Category Archives: Rant

Thoughts on Relationship Advice

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Thoughts on Relationship Advice

“Don’t follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.”

~Joan Rivers

I recently came across a blog written by a twice-divorced single father giving advice on lessons learned from his two failed marriages. In it, he brought up several examples of ways he “blew his marriage” and what he would have done differently if he had a do-over. It was a very heartwarming read, believe it or not. In his blog he acknowledges that he is in no position to give marriage advice, only “how not blow it” advice.

 While he seems well aware of his strengths and weaknesses in the relationship department, many people I’ve encountered in my lifetime are not. People with the most jacked up love lives are often the first ones to tell you what you should do in your relationship. People who habitually find themselves in abusive, dishonest, or unsuccessful relationships still offer up their advice like it’s the key to your happiness. Are they delusional about their own situations or do they just want to pull you down with them?

In some cases, these friends may want you to be single with them. They miss the single, constantly together, party all night, bff they used to have and will therefore see any problem in your relationship as a potential opportunity to get their fun, single friend back. Because, as much as you would like to believe that your friendships don’t change when you find “that one”, they do and often times someone feels left behind.  There are a lot of things my single friends do that I just don’t find fun now that I’m off the market. When I was single, my friends and I used to go clubbing every weekend. I loved the crowd, the music, dancing with guys, and partying until sunrise with my besties.  Five years and one wedding later, I’ll politely pass on most club invitations in favor of a chill night at home with friends and cocktails.

However, not all relationship advice that friends give you is malicious. Sometimes they just don’t know any better. When I was single, I had a friend who would constantly give me bad advice. Every time my boyfriend and I had a disagreement, she would tell me what I should do, which usually consisted of childish game playing or stalker-like snooping (i.e. “Girl, you should key his car!” or “Just wait till he goes to sleep and go through his phone”, or even “Just show up to the party with another guy to get him jealous.”). I don’t believe she was intentionally trying to lead me astray, because she did things like this in her own (often disastrous) relationships. She was trying to help, but if I had listened to her, I might have ended up in her same situation.

 As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I share much less of my relationship details with my friends and family.  I keep my marriage on a need-to-know basis, and about 99% of the time, the only people who need to know are my husband and I. On the occasion I need advice from others, I’m careful to only solicit it from someone who’s in a happy relationship and has successfully made it through the issues we’re facing. My decisions to share the details of my relationship with another person are not taken lightly at all. They are deliberate and not with the intention of venting or trashing my spouse, but rather to get guidance from someone who seems wiser in that department.

 Many times, women are too quick to vent about their spouse’s bad qualities and listen to the advice of their friends without considering the qualifications of the person giving this advice. I always say, before I take any advice from someone, I need to see their “relationship résumé. If someone is unable to maintain a steady, reasonably drama-free relationship, why would I take their advice?  After all, you wouldn’t take investment advice from a homeless person so why are you taking relationship advice from people who can’t get their own love life together?  But people do it every day.

I’m sure you’ll remember a few years back, comedian Steve Harvey came out with the book, Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man giving advice to ladies about how to catch and keep a man. Despite being on his third marriage, having only been in his current marriage since 2007, and having no education or experience in relationship counseling, his books flew off the shelves and thousands of women were taking his advice as gospel without taking into account his qualifications to give said advice. (I must admit, I bought into the hype too).  He appeared on numerous talkshows and even has a radio show in which he gives women relationship advice despite his questionable qualifications to do so.  What we really need is a book written by an old married couple on how to maintain a long-term, healthy relationship, not a twice-divorced comedian.

 I’m not trying to bash anybody.  There’s nothing wrong with you if your relationship resume isn’t the best. It doesn’t make you a bad person.  No one is perfect and there’s nothing wrong if you’re still trying to figure it out.  My relationship resume isn’t perfect either, and sometimes I’m still trying to figure out this whole marriage thing.  Someday I’ll get it, then I’ll be in the position to give advice.  For now, the only advice I can give is to be careful who you seek advice from or their fate might become yours.

