He can’t sit with us!

Jessica M

I hate one of my best friends’ boyfriend.

Well maybe not hate, hate is a strong word.  But I really really REALLY dislike him – to the point where I prefer to not be in the same room as him, and if I am I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a fork than make eye contact with him. I didn’t get a good first impression of him.  He was drunk, and so was she, so I didn’t really hold it against him.  The second

Seriously, stuff stays on the internet FOREVER (photo cred: flickr, Marcelle Grizzelle)

Seriously, stuff stays on the internet FOREVER (photo cred: flickr, Marcelle Grizzelle)

time meeting was less than impressive as well.  And each time afterwards, it continued getting worse and worse.  I won’t go into detail here, no one wants his/her dirty laundry aired on the internet (this shit never goes away), but I do think my smart, beautiful, kind, strong friend is settling.  Big time.

So where do I go from here?  I’m sure talking shit on him with my other girlfriends is counterproductive, but it’s the only way we’ve been able to deal with the situation so far.  A group of us tried telling her how we felt about him (one at a time, in separate conversations) but it was to no avail.  I think for the most part we all told her we’d give him another chance, but I’ve had enough.  Now I’m faced with the question of, should I tell her I hate her boyfriend, or just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow?  She seems happy, but I can feel our friendship unraveling a little more every time I make another excuse to get out of hanging out (when I know he’ll be around).  I’ve been so torn about what to do, I took to trusty ol’ Google to try and figure out what I should do next.  Much to my surprise (or maybe not to surprising) my search string of “should I tell my friend I don’t like her boyfriend” came back with results from places like friendship.com, and gurl.com.  Now both of these website were MY JAM when I was a preteen, but they aren’t really cutting it now.  Is this the proof I needed that my concerns are below my age level?  My friend is a grown ass woman capable of making her own decisions, so should I just let her be?

I know it’s possible to find someone that gets along with your friends.  I’ve never been willing to sacrifice my female friends for my romantic life(seriously, one previous terrible relationship ended after he called my friends “nobodys” – rather than due to one of the many times he cheated on me.  It’s F’ed, I know).  Maybe I’m being too critical or hold my standards too high for friends’ boyfriends?  But I think he should do his damn best to try and impress us ladies, we were here before him, we’ll be here when he isn’t, and like it or not – we’re part of the deal.  Ladies, lady companionship is important!

I’m lucky that I date someone that is so easy to get along and goof with.  Sometimes I worry my friends like my boyfriend more than they like me (we’re all so similar, if I’m crazy about him, I should expect them to love him too).  Just kidding.  Sort of.

photo cred: buzzfeed, NBC

photo cred: buzzfeed, NBC

V-day D-day

Jessica M

Before I met my current boyfriend, I spent 25 years of my life perpetually single, hopping from short fling to dysfunctional fling, to “what the heck is going on here?!” fling, and back again.  And it was fine.  I LOVED being single.  LUURRVED might actually be a better word because I don’t think loved quite cuts it, I enjoyed single life that tremendously (don’t be confused, I LURVE my boyfriend and my new life as part of a duo as well).  That being said, I like to think of myself as a “connoisseur” of single life.  A concierge, a maven, a master, someone who knows what single gal life is really life.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with myself, and it was pretty awesome.  Most days I still consider myself a single gal, even if only in spirit (I am a one man lady).

This time of year is a dreaded time of year for single ladies.  It’s February, the month of

photo via buzzfeed

photo via buzzfeed

love, which means Valentine’s Day is coming up.  I for one have never been a fan of the holiday.  I love hearts, and pink, and chocolate, and puppies, and all other cute things that come along with Valentine’s day.  I loved the fling I had with a waiter around Valentine’s Day 2009 (finally, a college guy that had enough money to buy all my drinks at the bar – because obviously that was important in a partner then, oh the priorities of a 21 year old).  I s  However, I do not love waiting 45 minutes to get a table at a restaurant.  I do not love sitting elbow to elbow in a movie theater.  I do not love hearing about animals that end up in shelters because they were a Valentine’s Day gift that the receiver wasn’t ready for.  I do not love being taken out and spoiled because someone felt OBLIGATED to.  I think that’s most people’s complaint with Valentine’s Day.  You shouldn’t be told to do something nice for your partner, you should just do it.

