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Expert Advice: On-Again, Hopefully Just Off

Hello My Friends! It’s been a while since we’ve done a proper advice column, but we had a new question come in!

“Hi RB. So there’s this guy at work who I’ve been dating on and off for some time. We both know this isn’t going to work long term, but every time we cut it off, we somehow manage to end up back together. We have great chemistry, but our goals just don’t align. What should I do?”

First of all, thanks for the submission! There’s definitely a lot of moving parts here. Let’s identify those first.

  1. Someone at work
  2. On and off again
  3. Chemistry

So in my personal opinion, it’s almost never a good idea to date someone at work, especially someone you come into frequent contact with professionally. I find it’s always helpful to think of a worst case scenario, and in this case that worst case is that you have a blow-up break-up, and the professional relationship is irreparably ruined. That’s a really bad worst case scenario. Now this isn’t going to apply if the individual is someone in a different department, or you don’t have mutual work friends with, it should be fine.

Secondly, the “on-again-off-again” phrase, is always a bad sign. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but for the most point, this is a bad idea. A personal example of an exception is when me and my now husband starting dating, I had significant commitment issues due to coming out of a series of bad relationships. Therefore the most logical thing for me to do of course (heavy sarcasm here), was to break up before anything got too serious. After some extra consideration, I realized this was a bad choice and I was just running away from my emotions, and we got back together. Fun fact: 1 month later, he proposed.

Now this might bring up the question, why was it ok to get back together? A few things, but most importantly, tying into point 3 we had really great chemistry, professionally, spiritually, personally and every other -ally you can think of. Our long term and short term goals aligned, but I think just as importantly, we had our own interests and had a balanced amount of differences. I would argue this is just as important as the similarities because personally, I don’t want to date myself. It’s important to have different perspectives in life.

In relation to the aforementioned, I once read a fantastic quote: “If you break up, and get back together again, you should both be treating this as a completely new relationship”, and I find myself heartily agreeing. For the most part, when people break up, it’s not on a whim, but because deep down, they know something is wrong. One of those few times the fast emotional response is the correct one. If we give ourselves time, we tend to try to rationalize out any real problems, and convince ourselves we over-reacted (you probably didn’t). If you decide to get back together you’ve decided 1 of 2 things: Either those issues are no longer present or you’ve grown as a person and those issues will no longer bother you. If neither of these apply, or you’re saying any of the following: “If you love someone, you can ignore small problems like that!” or “They’ll change as they get older, this won’t always be a problem,” then I respond with a NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Bail hard and keep yourself from talking to this person at all because you’ll likely make a stupid decision. Now that’s a lot about point 2, so let’s move on to point 3. Before I end this, please read our article about the importance of the “Flag System“, and use it to help you rationalize why to not get back together.

Chemistry. It’s a completely illogical force, and usually a force of nature to be reckoned with. There’s not much to say on this other than yes, physical chemistry is important. But that’s really your brain just telling you the other person has bacteria and anti-bodies that you need (pheromones). I know not everyone can do this, but I’ve trained myself to not pay attention to physical appearance at all, because at the end of the day it really has 0 impact except on maybe how much sex you initially have. What you really want to focus on are emotional and mental chemistry. Do you feel emotionally supported? Do you feel better after talking about how your day went with each other? Do you smile and laugh more than usual with this person? Do you feel your conversations are invigorating? Do you feel this person pushes you to be the best version of yourself, intellectually and morally? As general advice, if you answered no to any of the above questions, there needs to be re-evaluation on what’s important to you in a relationship and are you happy? But once you feel you’re emotionally and mentally connected, the physical stuff doesn’t matter. Case in point with a lot of military: See the 1 million stories of a soldier who’s barely alive after countless hours of plastic surgery after a bomb went off, and comes home to have 9 children with spouse. Physical chemistry will always follow after the more important stuff, so don’t worry about that or try to force it.

Hopefully this helps our writer and our other readers as well! If you have a question you’d like to submit, you can always email us at opinionsofanewagestudent@gmail.com. Please don’t forget to comment below!

