#81 Take care of your personal belongings.

27 Dec

Why am I so concerned about what you do with your personal belongings, you ask?  After all, it is yours and you can do what you want with your stuff.  Yeah, you’re right.  It’s yours.  Do what you want.  But I’m advising you to take care of your belongings for one simple reason:  People will judge how well you will take care of their things by how well you take care of your own things.  Plain and simple. 

Can I be honest with you for a second?  I’m one who doesn’t really like to let people borrow my things.  Call me selfish if you want, but I’ve just had too many experiences where I let someone borrow something only to have it come back to me in a raggedy condition.  But when I stop and think about what condition I usually see their stuff in, I shouldn’t have expected anything else. 

Have you ever let someone borrow a book that you kept in new condition only to have it come back with pages dog-eared and corners bent?  Or let someone borrow a dress and it come back to you with a tear in it that you know was not there when you let them borrow it?  Or let someone borrow your car and you get it back with a coffee stain in the carpet?  And then they have the nerve to get upset with you and call you selfish or stingy when you don’t want to let them borrow anything else?  Of course accidents happen, but sometimes you can tell the difference between an accident and something that just was not well-cared for.  Let’s take a look at the evidence:

Exhibit A:  The dog-eared book

  • The book seemingly comes back to you in the same condition that it was in when you let the person borrow it.  You flip through the pages and find one page slightly folded back at the corner.  Ruling:  Accident.  (It might have even been you who did that.)
  • The book comes back to you with the front cover hanging off, the pages crumpled as if it got wet, and the back cover with a million creases.  Ruling:  Not well-cared for.  (Umm, they should have kept that book and bought you a new copy.)

Exhibit B:  The torn dress

  • The dress comes back clean and in good condition, but upon further inspection, there is a slight tear in the lining of the dress.  Ruling: Accident.  (No one sees the lining anyway, so you’re not really concerned.)
  • The dress comes back with food and wine stains, deodorant on the side of the dress, dirt near the hem, and a rip near the arm hole.  Ruling: Not well-cared for (and you’re gonna be sending them a bill for drying cleaning and alterations).

Exhibit C:  The stained carpet

  • You get your car back and except for added miles to the odometer and a few crumbs on the seat, it’s just as you left it.  Ruling:  Accident (No worries.  You eat while driving too and it can easily be brushed off the seat.)
  • You get your car back and their belongings are all over the backseat, papers on the floor, and empty fast food bags littered throughout the car.  After moving the stuff, you see a big coffee stain in the carpet.  Ruling:  Not well-cared for.  (And once again, you will be sending them a bill for the cleaning.)

The moral of this story is that if you ever want to borrow something from someone (me), take care of your own stuff before you even think about asking to borrow theirs (mine).

#149 Don’t date a friend’s ex.

21 Nov

Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with this issue and I don’t think I will because (a) my friends and I don’t have the same taste in men and (b) most of my friends are now married (and (c) the thought of dating someone one of my friends dated grosses me out a little.  No offense to my friends or their exes.). 

I recently had a discussion with someone about dating a friend’s ex.  My general advice is don’t do it.  It’s not worth it.  Unless your friend gives her approval.  And then…it’s still not worth it.  If you cherish your friendship with your girl friend, I wouldn’t risk whatever old feelings or new feelings might resurface when she sees the two of you together.  Because undoubtedly, she’s going to see you two together.  She’s going to see you holding hands, exchanging kisses, going on dates, taking trips, taking pictures specifically to post on Facebook, sending subliminal tweets to each other, changing your status to Engaged on Facebook, planning your wedding, getting married at the church that she had picked out for their wedding but since they broke up she won’t need it anymore and you just stole it and the rest of the wedding ideas that she shared with you when SHE WAS DATING YOUR MAN BUT WHO BROKE UP WITH HER AND HAD THE NERVE TO START DATING YOU!!  Oh wait…what was I saying?  Oh right.  Dating a friend’s ex.  Don’t do it lest you find yourself starring in your very own real life Lifetime Movie. 

#29 Be that friend.

