Category: life advice

You’re Probably Not The Exception To The Rule (And That’s Totally Okay)

It seems depressing, but I swear this is actually a great mindset to reduce anxiety and stop overthinking. If something usually happens or someone usually treats people a certain way ... well, that will probably happen with you, too. What a relief! You can turn off your brain and stop be stressed about it!

When I first graduated from college, I interviewed at a Terribly Fancy, Incredibly Impressive Company for an internship position. I’d been warned by no less than three people that the person I’d be interning for was Devil-Wears-Prada awful.

During our interview, she questioned my time spent teaching English in Brazil, saying

“Why would you want to go somewhere so poor and dirty?”

She rolled her eyes at least three times.

She scolded her receptionist for bringing her a Diet Pepsi instead of a Diet Coke.

And when she offered me the internship, I joyfully accepted it.

Why? Because I was convinced that unlike everyone else who worked with her, I’d be the exception to the rule.

I’d be so insanely competent there would be no cause for eye-rolling.

I’d be so immeasurably talented she wouldn’t ask me to fetch her sodas.

I’d be so cool and calm and professional she’d instinctively sense my boundaries and treat me with respect.

Spoiler alert! None of this happened. On my first day she said “Are you trying to not answer the phone?”

On several occasions, I worked 30+ hours. Like, straight. Like, through the night.

She would frequently get so angry she’d refuse to look at me or talk to me and my instructions would have to be passed on through a third party.

Eventually – after months of Sunday night anxiety stomach aches – I left said job.

And because I am was a somewhat naive individual, I spent several more years believing that I would be an exception to pretty much every rule that’s ever existed.

Be ye not so stupid as me.

I’m probably not the exception to the rule. Neither are you & that's totally okay. Click To Tweet

This discovery is both depressing and totally freeing.

It allows you to relax, turn off that annoying part of your brain devoted to over-analyzing, and probably enjoy your life a lot more.

If that friend is usually on time to pick people up from the airport, they’ll probably be waiting for you at the gate.

If your boss generally rewards creative ideas and competence, there’s a good chance you’ll get that bonus.

If your co-worker pulls their weight most of the time, you might actually enjoy that group project.

If your date speaks highly of his mom, he’s probably a passably decent human being.

If your buddy owes money to a bunch of people, he’s probably not going to pay you back. Even if you’ve known him since third grade.

If that cutie cheated on their other partners, they’ll probably cheat on you, too. No matter how loving and supportive and sexy you are.

If your building manager never fixes anything on time for anybody else, they might just ignore your request about the leaking window.

Of course, there are ways to make it slightly more likely that you’re the one shining anomaly. (Be extra kind to your building manager all year round! Make your buddy sign a loan agreement! Probably just don’t date cheaters!)

But you know what’s way easier than that? Making peace with the law of averages and making your choices accordingly.

When have you been the exception to the rule? When have you disappointingly NOT been the exception?

P.S. My problems aren’t your responsibility (and, ahem, probably vice versa)

photo by stefan stafancik // cc

How To Deal When People Disappoint You

What do you do when people disappoint you? How do you cope with disappointment? You don't have to hate them, you can just change your own expectations and behavior! Click through to find out how >>
How do you deal when people disappoint you?

When I was little, I remember thinking that “disappointing people” is something you outgrow. I’d only ever heard someone say “I’m disappointed in you” in childhood punishments. I thoughtBring a grownup is going to be so easy! Nobody’s in charge of you, you get to do what you want all the time and the only people you have to worry about are your friends! And they’re awesome!”

But here’s the thing:

There are plenty of things to worry about in Grownupland (obviously) and one of those are the relationships you have. Relationships of any sort are tricky. Professional relationships, romantic relationships, friendships – they can all be tough.

And eventually, you’re probably bound to meet a few bad apples. Colleagues won’t finish their part of a project. Friends will share that thing you swore them to secrecy on. Romantic interests might cheat or share those saucy photos or say mean things about you after you break up with them.

How do you deal when someone disappoints you or generally acts like a Grade-A Jerk?

When someone has behaved in an eye-rolling or tear-inducing way I say to myself:

'You've shown me who you are. I will adjust my expectations + behavior accordingly.' Click To Tweet

(my internal monologue is much more calm and articulate than my external dialogues.)

