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#AwkwardFriday Live Chat

Hello!

First a short PSA: My friend Dana Norris is looking for relationship/dating-type questions at Role/Reboot. She is all full up on “How do I convince my wife to have a threesome?” questions, so, don’t send her those – she’s covered it. You can email her at deardana@rolereboot.org.

Second, I’ll be here until noon answering short questions that come in on Patreon or Twitter with the hashtag #AwkwardFriday. No comments for now (can’t keep up with both questions and comments at the same time, we’re all wordy motherfuckers). Question away!

What’s a good quick way to shut up brain weasels (shrieking that I am terrible and that I can’t do anything right ever) while I am at work and trying to function?

If you can, stop what you’re doing and take a 5 minute walk around the office or outside. Get drink of water. Come back to your desk. Make a to-do list with two things on it. 1. What’s the one thing you most need to do today? 2. What’s a quick, possibly cosmetic thing that will take a few minutes but give you a sense of accomplishment and momentum? Do #2 first, cross it off your list and then come back to the other thing. When you’re done with those two things you can call the day “good” – anything else you do is extra credit. See the next question also.

(What are) ways to motivate yourself to Do Basic Stuff (cleaning, self-maintenance, emails) when tired all the time?

Rachel Hoffman at Unf*ck Your Habitat has the best system for this I know, an adaptation of The Pomodoro Method. Set a timer for 20 minutes and do what you can of The Thing. Then take a break for 10 minutes. (If you can only do 10 minutes, do 10 minutes with a 5 minute break). On days when you have more energy, you’ll create some momentum and do a couple of cycles. On days when you have less, do one and call it a victory. Getting started is the hardest part, and the reminder “I only have to do this for a few minutes” can help push past that inertia.

For both #1 and #2, there is some evidence that for some people, the sense of accomplishment and momentum that comes from starting a task is its own positive feedback loop. That can’t magically fix physical tiredness, but it can quiet the feeling of “nothing ever gets done.”

How to talk to friendly acquaintances I think are reasonable but then they suddenly defend Trump and I’m shocked.

I’ve run into this a few times recently and here’s what I have done.

  • End the conversation – sometimes gracefully and sometimes not gracefully. “Um, ok, I have to go…to the bathroom” is graceful, right?”
  • Well, that’s one opinion.Result: Awkward silence, them changing the subject.
  • “Wow, that really surprises me coming from you.” Result: Awkward silence if I’m lucky, emotional vomit about how they have their reasons if I’m unlucky.
  • Wow, that’s not true at all, but I’m interested to know why you feel that.(When they get facts really wrong). Result: They repeat a bunch of stuff they learned on Infoshit or Shitebart, I keep saying ‘but that’s objectively not true, I’m confused as to why it rings so true for you,’ until one of us mercifully ends the conversation, perhaps with a sudden need to use the restroom.
  • “Lots of people didn’t survive, though.” (For the “We survived Reagan and Bush, we can survive this, it’s not that bad” crowd). Result: Awkward silence.
  • “My friends & students are terrified of being deported and I’m probably going to lose the ability to get meaningful health insurance for the forseeable future…forgive me if I can’t see any ‘bright sides.'”  Result: They reassure me that ‘It won’t be that bad’ and I say ‘It already is that bad’ and then one of us mercifully ends the conversation, perhaps with a sudden need to use the restroom.
  • Well, every non-rich non-white non-straight person I know is very concerned about (Issue X), so, that’s enough for me to be very concerned, too.” Result: You know what the result is. Awkward silence. Emergency bathroom break.

What I’m looking for is something short that indicates that I don’t agree as I mentally add this person to my “not to be trusted…about anything” list.

Edited to add:

How to politely ask people to call me by my first name, not a nickname? This is most awkward when it’s in passing.

Be boring and correct them. “I’m Katherine, not Kat.” They’ll say some version of “Oh, I’m sorry” and you’ll all go on with your lives. It’s awkward to correct someone, but it’s even more awkward the longer you let it go on without correcting them, so think of it as doing them a favor by speaking up early and often. If I had a dollar for every time I had to say “Actually, I go by Jennifer, not Jenny” I’d have a lot of dollars. In related news, I wish there was a magic spell that gave transgender and non-binary people money every time they had to correct someone about names and pronouns.

Speaking of which…

Tips for changing my brain’s default pronouns for (a transgender person who has recently come out)? Same name=Same pronoun for my brain, but I’m so happy for them!

What if you wrote out in a journal, longhand, a few paragraphs describing this person, how you know them, the history of how you met, and why you like them so much, using all correct pronouns and their name as appropriate? Like you were describing the history of your friendship in a novel or for a person who’d never met them? It’s a way to practice this without practicing *at them.* I know that actors have good luck doing a physical task along with trying to remember their lines, so I wonder if the physical act of writing can help re-wire you a little bit.

I car share with people whose driving frightens me. It would be draining to not car share. My terrified squeaking when they drive crazily doesn’t seem to deter them, how can I make them drive sensibly :-/

You can’t make anybody do anything. You can say, “Could you please slow down?” or otherwise name the specific behavior you observe (use turn signals, be more careful about cutting people off, pay more attention/don’t be on the phone). Have the conversation when they aren’t driving, and say “You probably don’t realize it because you’re so used to driving, but sometimes you (do specific behaviors) and it really frightens me. Can you (stop doing those things/pay more attention)?

If they don’t listen to you and don’t change the behavior, don’t ride with them anymore. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but if this is about your safety it’s your only play – drive yourself, ride with someone else, use a taxi or public transit or other service. “It would be draining not to car share.” It is draining now, in the form of you being terrified to ride with them.

How do I tell my friend her tone is (probably unknowingly) making me feel dumb/condescended to w/out hurting her?

She might be hurt but you still gotta tell her, so, be direct and kind: “I’m sure you didn’t intend to, but when you (name one specific thing she said and did), it felt like you were talking down to me.”

If she apologizes and is more careful in the future, then, good. If she self-justifies or otherwise gets super-weird about it, it doesn’t cancel out the fact that she was hurting your feelings and needed to be told about it. If she keeps doing it, refer back to the initial conversation. “Remember when I talked to you about being condescending? That right there is what I meant. Can you not?

I’m good at being single, but want to also get good at romantic relationships. How?

If you can make other connections (family, friends, colleagues), if you’re generally a kind and considerate person who pays attention to your own needs and the needs of others, if you’re good at speaking up for the things you want and setting boundaries, if you know yourself sexually (whatever that may look like), if you know yourself and the kind of life you want to have, then you already know what you need to know to be good at romantic relationships when the right person comes along. Time to skip to the practical exam, ie, dating some people and seeing if you can find a person who is worth your time and attention.

