Sunday free-for-all – July 13, 2014

Lucy in caveIt’s the Sunday free-for-all.

Since we limited Friday’s open thread to work-related discussions, this comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. Have at it.

{ 889 comments… read them below }

  1. going anon for this*

    This may be similar to a discussion some time ago though I’m not too sure…….

    So my social media has blown up in the past few weeks with current world events (I’m being intentionally vague so as not to spark a debate here). I’m not a political person and usually I don’t take a hardline approach to any matter…..but in this particular matter I know where I stand. I just don’t feel comfortable getting into a discussion with anyone (whether in agreement or disagreement) and I’ve been able to avoid any discussions so far. I know in my heart what I stand for and I don’t feel the need to defend it or discuss it with anyone.. (again, many may disagree iwth this).

    I guess why I’m posting is, as much as I avoid these discussions, I have a hard time not taking politics personally. From a past incident, I found and followed a beloved HS teacher on Facebook…..and I’d end up seeing her like posts that were full of hate against a particular group of people. and all I could think was……”did you hide your hate for us back then?” (a decade passed between teaching us and my looking her up on FB). I know it’s not the most rational or sensible thought but, as silly as it sounds, I felt hurt because this was an otherwise amazing person and teacher and to know she felt a certain way about my….group, did hurt a little.

    It’s pretty much the same thing now. I see friends who are taking just as hardline approach but for the other side. And, I don’t want to take it personally. I want to be able to separate a person’s politics from them but once in a while a little voice in my head says….”If we were in another country you’d want me dead.” Again, not the most rational or sensible thought…..

    These are people that I knew on a personal and professional level, enjoyed spending time wtih them and respect them; I’m not the type of person to sever ties over anything so I don’t see myself breaking a relationship over this, but at the same time, part of me is worried they just might do that.

    Does anyone else ever feel like this? It bothers me that it bothers me. I haven’t really voiced this concern because given what’s going on in many parts of the world, this is such a small small problem that I’m lucky to have….

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      I do feel like this sometimes. One of the interesting things about all these social media outlets is that you learn quite a bit more about people than you would have 10 or more years ago. I think all you can do is try to compartmentalize it, really, or just sever your social media ties with the people whose views trouble you the most.

      A couple weeks ago one of my friends posted something on Facebook that made it pretty clear that she is a Young Earth Creationist, which contradicts everything I’ve ever learned or been taught about science. I finally just had to tell myself that she’s entitled to her beliefs, as I’m entitled to mine. We can still be friends, and talk about other things, but that discussing this one particular thing would likely mean the end of our friendship. So I have not brought it up.

      1. VintageLydia USA*

        I had to do that with my father. In general he is a good man and a good dad, but he’s pretty much the polar opposite of me politically.

    2. Eudora Wealthy*

      Some of those social networks allow you to block particular people’s comments and still be connected/friended with them. Maybe give that a try. Out of sight, out of mind.
      Good luck.

      1. going anon for this*

        I’m considering just deactivating one of them for a while, I’m getting tired/troubled by all the politics/current events/social-stuff-that-i’ve-yet-to-experience (aka ads for marriage or having kids–I can block those too but for every ad that I shoot down another half dozen pop up)

        1. nunya*

          Actually, if you remove your gender from FB (and/or install adblockplus) those ads won’t be there

        1. Aunt Vixen*

          I use fbpurity – no ads, no games, and I can block posts containing particular words so I can still see (e.g.) pictures of someone’s kids without having to even pretend not to see someone ranting about $politicalissue. (During the election I blocked the names of all four prez/VP candidates because I just. didn’t. want. to deal.)

    3. littlemoose*

      I’ve hidden individual posts (from close family members whose other posts I still want to see), and have hidden people entirely who frequently post inflammatory political stuff. I know I can’t change their mind, and they’re certainly not going to change mine, so I just keep it out of sight.

      That said, there’s a difference between holding opposing political views and being a bigot. What you have said here unfortunately sounds like it’s veered into the latter territory. Social media can expose some ugly sides that people had previously kept well-hidden. It’s disheartening to learn that about people we previously respected, I know, and I’m sorry you have encountered it.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Agreed. It is pretty sad to find out that certain people are not who you thought they were. That is a loss and you have to grieve it sometimes. It’s like accidentally coming upon a KKK meeting and finding out your beloved science teacher is the grand dragon. That would really be a blow. On Facebook, we are shown who these people are right up front by what they like and post. It’s disheartening sometimes.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I have friends who like stuff I can’t stand (think Duck Dynasty and the like), so I just click “Hide all posts from Duck Dynasty” or whatever, so if they share it I won’t see it.

      But there have been people I’ve unfriended because they were vicious about other people I love because of their orientation, beliefs, and politics. I have no patience with narrow-minded people, and if someone tells my dear friend that God hates her because she’s gay, then screw them. Bye bye.

      1. Mallory*

        I hide the source of the reposts for a lot of things my family members post (like hiding Duck Dynasty or whatever). Some people seem to have a neverending source for those things, where I’ve hidden the sources of post after post for the same person. It’s not necessarily bigoted stuff or I’d unfriend or hide them completely; this stuff is just banal, vulgar, so common as to be completely stupid, or just generally in poor taste.

        1. Ruffingit*

          I’ve done the same. I wish people would get a clue about snopes.com and start using it on the regular, but they don’t. They post a lot of ridiculously incorrect stuff and then get angry when you call them out (gently) about the fact that no, Obama is not issuing executive orders that will allow him to shut down all McDonald’s on the east coast. Insert a president of either party in that sentence because it’s all the same. People latch on to anything that might support their dislike of one party or the other. It’s ridiculous.

      2. Ruffingit*

        We would totally get along on Facebook Elizabeth :) This is my view as well. It’s the narrow-minded hatred I have a problem with. If you want to hold an opposing view, more power to you, but there’s a huge distance between “I’m pro-life” and “All pro-choicers are BABY KILLERS!” (insert photo of dead fetus here). I’ve actually seen that one on Facebook before and it’s just messed up. Same with gay marriage. Huge gap between “Not something I’m OK with” and joining the Westboro Baptists.

        1. ItsMe*

          Remember all political view goes both ways. There’s a huge difference between “I’m pro-choice” and All pro-lifers HATE WOMEN. Same with gay marriage. Huge gap between “I don’t support gay marriage” and actually hating gay people. You can not support a cause and still not hate the people involved in that cause.

          Two sides to every issue and it take a certainly level of maturity to allow people to have opposing views.

          1. Felicia*

            I’m not sure how huge the gap is. I mean if someone said they didn’t support interracial marriage I’d wonder if there was some racism there. It’s the exact same thing.

          2. Ruffingit*

            Yeah, that’s the point I was trying to make. Some people get vicious and hateful with their views, which is where I start to have a problem with it. It’s not that they hold an opposing view that is my issue, it’s how they express said view. Some people are extreme and as you said, that is true on either side of the coin. I can respect a person’s right to their view, but not respect the view itself. Once someone drops into vicious and hateful territory though, that’s where the issue is for me.

          3. Anon*

            “Huge gap between ‘I don’t support gay marriage’ and actually hating gay people.”

            As an LGBT person, I’m not seeing the huge gap.

            1. Me*

              I think it depends on the person, but I have some family who feel this way so I will try to explain their view. Most of these family members are FOR gay civil unions. They just don’t consider it a marriage. In their view, marriage is a religious distinction with set provisions. These people are also very upset by the easy way society treats marriages in general – the short celebrity marriages that get in the news, marriages without going through counseling first, and divorces that seem to happen without any effort to save the marriage. These sort of “marriages” are also seen as civil unions by my family members. Same with open marriages and They are wanting to “fix” the whole concept of marriage altogether. Gay marriage is just getting the most attention since it isn’t yet legal and they want to stop it before it becomes so. If their efforts succeed, then they will go after the other things that they consider to be false marriages.

              1. Me*

                No one flame me for this. I am Bi, I’m just trying to explain their view and why “no marriage” does not equal”I hate you”.

                1. Anon*

                  OK. I don’t see how they can see same-gender relationships and families that way and have no hatred feeding into it. But I’m not arguing with you, personally, and I know that’s not what you believe.

              2. Anon4This2*

                +1000 The civil union vs. marriage thing is huge in my family and I totally respect that point of view.

              3. Felicia*

                I’ve heard that argument before, but then I’ve also never heard such people advocate to ban atheist marriage, or marriage of people not of their religion. If they really want to be consistent with that, they have to be just against atheist marriage as they are against same sex marriage, but it’s so rarely the case. If someone is consistent like that and said they were against atheist marriage, and Wiccan marriage, and anything not their religion marriage then it would be easier to swallow. But then, all sorts of religions think their marriage ritual is the only sacred one, and I would only believe that as an argument if they argued that everyone should be civil unioned.

                I think in that argument they are arguing based on what they believe marriage should be vs what marriage actually is, which doesn’t feel like it makes any sense to me.

          4. Mary*

            Well said. I agree. Some is also in the perspective of the person reading the post. I recently posted an article, that I agreed with and didn’t see as hateful at all. People jumped on it though and read it with a totally difference perspective than I did.

      3. Liz in a Library*

        I’ve done this too. I don’t care if my friends don’t agree with me about everything (in fact, I expect that to be the case), but you have to disagree civilly. If there’s name-calling or unneeded aggression, I just unfriend completely.

      4. Befuddled Squirrel*

        Me too. I’ve unfriended a few people for that reason. Then I switched to just hiding the person’s posts.

        But increasingly, I’m finding that Facebook adds little value to my life in comparison to the amount of stress it induces, so I barely use it anymore.

      5. Sally Forth*

        I agree with you completely, Elizabeth. Having a viewpoint is one thing. Posting scripture and damnation on pictures of my friends’ gay wedding is another. After a while it becomes evident that their words are only going to make me anxious and unhappy and I tell them so and block them.

    5. Student*

      I feel like this often when people I know express hate for my various identity groups.

      I think that, if it’s someone you know, it’s important to speak up if you can do so relatively safely. You don’t have to engage in something major, but saying, “That hurt. I am an X. I never realized you felt that way,” doesn’t take much effort now. It also lets people know that someone disapproves; silence is taken as agreement. Sometimes people stop hating minority groups if they suddenly have to put a name, a story, a face on their “enemy”.

      If it blows up from there, block them and drop them from your social circle, and know you’re better off for weeding your social garden. I get that you are conflict-averse in this realm, but if you try standing up for yourself it might make you feel better about this exact sort of thing.

      1. saro*

        I agree, I usually let political differences slide but I had someone I considered a friend say some heinous things about all Muslims on her FB page. I commented on her post and told her that she made me sad, reminded her I was Muslim and gave her evidence why her comment was wrong. She apologized and asked me to write to her privately in the future. I told her if she posted stuff like that publicly, then I was going to address it publicly.

        Usually, I try to ignore politics on FB. People very rarely are able to have a debate so I don’t comment if I don’t agree.

        1. John B Public*

          That was an amazing and inspiring thing you did and I’m glad you shared that with us. I’ll have to remember to have that mindset in the future, it will help me be more positive when I want to address something like that.

          1. saro*

            That’s kind of you. At the time, I was very hurt! I tried to be polite and she did apologize.

        2. Befuddled Squirrel*

          That’s admirable. I wish I had the courage to stand up to people publicly when they post hateful things.

        3. nerd*

          I like how you handled it……not sure if this is similar, if it at all, but I’m Muslim too and 95% of my FB is focused on what’s going on in Palestine. I have a few Jewish friends who, while they’re not openly saying heinous things, they’re still clear about where they stand, and that includes sharing photographs in which others are saying horrible things…..Does htat make any sense? It’s like, “I’m not saying kill Muslims, but I’m agreeing with people who ARE saying it.”

          1. saro*

            Yes, I have quite a few very right wing FB friends, and they are saying similar things. Surprisingly, my Jewish friends don’t agree with the bombing! I’m ignoring them right now, I don’t know how to bring it up without picking a fight.

    6. GrumpyBoss*

      It is always a horrible feeling when someone you admired when you were young reveals themselves to be an a-hole when you are old enough to spot one. It’s a tough pill to swollow. I’ve been there and am sending some virtual hugs.

      Stories like this are exactly why I’m extremely private with my political preferences. It’s a personal choice, and it is beyond arrogant and self absorbed for someone to think that I would ever change my beliefs based on a few pithy Facebook comments. I also think it’s a pretty stupid reason to give people to judge me.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Oh come on now. Of course you will change your political beliefs if someone posts enough political someecards ;)

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Of course! The same people who don’t go to Snopes first and just share every horror story on the internet because if it’s on the internet, it must be true.

          1. Jillian*

            I went through a phase where I would post the link to Snopes, but no one wants to see it. One person replied that Snopes was just part of the liberal media, so of course they would say that the President wasn’t a Kenyan Muslim.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              I have seen this, and it’s so absurd! The people who run that website are Canadian, for Pete’s sake!

              1. Vancouver Reader*

                Are they really? And here I thought Canada’s main claim to fame was bad comedians. ;)

                1. Felicia*

                  Hey they’re not all bad!:) I happen to be a fan of Seth Rogen, and he’s Canadian :) But I didn’t know they were Canadian either, and that’s much more awesome than Seth Rogen

                2. Vancouver Reader*

                  Can’t seem to reply to your comment Felicia. I’m older so I was thinking more the embarrassments that is Jim Carrey or Alan Thicke. But yeah I agree, Snopes is way cooler than all the comedians combined but it can’t beat Chris Hadfield for ultimate in Canadian cool.

            2. Bea W*

              I had a person reply the exact same thing about Snopes, and FactCheck.org! Sometimes there is just no convincing someone of something they are so set on believing.

    7. A Teacher*

      The worst part is when people post it publicly on FB or other social media and then get upset when people question their viewpoint. If you post it, you are opening yourself up to discussion or with people changing their opinion about you. I also agree with the points made that you learn a lot about people through social media you may never have known. It is really hard to take back something with technology (what drives me crazy about politicians from all sides) and say “I didn’t say something” when its out there live in social media. Additionally, I agree with the poster that said its fine to have a view, its not fine to bash a whole group of people because you are intolerant. I’ve made my point by not posting on friends walls when they bash a group of people for sexual orientation (think the new hotwire commerical) by posting about it on my own wall instead. Bigotry is never just a viewpoint, its a form of hatred that deserves to be called out no matter if its for race, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc…

    8. C Average*

      Thanks for posing this question so thoughtfully. I hope the answers you get are equally civil and well thought out.

      I grew up in a very conservative part of a very red state, and remain social media friends with many people I knew in my childhood. It’s tough to see them espouse positions so opposite my own, especially when they’re positions that align with a harsh and judgmental approach toward whole groups of people. I know these people, personally, to be kind and giving people and wonderful neighbors, and I wonder how they can hold such (to me) narrow and spiteful political opinions. I suppose they probably look at my opinions and wonder how I can be so naive, though.

      I guess you have to decide which opinions are tolerable to you and which aren’t.

      For example, some years back, I made up my mind that I was going to be outspokenly pro gay rights, regardless of the setting, because I believe it’s the right thing to do. If you are my Facebook friend and you say something judgmental toward the LGBTQ community, you’re going to get a brief note from me explaining that I have gay friends and family, I do not believe their orientation is sinful or deviant, and I will not tolerate hearing anti-gay language anywhere. Then I de-friend them.

      I know there’s a right to free speech, but there’s also a right to stick your fingers in your ears and sing “la la la la la, I’m not listening to your judgmental opinions.” Judgmental opinions have consequences. One of them is potential loss of friends. I’ve also walked away from conversations and walked out of church services when this subject came up. I’m not going to engage, because I have never seen a mind get changed that way, but I’m going to do my small part to marginalize what I regard as bigotry.

      I may continue to regard the person with some personal affection–I’ll say hi to them in the grocery store when I’m back home, or whatever–but I’m drawing the political boundaries that actually matter to me sharply.

      I also don’t regard Facebook friendship as a “relationship” in the traditional sense. Facebook is media. When I accept a friend invite, I’m basically saying, “I am willing to read your op-ed column.” If I have doubts, I click “ignore.” And I de-friend prodigiously. I have no doubt I’ve hurt some feelings, but I don’t read toxic materials on social media or anywhere else.

      This has become a novel. Sorry. I have strong feelings on this one.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I’m with you on everything you said. I was raised in a blue state and now live in a red one and holy hell it has been tough sometimes. But, I pick my battles and I draw the lines where I feel they are needed.

        I also wholeheartedly endorse that judgmental opinions have consequences. Spew whatever you want, but just realize that people will jump out of the way so as to avoid being hit by it. IOW, they will unfriend you or sever relationships sometimes so you need to be prepared for that. If you turn out to be a hateful bigot, I have no problem unfriending. Everyone has a right to say what they want, but everyone also has a right to walk away from people they disagree with.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I would find it disturbing to see that a person is not what I thought s/he was. And that is a loss, for sure.

      People seem to get very “brave” online. (I mean brave in the wrong way.) They say things that they would never say in a group or to a person’s face. You can’t really say “How come you don’t say that to my face?”. Because that sounds like fighting words. But you can say something to the effect of “Gee, I never knew that about you”. And let that comment just hang there in air.

      I have to say, I am happier not knowing a lot of this stuff about people. Let’s just focus on the parts we agree on.
      The contempt, name calling and the prejudice/hatred I just have to move away from. I have seen online posts tear work places apart.

    10. Ruffingit*

      It’s a difficult balance between liking the person and disliking their politics. I know where you’re coming from. What has helped me with this is giving some intense thought to what I’m OK with and what I’m not and using that as a marker. For example, I’m pro-choice. I have many friends who are pro-life. I am OK with that because I respect their right to have their feelings on it and they respect mine. So that works for both sides. I ignore postings and comments on their sites regarding these issues because they are not nasty and hateful. They just state their beliefs. However, if they were getting nasty and insulting about it, then I’d take issue with it and likely unfriend them.

      Bottom line is just figuring out what you matters to you. I’m OK with someone having vastly different beliefs than I do so long as we can both be respectful of the other side’s right to those feelings. Now, if it’s getting hateful and ugly, that’s an entirely different thing.

      1. Student*

        On this like-the-person, dislike-the-opinion thing:

        I am a big believer in the waiter rule. “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.”

        Someone who picks on people in a weaker position is not someone I want to be friends with, no matter how nice they are to me. As soon as I’m in a vulnerable position, I know what to expect out of that person – a kick to the head, not a hand back up.

    11. MJ*

      While I agree with others that blocking that incoming negativity is important (maybe even essential), your bigger question is what to do with the lack of respect you now feel for people you once cared for, in particular, this teacher.

      I like to view life as a journey through a forest. We all start at different places, run into different obstacles, and learn and mislearn based on the things that we encounter and sometimes the decisions we make.

      Maybe you have found your way to a part of the forest where there is more light and the paths are more clearly marked, while your former teacher started out in a very dark spot where she is having trouble moving beyond one circuitous path.

      Honor that she too is on a spiritual path, and she is where she is just because that’s her path. Consider that she is doing the best she can, and that if you had been born in her skin, in her family, in her part of the forest, you might not be navigating any differently than she is.

