Ask Garrett anything !
He has over 20 years of corporate sales experience, winning multiple sales awards, and set new records for client retention and satisfaction. Garrett has hosted his own talk-radio program for over 5 years fielding a variety of guests and topics, and his quit witted debut book “Blond Jesus-Isms” have readers all over the world clamoring for more of his insights and inspirations.
For questions, email Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your advice is really good. I live in China and feel lonely. I don’t have any friends here at college. It’s difficult for me to talk to others. How do I make friends?
Solo on Shanghai
Feeling like you don’t have friends and you’re are all alone in the world is probably one of the worst feelings. You may think that you’re too ugly, fat, skinny, tall, short, quiet, loud, gay, straight, curious, creative, unimaginative, smart, dumb – or whatever. You may think these reasons are so obvious to everyone else and that is the reason you are so impossible to be friends with.
We build up perceptions of what makes us so un-likeable to the point we start believing these ridiculous self-fulfilling ideas of such grand proportions in our minds. Most of the time, people are likely thinking the same things about themselves. This internal speak about what makes us so unlikeable drowns out your biggest reasons people would love to be your friend: you!
Too often I get letters from people who have doubts about themselves and the value they bring in their world. Little do they realize the incredible impact they add every single day – starting with simply BEING here. We are our own worst critics and accepting praise on any level can often be difficult for us to receive.
Here’s why I’m excited you don’t have any friends right now:
You choose who you WANT to be friends with! Unlike when you were growing up and your parents made you have friends because of their friends having babies, your friends by family association no longer applies. Did this sink in yet? YOU get to CHOOSE who YOUR new friends are! Maybe you’ll pick the same kinds of friends you had growing up. That’s great.
Maybe you’ll meet completely new people who do or think about things differently! How exciting is this!? What things do YOU like to do? Study? Great! Form a study group for your favorite class. Video games? Great! Find people who like the same games you enjoy. Food? Great! Find people who like the same foods and plan a lunch or dinner!
Let’s make it easy for you – write down 3 things you like to do. Don’t worry if you think it doesn’t sound exciting. Just write down 3 things. I guarantee at least 1 (if not 10 or 100) other students will like at least one of these things. This is where you start. HOW do you make friends, though? Does your school have a newspaper telling you about the upcoming events? Do you see things you would enjoy being part of? Especially for shy people, the HARDEST thing for someone who feels alone is to take that first step. Trust me, I have been there. It can be crippling to walk into a room of strangers you don’t know. You can’t expect to be friends with each. Everyone is busy. Everyone has their own drama in life. Everyone has a full plate. So do you. Keep it simple.
Here’s what I want you to do: pick your favorite class and sit next to someone who’s also sitting by themselves, or someone who looks friendly. Smile and JUST SAY HI. This is the hardest thing for many people to do – including people who are normally very outgoing. Saying “Hi, my name is Garrett…” is vulnerable. It opens you up to the possibility of someone saying something mean like, “Garrett is a dumb name. Go away.” That could happen. Statistically it rarely does.
I work in a business where I encounter strangers every single day. Our business is dependent on making customers love where they shop so they will return multiple times a month to spend their hard earned money on our products. In my community, there are 15 other similar stores selling similar products for nearly the same price. Why should they shop at my store? Because when I see our customers, I smile and ask say, “Hi! Nice to see you today!” The response I get 99.5% of the time is a warm smile back and a “Hi! How are you?” In their busy lives, sometimes this may be the first time today anyone has shared a free smile with them, acknowledged them and shown appreciation for just being there. I love my customers and, now, they love me! It’s wonderful to make new friends each day and, more often than not, they spend more money at my store now than they ever thought they would– simply because I smiled and said hello. It’s easy, fun and doesn’t cost anything. I feel great. The customer feels great. Who doesn’t like to feel great?!
The first time I “had” to do this was hard. I was terrified of rejection. I was sure the customers would run in the other direction. I was afraid they would think I was weird. Well, I am weird, but that’s a completely different subject. I needed this job and being friendly is a vital part of being successful. I had to put my own insecurities away, and simply decide to Just Say Hi.
This same concept applies to you at college. And it will apply to you everywhere else you go in life. Realize you will likely always have to say HELLO first and offer your generous smile before others will. Remember: Smile. Just Say Hi. Have a couple questions ready like; “How are you enjoying this class?” “Do you want to study together for our next exam?” “What is your secret to doing so well in this class?” If the other person is interested, they will answer and open up to you with questions of their own. If they give you a “NO” this is great, too! It means “Next Opportunity” to find someone who will be your friend. The dialogue will start and it can be the beginning of something fun and exciting – or at least help get you through the semester with a study buddy. Also, you also are not required to like everyone you say hello to, either. Perhaps you’ll start a conversation only to realize you have nothing in common, or too many differences.