The missing stair is a prof and also sponsors my organization. Tips?

  • Believe people when they tell you sketchy stuff about this person.
  • Warn new people about what this person does.
  • Use the buddy system and don’t leave people alone with this person.
  • Set boundaries to the extent you can within the organization, like, “Don’t touch people without permission,” “Don’t make sexual jokes or comments.” Document breaches.
  • Document what you observe and talk to your school’s Title IX office? If you don’t know how to do that, find your most-feminist-prof-with-tenure and start there. (Someone with tenure will be less likely to be subject to having Prof Missing Stair on their tenure committee or in another supervisory role. Ugh, I hate academia right now).
  • See also: Student Affairs, Office of Student Organizations. It’s very likely that your school has extensive codes of conduct for student organizations and if this person is violating those they can be removed from supervising the organization.
  • Is it possible to disband and re-found an alternate organization without this person’s involvement?
  • Remember always: Campus organizations, student organizations, are there to SERVE YOU as part of YOUR EDUCATION. You and your fellow organization members are not there to serve Prof Missing Stair. Harassing students is wrong and illegal. It is okay to “ruin the career of an important man” or whatever – it would be actually awesome if terrorizing and harassing students did fucking ruin more people’s careers.
  • Remember also: If some asshole professor harasses you, s/he is not the only prof you will ever have and not your only route to recommendation letters or your career, etc. Other people will support you and help you, and you are not beholden to this person for anything. Never believe people who say “I alone hold the key to what you want and you have to put up with being harassed to get it.”

Top tip for interrupting a man telling a story he’s sure you care about (you don’t) while remaining professional?

Say “Sorry to interrupt you” + ask a work-related question OR excuse yourself from the vicinity.

“Sorry to interrupt you, but I’m on a deadline right now – can you direct me to [needed work information]?”

“Sorry to interrupt you but I need to excuse myself for a second.” + go to the restsoom/go refill your drink/go do whatever.

We’re taught that interrupting is rude and that we’re never supposed to do it and my friends, THIS IS A TRAP. It’s rude to interrupt all the time, it’s rude to interrupt someone’s story with your own much better story, it’s rude when your conversation partner only wants to talk about their stuff and never your stuff, it’s rude when men constantly interrupt women (but not each other). But sometimes you gotta interrupt people, like, when your friend starts that shame-spiral for the 1,000th time or when your coworker won’t stop listing how many calories are in your lunch food. Stop your colleague, refocus the topic back on work or throw down a smoke bomb and disappear.

That’s all for today. Comments are now open. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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82 comments
  1. Re: name/pronoun changes, I love the “write a paragraph” exercise, and another thing that I like to do is to make sure I’m using a name/pronoun a lot in my internal monologue about a friend. So I’ll try to think about them a lot, and emphasize any new language. “It sure it nice that I can see TONY next week, HE is a great GUY and I’m so happy to have HIS friendship” I honestly think repetition and practice are going to be a huge part of making any new language stick in your mind.
    (and if you slip up – please try to apologize quickly and move on!)

    • PollyQ said:

      Yes, thanks for this suggestion, Jennifer! I have a friend of the family going through a transition, and it’s been surprisingly difficult for me to make my brain get the shift of HIS pronouns, maybe especially since I don’t see HIM that often.

    • S said:

      Yes! That was my question and I love this idea. I’ve been really struggling because I know him through an activity/club and I haven’t seen very much of him since he came out and started his transition. (I basically fell off the map.)

      Especially problematic is that he is using the same stage name for our activity that he used prior to transitioning, which is a fairly feminine name, plus our activity is fairly feminine as well. I’ve gotten it pretty well into my internal monologue but his name still sometimes makes me say she. I don’t want to be that guy. He’s been a great teacher and I have a lot of respect for him and it’s amazing to see how happy he is now. So I just don’t want to accidentally be a dick.

      • Buni said:

        I would say that the very fact you ‘don’t want to accidentally be a dick’ automatically makes you not a dick – you’re aware of the problem, you don’t want to offend, and you’re willing to work / actively working on it. The dick people are the ones missing these steps.

      • I kept my feminine-coded name when I switched to using nonbinary pronouns, because I like my name. I give people a little extra leeway because of that (and also because nonbinary pronouns are new and weird for a lot of folks), at least the first few times. I’d give more leeway if I wanted to be called both “Rose” and “he”. As long as someone is clearly making an effort, and is getting better over time, that’s all I ask.

        One note: if you get it wrong, don’t make a big deal out of having gotten it wrong. Self-flagellation draws attention to a) the person being trans and b) your feelings about how hard it is for you that the person is trans. Just say “whoops, sorry, I meant HE is going to lead our next workshop” and move on.

    • I definitely agree about the internal monologue- if I need material for the internal monologue, especially for a friend who I don’t see IRL very often, I check out their facebook timeline or other social media.

    • Jynnan_Tonnyx said:

      Yes! And for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, DON’T go on and on apologizing! I’m nonbinary, and in the last year or so, I’ve started going by my last name rather than my first (first name is very indicative of my assigned gender, last name can also operate as a gender neutral first name), and I have a few friends that still sometimes slip up and call me the wrong name. Totally understandable, given that these friends have known me for a decade+! But a couple of them will then proceed to virtually prostrate themselves, apologizing over and over and making a big stink about the fuck up. This drives me up the wall! So if it happens, just say sorry, correct yourself, and move on. The lack of a scene will be appreciated!

      • Is it good manners to say once, ‘Hey, I love that you’re doing this and being you, but sometimes my brain lags on the pronoun bit, so if I slip up and say ‘she’ occasionally while it catches up, sorry about that, nothing meant by it?’ Or is that making too much of an issue?

        • PollyQ said:

          I thnk it’s rarely a good idea to offer a preemptive apology, regardless of the subject. Probably best for us to focus on getting it right, and limit the brief apology to when we’re wrong.

    • Eleanor said:

      Whenever I get home after spending time with my friend who now uses non binary pronouns, I tell my cat in great detail about everything they did and said and what I think of them. For me the verbal habit is the hardest to break so I just practise until it comes naturally.

    • pixieish blonde said:

      Write a paragraph sounds like a great exercise. One thing that helped me when a relative came out as trans was to talk about her to myself when I was alone – I’d be in the kitchen doing dishes, and just start going with the same random stream of consciousness flow – “It was great seeing JANE and getting a chance to catch up with HER. I forgot to ask HER if SHE is still playing the clarinet…” Maybe it’s because I tend to be an audio learner, but saying everything aloud really helped me get things straightened out in my head. I also think it just helped with training my speech – I got used to saying the correct name and pronouns aloud very quickly. I did the internal monologue thing as well, but I think saying everything out loud was helpful for me.