Anyhow, I digress.  I started this entry with the intention of giving a few pointers on how single gals can enjoy this day (or any day they’re feeling a little lonely, we all get there), despite being surrounded by throngs of cutsie wootsie couples doing cutsie wootsie things.  You can take my advice, I am a single gal maven after all…

1.  Spend it with your pals!  I have some really fond memories of anti-valentine parties with my closest friends (some of whom were in relationships at the time).  Throw a party, go out to dinner, laugh at the couples that are putting so much pressure on having a perfect

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

night, have one too many drinks, and celebrate the importance and power of friendship – it is a relationship after all.  I spent several years celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of my best girlfriends, despite our relationship statuses.  The only reason we stopped is it’s now a two hour commute to see each other.

2.  Watch anti-valentine movies.  My recommendations include Annie Hall, 500 Days of Summer, Blue Valentine, Broken Flowers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Sleepwalk with Me.  Few things will make you feel better on Valentine’s Day than a movie marathon of failed relationships.  Or any horror flick (if that’s more your thing).

3.  Treat yourself girl!  Stuck with a bunch of friends that are going on dates for Valentine’s

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

Day?  No worries.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to grab the current issue of your favorite magazine/load up your favorite blog/pull out a much loved book, fill up the bathtub, turn on your favorite (soothing) Pandora station, light some candles, and kick back.  It may sound cliche (single girl having a bathtub pampering session on Valentine’s Day) but trust me, cliche or not – it’s awesome.

4. Stay up until midnight (or get up early the 15th) then go to the grocery store and buy the discounted candy.  Chocolate on sale… does this really need justified?

There ya have it.  It’s a made up holiday that makes single ladies feel bad about themselves.  Instead of being bummed you don’t have a lover to spend the day with, spend your time celebrating the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one with yourself. :)

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

eight: on thankfulness

jess
I’ve been finding myself in more and more weird adult situations lately. No, I don’t mean adult as in “rated R” but more like those times that make you say “whoa, when did I become and adult?” I’m sure someone else can relate, so lets just run through a few of them.

Thanksgiving is coming and I’ve never made a pie completely from scratch with my great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe on my own before. I’ve decided that this is the year. I’ve also decided to make a turkey for the first time ever-which is actually a surprise for my boyfriend (who, for the sake of this blog, I’m going to start referring to as J to make it easier.) You see, I hate turkey and when we discussed the fact that I never wanted to make a turkey for Thanksgiving he seemed a little sad. So I’m going to test a fantastic recipe this year and if all goes well, maybe I’ll get to make it for J’s family next year (I would say mine, but they don’t like turkey so much either.) For me, it’s funny to think that I actually want to not only make a turkey since it seemed like a “mom” thing to do as a kid, but that I want to do it as a gesture of love.

Today, I went to a department store to look for a pie crust mixer in order to make those pies with my great-grandmother’s fabulous crust recipe. I almost forgot what I went for because all of the other gadgets, do-dads, pots, pans and knife sets completely sidetracked me. I wanted to drain my bank account for all of the pretty things I saw. Since when would I rather spend money on kitchen items than clothing? J and I actually often talk of all the gadgets we want for the kitchen when we move, it’s funny that it’s such an exciting topic for both of us.

Yesterday, while at the bookstore I decided to finally break down and pick out a planner for next year. I spent way too long trying to make the right decision. That one has an unattractive color scheme, this one has ugly fonts and the rest of them were designed in an unappealing manner. As a kid I always hated that we had to use them in school and never understood why my mom would waste money on buying one for herself every year…until I realized that it becomes an almost necessity for some. Picking one out was actually pretty fun, in the end.

Of course, these instances are all in addition to the normal adult issues like paying bills and such. Sometimes these silly things are more of a reminder of being an adult than the serious stuff though. It’s funny to see what toys and things I look forward to most now in comparison to when I was a kid.