That’s ok. Remember, there’s another person just one seat away who is probably lonely too, who would genuinely love someone to study with, spend time with outside of class. Trust me now and take the first step. There’s a world of fun people who are waiting for you to give them the OK to like you! They are just as afraid as you are and likely feel as alone. You are very powerful with your smile and hello.
You will give such a gift to those you share it with! You are now empowered with the secret to making friends! Get ready, because you’ll soon be busy with your own study groups, video game parties and trips to your favorite restaurants with people who like you just because of you. If you want even more expert advice, I absolutely love Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence Others.” It’s a must-read for this semester!
Congratulations on your brand new set of friends and let me know how you are doing!
This is very embarrassing! I don’t know how to start, but my boyfriend has really bad breath. I don’t want to kiss him. We have been together for 2 years and the bad breath started right after he lost his job. He’s also put on a bunch of weight. I am not attracted to him. I love him, and I tell him this, but he gets really sad. What if I break up and he falls into a depression? I don’t want to be responsible for this.
You have got one of the biggest problems to ever face mankind. Bad breath. Next to bad body odor, bad breath is one thing I just can’t get past. There are several causes of bad breath which include:
• General oral health
• Eating spicy foods or drinks
• Alcohol • Coffee (coffee breath is the worst!)
• High-sugar diets
• High-protein or Low-carb diets
• Digestive issues
• Dry mouth
• Metabolic disorders
You might be dating Hotty McHotty, but if his breath smells like he ate a giant turd, there’s no way I’d ever want to be planting a wet one on that guy either! So if your guy’s lost his job, is now out of shape and has breath that can melt solid steel, there’s probably a lot going on that’s impacting his ability to keep your interest.
Has he been to a doctor to talk about any of the above? There are opportunities to get help him get back on track. You may want to suggest he make an appointment to get a regular check up. Also, if you haven’t mentioned the bad breath – shame on you! Just think of everyone else who suffers as a result. Do yourself AND him a favor and tell him to suck on some Certs, linger with some Listerine and cozy up to some Colgate before leaving the house! I always chew mint-flavored gum before I go into work and as soon as I eat anything because I totally don’t want to be ‘that guy’ everyone is grossed out by. If nobody’s told him, he may not know! TELL HIM!
Now, let’s get to you and your dilemma. What do you do when you’re no longer attracted to your partner?
The answer depends on what you want for yourself. Do you believe the things happening with your boyfriend are fixable? If so, how much time are you willing to invest to see the process through to help him get the breath and weight under control? 1 week? 1 month? 1 year? What would you do at the end of your timetable if only one of these were fixed? What if neither is fixed to your satisfaction? Conversely, what would happen if he came over tonight and “magically” had great smelling breath and dropped the weight? Would you want to jump his bones? If you don’t, that’s telling for you as well.
Sometimes once someone does something or a particular event occurs in their life, your feelings about the relationship are forever changed. Maybe for the better, or worse. It’s life. It happens. And there’s no going back to the way things were. You mention leaving him and being worried about him going into a depression over it. Listen, if you’re already talking about leaving – you’ve already planted that seed and are nurturing it every day. You’re just looking for an excuse to bail. At the end of the day, this decision should be yours and yours alone. That is also hard to do! But you gotta make the decision on your own!
If you are going to end the relationship, make the decision. Do it quickly. Rip the band-aid off the bad breath. He may be depressed – which his on him, not you. You can only be responsible for you. Y-O-U. You are responsible for your happiness, not for making sure someone else isn’t depressed. You can do it nicely, of course, yet make it firm your decision has been made. Figure out what YOU want to do for yourself first. Then, move quickly to get fresh breath back into your life and back into your mouth.
Oooh lah lah!
I’m 33 and really into this dude who is 21. I’m afraid of what my family and friends will say. How long should I hide my boyfriend from them?
Dear Yes We Do;
It’s 2017. If you’re 33 and this is your first relationship, odds are everyone already knows your gay. They’re more than likely concerned about your comfort factor in sharing this part of your life.
How easy you make it for them to feel around you is likely tied in to how easy you feel about yourself. If you want to make it weird, then everyone will sense it and it will be weird. If you’re cool with it, everyone who’s not living under a rock will also be cool with you, too.