What does this mean?

If you cheat on your girlfriend I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to date you.

If you’re consistently late and unreliable I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to refer my clients to you.

If you’re negative and emotionally volatile I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to call you for emotional support.

If you’re unstable when you drink I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to be around you when there’s alcohol involved.

We’re all flawed human beings. I gossip too much. I can be judgmental. I will totally use your shampoo and conditioner when I stay at your house. And we’d all be friendless if we reserved the slots in our social calendar for perfect people.

When someone behaves poorly, you don’t need to hate them with a fiery passion for the rest of your life. You also don’t have to pretend it never happened.

You can protect yourself.

You can opt out of those aspects of that person that are crazy-making.

You get to choose the people you surround yourself with and how you interact with them.

It’s totally, 100% up to you.

How do you deal when someone disappoints you – repeatedly?

P.S. If you need 1-on-1 support or help dealing with disappointing humans, I do that!

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Here’s That Permission You Were Looking For

We’re all clever, self-actualized adults here, right?

Or, perhaps more accurately, we’re all fairly intelligent people who are trying to be ever-so-slightly better than we were yesterday, right?
Even if that self-improvement is limited to eating breakfast BEFORE we check email?

I thought so.

And even though we’re all pretty smart, it’s always good to be reminded of certain things.
By, like, people who aren’t our moms or bosses.

It always feels good to receive permission to do the things we know we should/could be doing.

With that in mind, I’m officially giving myself (and you) permission to:

* throw out that shampoo that makes your hair weird, the jeans that don’t fit, the classic book you’re never going to read

* break up with the lovely, kind, wonderful not-quite-right-for-you person

* go to the party and just drink Diet Coke

* really go for it at work, even if it makes your colleagues roll their eyes and call you a “try hard”

* make your new romantic interest work for it

* make things uncomfortable when someone calls something or someone “retarded” or “gay”

* not fund every single Kickstarter campaign your friends put together

* donate or re-gift that body lotion/candle/decorative tray.  Like, immediately.

* not watch Game of Thrones.  Or have a Twitter account.  Or read Harry Potter.

* quit the job or drop out of the program that’s eating you alive

There.  You’ve got it.  Permission from the internet to go for it.

What are you waiting for permission on? 

photo by martinak15 cc

25 Memory-Making Things To Do This Summer

Looking for things to do this summer? Look no further! Take a peek through this list of summer tips and tricks and you're sure to have a fun, memory-filled summer! >>

There are only 90 official days to summer.  Let’s do fun, amazing, thrilling things, shall we?  Instead of sitting in the air conditioning watching Saved By The Bell reruns. NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT.

25 things to do this summer

1. Swim in a lake (they’re so much more summer-y than pools)

2. Float down a river

3. Go to the races (shopping cart! turtlewiener dog!)

4.  Make popsicles

6. Grill fruit

7. Go commando under that maxi skirt

8. Learn the summer constellations

9. Go to a drive-in movie (I love to do this!)

10. Take an underwater camera to the beach and go crazy

12. Re-read your favorite teen books (I love this series!)

13. Get awesome new sunglasses

14. Volunteer (with kids! or animals!  or art!)

15. Have a brunch picnic by the water – here are some great recipes!

17. Make that awesome salt spray for your hair so you can have sexy beach waves

18. Watch movies in the park (or your own backyard)

19. Wash your car the old fashioned way – like with a sponge and a bucket.  In your driveway.  With some Aerosmith playing on the tape deck.

20. Go to the farmers’ market with $20 in cash and buy things you’ve never eaten before

21. Watch movies from your childhood in the basement (I loved this one!)

22.  Re-fashion those old concert t-shirts

24. Watch a meteor shower

25. Get some awesome temporary tattoos – they make cute, grown-up-y ones now!

Whew!  See?  So much to do!  What are some of the fun things you’re going to do this summer?

photo credit: alex jones // cc

Wisdom of Our Mothers

I’m fairly sure my mom is The Best. (I mean, don’t we all think we’ve got The World’s Best Mom?) She spent her twenties teaching on Native American reservations, skiing in Colorado, and going to Europe to see my dad when he was stationed in Germany and Scotland. Before they got engaged, Mom Von was planning on moving to Australia to teach!

