Last year, my aunt wrote to me that I’m going to hell for being gay. What do I say to her at grandpa’s funeral?
I’m sorry for the loss of your grandpa. That’s hard enough without adding the extreme awkwardness of bigotry and hellfire to it!
Fantasy answer: “See you there, you crusty bigot.”
Actual answer: It’s okay to completely keep your distance from her and stick with the family you trust. Imagine she is a stranger or work acquaintance if you must interact with her briefly – express sympathies, keep the topic of conversation on your Grandpa and the loss to the family, try not to get drawn into a lengthy conversation.
If she seeks you out and either tries to perform a close relationship with you (without actually repairing the relationship with an apology) or tries to renew or justify her mean words, try this, “I’m very sad about Grandpa and so sorry for the loss you must be feeling. I’m still very angry about the hurtful letter you sent me last year and we are not friends right now – let’s drop this for now and talk another time when you’re ready to apologize.” Then move away, and remember, she created the awkwardness.
Family doesn’t listen when I say Anxiety Disorder prevents me frm driving. Insists I get license. Am 29 in therapy. Scripts pls.
First step is probably to talk to your therapist specifically about this, and see if they will generate some kind of letter to your family (that can help make it “official”) and/or help you fashion & practice scripts.
Scripts that come to mind for now: “I’m seeking medical help so that I hopefully can drive at some point, but I’m not there yet. It hurts that you don’t believe me, but whether or not you believe me, I still cannot be a safe driver at this time.”
I am crossing all my fingers & toes that you live somewhere with decent public transportation.
You know someone likes you/may want to date you; you’re not sure if you feel the same. How do you figure out if you like them?
One way is to go on a date if they ask you to and see if you enjoy it and want to do it again sometime. Remember: Going on a date doesn’t mean you are agreeing to “feelings” or “a relationship” or “returning their interest at the exact same level.” It’s okay to be undecided and give it time to develop or not.
I’m going to be starting my own business in the next year (excited squees!) What are some good scripts for those well-meaning, advice-pushing folk whom I love but really don’t know what they’re talking about (or may know what they’re talking about, but are not people I wish to discuss my business/financials with)?
How exciting for you!
For the “don’t know what they’re talking about” crowd, try some version of, “Thanks for the tips!” + a subject chance to something they are the expert on.
For example, “Thanks for the tips, Dad! I’m very excited to jump in and get started. By the way, I’ve been thinking about replacing the furnace at my place, what should I look for?“
When the people probably do know what they’re talking about, try this: “Wow, I’d love to pick your brain in detail about this sometime when I’m further along in the process and I’m not in ‘holiday mode’/’having fun mode’/’celebration mode’/’relaxing mode’/’vacation mode’/’calm before the storm’ mode.” You want to communicate “I can tell you have valuable insights/I’m not in the right frame-of-mind to receive these oh-so-valuable insights, let’s wait until I’m not hopped up on holiday punch and can take notes!”
By complimenting people it disarms potential conflict, and saying “thanks I’ll think about it” is literally the fastest & most efficient way to get past any kind of unwanted advice, even if the advice is total shite and the intentions of the person are not good. Since you love these people I think it pays to think of their intrusions as evidence that they are excited for you – reward the excitement with compliments and thanks and channel the firehose of “expertise” away from the present moment.
How to approach academic group work when you think/know you’d do it fine/better on your own.
If you know you’d absorb the material you’re supposed to learn just fine on your own, and you know you can handle the writing and presentation skills involved, then use the project to level up skills group work is purportedly there to teach and model those skills for your partners-in-group-project-heck:
- Delegating/Dividing up tasks
- Consistent communication
- Constructive disagreement & critique
It takes skill & practice to be gentle-but-firm with a teammate who isn’t pulling their weight, like, “Hey, you’ve been missing deadlines and group project meetings and it’s making me stressed that we’re not going to finish on time – what’s your plan for catching up?” or “Hey, you keep vetoing suggestions I make without offering an alternative solution. Can we make a rule that we don’t veto anything without proposing an alternate plan?” or “I have a lot of outside commitments right now, I really need meetings to start and end on time, thanks” or “If we try to run something by you and you don’t respond to any emails or texts within 48 hours, you kind of lose your vote” or “I don’t really understand your take on this, but I want to! Can you walk me through it again?”
I think that 99% of professors know who is really pulling the weight on group projects and who is not and the learning experience is not so much about the specific material or individual excellence as it is preparation for white collar working environments which are like one lifelong group project.
[Eeep, I got interrupted by something I had to take care of during #AwkwardChat, so had to step away.
Let’s finish this.]
I feel like every single person I know is still in shock from the election. How do we support one another, and how do we seek out support, when everyone is exhausted and terrified? The Ring Theory breaks down when everyone is at the center of the crisis at once.
I’m not sure I have the answer to this beyond:
- “Only connect.”
- Don’t try to be perfect or put pressure on yourself to say the exact perfect thing to everyone at all times.
