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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

342

Do This No. 7: Mix and Match New Year's Resolutions

Hi friends! How went the holiday boundary setting? You offered one another really good advice there — you are all such tender buttons. Something that I see in what we talk about (when we talk about my column) (haha, Raymond Carver joke) is how much we all feel stuck by one thing or another in our lives. How much we all feel like a dynamic or relationship has become a pattern that traps us somehow. Every Christmas you have the same argument with your sister. Every time someone asks you for a favor you pull a Giving Tree, even if you should say no. Every time zie calls, you pick up the phone, even though you KNOW you shouldn't. We get stuck in our patterns and rehearse them over and over, driving them deeper in spite of ourselves.

In the spirit of a Fresh New Start, I have some suggestions for shaking things up. I consider these to be less New Year's resolutions and more New Year's experiments – things to try just once to see how they work for you, to see what shifts as a result. It doesn't matter if you do one of these once and then never again. They're not promises to yourself or to anyone else. They're just experiments. Just practice.

So: pick one. Resist the temptation to make it a Rule You Have To Follow All Year Forever And Ever. Instead, think about doing something differently, just this once. When the opportunity arises, give it a shot and see what happens. Sometimes moving things around a little can open up possibility a lot. A new, unexpected experience becomes a doorway through which we can start to see who we might become. But only if we want to. And only if we practice.

1. Stop pursuing an emotionally unavailable person. Do you know how much energy we waste when we keep throwing ourselves after people who communicate in one way or another that they don't have anything to give to us? Emotionally unavailable people come in many forms. Sometimes they're lovers. Sometimes they're parents. Sometimes they're mentors. Sometimes they're friends. They express their unavailability in varying ways. Sometimes you can only get their attention when you're in crisis. Sometimes you can't ever seem to get their attention. Sometimes they can't share your joy with you. Sometimes they undermine you. And yet you keep going back for more, because you're sure that if you just love them in whatever way it seems they want to be loved, they'll open up to you.

Well, listen up. They won't. So knock it off.

See what it's like to just stop putting yourself out there to someone who hasn't appreciated it or reciprocated. See what it's like to decline an invitation to open yourself up into an energetic black hole. Don't reach out. Don't pursue. Let them go. And instead spend your time focused on the people who are already present for you, who already show up.

2. Apologize to someone. But only for what you're responsible for. This is a practice that requires deep self-reflection and humility and healthy limits. While it's hard for me to believe that you behaved badly in 2K11, I guess it's a possibility? So think about one of those (rare) occasions and reach out to whoever you've hurt, even if they've also hurt you. Apologize for your part, but not for the whole thing. There's something very freeing about doing all you can to mend a relationship, because once you've done as much as you can do, the rest of it isn't up to you anymore. You go as far as you can and ask for forgiveness and understanding, and then you let go. (Or, as Rumi said, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing is a field, I will meet you there.")

3. Keep a boundary. If you have set a boundary in a relationship, however tenuous, you can only make it stick if you respect it, too. So if you've asked someone not to contact you, don't pick up the phone when she calls. If you've asked your family to use your preferred name or pronoun when they talk to you, gently remind them to do so when they forget. It's scary to have to reassert a boundary — it's all too easy to try to convince yourself that it wasn't really necessary, that what you've asked for is unfair. But the part of you that set that boundary is your healthiest, best self — the part of you that wants to take care of you, wants you to thrive and flourish. She knew what she was doing. Trust her.

4. Tell someone how you're really doing. This is not a blanket suggestion to apply to every relationship you have. Sometimes it really is better and more appropriate to tell someone (your boss, your barista) that you're "fine, thanks." But think about whether there's a relationship that you wish were more open and more intimate. Maybe it's a dating relationship. Maybe it's a new friendship (or even a very old one). Maybe it's a family tie. The next time they ask you how you're doing, instead of defaulting to whatever your standard reply is, tell them. You're feeling sad today because you were reminded of a breakup by something you saw. You didn't sleep very well so you're kinda tired. You got a really great compliment from someone you work with, so you're feeling pretty good. Your new haircut makes you feel like a million bucks.

Whatever it is, share it. This part is really hard. I know that I'm about to say something true when I feel like I have to push the words out of my mouth, when it feels like I must be standing naked on a tightrope in the quick moment before what I've said becomes what's heard. For me these are never words of anger or words about anyone else — never accusations, never criticisms — and, equally, never facile. They're just true things I read out loud. What I've found is that sharing them might feel deeply, treacherously risky, but when you let yourself be seen in such a way, you invite others to show themselves, too. And when you then ask how they're doing, you might learn something new and unexpected.

5. Ask for something you need. What would you need to live a safer, happier, healthier life? What thing — a small thing — could someone else do for you that would make that possible? Is it that your roommate doesn't clean the litter box or your coworker keeps taking your Diet Coke from the refrigerator or your aunt keeps bringing up your weight? Expecting other people to change is a losing proposition, but that doesn't mean we have to endure others' inconsiderate or unkind habits. Yet we often resist asserting ourselves for fear of appearing mean or unreasonable or because we "know" they'll say no. But asking someone to fulfill an obligation or knock off a crappy habit that negatively affects you — just ONE thing that is a problem in your life that is in their power to change — is totally okay. The people we love want us to be happy. And while no one can REAAAALLLY make anyone happy, and there's a real limit to how much we ought to try, if you ask someone for something you need that they can give, they probably want to say yes. Let them.

6. Let others make stupid choices with impunity. Do you spend a lot of time getting irritated by the stupid things other people do? Do you get annoyed by people who stand in the 15-items-or-less line with 18 items, or by bicyclists who don't wear helmets, or by the fact that Jenelle on Teen Mom 2 keeps going back to Kieffer even though it's obvious he's Bad News? What would it be like to let it go? If it's not your health or safety or happiness — if, in short, it's not your life — let it go. Resist getting worked up. David Foster Wallace called this the work of choosing. Tell yourself a story about why someone made a choice that doesn't make sense to you; decide you're not going to count other people's groceries. Sure, the world would be a better place if everyone did things the way you (I) (we) want them to, but they don't and they won't, and often their stupidity and its consequences are theirs alone.

It's 2012. Shake it up. And let me know how it goes.

Previously: Do This No. 6: Festive Holiday Boundary-Setting.

Simone Eastman is a cat lady.

342 Comments / Post A Comment

EpWs

NUMBER SIX. NUMBER SIX.

tortietabbie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I want to rub my dude's face in Number Six like he's a puppy that just shat on the floor.

redheaded&crazy

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher oh man I accomplished number 6 in 2011 with the Jenelle in my life who keeps going back to Bad News Kieffer in her life and it actually made so much difference. Oh my gosh the emotional energy I wasted on somebody else's breakup! Granted it was somebody else's breakup that kept sucking people in like a whirlpool of despair, but when I actively backed out and paddled away from the current damn it felt really good.

catfoodandhairnets

@tortietabbie Me too! We travelled over the holidays. The level of frustration my dude experiences due to loud talkers, slow shoe-removers, cleaners who fail to arrange the cleaning cart in the airport bathroom in the most efficient manner etc. ruins his travel experience and mine. He is a very chilled person in general. But travel and busy public places are becoming AN ISSUE.

Bebe

@redheadedandcrazy My mother did this with my sister and her HS boyfriend. Sister would cry to Mom about Loser Boyfriend, Mom would tell her to just break up with him if he was such a loser, sister would wail, "You don't understand! We're in LOVE!" Drama ensued. And then one day, Mom just stopped listening to her complain, stopped telling her what to do, stopped making comments about Loser Boyfriend's epic lack of ambition (ie, graduating from HS would be nice, but not necessary). The house was quieter, family dinners 110% less stressful, Mom was happier, and Sister dumped Loser Boyfriend all on her own. MAGIC.

PistolPackinMama

@redheadedandcrazy ME TOOOOOO! And I am so glad I did. And I am a less judgmental person on account of 6+3. I think. I hope.

SarahP

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I try #6 all the time, but it is so hard!

Dancercise

@redheadedandcrazy
I've been learning to do #6 for other drivers on the road. It makes my 30 minute California commute so much nicer when I stop caring about the idiots who tailgate me or drive too slowly in the fast lane.

tortietabbie

@catfoodandhairnets Ugh, mine is the same way. He is so chilled out and reasonable every other minute, but as soon as he gets behind the wheel or into a grocery store something in him snaps. And then I get all stressed and try to talk to him about it and he says, "I'm not upset," and then I'm like "SO WHY ARE YOU YELLING?! WE ARE BOTH YELLING NOW WHY?!"

I'm reading this and thinking maybe it is more my issue than his. Hmm.

SarahP

@tortietabbie Ha! This is my/my husband's life as well!

Bebe

@tortietabbie Er, I am this way too. At airports. Which is weird, because I travel at least once a month so you'd think I'd be used to it. But OMG the stupid people!! YES you have to remove your shoes! We all do! Did you not see the 40 people ahead of you who ALL removed their shoes? What makes you special? And for love of god, TAKE OFF YOUR DAMN BELT IT IS MADE OF METAL AND YOU ARE WALKING THROUGH A METAL DETECTOR!

Oh, sorry. I'm going to go read 6 again...

Beericle

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I hate to tell you this, but I think you and I might be dating the same person. Plus when he gets all angry, the bad energy makes me angry - and it just makes for tense times. Perhaps you and I should just travel together?

EpWs

@Beericle My boyperson doesn't have this issue, actually--maybe you meant to respond to something else? (I, however, have a problem with it at times, so you maybe don't want to travel with me.)

E
E

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher There is a buddhist meditation called Tonglen which is basically perfectly designed for developing compassion towards annoying people. It's a thing where you try and breathe in the suffering of other people and then breathe out compassion. Travel, errands and driving are all good times to do it.

Hellcat

@Everyone You've all illustrated how my poor BF probably feels because of me.

simone eastbro

@E TONGLEN FTW. combine that with your kegels and you will be unstoppable.

also i thought you said "bullshit meditation" and i was like, there is someone who shares my unique blend of touchy-feely and irritable!

E
E

@simone eastbro I think I want to open a Meditation & Bullshit studio now. For skeptics who accept that some freaking hippy crunchy shit does help the blood pressure, but they damn well aren't going to feel comfortable with the fact that this touchy feely nonsense works. Our entrance is concealed, and like AA, members are required to keep mum about other members. Brene Brown is our mascot.

simone eastbro

@E where should i send my initial investment check?

catfoodandhairnets

@Beericle We can just meet them there. After they've had a couple of beers and chilled the fuck out. Does yours like to be insanely early too? For extra angst opportunities?

tortietabbie

@E That's really lovely.

catfoodandhairnets

@E Can you do yoga too?

E
E

@catfoodandhairnets But of course! There will be yoga and accupuncture, and a rock garden, and quaker meeting for worship. It's half gym/half church, all alternative, but on the way out you are free to stop in the "reintegration room" where you will watch Daria episodes and be given a coffee candy to eat to hide your healthy green tea breath.

Impybat

@The tortietabbie Ahhh mine too! Complete personality change behind the grocery cart!

Vera Knoop

@E I wish to subscribe to your newsletter! Which I presume comes in a plain brown wrapper.

cinnamonskin

@E Love. Lovelovelove.