      Some compassionate choices you might make at this juncture:
      – protect yourself from her negative messages (compassion for self!)
      – send loving thoughts in her direction (however that works for you)
      – consider saying something to her that you think she might hear that could interrupt and possible redirect her path (maybe not possible)
      – stay in her life as non-judgmentally as possible to serve as an example of non-judgment
      – consider that you are not the person to help her, and move on (again, compassion for self)

      I don’t even have a FB account – reading the junk posted on my husband’s freaks me out!

      1. Windchime*

        Such a beautiful post. I may actually print this out as a reminder to myself to be more accepting of the spiritual path of others.

      2. Office Worker*

        Thank you. My path has been full of fallen trees recently and I am only now starting to find my different path, your words are very kind and compassionate and beautiful.

    12. stellanor*

      I work for one of the major employers in my region, and for various reasons my company is very unpopular lately. There have been many articles about how my company is a miserable place to work and is also ruining the entire region. I actually enjoy working there and like my job and my team very much.

      One of my close friends — well, I THOUGHT we were close — has been linking multiple articles (like, at least one a week) on facebook about how awful my employer is and how everyone who works for them is an asshole. I commented once about how that wasn’t my experience and she responded with snide disbelief.

      Sooooo I guess we’re not friends anymore. I don’t really know what happened, but it actually totally hurt my feelings.

      1. Liz in a Library*

        I had this exact thing happen with a good friend making horrible statements about my former employer and it’s employees while I was working there. It’s really terrible friend behavior, and I’m sorry it happened to you.

      2. Bea W*

        That’s jerky, and your friend pretty much called you an a-hole. If all people who work for X are a-holes, and you work for X, the logical conclusion is that you are also an a-hole. Of course that hurts!

      3. Befuddled Squirrel*

        The same thing has been happening to me lately. In my area, there’s one increasingly dominant industry that creates a lot of jobs but also drives up the cost of living overall. Understandably, people who don’t work in that industry are angry. I’m on their side, but I needed a job and had to go where the jobs are.

        In the year that I’ve been working in that industry, people have been attacking me. It’s awful, and it makes me want to find a different job. I don’t fit into my company’s culture, so I’m unhappy there, and people I have more in common with judge me for working there. I just want to say, “Hey, I don’t blame you, but I have to support myself just like everyone else.”

        1. Anx*

          Sometimes I’m not sure where I draw the line between profiting from a destructive force and not having the luxury of ideals because everyone needs to eat. It can be tough.

          1. Befuddled Squirrel*

            Yeah, exactly. As big companies go, mine’s not so bad. They’re not polluting or exploiting cheap labor. There’s just a general slime factor to the industry due to its inflated salaries and lack of diversity. There’s definitely a lot that I disagree with, but that seems to be the case with any job.

    13. Mints*

      I’m probably disagreeing with some people here, but I’m more political than average. I have some friends who I disagree with politically, but they tend to either be not very outspoken, or we only disagree on a few things.
      Lots of issues to me aren’t just theoretical debates, they affect my actual life and the lives of people I care about. Being against marriage equality (for example) has a material effect on real lives. I really can’t think “Bob’s a nice person but he’s wrong about (things)” I’m going to think his actions are detrimental to me and/or people I care about.
      Again, I’m more political than average and it’s probably about how I grew up (I was born in a country that has had revolution and significant turmoil in recent decades)

      All of this to say, if you defriend them, I understand. I wouldn’t want to see them in person, I don’t really care if they think I’m petty

    14. Bea W*

      Yes. I was on the wrong side of another hairy world political issue growing up among other things (wrong ethnic background, wrong religion), and for that experience certain types of political exchanges make me nervous as heck, especially the black and white, pick your side, hatey-angry polarizing ones where people just want to believe what they believe and not hear anything else. I cringe internally (and sometimes noticibly) when people say hateful things whether it is related to something personal or it is something removed from me, another group, another people far away I have never met.

      I’ve had the same experience with social media blowing up recently on a hot topic, and struggling with it because these are people I have just spent a great deal of time with and while they are not saying awful things, they are only seeing one side and never acknowledging the other. I disagree with many of the articles that are being posted, and I feel like I am bad for not jumping on their bandwagon. I feel the same fear I did as a kid in a different political conflict where even just remaining neutral was a mine field.

      If you remember the “You are either with us or against us” speech back after 9/11 – it was like that atmosphere (but another decade), and that really scares the crap out of me. Whether the topic is personal to me or not, I think I tend to emotionally distance myself from people who says things that make me feel like this, because I don’t feel like I can be open, like I have to keep myself under wraps. This is problem when the person is a friend.

      I did completely step back or away from someone in recent years because their political opinions were too much. It wasn’t the opinion per se – but the tone, the hate, the ignorance. When she posted a topic that was insulting to personally to both myself and our mutual friends and also to herself (or maybe she was not lumping herself in with the group she derided), that was it for me. It was hard to know where to draw a line or even if to draw a line. I firmly believe people have a right to their own beliefs, and disagreement doesn’t need to hurt anyone, but when people say or do things that are hurtful and derogatory, it’s very different than just a discussion where people take different points of view.

      I’m not sure what I am trying to say or what advice I have -not much, except that I understand that feeling. Pay attention to your feelings when you hear these things. If you feel up to it, you can try to open up a discussion about why they think the way they do. Sometimes it is useful to ask questions like “Why do you feel that way?” “What do you think will happen if….” Sometimes if you approach it from an angle of trying to understand the other person’s logic, it comes across as less confrontational than “I disagree with you about tea pot worker segregation. I think all Chocolate Tea Pot spout designers have a right to use the break room along with the handle makers.”

      1. Anna*

        I just recently unfriended someone because their judgmental position on whether or not people eat meat.

    15. Anony*

      I feel you. I try to not to get caught up in political views on my social media sites but there are times when you have to state your stance and leave it at that. I’m not saying go and poke the fire but just continually be you an voice it a little. Either we can agree to disagree and be cordial human beings or we can sever the relationship.

      I have a few facebook friends, who have different views than me on quite a bit of stuff but their posts are never inflammatory or insensitive. I remember a few of my fb friend sent out a post tell everyone to ban a former classmate of ours because of something he posted. And I was like hmpf, I never had him on as friend anyway. I guess I have a small social network, I have less than 200 friends on facebook purposefully.

    16. Puddin*

      A little late to the posts…but a quick note anyway.
      Increasing evidence shows that FB makes people anxious and depressed. I think your example illustrates why very well.

      I think that you are experiencing something very common. BY insulting a group your identify with, people are by extension insulting you.

      I am sorry this is happening to you, and I think it is ok to take it personally. The key is to not to continue to open yourself up for these assaults. As others have mentioned, block, unfriend, private message your thoughts.

      Good Luck!

      1. StudentA*

        “Increasing evidence shows that FB makes people anxious and depressed. I think your example illustrates why very well.”

        So true. I’ve purposely never set up an FB account. I can’t afford any potential drama. The whole thing is just a gossip/contention can of worms.

    17. ThursdaysGeek*

      I think it has a lot to do with the well known quote: ‘the line between good and evil runs through every human heart.’ You have seen the good, and now you are seeing the evil. We all have both, hopefully not in equal measures.

      So recognize that which you don’t like, but don’t overlook that which you do. And if you have a relationship, maybe you do bring it up, shine light on it.

  2. Ann Furthermore*

    In just under 12 hours, my husband is dragging me camping. The older I get, the less appeal camping has for me. It’s not getting away for a few days and enjoying nature, it’s simply getting dirty and sleeping on an air mattress. We are going with some family, and one person in particular gets on my last freaking nerve. And I will be trapped with this person for 2 days. I’ll be coming back on Tuesday with our 5 year old, and he will stay for an additional 2 nights. So my week off will be spent first doing something that I can barely tolerate, and then on single mom duty. Gah!

    Now, I travel quite a bit for work, and my husband does do more than his share of single parenting while I’m gone, so I really can’t complain. But I am anyway. I don’t wanna go!

    1. Ali*

      I hear you totally. My mom used to be married to a guy who owned a trailer, liked camping, the whole nine yards. I met some nice girls my age at the campground back then, but I just hated the environment! I guess I like having cable TV too much (this was pre-cell phones, social media and all that too), sleeping in a bed at home and eating out. I hate hot weather, bugs and the outdoors, so when I have a friend who likes camping, I always tell her I will never be insulted if she doesn’t invite me along. Haha.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I was telling my husband I’d enjoy it more if we went with a larger group of people, or some different people. I was hoping my nephew would be able to come and bring his daughter, who is my 5 year old’s age, because the 2 of them always have lots of fun playing together.

        Mostly I’m annoyed because this is exactly what I knew was going to happen. Last summer I planned our vacation and we spent a lovely, quiet, peaceful week on the Outer Banks where we rented a house. But my husband got bored, first because he’s not a beach person (which is just weird and unnatural), and second, the poor guy was travelling with a bunch of chicks: me plus 3 girls. If he’d had some guys to go do dude stuff with he probably would have had a good time.

        So I told him he could plan vacation this summer. I had the vacation rental reserved by the previous December, and the airline tickets booked by April for our trip in July, I plotted the route to get there from the airport, knew how to get to where we were going, and had an idea about a few things to do. I kept asking him what we were going to do this summer, and he kept saying, “I dunno.” And I kept saying to myself, “He’s going to end up not planning anything, and I’m going to end up f-ing camping and he’ll try to pass that off as a vacation.” And that is exactly what happened. ARGH!!!!

        We are trying to save money to do a kitchen remodel, so we both agreed that we wouldn’t do anything too elaborate or expensive this year. But that is not why we ended up doing this — we ended up doing this because he didn’t get off his a$$ and plan anything, and since he loves camping, it’s a perfectly good cheap vacation alternative for him. Grrr.

        Sorry for venting. I really do not enjoy camping at all, and the idea of spending the next few days with this one particular person who is going with us is making me grouchier by the minute. Ugh.

        1. BeBe*

          Well, at least it’s only for a couple of days and not a whole entire week or more!!! Try to find something nice about it… a lake to swim in, etc. If not, well take a book or three! :-)

        2. Windchime*

          Do you *have* to go? Is there any way you can say, “Look, I’m just not into it and I’d rather not go”?

          1. Jazzy Red*

            I would have faked an illness – a real messy illness.

            My idea of the great outdoors is a nice screened-in porch, preferably at a cool hotel with room service.

    2. Eudora Wealthy*

      You know what, tell your husband you don’t want to go. It might feel like complaining to you, but he might just be delighted that you were honest with him. Give him the opportunity to tell you, “I’m so glad to hear that. I’d prefer that you stay home and do what you want to do.” I would hate it if my spouse withheld hir feelings for years.

      At the very least, tell husband that you’re going this year, but that you two need to have a conversation about you going next year (or not) ASAP.

      Marriages usually involve compromise, right, but that doesn’t mean you should have to repeatedly spend time with someone who “gets on my last freaking nerve.”

      I realize this advice might be easier said than done. And I don’t have all the info. I hope it works out for you. If you go in 12 hours, take some xanax, valium, vodka, and candy with you.
      ;-)

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Well the thing is that I haven’t been camping with him in about 2 or 3 years. He knows it’s not really my favorite thing, and he also knows that 2 nights is my limit. My mom kind of shamed me into it. She said that I should suck it up and go with him once in awhile since it’s something he enjoys. I can see her point.

        But I’m still not looking forward to it. And on top of everything else, let’s just say that Mother Nature is having a huge laugh at my expense.

        1. Anna*

          Yeah, this is your “marriage investment” camping trip. I have things I don’t really want to do but I do them because my husband really enjoys it. Good luck!

          1. Vancouver Reader*

            Hell I need alcohol when I see my in-laws for an evening, let alone if I had to spend two days with them. I think your husband needs to hide all sharp objects from you as well. ;)

    3. Stephanie*

      Heh, I find myself going in the opposite direction. I grew up outside of Dallas, which is kind of the Land of Shopping Malls and Highways, so I never got why anyone would want to go camping. (Dallas has good things going for it, but it’s not particularly scenic.) It took moving to some more scenic and/or temperate areas to get why people would willingly spend extra time outside. I started doing some easy hikes in my area and am intrigued by camping.

      I’d tell your husband you don’t want to go. Or that this is your last camping trip. I think it’d be better to be honest and maybe just let this be *his* thing.

    4. Artemesia*

      I loved backpacking in the northwest as a young woman and loved the out of doors; I married a man who hated it. He said he had had all the camping he wanted in basic training. So I raised a family never hiking and camping and I really regret that. Not that I married him but that I didn’t insist we build more of that into our lives together — or if absolutely necessary that I didn’t just do it with the children. They both have discovered and done a good bit of rock climbing, kayaking, camping etc on their own — but it is something I missed out of in most of my married life.

      There is something to be said for sucking it up and doing your best to enjoy activities your spouse enjoys even when it isn’t your thing.

      1. Tina*

        Hey, I’m not a beach person either! Actually, I hate it lol

        I can commiserate on the camping, and doing it because it makes him happy. My husband loves music festivals, done of which involve camping. Sleeping on an air mattress and showering in a truck is not my idea of fun.

        I once dragged him to an ice skating performance for 2 hours and he fell asleep. And snored! His sister said I owed him for dragging him to that, and it really annoyed me. I said if I could spend 4 days camping (on multiple occasions), then he can go along with me for a 2 hour show!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      This stuff is frustrating for sure. It sounds like you are stuck this time, but maybe not in the future? Ask him if the two of you can do something together during the camping that is of interest to you. Even if its one afternoon or one evening. Maybe there are some interesting shops/ a movie/friends living near by- something that you would actually look forward to doing.

      I took a trip with a family member and her family. We all picked something that was of personal interest to each one of us. It made the trip better because everyone had a turn. Yeah, I went to a couple things that were not my first choice. But it was okay because the person who picked the activity tried to make it interesting to the rest of us.

      A younger me would not have stood up for me to get to do something I liked. I got older and I got sick of never getting a slice of the pie. Camping is a lot of work. Make sure you get something out of it that you enjoy.

    6. Rebecca*

      I feel the same way about picnics. Hate it, hate it , hate it! I see zero sense in cooking perfectly good food, having to haul it an hour away, lugging heavy coolers, trying to fend off bugs and holding down paper plates while the wind blows. Ugh – no thanks! I always got stuck with all the packing up and clean up, which just added to the time suck and misery.

      To me, camping is picnicking on steroids. If it was done in an RV with all the amenities, I might be on board, but other than that, nope.

      1. Windchime*

        Ha, for sure! Camping where there is hot showers, electricity, and comfortable beds is where it’s at for me. But then I guess that’s not really camping, huh….that’s more like staying at home and putting a nice fire pit in the back yard.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          This is my page too. I like “camping” when it means renting a cabin with running water, a fridge, and a shower in some kind of woodsy-type area. My back still hurts when I remember my last trip, sleeping in a tent…

      2. Jen S. 2.0*

        So much this! I don’t even like eating outside at restaurants (hot, bugs, wind, etc.) let alone hauling food outside to eat it. Picnicking has no appeal for me whatsoever. I have no idea what being outside is supposed to be adding to the experience of eating.

        And camping — indeed, picnicking to the nth power for days on end — is just totally out of the question for me. No. Just… no. Under no circumstances would I allow someone to attempt to pass off camping as a vacation. I’d need a vacation after camping.

      3. Anx*

        Take out in the park can be fun, but I’m not big on transporting food unnecessarily.

        I’m biased, though, because I studied food safety.

    7. C Average*

      I’m sorry. It sucks to spend your precious few days off doing something that’s neither restful nor enjoyable.

      I have to admit I really do dig camping, but I firmly believe the less frequently you do it, the less fun it’s going to be. If you go all the time, you gradually acquire the gear that works for you (sleeping bag with footbed overfill, titanium French press, and lots of other awesomeness from REI) and learn how to dress for the weather and the experience and acquire a comfort level with the outdoors. We went all the time when I was growing up, and I was a pretty serious rock climber in my twenties and spent a lot of time in the backcountry. My husband and I actually plan to do the Appalachian Trail together when we retire!

      It’s definitely not for everyone, but I think camping is especially painful for the once-a-year folks. I’m sorry you’re getting dragged along on this misadventure.

    8. KrisL*

      I also hate camping. We camped when I was a kid, and by the time I was a teenager, I had decided that being out in the wilderness (especially since there was a perfectly nice woods behind our house) did not make up for sleeping on the ground or on a leaky air mattress, pit toilets, no showers, smoke from the campfire, and eating in the dusk, trying to wave away bugs.

  3. Sara*

    Kind of work related but not really.

    Do any of you ever watch a TV show and wonder how the office politics or situations would play out in an AAM letter? and the responses……

    (clearly been watching too much Mad Men ;) )

    1. Eudora Wealthy*

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Alison ended up becoming the showrunner for a new TV series named after her blog. . . . “This fall… on CBS… ASK A MANAGER! … starring Julie Delpy as The Manager and Ethan Hawke as. . . .”

      1. C Average*

        A few weeks back, a podcast I listen to did a special on “Orange Is The New Black” and invited Dan Savage, the sex advice columnist, as a guest. The podcast host read fake letters from OITNB characters and Dan answered them as though they were real. It was hilarious and awesome.

        Although I didn’t like the show “Girls” at all (I’ve seen a few episodes just to see what all the fuss was about), I’d love to see Alison take on the work habits of Hannah and the other millennial cliches on that show!

    2. Kay*

      Oooh! I’ve been watching Mad Men w/ my husband and we are really enjoying it! I’m under 30, so much of the culture: smoking, drinking, misogynism etc is completely foreign to me. It’s absolutely fascinating!

    3. Stephanie*

      *slight spoiler*

      “Dear AAM, My sweet, but awkward coworker came over to my house and made a pass at me. I told him it wasn’t appropriate and he left. The next day he gave me a nipple in a box as a present. Is this legal?”

      1. Beth Anne*

        One of the reasons I keep rewatching The Office is b/c I love seeing the office politics play out. I love reading this blog b/c I love hearing how other offices operate. I find it FASCINATING….I still can’t decide if that is weird or not. Sometimes I think I should work in HR.

        Last semester I took a class and we had to talk about “office gossip” and other office related topics and it was so interesting all the stories that came up.

      2. C Average*

        I clicked the “follow comments on this post” box and was sporadically glancing at the comments on my phone while I was out and about running errands. The comments on this thread really threw me. Especially the waterboarding one. Whaaaaa . . . ?

      3. Sara*

        omg, for some reason I thought this was something from CSI or Scandal or something like that. I actually just saw that episode today and was gobsmacked and horrified. and finally, just saddened at seeing a great character go that way :(

      4. Anx*

        Dear AAM-

        I just started a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity doing cutting edge research in my field of study. One of the big draws was the health benefits: full medical, on premise (also, they’re the only healthcare providers who could possibly help me, and I have a life-threatening illness). They’re also taking care of room of board. I’m not sure if I’ll be living with my coworker/girlfriend or on the premise, but I’ll have a place to say in addition to a fully outfitted chill zone in my very own lab. Also, they are located close to my new found family.

        I’m a U.S. citizen, though, and they are located in Canada. I don’t have work visa. Is this a problem? They never mentioned anything about that. I’m not sure I’m really ’employed’ or if they are just giving me a lab and paying all of my living expenses, since I sort of abandoned my PhD research near the end of my first semester (but, really, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people, and I might not live long enough to even write my dissertation).