With the holidays fast approaching, it’ll soon be time to make plans that may include travel and social gatherings where taking your “someone special” will mean getting used to spending time outside of the comfort zone of your local gay bar, restaurants or gyms where everyone’s ‘just like you.’
When you first decide to open yourself up and share your life with others, it can be a bit uncomfortable. You’ll probably have 1,001 questions you’re asking yourself like… What will they say? Will they think he’s cute? What about the age difference? What does he do for a living? Why did we wear matching sweaters? Do we hold hands? How much PDA (public displays of affection) can I do before I have an anxiety attack and faint? What is my boyfriend comfortable with? How does he feel about meeting everyone in my family? What is he going to think of my friends? OMG – what they want to know about who’s a top and who’s a bottom? Why do they want to know every single detail about my personal life all of a sudden?!
Stop freaking out.
Remember when you have someone in your family who brings home their new love interest – you ask tons of questions in front of them, and out of earshot. It’s natural. You tend to do that if you care about them. You want to know if that person makes them happy or not. My suggestion if you’re new to being a couple in public: Test the waters. Go out to dinner with a non-gay couple who you haven’t seen in a while. Show off your new beau. See how it goes talking about your new relationship with your friends. Afterwards, talk with each other about what felt right, what you want to work on for next time.
This is a great opportunity to fine-tune your conversation topics you’ll enjoy gabbing about. It’s also a great opportunity to agree ahead of time what topics you’ll never bring up in a social setting again – especially with your family. Think about things you’ll never ever need to hear about your sister’s relationship – those same topics probably they never want to hear about either. Next, head out to a holiday party with your friends and see how that goes. Before you know it, Christmas and New Years will be here and you’ll be home for the holidays.
Home for the holidays?!? Now what?! If you’re traveling and this whole boyfriend thing has the potential to throw them for a loop – plan ahead! Make reservations at a nearby hotel with a flexible 24-hour cancellation policy. Have the talk with your family, “Mom, Dad, I’m bringing someone home who’s more than ‘just a friend’ this year… and we want to sleep in the same room…” You know, these kinds of things. So when the moment of truth happens and you’re ringing their doorbell, you’re met with welcome arms of love and joy. With all of this said, if you’re uncomfortable introducing your hot 21 year old boyfriend to your family and friends, doing it at the holidays when tensions are already high and expectations for perfection are through the roof, you may want to find a happy medium until you’re ready to the next power couple.
If that’s the case, plan ahead now for which events, family gatherings and office parties you’ll be attending. Give your boyfriend plenty of notice that being “a couple” is something you’re working on but the timing isn’t right at the moment. Validate your feelings for him so he knows you’re not giving him the cold shoulder faster than Frosty the Snowman. Make plenty of plans to include him – quiet nights by a roaring fire, moonlit walks along the Huntington Beach pier for the Christmas lights ceremony, or even gift shopping at the mall. Find easy ways to appreciate this time together, so when you’re apart, you’ll quickly have recent memories to bring a smile to your face. And when your Mom asks you, “Honey, what’s that sparkle in your eye?.”
This may be the opening you’ve been waiting for, “Well, I have been meaning to tell you about…”
Happy holidays and keep me posted!
I’m so glad to send this to you anonymously. ‘Im working at a small marketing firm and there are 7 employees i work very hard and spend all my weekends &evenings trying to get extra sales and everyone tells me I’m a kiss-ass. My boss gave me 2 promotions in the past 1.5 years but now no one will talk much to me they all meet for lunch and will exclude me. My hard work is liked by my bosses but not by my coworkers. I have no friends left.
Woeful at Work
Whoa-Ez-Me and the Trail of Tears! You’ve got cause to celebrate. The people who now won’t speak to you are jealous of your hard work, commitment and desire to make a better life for you professionally and personally with the 2 promotions in the last 18 months.
CONGRATULATIONS! You are doing exactly what I would do if in your spot. Trying to do your very best! The people who’s attention you are focused on are rewarding your behaviors and your pocketbook. When you were going to school, did you ever hear anyone say, “Try for a C. That’s good enough. That’ll get you through…”
I’m pretty sure your teachers, mentors and anyone you admired all said the same thing. “Do your best. Be the best you can possibly be!”
The people you work with who are now ignoring you, are likely jealous and fearful that someone goes above and beyond, even when it’s not asked of them. Doing the minimum to get by in life really is the status-quo. The sad thing isn’t that they’re ignoring you. The sad thing is that they think this is okay. Okay to be mediocre. Okay to get by. Okay to do just enough to not get fired.
Anyone who doesn’t subscribe to this mentality is rocking the boat. Who likes boat rockers?