      And for if and when a mistake is made: apologize and acknowledge, correct and continue. “So, Joe – I’m sorry. Jane. Last weekend, Jane, when you went to Local Event, did you have any trouble finding parking?” Don’t make a big fuss about it, but don’t ignore it either.

  2. For the car sharing one, I have had better luck with “I am a bad passenger” than with “you are a bad driver”. So I would say “I’m sorry, but I tend to be a nervous passenger. Would you please accomodate me by … doing whatever …”. It makes people less defensive, it’s a lot harder for them to argue with.

    • Lynn said:

      Maybe they’ve already tried this, too, but if the asker is in one of those carpools where everyone always sits in the same place, maybe try moving around and see if it helps? My mom is a nervous passenger and after the time where her yelping to look out for the red light …made me run a red light because she startled me, we agreed she would sit in the back when I am driving, because it is easier for her to not react to things like she would if she was driving.

      • mehting said:

        +1 to moving if they’ve not already tried. I’m a nervous passenger and always try to call backseat (preferably driver’s side, you see less) instead of shotgun because it helps me a lot.

    • johann7 said:

      Seconding this framing – I had flashbacks triggered by specific driving behaviors and situations for about a year and a half after a really bad car crash where someone hit me head-on doing about 35mph while I was on my bike, and framing the accommodations I needed as something specific to me rather than a commentary on others’ driving worked pretty well. I still occasionally need to do this with extremely aggressive or reckless drivers; I haven’t had flashbacks in a long time, but certain driving behaviors still make my anxiety level spike.

    • Disclaimer: I am a gearhead/car geek/automotive nutcase that grew up with and learned to drive from car-geek parents who actually did a bit of amateur motorsports (SCCA, PCA back in the dark ages).

      I’m going to take the unpopular position here that this is more than a social interaction issue.

      This, at least for the person asking, is a *safety* issue. How severe of one isn’t clear.

      I’m assuming the questioner is in the US (or a country with similar licensing/driving standards). Which is to say that a very large number of drivers have driving skills so poor they really shouldn’t be driving.

      I’m going to give the questioner the benefit of the doubt here in assuming that the other drivers really are engaging in substantially hazardous driving habits. Questioner, you’re not going to like this, but ultimately you’re going to have to decide just how much you’re willing to 1.) potentially put yourself at risk with the other drivers; and 2.) tolerate the stress that comes from riding with them. Just how dangerous is their driving?

      You say it’d be draining not to car-share, but just how stressful and dangerous is it to do so? There’s probably not a good answer here.

      There is no good or really effective way to get others to change their driving habits if they do not want or see no need to change them.

      What will happen is you will get told you’re overreacting/need to calm down or relax. Their driving will not change a whit.

      I have actively been part of campaigns for better driver training & stricter licensing for nearly 20 years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that most drivers believe their skills are above average.

      You’re just going to have to figure out what you can tolerate or handle the best. I either volunteer to drive or simply stay home anymore. It sucks, but trying to ride with others has proven to be similar to discussing politics & religion: best avoided with anyone you want to stay friends with.

  3. TootsNYC said:

    “It would be draining not to car share.” It is draining now, in the form of you being terrified to ride with them.

    In a nutshell, this is what I think of when I think of Captain Awkward.

    Letter Writer: “It would be awkward if I told them to stop doing X.” Captain Awkward: “It’s awkward now–it’s just that it’s awkward for YOU, instead of being awkward for THEM. It’s OK to make it awkward for them–they’re the ones who deserve it.”

  4. Nelalvai said:

    Hey, I wrote the missing stair question but I think I misused the term. The prof isn’t a sexual predator (as far as I know), he’s just really mean and rude. Like, he once said “you’re very pretty for a black girl”. During class once he chewed me out in front of everyone, it was all I could do not to start crying. I called him a missing stair because conversations about him usually go like this:
    Other person: “Awful thing he did/does/will do!”
    Me: “You know that’s not actually okay?”
    Other person: “Oh but it’s not actually that bad, he’s so helpful to the organization, you just have to be careful and not do [thing that is totally normal]”
    Didn’t mean to make him out as a sexual predator. Sorry bout that.

    • Sibley said:

      Sometimes I would love the ability to do a data download directly into someone’s brain to teach them appropriate behavior… or just force them to experience what they’re putting others through.

    • Emma said:

      I’ve worked at a university for years and “you’re very pretty for a black girl” is definitely sexual harrassment, a violation of title IX, and against the code of conduct for professors and anyone working with students. A lot of universities have been hiring people specifically to deal with title IX and inclusion issues in the last couple years. Try googling your university name + title IX. If that role exists, their entire job is to deal with practices discriminating on the basis of real or perceived gender.

      If that role doesn’t exist, you can also try a diversity office or your dean of students. If you’re not taken seriously by the first administrator you talk to, try another one. We all hope that university administrators care about their students’ well being, but sadly they don’t all. What many of them do care about is not getting written up in the chronicle of higher education, sued, or both. This guy is begging for bad press and that’s not going to play well for him.

    • I’m so sorry that you had to hear him say, “You’re very pretty for a black girl.” Racist (and sexist — why is he commenting on whether students are pretty, wtf!) assholes should never be teaching or supervising students.

      You do have the right to report this to someone at your university if you want to, and any consequences that result for him are his fault, not yours. I think the advice to talk to a tenured feminist professor on your campus is good advice.

    • Yolanda B. Cool said:

      Oh, wow, his behavior is gross, even if it’s not sexually predatory. I’m sorry that happened to you.

      I still think the Captain’s advice stands (seriously, document_everything_), but also, if you know one or two other students in the organization or your major who recognize that this professor is a steaming pile of nope, it might be helpful to cultivate a mutual support system.

      Never underestimate the power of having someone who you can count on to say “Yup, that is inappropriate and weird and WTactualF?!” when you’re dealing with someone who disregards boundaries, social norms, and the well-being of others. Even one person can be a life raft.

    • JenniferP said:

      I think his behavior is still gross and you can report it if you want to. It’s right at the intersection of sexist and racist and REALLY inappropriate.

      Professors should not comment on students’ physical appearance and attributes. I’ve *maybe* said “You look very spiffy today” to someone who came to class in a suit…like…once ever.

    • johann7 said:

      Like, he once said “you’re very pretty for a black girl”.