I will truly be proud if I turn into my mom when I (finally) grow up. In honor of Mothers’ Day, I asked my mom and aunts for words of wisdom to share with you guys. 
Here are some of the awesome things they said:
On life
“It’s much better to have an experience than a thing”
– Aunt Louise
“What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another. Be tolerant of everyone’s choices. Just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong or bad…it’s just different.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t save things for special or the future- wear your fancy coat, use your sterling.They should be for your enjoyment and pleasure. Your kids won’t want them when you die.”
– My mom
On happiness
“Happiness is a relative term. You make your own happiness. No one, not even your mother, should have to make it her goal in life to make you happy.”
– My mom
On career 
“Be ware of people who don’t like their job but won’t leave it. We spend so much time working – life’s too short to hate your job.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t expect to start at the top or have the perfect career right away. Be patient and have a long term plan in mind about where you’d like to eventually end up. But also be prepared to have to adjust things and go to “Plan B”.”
– My mom
On relationships 
“Work at them. Stay in touch. Call your cousin on the phone. Send your grandmother a card. You will never ever regret it. When you send a sympathy card (or other kind of card) be sure to write a short personal message.”
– My mom”Watch romance grow in this manner: respect, trust, sincere love. The lusty, amazing sparks of a new relationship may only start a wildfire which not only burns out your heart but all your innards as well.
Maintain your wonderful girlfriend relationships – you will always need those sisters!”
– Aunt Elaine
On style 
“Just be sure that your clothes and hair are clean.”
– My mom
“I know what is my style and color and what makes me comfortable and happy. Of course then there are the 5% of the chances I take that make me go….oh sure, I’ll try that, and I like it. Don’t get stuck in your box.”
– Aunt Louise
On finances 
“Don’t be too proud to take a job at a convenience store or a fast food restaurant.”
– My mom
“Instant gratification isn’t nearly as rewarding as working towards something by saving”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
General advice 
“Be nice to the janitors and other services workers in your apartment building or where your work.”
– My mom
“Don’t put it down, put it away.”
– My grandma
“It is better to “have it” and not “need”it”. Than to “need it” and not “have it”. Whether it is an umbrella or a savings account or anything else.”
– My mom”Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
– Aunt Elaine
What awesome advice has your mom (or a mom-like woman) given you?

When + How To End A Conversation

Trying to brush up on your conversation tips? Feeling a little socially awkward? Exiting conversations can be weirdly hard! This will help >>
This super awesome guest post comes from my girl Kelly of Adulting fame.  She was sweet enough to interview me for the ‘making friends as a grownup’ chapter in her best-selling book!
At least 87 percent of casual, small-talk conversations last too long. The problem here is twofold:
• People are afraid to end the conversation
• “It’s time to end this talk” hints are ignored
This is something lots of people struggle with, so don’t feel bad!
First, do not fear the conversational reaper. All things begin and all things end, including this conversation you are engaged in. And really, chances are that the other person doesn’t want this to go on forever, either.
Can you imagine spending your entire life right there, in that living room, talking talking talking to this person about sports or the mutual friend you have or whatever, both of you growing old and grey and still the conversation flows dully on? No one wants that.
So when you notice the drop-off in the mutual enthusiasm level to below, say, 50 percent, start to convey your intent for things to end by issuing a somewhat final-sounding statement on the topic at hand, followed by “Anyway …”
For example: “No, totally. Tom is the best! Anyway,” and here, you will adopt an expression that conveys many things — sadness that this conversation is coming to an end, gladness that you have met this person, resignation to the finality of what you are about to say — “It has been just wonderful chatting with you.”
You don’t really need to announce whatever it is you’re going to do after this (“I think I’m gonna head to the snack bowl!”) because everyone knows what time it is, and that will sound awkward anyway.

Then, let them acknowledge that they have enjoyed chatting with you, and then say goodbye brightly.

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Kelly! How do you guys get out of conversations once they’ve gone south? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. 16 questions that will make small talk a lot better

photo by jens johnsson // cc