Category Archives: Relationships

When Introductions Go Wrong

The second day of  the February Tumblr challenge poses the question: How do you introduce yourself to people? While I wish I could say that I float into a room of strangers on a cloud illuminated by my sheer awesomeness, the reality isn’t all that special. When I introduce myself to people, I begin with a genuine smile and a handshake followed by “Nice to meet you,” or something to that effect. Pretty standard stuff, ya know?

But in an effort to keep things interesting, I decided to compile a list of some of the strangest/most humiliating/annoying introductions I’ve ever experienced. Typically, I’m pretty lax on the “first impressions are everything” mantra, but when introductions go wrong, I’m forced to reconsider that stance.

THE WIMPY HANDSHAKE

I. HATE. THIS.  But before I go too hard on those who begrudgingly dole out wimpy ass handshakes, perhaps they have legitimate concerns about catching germs or they have a hand phobia or something. Or maybe they’re just not into handshakes, but there has GOT to be a better way.

Maybe that was the case with one of my distant cousins, who I recently met for the first time. I offered my standard greeting and extended my hand but she stood there and glared at my hand like it was smallpox-infested. I was on the east coast, so maybe my Texas twang caught her off guard? Maybe the gesture was too formal (She didn’t strike me as a hugger)? I still don’t know but eventually she moved past whatever rendered her temporarily speechless and paralyzed. Then it happened. The weak ass handshake that consists of extending two fingers (most often, the index and the middle finger) accompanied by an under-eyed glare.  If you don’t wanna shake my hand, then I’d rather you didn’t than offer me two fingers to shake. It’s just… awkward, and halfway tempted me to swear off handshakes altogether.

THE STRANGER  WHO LETS YOU KNOW THEY’VE ALREADY BEEN BRIEFED ON YOU BY A MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE

No matter what I think I know about a person prior to meeting the, that supposed knowledge will NEVER have an impact on the way I treat you, especially during an initial introduction. But some people simply cannot hide the fact that they’ve heard all about you from a relative, co-worker, friend or mutual associate before meeting you.

I once met a friend of a friend whose first words to me were, “Oh so you’re the one who worked with her,” referencing our mutual buddy. She then proceeded to side-eye me for the rest of the evening. Since I don’t have the most sordid past (in fact, it’s pretty damn boring), all I could think was what the HELL did this mutual friend tell her?!

THE NON-INTRODUCTION 

Ugh, so this next incident took place at least six years ago, but it pisses me off til this day.  I traveled with my husband (boyfriend at the time) to NYC. While there, we attended a church event with his family and I was reminded of how disgustingly patriarchal certain religions are, although it took me a while to recognize it for what it was. A male member of the church came around to greet the out-of-town family  but when he reached me, instead of shaking my extended hand, he shot me cursory glance, then leaned over me and shook my boyfriend’s hand. I guess I was supposed to just sit there like an obedient little woman, but it made me feel like a cheap accessory. And to make sure I got the point, he looked back at me as if to say, yeah, I saw you…and?! All I could do was shake my head and send up a silent prayer for this ceremony to be over ASAP before I got to cussin’ up in these strange folks’ church event.

THE HUMILIATING INTRODUCTION

When I was in high school, I had a class with my crush, but other than small talk, we really didn’t socialize because I was super awkward around guys. My “best” friend, however, secretly took it upon herself to introduce me to him, not knowing or caring that I already knew him. She lured me out of the cafeteria by pretending someone had found one of my textbooks. Before I knew it, I was being shoved in his direction by her and her cousin. Interrupting the conversation he had going with another girl, they awkwardly introduced us to one another. He was gracious enough to go along with it, but I was completely mortified. Worst introduction EVER.

Bottom line is introductions should never be this damn complicated.

What are some of the strangest, best/worst, funniest introductions you’ve ever experienced?

Images: Giphy

Bypass the Burn: 7 Ways to Avoid Burnout

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Ever find yourself barely limping along with what feels like an infinite to-do list stretched out in front of you? Sometimes the end appears like a mirage in the desert, wavering in the distance. You’re approaching something alright, but unfortunately it’s not the finish line. It’s burnout, which is oftentimes unrecognizable by those whom it afflicts until it arrives in the form of depression, loss of motivation, insomnia, alcohol or substance abuse and a host of additional health-related consequences. If you feel like you’re literally teetering on the brink of sanity, a bout with burnout may be in your near future.