EpWs

@E I want to to go there!

E
E

@Vera Knoop my newsletter comes nested inside a copy of the Economist.

simone eastbro

@E would you consider vintage copies of SPY magazine?

miwome

@E You are a treasure.

aproprose

My fellow Ladies, #1 FTW.

Wasted a good year convinced that I could fix this guy and that he needed me and while the sex was great at all that jazz he was just another emotionally unavailable juicebox.

Deleted him out of my phone! Ahhh, sweet victory. It's the little things, right?

@aproprose Yes! Yes it is!

joie

@aproprose solidarity sister! Although I didn't delete him out of my phone, but re-named his contact as "Emotionally Unavailable Juicebox Who Told Me I Had a Fat Face". Here's to 2012 containing joy and reciprocity from romantic partners who are fine just the way they are, and don't need us to fix them.

sox
sox

@heyits Just the other day I changed the emotionally unavailable dude's [who is no longer] in my life to Stop Wasting My Time in my phone! Cheers to us all!

parallel-lines

@aproprose Congrats! I was stuck in a vicious cycle with one of these sorts for three years. Three years is a long time to waste on someone who doesn't care about you! I think I was more addicted to proving myself to him (I will MAKE this guy want me!) than actually liking him (because he was a juicebox, of course) and it feels so, so good to be liberated from the cycle. I saw him a month ago and he still sparked that need for approval kernel deep inside of me but this time I didn't act on it. Anyone who hits all your neurosis bingo spots should be avoided like the plague.

wee_ramekin

@aproprose The little things...and a fabulous user name! :)

BoozinSusan

@aproprose Do you know how great it felt to read your post (and add my "like" to the existing ones) as "Shake It Up" was playing in the background? Solidarity, 'Pinners!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@aproprose "unavailable juicebox" <-- That shit is genius

aproprose

@wee_ramekin gawrsh, all you ladies are swell! *SOLIDARITY FISTPUMP*

Atheist Watermelon

@aproprose yes. this. #1. story of my life. Unfortunately, I don't know how to stop falling for emotionally unavailable juiceboxes (honestly, the only kind of man I've ever dated), and can't afford therapy, so for the meantime I've instated a detente- I'm not dating anyone until I'm completely happy with my life on my own. I refuse to inflict any more pain on myself, at least this year!!!

sox
sox

@LittleBookofCalm So...I can't REALLY afford therapy, but I make it work somehow, and she recently suggested that I read Calling In The One. Not because she thinks I will magically meet The One in 7 weeks but because the premise of the book is basically How To Stop Falling For Unavailable Juiceboxes. I just started it and so far I can agree with what she's saying...but warning: if you look it up, the webpage is pepto bismal pink and it's covered in pictures of Married People Smiling With Wedding Rings. Maybe we can all read it and report on our thoughts and successes? Although I agree that seven weeks is bullshit.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@LittleBookofCalm I approve of your detente!

For those who can't afford therapy, do some research and find a book to guide your growth process. I'm a closet zen hippy sorta, so David Richo worked wonders for me. I'm not even kidding, this guy helped me change my life....

How To Be An Adult
How To Be An Adult In Relationships

#1 is basically my whole life. Ugh.

emilylou

YEP. #1. That was exactly what I needed to read this morning. 2012, new year, time to stop losing sleep over someone who doesn't deserve it and will never respect my efforts.

(Sadly, for me, this is a result of trying #4 on the person I now need to do #1 to. Only to unleash horrible emotional results. Oh relationships in 2011, good riddance forever.)

This was great, Simone.

Bebe

@S. Elizabeth Try #1 - your life will change immensely (and immediately) for the better! Think of it this way - you wouldn't go to a party you weren't invited to, and the emotionally unavailable people are not inviting you to the party. Which is a good thing, because their party has terrible music and they're only serving a single bowl of store-brand mixed nuts and it's BYOB. Find another party - or better yet, throw your own - and forget about theirs. MUCH more fun.

redheaded&crazy

@emilylouise This WAS great Simone!

I'm so torn on #1. (not in general, it is solid advice, but I mean in my specific situation). My breakup has had such an impact on my group of friends and would it be so wrong to just leave a tiny little extremely neutral happy new year voice mail in the hopes that maybe somebody will pay attention to how his behaviour is negatively affecting his friends?

This: "someone who doesn't deserve it and will never respect my efforts" is pretty much exactly what I predict will happen.

Hellcat

@Bebe I accomplished Number One in 2009 and, to this day, when I think about that feeling of... of.... hmmm... like a switch being flipped, I still feel awesome, even after the time I wasted, the excuses I made, the friends I probably bored to death (and then ignored the advice of)... awesome and fabulous and lucky. This was just a couple of short months before I met Current BF. Coincidence? Maybe... but probably not.

Now I just need to master Number Six because, oh my god, I am the worst.

@Bebe Yes. 2011 was the year of "oh shit I have issues." 2012 is going to be the year of radical spinsterhood, fabulous arm muscles (I'm going to the motherfucking gym! I'm gonna have amazing arms! I'm ditching the idea that women should lift 5 lb weights 300 fucking times because my law books are way more heavy!), spending money on amazing dresses instead of bad dates, and wearing makeup every fucking day because feeling pretty isn't vain or something to feel guilty about. And I will throw my own fucking party.

Basically, 2012 is the apocalyptic year that I halt the trajectory of becoming my uptight preppy mother and become the fabulous person I've always wished I had the balls to be.

Dancercise

@S. Elizabeth
This might be my favorite Hairpin comment ever.

emilylou

@redheadedandcrazy Well. I don't know your exact situation but I know enough from reading various comments that we both went through shitty and sad breakups in 2011, right?

If you are anything like me, you'll be like "but but but we have so many mutual friends! He will see how crappy he's being if I just keep being nice to him despite him temporarily ruining my life and breaking my heart!" And then you will try this, friendly little voicemails and whatnot, hope it will work, it won't (at least not to the degree you hope it will), and you will feel powerless and bad about yourself.

I mean, not to be negative, but... I think you deserve better. <3 Especially if you do predict the same outcome.

Bebe

@Hellcat I met my husband about, oh, 6 months after my own similar epiphany. (Honestly, it was like the clouds parted and a light from Emotional Health Heaven shone down upon me when I finally realized/admitted to myself what I was doing). And he had had a similar epiphany on his own before we met, so we were two grown, healthy, mature people who were not willing to put up with anyone's bullshit. Who would have ever thought that would work out?

I'm still waiting for my #6 epiphany, though....

@emilylouise truth. those voicemail messages won't do a darn thing. please put on a pretty frock (all of you!) and come to my party. there will be wine.

PistolPackinMama

@S. Elizabeth *stand and cheer*

Fabulous dresses. So fabulous.

redheaded&crazy

@emilylouise ugh you're so right. and I know it's true! ugh I guess the best I can hope for is that his friends realize he's being a shit (which they do - one of them said he was being sulky, and the other said he was tired of this "alpha male parading around") and I dunno. I guess just accept that I don't get invited to bowling or sushi but HE doesn't get invited to my awesome parties so WHO'S MISSING OUT YOU SHIT!

... that sounded a little angry ... let's rephrase. It's going to be a happy POSITIVE, MOVING FORWARD 2012!

redheaded&crazy

@S. Elizabeth also, because of your comments I will not leave any voice mail! Okay! Final decision.

and I will come to that party! I have SO many cute dresses and not enough places to wear 'em to!

Bebe

@S. Elizabeth Now, THAT is a party everyone wants to come to!!!! That is awesome, and I hope you have a kick-ass time doing all that. (You will!)

Also, is the secret to amazing arms law school? I mean, look at Michelle Obama!

Hellcat

@Bebe AWWWWW! It's like a real, actual, liberating thing and it makes you do other stuff differently, I swear! It wasn't even the telling off of the guy in the Number One scenario (because I had done that 900 times without learning a damn thing while doing so); it was the almost palpable knowledge that I was finally done: I would not be replying to his e-mails (not even to do the "...and ANOTHER THING!" routine... or even the "I said GOOD DAY!" one. Nothing). I would not answer the phone, and I most certainly most of all would not contact him in any way. I just knew and it was glorious!

mabellegueule

@S. Elizabeth OH MY GOD #1 stab myself in the heart. I will totally follow this (if he doesn't respond to the e-mail I sent even though I promised I wouldn't AGAIN).

JessAndNo21

@Hellcat I cannot wait wait wait wait wait until that feeling of the flip being switched. I would to like to cocoon in shearling for the winter until I can emerge from a Chrysalis of Empowerment in the springtime but man work and bills and life ruin everything.

emilylou

@all Definitely coming to this party. My RSVP is already in the mail.

I love these comments. This whole #1 thing is really, really hard for me, but I know it must be done, and reading all this great stuff from you guys is so encouraging.

Bebe

@Hellcat YES. It's like that old joke - Patient says to a doctor: My arm hurts every time I do this. Doctor says: Stop doing that. I stopped doing that, and it stopped hurting. MIRACLE. I'd felt like I'd lost 20 lbs.

And the beauty of it is that once the switch is flipped, you actually don't have to do anything - you have to NOT do stuff, but there is no confrontation necessary, no huge arguments. You just...stop. And you have so much more time and energy!

Hope 2012 flips all the unflipped switches out there. It took me 30 years, but I have faith you all are a lot smarter than me, so it won't take you that long!

PistolPackinMama

@emilylouise Yanno, I have a habit of #1 on account of being fairly independent and scared of being too clingy. And also going out with a dude a few times who my brother has dubbed "The Human Octopus" which freaked me out.

But then I go out with these guys who are just... absent. Absent, and their absence doesn't make room in my life for other things I want to do. It takes *time* and *energy* and *attention* to be ignored. So much time. And it leaves behind a Well of Sadness.

Because it takes time to force an answer to "so do we still have plans" and it takes time and energy to discern if they are tired of you, and it takes time and attention to keep noticing how often he isn't in touch, and to read the emails you have gotten and discuss it with friends and... and... and...

And I *know* I would rather be by myself than deal with that (see: independent), but somehow, I still do it.

*woe*

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

I'm predicting you'll meet someone who's amazing enough to keep up with you (if that's even possible)! ...And, when it does, you'll be free to act on it.

(An owl with an envelope might already be on the wing, who knows?)

@AnthroK8 Oh story of my life. Here's been my step to breaking the cycle... On date 1, are you really enjoying yourself? No really, is this person engaging? Is this person funny, fun to be around, warm, friendly, and does this person make you feel comfortable? Does it continue on date 2? Does it continue on date 3? If so, awesome. But more likely than not, the emotionally unavailable person doesn't maintain it. Part of the appeal is that they're distant enough that there's a scarcity of attention, which breeds desire (i.e. there's a limited quantity of affection or warmth or connection and that tiny little bit you saw makes you want it because it's rare).

There should not be a limited quantity of warmth or connection or availability. Being able to get that tiny little sliver isn't a reward, and it will never be fulfilling unless you have way, way more of it. It won't happen, trust me.

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat :') i sure hope so! I haven't given up and retreated into a bitter, cynical shell of my former self yet!