        I’ll be studying myself. Is this legal?

        I think my boss has had an affair with my coworker/doctor/girlfriend. How should I proceed?

        I’m studying human cloning. I’m a clone. My girlfriend works with me and is a monitor. I am terrified but excited. This company is doing all sorts of shady shit and killing people off and kidnapping people and pretty much tried to patent me. How do I explain my research to a future employer?

    4. Will*

      Dear AAM,

      I think my colleague is the serial killer I’ve been trying to catch. He might have eaten people. He also may have fed people to me and my dogs. Advice?

    5. EduStudent*

      Dear AAM,
      I think my boss is having an affair with POTUS. Do I say anything? She is still always dressed to the nines and the job is getting done, but sometimes scary B613 people come by the office and it makes me uncomfortable.

      Sincerely,
      Anonymous Gladiator

      P.S. Also, our hours are ridiculous. I don’t think any of us sleep, ever. Advice?

      1. Stephanie*

        p.p.s. I believe my coworker has severe PTSD, but our boss keeps making him work. He was water boarded and didn’t even shower for two weeks! We have no EAP. Is the legal?

    6. Sarah*

      Dear AAM,

      My boss is an ardent libertarian who deliberately sabotages the work of our small government office because he does not think it should exist. He only hires strange people who do not care about the work to ensure that things run as inefficiently as possible. How can I change him?

    7. Mike C.*

      There was a trashy Bravo show (but I repeat myself ;) ) called “Below Deck”, which followed a the crew of a yacht for hire in some tropical locale. It was a textbook of things you never do in the workplace. It was simply incredible.

  4. Kalliope's Mom*

    Family situation – I let my daughter visit my family out of state for this month, they are driving her home at the end. But I have one Aunt that I just can not stand, we have a very rocky relationship and I just choose not to keep in contact with her. When we dropped my daughter off to my mother’s home and stayed for a week, my aunt became very mean and nasty asking why we did not inform her of our visit. My answer was simple, its none of your business. last time I checked I was married with my own family and was under no obligation to inform her of anything. Now that we have returned home, my daughter is enjoying visiting with my mother and sister. But a birthday party has come up for my aunt’s granddaughter, and I am torn about letting her attend simply because I do not want any more of this aunt’s drama. Anyone have thoughts? Thank you

    1. SeattleMom*

      When my kids head off to Camp Grandma, I’ve chosen to let that be a vacation from me making decisions/rules. If Grandma wants to deal with sleep deprived, over sugared, or over stimulated she gets the choices and the consequences. That being said, I would let Grandma decide if she is up for assuring drama-free party attendance for your daughter.

      1. Kalliope's Mom*

        That is good advice, thank you. My mother and sister are the ones there so they are going to have to deal with whatever comes up ; )

    2. CoffeeLover*

      I think you’ll face more of this aunts drama-filled wrath if you don’t let your daughter go. Let your daughter go if she wants to, but don’t engage with the aunt yourself. Also, although it might be my “traditional family values” talking, I think you should let your daughter have the opportunity to develop a relationship with her cousins (second cousins?) even if you have a rocky relationship with their mother. Of course, I have no idea what your situation is really like, so sorry if my advice is completely off.

      1. Kalliope's Mom*

        You are right, there could be more drama if i put up a fight. Your advice is not completely off and it has me thinking that I should encourage my daughter to spend more time with my cousins and their children. My aunt is just one of those control freak ppl who starts drama where there should be none. Thank you for your advice ; )

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Your daughter may not have the relationship you have with this aunt. I don’t know if people realize their mistakes and offer a different relationship to the off-spring or what. I know that I had good luck with some of the relatives that did not have a good relationship with my parents. Maybe these relatives saw that the primary relationship (my parents and them) was done/over. So the best they could salvage was to try to build something with me.

      Or your daughter could tell this woman off in spades and come home to inform you that she never wants to deal with Aunt Becky again. (I did that, too.)

      1. Kalliope's Mom*

        My concern is that I do not trust this woman, I have watched her for many many years just snap and I have always said that if I had a child she would not be allowed contact. My cousin called me asking for my daughter to be there, he has not had a chance to see my daughter. I told him my concerns and he promised me that his mother would not be a problem. Not being able to deny my cousin or my daughter, I gave in. My sister called me and said that they had a great time and that my aunt stayed away as promised. I am all for family but my instinct is to protect my daughter. I want her to be her own person but I still want to keep the bad things away from her. Maybe things will change in time, Kalliope is only two and half years old, so who knows what 10 years will bring. Thank you for your advice ; )

  5. Stephanie*

    I helped out with Girl Scout event through a professional org. The girls were late elementary school/early middle school. What I found baffling was that they all cell phones (including some smartphones). At the risk of sounding like I’m about to yell at someone to get off my lawn, why does a 10-year-old need an iPhone?

    I’m curious:
    (1) If you have a cell phone, when did you get it? And why?
    (2) What kind of phone do you have currently?
    (3) Your age (or age range) if you feel like sharing. (I’m curious if there are any trends based on that.)

    Here are my answers:
    (1) I was 16, almost 17. I had just started to drive and my parents wanted a way to reach me. It was either a flip phone or that nearly-indestructible Nokia brick with the interchangeable face plates.
    (2) iPhone 4 (maybe a 4s? I keep getting duds or had one stolen, so I’ve replaced it multiple times under warranty or insurance). I have unlimited texting and some amount of data I never come close to using.
    (3) I’m 28.

    1. Al Lo*

      1) I got my first phone in the summer of 2001, right after my first year of college (which makes me 32). My parents didn’t know I’d gotten it until a few weeks later — it was one of my first “adult” purchases after high school. (Besides the belly and nose piercings that I got during my first year of college.)

      My dad has had a cell phone (and the same cell number) since 1996, when I was 14 (which he got when my grandma was dying and he needed to be available at a moment’s notice), but when I was in high school and driving (1998-2000), they still relied on house phones and pay phones for me to let them know when I arrived or left. By the time my sister, who’s 3 years younger, was in high school, she had a cell phone, with fairly limited minutes, I think, because the trend had changed enough even in those 3 years that it made sense for her to have one for the times when she was on the road.

      2) Currently, a Nexus 5.

    2. littlemoose*

      We’re in the same boat, I think. I first got a cell phone around age 17, also an indestructible Nokia candy-bar style phone, so I could call my folks for scheduling stuff and in case of emergencies. I first got a smartphone four years ago, a Blackberry that barely made it a year and a half. Bought an iPhone when they became available for Sprint in late 2011. Still have it, and currently waiting for the new iPhone to come out in a couple months to replace it (I want something bigger). I do use a lot of data (unlimited plan on Sprint), probably far more than I text or call. And I’m 31.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Ooh, totally off topic, but is your Spring iphone still in good working order? I’d be interested in buying it off you when you upgrade! I think my mom might find iPhones a bit easier and more intuitive, but I have had a bad streak buying used phones off my Interwebz (and of course I trust other AAM readers more than the average interneter), and I can’t afford to buy her a brand new one.

        If you’re interested, hit me up on my blog (hopefully my name is linked to it). :)

    3. Anonsie*

      I always find it funny when people ask “what does an xx age kid need a smart phone for?” as if adults actually do *need* fancy phones for some reason.

      For me, I got a cell phone at 11 because my parents felt it was safer to be able to reach me wherever I was when I was out with friends. I have a smartphone now entirely because I like having a GPS to look up nearby bus stops and schedules, and I’m in my mid 20’s.

      1. Stephanie*

        I always find it funny when people ask “what does an xx age kid need a smart phone for?” as if adults actually do *need* fancy phones for some reason.

        Touche. It comes in handy as a GPS for driving or transit directions, but yeah, I can’t come up with a real justification. After my iPhone got stolen once, I had to wait about four days for the replacement to show up from insurance. It was actually kind of nice to not have it for a few days and not be expected to respond to every text or alert immediately.

        1. Anonsie*

          The GPS is the big deal– I remember before cell phones normally had them, I had a separate GPS for my car that I sometimes took out and carried around with me to find nearby businesses and stuff.

          Maybe I’m outing myself as a lonely weirdo, but I don’t use my phone for talking to people very much. My friends and I don’t call or text each other very often. Your Girl Scouts probably get more use out of their phones than we do, now that I think about it.

      2. Tasha*

        I got a prepaid phone in 2007 (age 11) after a chemical spill at the community college where I was taking a class. I couldn’t reach my family for a few hours and was stranded. Also, there had been a stabbing at the high school I attended most of the day shortly before. It was generally a good idea to have some way to call and say “don’t worry about the news.”

        I’m 18 now, starting my second year of grad school (yes, I have heard of Doogie Howser :) ), and have had a smartphone–currently an iPhone 5S–since 2011. I needed a camera and GPS for research. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a distraction sometimes.

        (Please pardon the poor writing. It’s late.)

      3. Naomi*

        I got a phone when I was about thirteen, after my mom forgot to pick me up from the bus stop after school several times.

      4. cuppa*

        Oooh… so glad I remembered about the open thread today so I could answer this one:
        I was a sophomore in college when I got my first cell phone. I had one or two friends that had one in high school, but it wasn’t common. I paid for my own and mostly got it for the free long distance because I went to school out of town.
        I currently have an HTC One. I just got it last September, and it is my first smart phone. I held out because of the cost (my previous phone was a flip phone from 2007, go me!). I like having a smart phone but don’t find it vital to my existence.
        I’m 29.

      5. KrisL*

        I don’t have a smart phone yet, but I will probably get one, mostly for the online maps, ability to find out where nearby stores are and what their hours are, etc.

      6. Editor*

        I’m in my 60s and got assigned a cell phone at my reporting job in the early 2000s. My husband, who worked in IT, got a cell phone from work a year or so before I got my cell. Eventually, my newspaper decided we all had to have cell phones but it required us to provide our own, so then I got one of my own. I currently have a phone that unfolds to open, but I will be getting a smart phone within a few months — I just can’t decide whether I want an iPhone or an Android phone.

        The reason I want a smart phone is that I currently pay a monthly charge for a service so I can connect my netbook wherever I go. My netbook is dying, my digital camera is dead, and my phone is getting cranky. A smart phone will be a good replacement and will allow me to use the Internet when I go to my mother’s and my father-in-law’s places. Neither has wi-fi, and my father-in-law doesn’t have a working computer in the house, let alone internet. So having access to email through a smartphone would be very practical for me.

    4. Anon for this*

      FWIW, I agree that a 10 year old does not need an iPhone. There are cheaper smartphones for a kid. I would be too worried about it getting stolen, or the them leaving it somewhere.

      1. I had a Nokia candy bar phone, which was pretty cute. It was so I could call home, since I was about to start college.

      2. A Samsung Galaxy Blaze, which isn’t even being made anymore, apparently. It’s three years old, and it still works OK, but I’ve dropped it several times. The back cover is really cheap and flimsy, so it snaps off like nothing. The speaker is busted, so I can’t do speakerphone calls. I’ve already decided that my next phone will be an iPhone.

      3. I’m 30.

      1. attornaut*

        You can currently get an iPhone 4s for free from most carriers; doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

    5. Audiophile*

      1) I was about 16, 17 as well. It was some flip phone thing from T-Mobile. All it resulted in, was mom complaining I never answered her calls (because it was T-Mobile and I had no service). It was basically indestructible until it went missing for a few days. Shows you how little I was interested in my phone, it spent two days outside submerged in a puddle.

      2) S4 which I like for the most part.

      3) I’m 28.

      1. Artemesia*

        I’m 70 and have one of those Tmobile flip phones where I buy minutes as I need them now.

        My husband just finally got an Iphone because he needs it to drive his hearing aid. With the type of hearing aid he has he can get his phone on his hearing aid, get spotify, and can drive the hearing aid with the Iphone e.g. at a concert he can adjust the treble and base, in a restaurant he an focus the range so he is only hearing the people across from him and not the clatter and noise in the background. It is pretty amazing. But before that, he had the cheap flip phone too.

        I find it mildly hilarious to see people constantly walking around with their fingers twiddling with a little box in their hands ignoring their toddlers or kids, ignoring their husband or wife, often ignoring traffic or the pole on the street they are about to crash into. Most of all it is sad though to see the number of parents who are enthralled with their phone when out and about with their kids.

    6. thingy*

      I got my first one when I was 13. It was a flip phone. I hardly ever used it, but my parents wanted me to have it for emergencies. Now I have a smartphone.

      I know at least one person who already had a phone when she was 9, and I do think it’s justified. Her mom was a single parent and she wanted to make sure her daughter had a way to contact her. Yeah, at first I had that reaction. But does the average teenager really need a cell phone any more than a 10-year-old does?

    7. en pointe*

      1) Got my first phone, a little Nokia, when we moved to the city when I was 15 – because it was very, very different from the bush, and my dad was sick so they wanted me reachable. Upgraded to iPhone 4s at 16/17, when I got a job and could pay for it.

      2) Samsung Galaxy S4

      3) I’m 20.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      1) I got my first cell phone a few years ago–it was a Net10 dumbphone. LG, I think. Before that, I didn’t have the money to have a phone and didn’t know about Net10.

      2) LG dumbphone, then went to Samsung dumbphone with a slide-out keyboard, and now I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 (still all through Net10). I LOVE my smartphone, but I probably won’t change to a contract phone unless I happen to develop a need for frequent international communication (here’s hoping, heh heh).

      3) I’m 49, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it because if I had had the money, I probably would have gotten a phone much sooner.

    9. Coco*

      1) I first got one at 14 for my birthday. My parents trusted me not to do anything crazy and they thought it would provide me some extra safety because it would allow me to call them or 911 at any time.

      2) LG Rumor Relfex

      3) 23

      I don’t think it’s a big deal for children and preteens to have cell phones or smart phones. It’s the way the culture of technology is trending, and if you can afford it, then what’s the harm? Teach them early on to manage data/minutes if that’s the concern.

      1. Stephanie*

        To some extent, this is me trying to transpose my first cell phone experience: I didn’t get one until I was almost 17 and am baffled that anyone needs one before then. But I’m sure my parents could say something similar relative to me (i.e., they didn’t have cell phones until their 40s and made it fine). I also grew up in an area that have very much transit and wasn’t very walkable, so usually an adult knew where you were as they were your transportation. I, admittedly, was also very straight-laced, so if I said I was at Susie’s house, my parents had no reason to think I was anywhere else but Susie’s house.

        I think what will be interesting is to see how this age group’s interpersonal relationships will be affected by having technology being so integral. I could see both good and bad effects.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I wonder if it because of all the goings-on in the world.

          Don’t take this the wrong way. I loooove my dog and I want to protect him so I keep him beside me when we are out. I use a dog leash. I chuckle because I tend to think of cell phones as high tech dog leashes. It’s a way of protecting a kid/spouse/elderly person when you are not there. People can know they are connected to each other.

          I don’t have cell service here. And probably never will. I tried to explain to my aunt that I do not have cell service, I do not turn my phone on, I do not have voice mail. My phone is for emergencies only. (Which is kind of stupid because many places I go do not have cell service, either.) My aunt insisted on having my cell number, despite me explaining this to her. She was surprised to find out that I do not turn my phone on and I do not have voice mail. It is easier not to give out my number than it is to get people to understand this.

        2. Coco*

          As someone already pointed out, it’s not a question of need. Should children and preteens not have anything they don’t absolutely need? No, of course not, imo. (Meaning, they should have things they don’t need, just like any other person.)

          I also grew up in an area where parents were needed for transportation, and I was super straight-laced as well. I’m not sure how that contributed to my parents’ decision to give me a cell phone, if at all.

          Regarding, interpersonal relationships, a lot of armchair culture critics have done a lot doomsday preaching about the effects of technology on relationships, but I’m really not worried.

    10. SherryD*

      On the question of what does a 10-year-old need a smartphone for, a lot of families have eliminated their landlines. So it might be their only way to stay in touch with their playmates. And in this day and age, it’s almost as if anyone going anywhere without a cell phone is a threatening their own safety (it isn’t, but that mentality exists!).

      As for why it’s a smartphone and not a “dumb phone,” well, kids want to listen to music and play games, and now they have it all in one device. Plus the phone companies seem to be very good at upselling. :)

      1. Stephanie*

        They are good with the upsell. I also think they’re phasing out the midlevel phone. Last time I went to go replace a phone (in 2011, I believe), Verizon’s options were basically one of three categories: dumb phone, phone for those with tactile difficulties (i.e., the ones with the really big buttons), iPhone/Android/Blackberry.

        1. Anon for this*

          I bought a phone for my mother a few months ago and the only options they had were smartphones and two flip phones. Luckily she wanted a flip phone. This was at T-Mobile.

          What’s funny is that smartphones will eventually be “last year’s phone” and get replaced by the newest trend.

        2. Elysian*

          Yeah, they’re phasing out non-smart phones I think. I recently looked into getting a new non-smart phone and my choices were a flip phone for $100 or a (cheap, off-brand) smart phone for $150. The difference was so small that I just went with the smart phone.

      2. Jillian*

        This is exactly it for me! I’m getting my granddaughter a phone for her 10th b-day because I want to be able to call or text her without calling her mom. And she wants to talk with her friends. I’m still working thru how many minutes she’ll get and how we’ll manage them.

        1. The IT Manager*

          I do not know your situation, but it sounds like you’re trying to undermine or get around the Mom. If you weren’t you could call mom and ask to speak to granddaughter.

          1. TheSnarkyB*

            I don’t think this is a fair assumption at all. I could totally see this happening in my life- mom needs her phone, no one uses the house phone or there isn’t one, and if there is, no one wants the kids tying up the “line” (although that’s not the same problem it used to be).
            I would say definitely don’t do this without talking to mom first, but mostly bc it’s a parenting decision whether a kid can have a cellphone, not bc you’re trying to undermine her.
            Also, a lot of kids have phones bc one kid in the class got one and started off a domino problem where everyone else wanted one, and then eventually got one. So definitely don’t do this without talking to mom first, bc it can cause big problems in schools (esp when you then get into the socioeconomic politics of smart phone vs. dumb phone vs. no phone, etc).

    11. Anon*

      1. I was 12 or 13. It was for emergencies. I have health problems and there was a real chance of me walking down the street, getting hurt, and not being able to get help without a phone.
      2. iPhone.
      3. Millennial.

      1. Anon*

        Also, I think kids and teenagers find phones useful for the same reasons we do. Texting, reading, social media, games, educational apps, calendars, etc.

    12. Relosa*

      1. I was 17, and had zero idea my mom was getting it.
      2. I currently have a Nokia Lumia 928 – my first smartphone. Upgraded in February. Love it, but it’s enough smartphone for me for now.
      3. 27

    13. De (Germany)*

      I don’t think this is something you can compare to our youth (I am 30). When I was that age, I used phone booths/boxes (is that the correct word?) to call home when I’d be late or when I needed to be picked up because I missed the bus. These things don’t exist anymore where I am.

      1. De (Germany)*

        And I got my first cell phone in 1998 at age 14, as the first person in my class at school, because my father was in IT and following tech trends was what he liked. I also had my first PC at age 11,and a C64 well before that.

