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#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).

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#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?  (https://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 (https://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.)

#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.

#135 Pay back money that you owe.

30 Aug

Most financial advisors will tell you, “Don’t lend money to family or friends.”  They advise that lending money to family and friends will lead to strained relationships.  But if you MUST lend money, they say, don’t lend money that you need; lend money that you can afford to give away and never get back. 

That sounds like great advice to me.  What more needs to be said?  Unfortunately, for most people, that’s not where it ends.  Once you give someone money under the condition that it is a loan, even if you tell yourself that you don’t expect to get it back, it’s hard to completely let go of that money.  You still see it as “your money”.  You want to know where it’s going, what it’s being used for, and whose hands it will touch.  Will it be used to pay the water bill, settle a gambling debt, or fund a “dancer’s” college education?

And then it happens.  You learn through Twitter than the person you loaned money to just bought a new designer handbag.  Or the person you loaned money to texts you from the airport as they prepare to leave for their vacation.  They appear to be living the life; they are doing a whole lot more than you.  And don’t let them come to your house fresh out of the salon (oh, you fancy huh?) when your own hair looks like it needs to become reacquainted with a comb.  In your head you begin to let them have it:

Excuse me if I’m not excited about any of this.  That’s because I’m working hard to make sure I have money to give you the next time you need it support my habits–you know, like eating three meals a day.  I’m delaying my vacation because I can’t afford it right now.  Maybe if I hadn’t loaned you that money I could have taken a vacation too, but whatever.  You needed the money and I gave it to you so I’m not going to dwell on it.  So you go ahead and enjoy your little vacation on my dime (whether they actually used your money to take their vacation is beside the point at this moment.  Let you tell it, every penny to their name came from you).  As soon as I get my money back, I will be excited for you too. 

Maybe some of you will actually let these thoughts cross your lips, but no one wants to be the intended target of these words.  If you owe someone money, do your best to pay it back (especially before you go flaunting your new shoes in their face) and remember that the person who loaned it to you might have denied themself something in order to give to you.  Come up with a payment plan or set money aside so you can give it all to them in one lump sum.  Do whatever you can to show that you intend to pay the money back and then follow through with it.  If you make a habit of never paying money back, eventually people will stop lending it to you.

#121 Don’t have frenemies. A person is either your friend or they’re not your friend.

24 Aug

(Cue music)

“What about your friends 
Will they stand their ground
Will they let you down again
What about your friends are they gonna be low down
Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you”

“What About Your Friends” – TLC

Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of I’m So Happy For You: A Novel About Best Friends, once wrote a New York Post article about women and frenemies.  In it she implies that the root of most female frenemy relationships is jealousy.  “For girls in their early 20s, rivalries tend to revolve around beauty and the attention of men. Later, it becomes easy to measure your lot in life (against that of your best friends) by the size of your wedding ring, the square footage of your apartment, the number of zeros in your or your husband or partner’s salary, and whether or not your kids got into a gifted-and-talented program.”

This made me sit back and take a look at my friends, my real friends, and ask “are there any frenemies disguised as friends?”  I feel a sense of relief as I can honestly say “no.”  While there aren’t any frenemies in my own life, reality TV has given us plenty of good (or bad) examples (in case you haven’t figured it out, I like reality TV).  A long time fan of Bravo’s Real Housewives series, from the very first episode introducing us to the ladies of the gated community of Orange County to the most recent installment focusing on the movers and shakers (and White House party crashers, allegedly) of  Washington, D.C., I can’t get enough of these women ( I hear that Beverly Hills is on deck!).  My advice to them and all women is this:  If we are friends, then let’s be friends and accept each others faults and imperfections.  If we are not friends, then:

We don’t need to go to a horse race together and share a suite just so you can snub me and talk about me behind my back.  (Yes, you, Vicki – Real Housewives of Orange County)

I don’t need you to invite me to lunch just to tell me we’re not friends.  I’m sure I’m well aware of that fact.  (I’m looking at you, Kelly Bensimon – Real Housewives of New York). 

I don’t need you to invite me to sit down to talk so you can tell me I’m garbage.  You don’t like me and I don’t like you, so lose my number.  (Just let it go, Caroline – Real Housewives of New Jersey)

I don’t need you staging a “Kim-tervention” after calling me a “low down dirty monkey with a wig on” behind my back, and I don’t need you trying to snatch that wig off (did you really have good intentions, NeNe and Sheree? – Real Housewives of Atlanta)

I don’t need you to offer to host a birthday party for me and then have your lawyer contact my people to get in writing that you don’t have to pay for anything for the party or else you won’t attend (thought you were too new to make the list, did you, Mr. and Mrs. Salahi? – Real Housewives of DC)

Have you ever had any frenemies?  How did you handle it?  How would you complete the sentence, “If we are not friends, then…”?  How would you complete the sentence, “If we are friends, then…”?

(Image courtesy of Bravo.com)