Bebe

@AnthroK8 Try determining if YOU are tired of THEM instead of the other way around. Your wants and needs are just as important as theirs - and even more important than theirs in the beginning. And if you are being ignored, then fuck it. Not worth all that time and energy on someone stupid enough to ignore you. You are AnthroK8! You do not have time and energy to waste on lesser beings who do not recognize your awesomeness.

PistolPackinMama

@S. Elizabeth So true. I realized that this year. Now excited to practice not putting up with it.

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

Aww. You're too high-spirited to go that way. You just need someone worthy (and who likes gravy on everything, even salad?*)!

*
J/K, I know it was "poutine-style"

Chesty LaRue

@emilylouise @readheadedandcrazy @everyone
So I have this dude I used to date in a different town, he's SO that guy, but he's like, me perfect guy? If I concocted a guy out of thin air that was my dream guy, it would be him?
Anyway, I know for my own well-being that I need to stop contacting him, but he texts me sometimes and then I get reeled right back in. I need you guys to tell me how strong I am/how I deserve better/etc because I want to make this year a fresh start too! I have already decided I'm going to stop dating the same man over and over and see how that works out for me. Now I just need to shake this CS guy.

@Chesty LaRue You need to shake this CS guy. Because really, "he's, like, my perfect guy" except for all of his juiceboxy qualities that detract from his perfection and the fact that he's emotionally unavailable and ignores me and therefore gives one time to impose their own fictional ideas about who he is on to him instead of seeing him as someone who happens to be an emotional black hole is not, in fact, your perfect guy. He's a guy. He's a guy you wish could be perfect.

No person is perfect. That's okay. It's just that the other person's imperfections need to not be deal breakers for you, and this seems to be a deal breaker.

So now every time he sends you a text, you're not going to reply. His name in your phone will be "Emotionally Unavailable Timesuck :(" That extra little emoticon, as cheesy as it is, will remind you of how sad you'll be if you engage. You will then come to the hairpin, comment on something like Jane's fabulous makeup tutorials, Edith's witty quips, or some hot handy femme's DIY project, share the Hairpin love, and we will share the love back at you. It's called sisterhood of the amorphous internet Hairpin. It's amazing.

Kick ass, take names, wear a pretty frock.

PistolPackinMama

@Chesty LaRue No no no... he's the perfect guy for you 15% of the time. Then for 85% of the time, he has qualities you like/need and WILL NOT SHARE THEM WITH YOU.

Change his name in your phone to "Dude, Doesn'tlovemelikeIdeserve" and delete the texts without reading them.

He's not your perfectly designed ideal fantasy guy if he ignores you most of the time. He's a guy who ignores you with qualities of your real ideal guy.

redheaded&crazy

@S. Elizabeth my ex's name is in my phone as "Z DNC" <-- the Z so he's at the bottom, DNC of course standing for do not contact. I like your guys' suggestions too though!

I wish I had better advice. All I can say is that is repeat what others have said, that it is super empowering to step back and say no. Blocking somebody on facebook, not contacting them to say happy new years (I already feel awesome about that decision), etc - for me, it takes a weight off. Especially when you think about this juicebox, expecting to hear from you so he can shoot you down again, and then you don't give him the satisfaction! (that's the thought running through my head right now)

also, @atipofthehat, my poutine count for the week: 1 poutine with egg on top (yummmmm), 1 burger king poutine (whaaaat why), 1 pulled pork poutine (necessary to recover from BK) = 3 poutines. I'm so healthy. :(

RoxxieRae

@Chesty LaRue Pro tip- If you've locked all the messages he's sent you that say "I love you," it's probably time to delete those too. Also, I have no idea what we're talking about here and cannot relate at all.

I mean, my friend. FoxxieLae.

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

The dude who makes it onto your phone as "Poutine" will rule the universe.

mabellegueule

@redheadedandcrazy Wait what is up with all this poutine are you in Montreal?

emilylou

@AnthroK8 Sounds just like me. I, too, am extremely independent and self-sufficient and am terrified of being one of those clingy, needy girls (or guys! I have dated some clingy-ass guys in the past which has also been a factor in my current habits). But all this leads me to be attracted to emotionally unavailable, selfish guys, and we don't need to punish ourselves like that. There has to be a middle ground/middle guy. Hopefully I'll find it/him in 2012.

@Chesty LaRue YOU DESERVE BETTER, YOU DESERVE BETTER. Don't keep dating the same person. You will keep having the same result, and said result SUCKS. I speak from bitter experience. Just ignore all the emotional blackholes and come comment about it on Hairpin, like @S. Elizabeth says. Your life will be so much more positive.

bangs
bangs

@redheadedandcrazy Pulled pork poutine, oh my god, is there anything more perfect in this universe.....

redheaded&crazy

@mabellegueule come on now, if I lived in montreal would I REALLY resort to BURGER KING?!

there's really no good reason. i used to live in montreal so I guess it turned me into a poutine addict?

granted, this week was a bit excessive.

Hellcat

@emilylouise While I cannot stress enough the incredible freedom of the switch-flip, I feel like I should clarify that, in truth, I don't think I flipped the switch, so to speak, as much simply reached and recognized my threshold. Had I the ability to flip that switch deliberately, I hope I would have done so long before. So if you have even the slightest willpower, I am betting that (all of) you will be able to expedite the switch-flip with relative ease!

(I did actually get an e-mail from that jerk a couple of months after I got together with Current BF, whom I already was (and still am) nuts over. I replied with a two-word answer at first. Acting as if a door had been opened for him, he sent a more detailed message and I lost it a bit and forgot my promise to myself to not engage. I did, to my dismay, but managed to unleash a very polite yet scathing message, that ended with a sentence saying that, for many reasons -- not the least of which was that I worried that my new GOOD BF's feelings might be hurt by the fact that I answered this e-mail at all -- it would be the last time he got a reply from me. And it was.)

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

On the other hand, poutine is always emotionally available.

mabellegueule

@atipofthehat I want this on a t-shirt!

redheaded&crazy

@mabellegueule ME. TOO.

Chesty LaRue

@atipofthehat Why is there an olive on top?
@everyone, you guys are awesome. I'ma come read this thread every day.

@Bebe Law school is the secret to amazing back muscles. My arms are not amazing, but they'll get there. Those law books are huge and heavy, and if you remember to engage your core while you pick up your bag, your back gets ripped. Maybe Michelle uses her arm muscles more than I do?

drunkennoodle

@Chesty LaRue I think we all understand this and as hard as it is to admit it to myself, he is actually not my perfect guy because that guy would want to hang out with me other times than just when I throw myself at him! Sigh. I don't believe that people are bad people when they can't be who you want them to be (it drives me crazy when my friends are like, he's such a jerk and then I find myself defending him) but the truth is he is NOT who I want him to be and there is nothing I can do about that but let go.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@S. Elizabeth: After reading all these posts, I think my new year's res should be to switch from affable and available to selfish and stolid. Apparently, I will go on way more dates that way!

@Too Much Internet: Nobody is ever going to be selfish for you.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Too Much Internet: Also, more accidental alliteration.

AmandaBunny

@Chesty LaRue
I'm a little late to this but I like to think of it this way: some books are better left on the shelf. You've already read this one, you know how it ends, so just leave it there. Let me reiterate this part... you know how it ends. This particular book is already written, the ending won't change- no many how many times you reread it. So leave it on the shelf.

teaandcakeordeath

Ah but it was my resolution to *pursue* an emotionally unavailable person. It'll be a fun experiment! I'm sure ... hmm.

SheWhoReadsInSkirts

#5 is my nemesis. I will...I will try though. Especially given that I'm planning my own wedding in another state. Poop.

Dancercise

@SheWhoReadsInSkirts Good luck!!! You can do it!

sarabara

I swear to God one of my resolutions NEEDS to be to stop yelling at Jenelle through my computer screen.

She can't hear you. She'll always go back to the most unfortunately-named boyfriend EVER.

atipofthehat

@sarabara

I'm pretty sure the Hairpin can hear us laughing through the computer screen.

bonnbee

@sarabara JANELLE. When she bailed Keefahh (pronounced in her mother's voice) out last season, I was pissed. But last night's episode? GURL GET YOURSELF TOGETHER.

contrary

@bonnbee Jenelle, look at your life. Look at Your Choices.

wee_ramekin

@contrary I totally thought Simone's Giving Tree link was going to go to Sassy Gay Friend.

simone eastbro

@wee_ramekin i'm something of a SGF purist. i only like the shakespeare ones.

atipofthehat

But if ladies cleave to resolution No. 1, who would run my errands and cut flowers for my lapel?

Besides, I am emotionally available on Tuesdays between 3 PM and 4:45 PM, and if necessary by appointment.

Bebe

@atipofthehat An hour and 45 minutes a week? That is plenty of time for me to change you with the Transformative Power of My Loooooove!

Ophelia

@Bebe And maybe also discuss some drafts of my thesis.

atipofthehat

@Bebe
@Ophelia

You're on!

RoxxieRae

yeah. number 1. Though I'm not positive what I'm going to do *instead* of throwing myself at the feet of an unavailable person while simultaneously violating #6. It's kinda become my hobby.

sadiejo

@RoxxieRae Yes yes yes. I can't think of the last time I pursued someone who WASN'T emotionally unavailable. I'm not sure I know what emotionally available even looks like...

Emby

@sadiejo I say this because I come from a similar place: perhaps it looks like what isn't attractive to you?

sadiejo

@Emby No, I think you're right. I think the idea of a healthy relationship is frightening to me on some subconscious level. But I also think it's a vicious cycle: having had so many failed relationships because of emotional unavailability (often coming as a surprise after the relationship had been established), that's what I'm used to and what I've been "programmed" to find attractive. Anything else kind of seems needy and weird.

Aaand it looks like 2012 should be the year I get into therapy, I guess.

RoxxieRae

@sadiejo I strongly believe in our smart-lady abilities to get over this. Also, I keep myself alive by nibbling on the idea that there is something between "emotionally unavailable" and "needy and weird." Just because I haven't seen him yet doesn't mean he doesn't exist, and I might well be chasing him away with my shitty obsession with the #1 problem fellow. >:(

PistolPackinMama

@RoxxieRae We need to form some sort of group for developing this skill. Because YOU ARE LIVING MY LIFE.

RoxxieRae

@AnthroK8 I'm in. Unless we find out it's the same fellow, which will lead me to (very tightly and with a weak smile) tell you I'm happy for you and then curl up in bed and cry. I AM FUCKING 30, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. Fuck this. 2012 is going to be our year.

KatieWK

@RoxxieRae Ahh opposite problem! When I finally found someone who wasn't needy and weird he just seemed emotionally unavailable! After many boneheaded months (ok, years) I finally understood that some people (probably not me) are fairly emotionally healthy.

Helpful hint: just because someone is capable of tending to their own emotional health doesn't mean they're unavailable. The truer test is whether they're interested in tending to yours when you need them.

PistolPackinMama

@RoxxieRae If it's the same guy, I think we should be like those ladies in old fashioned movies who turn simultaneously on the shared cheater and whack him with handbags.

Then we go out for drinks.

I like you better than him already. I can tell.