31 Oct

Remember #28?  (http://whydidshedothat.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/28-have-at-least-one-friend-who-will-tell-you-that-your-dress-is-too-tight/)  With some friendships, you just have to decide that you’re going to be that friend.  Yes, the friend who say, “Friend, your dress is too tight.”  You must decide that you’re going to be that friend who puts her foot down and refuses to let your friend walk out of the house looking any kind of way. Even if you don’t do that for your friend, at least do it for yourself.  After all, whenever I see a woman with her friends and she’s wearing something too tight, too short, and just plain wrong for her, I fault her friends.  I think either (a) her friends think what she’s wearing is cute which makes me also look at them with one eyebrow raised or (b) they aren’t real friends because friends don’t let friends wear stuff like this:

(Image/denimblog.com)

#28 Have at least one friend who will tell you that your dress is too tight.

18 Oct

We all probably have different levels of friendship amongst our friends.  There’s the BFF (best friend forever), your inner circle, your good friends, your acquaintances, and the “yeah, I know who she is, but we’re not friends” friends (http://whydidshedothat.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/121-dont-have-frenemies-a-person-is-either-your-friend-or-theyre-not-your-friend/).  You’ve got the friends to whom you tell all of your deep, dark secrets, the ones who will stand by your side through thick and thin, and the ones who lend a shoulder when you need to cry or an ear when you need to vent.  There are those you talk to everyday, once a month, or only on special occasions.  The ones you would give your last dime to and the ones for whom you would drop everything in their time of need.  There are the friends who will tell you exactly what you need to hear whether you want to hear it or not. 

And then there are those friends who won’t.  There are those friends who let you walk out of the house looking any kind of way.  The ones who won’t tell you that your dress/pants/skirt is too tight.  The ones who won’t tell you that the finger waves/french roll/cornrows combo is not a good look on you (or anyone).  The ones who will say, “Yeah, girl, they wouldn’t make skinny jeans in your size if it wasn’t cute.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that she’s lying.  No, you should not be wearing that and no, it is not cute. 

While I do blame the hair stylists, the clothing designers, the retail stores, and the sales people for their roles in all of this, I place the most blame on friends.  And stop thinking that your friend is “hating” on you when she tells you that you shouldn’t wear that spandex Catwoman suit or that your jheri curl that you’re trying to disguise as “good hair” (or baby hair glued to your forehead) is not cute.  She’s not hating on you, she’s just hating that outfit or that hair style, and rightfully so. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t claim to be perfect.  I didn’t say that I’ve never had a WHY DID SHE DO THAT moment.  I’m sure I have.  I just don’t recall at the moment.  I’m just saying that we all need to be more conscious of our body types and wear clothing that’s appropriate and flattering to our figures.  And since we don’t always have the best judgment when it comes to ourselves, I encourage you to designate one friend to be that friend who will keep it real with you.  The one friend you can’t get mad at for telling you something that you don’t want to hear.  The one friend who can do so knowing that it’s her job as your friend to keep it real with you.  Believe me.  We all need that friend.

(But if your friend is also looking a mess, pick another friend.)

#25 Feel your breasts.

3 Oct

As most of you know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  For one month, everything is painted pink as a reminder:  from your favorite NFL team sporting their pink gloves, cleats, wristbands, and sideline caps to TV shows working in breast cancer awareness themes to companies offering their products in special breast cancer pink packaging.  And I don’t want to be left out.  I mean, what better time to give this piece of advice than during the month of October, right?

Did you know that despite the fact that the older a woman is the more likely she is to get breast cancer that younger women in their 20s can and do get breast cancer?  Did you know that although white women are more likely to get breast cancer than women from any other ethnic group that black women are more likely to die from it than white women?  And did you know that out of every 100 cases of breast cancer, one will occur in a man?*

“Well, what can I do?” 

I’m glad you asked.  First, know your risk of developing breast cancer.  Know your family health history and if you’re at a particularly high risk of developing breast cancer.  Second, have a discussion with your doctor about when you should start having clinical breast screenings and regular mammograms.  Insert personal note:  I had my first mammogram in my early 20s after finding a lump during a self exam.  Despite the horror stories I had heard about how painful they are, it was not painful at all, so don’t let that keep you from getting one.**  That brings me to my third point:  know what’s normal for you.  You must actually feel your breasts to know what’s normal and to recognize when there is a change.  And don’t stop at just feeling them, but also visually exam them to make sure there aren’t any changes to the way they look.  Lastly, there are a few proactive measures that you can take: maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and limit alcohol intake (I know this last one is particularly difficult for some).   