        Now I have an N5, an N4 I still need to sell and a N7 tablet. I also work in IT now…

      2. Another HP!*

        Yes, this exactly. I got my first cell phone when I was a senior in high school (2001) and driving, but before that I depended on pay phones. Those are very hard to find these days.

      3. cuppa*

        I remember as a kid I had one or two friends with their own phone line. Now, they just have their own cell phones.

    14. Robyn*

      I have no idea how old I was, but by the time cell phones were common, I was an adult, so 20 something.

      There were no smart phones, so it was something that was only a phone. Didn’t even have camera phones when I got my first one.

      I now I have an iPhone 5c.

      I’m 45 now.

      1. Robyn*

        And I forgot to say, 10 year olds needs smart phones because that’s what people have.

        I never understand ‘why do kids need what grown ups have’ in terms of tech. Obviously not things, I’m not handing my son a beer, he’s 5, but phones/tablets/etc. Why *shouldn’t* they have it?

        No, my 5 year old doesn’t have any sort of phone. But he does have a tablet and access to a computer.

        1. Jazzy Red*

          I agree! If they can pay for it, they can have it.

          I laughed like crazy when Kate (plus 8) said she got the twins fancy phones so she could take them away. She was criticized for that, but I think she’s doing the right thing.

    15. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I was about 28 when I got my first cell phone.

      It was very large and came in a bag. We called them car phones then.

      I believe it cost $1000.00 per minute but I could be slightly off there.

      Now please bring Grandma her pudding! Chocolate, thanks.

      1. Liane*

        @Wakeen’s Teapots Ltd
        I love this!
        Reminds me of the first cell ph I ever saw, and the only one I saw for several years, in the early 90s. In the major USA city we lived in, for the record. It belonged to a friend–small business owner–was about the size of a loaf of Sara Lee raisin bread, black, in a bag and looked like it weighed as much as a couple of bricks.

      2. Mallory*

        Ha. Back when they were called car phones, my sister and I went to a yard sale together and got a cordless phone for the house. Then we drove around town taking turns holding the receiver to our ear while we talked to each other, so people would think we had a car phone.

      3. Stephanie*

        I loved my mom’s car phone. She had one in the early-to-mid 90s. She had to prohibit from from using it as the service was too dang expensive.

        About two years ago, I flew on an old plane that had those back-of-the-seat phones (where you swiped a credit card to make a call). I almost wanted to call someone like “Hee hee! I am calling you from 30,000 feet over Iowa somewhere”, but I knew that would be a $12 phone call (if the phone was even connected). Also, man old planes are roomy.

    16. KayDay*

      (1) I got my first cell phone when I was 16. My parents went from “you may absolutely NOT have a cell phone” to “you MUST ALWAYS have your cell phone with you” practically overnight once they realized the reality of me driving. Literally, came home from school one random day and a new cell phone was sitting on the counter for me :)
      (2) Currently have iphone 4S. I’ve had iphone since they came out (saved my ass off to get the first one) and no longer am able to operate other phones…seriously, my friends make fun of me for it.
      (3) 28

      However, I would imagine that kids younger than 16 need a cell phone more than I did at that age. When I was 14/15/16 I was on a school sports team, and when we came home I frequently had trouble contacting my parents….the “rich girl” of the team always ended up lending her cell phone to half the team, and her parents eventually got mad at her for going over her minutes. Also, pay phones were much more common back then, and we could always use the school office to call home in emergencies. I think by the time kids start doing things independently (like going to the mall or movies) they probably need a cell phone.

    17. mm*

      I am 59 years old and have a Samsung Galaxy S5. I use so many functions that I would be lost without it. I use it to keep in contact with my team at work when I am out of the office. I text frequently with family and friends. I sync the calendar to my Outlook calendar at work so I can schedule work and personal appointments without fear of conflict. I use the GPS Navigator all the time because I get lost easily. When I upgraded my phone a few months ago, I gave my Galaxy S3 to my 11 year old grandson. He is just starting to become more independent and his parents like that they can reach him when he is away from them.

      I got my first cell phone in the late 90s . As with many people my age, I haven’t given up my landline which I rarely use anymore but I’ve had the number for over 30 years and don’t want to give it up.

      1. GH*

        I’m 48 and like you I still have my landline even though I barely use it. I live in Earthquake Country and in a quake the landlines work when the power goes out, so there’s that.

        I got my first cell phone, a Motorola StarTac flipphone, when I was 30, in 1996. I was going on a road trip to San Francisco with no itinerary; my Grandma, who was 81 at the time, asked me to get it in case of emergencies. For years I used it only for emergencies or to call if I was running late. I also had a Palm Pilot with my calendar and address book on it.

        In 2005 I got a Moto RazR that I kept for 6 years (loved that phone). In 2011 I got tired of texting on a numberpad and bought an iPhone. Shortly after that I got a high-powered job that I could not have done without a Smartphone. I am now as bad as any teen with needing my phone to hand at all times to check email, play games, look things up on the web, etc.

      2. cuppa*

        I keep my landline solely in case I need to call 911. We keep the ringer off because the only people that have our home phone number are telemarketers and the local pizza place.

    18. NW Cat Lady*

      My parents wanted to get my a cell phone when I was about 25, but they wanted to buy the phone and make me pay for the monthly plan. I said no.

      I finally got a cell phone in the summer of 2001, mostly because my grandmother was sick, and I really didn’t feel the need to call my parents with my itinerary every time I went out of town for the weekend.

      I currently have a Galaxy S4, and it’s my first smartphone. My last one had a few games (sudoku, tetris), but really didn’t have web access. I’ve had the smartphone for about 10 months.

      I’m 45.

    19. FD*

      1. I got a TrackPhone shortly after college, as a way to coordinate rides and car usage (at that time, I shared a car with my family). That was my first cell phone.

      2. I have a Kyocera Hydro Boost Mobile phone. I bought it because it’s waterproof, durable, and has some decent heft to it. I use a monthly no contract plan which includes unlimited talk, text, and data. I only have the data because at work, people use e-mail, phone calls, and texting interchangeably to reach people quickly, so I needed to be able to get e-mail on my phone.

      3. I’m 26.

    20. A Teacher*

      1) I had a phone at age 11, so 1993, they were those big brick phones and cost .49 a minute to use. Most of my friends had “pagers” because that was the cool thing but my parents both worked out of town and I was a latchkey kid so they wanted me to have my own phone and not worry about change for a pay phone. It was only for rides and emergencies.

      2) Currently, iphone 4S and we are on a family plan with unlimited talk, text, and pretty unlimited data.

      3) I’m 31

      1. Ali*

        1. I got a Nokia phone my junior or senior year of high school, mostly to call my parents for rides. Our first family plan was T-Mobile (bad decision at the time, but it’s since gotten better).

        2. I just went on my own plan in May and got an iPhone 4S. I have a data limit but unlimited talk and text.

        3. I’m 29.

    21. Mallory*

      1. I came all the way into adulthood without a cell phone. I do’t remember exactly, but I was in my thirties when I got one.

      2. No smartphone yet, just a n LG something-or-other flip phone through Verizon with an unlimited texting plan

      3. I’m 44

    22. Rye-Ann*

      1) I got my first cell phone in middle school (so I was maybe 12?). My mom wanted me to be able to reach someone should I need it. I was in band and even did theater for awhile so staying after school and such was common for me.

      The phone was a flip phone. I think whoever had the number before I did signed up for a whole bunch of spammy crap because whenever the phone was on I would get some spammy text message every 10 minutes. As a result, I almost never turned it on unless I needed it.

      2) I have a Samsung Reality right now. It’s not quite a smart phone, but it is a little fancier than a flip phone. It’s got a touch screen and a keyboard and it can sort of go on the internet (though most websites work terribly on the browser).

      3) I’m 22.

    23. Liane*

      1-I was in my 30s, when they were starting to become common and reasonably priced, and no-contract/prepaid was available. My husband and I decided we needed to be able to get in touch easily now that payphones were going away and the ones still around in our area were often broken. This was in late 1990s-early 2000s
      2-Currently I have an LG phone, Net10, that’s 2-3 years old. I call it semi-intelligent; I guess it’s 1 of the midlevel phones Stephanie mentioned below that don’t seem to be sold any more. It has a touchscreen, good camera and internet. Too bad the midlevels are going/gone away. I need to replace this 1 since the touchscreen is having issues and the browser is so bad I have never used the phone for internet–& I really hoped to find something with similar features. :(

      Bonus Web Content! My Family’s Phones!
      Husband got his first at about the same age as me & currently has an Android (Net10).
      Son & Daughter got their first phones in high school, Net10 hand-me-downs from parents. (We are such horrible parents, right?) Daughter, 16, is still using my ancient former phone, which can only do calls and texts–surely no connection between this and her jobhunting. Son, 18, used some of his Christmas and birthday money to buy his own Android from Tracfone and keeps the service paid!

    24. Mallory*

      For my kids, I got my daughter her first cell phone when she was 15. I didn’t see any point in her having one before then because she was always either with me or in the care of another adult who would either take care of her or let her call me if she needed to. I got the cell phone when she started running sround with friends independently of adults.

      My son will be 14 soon, and he will get a cellphone when he meets the same criteria: running around with friends (and not just around these few neighborhood blocks, either) independently of adults.

      No smartphones for either of them; the next person getting one in this family is going to be ME!

      1. Jen S. 2.0*

        This makes sense to me. I do not have kids, so take it for what it’s worth, but I don’t know what a 10-year-old is doing so independently of his/her parents that keeping in touch by phone is necessary. It seems like a phone becomes more necessary once the kid has a lot of activities and events separate from the parents. Before that, it’s more a want and less a need. Once a parent notices that the kid is having to borrow someone else’s phone a lot to get in touch (because, indeed, pay phones are rare now), that’s a sign to think about getting the kid a phone. It seems like that happens more toward middle and high school, not elementary school.

        I’m 38. I got my first cell phone in 2oo1 at age 25. I currently have an iPhone 5 (had a Samsung Galaxy before that was the buggiest nightmare imaginable).

        1. De (Germany)*

          Wow, that sounds… really strange to me. At age 10 I was definitely taking the bus to the library on my own, for example. And on Saturdays missing the bus back would mean I’d get back home an hour late, something my parents wanted to know, so I had to call them from a pay phone. With 11 or 12, I went into the inner city with friend to watch movies in the afternoon. Also something I might need to call home for if something happened.

          1. Felicia*

            At 11 I was taking public transit alone, going to the mall with friends, or walking to friends houses. So my parents definitely saaw need for a cell phone, if I wanted to come home early or if something happened. I’d say if an 11 year old wasn’t allowed to do that stuff alone they were over protected. The public transit thing my parents had no choice because that’s the only way I could have gotten to school, and lots of peoples’ parents have no choice for that.

    25. manomanon*

      1) I was 14 (it was my birthday present). The people who were supposed to bring me home from cross country practice, which was in the middle of nowhere in our town, forgot me. My mom had a freakout over that and I got a cell phone two weeks later.
      2) iPhone 4- for now
      3) I’m 24

    26. Sarah*

      I got my first cell phone at 16, when I got my car. When I was a teen it wasn’t uncommon but also not universal for younger teens to have phones. My mom would lend me hers when I was out alone, but wanted me to have my own when I was driving. I currently have an iPhone 5. I was a late adopter of the smartphone (didn’t get mine until 2012) and I have to say, it makes life so much easier. For the past year I’ve been using public transport and that would be VERY difficult without google maps on my phone.

      However, pretty much all of the tweens and teens I know now have cell phones. Some of them have regular ones (but also have a pocket entertainment device like ipod touch) and some have smartphones. Their parents want them to have a way to get in contact with them as the world isn’t really set up for people without phones anymore (no pay phones etc). As for iPhones versus regular ones, it’s just an entertainment device. It seems unnecessary to me but then, when I was 10 I didn’t NEED a gameboy or discman either, so I can’t judge.

    27. Felicia*

      I got a cell phone at 12 after begging for about a year because everyone else already had one. I have a random LG phone (not a smart phone) but that’s my personal choice. I don’t personally feel the need for a smart phone and don’t really want one, though i may change my mind eventually. I also understand why some people need and many people want one. I’m 24 and most of my peers got their first cell phone at 11-13. I successfully argued for mine because I was taking public transit alone to school at 12…that’s how many of my friends argued for theirs too

    28. Jamie*

      I’m several hundred years old, but for my kids I wanted them to have cells about 11. About the time they were hanging out with friends not necessarily at someone’s house under supervision…you know, out riding bikes, or at the park, etc.

      Flips though – although I can see the gps being handy to make sure they are where they were supposed to be – but the unintended consequences of lack of privacy so trust isn’t built would be super problematic…but I’m a worrier so good thing I didn’t need to make that particular call.

    29. Treena Kravm*

      1) I got my first cell phone when I was 16, it was a flip phone and at the time fancy because it had a color screen. I had wanted one and asked for one since starting high school because it was annoying to always have to borrow someone’s cell phone after an away game so that someone could come pick me up (times were variable). Ironically, after getting it, I quit sports due to health reasons– I never used it, and it spent most of the time under the bed.
      (2) iPhone and I still never use it, but I need it for work and I get partially reimbursed for it so eh.
      (3) I’m 25.

    30. Jubilance*

      1 – I got my first phone in 2001, in college. I had a pager in HS but by 2001 no one was using pagers and I got a “free” phone so I said why not.
      2 – I have a Galaxy S3, kind of dated but it still works fine.
      3 – I’m 32 as of last Sunday :-)

      I’m with you on the kids with cellphones thing. I’m nowhere near having a child but my fiance and I have already decided our kid is gonna have one of those phones with 3 buttons – Mom, Dad and 911. No camera, no Internet, no games, no touchscreen. They can get a fancy phone when they need to keep tabs on their email/social media/calendar/etc.

    31. Claire*

      (1) By the time mobile phones were commonplace I was in my early to mid 20s. I got one when I was about 24 I think.
      (2) My current phone is an iPhone 5c.
      (3) I’m 38.

      My 13 year old niece has an iPhone (older model) and has had a smart phone since she was 10. She uses it to keep in touch with friends and family, plays games, listens to music, watches YouTube videos etc. She has also gotten really into making her own videos and is learning video and sound editing, special effects etc. through doing so (she watches tutorials on YT, and asked for a tripod and greenscreen as presents recently). I think it’s great!

    32. Kay*

      1) I think I was 16 when I got my phone. I was in debate in high school and needed a way to tell my mom what time we would be back after tournaments. It was a nokia brick phone.
      2) I now have the Samsung Galaxy 5s.
      3) I’m 28 as well.

      As far as younger and younger kids having cell phones and smart phones, I think it’s become a social pressure thing. When we were kids you could be bullied for not wearing the right clothes or whatever, and though those things still go on too, it’s just one more way for kids to make fun of each other. “Oh, you don’t have a phone? Where are you from? The stone age?”

      Some parents have a decent reason to get their kids a phone. They’re latchkey kids walking home and they want them to be safe, or their older sibling will be picking them up and they need to be able to let them know when and where, etc. However, once those things start happening, it becomes the norm and other parents feel pressured to “keep up with the joneses”. It’s a vicious cycle.

      1. Coffeeless*

        I work at a library, and I can’t tell you how often preteens and teens are there, trying to borrow a cell phone to call mom and dad and let them know they’ll be over at Billys, or that they have to stay late to work on a paper for school. Occasionally, we get someone asking where the nearest pay phone is, and the answer is: there are none in the town anymore. My general view is, if the parent expects to know where little Timmy is and what he is doing, they should get him a cell phone so he can tell them. That’s a pretty good reason in my opinion.

    33. Windchime*

      I am apparently older than all you whipper-snappers.

      1. I got my first cell phone in 1996. It was a gigantic, brick-sized flip phone that had a whopping 45 minutes per month on the plan. But it was a cheap plan; I think it was $14/month. I was in my mid-30’s and was in the process of getting a divorce, and I wanted a cell phone so I got it. Shortly after the Gigantic Phone, I got a cute little Nokia phone. I think I had an orange face plate on it and I loved that phone.

      2. I currently have some kind of an android smart phone; it might be a Droid Incredible or some silly thing. It’s my only phone so I use it for talk and texting, and also for email when I’m away from my laptop. I’ll also use it for streaming Pandora at work. Before I got my current vehicle, I relied heavily on the navigation system and really loved that aspect.

      3. I’m in my early 50’s.

      My kids graduated high school in 2004 and 2006, and neither of them got a cell phone until after they graduated. It was just becoming really common at that time for kids to have them, but my policy at the time was that they needed to be out of school and able to pay for their phone plan in order to have one. I might feel differently nowadays, since it’s not as easy to find a pay phone or a landline as it used to be.

      (Side note: I never understood the whole “I need to be able to find my kid” rationale. You can *talk* to your kid, but you don’t know where they really are when they have a cell phone. Just because they say they are at Sam’s playing X-box, doesn’t mean they really are. Or so I’ve heard.)

      1. Laura*

        Agreed, though some of those smart phones can be set up to report where they are…and locked down so the kid can’t turn it off. Which actually makes my skin creep, and anyway might cause them to leave the phone behind, which is useful how?

        Mostly, I think I’d want to know my kids could reach me if they needed to, not that I could “find them”. Kids have always been notoriously good at being unfindable when they want to be. :P

      2. Mints*

        My mom wasn’t really worried about me flat-out lying. I might say I was doing homework when I was actually just hanging out, but it didn’t really negate the basic reasoning. She wanted to know about safety more than anything

      3. Mallory*

        My daughter was at the mall with friends a while back, her friend kept texting us the required check-ins on her behalf (from said friends own phone) instead of my daughter contacting us herself.

        The first thing we thought is that they must be sneaking around with boys, so her dad and I texted the friend back that we’d better hear from daughter in 5 minutes from her own phone, voice, not text, or else.

        In about half a minute, daughter called us from friend’s phone, all in a panic about being in trouble. Turns out she was hiding that she’d lost her cell phone, and her cover-up was way more incriminating than she’d bargained for.

    34. Turanga Leela*

      (1) I was 15 or so, and my mother got a cell phone for us to share (!) so that when either of us went out, we could call home easily. I got my own cell phone maybe a year later. I had a very basic phone until law school, when I realized that people assumed I would get emails instantly, and checking my email a few times a day wasn’t cutting it.
      (2) I have an iPhone 5 with a huge data plan.
      (3) I’m in my late 20s.

      I’ve seen cell phones specifically designed for kids that don’t have regular keypads. They can dial a few preprogrammed numbers (like mom, dad, grandma) and 911, and they can take incoming calls. I think this is a great idea for situations where a child might need a phone, like if he is traveling alone. It’s also a great idea for teenagers whose parents want to take away their phones but are worried about safety…

    35. Sara*

      1. around the same, I think 16 or 17,f or the same reason. Until about 9 years later, I always had a cheap phone, the motorola Startec, the nokia brick phone, etc.

      2. Got an iphone 4 in 2011, and currently have a 5s that I bought a few months ago. My first phone purchase ever that wasn’t on a discount/but no contract either. To me it was a pretty significant purchase because it also meant that I was making enough $$ to comfortably buy a phone for full price, and being in a situation that I can think long term…(by not have to stress out about an extremely high phone bill if I was ever out of a job again. (which I was…a few months later).