RoxxieRae

@AnthroK8 I have always wanted to hit a guy with a handbag at the same time as a cool lady I just met. It's a date.

gravie

@KatieWK Your hint is so true.
I was reading about the absent guys upthread and working my insecure Girl Brain (that little voice that turns normal smart ladies into stereotypically crazy girlfriends) into a fury. My current dude situation is less than ideal. There's a whole lot of life bullshit that is frustrating but no one's fault, and I see him less often than I'd like.
So thank you for writing that. NOT saying that any of the Emotional Timesuck Dickheads should be excused at all. Maybe I should try a "Look at things objectively before getting worked up" experiment.

Atheist Watermelon

@RoxxieRae my first boyfriend started out needy and weird (he told me he loved me on our first date, that he was the type of guy who "wanted to get married" and "would never cheat on me or hurt me"- um, red flags much??? ok, I was naïve). Flash forward to eight months later, and he's pushing me away, blatantly flirting with other women in front of me, telling me how big a female friend of his's breasts are (he'd already told me on another occasion that he thought *I* could use implants), and getting angry and defensive when I get paranoid. It turned out he had another girlfriend for half of the time we were together. So I guess he started out needy and weird but turned out to be an unavailable juicebox (of ridiculous proportions..!?)

For me, I guess I finally realized that I wouldn't have let things get even close to that point, had I more self-respect. It's ten years and several emotionally unavailable juiceboxes later, but I have *finally* realized this. I've also realized that it's not worth putting myself through the hell of wondering if someone REALLY likes/ loves me just to be with someone over being alone.

Atheist Watermelon

@LittleBookofCalm Also, I'd like to add, at the risk of sounding gooey, that the Hairpin is absolutely amazing. Reading the stories, posts, and comments of this community of smart, strong, supportive people really helps me to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Ok, goo fest over. :-)

simone eastbro

@LittleBookofCalm everyone's so nice, it's kind of ridiculous!

Craftastrophies

@sadiejo This is so ridiculously late, but I am catching up and I just had to chime in. This was me. Before my current BF I hadn't ever had a relationship where one or the other of us wasn't emotionally unavailable (once it was both, yaaaaay! No, wait, the opposite of yay. Also this thread made me have an epiphany about why my first relationship was technically fine, but also shitty. I was emotionally unavailable.)

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I now have a freaking amazing boyfriend, who tends to his own emotional health like a champ, and helps me with mine, both in times of trauma and in preventative methods of wellbeing. I am trying not to sound like I am bragging, but he is the kind of man I did not think was out there, and I want to bring hope. And I also want to say that when we first got together, I did have several freakouts because guys, I wasn't in emotional pain all the time, so maybe it wasn't real love.

Yeah, issues. I have them. But that's ok! I am dealing with them. But it's super hard when your neural (emotional?) pathways are wired up to respond to emotional distance as a rewarding relationship. You get stuck quick, that way, and it's hard to then recognise good relationships as worthwhile. They just aren't as deep. (They are deep. They just aren't a bottomless pit.)

smidge

So Many Boundaries So Close to Home

Ophelia

@smidge The marriage was built to last, but the boundaries were built too small?

@Ophelia This needs to be on a cocktail napkin with a vintage advertisement picture... you've seen them.

Ophelia

@S. Elizabeth Hahaha, totally. One of my co-workers once gave me post-its of that ilk for secret santa, and they say, "And to think, I'm only using half my brain!"

redheaded&crazy

Thing my therapist said that was awesome: "You can't expect more out of somebody during your breakup, than they were able to give during your relationship. So you can't expect him to listen to what you say when you are broken up, if he wouldn't even listen to what you said when you were together!"

my response: hysterical laughter, then sobbing.

somehow this seems relevant to this post.

emilylou

@redheadedandcrazy This is the truth I need to hear. Please email this exact quote to me every day for the rest of my life, or until I get married to Ryan Gosling. Thank you.

atipofthehat

@emilylouise

I think you deserve someone whose eyes are farther apart, but WHATEVER....

EpWs

@emilylouise If you don't want him due to eye closeness (?), I WILL TAKE HIM.

theharpoon

@atipofthehat Once I dated a guy who wore glasses all the time and I think we actually dated for at least a month before I saw him with them off and found out that he was a secret eyes-too-close-together. It was quite a rude awakening.

redheaded&crazy

@emilylouise I would sign up for that mailing list! Hard Truths to prevent Bad Decisions

unfortunately that one quote up there is all I've really got to contribute towards it ...

Iggles McFearson

@redheadedandcrazy This is relevant to the last eight months of my life! I think I will print this out and hang it above my bed so I see it every day when I wake up. Or maybe I will hang it at eye-level so that will smack me in the face every day. Either way.

Emby

Addendum to #1: Figure out if you're being emotionally unavailable to someone in your life and think of some way to fix that. I was on both sides of #1 in 2011 and I'm going to try to have nothing to do with it in 2012. Banish-ed!

bangs
bangs

@Emby Me too, though mostly I wish people would read #1 and leave me alone.

PistolPackinMama

@Xaxa Well, the thing is. If you've told whoever it is that you aren't available to them in no uncertain terms, then it's not your problem any more. You aren't responsible for the investment someone makes in your attention, especially if you've made clear where your boundaries lie.

Sometimes "fixing that" just means "making clear when and how you are available, or that you will always be unavailable." That can be okay.

It's the running hot and cold and hot and cold and then sending a text 45 minutes after I delete all the texts from him because it's time to delete them and the making clear there is no future but then sending affectionate emails, and telling me he's so into me but not enough to actually want to you know, be around me. That's the part that is a problem.

Oh wait. We're talking about... my friend... now. Sorry. I'll stop projecting.

RoxxieRae

@AnthroK8 No no, it's ok, because I KNOW THAT GUY.

PistolPackinMama

@RoxxieRae Are you saying not only is he emotionally unavailable, he's also a cheater? Well that's just great.

bangs
bangs

@AnthroK8 Ah, I certainly don't do that. I do the - cold, until I've been pushed so far, then screaming fight, because STOP PUSHING ME! Much healthier.

PistolPackinMama

@Xaxa :) You know, people just figure shit out on their own pace. So if that's something you're not cool with in your life, you'll figure that out on your own pace.

As long as you can survive with your paramours/gentlemen callers/ lady callers going out and crying into their martinis with their BFFs while you do figure it out, then it's going to be fine.

bangs
bangs

@AnthroK8 I avoid serious relationships altogether because it's not really fair. It's the family that's he problem. I don't think solely being related to someone gives them the right to intrude on my life. Even if they aren't horrible people.

PistolPackinMama

@Xaxa True that. I love my family, and we really get along well. But my brothers can be really terrible about telling you things. So I just kind of adopted the policy that I leave one voicemail and that's it. Even if I don't know when their flight arrives and they asked for a lift home. I figure, they know how to dial a taxi cab. And when we do talk we have a good time because we both want to be in the conversation.

I talk to one brother's wife more than the brother, for sure.

bangs
bangs

@AnthroK8 My parents expect me to check in with them after every flight to make sure I made it okay. I will not do it. I'm 30+ and I travel all the time. Anything other than the plane crashing I can handle myself.

melis

"Hey Rumi, I'm not going to be able to make it to the field tonight. SO SORRY but something just came up. Have a great time!!!"

melis

"She...she does this every time, Najm-al-Din Razi. And she won't even acknowledge that it's a serious thing. She just texts like it's no big deal, like I didn't specifically email her last night to confirm we were still on for meeting in the field beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing."

melis

"Rumi, don't text her back. Don't respond. Don't give her that power. She can't make that choice for you. Let's just get some yogurt, okay?"

melis

"I'm not hungry."

melis

"Do you remember what you told me when I stopped hearing from Mark? Do you remember what you told me? You told me Why should I seek? I am the same as
He. His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!
"

melis

"I knew you would throw that back in my face."

melis

This has been Reading Between the Texts of Sufi Mystics.

PistolPackinMama

@melis I am stifling hysteria in the library.

SarahP

@melis Hey, didn't he say that if she isn't there, it doesn't matter? And if she is there, it doesn't matter? It's not her fault if he's being vague.

Ophelia

Oh, dear. #s 4 and 5 seem to be kind of the same thing for me, and I am not relishing having the conversation.

itmakesmewonder

BRB, tattooing this list backward on my fool face.

dtowngirl

Ah, this is perfect. I think a combo #3/#6 would be fantastic. In my life, keeping boundaries goes hand-in-hand with realizing that other people (family) can make whatever stupid mistakes they want to make, and I will continue with my happy little life.

bonnbee

#1 #1 #1 for me! Not in terms of romance, but in terms of family relationships.

My mom is seriously mentally ill, and has been out of my life for years. I have a jumbled cast of quasi-maternal figures, all of whom aren't and never have been fully ever there for me. My mentor from college, who stopped contacting me after I graduated and finished writing her lit review FOR FREE ON MY OWN TIME. My aunt, who got in a big fight with my Dad so now refuses to answer my emails even though I had nothing to do with it. My stepmother who drives me nuts.

A therapist once told me, "First you'll realize you don't have a mother. Then you realize you don't need one. Then you realize you don't want one." I've got #1 down pretty square, but I still need and want a mother! I don't think this will ever go away! Last night I got my first semester law school grades and spent the whole night crying about potentially losing my scholarship/feeling like a stupid failure, and all I kept thinking was, "I need a moooooom." But all of my mother figures are emotionally unavailable and aren't there for me so I think I just need to grow up and deal with things on my own, but it's so hard.

Sorry for the novella, hairpinners!

@bonnbee Oh honey no! It'll be okay. First of all, your school probably lets you get your bluebooks back so you can meet with the professors and come up with ways to improve so that by the end of the year, your GPA can be higher and you can keep that scholarship.

Second, it's going to be really, really hard to go down that road that your therapist describes, and maybe you can stop putting pressure on yourself to reach #2? It will happen when it does, and there's no use stressing out over the fact that you're not there yet. But go down that road and embrace it at whichever pace seems to work. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging and embracing what's going on in your life.

Third, a lot of people with very present mothers are possibly going through the same thing. You're not alone in thinking that it's hard to grow up and deal with things on your own. This is apparently part of being in your 20s. It sucks sometimes.

PistolPackinMama

@bonnbee I am not your mom and can't do what a mom could do for you. But. It's going to be okay. S. Elizabeth is right. I have faith that you can work this out.

PistolPackinMama

@bonnbee Also... just because you don't have a mom doesn't mean you don't have the capacity/means to ask for appropriate help in the right places. It's a matter of figuring out where you can enact #5.

@AnthroK8 YES! Listen to her, @bonnbee! Find the emotional support you need or life help or shoulder to cry on with someone in your life. Best friend? Group of lady friends? Queer chick? Dude friend who makes you laugh? All good choices. It helps to be up front and honest, as in "hey, I need help with XYZ, and I know most people seem to ask their parents, but I can't. Is there any way we can make time to do XYZ? It would be amazing, and I think I really need it."

laurel

@bonnbee I sympathize with all of this. I ask you, do you have a Father (or similar)? A Sister? A Brother? My brother has become really important to me in the past few years. I can tell him anything--even about my failures--and he'll talk me through it. I found a lot of what I missed in terms of mothering in his basic willingness to know what's up in my life and focus his smarts and attention on it.

Also: ladyfriends. I think a lot of what we get out of really solid girl friendships is a grown up version of being mothered: the ongoing presence of someone concerned with our wellbeing.