Expert Advice: The Flag System

Hello My Friends! We have an exciting article today about what I call “The Flag System”.

To pique your interest, I’ll describe this as a 100% foolproof way to know when to end any relationship with ease. Interested? Great! Let’s go.

In our everyday life, we as humans are constantly re-evaluating people and wondering if we should continue to maintain the relationship. Hundreds of points and counter-points come into our mind. Sometimes we make the wrong decision after thinking about it for days, and sometimes we make the right decision on a whim. So how are we to know if the decision we made is the right one, long term?

I’m going to preface this by saying one thing that is very important to keep in mind: People hardly change their core principles. That is to say, the ideas that keep us moving on a day to day basis, that we base all of our decisions on, those don’t really change no matter how much time passes. Unless there’s a life changing event, people largely stay the same. So if you break up with someone, or call off a friendship, chances are in a couple of years even, you would face the same problems.

So what is the flag system? It’s a system used to rate an individuals actions in an unbiased way to establish whether a continued relationship is beneficial. As humans, we’ll always try to argue away why a specific action wasn’t that bad. This system takes away your ability to do that.

Based on an individual’s actions, you’ll rate that particular action as a Red, Orange or Yellow Flag. The color can have a corresponding size of “Baby, Medium or Large” if you prefer a more exact system. Now, to assign the color, you can only take a one sentence description of what the individual did, WITHOUT USING THE WORD “BUT”, and you would rate that as though your friend had told you someone did that to them. For example: “My boyfriend cheated on me, but we were in a gray area and he wasn’t sure if we were together and… blah blah blah”. Great story, very touching, but the phrase we’re looking at is “My boyfriend cheated on me”. If you’re trying to give me context on why the sentence isn’t as bad as it sounds, you’ve already answered the question. In this particular case, this is a red flag which means you IMMEDIATELY break up, no questions asked, no conversations to be had. I’ve listed the breakdown of the flag system below. Flag sizes are an optional implementation:

3 Yellow = Break up
3 baby yellows = 1 Big Yellow
2 medium yellows = 1 Big Yellow

2 Orange = Break up
3 baby oranges = 1 Big Orange
2 medium oranges = 1 Big Orange

1 Red = Break up
2 baby reds = 1 Big Red
1 medium red = 1 Big Red

So just to provide a few more examples, what’s a Yellow or Orange look like?

Orange: “My SO told me they had an STD test, but they hadn’t. They told me before we had sex that they hadn’t had the test done and they lied and they were going to go get one done immediately”. This is a clear lie and had the individual not told you the truth, it would have been a red flag. However, because they told you the truth and got the test before you had sex, it means their conscious kicked in. A bad trend that makes you doubt the person, but depending on what traits you place most value on, this may not be grounds for immediate termination. A “slippery slope scenario” lands this in the Orange category.

Yellow: “My friend and I keep making plans to hang out together, but they cancel last minute every time. Most recently, my friend bailed on coming to my wedding.” This is a great example for 2 reasons. One, it illustrates how a small problem can snowball out of control, but two, it shows where there is and isn’t room for leniency. Technically, your friend constantly bailing to hang out isn’t an indicator of a bad friendship or even of needing to cut things off. It’s maybe just very annoying. So you either give yourself some space from the person, or you have a chat. Maybe things don’t improve, that’s a series of small yellow flag, because again, you’re just aggressively annoyed at this point. Then some more important events come up like weddings or baby showers, and they do the same thing. This earns them a big Yellow flag, and now you stop inviting them to events. Now maybe they realize they’ve messed up, and offer to throw you a birthday party, which of course (because people really don’t change like that), they forget to do or its a complete disaster. Well, now they’ve ruined your birthday and that’s another big Yellow flag. You don’t have time to deal with this kind of irresponsibility all the time, so maybe it’s time to terminate the relationship because now you’ve got 3 big Yellow flags. So this shows that a series of seemingly small, insignificant items can snowball into something that exhibits a behavior you just need to get rid of in your life.