      3. I just turned 29

    36. Mints*

      I’m 23, and got my first phone around 10. It was very early generation, and didn’t have data, internet, or text messaging until I paid for it myself a few years later. I jokingly call it the Bat Phone because I only ever called my mom (I stayed late for band practice. I went to Taco Bell with Trang. I’m on my way home) and then she would call the house phone to make sure I was there after

      I now have a Droid (but I’m counting down the days til my Verizon upgrade so I can get an S5)

    37. KJ*

      (1) Got my first cellphone when I was 21. It was a cheapo Nokia.
      (2) Have had a smartphone since 2008; currently have a iPhone 5S. Having access to email, data, and maps are a big deal. I bought my first smartphone just before an interstate move, and it was great to have it to use in my apartment before my utilities got hooked up and to help me navigate my new city.
      (3) Mid-30s.

    38. Laura*

      I have a friend whose 10-year-old has a cell phone – but she travels by herself by bike and bus quite a bit, and she had to earn the cell phone as a special treat, by doing specific things her parents told her.

      I know her mother feels a lot better, even so, knowing she can call if she needs to.

    39. HannahS*

      1) I got my first phone at 14, when I started high school. It was for when I got stranded by our transit system or needed to stay late at school or something.

      2) Samsung android thing. I don’t have data though, so all I can do is call and text unless I’m somewhere with wifi

      3) I’m 22

      Like some other commenters, I think the pearl-clutching over kids having phones is getting a little old. Why does a ten year old need a fancy phone isn’t the right question. Why does ANYONE need a fancy phone?

      Yeah, children fifteen years ago managed without cell phones, but so did adults! The expectation of communication and entertainment in the 21st century is that they are instant and constantly available.

      Parents used to buy their kids game-boys, gaming systems, vcrs AND allow them to tie up the phone line for hours at a time talking to their friends. It can’t be more expensive just to buy them a phone.

    40. salad fingers*

      (1) I was probably in 6th grade, so about 12?

      Before that I had my own phone line with my own answering machine (fancy!) that was shared with dial-up internet. I suspect that one friend was clogging the internet dedicated line by calling me all the time to talk. about. nothing. so my parent’s ended up getting me a cell phone. Standard mini-brick nokia, nothing fancy, even for 2001 or whenever.

      (2) Now have an LG optimus android something.

      Got a smartphone by necessity when I started to manage but before that had a flip phone well past flip phones being the norm. I liked not having the distraction.

      (3) 24

    41. butterbeans*

      This is fascinating.

      (1) I bought one when I was 19 (2004). My parents had some old brick from the mid 90s that they would ask me to take on longer car trips, but I wanted my own that did not weigh 2 pounds.
      (2) I have an iPhone 4S, now. Transitioned into smartphones in 2008, I think.
      (3) I’m 29.

      1. De Minimis*

        Got my first cell phone in 2002, it of course was a regular flip phone.

        Had a Blackberry for one of my jobs, didn’t really use the smart phone capabilities much, and the only reason I had it was because my employer was paying for it. Deactivated it after leaving the job.

        Had a variety of flip phones until 2012, when I finally got a smart phone. Absolutely love it. I’m 41, my parents actually had smart phones before I did, and are on them all the time…they are always “checking in” to places and are on Facebook all the time.

    42. C Average*

      (1) I was 28. I was a late and reluctant adopter (it was 2003, I think) and I mainly got it because I was moving to a different state, knew it would help a lot with logistics during the move, and figured it would just replace a land line in my world. Haven’t had a land line since!
      (2) iPhone 5. It’s work-issued. Part of my work involves writing support content for some of the apps my company produces, so it’s considered essential that I have a device that allows me to experience the apps myself. Also, I’m pretty much on call always.
      (3) I’m 40.

      My stepdaughter got her first phone last year, at age 11. I think it actually makes a lot of sense for kids with divorced parents to have their own phones pretty young. My stepdaughter can easily talk to her mom when she’s here and her dad when she’s at her mom’s, without having to ask for permission to do so. That’s her primary use for it, aside from texting with her friends. (She texts me, too! It’s always fun to get a friendly for-no-reason text from her about something funny that happened at school. Makes me really happy.)

    43. The IT Manager*

      I am 40. I got my first cell phone when I was 28 in 2002. I would have gotten two years earlier when I moved to Europe but the plans were not that great yet and it would have cost extra using it outside of the country I was living in so I bought one as soon as I returned to the states.

      I now have my first smart phone an iPhone 5c. Not too terribly impressed either. Smart phone awesome; iPhone I’m not so sure about.

    44. SD Cat*

      (1) I got my first cell phone in 8th or 9th grade, I think. I didn’t get my first smartphone until about 2 years ago.
      (2) iPhone 4
      (3) 25

    45. ThursdaysGeek*

      1) I got one about 2 1/2 years ago, when my goddaughter was pregnant and insisted she needed to be able to contact me.
      2) It’s a tracfone, and I bought it used.
      3) I’m 53. People have pressured me for years to get a phone: “what if you’re driving and need help?” Yeah, we’re the people who still stop and help people at the side of the road, who can’t get help because their phones are out of range. I can read a map, and have found them more useful than every time using a GPS. I don’t want you to contact me: I like to have some time without being constantly connected to everyone else.

    46. Paige Turner*

      1 & 2- exactly the same as you!
      3- I’m 29

      Also, I work with middle & high school kids (research interviewer) and most of them have cell phones, and probably half of the ones with phones have nicer phones than I do. I agree with you that 10-year-olds do not need iphones and should stop making me feel old.

    47. Jazzy Red*

      (1) Yes, I have a cell phone. My sister & I each got one when we moved 700 miles from home. We didn’t know anyone, didn’t know any good mechanics (thinking about our cars and possible breakdowns here), and wanted to be able to call police/fire dept/rescue squad from anywhere, if needed.

      (2) I still have my flip phone. It’s about 7 or 8 years old, and it works just fine, so I’m not replacing it until it dies.

      (3) I’m old enough to be your grandmother, but most days I feel like I’m your age. It’s strange, but it happens.

    48. Mimmy*

      1) I honestly don’t remember when I got my first cell phone–probably in the early 2000s.

      2) Currently, I have a Windows-based Nokia smartphone, but am hoping for an iPhone once my current contract runs out. I already have a iMac and an iPad and would love full consistency.

      3) I am 40.

    49. Persephone Mulberry*

      I’m 34, so what was standard when I was a kid isn’t relevant anymore. That said, we got my daughter her first (dumb) phone at 11. She was going to be walking to/from school, and it enabled us to kill our landline, so two birds with one stone. She is almost 14 and we gave the okay for her to upgrade to a smartphone when we renewed last fall on the condition that she works to pay for her data package. My son is 7 and already clamoring for his own phone, but that will not be happening for another 3-4 years and he, too will be restricted from accessing data/internet until he is old enough to earn money to chip in for it.

    50. Befuddled Squirrel*

      I hope I’m not being rude, but what I find unsettling about kids having smart phones and internet access is that . . . one can get into a lot of trouble online. I know I ran into some crazy stuff when I first got internet access at the age of 17. Now there’s even more sketchy stuff and gateways to bad situations. Parents, how do you protect your kids?

      1. Amanda*

        Teach them how to protect themselves. My daughter has had online safety education through her school since she was five. She wasn’t allowed accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. until she was thirteen, as per COPPA requirements. She knows how to report things, how to safely find stuff, how to create usernames and passwords to protect account security and her RL info, etc. And she knows that I know her accounts on these sites and will keep an eye on her online activity.

        Education, awareness and paying attention to what your kids are doing are the keys, as in anything else. The danger isn’t the internet, it’s not understanding how to use it safely. I think the biggest problem is actually parents who don’t know how it works and therefore can’t make sure their kids are safe.

    51. Anx*

      (1) 18- Between high school and college.
      (2) Samsung flip-phone. No camera. Has speakerphone.
      (3) 28

    52. KitKat*

      1: I got my first phone at 14, my freshman year of HS. My dad worked for Alltel at the time, had an extra brick, and they decided I could have it for emergencies. (It had a whopping 400 minutes.)

      2: I have an iPhone 4s that’s still on my parent’s family plan. No shame for me; they wanted to take one bill off my plate and Dad gets a discount (since Alltel merged with Verizon).

      3: I’m 27.

    53. Cath in Canada*

      Late to this, but:

      1) I got my first cell phone in 1998, when I started my PhD (so I was 21) and also started cycling to work. My summer route took me along a river, then a canal, then some woods (where my friend once found someone who’d hanged himself), and it was usually pretty quiet. I got the phone in case I had an accident and needed help, but the only time I ever fell off my bike (on a patch of hailstones in the shade that hadn’t melted like the rest of them had), the biggest injury I sustained was a phone-shaped bruise on my ribs. The phone was fine (it was a Nokia brick).

      2) iPhone 5S, because my husband spoils me rotten :)

      3) I’m 37

  6. Anonsie*

    I realized my LinkedIn is super out of date so I’m trying to shape it up, but… Honestly, I don’t really get it. How much detail would someone expect to see on there? Is it weird if I don’t have connections from all my jobs or with important people I work with? The overwhelming majority of people I’ve worked with don’t have LinkedIn accounts at all. Does it look bad if I only have <20 connections and most aren't coworkers?

    Also, I can't add anyone at my newest job as a connection because I won't let LinkedIn log into my work email, so I'm just kind of perplexed in general with what I'm doing with this thing.

    1. Onymouse*

      You don’t need LinkedIn looking through your email contacts. Simply do a search. You can filter by company, school, etc. to find your contacts.

      1. Anonsie*

        I can do that, but it won’t let me actually invite any of them to connect or send them messages.

        1. CoffeeLover*

          That’s strange. Have you tried logging in to Linkedin with your personal email…. I think they just want to verify you’re not a spammer or bot.

          1. Anonsie*

            I have three different verified emails on there, one of which is my work email, so I’m not sure what else they want from me?

            1. CoffeeLover*

              Some people restrict who can add them on Linkedin, so maybe that’s the case with your coworkers? Other than that, I have no idea. Can anyone else shed some light on what could be happening here?

        2. Laura*

          If you try to add them and it asks for an email then, it may actually mean theirs – people can lock their profile down so that only people who know their LI-reported emails can add them.

          Otherwise, I have no idea what it’s doing. I’ve never had to give LI access to my work email to add coworkers, even coworkers using that restriction and their work email address.

    2. CoffeeLover*

      You can find the people you work with by searching them individually or by finding your company and seeing who’s added the company as an employer. I don’t think it’s a big deal not having a lot of connections. Linkedin is definitely still very much new to the work world. There are plenty of people that don’t have an account and you probably won’t have much luck finding your coworkers if they’re “older”. I can’t help you on the detail part though… still working on that one myself :P

    3. BeBe*

      As for the detail part, I have a somewhat pared down version of my resume on LinkedIn. This means I have the companies I’ve worked for, but sans-dates and VERY brief descriptions.

  7. Anonynon*

    Any Ask Judy lovers in the house? This girl needs some advice.

    I am hoping to get some input from complete strangers on the internet on if/how I should reach out to my former best friend. We were good friends for about 7 years until last summer, even roommates for over a year. A lot of shit went down, and from my view I honestly believe most of it is her fault. There are a few sentences/actions I wish I could take back, sure, but she obviously has a hard time acting like a best friend when drinking and has the most conveniently forgetful memory about how things actually happened. Add in me catching her in a lie/effectively stealing my money and a hateful text exchange, and that’s why we are “former” best friends. I stopped talking to her after that text exchange (almost a year ago) and we haven’t spoken one word since.

    I am really missing her in my life recently and am contemplating reaching out to her. However, a large part of me is holding back because 1) I honestly believe SHE should be the one to reach out and apologize, and I’m stubborn and 2) I am not sure if she will respond positively, and being rebuffed at an attempt to repair this friendship would make me so. flippin. mad. After taking so long to quell the anger I originally felt for her, I would really hate to be angry again if she “shuts me down.”

    This is the first friendship I’ve had go down in flames and I don’t even know how to reach out like this to someone. Would I text and ask to meet or maybe talk on the phone first? Should we try to talk about what happened or just put it in the past and move forward as friends again?

    If you have been there, done that, or like to give advice on the precarious world of drama amongst friends, lemme hear it!

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I think you should read this articles:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/16/when-to-end-a-friendship_n_5325932.html

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t make amends, but it’s an interesting read and it’s good to realize that some things are worth rekindling.

      Other than that, I’ll say that you don’t need to apologize if you don’t feel you should. You can just reach out to her and tell her you miss seeing her and ask her to go for coffee or something. Maybe text followed by a phone call or meet up is less awkward? My vote is definitely putting it behind you and not talking about it. You either forgive each other for the wrong you feel the other did and be friends again, or you don’t. Whether someone apologizes shouldn’t really affect things. In fact, it has the potential to cause another argument, and you’re back to square one.

      1. Anonynon*

        Very interesting (but sad) article. I don’t feel as if our friendship as a whole is toxic to the point where it shouldn’t be salvaged. Obviously I have learned a few things, such as she still can’t hold her alcohol (I thought people grew out of that post-college, but apparently not), and can make adjustments in the activities we do together to avoid potential issues.

        I am not sure, though, if I’ll ever be able to trust her again b/c of that whole lying/stealing my money thing, and that’s a killer.

        1. Lisa*

          You know, maybe it’s *a* best friend you miss, not *this* best friend… it’s not really intimacy or a solid friendship if you can’t trust a person, and why would you settle for that?

    2. SeattleMom*

      Asking someone to apologize rarely is effective — they either offer it with/without sincerity or not.

      You need to decide if you are ready to leave the past behind without any closure of the past issues/behaviors that lead to the relationship fracture. If your expectation is a sincere apology you are likely to be disappointed.

      If you are ready, then I would probably send an email to test the waters. Probably something along the lines of …

      Things did not end well, but you have been in my thoughts. I’m taking that as a sign to reach out. I hope that you are doing well.

      Depending on whether they respond and how, you can decide the next steps you are ready for.

      Personally, honesty and trust issues are my primary relationship barometers. I trust you and your word until you prove yourself to be untrustworthy, at which point it takes a lot to re-establish the trust.

      1. Anonynon*

        I like your wording of that potential email!

        Although I do feel a sincere apology is warranted (on both sides), I’m not expecting to get one and certainly don’t plan to ask for one. At this point I feel like I have enough positive memories of the rest of our friendship to “bury” these negative ones.

        Just curious, though- have you ever successfully reestablished trust with a friend who lost it?

        1. SeattleMom*

          Yes, have re-established the friendship, but sadly not at the same level of sharing as it was before.

    3. Variation*

      Do you miss her, or do you miss the companionship? Like a bad employer, there are some red flags that identify permanent issues, and I think your friend has exhibited a few of them. I feel like pushing her to get to the same spot you’re at has the potential to end poorly.

      1. Anonynon*

        I miss both! But mainly her. I do agree that there are some red flags- why the heck has she not apologized? why did she lie/steal my money? why can’t she drink responsibly?- but are they big enough not to reestablish any semblance of a friendship? I don’t know if I want to try to get back to being best friends or if we even could, but it seems like just repairing the fracture could be less risky in terms of avoiding those red flags.

        It’s very sad/silly, but she would have been my maid of honor at my (non-existent, someday) wedding, and now I don’t have one! How does one find a new best friend? Craigslist ad? Ha!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Addicts don’t apologize. Or if they do, it doesn’t quite sound sincere. She lied and stole your money because of her addiction. She can’t drink responsibly because she is an addict.
          No, she will probably not try to reestablish a friendship. Simply because you remind her of where she should be in life vs where she actually is.

          Do some reading on alcoholism before you go too far into this. Fortify your thinking with facts and then decide how you wish to proceed.

          Many addicts I know are dear, lovable people. But they are down into their problems so far that they cannot sustain a relationship with most people around them.

          It’s fine to see the potential in people. That is a good thing. But we cannot let our vision of their potential cloud our vision of what we see them doing in real life.
          Said another way- Don’t mix the person you think she is with the person she is becoming.

          Addicts will push you away. I have heard it said that sometimes people know when they are heading down a bad road and they deliberately push away the ones they care about. On some level she may feel that she has pushed you to safety. Safety being some place that is not near her.

          Going forward, reframe what you are doing. Decide to have numerous close friends. That will tend to help the hole in your life.

        2. Fucshia*

          Before trying to rekindle anythng, I strongly suggest you attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. AA isn’t just for the addict, it is also for those in an addicts circle. They can help.you answer your first 3 questions. Then you can make a decision for yourself about the 4th.

          1. Anonynon*

            I appreciate the advice on this, but I am certain she is not an addict. She is just very irresponsible when she drinks too much. She maybe drinks once a month, if that.

            And the whole money thing happened days later, sobered up. I imagine her anger validated it for her in some way.

    4. Relosa*

      As someone who’s broken up with her now-ex-BFF more times than can be counted…

      …you’re not ready. Let it simmer for awhile more.

      I’ve learned over the past months without BFF that while I can’t predict the future and what life will do, I CAN determine what I want from my future and take steps toward that future. When I learned that, I also realized that that future didn’t include him. That was not an easy pill to swallow.

      But I also realized it didn’t end my love for him. I will always care about him, and it doesn’t mean we won’t cross paths in the future – highly unlikely, but not impossible. And none of that takes away from what we did have as friends and how much he meant or means to me. It just means that our friendship, the way I found it most comforting, isn’t there any more – though the foundation of love we built it from is.

      Sometimes you just have to accept it’s over, wish them the best, and move on. Took me much longer and too many fights with him for me to figure this out. It’s about forgiving yourself, not your best friend. Forgive yourself for whatever it is you feel responsible for and hope she can do the same for herself, because without both of you being whole and healthy, there is NO hope for a true reconciliation and reconnection.

      1. Ali*

        I went through this with a couple of friends in the last two years or so. Two got super close and branched off from me (a mutual friend of ours mentioned how close the two were and said she was worried she’d even be excluded from things on a trip the three took together), and while we never had a fight, they basically joined at the hip and left me behind. I still haven’t forgiven them and don’t care if I never speak to them again, but sometimes I do miss the one who was a very close friend for five years.

        In another case, I asked one friend something, and his response was to blow up on me about all the things I’d ever did to wrong him and he didn’t apologize either. (OK, he was like oh sorry I’m being harsh, but it was really just thrown in an e-mail and he didn’t follow up to say he was sorry that I was hurt.) I did try to get in touch about 2-3 months ago, but it’s clear he’s just a changed person and doesn’t want to be nice. (I’ve heard similar stories from others about him.) I miss him as well, but if he’s going to be like this, it’s not worth it to me.

        1. Mallory*

          I’ve had that happen a couple of times in my adult friendships, where two friends will like each other so much that I feel completely unnecessary to anything they do. Geez, when is anyone ever going to feel that way about me? I’ve had arm’s-lenght friends since then, but I haven’t had a best friend who chooses me as much as I choose her since I was in my early twenties. My one consistent best friend has been my husband. Which is wonderful and lovely, but someday I’d like a female one. My daughter once told me that I was like having a bossy best friend; one of these days when I don’t have to be either good cop or bad cop I think we will truly be friends, but I want her to develop her own friendships, too, so I’m not going to place too heavy a burden of expectation on her.