And I’m not talking about Rick Springfield on an all 80’s music cruise to Cabo, either.
These people will be in the same jobs until they die, or until they’re caught sleeping on the job – whichever comes first.
You, on the other hand, are gaining experience, opportunities, hopefully some more money in your paycheck, and networking with change makers who rely upon people who give a crap about what they do. People who go out of their way to go out of their way. Do you realize how rare this is in any job situation? It’s rare to find go-getters. Trust me.
Plus, let’s be real. You’re at a job. You’re not at “Let’s Be BFF’s.” That’s not your job. Your job is to do the role you are assigned by your management, do it the best you can, the most efficient way possible and do it with a smile. THAT is your job.
If you also make friends at work along the way, its a great bonus to receive. Honestly, though, that shouldn’t be the WHY of WHY you are at work. You likely have friends outside of work – these are the people and relationships that you should cultivate if these coworkers aren’t chummy with you. They’re jealous, to be honest. They won’t admit that, but they are jealous of you.
Why waste your time and energy with people who will always be jealous of your successes either now or in the future? They’re showing their true colors for you now – which is a great gift! You know what type of friends these people are going to be when push comes to shove – they aren’t!
Focus on being professional, polite – interact with them as necessary, but don’t feel compelled to make them your friends. That’s often difficult when you think you’re friends with people, then move into management or other roles of responsibility and now these people either report to you or receive direction from you.
Don’t sweat it. If you’re looking for lunch company, bring a good book! Meet a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Go for a walk – which will also help clear your head from the office nonsense! There are lots of options and I’m excited you now realize these are not the people you want to spend your lunches with.
Hey, at this point – ask your bosses if you can join them for lunch. It’s time for your networking to head to the next level. When you get your next promotion, let me know! I want to hear all about it! One last thought, if it gets really bad where you’re at and it becomes time to leave – the new skills you’re earning now will make you a great candidate (for more money) at the next company you move to. You’ll go in at a higher level, and you’ll come in with the respect of your peers and employees for the experience you bring to the table.
Way to go and keep on shining bright!
Everyone sees me as a strong independent person I seem to have my shit together but inside I feel sad and insecure. I’m bisexual and find it hard to tell my wife of 5 years. Actually I haven’t ever said it out loud. Should I continue to live this secret life if not how do I tell people?
There are dozens of studies about who does what with whom behind closed doors and being straight, bi, gay or lesbian are all more normal than you might think. A 2009 study by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found 3.1% of the US population identifies as bi-sexual. So if you want to categorize yourself, there you go. You are officially not alone.
If you like even more statistics, a 2011 study by the Williams Institute finds nearly 11% of Americans (some 25.6 million of us), have had at least some same-sex sexual attraction. Had enough of the stats?
Good. Me too.
Now let’s get to you and what you’re going through. You believe everyone sees you as a strong, independent person. Cool. There are lots of strong, independent straight and LGBT people who are great role models. The days of being “weak” for liking more than one person or gender is really a thing of the past. The fact you recognize you are attracted to more than one person simply makes you human. I’ve always said just because you’re married, doesn’t mean you’re dead. If you find others attractive, you’re normal. You’re alive. Yay.
Telling people is completely up to you, by the way. The only right time is when you feel comfortable. If you have a best friend, you may want to share with them first simply get it off your chest. Sometimes sharing your “secret” aloud to someone else will give you a little steam off the pressure cooker. Try looking yourself in the mirror and saying it to yourself. How does that make you feel? Better? Worse? Empowered? When you say it, do you smile? Frown? How does your body react when you say it out loud? You may be surprised. Take note of how you feel after sharing this with yourself, your friend or, better yet, your wife.
Not knowing your age – being married for 5 years if you’re 30 or 45 or 60 might change how I’d answer your question. However, the end result really doesn’t change the fact you’ve made a commitment to a person and how you want to honor it really is up to you.
Let’s take the gender out of this. Say that your married for 5 years scenario is the same – and your wife is a beautiful blonde. One day you realize you are attracted to red heads. Does that mean you’re going to leave your wife for the next ginger who turns your head? Of course not. You’ve made a commitment to this person to be with her for the rest of your lives.
There are also dozens of “famous” people who have been married who are bi-sexual and when they are with their partner, remain faithful throughout their unions. Again, you are not alone.
If you are at a point where you want to act on your attraction to men, that’s a completely different set of circumstances. Before you do anything with anyone, I encourage you to contact your local LGBT center, or a counselor who works with LGBT issues, and talk about what you’re living. Talk things out and determine what the best course of action for you will be. My hope will be, IF you act on this, you will first have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with your wife and explain what you are feeling and going through inside.