I hope this has been helpful! We’ve had a variety of questions come in that get answered using the Flag System, so hopefully, this answers the questions for a lot of our readers! If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at opinionsofanewagestudent@gmail.com or comment below!

Purple Mattress Update!

Hello Friends,

You may be wondering what ever happened with this mattress that we made such a big deal out of unraveling?

Please note this article for reference: https://newopinions.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/purple-mattress-unraveling/

Well, to be quite honest, a lot.

The first 100 days was fantastic, as advertised. The mattress is soft, yet sturdy enough to feel like it’s supporting your weight. It’s some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten. I have a tendency to sleep on my stomach and occasionally my side. That’s pretty uncomfortable on conventional mattresses because it either hurts my arm, or I’m not breathing because I sink too far into the mattress. This mattress truly has a “just right” type quality.

Heating is another issue. Most mattresses have so much stuff in them, it’s very easy to overheat, especially in the summer. The Purple clearly allows for ventilation, allowing for air to actually travel through the mattress. It’s an usual feeling as we still have “normal” pillows, and the heat difference between them is a little jarring. The mattress manages to always stay cool, and is almost cold when you change positions. Conversely, the pillows are so hot, that my face starts to feel sticky from sweat. Not a pleasant image, I’m sure.

So for me, clearly, this is the best mattress I could’ve asked for. Inspyre on the other hand, is not such a happy camper.

As I mentioned, the first 100 days were great. Eventually, however, he started to notice back and shoulder problems. It seems for individuals who are used to hard mattresses and find them comfortable (like a Costco hard mattress), the Purple is actually too soft and not providing enough support. That being said, if you’ve read Inspyred’s bio, you know he’s a software engineer and sits at a desk all day, as well as ruining his body further by constantly juggling or spinning poi. I’m personally more likely to attribute his pain to all of that, but he does insist that he sleeps better on the floor than on the mattress….so I’d like readers to keep in mind that level of hardness.

Personally, it’s a little pricey but I find it well worth the price. 8/10. Inspyre would give it a 6.5/10.

 

Social Awkwardness

It’s odd to hear compliments on something you’ve historically been insecure about. I don’t think I’ve told many people, but I’ve honestly always feared I was socially awkward. I was afraid that people were only listening to me to humor me, too polite to say to my face they didn’t want to spend time with me. I’d feel ashamed every time I missed an inside joke, attempted banter that fell flat, or initiated a hang out only to be ignored. I used to find crowded places terrifying, and would run to the bathroom to cry.

I don’t anymore. Some of my best friends have told me for years that I’m not socially awkward, that I’m perfectly fine the way I am, and that fear is groundless. But it’s not until I’ve heard that message from multiple sources – an aunt, an uncle, a new acquaintance, fellow peers who tell me they envy my socializing ability, and finally the catalyst, a longtime manager attending a networking event who complimented me on my ability to network, saying every event has that one person who stands out as going above and beyond to engage attendees, and I was that person. I still had to ask another friend to affirm that I’m not socially awkward before I really believed the genuineness of his compliment.

With that said, I’m not some superhuman socializing networking machine that instantly charms every person I meet into handing me a job offer/marriage/party invitation. I’m not usually the center of attention nor do I feel the need to put myself there. But I am comfortable striking up conversations with strangers, have no qualms about public speaking, and find meeting new people a rewarding experience. It’s why I’m in DC right now, on a spontaneous week-long trip that I know I will not ever get the chance to do once classes and responsibilities pick up.

I share this not to brag about how awesome I am, but to tell a story I feel is not told often enough. Most people who have the abilities one aspires to have are not typically born with it. The person “good at x,” from painting to basketball to long-distance running to socializing, didn’t start out that way. That person usually worked hard at it, improving little by little, until unexpectedly, they crossed that threshold into “good at x.” I share this because maybe someone reading this will gain a bit of courage to break away from their self-labeled social awkwardness. Maybe it’ll be enough to start chatting with strangers, initiating conversations, making jokes. Sure, there’ll be plenty of shut-downs, cold shoulders, faked laughter, but it’s not your fault. You tried, they didn’t respond, but it’s not usually because there’s something innately wrong with your socializing ability. Stuff happens, often without any explanation. Such is life. I went through it too. We all do. Yeah, I was scared too. But now I’m not.