          1. Mallory*

            And it kind of hurts to come to the slow realization that what I thought was an equal three- way friendship is actually more of a two-way friendship with a second-tier friend tagging along. Not feeling sorry for myself (at least not much these days) but how does that happen? I used to feel more hopeful that it would happen for me, but now I think maybe I’m just not that good at friendship. I think I feel about friendship like singles feel about marriage after a point: still hopeful, but more cautiously so and with a bittersweet feeling that it’s possible for it to never really happen. Like maybe the good ones are already taken, or at our age no one else is looking or open.

            1. Anonynon*

              Mallory, your last paragraph resonated with me but in a different way. As most of my friends/people my age are in relationships or married, I generally assume there aren’t many women out there really looking for a best friend anymore. Nice to know people like us exist for each other!

    5. KrisL*

      I’m not sure why you want to be friends with someone who stole from you. I can get why people say mean things in the heat of anger, but stealing usually crosses a line.

      1. Anonynon*

        Yep, it’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s not as simple of a situation as a “she took money out of my wallet” stealing, but was still a huge breach IMO. I know she was mad, and maybe she found a way to validate it in her head. More so than any of the drama that happened, it’s what I feel I am owed an apology for.

        What’s so stupid is I know she’s a good, ethical person in other areas if her life. I can only hope she feels a level of shame about it that might be keeping her from reaching out.

  8. CoffeeLover*

    Can anyone recommend a book for me about physics? I’m really interested in learning more about the universe and dark matter and all that cool stuff, but I don’t have a science background and would like to read something that’s written in layman’s terms.

    1. SeattleMom*

      Check out the graphic novel “Feynman”. It is a graphic novel/biography of Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winning physicist and a great intro into other Feynman books.

    2. en pointe*

      Have you read anything by Lawrence Krauss? I recommend him specifically because he makes what can be pretty abstract stuff if you don’t have a science background (I don’t either) really interesting, because of the way he writes with wit and explains things so clearly.

      If you’re interested in cosmology, I highly recommend A Universe from Nothing. It’s easy to understand and actually surprisingly funny. He also goes into the tensions between religion and science a bit, some of it intelligent discussion, and some of it hilarious quips. (E.g. “Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born”). That’s not a major part of the book though; he’s not as snarky as Richard Dawkins, and it’s not to an extent where it gets in the way of exploring the science.

      And if you’re after a broader look into physics, check out his book Fear of Physics. It’s a really good intro if you haven’t read about physics much before because it pretty much runs the gamut from some really simple examples to the bigger cosmological stuff.

    3. Liane*

      If you like science fiction, especially TV and movie look into these.
      1-Lawrence Krauss, The Physics of Star Trek
      2-Jeanne Cavelos (astrophysicist), The Science of Star Wars and The Science of the X-files.
      Have not read the X-files book, but enjoyed the other 2. You learn about real-world science along with how likely it is that we’ll have anything like working transporters and lightsabers.

    4. Lore*

      Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn by Amanda Gefter. It’s a weird book–part memoir and part physics investigation–but I think she’s got a way of using analogy that made some of the concepts easier for me to grasp.

    5. Alicia*

      I really like the book “the men who made the new physics”… It’s from a course I took on the history if science and technology back when I was in first year, all about the era of science when they were discovering alpha particles, neutrons, how atoms were structured, etc.

      Even after completing my PhD in chemistry, I still find it enjoyable to read a chapter here and there to refresh all the quirky stories and relationships between the researchers back then.

    6. nonymousara*

      “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson is amazing. It’s definitely about more than just physics, but it would be a good start for a non-science person. It might also provide the background knowledge to read something a bit more in depth about the subjects you’re most interested in.

  9. Morgab*

    I feel like i really need a break from the daily grind and just a new environment. Im 26 and i live with my family for several reasons that i won’t explain right now. I love them but they can drive me crazy sometimes. I started to think about quitting my job and just moving to a new city to start over. Now I’m thinking instead of doing something drastic, maybe just take a vacation alone. I don’t have very many friends and i want to be able to do my own thing. I’m thinking of going to DC and staying in a hotel room for a week or so. I imagine id visit plenty of museums during the day but I’m sure id get bored after a day or two. And i wouldn’t be able to do much at night on my own. So maybe going alone isn’t such a great idea after all. Thoughts?

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I think if you’re traveling alone, you should take more advantage of group activities like group tours. Those can be either city tours or tours of specific things like a museum or a historic spot. That way you get the chance to talk to people if you want or just relax on your own. You could also join a class like yoga, dance, drum circle, etc.

    2. SherryD*

      Would you consider getting a job at a ski resort, or some other hospitality-based seasonal work? You’d end up in some beautiful part of the country, and working would give you a way to earn some cash and keep you from getting bored. And you’d probably meet other young(ish) and cool people that you’re working with. Of course, a lot of these resorts are in small towns, not big cities, but since it’s seasonal work, it’s not like you’d have to be there indefinitely.

      If you’re thinking of just taking a solo vacation, I’d recommend no longer than one week, maybe two. I’ve gotten too lonely taking longer solo vacations. Though YMMV.

    3. Lady Sybil*

      I traveled alone to Ireland for a week. But I signed on for a bus tour for most of the time, so I didn’t feel scared, met some interesting people and got to see a lot. It still felt like a big adventure to me. I was 23 at the time and utterly heartbroken, but that’s another story. I suggest you plan what you want to do, consider a tour and go for it!

    4. Lola*

      My experience of travelling alone is pretty much as you describe it – really, really easy to fill the days doing interesting things I want to do , relishing my freedom & independence……. But much more difficult to fill the evenings. I know I’m not going to check out the night life alone so – I make sure there’s wifi where I’m staying, ensure I have a good book and make the best if it. Washington DC is a great place for a solo vacation – loads to do & much if it is free. Public transportation is good so you can save money by staying outside the city.
      Check out the Youth Hostel Assn if you’re interested in visiting Europe – this is a great way to travel and meet others. It’s much more friendly than a hotel. Some of the hostels are fairly basic but there are some great facilities and almost all of my experiences were very good.

    5. BRR*

      It sounds like you might needs just some quiet time and rest. If it is your type of thing somewhere that you can just sit by the pool or beach and recharge. But if you want more of an active vacation I think DC is a great choice.

    6. Sarah*

      I’ve traveled alone in several countries and new cities. It’s fun if you pick places with activities that you enjoy doing alone. Cities are great – you can go to museums, dine out, or walk around and look at things alone very easily. I personally find it preferable to traveling with a companion and I never look up group activities or anything. You obviously want to avoid any destination where the main draws are things that aren’t safe or fun to do alone, like nightlife or outdoorsy things.

      If you think you’d get bored after a day or two in one place, why not plan a road trip? Spend a day or two in a city and then drive on to the next one, enjoying the scenery in between. You could even save some money by spending nights between cities instead of in them. (A clean motel off the freeway in the middle of nowhere is much cheaper than a clean motel in a city.)

      1. TL*

        Just a side note: nightlife and outdoorsy things can be perfectly safe to do alone if you’re a reasonable person (i.e., don’t get completely hammered by yourself, don’t go rock climbing without a partner). If you don’t feel comfortable doing them alone, that’s totally fine and really understandable, but I highly doubt either of those things is more risky than driving when done alone.

        1. Sarah*

          The outdoors people I know never go on wilderness hikes alone and wouldn’t go rafting, mountain biking, etc alone (specifically in an isolated area where you may never be found if you get injured and can’t seek help yourself). That is what I meant by outdoorsy vacation – very adventurous activities or deep wilderness. And by nightlife I meant clubbing and other places where it can get kind of wild, which aren’t any fun for a woman alone, let alone safe (I wouldn’t do that alone in my own city either – even if you stay relatively sober, you may be followed home by men who see that you’re alone, I have seen this happen). You’ll have the most fun on a solo trip if you pick destinations where the primary activities are things you can do alone with no reservations, though a hike on a populated trail and a drink alone at a bar at a reasonable hour are definitely nothing to shy away from.

          1. TL*

            I go hiking alone all the time, but I stay on well-traveled trails or within an area I know very well and within my comfort zone (but I’m more of a risk-taker than some, for sure.)
            I’ve gone clubbing lite alone once or twice for salsa dancing, though clubbing is not my thing and going alone is even more not my thing, which I figured out pretty quickly. But there are some women who would enjoy that, I’d bet, and ways enough to be safer about it.

            There’s no reason not to see if there’s a way you can do it safely – and there probably is – if it’s something you’re interested in.

    7. C Average*

      It sounds like in a lot of ways what you really want is what most people would regard as a staycation–a few days of not working, just existing spontaneously and without responsibilities. But since you’re living at home, you also need to leave your home environment to have this kind of experience!

      I actually think your idea sounds awesome. Go somewhere new for a few days, have a space to yourself where there’s no cooking or cleaning to do and no other people in your space, and just wander and explore. My vote is to go for it!

  10. Holly*

    Heavy topic, but my Dad is about to die from colon cancer – it’s progressing very, very quickly and he’s pretty weak, but can still walk around the house and stuff. I’ve never had someone die in my family before, so I have no idea how to even deal/respond/grieve. People have suggested to make the most of my time with him by asking questions/advice/taking pictures or videos, etc. However, he’s just not that kind of guy to talk for long or in a serious manner, and he refuses to have photos taken when he looks this sick.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on ways to… I don’t know, capture some memories? Make the most of things? Bond a bit in a different manner than talking/photos? Even just some general thoughts/advice would be great. Thanks.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      I don’t really thing there is a “right” way to grieve. Everyone does it their own way and takes the amount of time they need to.

      What have you done with your father in the past? What does he like to do? I think just spending time with him is what you should do. Whether that’s going for a walk, having breakfast, reading the paper etc. Questions/advice/pictures are great, but it’s the simple memories that stay with you. Besides, a bit of normality will be nice for him too I think.

      I’m also sorry to hear about your father. I know this must be a difficult time for you and I wish you all the best.

    2. SeattleMom*

      So sorry for your father’s ill health and decline. These are hard times that sometimes feel wrought with urgency to make meaningful discussions which can be emotionally draining for all of you.

      I would find a couple of those Top 10 memes (favorite pudding flavor, first choice career from childhood, etc.) as a starting point for casual discussions/sharing. It’s amazing how reflecting and sharing silly stories opens up for some reflecting. Playing some games that don’t require much skill, but can lead to shared laughs (Apples to Apples for G-rated, Cards Against Humanity for R-rated) sharing time together with some amusement and levity can be good for both of your souls.

    3. Stephanie*

      Sorry to hear about your dad.

      Is there something you can do with him? My dad’s not the most talkative either, but we can bond over something like fixing furniture or watching a movie.

      With the illness itself, I would just let your dad guide the conversation. That is, let him talk about it when he wants to talk about it. I’ve found with friends and family who’ve been sick that some days they just want to continue as normal and other days they do want to talk about how horrible chemo is and that it’s best to let them decide what type of day it is.

    4. Relosa*

      My father passed away from lung cancer in October 2010. He was diagnosed in September that year.

      My best advice is just to live in each moment. Just talk. It doesn’t have to be forced, just let it flow. He knows his situation and the circumstances. Let him guide the conversation.

    5. nep*

      Wishing you all the best — hope you’ll find peace with all this.
      As one other commenter said, there is no ‘right’ way to grieve and process what you’re going through. It’s an individual thing, and each family / each relationship has its unique dynamic.
      Prior to my dad’s death he was confined to his bed for a long time; obviously his activities were limited — crossword puzzles, reading, TV. I’m not really big on TV but we had a few shows we enjoyed watching together, and we watched a couple classic films. In a sense it was about honouring him by sharing in one of the few things he was able to do. But it can’t be contrived or forced; just let things flow.
      My 2 cents about memories, photos, etc — and everyone is different on this so take it for what it’s worth: Truly live in the moment and don’t get too hung up on having things to hold on to. We can miss now if we are too hung up on how best to ‘preserve’ now for some future time. No one has ever seen tomorrow.

    6. A Teacher*

      So sorry for your loss. Not really any advice, but with both grandfathers that lost the battle to cancer they liked to tell stories about childhood and it was good to have living history told. One also liked to look at pictures of his relatives and tell me stories so I could write them down for future generations. I don’t know if your dad would do that but just an idea. Again very sorry for your family’s battle with cancer.

    7. nep*

      (If it really means a lot to you to keep some physical mementos — have you done any audio recordings of him? It can be quite wonderful recording our parents / grandparents talking — about anything and everything they choose. Audio can be quite powerful.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is a great idea. Combine it with pictures that he can look at and ask him for the story behind the picture.

      2. Liane*

        (writing with teary eyes)
        If your dad wishes to do audio recordings, do not wait too long. Years ago, I helped a good friend gather the stuff needed for her dying husband to do some. But at that point he was too weak.

        But above all, take care of both yourself and him.

    8. Jamie*

      I’m so sorry. I know how hard this is.

      IMO the best thing you can do for your dad is to continue to be genuine and authentic and not try to force “quality time” because it’s rarely worth it – quality time comes out of being together organically.

      If you have questions about things bringing them up when the time is right is important – but you’ll know. Just be there for him. Many people near the end and want to talk.

      Regarding not wanting pics while sick, I beg you to respect that. When my mom passed of cancer of the small intestine it was years before I saw her as the way she was, not sick, when I pictured her. I’ve got some pictures of her sick and never take them out – I prefer to remember her as smiling and healthy and beautiful and at the end she was 70lbs at 5’7 and heartbreakingly pale and frail. That was the cancer, not her, I know she wants to be remembered for who she was and not how she looked while sick.

      Hugs – I really am so sorry. I’m glad your dad has you and you’ll treasure the time you spend caring for him the rest of your life.

    9. MJ*

      I recently went through this with my dad. Here are some thoughts I came away with:

      – This is HIS time. Take care of him with the same love you would an infant at the other end of life. If his hair or nails are bothering him, cut them for him. Hold his hand. Read to him, sing to him, say a Rosary or whatever gives him peace. Look him in the eyes. Make the effort to understand him as his ability to communicate declines. Tell family stories – particularly funny ones.

      – It’s hard for a dying person to let go of life. You might be able to help him let go by telling him how proud you are of him, how well he took care of the family, how you will take care of Mom after he’s gone because you are the responsible child he raised.

      – Respond to any request he makes. My dad asked for a fast food chili dog near the end, and it turned out to be the last thing he ate. It had onions and mustard and had to be cut up into tiny pieces and fed to him, and he drank a whole can of Coke with it.

      – When your Dad stops eating, you have about 3 days left.

      – Get help from hospice. They can really assist the whole family with the process.

      – Don’t be surprised if he passes while no one from the family is in the room. I think it may be easier for the dying person to finally let go when you are not sitting there. For my dad, the nurse was in the room and we were all at the kitchen table in the next room making family noises.

      Sending you a big, tear-streaky hug!

      1. Turanga Leela*

        The advice about hospice is a great idea. And don’t be afraid to ask for help with your dad’s pain management. Even if they’re no longer treating the cancer, good end-of-life care can help him be as comfortable as possible.

      2. Jamie*

        All of this a million times. Toward the end my mom craved cheesecake from this one jewish bakery – I went everyday. She’d eat half a bite and be done. Ditto kraft Mac And cheese – she’d pine for it like rupumzels mother for the witch’s lettuce and eat 1-2 macaronis. I don’t regret one cheesecake mac and cheese run for a second.

        One thing I was thinking about – as MJ says this is their time. When we were nearing the beginning of the end my mom really needed to say some things about when she was gone and I didn’t want to talk about it. I did not want to hear about when she died – I was still saying if. And we all knew. She finally gently but firmly told me my “ifs” terrified her because it made her feel I didn’t understand the situation and she had enough to worry about without being concerned i would be blindsided. She also needed to tell me things she wanted me to know and when I acted like there was plenty of time it made her anxious that she wouldn’t be able to tell me. She said she’d write it if she could but it was too hard for her to write at that point so with all the love in the world she said this was her time and all she had and I had to get with the program.

        20 years and I miss her every day. But most of the time it’s good – it’s remembering her talking about her and keeping her with me. And some times it still hurts, but I go on and I wouldn’t trade a minute of her as a mom so this is the price for loving someone and being loved. And sometimes that sucks – but the alternative is worse.

        I just want to give all you guys hugs and cheesecake.

    10. Turanga Leela*

      I’m so sorry about your dad. If you can, try to let go of the pressure to make the most of this time. When you remember him, you’ll remember your years together, not just this time, and you can have nice memories of the end even if you don’t do any of the “closure” stuff.

      Take your cue from what he wants to do. If your family likes to play games together, then that’s a great idea. If your dad has always liked watching baseball on tv, then just watch baseball. If he has the energy and likes going to the park or the museum, then do that. Maybe you can do a short trip to the beach or the mountains or something so that he can be somewhere beautiful and relaxing (even if it means taking a wheelchair).

      Just know that it’s ok to have memories that seem un-special at the time. When I miss my grandfather, I think of sitting with him, watching the game, and eating potato chips with pickle dip. If I could get him back for one more hour, that’s all we would do.

    11. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Holly, I’m so sorry.

      When my dad was dying, I’d never had anyone close to me die so I really didn’t know what to do / what to expect / how to best spend that time. What I can tell you now — and what became utterly clear to me as soon as he was gone — was that the absolute best thing you can do is just spend time with him, as much as you can manage. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Hell, just sit in the same room with him. But be there.

      And say anything you might regret not saying. I am haunted by things I didn’t say to my dad and wish that I had. Whatever you want him to know from you or would like to ask him about, do it now.

      I would give anything to have even an hour more with my dad. You’re going to feel like that too at some point, but you have him with you right now. Use the time. You will be so, so glad that you did.

    12. Anonyby*

      I’m so sorry. *hugs tight* I lost my mother to colon cancer some years ago. Is there anything the two of you enjoy doing together? Playing chess, or something else non-strenuous?

      I admit I’m not the best person to give advice. I did not deal well with Mom’s illness, or her death.

    13. Vancouver Reader*

      Sorry about your dad. When my mom was dying of cancer, I did what I could to keep her smiling and laughing. This probably won’t work on your dad, but my mom found foot massages helped her relax and so whenever I went to see her, I would immediately sit at the foot of her bed and give her a foot massage. I like to think that in this way I at least made her last days more comfortable.

      1. Catherine in Canada*

        I’ll second and third everyone’s advice and add this:
        The kindest thing anyone has ever said to me, ever, ever, ever, was from an almost stranger after my father died of cancer, nearly 30 years ago, when I was 27.

        His father had died, suddenly, of leukemia some years before. He said that he was “rat-shit for a year.”

        It sounds strange and not very kind at all, I know, but it gave me _permission_ to grieve, and to grieve far longer than is “expected” or acceptable. I was a young mother, with lots of responsibilities and people depending on me (4 under 7), and I really appreciated being told that it was okay to hate the Christmas tree, to be mad at cheerful laughing people, to be okay one day and flattened the next.

        It seems to me that grief is better understood now, that it doesn’t follow a timetable or a set progression, that sometime it’s there and sometimes it’s not but at the time, I really needed to hear that. So I pass it on to you.