If your tables were turned and your wife came home one day and said, “Honey, I’ve been keeping this secret from you for the last 5 years and I’m now…” How would you feel? Betrayed? Scared? Angry? I doubt you’d be racing to her and give her a warm embrace to celebrate.
I am not a fan of people sneaking around. If you’re feeling guilt and shame now, adding this to the weight on your already heavy shoulders will not improve your situation. If you think being honest with your wife now is “too hard,” try lying and trying to remember which lie you told to whom, so you can keep your stories from getting mixed up. At some point, you will be found out and your situation will be much worse in the long run.
Your homework – TODAY I want you to contact a counselor who specializes in LGBT issues and make an appointment to talk with them. There are trained pro’s in your area who are capable to address this complex topic in much more personalized detail with you. You’ll set yourself on a path to find happiness, instead of drowning in a world of feeling alone. If you don’t know who to call, check with your local LGBT center and ask for a recommendation. They’ll help guide you. Be strong, independent and happy. Inside and out.
Keep me posted on your progress!
I seriously don’t know what to do. I stay connected with a lot of family and friends online. In the last year, I’ve been really shocked at some of the posts and comments made about what’s going on in our country. When I don’t think they can say anything worse, well, they do. How do I deal with seeing this every day? It’s driving me crazy.
Frustrated on Facebook
I hear you – loud and clear. Not that long ago the only thing we’d see on line were pictures of our pets, kids or the meal we were about to gobble up. It was fun to catch up with long-lost friends from high school, old co-workers and the friends you never met but accepted or sent requests to for one reason or another.
And then it happened. No, it wasn’t the last election. It wasn’t the latest weather disaster. It wasn’t even when Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner in the Miss Universe pageant.
The “it” I’m referring to is our newfound freedom in online speech allowing us to say whatever we want without fear of online repercussions. Sometimes we are supported by those who also share our values. Sometimes we read posts that conflict with our inner truth. The distance of the internet between you and your audience, being bold, brash, controversial is easier than ever before.
How many times have you seen a post where someone you once held in high regard starts off on a tirade on a topic that just sounds completely ridiculous? I bet more than once. How many times have you replied back telling them how stupid they are? How many times have you thought your friend has completely lost their mind?
I often wonder if the originator of the post is looking to debate their position on a topic or if they’re just trying to stir the pot?
The timing of our last election created such a divide in our country. And I’m not talking about the political party you subscribe to. Specifically, I’m talking about the people who have gone from “normal” posts about the 3F’s (food, family & friends), to label blazing, name calling, raving rants about a wide variety of topics including politics, religion and how wrong such-n-such is and, well, that’s pretty much it. No solutions. Just name calling. Sometimes opinion is stated as fact while lacking fact content. It’s easier to call someone a name, throw out your opinion and think you’re super-clever.
Except, when people do this, they really aren’t super-clever. Some of the smartest people I know in business, who I’m also connected with on Facebook, for example, posted opinions on the recent Presidential election with some of the most idiotic, nonsensical statements. When I sent them a private message while trying my best to be sensitive in saying, “Do you know what an idiot you sound like?” Some laughed it off. Some didn’t. In the end, it’s their opinion to share and whether or not I like it is not their problem. It’s mine. So if you are seeing a bunch of posts from people and wondering if they’ve lost their damn minds. They probably have. It’s not worth your time or energy to spend convincing others to think your way.
You’re not a Mormon on a mission. You’re just you – trying to have fun on Facebook when you really have better things to do. In the end, you’ve really got 3 choices to make:
• Keep seeing their posts and being frustrated while getting into heated debates which will erode your relationship
• Do nothing and be prepared to never speak to them at next Christmas or at the next backyard bar-b-que Or what I now do…
• Unfollow them. It’s easy. And guess what? They’ll never know you aren’t following every single stupid sentence they write. You’ll also stop feeling compelled to reach through your computer to strangle them. You may even retain whatever glimmer of respect you once held for your Aunt Martha in Michigan who goes off like a firecracker on the 4th of July.
If you take my advice to unfollow them, get ready. You’ll regain your peace of mind. You’ll see more posts you enjoy reading. And you’ll make a better use of your time on social media. When you feel compelled to “check in” – send an email or give them a call. Better yet, go out to lunch or dinner and enjoy spending time with them in person where you’re more likely to get along and have an enjoyable conversation. Keep me posted on your progress, and happy Facebooking!
Help! I want to fall in love. How can I do this with all of today’s technology?