      I count 2 Title IX violations in a single sentence – racist AND sexist harassment! Assuming that you’re in the USA (where our laws, like Title IX, apply), document and report to your Title IX coordinator (this position must exist, by law, at any institution receiving federal funding). Your university may also have a separate student grievance process, and you should also avail yourself of that if he engages in other poor behavior that doesn’t specifically involve protected statuses (race, color, sex, national origin, religion, pregnancy status, citizenship status, familial status, disability, old age, veteran status, or genetic markers).

      • bleh said:

        Just because the position exists doesn’t mean the person in it is actually an ally. Some Unis (my former employer) rather than hire someone give the title to someone already in a another position and someone hostile to the intent of Title IX. Ask around – at Women and Gender Studies or a known feminist, tenured prof as CA suggested- first.

        • johann7 said:

          That may be the case; if it is, the university is not actually complying with Title IX, though, sadly, under the current administration, the feds are not likely to step in and enforce the law if violations are reported. I’m a fan of people talking to faculty in Women’s/Gender Studies programs or with a long feminist track record, period, so I’m not going to discourage that, and they may well have valuable information on what to expect at any particular institution. Irrespective of that, any institutional response is almost certainly going to have to go through whatever process is in place for Title IX compliance (real or feigned); other faculty are unlikely to be able to do anything directly outside of that process, so if the institution isn’t really enforcing Title IX compliance, then a lawsuit is probably the only way to motivate a change or seek any kind of redress.

    • Other person: “Oh but it’s not actually that bad, he’s so helpful to the organization, you just have to be careful and not do [thing that is totally normal]”

      That sounds super missing-stair-y to me – I don’t see that term as specifically about sexual predators so much as about bad behaviour that everyone just sort of quietly works around and pretends is normal so they don’t have to have a big scary confrontation with the missing stair about how it’s not okay to act like a total asshole.

      • espridecorps said:

        Agreed. The Venn Diagram of Missing Stair and Creepy Person overlaps a good bit, but they are separate things.
        A person’s temper or fragility can make them a Missing Stair without being sexual.

        • WilhelminaMildew said:

          Was going to post essentially the same. OP’s description sounds *exactly* like what a missing stair is.

    • larz h said:

      I see other people have mentioned finding the Title IX office at your school (assuming you’re in the US). I just met with people from that office at my school (I’m an adjunct) to report a creepy coworker. From what they told me about their process, I believe there are two options: one, I decide I want them to pursue an investigation, which involves them informing him of the claims and who made them (ugh), and two, I decide I am not willing to go up against his whole rich family of entitled assholes, but they have my comments, so if anyone else ever has a similar problem with him, it builds into a case of sorts.

      I would think just that comment would be enough to merit a formal complaint, but hoo boy, do I understand not wanting to expose yourself to the potential retaliation–which, if he commits, will land him in trouble with the school, but they can’t PREVENT it–so do what you feel safe doing.

  5. sarah said:

    For the car share situation — is it possible for you to be the one who drives in situations where both you and the bad driver are in the car together? You could still be sharing the car/ride, but you’d have more control over the driving.

    • Carshare LW said:

      Hi Sarah, unfortunately not. I have mobility issues whereby it would become detrimental to my health if I was driving every day, hence partly why I car share. We have a pretty decent agreement of who drives each day to share the driving fairly over all the car sharers

  6. car sharing: the one useful tip I ever gained from police talks at school was that if someone is speeding and won’t slow down you should say ‘I think I’m going to be sick’ and then they’ll slow down because who wants vomit in their car?

    • SamSuffit said:

      This always works for me!

  7. Biancasnoozes said:

    Seems like the bathroom is in danger of becoming a very crowded place.

    • Cora said:

      Yes, but it would be crowded by some very intelligent, confident and self-respecting people. Sounds like fun to me!

  8. Antigone10 said:

    Any thoughts on when the Trump support is online (or just generally racist), like facebook? My political group says that we should be pushing back against racism when we see it, but whenever I post anything like the top scripts it devolves into a lot of slurs and bad grammar (generally not from the person, but from the person’s extended friend group). Unfriend and move on with my life? Keep going to the bitter end? Three comments and then be done?

    • S said:

      Research does not indicate that arguing about racism, or people’s other entrenched beliefs is likely to change those beliefs. In fact confronting people and making them defend their opinions likely only entrenches them.

      However if you can get them to feel more empathy for whatever group they are being horrible to that is good.

      My approach is generally to present some facts, or other information that I think they should have, and then LEAVE THE CONVERSATION. (Use that “unfollow post/dont’ see notifications” option. You don’t need to subject yourself to an endless barrage of stupidity. But you can at least say something to people so they know that their opinions are not ok.

      If it’s on my own post I will delete comments that I find racist or offensive or factually incorrect.

      • TO_Ont said:

        ‘Research does not indicate that arguing about racism, or people’s other entrenched beliefs is likely to change those beliefs. In fact confronting people and making them defend their opinions likely only entrenches them”

        Yeah, I’ve read that too, and it really fits with my personal experience. Depending on the person, sometimes there are productive ways to engage them (responding to their fears, or sharing a personal concern of your own without actually confronting them…sometimes it can plant a seed…).

        Of course, sometimes you know it’s not going to go anywhere, but you just want to speak up for the sake of other people listening or reading, so they know that people support them and that the negative views they’re hearing aren’t silently accepted by others around them. In that situation I think keep it brief and then leave and don’t come back is probably best.

      • johann7 said:

        Socratic Method (basically asking guiding/leading questions, for anyone not familiar) is generally the most effective tactic if one does want to engage with other people, becasue instead of arguing the person out of a point of view or directly challenging their beliefs, one can question contradictions in zir views to get the person to challenge (and possibly change) zir own views. Basically, one wants to draw the cognitive dissonance out into the open where the person if forced to confront and resolve it; people may still respond with denial or walk away from the conversation entirely, but overall, leading people to change their own views is more effective than trying to force a change by assertion (even by assertion of empirical fact). Emotional appeals are also generally more persuasive than logical appeals; one can prompt them by trying to evoke empathy (for people with empathy responses in the normal range) by prodding someone to imagine zirself in another’s place, or by making appeals to the internalized values of the person one is trying to persuade.

        TO_Ont covers some good reasons to speak up even when the likelihood of changing someone’s mind is low.

        • JenniferP said:

          This is all assuming that the thing we want to do in a momentary passing conversation with Trump voters is “invest time in changing someone’s mind” vs. Communicate disagreement & GTFO out of the conversation.

          • johann7 said:

            Yup, hence my use of the qualifier “if one does want to engage with other people”. 😉

    • neverjaunty said:

      Unfriend and move on. Life is too short. And while this is the extended friend group, over many years, I have found that when Bob is pretty cool but has this one racist friend, eventually I find out Bob is kind of an asshole deep down.