Here are 7 ways to avoid burnout:

Morning rituals: Instead of doing the equivalent of jump-starting your brain by rolling over and checking your email or Twitter feed, consider easing into your day with a morning ritual like meditation or sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, or partake in one of these activities that make mornings less sucky.

Take a break: This might sound obvious, but according to a recent Forbes article that states only 25 percent of Americans take their paid vacation, routinely taking breaks is apparently something a large portion of the population struggles to implement into their lives. In a society that’s all #TeamNoSleep #Grindin’ and other ridiculous hashtag lifestyles that promote excessive work over one’s well-being, it’s easy to fall into that trap of constant work. It’s OK to be motivated to reach a goal, but allowing your mind and body to take a break is less of a hindrance to success than having that body and mind break down in the process. Whether you seek respite from the daily grind by taking a weeklong Caribbean cruise or a brisk 15-minute walk around the block, regularly scheduled breaks are essential to avoiding burnout.

Establish and enforce boundaries: Typically, people who are prone to burnout have an issue with setting limits. Before they realize it they’ve committed themselves to 30 hours of work in one day, which obviously spells disaster. To this I say, exploit the power of saying no. Say no to squeezing in that extra assignment, helping a friend on your only off day or just stretching yourself too thin in general. Prioritize by using a list of wants versus needs and talk it over with someone you trust to make sure you stay on track.

 

Read this rest of this article over at ClutchMagOnline.

Image: Dskley/Flickr

The Benefits of Having an Alter Ego

Sad woman with Superhero's Shadow on wall

Quite often the sheer act of existing feels downright overwhelming. Sometimes I wake up and before my eyes adjust to the morning light, a never-ending to-do list sidles into my mind and sprints off towards a mirage of a finish line. If you ask me, that’s just too much pressure before breakfast. At that point, I want to do nothing more than drift back into a peaceful sleep where deadlines, bills, emotions or any other concern that’s popular amongst the living mean about as much to me as a crack in a sidewalk.

But life beckons, and I eventually roll out of bed, sometimes sliding down the side of it, other times sitting up with an attitude and a curse word forming on my lips. It is then that I realize how badly I need a stunt double. Since Texas is a day’s drive from Hollywood and my house isn’t a movie set, I’ve decided to settle for the next best thing: an alter ego.

Nicki Minaj has Roman Zolanski. Garth Brooks had Chris Gaines. Eminem has the maniacal Slim Shady. And Lady Gaga has Jo Calderone. Now, I’m not sure what in the hell she needs with an alter ego because she seems to be quite the handful all by herself/selves, but that only confirms that having a little spare personality buddy can’t hurt.  And finally, if Beyoncé has an alter ego on her payroll, then goshdarnit, so can I. I’m far from a member of the Beyhive, but there’s no doubting the benefits that the Sasha Fierce transformation hath wrought upon her life.
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7 Ways Working a 9-5 is Like Being On a Reality Show

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim---no longer a cast member.

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim (pictured in gold)—no longer a cast member.

So today, I’m pissed and totally over the work drama, so let’s skip the fancy intro and get right to it. Here’s a list of seven ways jobs make their employees feel like they’re on the set of a sleazy reality show, only the lighting isn’t flattering and workers aren’t getting the hit singles, paid club appearances, Christian Louboutins and fresh sew-in weaves in exchange for their troubles.

1. Ain’t nobody f*ckin’ with my clique, clique, clique…: Ahhhh, cliques. The delightful dollop of people who consist of a lumpy, co-dependent, shit-talking mass of conjoined humans. They tend to share a brain, so it’s no wonder they don’t take too kindly to outsiders. They routinely convene about when and what to think, and the unfortunate soul who manages to permeate their wall of nasty judgments and constant gossip regrets it immediately and hopefully has the wherewithal to retreat just as quickly, lest they wish to give up their souls to the devil in exchange for the coveted honor of “fitting in.”

2. Bullies: Quite frankly, I don’t buy into the notion that adults can’t be bullied. Just like they appear on each cycle of Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model,” a narcissistic, sociopathic bully seems to be a workplace staple. I’ve dealt with my fair share of them, from an alcoholic, racist judge who thought it was cute to unplug my automatic stapler each time she passed my desk, to other co-workers who took more pride in delivering stare-downs and partaking in feverish whispering sessions than they did in actually working. Just like aggressive playground tyrants and reality show jerks, most of the in-office offenders don’t stop unless their targets knock them flat on their asses, whether in the form of an official complaint or a nice-nasty tongue-lashing. (Full disclosure: Both methods have worked for me.  There are other methods, but…nevermind.) Continue reading

Don’t Pity Me, Fool

                                     I'll pass on the pity.