Surprisingly Single, on Snapchat Dear
Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?! Think back 10, 20, 30 or even back to the year 1441 and how technology would shape our lives. In 1441, Gutenberg invented the printing press which forever changed the way we’re read about love.
From beautiful poetry, love letters, romantic stories or even epics like Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, people had opportunities to read about “real love” like they’d only dreamt about while trying to make it through their dreary lives of cobbling shoes and baking breads for local royalty. “How can I find my trueth love, when then books I read tell stories of beautiful people in a land so very far awayeth? The scallywags at the local pub smell, are unkept and belch from their bottoms at night while snoring off the ale!”
Suffering from the “You don’t know how hard we had it” syndrome, think back to not that long ago when you had to walk uphill to and from school, in the snow, in June here in Huntingtong Beach. Generationally, we all complain about why our lots in life are so much harder, more complex, expensive, and, of course, challenged when it comes to finding our one true love. Throw in technology today and our complaints are magnified further. If you’ve screamed, “I’ll never find my Prince Charming now!” Fear not, my friend, you are not alone. Here’s the deal folks. Technology today, with any subject, can be a great thing for you if you use it to your advantage. Likewise, if you go around whining about whatever it is you want to whine about, well, nobody wants to hang around you except other whiny whiners. Blech! So make your choice today! CLAIM IT! How will you use the resources you have available today to finally find love? Let’s take a look at some of the resources you now have.
Dating Apps. Whether it’s Match.com, Christian Mingle, Tinder or Grindr, there are lots of online ways for you to find your dreamboat electronically. If you want to find lasting love, a casual fling or even a booty call – all are just as easy to order as if you’ve upgraded to Amazon Prime with free shipping! That’s the good news. You can quickly input a profile, answer some basic questions and if you’re really eager, pay a fee to start shuffling through other hopefuls out there. Technology has given us this magnificent gift of a wider net of potential partners from our neighborhood and now the world. It’s faster and easier than ever before! With that, we forget as much as we’re sorting through those profiles and pictures, the other 6 billion people in the world are also soring through their filters. It’s speedy. It’s convenient. It’s impersonal. It’s the gift technology has given. How will you embrace it?! When you scroll by the first 3,000 people on whatever site you’re on, and finally find someone who “looks” good from a profile picture and their dating goals seem to match with yours, this is where many people forget where they’re at. “Oh time will finally stand still! Yes! This person I have anonymously selected should like me, no, LOVE me, and we will fall in love and get married because I think they are cute! They are sitting at home, waiting for me to like their profile!”
Whoa! This is where we get off track. The other person is doing the same fast-and-furious scrolling, and IF by chance they, too, find you interesting enough to swipe right, you are one of many possibilities for them as well. Do you remember back in high school, you had a limited number of dating options available to you? It was either your classmates, people you met outside of school – maybe church or your part-time job. If you didn’t meet them there, where would you meet? You wouldn’t! So you picked someone from English and found reasons to find the way they chewed their food with their mouth open to be endearing. Nothing’s changed, except now you have more options. Remember that. You have more options. So does everyone else. The impersonal nature of this reality is both exciting and daunting. Start the conversation. Send a wink. And then start getting these options to work for you. And stop making excuses! We all have the same busy schedules. We all have the same pulls on our energy every day. Find the time. Make the time. Meet for coffee or drinks. Have a lunch for an hour. Grab Happy Hour at the local watering hole. Go to a concert. Plan a hike. Meet them in person and see if there’s any type of spark or connection that will lead to a second date. No complaints! No whining! This is the world where we live! If you think you can’t find anybody – you won’t. If you think you will – you will find lots of people who are interesting to you. Just like when you were in high school and you didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, cell phones or internet to screen your suitors. Make it personal! Get to know someone. IN PERSON!
Technology gives you the option to connect and chat online forever, if you choose. It also gives you the option to make the connection, then meet in person! You’re selecting a mail-order bride from a foreign land! Head out for chips and salsa tonight! I encourage you to make those exciting connections, and then before you’ve typed your entire life history back-and-forth, only to meet 4 months later and realize there aren’t any sparks in person, meet! Often we get excited about our online connections only to realize this was a waste of time. If you’re thinking you’re wasting your time, you are. You’re not getting any younger, so stop wasting your time wasting your time! Speed things up and meet! Imagine the thrill of meeting your date and seeing their eyes sparkle for the first time. Or the gleam of their smile as they laugh at your jokes. Or the way they brush the hair out of their eyes to keep their focus on the story you’re telling. Do you feel your pulse race? A little nervous sweat beading up and rolling down your back? Did you remember to have a breath mint?! Oh my! How exciting your life is now! Now that you’re actually living it! Love can’t be programmed using Snapchat filters. Use technology to your benefit. Then get technology out of the way.