    • blocking the relevant offender is also an option. I’ve done that with a couple of people when they have spouted truly horrific opinions.

  9. Muffin said:

    For the reader practicing pronouns: an additional way to get good at this is to have a convo with another mutual friend (to whom this person is out already, that’s important!), in which you both talk about this person but not TO them. That way this person won’t be hurt if you mess up, and you can practice in an accountable space while also not feeling like messing up is the end of the world.

    BONUS ROUND: it’s especially great if you can have a conversation about this friend which is not *about* their gender. The more you can get used to using their pronouns to talk about boring, every day stuff like whether their car got towed or where you’re all going to have brunch together, the easier it will be to remember those pronouns in other everyday contexts.

    DOUBLE BONUS ROUND: If you do find that you mess up in front of your friend, the awesomest thing that you can do is not make it about you. Just apologize, promise to do better in the future, and to take your cues from your friend about whether it’s cool to move to a new topic. Chances are your friend will be glad that you’re making an effort and even more glad that you’re not Making It About You.

  10. I’ve found with people I thought were reasonable but suddenly start supporting Trump it can be very useful to be short and sweet.

    “I don’t like Trump.”

    “I don’t like the way Trump talks about women.”

    “I don’t like how Trump makes fun of disabled people/people of color/is treating LGTBA folk/talks about reporters/people he doesn’t agree with”.

    “I don’t want to talk about politics with you anymore.”

    I have had some success debating my dad, who is a staunch conservative, mostly by showing him that he knows a liberal, and they’re not straw people, they have legitimate points and have some common ground with his political points.

    • girl in the stix said:

      Sometimes I don’t even mention Trump. I just ask them why they like supporting rich people so much.

  11. dudedodger said:

    RE: Tips for changing my brain’s default pronouns for (a transgender person who has recently come out)? Same name=Same pronoun for my brain, but I’m so happy for them!

    I had a friend who changed her name and I had difficulty remembering even though, like you, I was so happy for her! So what I did was go into my phone and changed her name to NEW NAME (OLD NAME WAS THIS) LAST NAME so that every time she sent me a text, I recognized her while immediately making that connection of, “oh, right! OLD NAME is actually NEW NAME!” It was, honestly, just a way to practice without having to hurt her by carelessly misnaming her to her face. I removed the OLD NAME WAS THIS within a few weeks and I haven’t used the wrong name since.

    You could do the same in your contacts list to gift yourself a nice little reminder every time you interact: FRIEND’S SAME NAME (CORRECT PRONOUNS). Then every time you and your friend communicate, you’re getting a private hint that will help re-wire your brain’s insistence that SAME NAME = SAME PRONOUNS.

  12. Anandatic said:

    About name/pronoun changes, I am definitely seconding CA’s advice! Someone very close to me is trans, and for awhile I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about it, and I worried about messing that up. I also keep a journal, and writing down the right names/pronouns there was definitely a huge help!

    Tangentially related, I have a good friend with multiple trans friends who makes an effort with pronouns. But when it came to the person close to me, my friend told me “it’s so weird when talking about that person in [time before they came out], so I’m going to use [deadname and pronouns] when talking about the past.” I was so caught off guard out that I just didn’t know how to respond. I’m going to talk them about it if it happens again, because holy heck is it disrespectful. :/

    • newlife said:

      “But when it came to the person close to me, my friend told me “it’s so weird when talking about that person in [time before they came out], so I’m going to use [deadname and pronouns] when talking about the past.” I was so caught off guard out that I just didn’t know how to respond. I’m going to talk them about it if it happens again, because holy heck is it disrespectful”

      Thanks for that. Someone I have known since they were a toddler is transitioning and I have some trouble remembering to use their proper name and gender when I am talking about the past. This is a firm reminder to myself.

      • SporkSparkle said:

        If anyone is interested, I’m nb trans and my Team Me has come up with a few really good phrases for if/when outdated details are relevant to a conversation:

        ‘Oh, back when //everyone thought their name was Matthew// they got nicknamed Bratty Matty. High schoolers amirite?’

        or

        ‘I think your teachers didn’t listen because //they assumed they were teaching a boy// but that response is still rooted in misogyny.’

        Not for use when the outdated details aren’t relevant, obviously no one wants to be introduced as ‘the person everyone thought was called Matthew’, but good for nuanced discussions of gendered experiences ^^

  13. Clarry said:

    Is there a way to determine if the driver is truly dangerous? On one extreme, there’s a driver who’s just squeaking in within the law but driving obnoxiously all the same, and anyone, including police can see it. On the other extreme, there are anxious passengers with their own phobias about not being in control despite the driver doing everything right. There’s also a lot of room between those extremes, and it would be helpful to know where this situation falls. Because the advice changes depending on which it is. One possibility is tips on overcoming anxiety so the LW can relax and enjoy the ride. The other possibility is advice on how to change the driver’s bad driving habits.

    • Rhoda said:

      True, but if the anxious passenger can’t shut off the feelings, then they really need to find another way to get to work. It’s not a good way to start the work day.

  14. Qwerty said:

    Thank you Captain, questioner, and commenters for all these tips on getting better at using someone’s new pronouns – definitely appreciate the suggestions, I am not good at this yet and want to learn to be better. 🙂

  15. Lorena Hernández said:

    i don’t know actually know if this is the right way to talk to you… i just need to talk…and i believe so strong in coincidences that i´m now written to you… I´m from México.. i´ve being here just for one month.. so my english is not as good as i wish but i will try to explain my self..

    I´m working here as an au pair… my host mother recommend me this page.. and i found it awesome… she told me about this because i told her that i´m divorced.. and she´s such a great a person.. clever.. etc, etc… but well here i am.. actually not knowing why exactly.. i´m just gonna write…

    the other my brother called me.. saying: – sis.. i think i have a STD.. He had a girlfriend for two years already.. and he was telling me that obviously because he has being sleeping with other womens… i really really love my sister in law.. as my friend… despite of what does the future holds..

    and i asked my brother.. why? why? did you decide to do that.. because he told me .. you know.. i love Maria.. (his girl) and i was like.. no you don´t… and he said.. yes i love her.. i lover to spend time with her.. i love to hang around.. etc.. etc.. but i just going to take advantage whenever i have a chance.. if someone want to sleep with me i will do it…… and i was like how come ??? pleasure explain me!!!!!!

    i used to have a husband.. i´m so tired to talk about and still being talking.. but it´s just part of who i am know.. he.. or … what happen had defined who i am now.. no because he is so important.. just because a divorced… is such .. i don’t know how to describe it.. it just change you ….