        And I’m sorry. I miss my dad still.

        1. Jamie*

          That permission is so freeing – I am glad someone was there to give it to you.

          Goes to show what an impact someone can have with what they say/do without being a huge part of our lives.

          I can totally relate to this. I was also 27 with young kids (2 under 4 and had miscarried at 5 months for days prior to her death.) It was the ups and downs that shocked me. I thought I’d be a mess until I was better – always miss her, but healed. But no, I’d be okay and then totally not okay and it changed within the course of the day. And then the okay times got longer, but the out of the blue “hey don’t forget your heart is broken and you’ll never be the same” messages from my brain were less frequent – but after 20 years for me still there.

          Someone told me, tic, that nervous breakdowns are a luxury of the rich. It made me laugh and I can’t tell you how many times I repeated it to myself when I wanted to crawl in a hole but there were diapers to be changed, books to be read, and laundry to be done.

          A little secret – I still have to work, usually unsuccessfully, not to hate the holidays.

          My mom passed in the same week as my dad’s birthday and 4 months later he passed the week of hers. I like to think they were organized to give us only 2 shit weeks per year of anniversaries rather than 4. My father was nothing if not efficient.

  11. littlemoose*

    Instead of taking photos, what if you looked over some old photo albums and asked him about it? You might hear some good stories from his youth or learn about some family members.

    I am so sorry to hear about your father. Wishing you comfort and strength, from my corner of the internet to yours.

  12. Angora*

    Request advise regarding new boyfriend/relationship and having a friendship with ex from 10 years ago. In a new relationship, really new. He said he didn’t want to date others and we agreed within the last two weeks. Just last week via FB we found that we know a mutual friend … my ex. We dated about 3 months, ten years ago and it just didn’t work out. But we maintained the relationship via FB and got in the habit of getting together every 3 – 4 months for coffee. New BF commented that X dates a lot of woman. I informed him that X has a problem that interferes with him having a serious relationship (mental illness & doesn’t take medicine). I have out friendship where I like it, we get together, chat on the internet a little bit and he was supportive when I had a serious accident while living out of state.

    X and I have plans for coffee this afternoon .. this was something that was in the discussion stage while he was out of state months ago, that we would get together when he returned. Well he’s returned, we made our plans to meet before he moves out of state again for a job.

    My ? is how do I approach this with new boyfriend? I need to tell him, but do not necessarily want to invite him. We both have friends we socialize without the other. First time I have ever dated someone that is friendly with an X, much less an X that has turned into a good friend. Advise?

    1. CoffeeLover*

      Just casually tell him your meeting with X. I doubt he’ll invite himself, because that’s awkward. If he tries though, just say you’d rather meet with X alone because you think it might be awkward for X. Or you can say you want to do some catching up and it’s harder with more people. I’ve said no to people many times using the latter reason. If you have a lot of catching up to do, it’s just easier with two people.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Have an open and honest discussion about this whole topic – that is, being friends with exs. Let him know that you meet up with your ex every few months. Find out how he feels about it. Doesn’t mean you’ll change your plans to suit his feelings, just that you’ll know where he’s at with it all and you can go from there in terms of discussing where you’re at with it. Could be he doesn’t like it and you can talk about that. Could be he doesn’t care and asks you to bring him back some coffee. :) I find that just putting it on the table and talking openly is the way to go.

      1. Angora*

        Thank you both. I ended up asking him to join us. But my friend cancelled due to illness. The new relationship went through some changes later that day. He informed me that he didn’t see any long term potential since we are from different backgrounds. He came to this country when he went to school for his PhD.d, and stayed. Kind of shocked, his ex-wife was an American.

  13. Angora*

    Not rekindling … just maintaining a supportive friendship but I do not want to jeopardize a new romantic relationship.

  14. Anon for really stupid move*

    After much hemming, hawing, and mulling over things, I’ve decided the only way for me to actually get to LA the way I want to be is just to pick up and go.

    I have enough network out there that landing even temporary work in the immediate outset is not going to be difficult. Nor would living arrangements be difficult to finagle on a temporary basis.

    I’m in my 20s and I know what I want to do and where I want to be.

    It will be the single riskiest thing I’ll have ever done in my life, but it’s pretty obvious after a few years of jobhunting out there that it won’t work any other way than to just start from the bottom up out there.

    Not doing it today, but soon enough that I can’t talk myself out of it…before the end of the year.

    Wish me luck!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Good luck! I did the same thing once, and ended up staying in CA for four years (not L.A., though). I loved it and never regretted it. In fact what I regret most is coming back!

      1. Anon for stupidity*

        Thank you! I hope I can go out there and never ever ever ever go back (except for visits and state fairs, ’cause we have the best by FAR)

        You give me hope! I’m known for being resourceful in the worst of times, I have a feeling this will be one of those times.

        1. TheSnarkyB*

          OOH ok I don’t know if I’m gonna spark a rivalry, but w/the state fair thing- are you from MN?

          1. Anon for really stupid move*

            Haha, sure am!

            Legit, our state fair rivals none. There is no contest.

            1. Stephanie*

              Whoa whoa. (Former) Texan here. Them’s fighting words.

              (The only novel thing about the Arizona State Fair was the fried scorpions.)

              1. Anon for really stupid move*

                If it helps, I have a LOT of family in Texas. Been there, done that. Even my Texan family says ours is better :)

              2. Anon for really stupid move*

                (also, the loltasticness that both MN and TX State fairs are so awesome that no one else in the country even bothers, and everyone knows where we’re from by how much we gush about it!)

            2. CEMgr*

              Minnesota State Fair.

              Last one for me was 40 years ago when I was a kid. And I remember it so clearly….it was the best.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Oh just luck.

      I don’t believe in a lot of cautious advice for folks in the their 20’s, other than “don’t get into debt”. What’s the worst that could happen? Once you get past your 20’s and have put down roots with a partner and/or a family, your choices are much more narrow because they effect other people. Enjoy!

      Just – don’t go into debt for it . Do not live off credit cards! [motherly finger wag] :)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I moved almost 200 miles. I got up one morning- had a bad morning. And decided, okay, I am going. It took the weekend to get me and my stuff settled into a new place. And I have remained in this area for 30 plus years. I have never once regretted the move.
        The first year or two here was terrible, financially. It was so bad that it has become the period in my life that I compare everything else to. “Is this as bad as that time?”
        But right, don’t go into debt. If you cannot pay cash or check then you cannot buy it. That year or so was verrry lean. Others have had it worse and they made it, too. So will you. I hear the determination in your writing. Decide and go.

        1. Anon for really stupid move*

          Thank you! :D This will be a smidge more than 200 miles (from the Midwest, so more like 2,200!) but I appreciate your words a lot! I’ve had my heart set on LA for a long, long time, and I know it’s just time to Go Home :D

      2. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you!

        I’m already in debt (yay school, ha!) but I definitely know not to take on any more. Fortunately it’s pretty much just school and one small credit card, everything else are just bills. My credit is already ruined from having to put myself through school, so I am not even thinking about that, nope.

        I’m 27, so closer to 30 than 20, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve had my heart on LA for four years. I wanted to finish school first, and I did. That was almost two years ago – time to GTFO. I may as well just do it. Just suck it up and GO!

    3. Jamie*

      This is the time in your life to do things like this, it’s impossible to do after kids and a mortgage…just be safe.

      I’m a mom, not your mom (unless I am in which case what the hell are you posting this before taking to me?!) but just make sure you will be safe. Have a safe place to be and be able to manage finances, a although living on a shoestring is a lot easier to do at your age make sure you eat properly and see a doctor when you need to.

      Have fun but be careful!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        I promise I’ll be safe! I really do have a ton of friends in the area, both CA natives and transplants like myself. They know what’s up, and they’ve all been waiting for me to just drop the hammer and say I’m coming. I’m very fortunate to have as many friends as I do out there, honestly.

        The only big hassle, honestly, is bringing Beloved Dog. It’s not a question of leaving him here – that is absolutely not going to happen – but he’s a big boy. I couldn’t imagine doing this without him, but it’s certainly not impossible. I’ve moved more times than I can count with him and managed to pull it off. It’s the only major responsibility I have that is a hindrance, but not worth leaving him 2,000 miles away over.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Ask your friends for their thoughts on bringing the dog with you. You might get some really good ideas.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      You won’t need luck. This is just the kind of thing to do in your 20s. You’ll have a blast, even if you hate it and move back!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you so much!

        Honestly, I’m so wowed by everyone’s support and well wishes. It gives me the warm fuzzies :)

    5. Lisa*

      Congratulations! L.A. is great fun, and if you can, move to one of the neighborhoods where there are lots of other young people – downtown, Silver Lake, Echo Park, that sort of place, and not a suburb. Also, find, join & get active in a volunteer group that aligns with one of your non-work interests. L.A. is absolutely crammed with people interested in historic preservation, neighborhood improvement, local theatre/arts, timebanking, hiking, bicycling, etc, and the best way to meet people socially here is through one of these groups. It’s also more neighborhood-y than people realize, so it’s challenging if you plan to make all your friends through work – chances are, the people you get on with won’t live anywhere near you, which make socializing difficult. Locally-based activity/interest groups are the best for making friends, in my experience…

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thanks for the tip on locales! I know I definitely want to establish new friendships, but I also have a ton of other friends and contacts that will help a lot with that as well. I’ll be on my own enough but also still have a network out there. Especially for getting jobs and money rolling back in…

        I love LA so much. Growing up, California was never really a big draw for me. I loved where I lived in the Midwest and while I loved traveling, I just didn’t get its appeal. Then I had to go there for an emergency one year, and it captured my heart. It sounds so silly, but it feels like home. The crazy culture, the people, the weather, all of it! I’ve been there several times since – and every time, I just get more and more attached.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      I moved to LA when I was 21 and stayed for over 16 years.

      Go! Go! Go!

      It’s a totally fun place to live when you’re young and single. There are lots of jobs, but it can also be very expensive to live there. I don’t regret it at all, and I loved it. Rollerblade down the beach on New Year’s Day for me! :-)

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you!! I can’t wait. I literally can’t just pick up and go RIGHT NOW even though I want to (car is busted, hardcore!), but I’ve been narrowing down a timeline. I also want to give my current employer a really good notice, a month to six weeks, because of my job and wanting to make sure I leave them in the best position possible.

        The rent is what stresses me out the most. It’s easily twice what it is here, but I know that I’ve made crappy situations work before and I’d rather do it now than later.

        I will definitely be on that beach like nobody’s business!! :D

    7. Lori*

      I did it nine years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made! Granted, the economy was better then, but I was in my late 20’s and that was a good time in my life/career to take a risk. I gave myself six months to figure out how I was going to do it, network, save money, make arrangements, etc. and that turned out to be a good amount of time – basically, I decided in Sept that I would move when my lease was up in March. So I had no choice but to actually make things happen! I moved out without a job, but started picking up freelance assignments before I left, and ended up getting a job about 5 weeks in. Good luck to you!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you so much! I have to bust my butt the next couple months to rebuild my small savings (big-time emergency demolished it, boo hiss) but I’ve also decided, I just have to do it now or I never will.

        Dang, this thread has me so excited!

        Thank you again everyone!! I have the biggest, dumbest grin on my face right now.

    8. C Average*

      Good luck!

      Like so many of the other commenters here, I pulled a Hail Mary when I moved to the city I’m in now, a city I love and very much wanted to live in. I slept on some couches, at some ramen, worked some craptastic jobs, but I made it and it was worth the effort.

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you!

        It will definitely be a couch-crashing, ramen-nomming, crappy-job experience…but you’re right: it’s worth it. I’d rather be broke and struggling for awhile there than wealthy and miserable here.

    9. Vancouver Reader*

      I’m kind of envious because you’re going to follow your dream. I wish I’d taken more risks when I was younger, so now I just have to live vicariously through you.

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you! The way you put it really put it into perspective for me, that I’m out there chasing my dreams! In all fairness, graduates in my shoes really only have one abundant currency, I suppose. May as well use them for what they are!

        I’m also of the opinion that it’s never really too late for anything, either ;)

    10. TL*

      I’m planning on moving to Alaska next year – and I did a similar move to Austin from San Antonio, which was a blast!- so you’re not the only one with itchy feet here! Do it first and let me know how it goes – good luck!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Wow, Alaska! Good luck with that! I had some family that was stationed there for awhile. Interesting stories, for sure!

        I’ll definitely keep everyone posted once it happens! I’m thinking mid-November, right before Thanksgiving – I have too many family obligations during the fall that I can’t back out of.

    11. MovedToCali*

      I did this at 27, too! I had had enough of my hometown and moved from the east coast to San Diego with no job or anything! I’m back on the east coast now, but the 8 years I spent in SD were really awesome. I spent some time temping, and then found a permanent job a few months later. California is a great place to live-good luck to you, and have fun!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thanks! I’m so looking forward to it.

        I love my hometown and I’m proud to be from it, but it’s definitely old and I’m sick of it. Need something bigger and better. I’ve loved LA since I first set foot in its insanity.

    12. Befuddled Squirrel*

      I moved to SF when I was 28. I had one friend I could stay with for a week and no job prospects. Everything turned out great. The economy here is so much better than in other parts of the country, it was easier for me to find work than it would have been had I stayed in my previous city. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting settled in LA. Have a good move!

      1. Anon for really stupid move*

        Thank you! I have lots of confidence that things will work out – it will definitely be a struggle for awhile, but I’m very fortunate to have a ton of friends down there waiting for me and ready/willing/able to help out.

  15. Newsie*

    I just have to leave this here – I had to bail my sister out financially. Again. I get that she makes less money than I do, and that she’s still repaying her loans. She says she’s doing dramatic things to stop losing money, like eating only ramen and canceling her gym, but honestly – if she just socked away $5 a month, and maybe didn’t travel 6 times a year, it would start to grow. (I know there are people out there who can’t sock away $5 a month. That’s not her.) She won’t listen to my dad when he tells her to start budgeting or saving. I’m not a financial saint, but it’s becoming REALLY aggravating when she can’t deal with an unexpected $100 charge.

    I was able to transfer her a good deal of money once, before I bought my house. She was also able to give me the money back, because it was a bank error. Now I have a mortgage, and endless house costs, and she still thinks I have money. So she keeps asking, and I feel obligated because my parents always said that we’ll only have each other in the future. At this point, I don’t expect any of it back, and I have to ignore another thing I was saving for. UGH. Okay, I feel marginally better now.

    TL;DR Money is great and awful at the same time.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Could you say to her, “I am here as a safety net if you’re ever in truly dire straits, but it’s very difficult for me to feel okay about giving you money when I then see you traveling six times a year. I don’t want to be in a position where I feel like your spending choices are my business because that’s bad for our relationship, so I’m going to stop giving you money.”

      1. Newsie*

        I could try. I’m also pretty certain if I said that she’d get really angry and try to make it about us against my parents (my parents, aside from being strict, are nice folks. Not a situation where there’s a case of us vs. them, if that makes sense). So I think I have to gear myself up for that.

        But I like this a lot – I feel like it’s a good script for me to stick to. Thanks, Alison!

      2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        This is good.

        I would probably give, not loan her, the last $100 and say “this is it”, along with what Alison said. Suggest that she pay that $100.00 back to herself, instead of me, as her own emergency fund.

    2. SherryD*

      I’m a big Gail Vaz-Oxlade fan (she’s a Canadian financial guru — I think her TV shows have aired in the States too). She suggests saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re going through this, and I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any financial assistance right now, but maybe there’s some other way I could help.”

      1. The Maple Teacup*

        Thumbs up to Gail Vas Oxalade information. I’ve given people I’m close to her books before (they were looking for financial help). If you don’t want to bail your sister out financially you do not have to. From what you said, it seems like her budget needs altering and that she’s claiming extreme Ramen situations for emotional manipulation. If this was a starvation, impending homelessness situation I’m sure you’d help. But is this just a situation of mild to moderate discomfort? She will not be happy having her resource option dry up. Since it’s hard to say no to family, how about this option. Decline future financial assistance but (unknown to her) save a bit away in case of dire need. I’m guessing she’ll travel five time a year instead of six and you wouldn’t feel guilty for not “helping.” All I know is I have personally had to stop loaning money to people with messed up budgets. They still have houses and are not starving. :/

        1. Newsie*

          Yeah, her budget needs tweaking. It’s not dire straits. I mean, like I said – I had a messed up budget. It took a couple of situations like this for me to figure out my life, pay myself first in a hidden savings account, and start working on it. I’m not there yet, but I’m on the road.

          Y’all are giving me confidence to do this! Thanks!

    3. Sarah*

      What if you purchased her a YNAB license and sat down with her to set it up? It’s budgeting software designed in a way that it teaches you some basic principles as you are setting it up, and it’s geared towards people living paycheck-to-paycheck who don’t seem to know where their money is going. With some effort, she could probably manage to stop eating ramen and prepare for emergency savings.

      Of course, you know her better than I do so if she’s the defensive type that would get pissed about your efforts, or if she’s just lazy and isn’t going to start saving her money if she has you to sponge off of, then disregard. It’s just an idea in case she genuinely thinks she’s trying but is wasting away her money on impulse purchases or luxuries she can’t afford.

      1. Newsie*

        I would love to, but she claims she’s far, far too busy to do ANY of that. For example, my dad’s been on her to set up her 403B, which would involve her calling her HR to find out what website to go to. “it’s too HARD.” “it’s too much time!”

        She acts like all these steps are just way, way too much for her and her busy life. Except, she doesn’t realize that one day when she’s paid even more, if she keeps acting like this, the money is still going to disappear!

        (I will say, though – now I’m contemplating a purchase for myself!)

    4. matcha123*

      Do you know how/where she’s travelling? Is she paying for everything herself, or is a friend helping her? Are these “fun” trips or possibly job interviews that you might not know about?

      I get where you’re coming from. I’ve been the small safety net for my family for over a decade. I’ve paid bills and sent money. I also know how hard it is when you don’t have money.

      I don’t know your family’s situation, but if you didn’t grow up with a lot and if your sister had to help out a lot, just doing something “simple” like a budget can be incredibly difficult.

      I find myself in that situation; “If I don’t buy this trinket and save the money, I could travel back home!” The problem in my case is that year and years of denying myself anything has me practically frozen when I have the space to stock away funds. It’s like an eating disorder, but with money.

      I also had a friend who was borrowing and returning $100 from me ever month for the past year and a half. In his case, he had savings he was “keeping for the kids” that he didn’t want to touch.

      It might just be better to bring everything into the open, even if it does end up in a fight. Also explain that you don’t have as much money to spare. If she is just taking money and partying with it, cut her off. But, I do suggest having a talk and seeing what’s up…

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, this is almost an enabling thing. As long as sis’ family bails her she can keep doing what she is doing.

        Newsie, maybe you can tell your parents what you are doing and why BEFORE you cut her off. Not with the idea that your parents will do the same, but to let your parents know this is what you are doing and this is why.

        1. Newsie*

          I’ve told my parents. They’re incredibly supportive and have offered to help ME out if this lending has made things tight, which of course makes me feel guilty.

          matcha123, we grew up in a middle class household. Our parents were good budgeters who always paid off the credit cards at the end of the month, and while we didn’t often get treats – because life isn’t always about treats – we were well-clothed, well-fed, and able to enjoy extras, both cultural and otherwise.