Let me know when you find your next big love!
I just went through a divorce, struggling with being a single man and raising 2 kids on my own. I work so money isn’t an issue balance is. What should i do?
Dear Devoted Dad;
Congratulations on your recent divorce! Way to go for the opportunity to be an excellent single-parent role model for your 2 kids. While more men are able to be the primary parent, you are in a good position economically to make sure things get done.
We’re often led to believe our societies outdated norm that kids require two happy parents who love each other forever and live in a Leave It To Beaver neighborhood in order to raise well-adjusted, happy children who will grow up and make you proud.
The reality is, few relationships really do endure. Fewer yet, retain the youthful passion found early in the relationship. When the bloom wears off of the rose and you find yourself living with someone, you’ve got a mortgage, car payments, and other obligations, coupled with a couple of kids – it’s a tough decision on both parties to end the relationship. While it may be easier to coordinate soccer practice and girl scouts with two parents, two unhappy parents do not a happy home make. I’m a great supporter of divorce when people recognize they can’t make it work out – life is too short to be unhappy.
Now on to your question about balance in your life. What balance do you seek? What’s out of balance? What do you do now?! You’re single and trying to find a work-life balance, so I’ve got to ask you a few questions…
What do you feel is missing in your life? You’ve got a successful, well-paying career. You have two beautiful children to raise. You have a full plate to dine from daily. What are you unhappy with?
Are you thinking it’s time to date again? If so, what’s your dating motivation? Sex? Love? Companionship? Laughter? Someone to take over in the home so you can work more? I tend to have liberal views on pretty much everything, but when it comes to being single with kids and dating, I go back to what Dr. Laura says on the subject – until your kids are 18 and out of the house, you’ve got a full-time commitment to them. If you spend your energy dating other women while your kids are growing up, they are not receiving the best of their dad that they could and should. They’ll receive your attention part-time while you’re out trying to find the next “The One” to complete who you think you want to be.
If your desire to date is so compelling that you just have to do it, a book I read by Dr. Beverly DeAngelis “Are You The One For Me” may be a good start. It’s a good read, solid homework, and a fun ending for you to do as exercises you complete will help you discover what a perfect partner may really look like for you next. You may be shocked! Pleasantly.
Are you trying to find a balance with enough time off of work and the kids?
How many hours a week do you work? 40-50-60-70? What would be a good number, that’s less, for you to put in every week and still make the money you do now? Do you bring your work home with you? When do you “turn off” work once you leave the office? Are you leaving your work cell phone off? Do you ignore work emails starting before you serve your kids dinner? What boundaries do you have in place to give you a clear distinction between your work and home life?
Without knowing what type of balance you’re seeking, I might suggest writing a list of what your perfect life looks like. Some might call it a vision board. Others have it as a placemat list. I write one daily when I get up first thing, and it tends to serve me well. I call it a Gratitude List.
If you believe in God or the Universe or “whatever” include this in your list. Mine looks something like this. At the top of the notebook, I write every morning,
“God and my Angels, I am asking for your help in my life NOW…”
And then I write out what my perfect life looks like:
“I am easily finding balance in my life.”
“I have 2 wonderful, happy, healthy children who love me.”
“I have the right job which gives me the right balance between work and family.”
“I make more than enough to give me the right balance in my life.”
“I am happy with my family.”
“I have the best car in the world!”
“I have a home that’s safe, secure and I can always afford.”
Whatever works for you – but I tend to write about 15-20 things a day which start with I AM or I HAVE statements. Please do NOT write I WANT or I NEED – as that drives a lack in your life. Write as if you’ve already got it right there in your life now. And at the end of the list, I always write out,
“And so it is…now… thank you thank you thank you…”
I put the notebook away, and begin my well-balanced day.
Now, how you choose to use this (or not) to help you find balance is completely up to you. You’re a smart guy, make good money and have a couple of wonderful kids. The power of list writing, or a gratitude list, is magnified by actually doing it.
My challenge to you: Got to the store tonight, get a spiral notebook for $1 with a back to school sale special and a pen you enjoy writing with. Sit down tomorrow morning and commit to do this for 5 minutes every day for 30 days. Every day write a new list. Don’t re-read the days over and over, just start fresh every day as if it were your first Gratitude List.
In the next 30 days, you will see changes in your world that you only dreamed of before. I’m excited for your journey and know you will be raising a couple of great kids who will grow up knowing they’ve got the best dad ever.