    it totally open my eyes.. of how life really is,… and now i was listening to my brother that today exactly told me his resulte and he has herpes…

    and i totally had the necessity to write about it… and ask…. what is the point exactly… i know and everybody tell me… don’t give up.. you will find someone…. despite of the fact that i really really don’t want to … really i mean.. i have learn to enjoy my company … enjoy my times alone… and just to get to know the really me…

    but itt´s just quiet to difficult to accept or to … i don’t know i just don’t get it.. how my life have turn to… let see let see… it,s just so disappointed it…

    sorry if my story is not that exiting… i just needed to write about…

    thanks for all the advices xo Lore > El 03/03/2017, a las 11:29, Captain Awkward escribió: > >

    • Rhoda said:

      Does your brother’s girlfriend know that he has an STD? Has he told her? If he won’t, then you may have to, because some STDs can be “silent” and a woman doesn’t even know she has them until she tries to get pregnant and then finds out that chlamydia or whatever has made her infertile.
      Got to love the “I just had to take advantage” excuse. So, if a person is surrounded by food all day long, they have to eat every last bite, just to take advantage of the situation?

    • Nanani said:

      You might have better luck with this in the forums than in the comments to an unrelated post, the link is up top.

    • Sounds to me like your brother is putting you under pressure to say it’s ok to cheat. Some men think it’s the job of their female relations to give them permission to hurt other women, like, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong, the real women in my life say so.’ It’s horrible to be on the receiving end, because it means you’re being treated both like a stand-in for all women and not a woman at all. It also puts pressure on you to lower your expectations of men to the point where you only expect bad treatment yourself, which is really hurtful.

      I think you should give up trying to appeal to his conscience, because it diesn’t sound like his conscience is very strong. Instead, be simple and firm: ‘Cheating is wrong and I don’t support you doing it. I love Maria and you shouldn’t hurt her. You have to tell ger about the STD because she needs to see a doctor, and if you don’t, I will.’ Make it clear you are not there to make him feel better for acting badly. Don’t fight or argue, just give your flat opinion: this is wrong and I do not sympathise.

      Not all men are like this. But he will want you to think all men are like this, because that way you’ll despair of holding him to decent standards of behaviour and give him the excuses he wants.

      It’s not true. He’s just one man. One man who’s acted very badly. If you’re looking for love, you do this:

      1. Tell yourself daily, ‘Not all men are like my brother.’ You need that confidence.

      2. If you feel a man might treat you badly, remember how your brother makes you feel and go, ‘Nope, I’m worth more than this’ and leave him. Better alone than with a man like him.

      3. If you meet a man you feel you can trust, tell him about your brother (not on a first date, of course) and see how he reacts. If he defends the guy, stop dating him. Keep dating a guy who says, ‘Wow, that’s a lousy way to treat people.’

      Your brother has done wrong by several women including you, and that’s very upsetting. But don’t give him the power to change your feelings about men in general. He doesn’t deserve it.

  16. Toodles said:

    Regarding name/pronoun changes, that advice sounds good to make it stick, especially if you aren’t interacting frequently with the person.

    The thing that really worked for me was to rigorously correct my thoughts every time I slipped up in my head. Every time you think about that person, or the past you shared together, correct yourself firmly if you use the wrong name/pronoun, as if you are training a labrador retriever. Repeat the thought in your head with the correct pronoun. The thoughts straying are when I would slip up, especially if I had been thinking of the past and hadn’t corrected my thoughts about the memory of the person before they came out.

    • HistorianNina said:

      This is what I did too. Internal monologuing and correcting myself every time, and talking about that person to others (in a “sharing news” way and only to people to whom he was out, of course) really helped. Basically, it’s just like anything else – practice makes perfect (or close anyway). I like the writing idea a lot, though I never tried it! I think any practice you can get in that isn’t AT the transitioning person so that you can mess up without adding to the microagressions in that person’s life is really important. And especially since you don’t see that person a ton so you don’t have a lot of opportunities to practice at them anyway, internal practice and practice with other people will make a real difference!

  17. Rhoda said:

    I’m sure that Tired All The Time has already done this, but it bears repeating; get a health check. Many, many women have undiagnosed and untreated thyroid conditions. Also, doctors love to push iron pills onto people with low hemoglobin, but sometimes folic acid (green leafy vegetables, oranges) is what’s really needed.

    • GreyjoyGardens said:

      Seconding this! In my situation, it was not only my thyroid (meds needed tweaking) but I had severe obstructive sleep apnea. I now have a CPAP machine, and it CHANGED MY LIFE. Not just in terms of energy, but focus and motivation as well. Though I still use and swear by the Pomodoro method!

      Sleep apnea is overlooked and underdiagnosed in women, especially young and/or thin women who don’t fit the “typical apnea profile.” I had to *beg* for a sleep test, but the results were unambiguous – so much so that my doctor said “wow! You have really severe sleep apnea!”

      Another thing that I find motivating is to have a chore accountability buddy. Mine comes over and we have breakfast and pet the cats and she keeps me focused on my cleaning rather than faffing around on the internet or playing solitaire or whatever.

  18. Philippa said:

    Just wanted to second (third?) the advice to report sketchy profs to a tenured feminist prof you trust. I’m a tenured feminist prof, and my female colleagues and I have a few sketchy dudes at our workplace – but calling them out and reporting them ourselves doesn’t get anything done, because environments that let guys act like this are also generally willing to explain it away when a woman complains (or even punish the woman – yet another reason targets of harassment often don’t make official reports). People might be surprised to know that if the complaint comes from a student, it’s a LOT more likely to be heard and taken seriously, at least in my experience. Among other things, the university doesn’t want a student (or student’s parents) to sue.

    So it’s not just on general principle and solidarity that I want to support students facing harassment or other dodgy behavior from a prof, although that’s the case, too. I’d also be delighted to help a student through the reporting process if they wanted to go that route because I’ve come to believe that that’s about the only way these guys will be reined in. Pretty sure there are a lot of women profs who feel this way.

    • individ-ewe-al said:

      Yup, this is my experience too. I’m a tenured, though junior, female professor. I had one colleague who would always make gross sexist jokes, and laugh about how he’s not politically correct and he doesn’t care if he gets a slap from HR (because tee hee women half my age telling me off is hot, amirite?) because he’s mostly retired and only works a few hours a week anyway. Also, this guy was married to my school’s business manager, and she’s normally a feminist and very well aware of the law about equalities and harassment, but had a massive blindspot when it came to her husband. There was nobody to whom I could report that I felt massively undermined when eg I was chairing meetings and this guy would make comments about he always likes a woman in charge *wink*. Because ultimately any such reports would be escalated to, well, the missing stair’s wife.What actually got the school to take action and cancel his few hours a week contract was student complaints.