PistolPackinMama

@S. Elizabeth Yes! Listen to her, bonnbee! (Comment Twins Power, Activate)

bonnbee

@laurel @ Anthro @S. Elizabeth: Thanks for the great advice, Hairpin Friends! It's so hard for me to go to friends for help, it makes me feel like I'm bothering them or that they think I'm whiny. I really need to use them as a resource more, putting that on my Resolution list!
My fiance is great and wonderful but I need someone other than him to talk to, ya know? My dad is emotionally hot and cold, but I called him today to "set up an appointment" to talk about my grade anxiety (ugh Dad, you're retired I shouldn't have to be penciled in anymore).

@bonnbee So the trick to not feeling whiny or bothersome is to be really direct about what's going on. Nobody (nobody) wants to set up sunday brunch (mimosas! french toast! pretty dresses!) to have their brunch buddy be all "surprise! let's talk about my issues with my mother." It's draining and allows the person little to no time to prepare for it.

However, if you use the S. Elizabeth tactic of calling up your friend and saying "Hi. I think I need some support/help/etc etc and would really like to talk to you about XYZ" (see post above), your friend is prepared. Your friend knows what's on the table. Your friend will have the time/energy to be all "Okay, Bonnbee needs a friend and I'm the friend and I can do it." It also lets you establish some boundaries so that it's easier to separate happy mimosa brunch time from Dealing With Issues time.

And after your amazing friend helps you through that hurdle (they will), bake them some muffins and write them a note by hand, call ahead and drop them off while they're still warm, and give your friend a hug.

Alixana

@bonnbee I am also available to talk about getting past miserable first semester law school grades! Hang in there - it's all downhill from here.

thebestjasmine

@Alixana Me too am available to talk about getting past miserable first semester law school grades! But totally do what S. Elizabeth said and talk to your friends like that.

@thebestjasmine We're all law students! I feel like we need Captain Planet style rings to push together and ... bring pollution down to zero?

1L blows. It does. Welcome to the fold.

thebestjasmine

@S. Elizabeth Me not anymore. But I am here to tell you that I loooooooved 3L year. Still miss it.

drunkennoodle

@bonnbee My therapist convinced me that if I just admitted to my friends that I needed their support to get me through a particularly trying time and asked for help that they would probably suprise me...and you know what, 99% of them have gone above and beyond what I even asked for, but I too struggle with feeling like I am the burdensome or needy friend. I try and put the shoe on the other foot, would you be offended if your friend wanted to talk to you about her mother problems? No? Then why would she be?

@drunkennoodle This is really good advice!

Alixana

@drunkennoodle I think this is excellent advice and would also add that offering love and support is a critical way for me to demonstrate my friendship. Not only do I not mind it, but it makes me feel loved and needed!

sevanetta

@bonnbee Have you talked to a lecturer or the scholarships people about your grades? Is there a chance for revision or makeups or getting your scholarship back if you do better next semester? Academic or on campus counsellor? These people will be more useful than a mum anyway, but having said that...

I very much sympathise. I don't know how it happened, but all of my closest friends, we all have difficult or non-existent relationships with our mothers due to mental illness. I feel a lot like I have to look after myself (and I don't have a fiance or a boyfriend either, you are INCREDIBLY lucky to have that support), and I find myself wishing I had parents who could advise me on what to do (my parents have their good times, but ultimately they grew up in a very different world and the situations I'm in). Friends (and the Hairpin! yay!) are where it's at :)

all the bacon and eggs

Ok #6, but what if they have like 100 items in the cart? WHAT THEN?

contrary

@all the bacon and eggs Set them on fire. That is a consequence they have to deal with, not you!

atipofthehat

@contrary

When melis gets back from LA, you'll hear from her trademark attorneys.

PistolPackinMama

@all the bacon and eggs Read People. Or Cooks Illustrated. Your choice.

contrary

@atipofthehat but I don't know how to make the "tm" tiny : (

simone eastbro

@all the bacon and eggs I never said this wasn't Ripped from the Headlines of That Time I Stepped to a Lady at Trader Joe's.

wee_ramekin

@contrary Alt + 0153!!!

rayray

I haven't actually had to do #1 but have been in that situation before and luckily outside forces kind of did the tie-severing, not me. But now I have accidentally found someone who is totally communicative and emotionally available, the difference is STARTLING. Do #1.

rayray

@rayray Also #6. 'It's not the end of the world' is something I say about 50 times a day.

joie

@rayray threadjacking to say I saw on an old thread that your friend is turning into Something More! on NYE? yaaaayyyyyy!

rayray

@heyits Yeeeep! It's all been rather quick but SQUEEEEE!

joie

@rayray HOORAY! Good luck. The full force of Hairpin love is behind you! :)

wee_ramekin

@rayray Wait what?! I want updates! Is this the warm, gooey cheese-splorter guy?!

PistolPackinMama

@wee_ramekin Me too!

rayray

@wee_ramekin Nope! A guy who I met in September 2010, lived in the same town as for like 2 weeks, during which time we got on great as friends and he was really into me but I just like yay friends JUSTFRIENDSOKAY and then he left, but we kept in contact on the internet to the point where he's one of my best friends and we speak most days on gchat etc, and then I visited him a few times and the most recent time I dunno something had changed? So I visited him for New Years and it was all cute and lovey and we are together and it's great :). Cheese squirter guy was never seen again.

emilylou

Haha. The cheese-splorter guy. I love that we all remember this. @rayray, happy for you!

wee_ramekin

@rayray!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT WHEN BEST FRIENDS FIND LOVE AND IT IS WITH EACH OTHER!!!! Grrrrrrrrl! I'm so happy for you! Ohmigosh yaaaaaaay!

rayray

@little_cups and @emilylouise Thanks you guys! I love you for rooting for me and my love life! May 2012 bring all the happiness to all the Pinners!

PistolPackinMama

@rayray My cold, icy heart has melted a little at this story. Which is a lovely story. Yay!

bangs
bangs

@rayray Congrats!

I also like "it's not the weight of the world on your shoulders, it's just the weight of your head"

sevanetta

@rayray Oh I love happy stories :) thanks for sharing!

EpWs

Can I add a subcorollary to one of them (maybe 6?), something along the lines of Stop Worrying About Things You Have No Control Over? Because I gave myself a freakout last night panicking about things eight months away. Halp.

Bebe

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher If you figure out how to do this, I will totally form a cult around your teachings. Because, the lack of control, it is....troubling.

atipofthehat

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

My tactic is to worry about things at the last minute, for the maximum stress experience.

contrary

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

EpWs

@Bebe @contrary I'll let you guys know. (Currently, the best thing I've found is Valium, but I'm trying to avoid pharmaceutical intervention if possible.)
@atipofthehat I work best under pressure/on a strict deadline. I just stress about things forever in advance, how do you manage to put things off until that point?

contrary

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I have found that Xanax and list making helps. But only very small vague lists that break things down into chunks of time. Long detailed lists have to opposite effect (unless they're for packing for a trip!)

atipofthehat

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

1. At some point enough things got away from me that it is always the last minute for something.

2. The Hairpin, duh!

tortietabbie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Someone on another J-named feministy website once described her very introverted self as being able to "ruin a good time in [her] head long before it happens." And that totally clicked with me because I do it NON STOP. It's a teeny tiny itty bitty baby step, but I try to take a moment and ask myself, "is this a legit concern or am I ruining my good time?"

Bebe

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher See, if I stress out over things relentlessly in advance, and imagine the worst possible outcome over and over again, and continually dread the inevitable disaster, then I will make it NOT HAPPEN, because I have that power over, say, the laws of nature.

EpWs

@tortietabbie I like this. I am using this.

bangs
bangs

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I'm not religious at all (AT ALL), but I've always thought "grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” was pretty smart.

EpWs

@Xaxa Indeed! It's about all I need right now. Just have to convince myself of it.
@atipofthehat Of course, procrastinating worry via Hairpin! Done. (But seriously, @allhairpinnerseverywhere, you guys make me feel better about most things.)

Chris Clark@facebook

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I have evolved a pretty successful strategy - long story, child with disability, no money, cheating husband, family from hell etc etc and I used to do a LOT of projecting future worries and massive anxiety. What worked was setting a time limit - so if my child was facing a medical issue or a scan or test or an appointment I was obsessing about I set a 24 hour limit. So for 24 hours before the appointment (and I was strict about the time) I could worry and obsess as much as I liked but outside that time I had to think "no, not time yet". It worked so well that I eventually didn't use the whole 24 hours. Now for things I can't control but still worry about (flying, exams, job interviews) I still use it but rarely need 24 hours - sometimes I just decide to worry for an hour before. Weird but it worked for me.

gobblegirl

So...break up with my boyfriend?

The Lady of Shalott

Dear Hairpin:

My resolution this year is to GET SOME FUCKING HELP. So I have a doctor's appointment for tomorrow and a counselling appointment for next week because I am not going to let severe anxiety and panic control my life any more.

I AM GOING TO DO THIS.

PistolPackinMama

@The Lady of Shalott Woot!

I have "make mental and physical health THE priority" as my only goal this year. All other mini-goals (run 5k, find right counselor) are just subsets of that goal.

bonnbee

@The Lady of Shalott Good for you, Lady! Best of luck!

atipofthehat

@The Lady of Shalott

You can definitely do this, and it will feel so good once you do!

mabellegueule

@The Lady of Shalott Yes! Good for you!

EpWs

@The Lady of Shalott Yes! Do it! You will feel so much better during (proactivity!) and especially after!

@The Lady of Shalott I did this in 2011 and it was hard and long and involved a lot of crying... but so, so worth it. Do it!

emilylou

@The Lady of Shalott YES! Proud! I was so nervous to go to my first therapist appointment a few years ago, and now I am sososo thankful to have her in my life. It has helped my anxiety immensely!

simone eastbro

@The Lady of Shalott YEAH GIRLLLLLLLLL

wee_ramekin

@The Lady of Shalott, that is great! I hope you find a great therapist, and I know that you'll feel a lot better once you do. Even when therapy is hard, it's rewarding to know that you're actively working on the things that plague you. So happy for you :)!

EpWs

@The Lady of Shalott Also ps: how are PhD apps going?

Bebe

@The Lady of Shalott Do it do it do it do it. So, so hard, but so, so worth it. Good luck!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@The Lady of Shalott GOOD FOR YOU! You're in my thoughts hella.

The Lady of Shalott

@ everyone,

Thank you all so much. I feel like I need so much cheerleading to do this, possibly since this is my second crisis in five years and the last time I went to a total crackpot counselor (whom I mentioned some other time on the 'Pin who recommended traditional Chinese medicine and deep breathing when I was so wracked with problems that I could barely get out of bed and cried my way through a box of tissues every day) and I don't want to do that again.

But I am totally 100% going to do this.

@The Lady of Shalott: Just remember that you can dump your counselor/therapist/shrink and find another one. If you think they're full of shit, you don't like them, you don't trust them, and you think there's something not quite right, you can leave. Don't put up with deep breathing and Chinese medicine if that doesn't work for you.

EpWs

@S. Elizabeth YES THIS. Also, we're happy to set pretty much anyone on fire. (With Melis's permission, naturally.)

sevanetta

@The Lady of Shalott Add me to the list of cheerleaders :) go you!