BFFs, Best Friends (to) Forget

kari

Not what you thought, huh?

I talk about “people filtering” a lot. This is partially because I have done this and because I know that it happens naturally. We have all done it. There are friends that you don’t talk to that you were friends with in high school. Now, there are friends that you don’t talk that you were friends with in college. Heck, there might be friends that you don’t talk to anymore that there were there for the biggest moments of your life. Now, how do you deal?

It’s not typical during a friendship to put a time limit on it but it is not typical in a friendship to toxic for one another. A friendship is another full-time relationship. It takes time, effort, trust, love, and truth for it to work. When a friendship becomes dishonest, deceitful, and toxic, it’s time to call it quits.

Stop. Don’t make excuses like “well, if this wouldn’t have happened they wouldn’t have done this” or “well, everyone has a bad day. they might just be having a bad month.” There is nothing okay with someone walking all over your and just using you for their own personal gain. That is not a friendship. That is someone being a horrible, terrible, selfish person.

Cutting ties is hard. There are photos that still pop up on Facebook or TimeHop of you and said friend and you think “that’s when it was fun” but then your conscience reminds you of what happened and how long it was happening for and you see that this is all fake. It can also make you sick to your stomach to think of it that way. But, facts are facts.

It gets easier. Each day that goes by you are occupying your time with things that are important and good for you. You can be working on relationships with the good people in your life or finding yourself picking up a new hobby or working out more. And, without even knowing it, you’re fine. You are sleeping each night and waking up each morning without the anxiety of what argument are you going to have with said friend today or what lie are you going to uncover this week. That’s no way to live.

So take all the trash out of your life. Things will clear up and look up. Promise.

The things I haven’t forgiven myself for

ashley

I think as a young adult a lot of us make mistakes. Maybe some of them are about a crazy night out or an opportunity you said no to. Mine are about my relationships. I’ve never had a lot of friends and the ones I kept meant a lot to me. But when I was younger I had this stupid idea in my head that if you didn’t like my overbearing, take it or leave it attitude, then well you didn’t deserve my time. I lost a lot of friends that way. It wasn’t until I lost my best friend that I realized my concern of other people’s happiness was coming out in all the wrong ways. I used my anger as a way for showing concern and frustration towards others. Most people saw me as bossy and hated me for it. I always thought of myself as Tina Fey’s character in “Mean Girls”. I’m a pusher. I push people to do great things with themselves and they don’t like that.

For a while I walked around sad and embarrassed that I couldn’t express myself in a positive manner. I also tried to convince myself that maybe I didn’t need to change at all and all of these people I had confrontations with were just simply immature and unable to handle being an adult. And while the second statement was the main problem, I did realize that I should learn to tone it down if I were to have any new relationships in my life.

It’s been quite some years and I’m still learning how to improve my patience and how to phrase my conversations so that I sound helpful and not condescending. If I have something important to say I usually write it out or go over it in my head a million times so that I can think about how it sounds before approaching that person. I also try to walk away more and be less confrontational. Deep down I know people will make bad decisions whether I care about them or not, but there’s no reason to make myself miserable with worry or frustration when the person obviously has no desire to help themselves.

I’ve managed to find a new best friend that really understands me and is mature enough to not push my buttons. She has the complete opposite temperament and I couldn’t have more respect for her. Unfortunately I haven’t let anyone else really get that close to me. I don’t believe my patience is really that strong enough yet to let someone in and invest my time into a relationship when so many have been a disaster. Sure I would like to be carefree and with tons of friends but I’m just not there. When I learn to recognize who wants my help and who just wants to complain to me I’m sure it’ll be the beginning of another great friendship.

For now, I’m learning to forgive myself for the friendships that ended. I’m learning to let go and realize that even with an apology, those people are not the same people I knew and unhealthy to return to. I do wish I could take back some of my behavior but with each year that passes and the more I grow the more I keep it in the past and just realize that we all do things we regret when we’re young. I shouldn’t keep myself from being happy because of something I did when I was 20. What I did when i was 20 doesn’t define me.

Is there something in your past that you haven’t forgiven yourself for? Is it keeping you from being happy with the present?