Short thoughts on Drumpf

If you voted for Trump, you should absolutely be ashamed of yourself. Forget the politics for two seconds. Let’s talk about the person. You voted for a man who is personally responsible for a 90% increase in hate crimes against muslims, increased attacks on SIKHS (people who haven’t done ANYTHING except be brown, wear a turban, and allowed ignorant people to confuse us with Muslims), who makes fun of the disabled, who doesn’t believe in women’s health rights OR gender rights, who COMPLEMENTS the worst leader the world has seen since WWII (Putin), who let’s forget if he actually did or didn’t rape women, he sure as hell thinks it’s acceptable and PERPETUATES rape culture and sexual assault, and who has the temperament of a small child but somehow has nuclear codes now. What you’re saying is that your own white privilege is more important to you than the safety and health of ALL of these communities, because he’s actually threatened all these communities. You’re saying that my health and my family’s wellbeing doesn’t matter to you, because along with myself, I’ve never seen so many people absolutely terrified to live in a country they love. And most importantly, you’ve never had your family members physically attacked and bombed because they’re different, so beyond not even understanding the fear your friends face, you clearly don’t have the empathy either. And any rebuttal or excuse you make for him, clearly shows HOW little your understanding is, or worse, you do understand and don’t care. You are absolutely and undeniably shameless.

Some General Life Advice

I’m not usually very sentimental on here, but I had something I felt was important to share. I’m going through a time in my life right now, where I am genuinely happier than I’ve ever been, and every day is a blessing. I have a new wonderful job, I love the people I work with, I’m getting married to an AMAZING man who is my soul mate, who himself comes from an amazing family, an incredibly supportive network of friends and things honestly couldn’t be better right now.

That being said, I have a lot of loved ones who are going through incredibly difficult periods in their lives right now. And I went through that same difficulty myself for that last 8 years or so. So, I wanted to reach out to those I love, and let you know… IT GETS BETTER.

I promise, God rewards good people. If you are kind from the bottom of your heart, you will go through terrible trials and tribulations that seem completely unjustified. Push through it. These are tests that you must pass BECAUSE you are an amazing human being, and after it’s all said and done, everything will come together. That is my RB-Guarantee. Look around yourself for proof. Do you notice terrible people have it really easy early in life, and suddenly, everything crashes and burns? If you are good, YOU WILL BE OK.

That being said, there’s things you can certainly do to help. Excuse my impertinence, but I have some guaranteed tips that will help ease the pain in the mean time.

1. Learn to accept that you are a wonderful human being, even with your faults. This is easier said than done. DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF.

2. MEDITATE. Meditation makes everything easier and it calms you down and decreases your cortisol levels! Lots of health benefits!

3. Know that things WILL get better. I’m sure you can use your own life’s examples to validate that.

4. Think Positive! The world isn’t against you. It’s making you stronger so you can easily accomplish your goals later in life and find your “The One”.

5. Relax. Seriously. It’s hard to take time for ourselves in this day and age and just not do anything. Both your mind and body require time to rebook and re-energize. Keeping yourself busy isn’t giving you time to repair yourself. Sometimes, it’s good to just sit, do nothing, and not worry about the billion things you have to do. I promise you will be more efficient after a break.

And FINALLY 6. Embrace your faults and know that you can always improve yourself. Work on introspection and making yourself better! BUT, remember it’s not make or break. There’s no deadline. You’re doing it for yourself! If you feel like you’re not making progress fast enough in ANYTHING, that’s ok!

And remember, if you have ANY problem at all, I’m always here to talk to a friend, whether we haven’t talked in a week , in 7 years or really ever. Myself and I’m sure your support network are always here for you!

I hope this post helped even one person. Other than that, I hope everyone has an absolutely wonderful week! 

 

~RB

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