Support each other by spending time together. Support each other by listening, by being kind, by taking a shift to babysit for friends with kids, by throwing your doors open for a friendly pot luck if you can (or going to the pot luck if you’re invited), by giving what material support you can manage to organizations and individuals who will be affected the most. Pick up the phone or open up that Skype window or send that text or email when you have energy to connect. When you need to turtle, say “So sorry, I can’t talk right now” and rest/read escapist literature for a few hours so that you can come back to it. Take care of your own mental health to the extent that you can. Be present with each other and connected to each other to the extent that you can. Make some of the time about activism and grief and anger and some of it about silly jokes and pleasure of each other’s company. Be gentle with yourself and each other.
Way to say to friends, “I know you don’t like my partner of 14 years, I don’t bring them around you, stop sniping about them”?
I think you nailed it with a script right there in your question! When the sniping starts, interrupt it immediately and say, “I know you don’t like X, that’s why I don’t bring them around when I spend time with you. So stop sniping about them when we do hang out. I don’t want to hear it.”
If you want to start with something slightly less confrontational, still interrupt them and try, “Why do you think I’d want to hear this about someone I love?”
It’s okay to be pissed off/emphatic/not having it about this. It’s disrespectful to constantly run down someone’s partner to them. If they continue and insist, end the conversation/hangout and try again (or not) another day.
Favorite scheduling system/to-do list app/other organizational resources to help self-employed person get stuff done?
Ha, as I said on Twitter, this is probably a question for an organized person? I use a pen and a notebook and sometimes (when I remember where I put them) star stickers next to completed items. One of my students has a neat system where she uses a different color pen for each day of notes so it’s easy to see when things were written down, and I think I’m going to adopt that from now on. Besides, interestingly colored pens are pretty.
Family keeps putting you down for having only a BA; thinks you should be over failing last time, doesn’t acknowledge disability.
Consider the possibility that your family are a) dead wrong about you, b) acting like assholes about this, and, c) that the energy you might put into changing their minds about this might be better spent getting the hell away from them. Take all possible steps to create a life for yourself where their opinions matter as little as possible to the choices you make about your life. Those steps could mean seeking out therapy & other support for your disability, moving away from them, spending less time with them, ending conversations where they act like jerks whether that means leaving a room or hanging up a phone or just letting a mean email hang there unanswered. Over time that also means surrounding yourself with people who DO appreciate you and believe in you and who don’t try to throw your real or perceived failures in your face at every turn.
Any tips on telling the difference between self-care and irresponsible avoidance (i.e. “I can’t because brain chemistry” vs. “I don’t wanna because activism is inherently stressful”)?
“Tips” I can ethically give:
- If you know you have issues with brain chemistry that interfere with your ability to do stuff you want to do, treat those issues like the medical issue they are to the full extent that you are able. Do you need counseling? Start the process of finding a counselor or therapist. If you’re not already on meds, try to get some. If you are on some, take them. If you don’t like the ones you’re on, see if you change them up. Take care of yourself so that you are more able to do the stuff you want to do.
- There are some great Twitter threads by former congressional staffers (thanks,@leeflower) on how calling officials in the U.S. is better than emails/postcards, and I really like this one by @sharonw that breaks down exactly what it is like for people who are anxious about calling. Best advice: Focus on *your* elected officials, the call itself is not terribly interactive, the staffers are too busy to really converse with you and nobody is going to argue with you or be mean, think of it like “casting a vote” – your opinion is recorded and everyone moves on with their day.
- There are lots of kinds of activism. Find the thing that you are best set up to do consistently and do that thing. Go at the pace that you can sustain.
- Consider that small actions can be ways of breaking a low mood cycle and that there can be a positive feedback loop from doing what you can.
- You don’t have to be perfect or do it every second for it to count. Just start somewhere, however you can.
I’m “lazy” af. Depressed brain says “just get up & do the thing OH WAIT”. Strategies to confront/sidestep this logic?
See above? Treat depression like the medical issue it is. Try taking baby steps and seeing if you can break the negative feedback loop. Be gentle with yourself. Try again tomorrow.
How do I stop myself from getting too invested too soon when I start dating someone?
- You’re gonna feel what you’re gonna feel, so keep in mind that beating yourself up for having feelings or talking yourself out of your feelings isn’t a good use of your time.
- Pay attention to reciprocity. Does your dating partner do as much of the work of planning dates, initiating communications, expressing feelings, etc. as you? Try to match their level of enthusiasm and see how you feel.
- ‘ware the bubble. It’s tempting to spend all your time and energy on a shiny new partner, but make sure you’re not losing connection with friends and family. You don’t have to see this new dateperson every minute of every day or leave your entire weekend schedule open for them. Get some alone time. Hang out with friends and family. Keep your routines going. The happier you are in your overall life, the better you’ll be able to make good decisions.
That’s all for now. Comments are open to add to suggestions herein!