  19. DesertRose said:

    The name/pronoun thing: I want to second (fifth?) the advice to correct yourself mentally as much as possible. Maybe even make an effort to think about the person a lot so that you give your brain plenty of opportunity to be retrained to think of the person using the correct name/pronouns.

  20. Socchan said:

    For motivation, I’ve had fantastic results with a website called Habitica (free app available as well). It basically turns your mundane chores into RPG tasks, with rewards in experience, gold, and (once you reach level three) item drops for pets. You can also form a group to go on quests to earn special equipment and/or pets. It’s not perfect, but I also haven’t been brushing or flossing my teeth this regularly in well over a decade. If you want more information, I can happily go into more detail, or you can check it out for yourself 🙂

    Another option I’ve heard good things about (but haven’t tried yet) is a free app called Booster Buddy. It’s more for self-care and evaluation, I think, and it starts you out with a cute animal companion that helps motivate you gently and kindly, and you can earn cool outfits for them to wear.

    Best of luck, person in need of motivation!

    • vortexae said:

      Ha! Weirdly, my first dramatic success with Habitica was also about teeth. Added “floss teeth before bed” to my Dailies list, and next time the hygienist checked my gums, all the 4s were gone.

      It’s also very good for itemizing the Things That Must Be Done so that they aren’t one big hazy looming scary cloud of undifferentiated pressure.

      There was a period where using Habitica turned into another excuse to pour on the self-loathing – “Oh, look how many things you didn’t do, you suck” – I’m not sure how I got past that, honestly. It’s a thing that can happen. Maybe if it does, add things that are easy to do, like “make the bed” or “clean one dish” so you can get that good feeling from having completed things? Remove the items that *never* get done so you stop beating yourself up with them? There’s a bunch of ways to use it. The associated blog can be very helpful.

      • Socchan said:

        I eventually switched my tooth stuff to “I did that last night” so I wouldn’t miss checking it off (or check it off in advance so I wouldn’t miss it and then forget to actually do it). I lucked out in the dental health genetics lottery anyway and never got a cavity that didn’t go away within a few days even without brushing regularly, but now I don’t even get the occasional toothache and I feel pretty good about myself.

        For if you fall into a shame spiral, the Inn is also a good option. It’ll stop penalizing you for missing Dailies (for non-Habiticans: tasks you do once a day; you get docked health for missing them, and there’s an associated color change), and you won’t lose your streaks either if you do miss them, and you can pick up again when you’re feeling better.

        But yeah, really simple things are nice to do as well. I’ve got “Complete all Dailies” in my Habits section (things that you can mark off as often as you complete them, be it once a day, once a week, once a month, or even continually (which is nice if you rack up a bunch of good ones)) that’s just a little extra boost for myself when I do everything – which is frequently ^^a

    • IrishEm said:

      Habitica sounds AWESOME 😀

      • Socchan said:

        I’ve been having a fantastic time 🙂 They’ve recently also introduced Check-In Rewards, so you can get special prizes just for checking in every day! Special armor, special magic potions that hatch purple pets, basic backgrounds, food to give your pets to turn them into mounts, and even saddles (which turn a pet into a mount in one go, rather than in a minimum of nine food items and as many as twenty-seven). It’s not for everyone, to be certain, and some folks I know who tried it have let their accounts go to seed, but it’s been going really well for me, and I’ve partied up with nine other people that seem to be getting some good out of it as well 🙂

    • antigone5108 said:

      If I understand the thing correctly, you have to choose the tasks and say whether or not you did them, right? So, what stops me from lying to this thing and saying I did it even if I didn’t?

      That’s the problem I have with the whole “gamify” concept. I don’t need to do five sit-ups or whatever to get a cookie. I can just have a cookie. Nothing stops me from eating that cookie. It’s not a “Do unpleasant task A to get reward B” because there is no link between a and b.

      • Socchan said:

        I’ll admit, that’s been a temptation of mine in the past 😛 (And I’m not going to say that I haven’t done it a few times, too.) Though not as much as creating a meaningless task that I can just click repeatedly for item drops and gold/experience.

        I honestly don’t know why it works for me when similar self-bribery attempts haven’t in the past (including my mom offering me a hundred bucks if I could keep up with flossing for six months), but it does. Still, I can see how it wouldn’t work for everyone. I hope you do find something that works for you, though!

      • So, what stops me from lying to this thing and saying I did it even if I didn’t?

        Nothing, but if you’re lying to an impassionate online game to earn yourself a cookie, you might as well save yourself the hassle and just eat the cookie. Cut out the middle-man.

        This problem isn’t particular to apps. Let’s say you draw a big X on your calendar each day you successfully do five sit-ups. What’s to stop you from drawing that X and continuing the streak even when you don’t work out? Nothing.

        Systems like this aren’t meant to supplant intrinsic motivation but to supplement it when it’s insufficient. They’re meant to provide extra incentive to complete tasks you might not otherwise–tasks which you must, for some reason, want to do, since you elected to put them on your to-do list. Hopefully, with repetition, the training wheels of extrinsic motivation will fall away and these tasks will be intrinsically motivating habits.

        Cheating a to-do list or habit-building system will always be possible (barring the dystopic future where the Digital Overbrain ensures honesty via its vast surveillance network). But as the Habitica FAQ says:

        We believe in the honor system because, in the end, you only hurt yourself if you lie.

      • Purps said:

        I’m like you. I always said I would have failed the marshmallow test as a child because I would have known that the PI clearly had a whole BAG of marshmallows, and was CHOOSING NOT TO GIVE THEM TO ME. The proper course here is to get the PI to give me her marshmallows, not to jump through hoops for a measly second marshmallow. …. I was a super fun kid.

        Things that helped me in Habitica:
        – treating it as a to-do list first and a game second. The satisfaction of checking off something on a to-do list is intrinsic reward. Used this way, Habitica basically gives you points for _making a really good to-do list_ (for instance you get bonus points for breaking tasks down into steps). Checking off an item falsely removes the intrinsic reward, though if you feel like you’re spiting the game that’s it’s own reward, I feel like, and you should see if your library has the book I’m about to recommend below.
        – never, ever using one of the take-points-away options (for negative behavior). I’m not going to report my own negative behavior! Let’s be realistic here.