This is good advice for any aspect of life.

What was some of the best or worst relationship advice you received? Who do you go to for relationship advice? How much do you tell your friends and family about your relationship?

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B*** Don’t Kill My Vibe

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Bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe
I can feel your energy from two planets away
I got my drink, I got my music
I would share it but today I’m yelling
Bitch don’t kill my vibe, bitch don’t kill my vibe

~Kendrick Lamar

So here’s the all too common scenario: It’s Friday night. It’s been a long week and you and your friends are going out to this new lounge downtown that you’ve heard so much about. You put on your hottest outfit and head out on the town with your besties, excited about what drunken debauchery the night might bring.

Halfway through the night, that one friend (who everyone told you to leave at home) starts chiming in:

“Ugh… these drinks are so weak”,

“This music is giving me a headache”

“There are no attractive guys here”

“Who picked this place anyway?”

“I should have just stayed home.”

Nothing pleases her. She is having a terrible time and is intent on making sure everyone present not only knows it, but feels it as well.  Even though she’s miserable, she would rather sit around with her arms folded and complain than actually do something about it.

You and your friends try to cheer her up: You order her a shot, try to get her to dance, make silly faces at her.  Whatever you have to do to turn her into the fun-loving version of her you had invited and wished had shown up. But, despite your best efforts, the corners of her mouth refuse to budge. Now there is a palpable tension in the air, and all hope of an epic night out with the besties has turned to a pity party because of your friend Debby D. Downer, Queen of the Buzzkills.

_____________

I used a lounge for this illustration, but I’ve encountered people like this in just about every conceivable situation; holiday gatherings, vacations, birthday parties. Just about anywhere a good time could be had, a buzz can be killed by these consistently negative people. I’m not sure what they get from complaining all the time. Maybe they like the attention, or maybe it’s some misery-loves-company type thing.  I don’t know.  All I know is I don’t like “that girl”.

I understand that things don’t always go as planned. The beach house you and your friends rented may not look anything like the website, the club you paid $20 to get into may be overcrowded, the restaurant you went to may be out of crab cakes.  I get that. But complaining doesn’t get you anything but uninvited to the next event.  Negativity is infectious and no one wants to catch it from you.

When things don’t go as planned, there are only three acceptable solutions. You can:

  A) Leave and spare everyone your bitchfest;

  B) Suggest something better for the group to do; or

  C) Just make the best of it and have fun! (My personal fav)

Notice that “sitting around bitching” isn’t one of them.

Some people may consider me to be overly optimistic, but I pride myself in the fact that I can have a good time just about anywhere.  I don’t care if the drinks are overpriced and are served in a glass the size of a thimble, if only 3 people showed up to a birthday party and my ex is one of them, or if it rains every day of my vacation.  I think a fun time can be had by all if you are flexible and have the right frame of mind.  How you, you ask?

  1. Consciously tell yourself “F*ck it!  It’s not what I expected, but I’m going to make the most of it!” 
  2. Remember that a good time is usually 80% about the people around you (unless the people around you suck.  Then skip to number 3).
  3. When embarking on a vacation or evening out, expect the unexpected.  If you prepare yourself for the idea that things may not go exactly as planned ahead of time, it’s less likely to ruin your time when the unfortunate actually happens.  (This is also very important advice when planning a wedding)
  4. Remember that those upsetting moments could easily be the ones that you laugh at and tell stories about years from now (“Hey Sally, remember when we went to Jamaica and a rat the size of a football ran off with your thong.  Hahaha!  Good times …”).
  5. Remember that no one likes a negative person.  You don’t want to be “that guy” who no one wants to invite out.  (e.g. “Don’t invite [insert your name here].  Remember when we were in Antigua last year and s/he spent the whole time complaining about it being too sunny?”)
  6. Finally, if you still aren’t having fun, FAKE IT!  Trust me.  No one will know the difference and you may actually start believing it yourself!

So what do you do when you aren’t having the best time?  How do you deal with constant complainers and negative people?