KatieWK

I feel like this list should come with a disclaimer along the lines of “consult your therapist before beginning” the way proponents of diets remind you to first consult a physician. This list is excellent for people who are already in decent shape emotionally/psychologically and/or who are not assholes themselves, but I feel like a few of these (mainly 4 and 5) can be and are often abused.

“Ask for something you need”? Sorry, engaged friend, but you don’t NEED me to attend five showers, plan one, and bring a gift for each. Or if I’m doing something that annoys a coworker, I’d rather just be told I’m doing something annoying. There is a difference between getting your way and satisfying a deep human need, and I frankly don’t want to give someone carte blanche to frame everything in terms of their “needs.” Also, “tell someone how you’re really doing” /= we all care about your daily triumphs/misgivings/failures as much as your therapist is paid to. Just a universal reminder to those who don’t see the difference.

Then again, maybe I should really focus on my own mastery of #6.

simone eastbro

@KatieWK All free internet advice tacitly bears that warning.

KatieWK

@simone eastbro Ah, thank you for accepting my rant with grace! You are truly the Zen Master of Doing These Things.

#7: Find a therapist. Therapists for everyone!

simone eastbro

@KatieWK NEVER NOT #7.

prunes

Can someone tell me what emotionally unavailable even looks like? I'm trying to figure out if it's something I am, or have, or whether I'm just neurotic. I assume the latter, but just want to be sure.

@prunes

January 21: You get 5 texts, ranging from "hey want to hang out?" to "you're so hot omg I want you, come over?"
January 22: long, deep conversation. cuddling. long walk, holding hands, to that bakery you both love.
January 24-28: nada.
January 29: you text, "hey, what's up?"
January 30: you get a text, "nothing much, lots of work."
January 31: there's a new string of facebook pictures of this person having a fabulous time with lots of friends.
Feb 1: nada
Feb 3-6: nada
Feb 7: You have a really long day, your boss is driving you nuts, that final paper is due, you're an anxious bundle of nerves, and you really really want to spend some time with that other person because they make you feel so amazing when you're around them. You call, they don't answer.
Feb 8: text, "hey what's up?"
Feb 9: start at Jan 21, repeat cycle.

@prunes It also feels awful. When the other person is emotionally unavailable, you see little glimmers of the loved object's affection or warmth -- that tiny little spark of desire, the hand on your back in public as a sign that you are their desired person, that one conversation in which there's eye contact and honesty -- and then the rest of the time, you feel as though you're fighting an uphill battle to pull it out of them. You begin to think that you're needy because you want it, that if you're just relaxed about it, it will happen, or that you'll certainly see it again. You do, briefly, for random, fleeting moments or days.

There's an intense amount of desire wrapped up in it -- your desire becomes not merely for the other person, but for the energy they expend about 15% of the time in which they're affectionate, connected, and making time for you. It becomes like this because it's something so rare, and that scarcity leads to value. It makes kissing them feel amazing because it's something that felt withheld.

It's awful. It takes an incredible amount of time. The way to deal with it is to walk away.

Emby

@prunes In my opinion, it's being unable to connect with someone on an empathetic level. And it's not necessarily a bad thing! I'm fairly emotionally unavailable to completely random folks I run into on the street. But when I'm romantically involved with someone and my feelings for her aren't that far removed from my feelings toward random other people, then that's a bad kind of emotionally unavailable. That's my two pennies.

Emby

@S. Elizabeth Hmmm. Yes. That hits pretty damn close to home, the idea of wanting to grasp those little flickers of warmth. It's almost like gambling. You win enough to keep you playing, hoping you'll hit the jackpot. But the game's rigged to never pay out in the long run.

itmakesmewonder

@S. Elizabeth THANK YOU

redheaded&crazy

@S. Elizabeth Perfect description.

laurel

@Emby "You win enough to keep you playing, hoping you'll hit the jackpot. But the game's rigged to never pay out in the long run."

Oh god.

@Emby It's basically the equivalent of the experiment with the three mice and the devices with the levers. If the device always gives them a cracker, they only pull the lever when they need it. If the device never gives them a cracker, they stop trying. If the device gives them a cracker randomly, and only sometimes, they will pull and pull and pull and pull until they're exhausted.

The emotionally unavailable person is the third device and the person who loves them is the exhausted mouse.

wee_ramekin

@S. Elizabeth That was exactly the analogy that helped me realize that I was enamored with an emotionally unavailable guy in college.

Another thing that helped was my best friend saying "He's shitty to you 90% of the time, and - I'll grant you - is amazing 10% of the time. But 90% of your life is still shit.". Truer words, people, truer words...

gobblegirl

@prunes There is the back and forth tease -type that S. describes, but there's also the kind that just have a wall built 2 inches beneath their emotional skin. They can be fun, be there all the time, pick you up from the airport, but not let you in to their thoughts and feelings. They also only go 2 inches deep into your feelings/needs/wants, so not only do you not feel that you really know them, they're unable/unwilling to know you. You might see them every day, but you'll always feel sort of lonely when they're around.
...or so I've heard.

Hellcat

@S. Elizabeth PERFECT DESCRIPTION.

redheaded&crazy

this thread makes me feel really sad. like a sad, exhausted mouse. :(

atipofthehat

@redheadedandcrazy

<:3 )~~~

PistolPackinMama

@prunes

Him: I was thinking this week again about how much I want to marry you. But I am still dealing drugs.*

Me: *puts head down and laugh-cries into the pillow.*

I left that "we are broken up but banging each other anyway" non-relationship that week.

*I am a teacher, and have worked in prisons. A drug charge on account of someone else's drugs in my car/house/whatever would ruin my professional life.

wee_ramekin

@redheadedandcrazy It is exhausting. It is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting to be with an emotionally unavailable person. I spent almost all of my sophomore year in college riding the few highs and many lows of an emotionally unavailable crush.

Another thing I have found about these sorts of relationships is that you feel...slower, more confused. About yourself, your choices, but also about life in general. Little things become harder to do. Taking care of people - which used to come so easily - becomes a source of irritation and exhaustion. With me, my head felt like it was packed inside and out with cotton. I didn't even realize how bad it had become until after my break-up, when I was suddenly like "Woah! I have so much energy now that I'm not questioning everything about myself in the face of this person's inability to connect with me!".

Once you get out, it's so, so freeing.

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin it really is. I know I've talked about my stupid breakup A. LOT. here but as much as I've struggled with my ex having nooooooo clue. just no clue, my relationship was making me miserable and inscure. for exactly the reasons that everybody describes above (especially S. Elizabeth, ugh reading that made me cry because oh my god its sooooooo true and sad and frustrating). I'm so much happier and more confident now. so so so much. it really is incredible. :)

thebestjasmine

@wee_ramekin Sigh, you just described my ex who I just had a dream about the other night and was all wistful about. Thanks for the reality check.

@all: *love*

I need more ladyfriends in Boston.

wee_ramekin

@S. Elizabeth I thought you were in San Francisco with all the butches? Why did you move to Boston instead of Austin? Move to Austin and we will have Taco Tuesdays!

@all You guys(girls). I love you. I love you all so much, my dear dear friends. Let us hope that we can all think back to this thread the next time we're confronted with that gut-clenching feeling for an emotionally absent person. Let's hope that we can recognize that feeling for what it is (A warning!) instead of the excitement and exhilaration that we want and pretend it to be.

joie

@wee_ramekin I just want to give a huge HELL YES to everything on this thread, having recently exited a relationship with a textbook emotionally unavailable person. Who even admitted their lack of empathy early on in the relationship! And yet I still found myself caught in that trap of wanting to fix them, of giving and giving and giving and giving and giving until I thought I would break into a million little pieces, and having nothing left to give to myself, let alone my family and friends. And it was all for naught, because when I actually needed him the most, on Thanksgiving, as I miscarried our unborn child, he wasn't there. He couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone when I called, he couldn't be bothered to care. And that was the beginning of the wake up call that, holy shit, this person has nothing to offer me and I will not pour my precious energy into this black hole one second longer. No matter how amazing the sex and intellectual connection is, IT'S NOT WORTH IT. And I am.

Long rant! But yes to all of this!

@wee_ramekin Alas, I'm back in Boston for the school year. I intern in San Fran in the summer. No Austin, but I WOULD TOTALLY have Taco Tuesday with you!

5 minutes ago I had the gut clenching. And thanks to my therapist, instead of trying to convince myself it's not warranted, my thought was "so what if she's not into me? what's the worst that can happen? some emotionally unavailable butch decided to be emotionally unavailable? shocker. let's put on a pretty dress and pay attention to our favorite people."

emilylou

@wee_ramekin I am seriously considering printing out this thread and making a little self-help pamphlet for myself...

Also um I am 98% MOVING TO AUSTIN this spring so I might need to be contacting you for some advice!!!

wee_ramekin

@heyits Oh darling. Oh honey. I am so, SO sorry about your miscarriage. I hope you are getting whatever help and support you need.

thebestjasmine

@heyits Oh my God, I'm sending you all the best, and I hope you had good people around you for this. So so sorry.

wee_ramekin

@emilylouise Wait,

SERIOULSY

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Don't joke with me like that emilylouisie. Do. Not. Fuck. With my emotions. Like. That.

Because if you really are going to move to Austin, I will promptly faint with happiness.

joie

@thebestjasmine Thanks folks. I went back and read that great miscarriage piece the Hairpin ran a while ago and it was so helpful. I've cried a lot, and have found a measure of peace about everything. I have great friends and family, and this whole experience has made me stronger and maybe a little bit wiser.

simone eastbro

@wee_ramekin when i am next in austin we are having taco tuesday even if it is not tuesday.

wee_ramekin

@simone eastbro Let's do this immediately if not sooner.

EpWs

@wee_ramekin I swear if I ever come to Austin (and I want to!), it's going to be about 94% motivated by Hairpinners.

PistolPackinMama

@heyits I am so sorry that all that happened to you. I am glad you walked out on the juicebox, even though it happened under such sad circumstances. And, I admire that you did it.

emilylou

@wee_ramekin Hahaha YOU. With your giant typo font. Ahhh.
No I am not joking.
I love central Texas and have planned to do this... really ever since I finished school four years ago, I never wanted to live here past my time at University of Washington! I've saved tons of money and tons of ambition :) and I am DOING. IT. when my lease is up this spring! I have a lot to figure out before I leave, though, but it's all manageable and I'm way excited. Yayayayay.

wee_ramekin

@emilylouise

*picks self up off of floor after fainting*

Well holy fucking SHIT! This is amazing!!!!! I am so excited! I can't wait for you to get here! Rent on the East Side, it's the best, is the cheapest, and is where I live! Write to me at austinpinup at gee mail punto com for my real address, and then ask me any questions you have!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

emilylou

@wee_ramekin THANKS :)
I'm crazy excited. Every day I tell myself "You can do it! One less day til moving time!" I told a friend down there that I wanted to live in South Congress and she was like, "uh, that's really expensive, I live in East Austin and it's the cheapest and coolest" so it's good to hear more of the same words! I will definitely email you this week, I need to get crackin' on some solid plans and ideas.

joie

@AnthroK8 I am seriously tempted to submit an Amusingly Horrible Things My Exes Said. His list of the reasons why he didn't want to be with me?
1) He couldn't get down with the idea of being a father to a child that wasn't his...which, I sort of got, UNTIL he followed it with:
2) My dysfunctional upbringing/background was too much for him to handle. He wanted a girl who had a normal, traditional upbringing like him.
3) He was relieved that the miscarriage happened because it gave him the impetus he needed to break up with me.
4) My extremely mature, drama-free relationship with my child's father made him uncomfortable because "it seemed too much like family and he didn't feel needed", which led him to say that:
5) It would have been easier for him to be with me if I had just been on my own with my child, so he didn't have to worry about co-parenting.