And for my male readers who are eager to lend a helping hand interested in getting involved, you can too.  As I mentioned above, men can get breast cancer as well so speak with your doctor regarding your health (and if you have actual man boobs, that’s a post for another day and another book altogether.  Hit the gym.  Nothing about man boobs is cute.  Your breasts should not be bigger than mine.  Matter of fact, I shouldn’t look at your chest and have the word “breasts” pop in my mind.).  Aside from that, encourage the women in your life to be aware of their own breast health.  After all breast cancer doesn’t just affect one, but affects us all; therefore, this post is dedicated to the women who lost their hair, lost their breasts, and lost their lives to breast cancer.   

*Information courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Visit their site at www.komen.org for more information on breast cancer and how you can make a difference. 

**Thank God, my mammogram came back normal and the “lump” I felt wasn’t actually a lump.

(Images courtesy of Customized Girl.  To purchase t-shirts visit their site at http://www.customizedgirl.com/)

#105 Don’t wear bad wigs or weave.

23 Sep

Let me start off by saying that I’ve never worn either so I don’t consider myself an expert on this subject matter, but I do know a bad weave or wig when I see it.  And by bad I don’t mean good.  I mean bad. 

Don’t let them do this to you. EVER. Again.  This is just wrong. 

We should not see where your hair and the weave meet. 

Your wig or weave should not look like it was done at the Barbie® Beauty Salon. 

Your weave should be smoothly integrated into your current hairstyle.

And ladies, please, let your hair breath so that your real hair does not end up looking like this:

Your hair will thank you. 

Are there any other rules about wigs and weave that I missed?

#83 Know how to talk to people.

12 Sep

If you didn’t watch this video, please take a couple of minutes to watch it.  Go ahead.  I will wait.  It gets good around the 1:25 mark.

*Waiting* 

Now that you’ve watched it, it’s time for a pop quiz.  

Question 1.  Who is he? 

Question 2.  Why was he giving this speech? 

Question 3.  What was his message?

Pencils down.  How did you do?  Were you able to answer all 3 questions?  You weren’t?  Were you even listening to his speech?  Surely, you heard what he said, right?  No?  Ok, good.  I’m not alone.  I’ve watched this video 3 times now and I still don’t know what his message is or what I was supposed to learn from the speech.  The one thing that I did catch the second time I watched it is that he has a Masters in Communication.  You heard me.  A Masters in Communication.  I promise I’m not making that up.  Go back and listen (at the 0:57 mark). 

This is the perfect example of why it is important to know how to talk to people.  Even though I watched this video 3 times, I only heard how the message was delivered; not once, did I listen to the content of what he was saying.  Whether you’re giving a campaign speech, talking to your spouse about excessive spending, or explaining to a coworker how they could be a better team player, the way you deliver the message will always affect how well the message is received.

Think back to the last time you were angry with someone.  If you yelled, rolled your eyes, and had major attitude with them, it’s very likely that they mirrored you and gave you major attitude right back.  And what was the result?  Were they receptive to what you had to say?  Did you get a heartfelt apology?  Did the problem get resolved?  Were you able to reach a compromise or solution?  Most likely not. 

If your intention is to pick a fight, then by all means, use an accusatory tone, yell, scream, and then try to walk away before they can even reply.  This will put the person on the defensive and cause them to lash back at you.  And if you really want to make the situation worse, you will confront them in this manner in front of others.  (Not only will you embarrass them, but instead of making yourself look big and bad, you will give people a bad impression of you.  What you don’t realize is that once you stomp away, no one is talking about what you said, but instead, everyone is talking about you.)  But if you want to accomplish something or want to get your point across, change your tone, your words, and your attitude.  When you put people on the defensive, they automatically stop listening to what you’re saying no matter how great your underlying point is, because in their mind, they are planning their defense; therefore your message is lost.  Or even worse, because you were mad and now probably made them mad, they might even repeat the action that initially set you off  just to push your buttons and make you even angrier.  So the next time you need to get your point across to someone, take a deep breath and speak to them just as you would want someone to speak to you.

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