I’m getting ready to start my second year of college and am considering getting an internship. I’m active on social media, should I include that information on an application or resume?
Melanie, Internally Optimist
Congratulations on starting your sophomore year. Hopefully, you’re on track with your classes and have a good balance between school, friends, family and other time commitments.
Since you’re getting ready to dip your toe into the working world – getting an internship is an excellent opportunity to check out lots of different career ideas you may be interested in. Here are my Top 5 Do’s & Don’ts for your internship:
Top 5 Do’s:
• Search for an internship in at least 1 field you would not normally consider. Why? You may find that you’ll enjoy the environment or field or people in ways you’d never thought about before.
• Consider using an internship placement service like www.InternMagic.com to help source and narrow internship opportunities you’re interested in
• Once you find an internship you like, and get an interview, prepare a professional resume you can take with you. This will help give the person interviewing you information about you to ask questions about to see if you’re a good candidate for them to consider. It will also allow you to be structured in your thoughts on how you can present yourself to a potential intern provider. If you haven’t had an official job yet – chances are you’ve had other opportunities to show valuable skills like leadership at school or church, teamwork on clubs at school, or being responsible for others when you babysat for your next door neighbor the last 3 years. Ask your parents for ideas on how to “beef up” a resume with credible activities and opportunities you’ve had to shine.
• When speaking, avoid using “um” or “yeah” or similar phrases that are either filler or lazy words. If you’re not sure what to say, it’s always ok to have a few seconds of silence before giving an answer to a question.
• As soon as the interview for your internship is complete, take a moment to write 2-3 things you remember the person saying in the interview. As soon as you get home, write a personalized, hand written thank you note to that person and get it in the mail the same day. Mention the one key thing which stood out in your time. Perhaps something like, “Dear Mr. Smith; Thank you for taking time today to meet with me about the internship at the XYZ Company. You mentioned having people who are self-starters as key to your success. My time finding ways to turn our spare lemons into a lemonade stand my senior year of high school gave me a lot of ideas on how to create opportunities. I look forward to hearing from you, Sincerely Melanie…” When everything else is equal during the interview process, and you write a hand written thank you note… your odds have dramatically improved on receiving the internship. Make hand written thank you cards a priority in your professional career. It will take you places you’d never think possible.
Top 5 Don’ts
• Don’t post pictures or comments on social media you wouldn’t want your mother to read, OR have read aloud in a courtroom. Take down the pictures of you and your friends plastered at Lake Pleasant over Spring Break. Potential intern opportunities (and future employers) are likely going to so searching for you on Facebook, Instagram and everything else that is hip and cool. If you’re spouting wild statements and posing topless, that might not be your best “professional” image you want to have out there for the world to see. They will look. Spend a few hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon going “Delete! Delete! Delete!”
• Don’t include links to your social media unless you are specifically asked for it. Then, I’d weigh their request on how much you want that internship and ask for the WHY of their request.
• Don’t show up late for the interview. If you’re interview is at 10:00 a.m. showing up at 10:00 a.m. is LATE. If you’re interview is at 10:00 a.m., you will plan to arrive a minimum of 10, but not more than 20 minutes early. If you’re earlier than that, sit in the parking lot. Take a walk around the block to walk off any anxiety you may have, and then walk in with your chin held high and eye contact and a smile for everyone you meet.
• Dress appropriately for the company you’re interviewing with. If it’s a hip-cool company, casual slacks and a button down shirt or skirt may work. If you’re interviewing for a law firm, you’re probably looking at wearing your Sunday best. Comb your hair. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Look like you’re fresh and ready to help improve that company’s bottom line objectives. Speaking of which…
• Don’t walk into your interview without knowing at least 3 fun facts about the company. You can quickly research any company prior by going to their ABOUT section on the company website. Spend 10-15 minutes that morning beefing up on their stock price, current news items making headlines for the company, and then look for another interesting fact – perhaps they have 256 locations in Southern California and are the only company to do ABC. Make sure to casually toss that factoid out during your interview and you’ll be a standout.
So Melanie, you are doing the right thing by planning ahead. Start doing your research now and when the time comes, you’ll be ready to dazzle and delight.
Oh, one more thing… It’s great that you follow all of these Do’s and Don’ts, but make sure you also set a FOLLOW UP schedule in place, WRITTEN DOWN on a calendar so you can send a friendly email or make a call the following week (5 working days) after if you haven’t heard back. Your follow up will show that you are interested in them and can follow through on responsibilities. It’s your responsibility to follow up with them!
Good luck and keep me posted.