I should mention that within 5 minutes of meeting me, he knew I had a child and a productive, communicative relationship with my child's father. Can we get some Melis (tm) fire up in here?!?!

@heyits OHMYGOD CLEAN HIM! CLEAN HIM WITH FIRE! CLEAN HIM FROM YOUR LIFE WITH FIRE.

I hate him. I want to purge him with fire.

wee_ramekin

@emilylouise Also! You can totally sleep on my couch if you need to come down to Austin and apartment hunt or something. Seriously.

(i'm so exciiiiiiited! wheeeeeee!)

wee_ramekin

@emilylouisie Oh gosh also! Emilylouisie! I just realized that the whole reason your love-life was shittastic this year was to enable you to feel free to pursue your years-long dream and move to Austin!

Because I mean, imagine if you were still in a relationship with that juicebox? You probably wouldn't be really excited about making plans to move to another city. But now you're freeeeee! Free to do whatever you want! Free to come to Austin! THIS IS SO GREAT AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(I will still knee him in the balls though, for good measure.)

simone eastbro

@wee_ramekin RIO RITA

semolinapilchard

@S. Elizabeth Unlurking just to say wow. Just wow. I read #1 thinking "hmm maybe that's what's going on", but it wasn't until I got to your description that it felt like someone just punched me in the gut. It's exactly what's happening to me. I just went through the Jan 21 5 texts phase and got that feeling again that maybe it will work out. But instead of texting him, I'm writing this comment. Thanks to you and everyone else on this thread.

EpWs

@heyits OHMYGOD. All the fire. ALL THE FIRE.

wee_ramekin

@simone eastbro OR MAYBE EL CHILITO (so you can see TSG!).

Also, yes. Rio Rita.

Decca

@wee_ramekin Dudette, I just jumped ship from the other thread to tell you I totally lived on the Green line! And you're right, it's kind of awesome, in a "...it's vintage?" way. Plus, the noise of a million goblins screaming in pain when the tram rounds the corner at Bolyston!

@semolinapilchard Okay, big thing I learned in 2011? Instead of doing the "omfg should I text back? Maybe I'll wait and text later and look really busy! Or text now? So they know? Right?" thing, or just not texting, it's way more efficient to have a face-to-face talk about what's going on.

It goes like this: "We're doing this thing again. Yes, this thing that we keep doing, where you text me 10 times and I text you, we hook up, we hang out nonstop, I get attached again and let you in, you go away, I get lonely and upset and angry until you randomly text me again. This isn't working. I need consistency, and I need some follow-through. If you can't handle that, it's fine. But I need it, or I need us to not do this. This doesn't work for me."

And then you do it, or you walk away from the bullshit. Did I mention 2011 was the year I figured out that I have crazy deep issues?

@Decca I LIVE ON THE GREEN LINE NOW!!!

redheaded&crazy

@S. Elizabeth Also the year you figured out that you have crazy deep wisdom? Because ... yeah.

@redheadedandcrazy ... 2011: Went to therapy. Dumped 3 different people for the same reason. Figured out I have anxiety issues. Turned 25.

...2012: Accidentally used winter break to take over the Hairpin.

EpWs

@S. Elizabeth Please just stay here?

Decca

@S. Elizabeth Heyyyy! I am now getting nostalgic for the way the B line has stops every 10 feet.
I studied for one year in Boston. I came home last June and I am currently missing it a ton. BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH COME BACK TO MY LIFE.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher On the 'Pin? In Boston? Why haven't there been any Boston 'pinups after the one in August?

EpWs

@S. Elizabeth Yes here on the 'Pin! I'm not in Boston, unfortunately. I am in Kentucky, where there are apparently neither 'Pinners nor 'Pinups. Insert monthly/weekly call for a National 'Pin Conference here.

sevanetta

@heyits Whaaaaaaaaaat. I hope you are getting lots of love and support now.

semolinapilchard

@S. Elizabeth You are very wise! This texting stuff is a bunch of BS. I'm back in the game after 9 years and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. Unfortunately my current situation is long distance, so face to face isn't an option, but an actual phone conversation is. Or walking away. I'm leaning towards walking away.

@semolinapilchard Long distance sucks a hard one.

PistolPackinMama

@heyits Oy. The purifying flames of artisan crafted @melis designed FIRE are made for people such as he.

Also, I would happily run him over with my grannie bike, to make it easier to get the match to his clothes.

PistolPackinMama

@S. Elizabeth I did that. I said "this hot and cold thing makes me crazy." And when he emailed back, basically, "sorry, can't do it" I sent him a one line email. It said "thank you; I really appreciate you wrote this." Then I filed everything he's ever sent me in the Archive of No Return. Now, I only respond to anything he says, and never initiate any contact, and keep it friendly-neutral.

And I think 1)homeboy has *no idea* or worse *a very good idea* what he's missing 2) god that feels good to have done that.

Dancercise

@S. Elizabeth
Throwing in my thanks for writing this. I'm currently trying not to fall into this trap with a guy I have a huge crush on. I just met him in September while he was in my state doing an internship. We became really good friends in a really short period of time, and yeah, I definitely have feelings for him that I wasn't brave enough to share with him before he left. Now he's back in another state for school, and we have intermittent contact through e-mail and Facebook. I find myself doing the whole, "Should I e-mail him? He didn't respond to my last e-mail, but maybe he's just busy with school. What if it didn't go through? I should follow up. But what if that looks needy?" crap.

Not sure if this counts as emotionally unavailable or just physically unavailable, but I definitely understand looking forward to the messages and his really sweet compliments when in fact I don't know if he has mutual feelings for me or just thinks of me as a really good friend. He's such a great friend and I don't want to lose contact with him while he's away (he's coming back in April). Ahhhhhh... it's late and I'm rambling. I should just go to bed.

Also, @heyits I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I, too, offer internet hugs and all my well wishes. I'm glad that man is out of your life, and I hope your 2012 is the amazing year that you deserve.

emilylou

@wee_ramekin Ah, THANK YOU for being so enthusiastic and helpful... and especially thanks for your oh so accurate last comment, re: being free. That relationship held me back in so many unfortunate ways. It was so nice to read an affirmation like that, it's something I've been trying to tell myself forever but it's so much more convincing coming from an outside person you trust. So, #ThanksYoungBoy

FREEDOM from juicebox prison :D :D :D

Hellcat

@S. Elizabeth Write a book, lady -- a simple, not-filled-with-nonsense book about this topic. Because your posts manage to explain this shit kindly, yet matter-of-factly, without the obviously tacked-on cheerleadery vibe that one might find in those cloying Greg Behrendt books.

@Hellcat Ohmygod, I have no idea what that book would look like. "A Modern Chick's Guide to Fucking Up Gracefully." Chapter 1: How to Grow LadyBalls, or Nobody Will Be Selfish For You. Chapter 2: You Don't Get a Trophy for Being a Martyr.

... wait, maybe I do have an idea about what that book would look like.

redheaded&crazy

@AnthroK8 "1)homeboy has *no idea* or worse *a very good idea* what he's missing"

I think it can be both - a very good idea what he's missing, yet no idea what he did to lose it. UGH BOYSpeople ARE SO DUMB.

BScottie

@S. Elizabeth Pretty please, write that book NOW! The book title and two chapter titles alone are so wise. I would definitely buy that book. And the spinsterhood parties where we get to show off our fabulous arms in gorgeous sleeveless dresses? Attending!

parallel-lines

Number six is so hard for me because I live in NYC and there are always stupid people in your face 24/7 and they're strangers so it's not like you are related to or love their dumb asses and UGHHHHH!!! Serenity now! How can I be better about dialing down the hate. I really struggle with this on a daily basis.

itmakesmewonder

@parallel-lines I do too. Try this thing that occasionally works for me (and occasionally is better than never so I take it): Imagine that they're being stupid because they're totally distracted by a terrible life event. Like: Oh god, what if that person's mother just died. Oh god, what if that person just got fired. etc etc

PistolPackinMama

@parallel-lines I remind myself of all the inconsiderate/stupid things I have ever done in public that had to have pissed someone off. I also remind myself they aren't Standing In Line With Too Many Groceries AT ME. Whatever they are doing isn't really about me. And I remind myself I don't have to love them or even care much about them for them to be having an awful day/just broken up with someone/lost their mom/lost their wallet.

It's true. They could be awful people being stupid/spiteful because they can, but more often than not, they are just people. And the last thing I would want to do is send someone to work in tears because I silently (but obviously) fumed at them because they took my seat/popped gum in my ear/ took forever finding exact change for their ticket.

It doesn't always work. But it's worth trying.

MargotSpeaks

@parallel-lines I live in NYC too. I feel your pain. Sometimes, I can just block it all out and think "Just go around. You walk slowly while texting all the time" And then I'm pleased with myself for being such a good crowd-walker...
But I work a block from Times Square. The holidays are rough.
Last week a woman actually ran across the sidewalk and pushed me (BOTH HANDS) out of her way so she could take a photo of someone painted silver standing on a box. Like that robot in EuroTrip.

Verity

@parallel-lines 6 is so hard - seriously, I judge everyone, all the time, and I know it's awful and unhelpful. (But argh, why must people do stupid and infuriating things? Why?)

thebestjasmine

I did something like #1 a number of years ago, but with a slight twist: my New Years Resolution that year was to stop hanging out with people who didn't make me happy. I had spent a lot of the previous year being the fourth in a group of three girls, all of whom were and are very nice people but who very much were a group of three with me as an awkward fourth. So I just stopped hanging out with them, and I decided that I'd rather be at home alone than to be with them and feel left out the whole time. And almost immediately, I started becoming much closer friends with two people who I had known and liked but not really hung out with, and both of those people are still two of my closest friends in the world (12 years later). I know it sounds cheesy to say, but when I stopped trying to make those other friendships happen and let myself be alone, I opened myself up to the wonderful friendships that came into my life then, with people who have always made me feel included and happy and not on the outside of a closed circle. Really one of my best new years resolutions ever.

@thebestjasmine I'm stealing this as my new resolution. <3

atipofthehat

@thebestjasmine

Yes, this works!
CUT THEM LOOSE.

parallel-lines

@thebestjasmine I've been in the process of slowly letting go of people who just aren't really that great of friends and it's been really hard and really lonely. I know they think it's because I'm in a relationship but the whole being in a relationship thing sort of because a good excuse to back slowly out of relationships that made me unhappy or were not worth the trouble. I don't know how long the lonely portion lasts but I hope it's not too much longer :(

kayjay

@thebestjasmine Nice. Well done. I've always preferred being alone to hanging out with all the wrong people. I'm pretty awesome company, if I do say so myself. I'm really good to me.

thebestjasmine

@parallel-lines It's funny, because writing all of that out made me tear up a little -- not really because of the difficulty of actually doing that, or the loneliness, but from thinking about the two friends that I made after that and how much I love them and how important to me they are, even though I live across the country from them now. So I hope that for you the lonely portion ends up not being the memorable part of the letting go period, and that something else wonderful comes into your life from this as it did for me.

