, using math:
Having guts > Not having guts.
He did also say, though, that he’s not about the lay, and that he knows sex is an emotional investment. I can admit that’s always a relief to hear. There are decent people out there, even lovely, wonderful ones. So don’t lose hope!
OK. Fine. As someone who’s awkward and shy myself, I should be more understanding. I usually overcompensate by acting boisterous (ok fine, obnoxious), or running off to take photos of the dark night because I’m too nervous when I realize the boy I like wants to kiss me. I did do that. I’m not proud. And I get it. I get that it’s hard, and that risk is hard. I’m sympathetic. It’s just also maddeningly counterproductive.
Apparently a number of these shy boys may actually be more content to stare at you from the safety of the other side of the room because it’s better than legit conversation. Now I’ve started wondering what happens to boys like that. Do they just end up with someone they feel kind of bland about? Do they end up living alone with a dozen cats? Why does the term “cat lady” exist but not “cat gentleman?” Maybe they grow up eventually. They must. But wait, what do we do until then? Date guys over 30? I hope y’all have some grad students at your college.
Photo found on: http://theonlyhope.tumblr.com/page/131
Cuddling in front the fireplace. New Year’s Eve kisses. Mistletoe. Looking around it can feel like a conspiracy that everyone has someone during the holidays EXCEPT you. Considering that this was a time of year that we counted down to as kids, it can be pretty tough when you are single. Whether it is your annoying uncle asking, “where is your boyfriend?” at the family get-together or watching your friends come home talking all about their new college hottie, the holidays can make you feel more lonely than ever. Throw in the cold weather and snow and you might as well hunker down with a cup of eggnog, your blanket and the A Christmas Story marathon on TBS.
BUT what if this year you sat back and looked at the holidays a little differently. What if you realized that this is a season not only of joy and good cheer but also with tons of events to meet people and they are usually in a good mood! It is the time of year to spread love, not hide it under the blanket you are wrapped in on the couch. So lose the Bah Humbug and follow these tips for a fun and festive holiday dating season.
1. Get some holiday life support
Grab your cup of eggnog, blanket and use that down time for good! Write a list of other single friends and acquaintances that are home for the holidays and in the same boat as you. Choose people who are friendly, positive and open to meeting new people. Invite them over and get them on board for Operation Holi-date 2013. Agree to encourage and make each other accountable for getting off your couch and getting out there. Your support team can also help you buy that guy you have been crushing on a small holiday gift or be your wing person as you talk to that barista that makes you laugh every time you order your caramel macchiato.
2. Say yes!
Now that you have your support team in place, embrace all of the great parties and other events during the holiday season. Say yes to all of them. You never know who even your lame cousin is going to have at their holiday function and can always use the excuse that you have another holiday party to jet off too. Have each member of the team pick out one or two other community events that they have always wanted to check out and commit to it. This is also a fantastic time to have a great singles holiday party yourself. It is hard to feel lonely when you are ridiculously busy!
3. Spread holiday cheer
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so take some of your holiday cheer and spread it by volunteering. Even if you don’t have much money, you can still donate your time. Check out the United Way Holiday Wish Book for great opportunities or check in with your local schools, hospital, church or youth center. There are so many places that could use your help during the holidays and what a great way to meet new people!
4. Give a special gift to your favorite person…yourself
Now that you don’t have to spend lots of time and money searching for that “perfect gift” for your significant other, use it get yourself a little something special. I am a firm believer in the happier you are the easier it is to find awesome people to date. So go out there and give yourself a little holiday happy!
5. Reconnect with old friends
This is the perfect time of the year to catch up with people that you haven’t heard from in awhile. Nobody is going to think twice about receiving a holiday card, email or phone call from you. You also never know who else became single recently and might be interested in a reunion.
With your holiday support team, tons of party possibilities and a vacation to an exciting destination, the holidays may now become your favorite time of the year. If nothing else, you always have “A Christmas Story”.
Photo found on http://fuckyeahcutewishes.tumblr.com/post/14459534848