I’ll pass on the pity.

At this very moment, there’s a voicemail on my phone that I haven’t heard. I know who it’s from and have been hoping the message and its owner will disappear if I continue to ignore them. Why? Because the person who called thrives on doling out pity and I am not here for it.

For the record, this isn’t the average pity. It is of the Incredible Hulk variety, complete with bulging, green muscles and an uncontrollable nature that when unleashed, freely tramples innocent bystanders. In other words, he takes no pity on those he overwhelms with pity.

A conversation with him goes something like this:

Him: “Hey stranger, how have you been?”

Me: “Hey there, I’m good. You?”

Him: “I’m doing great! You sure you’re OK? You sound kinda down.”

Me: “Yeah, I’m fine. Just feeling a little under the weather.”

Him: “Oh nooooo!!! That’s AWFUL! I hate to hear that! Are you sure you’re gonna be OK? If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know. I feel SO bad for you.”

Me: *Silence* Continue reading

My Husband Makes Me Lazy

Since my first job at the age of 16, I’ve always maintained a pretty solid work reputation as someone who excels and is extremely reliable.  At home, on the other hand, I’m ashamed to confess that I suffer from a semi-permanent damsel-in-distress status.  Hours of deep thought went into finding the cause of this phenomenon and I finally found the answer: My husband makes me lazy.

Seriously, he’s to blame. At work, I know the answers. People ask me stuff. But somehow, when I cross that threshold and see him standing there, my brain silently packs its bags and vacates the premises. I suddenly have no clue how to do anything and the tiniest problems plague my empty head until I resort to wailing his name from the opposite end of the house, perfecting the sound of distress like only a wife could. Aside from lifting heavy stuff, killing scary bugs and giving me advice on everyday dilemmas, I’m ashamed to admit these are some of the other things I ask him to help me with:

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Why it’s Bad to Hold It

After hanging out last night, I woke up feeling a little down in the dumps. Had one margarita too many and revealed something I should’ve kept to myself.  So all day, I did what I often do when something plagues me–I wallowed. I slept off and on through a Rockefeller documentary, ate a bunch of junk food and scrolled my Twitter timeline. Just as the sun set, I left the house to drive around the lake in an effort to clear my mind.

Back at home, I still hadn’t showered, an act that serves as a personal signal that I’m ready to shake my slump. I sat down at the piano and began practicing. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I wanted to feel better. However, I didn’t want to do what it took to get there. But why not?

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Calming Your Inner Tornado

Keep this away from the homefront.

Keep this away from the home front.

For me, a day at the office ends in quite the typical manner. I log off my computer, gather my things and say my goodbyes. All official duties stop once I hit that stretch of pavement between the building and my car. Or at least that’s my intention. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’ve subconsciously lugged home after-hours assignments until I’m in my living room, meticulously rehashing the day’s challenges to my husband. One day, in the middle of a particularly feverish rant, I stopped waving my arms around long enough to actually notice him. Even though I probably looked like I was about to take flight, his facial expression still puzzled me.

“What?” I asked him, clueless.

“Sometimes when you come home, you’re like a tornado,” he huffed, now clearly annoyed by my theatrics. “You just unleash all this stress and drama and it brings me down.”

Gulp.

For a split second, I almost took a defensive stance. I came thisclose to telling him how he was an insensitive jerk and to just shut up and support me and UGH!!! Instead, his blunt declaration stopped me dead in my tracks, forcing me to consider his words.

Realizing the accuracy of his assessment, I instantly felt draped in a shroud of shame. I had allowed my experiences on the job to infiltrate our personal space in a negative way.  I’d come to rely on him to allow me to vent and express my frustrations with no filter.  Suddenly, I worried that without an open-ear policy, my sanity would become a distant memory. Then, I recognized that in this moment, he chose to stop enabling me. I had to find a way to manage my frustrations without sacrificing a healthy home.  As a result, I came up with a list of remedies to stormproof the home atmosphere from the withering elements of life at the office:
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