PistolPackinMama

@thebestjasmine It's like you read Santa's letter about loneliness and the ways we can reach out and connect.

wee_ramekin

@AnthroK8 Read...or wrote????!!!?!

tortietabbie

@thebestjasmine I'm sort of going through this now. I've been way, way on the outskirts of a huge group of close-knit friends who go back to, like, elementary school (I met and got close to one of them in college) and it's just exhausting. They're nice people one-on-one, but in a big group it just turns into a hatefest and they get really nasty about whoever happens to be the pariah of the week. So I've been phasing myself out, not putting much effort into making plans or tagging along. It's lonely (why doesn't my phone ring ever WHYYYY) but I also feel better, mentally.

Also when I do see them, they get all, "where have you been? Why don't you ever hang out with us?" which makes me SO MAD because if they wanted to see me or invite me to things, those assholes, they know how to reach me. But they don't want to see me, they just say that to go through the motions of being a friend, and I don't need friends like that.

Xanthophyllippa

@thebestjasmine I DID THIS TOO ONE YEAR AND OMG MY LIFE IS FULL OF SPARKLES NOW. Well, not really. But at least I don't spend my time hanging out with people who make me feel meh (or worse) and instead spend it with people who help me feel happy.

Also, best advice ever, from (ironically) a friend I ditched a few years later: Obligation is no reason to continue a friendship.

prunes

@gobblegirl Oh dear, this makes me more confused. I'm with someone who is great in so many ways... always there, always wanting to hang out, affectionate, supportive, and sweet. But something is niggling at me, and it's the fact that we don't talk about our feeeeelings or affection for one another (even when it's apparent), and I don't know if that's my problem to get over or his. Probably too hard to work out in a blog thread, huh?

atipofthehat

@prunes

Is there something missing that you need to talk about? Because if it's there, maybe it's better to do it than to discuss it....

@prunes Never ever is too much for the Hairpin.

So... maybe you could talk about it. Not your feelings (yet), but just talk about the fact that you don't talk about your feeeeelings or affection or stuff. You can do it in a really direct way. And then maybe share what you think about it, and emphasize that it's a little uncomfortable but really important to you to have that conversation -- yup, the one about not sharing your feelings, and how it might be sort of a not fantastic thing for you.

gobblegirl

@prunes Some people just have a hard time expressing their feelings in words, and that's not necessarily emotionally unavailable/locked-up. Do you remember the Ask A Dude that talked about languages of love? He could just be expressing his affection in a way that you find hard to interpret. Maybe talk to him about that? ("I know that we're happy and you're so sweet to me. But sometimes I just need a little verbal reminder because that's the communication style I'm most used to. Can you try to do that? And is there anything I can do or say that you think would help us be on the same page?")
Or maybe he's keeping you at arm's length because he is terrified of commitment and doesn't understand you can be close to someone and ask them how their day was and be willing meet their friends after four months or notice if they seem sad without having to marry them or something.
Don't worry, it's probably the first one. I'm sure no one in the world has ever dated or is currently dating that second guy. I mean, they'd have to be an idiot, right?

prunes

@gobblegirl I'm sure you're right. Problem is, both of us have trouble opening up, and he's worse than I am. In a way, it's good that I "get" him, but it just makes all that stuff harder.
Also, yeah, dating without planning for long-term commitment does not mean you have to forgo intimacy. Yet for some people (speaking from experience) it's all or nothing. If you're someone who is not ready for "all," then you give nothing. It's a defense mechanism, and not fair to the partner.

dtowngirl

@prunes As someone who has always had trouble discussing feelings--and I literally have to work up the courage to do it every single time--I find that it does become easier the more I do it. And it has made my relationship a million times better. Even if it's just something small.

gravie

@dtowngirl Saaaaaame.
I'm still working on it though.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@prunes I TOTALLY feel you on this ---> "If you're someone who is not ready for "all," then you give nothing. It's a defense mechanism, and not fair to the partner." Tell him that! Seriously. Honesty is tricky and hard but amazing. It opens up our relationships to dynamism and growth... we are the creators of our experiences, but we're not telepaths...

Also, NOTHING is ever too much for TheHairpin. I think that's why I love us so much.

WE ARE ALL TOO MUCH (in our own special ways). I think that's why a lot of us congregate here...

sevanetta

@.Lauren. I love that idea, that we are all too much in our own special ways and that's why we come here. Applies to me. :)

prunes

@S. Elizabeth Probably the best idea, right? Also easier said than done, but I will try. It helps to figure out exactly what the issue is first before the discussion happens. Otherwise, it's not very productive. Thank you!

@prunes Maybe the issue is just what you stated above -- that everything's fantastic but there's something that feels off, and you've already isolated what that is. Maybe think about why it bothers you; Is it because you don't feel as close as you'd like to? Because other couples seem to do it? Because you're curious and wish there were a way to ask?

kayjay

These are fantastic!! Number 5 really hit a nerve, since I was reminding myself just yesterday that I am my only (and best) advocate at work, and nobody else is going to stand up for me, so I need to start letting it be known what I need here and stop taking abuse from co-workers.

My only resolution is to stop worrying about money so much. I'm already working multiple jobs, so if I have to make a choice between paying my phone bill or my car insurance bill, I guess I'll just be communicating via email for a while and oh what a horrible tragedy if all the assholes in my life can't reach me via phone.

And if I have to spend another year of my life worrying about money, my head is going to explode. So I'm just not going to anymore. See? My head is already not exploding.

EpWs

@kayjay TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.

sparrow303

#1, #1, #1. Man I wish I had read this like two years ago! BUT I never seem to learn things unless I force my way through them face first, so at least that's taken care of.

Also HIGH FIVE for the Raymond Carver joke. I was right there with ya.

Hellcat

@fishiefishfish YES! That was an awesome part of all this!

queenieliz

but if the #6 stupidity thing actually could endanger my life and safety I can still get worked up about it right? I'm looking at you, drivers on cell phones....

geek_tragedy

Ugh! #1! I feel like I might be insane, because I looooove space, which makes the emotionally unavailable fall for me like whoa. And then when they realize that I am not super-needy, and I'm not texting them like 75 times a day or something, they can't handle it. Then they have total meltdowns and call me sobbing about how they can't be "present" for me and then email me on and off for months about missing me. Oh man.

PistolPackinMama

@geek_tragedy Um. Are you me? That sounds like a version of me. Uh oh. Are we doomed? We are doomed, aren't we?

geek_tragedy

@AnthroK8 I have a bad feeling about this (but it is like 1 A.M., maybe tomorrow morning I'll be more chipper.) Ughhhh I want the last one back, I miss and admire him, dammit! Blah blah blah I know that one day he'll realize that I'm the one that got away blah blah but that does not satisfy me. At. All. I mean, just kidding! We're not doomed, AnthroK8. One day we'll meet the right interesting person who will NOT crowd us or eat our personal hidden cheetos stash (pet! peeve!) and it will be MAGIC.

Hellcat

@geek_tragedy Yay for "I have a bad feeling about this" (if it was deliberate, of course. I sort of assumed it was because of your name).

Decca

@S. Elizabeth Heyyyy! I am now getting nostalgic for the way the B line has stops every 10 feet.
I studied for one year in Boston. I came home last June and I am currently missing it a ton. BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH COME BACK TO MY LIFE.

@Decca OHMYGOD YES. I live on the B line!

wee_ramekin

@S. Elizabeth Hey! You have a picture now :)!

I lived off the second-to-last stop from Boston College. Across from the cemetary. Hee!

Decca

@ S. Elizabeth Me too! *B Line Fist Bump* I lived just off South street - so you can probably guess what school I was at - and it was my first time in America and my first ever apartment and my first prolonged time away from home and god, I miss it so much!

Stella Sally@facebook

Happy New Year!
Have you ever felt life is lonely and sometimes even boring? You may need a fresh thing to excite your mind. My best friend ,he met a cutest girl and they love each other! they date via online dating ---casualloving dot c'0m---it's the most effective place in the world to connect with, to find intimate encounters.There you may easily have free contact with charming girls or handsome men....Hope you like it!Good luck!

@Stella Sally@facebook Nope. My life is never boring or lonely, but if I do need a fresh thing to excited my mind, I usually turn to fantastic books, my netflix queue, wine, makeup, and my already fantastic friends. I'm pretty sure that casualloving dot c0m is not, actually, the most effective place in the world to find intimate encounters, as you find it necessary to spam the Hairpin.

I hope you and your company realize that this will never work, it makes you seem desperate, and generally advertises that your STD exchange program lacks people with faces, names, and pulses.

Have a fanfuckingtastic day!

Xanthophyllippa

@S. Elizabeth I have a friend who went on an STD exchange program in college. Thailand, I believe.

@Xanthophyllippa I love you.

Xanthophyllippa

@S. Elizabeth Sorry. I'm emotionally unavailable.

DrFeelGood

I read the typo zie as "pie" and I was really excited to think that I would receive a call from pie. Mmm pie.

simone eastbro

@DrFeelGood it wasn't a typo. It's an alternative gender-neutral pronoun. They're controversial, but I use them.

DrFeelGood

@simone eastbro ahh cool! I never knew that.

andhowever

Anybody still reading this thread? Anybody want to talk about some FEELINGS that this thread stirred up? Or anybody want to take some FEELINGS talk (no holds barred FEELINGS talk with a internet lady-stranger can be totes awesome guys) to the e-mail MATS?

Inkling

@andhowever
FEELINGS, FEELINGS FOREVER.

Jennifer@twitter

@andhowever Ha YES. FEELINGS all the time.

On another note: #1. Yeah. I need to stop that nonsense.

andhowever

@andhowever OKAY OKAY

I feel like this is a Simone/Dear Sugar (ARE THEY THE SAAAAAME) kind of issue: how do you deal with feelings of wanting to break up with somebody who is truly great, kind, smart etc and with whom you have a good relationship? Because it's not the right relationship for YOU, right now?

It is SO HARD to contemplate ending a relationship that is not actively bad, or hurtful, or with someone clearly in the wrong. And I don't want to jump the gun on such a big decision, but I also don't want to drag it out until we hate each other and are miserable.

FEELINGS. We can take this to e-mail if you want. Just my username at gmail.

simone eastbro

@andhowever "I feel like this is a Simone/Dear Sugar (ARE THEY THE SAAAAAME) kind of issue"

DEAD FROM FLATTERY NOW

andhowever

@simone eastbro Pssst I actually kinda like you better? You are tender and insightful like Sugar but not so much with the long flowery rants or the (to my eye) sickly-sweet stuff like 'I love YOU so much, you dear darling soul!' etc.

Just sayin, you are great.

OxfordComma

Ooooh, I need to practice that last one.

In LA.

In traffic.

All the time.

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