        The book “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Adult ADD” really helped me (though it’s a clinical manual – this would be a job for interlibrary loan). Peoples’ reward circuits for doing tasks work in all kinds of different ways, for reasons that might be biochemical or might be learned behavior or might be a combo. (Success in the marshmallow task is predicted by the trustworthiness of adults in a child’s life, for example – some kids expect to get swindled out of marshmallow #2 either way, so they may as well gather their roses and eat the first one.) People with diagnosed ADD often have lower satisfaction from doing a thing and have a bunch of mechanisms around how trying to do the thing feels terrible. The reward circuits aren’t firing and the aversion circuits are firing real great.

        • WilhelminaMildew said:

          People with diagnosed ADD often have lower satisfaction from doing a thing and have a bunch of mechanisms around how trying to do the thing feels terrible. The reward circuits aren’t firing and the aversion circuits are firing real great.

          THIS IS ME. ME ME ME. ME TO THE NTH DEGREE. It doesn’t help that my ADHD-PI wasn’t diagnosed until I was forty-freakin-eight! That’s a lot of years of struggling with a condition that left me *just barely* able to take care of myself.

          Is this the book that you speak of? Because I will buy it in a heartbeat if it is.

        • antigone5108 said:

          Our ILL has it, so I’ll give it a try. I haven’t been diagnosed with ADD before, but the whole “lower satisfaction from doing the thing” definitely fits.

          I have tried a number of things- journaling what I have gotten done, X’s on calendars, gamify apps (not habitica) various other ones, but at the end of the day I just get no satisfaction from exercising or doing chores or annoying maintenance of health. I am told, from people I trust and have expertise in the subject, that it helps with depression to exercise, do self-care, and to live in a clean neat environment. And I have done exercise consistently before**, so I know it helps. But if I do the chores, I don’t think “Look, I completed a thing, see how great doing a thing is!” I think “great, one thing down, 50 bajillion more to go from now until the end of time, and it’s eating into your reading-and-watching-tv time”. Same thing with cooking “Here’s a half hour of prep time, and an hour of clean up time to make something that you like to eat less than fast food” not to mention the time it takes to figure out what you’re going to make and go grocery shopping for it in the first place, hope you don’t get a craving for something different because if you bought pork loin you have to eat pork loin!

          I am fine at work because I have plenty of intrinsic (I believe in what I’m doing) and extrinsic rewards (they are paying me to do it). At work I have it clear in my head that lots of little things build up to a big thing. My desk at work is neat and tidy, I have a to-do list that gets done, and I get positive reinforcement on small and large levels for my tasks, and negative reinforcement when I do poorly. At home? None of that exists. There is no one but me, my spouse (who is gone half the time for his job and is just as, if not more so, inclined to “meh, do it later let’s snuggle on the couch) and the cats (who couldn’t care less as long as they are getting fed, watered, and litter boxed). The iinternal motivation is clearly not coming, so I need some sort of external motivation.

          *Showering, brushing my hair, teeth et cetera gets done because there is a quick and immediate reward for my maintenance- I don’t smell anymore. But I don’t wear make-up nor do I do hairstyles beyond braids and ponytails. I’m pretty sure this might hurt me socially, but *shrugs*

          **The first time I exercised consistently it was because I had a friend who really liked to bike ride, so I was letting him down if I didn’t go with him. We live in different states now and I don’t have anyone who likes to exercise and has anywhere near an overlapping schedule. The second time was because I went straight to a karate class after work (hi, someone else telling me when I make the next level, nice to meet you!), but now my schedule has changed and that is not happening. Now exercise involves leaving the house where it is nice, warm, comfortable and organizing a schedule to go do something that I am so bored doing I could cry OR driving for a half hour- 45 minutes home from work, half hour drive back up for class, and half hour back OR hanging out for nothing to do for two hours near my job and anyway you slice it, that’s eating up my entire evening. I tried just reading in my car for the two hours before class, but ran into the problem of I can’t wait for dinner for that long without getting dizzy, sick, or just really really cranky. Also, it’s really cold waiting in the car.

  21. IrishEm said:

    Any time Trump comes up in conversation (usually with one or the other of my Uncles who can be exhaustine and who don’t care a fig about Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies *sigh*) I just do my best annoyed Homer Simpson groan and say “I am not talking about whatever he’s done now” (making myself sound like a whiny teenager in the process, but a little undignified noisemaking is better than the draining Trump Talk).

  22. Katia said:

    Apropos of nothing I want to face punch the threesome guy, I just needed to say that.

  23. sometimeswhy said:

    When my kid’s pronouns changed, I spent probably six months using non-gendered nicknames (that I had already used, basically their whole life like kiddo, bab) or their name to refer to them to get out of the habit of using the previous pronouns before introducing the current ones into my speech. It had a tiny element of the awkwardness that accompanies speaking around pronouns but not a whole lot and what there was actually helped to reinforce what I was doing in my brain.

    My mom/kid’s gran and I practiced in our regular phone calls with each other. I mean we still practice but not like “now we practice talking about [kid] with proper pronouns for x minutes” like we did before.

  24. Quill2002 said:

    Oh my gosh, I was literally just thinking about this! For me, it was the realization that I want to find ways to avoid teaching my toddler daughter the lessons our society hammers into girls regarding niceness and always being responsible for the feelings of others.

    At the moment we’re attempting to teach her to share and not be a little jerk to other kids, because she’s at that stage where she’s not yet able to understand other people’s needs/rights. But I realized that I’m actually impressed by her ability to stand up for herself and to not feel like others deserve more consideration than she herself does.

    So I’m trying to determine how to teach her to take other people’s rights and preferences into consideration without teaching her that hers aren’t important. Because in my experience, I was definitely taught to put other people ahead of myself and it’s hurt me in so many ways! And as an adult I see some of the things we teach girls that then end up hurting them, and I’m sick of it. Not that there aren’t any boys who’ve been taught the same lessons, but it’s definitely more socially expected of girls.

    • Laurel said:

      GOOD for you. It sounds like such a simple thing, but knowing it’s okay to stick up for yourself is huge as a kid.
      In a lot of cartoons, when a character sticks up for themselves, it’s usually in a show-stopping awkward outburst that doesn’t seem realistic. Generally, adults monitor things and make sure everything is fair, so when everything seems normal, it’s hard to say “hey, this is maybe unfair” without thinking maybe you’re just being selfish. Anyhow, thanks for being you, I’m really glad your daughter is getting that good parenting!

  25. whitewattle said:

    My first name is Louise…all my goddamn life people have been calling me ‘Lou’…which I fucking hate! Especially as I live in the UK where ‘Loo’ is vernacular for ‘toilet’…doesn’t matter how many times I tell people not to call me that, they still do…

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