          Unfortunately, we were also supported through college, and sent on our own after that. I think that’s the difference. It’s her third year paying for her own life, and it’s probably a huge cultural shock for her to have to support herself on her own salary. (In fact, I believe until recently she had a credit card tied to the parents)

          1. KrisL*

            I think it’s great that you’re concerned about this. I have family members who have sometimes borrowed from me, but most of them pay it back as soon as possible.

            This is going to be a tough conversation, but the sooner she starts realizing she has to stand on her own feet, the better. A habit is more easily broken if it hasn’t been held too long.

    5. Ruffingit*

      Consider the language you’re using here because it often belies some falsities we’re not always willing to look at. You said “I had to bail my sister out financially.” You did not have to, you chose to and therefore you can choose not to do so.

      Please don’t take this in a harsh tone as it’s not meant that way, I just see so many people who enable others, get angry about it and blame the people they are enabling. It’s not about your sister, what money she saves or doesn’t or how many trips she takes. She is not the problem here. You are. Enabling her behavior is not a necessary thing. You can stop giving her money. If she can’t pay her rent, she might be out on the street. That’s OK. She’ll figure out what to do. If she can’t pay her electric bill, she can buy some candles. And so on.

      This is not your problem and making it your problem is preventing her from doing what she needs to do. Consider this – why shouldn’t she take 6 trips a year? No big deal to do that because Newsie will make sure I have a roof over my head when I run out of money for the things I should be paying for. Oh, and let me also just use my anger as a way to manipulate Newsy into dealing with my problems for me.

      Good news is that if your sister gets angry, it won’t kill her. She’ll get over it. Really, she will.

      Next time she calls with her desperate pleas for help, you can say “It’s unfortunate you’re in this position. I’ll be thinking of you” and leave it at that. You are not obligated to help her. It’s OK if she gets angry that you won’t, it’s OK if she tries to make it an us vs. parents thing. You do not have to participate in that. If you don’t allow her to stand on her own two feet, she’s never going to learn to walk. It may be hard for you to see her suffering, but suffering is how we learn to do the things we need to do so we don’t suffer in the future.

      1. Newsie*

        It’s a fair assessment of the situation. She’s also good with the emotional manipulation, though that’s wearing thin. (Public facebook post, “I feel SO GREAT that I have such a great sister who will have my back thick or thin!” Cue eyerolls.)

        I just have to deal with her angry which is… ugh. She can get mean. But I’m sure I’ll survive.

        Thanks!

        1. Ruffingit*

          Yeah, the mean ugly anger is tough to deal with, but it’s for a good cause. Remembering that may help when she gets ugly about it. Be prepared for Facebook posts of how awful you are, but again you can and will survive it. There is no reason for you to continue paying for her when she can do it herself. There’s a huge difference between a person falling on hard times and a person who chooses not to help themselves. I’ve done odd jobs, lived in the tiny one-bedroom flat, gone without cable or eating out, etc. It can be done. It’s not fun, in fact it really sucks, but it can be done. If your sister is making enough to survive and is choosing not to be a wise steward of her money, then send her the 100 recipes for Ramen booklet and move on. You have your own financial stuff to contend with.

          Keep in mind that she thinks you have money because you always bail her out. She doesn’t think about what you’re sacrificing so she doesn’t have to sacrifice herself. She just thinks of how easy life is because she can do everything she wants and still have a roof over her head. I’ve known so many people who fell into the enabling trap, it’s just not good for either party. There’s nothing sadder than a person in their 40s or 50s whose retirement funds are half what they should be because they bailed out a person now in her 30s or 40s who has no retirement funds at all and no clue how to survive.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            All of this.

            If you see her angry posts on FB, tell yourself that is proof that you made the right choice.

            This is not a reciprocal relationship. You give, she takes. A thinking person would say “Okay, no more loans. Gee, you have helped me so many times, is there a way I can help you?” Even offers of basics such as help with the yard/the dog/painting a room would be a symbolic gesture of reciprocity and caring.

    6. Jazzy Red*

      My sister and my best friend have come to me for money more times than I can count. They always said they would pay me back, but they never did. If I had all that money now, I wouldn’t have had to take out a car loan last month.

      They’re both still in dire straits, but I’m retired and on a fixed income now, and I can’t help either of them any more.

      My advice is for you to take the advice in the comments, and stop giving her money. If she’s able to earn her living, you’re under no obligation to give her money. A kidney, maybe; money, NO. Don’t let your mom or anyone else guilt you into anything. Your sister needs to learn to lean on herself, not you.

      Good luck!

  16. Ali*

    I don’t really have a whole lot of off-topic stuff to talk about this week honestly. Maybe I should’ve put this in the work thread on Friday, but I ended up canceling my Zumba teaching license a week or two ago. :( I didn’t want to come to that, but my job is just too demanding (my schedule is still all over the place, with only a “proposal” coming next month before our hours change yet again) and I could never squeeze in the time or energy to practice, especially with my own health and fitness at the forefront of my mind. I felt OK about it at first, but now it hurts that I had to give up that goal for now. I do still want to teach fitness some day. It’s just not in the cards right now.

    I’m also kind of tired of struggling with my weight. My body keeps dropping and regaining the same 1-3 pounds or so. This has been going on since January. It’s like my body just doesn’t want to lose anything else. I mean I’m kind of getting happier with my looks…I just wish the scale would start dropping too. Some days I don’t feel so bad about it; other days are rough. Like for example, I’m a little afraid to find a new doctor and go for an appointment because I know I’ll be lectured for my weight, and who really looks forward to that?

    I’m trying to start a running program, which will hopefully be a nice change and give me some alone time instead of going to group fitness all the time. I admit I’ve been going to a ton of classes for the last several months, so maybe that plus my struggles to eat healthy have led to this and I need to go solo a little more often. We’ll see how running goes. I went out the other day and did a stage of the program I’m on that calls to alternate four minutes of walking with one minute of running. It wasn’t too bad, and I’m going again tomorrow. So…runners of AAM unite?

    1. Luxe in Canada*

      What I love about running is that it gives me a chunk of identity. Doesn’t matter if it’s been two months since my last run, doesn’t matter if I’m the slowest one in my running group, doesn’t matter if I chicken out of races… I get to call myself a runner. I love it.

      Welcome to the club! *high fives*

    2. nep*

      Sorry you had to give up the Zumba teaching for a bit. I hope your schedule will allow you to fit that back in; I reckon it’s a source of satisfaction and really boosts your well-being.
      On the weight issue — You mention a struggle to eat healthy — what’s the struggle exactly? What are you eating primarily? And are you getting enough sleep?
      Wishing you all the best. Good luck with the running. In my experience regular running simply makes everything better.

      1. Ali*

        I just find that I don’t have the discipline to be like “oh I’m totally going to cut out junk food and eat clean/eat gluten-free/whatever trend people are doing these days.” I still like fries, ice cream, etc. and I’m working on trying to resist, but at times I still crave them and hate that I can’t have them as much. I wanted a donut a few weeks ago, for example, and tried to tell myself no, but eventually gave in. I’ve heard some advice that if you don’t eat sweets for a while, you won’t crave them anymore, but I lack mental willpower at times. Like I said, I’ve lost a decent amount of weight so far, but I know I need to overcome some impulses and cravings to really get the train moving. I try to have a water bottle beside me at work, but I also still go for junk or soda if I need to feel more awake.

        As far as sleep, it varies. My schedule is all over the place at work right now. Sometimes, I work until 9:00 or 11:00 at night; other times it’s until 1 a.m. I’ve even worked till 2 a.m. here and there. I liked my schedule before all this happened (worked until 10 at night and a few mornings), but when Ex-Boss changed the schedule, the guy on my team who had a wedding to plan got my better shifts. (He is finally getting married so he owes me. Seriously.) And right now, we’ve had so many people taking vacation that I really can’t say no to the constant fluctuations. It can be hard for me to work till 1 a.m. and fall right asleep, so the long answer is sometimes I only get 6-7 hours worth.

        I have a new boss now who told me next schedule change (September) that he will put me on less late nights. I’ll believe it when I see it though b/c something tells me Newly Married Coworker will probably continue asking for perks because HE’S MARRIED.

        1. Ali*

          And…I’ll probably get in trouble for talking about work here, but I had to to put my sleep problems into context.

        2. en pointe*

          Welcome to the club, Ali! Rumour has it we’re a pretty awesome bunch :)

          I actually just wrote you a long reply about routine, but your explanation of your work schedule renders that kind of redundant now. Sorry to hear it’s so hectic.

          Still, could you possibly try and get more regularity into the running plan? I would focus on making the behaviour a habit, even if you don’t have control over the time. If you’re not getting called into work at short notice, you could perhaps make it one of the first things you do in the mornings. If you can get yourself doing it like 3-5 times per week, that’s when you’ll start to see some real progress, and it’ll get so much easier as well; you can start working in more running and less walking.

          I love to run most mornings, often at different times because I’m a massive night owl whenever my schedule allows, but I find it also sets me up for the day in terms of food. Like, I’m even more motivated to dodge that donut if I’ve already gone for a run in the morning, because who wants to go and undo all their hard work?

          Also, are you counting calories? It’s not for everyone, and I’m actually working on doing less of it at the moment, but it is a really good way to make yourself accountable, if you’re having problems with discipline. If you sign up for something like My Fitness Pal and have to input every little thing you eat, it’s a good motivator to resist temptation, because you know you’ll have to add it to your diary later and be accountable to yourself.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Sleep is tied to weight. Energy has to come from some where. “Not enough sleep? Okay, eat more.” That is what our bodies tell us.

          Develop a plan for when the munchies hit. Have something ready. My thing is watermelon. This time of year it’s so perfect. It’s sweet, it’s wet. yum.
          See, the problem is not having the munchies. The problem is having no plan to deal with the munchies.

          1. nep*

            Second this. Planning for when the cravings hit. And I know we’ve all heard it but it is true — feed your body healthier things and keep away from the junk, body will call out for the healthier things. To the point that it won’t be about ‘depriving’ yourself. The ‘deprivation’ thing gets turned around; when your body’s thriving on healthy stuff, ingesting junk deprives you of feeling fantastic.

        4. TL*

          On the cutting things out entirely – no! Don’t do that! I have a crazy restricted diet because of food allergies and it took months before I stopped wanting everything ever yummy Oreos (really I would sell my soul for an Oreo). I cried in a grocery store once because they were baking tortillas. Cried. Actual tears. And I feel so much better on my stupid diet that it’s crazy. But emotionally, it was bad for a long time.

          Instead, try making your diet balance out – if you have a donut, eat super healthy the next two days and take an extra walk at lunch/evening/morning. That way, an occasional donut isn’t an ‘omg, I’m awful!’ But an incentive to have a few extra-healthy days. Or allow yourself one of your guilty pleasures a week/fortnight/whatever, and really enjoy that one treat and then don’t worry about it because it’s planned in your diet.

          Seriously, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to stick to some crazy diet or feeling bad because you can’t maintain perfection in it. Just take a look at your cravings and see how to moderately plan them into your diet once in a while without destroying your diet or ego.

    3. Ruffingit*

      I’m a Couch to 5K woman myself. Been doing that program off and on for a long time. About to restart. High five from another AAM runner :)

    4. C Average*

      Running is my FAVORITE. I actually ran a half marathon this morning, a race called Fueled By Fine Wine with a course that takes you through wine country and a commemorative wine glass and a wine tasting at the end. I look forward to this race every year.

      I’m not sure where you live, but if it’s a major area, you should see if there’s a running club or two. Back when I was a starving barista working an insane schedule, I joined a running club and often attended the regular group runs. With an erratic schedule, it’s hard to arrange runs with a partner, but if you know that a fun group of people meets every Thursday at six, or whatever, you can just drop in as you’re able.

      I find running really soothing and meditative. I swear it’s how I self-medicate my ADHD tendencies. I’m much happier and nicer when I’m running regularly.

      Welcome to the club!

    5. Relosa*

      After losing 130 lbs metabolically and finally deciding I have a goal in mind – there are always, always good and bad days. I told myself three months ago I’d get down to my 50% of original weight mark (about 8-10lbs shy of it right now) by memorial day, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost it yet – life happened and completely threw off my health and fitness routine.

      Change helps! Hang in there. You’re really doing great work, no matter what the scale or doctor says. It’s not always easy to remember but you AREN’T alone in this. Having the thoughts and just making any effort is more than most people do, remember that. You’re making good, permanent, positive change and it WILL pay off.

  17. CoffeeLover*

    Good luck! I’m planning a similar move in the more distant but not too far future! Risk takers unite! ;)

  18. Kou*

    Writing a cover letter for an international NGO, and I’m just not sure what type of tone is appropriate. I’m really excited about their work and the work I do now, so it’s coming out kind of like that cover letter Alison’s promoted here before. But I also know some people feel that one’s too casual or sales-y, and I’m afraid of coming off as “little girl wants to save the world” and not “person who gets things DONE” which is what they need and what I do now already.

    What they describe needing in their listing is exactly what I do already, and is somewhat larger in scope than what someone in this type of role usually does.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just a reminder that this thread is all non-work stuff — the work stuff should go in Friday’s open thread! (I’m trying to enforce it so that they really do stay separate.)

        1. saro*

          Why don’t you go back to Friday’s thread and post. I’ll help answer because this is my field.

  19. Late Dater*

    So I’ve never really dated much and I’m in my late 20s. I’ve always been kind of introverted and never met anyone and was always pretty oblivious to any kind of “signals.”

    I met a guy online about 2 months ago and we’ve been talking (we’re Long Distance) and the other day he wanted to know what my favorite flowers were and I gave him some answers but I was so oblivious to this and thinking why is this guy asking me this weird question?

    Yeah my friends all uh…he probably wants to send you some flowers so I asked him (my mom told me that was rude but sometimes you just need to be blunt) and he said yeah that he’d like to send me some flowers to brighten my day :)

    I told my sister and then she got mad that her husband never sends her flowers anymore hahahaha

    1. matcha123*

      I never dated in high school and had my first kiss in a club overseas a month before turning 20.

      Unlike you, when guys would try to approach me, I read into their intent and did whatever I could to head off their affections without straight out saying “I don’t want to date you!”

      I hope that guy turns out to be someone you get along well with!

    2. Jamie*

      I’m with your sister – just reading this I’m now annoyed with my oblivious husband out there making breakfast that it’s been a while since I’ve gotten any either.

      A work friend got a giant bouquet a while back for no reason from her new husband and the card said “just because I love you.”

      Swoon.

      That’s so exciting for you – just remember if you have cats they like flowers, too, and not in a way that’s healthy for the vase.

    3. Jubilance*

      How sweet :-)

      My fiance and I were also long distance for most of the dating portion of our relationship. About a month after we met, he sent me flowers to my office, and it led to him sending me a different bouquet every month. Now that we’re engaged he’s kept up the tradition because he knows I love flowers.

    4. C Average*

      Late bloomer here, too. Had my first actual boyfriend at 25.

      My husband, who is an absolute mensch, had a not-particularly-loving first marriage. His ex-wife is a nice woman, but I don’t think they were ever really passionate about each other. I think they settled because they were the right age and at the right stage in life.

      Early in our relationship, I was headed to his house to cook him dinner and decided to buy him flowers, just for fun. He was so happy! Said no one had ever done anything like that before. I still buy him flowers from time to time. He feels loved, and I get to have flowers around. Everyone wins.

    5. Vancouver Reader*

      I didn’t have a first boyfriend until I was 23. I told my husband when we were dating, no flowers because they die off too quick. Yeah I’m a real romantic. After a few years I got him to realize that the only gifts I really appreciate are either edible or useful.

      1. LAMM*

        Ha… I’m with you on that one. I’m allergic to flowers and don’t like chocolate, so I’ve never been a fan of valentine’s day and anniversaries and whatnot since flowers and chocolate seems to be the go-to gift.

        Cake. I prefer cake. My boyfriend will bring me home cake sometimes… or give me some cash so I can go buy a cupcake and not feel guilty. It’s awesome.

      2. I Love Books*

        OH MY GOD. ARE WE TWINS???? I SAY THE SAME THING!! GET ME SOMETHING REAL, CONCRETE, NOT SOMETHING THAT WILL DIE IN A FEW DAYS :-) Awesome to see I’m not the only one. people think it’s weird i don’t want flowers.

  20. Elizabeth West*

    Gah, it’s so late but I noticed the open thread was up. Woo hoo! Also, cute peeky kitteh!

    This week, I have almost finished my outline for Sequel Book. I can’t tie my cool new plot in with the subplot, so I scrapped it and went back to the original plot I first thought of. Which is okay; I’ll just save the cool new plot for my cop to mess with next time.

    In vacation news, I found a share-a-tour thing that goes to Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and other things and booked it, and I’m booked on the Caledonian Sleeper up and back to Inverness, Scotland! That is two bucket list things in one trip, ha ha. I’ve always wanted to ride on a sleeper train, and I’ve always wanted to see Loch Ness (I know there’s no monster in it; it’s just very cool) and the castle ruins. The only thing I’m worried about is that the train arrival time is about twenty minutes before the tour leaves, which is cutting it really close. But the tour will pick me up at the station, so hopefully they won’t leave without me and there will BE no delays.

    I couldn’t afford first class, so I have to share a compartment with someone, but no worries. I’ve also booked my train to Cardiff and I’m going first class over and standard back (returns are more expensive and it was just too much).

    And today, I got a really fantastic haircut. It’s total celebrity hair, ha ha. Long and layered, easy to style, and looks AMAZEBALLS. :D

    1. Beth Anne*

      That is so awesome!! I went to France, Italy and Greece back in May and would LOVE to go to Scotland! That sounds like an awesome trip!

      We took a sleeper from Paris to Verona and it wasn’t that bad. We were in a 6 person compartment b/c two ppl compartments were like $600. We were in a compartment with all women so that made me feel safer. The only annoying thing was that I’m a night owl and the people all wanted to go to bed at 10pm.

      I hope you have a great trip!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, the Caledonian Sleeper puts you with the same sex also. They have a lounge, and I’ll probably have a sit in there before I go to sleep (and a bit to eat). I doubt I’ll have much trouble nodding off–I’ll be coming back from Cardiff in the morning and will have to get up early to catch that train. I’ll probably sleep like a log. I hope my traveling companion doesn’t mind that I’ll have to get up pretty early. There’s a reading light in the berth, I think, and I’ll be on the bottom, so I can use that to get ready if she still wants to sleep.

        I’m jelly that you went to Italy!! I want to starve myself, go there, start at the bottom, and eat my way through the entire country. :)

        1. Beth Anne*

          Yes Italy was awesome! I’ve never had such delicious pasta! My mom bought a HUGE frying pan in Italy that we think is awesome and was fun getting it through security….and others are all uh why did you buy a frying pan?

    2. Claire*

      Yay, glad to hear you are coming to Scotland! But wow that’s cutting it close. Is there a backup plan for if your train is delayed at all (my train from London to Edinburgh was 15 minutes late getting in the other day due to a minor incident at Newcastle, so I’m conscious of the delays that can happen)?

      The Caledonian Sleeper is supposed to be a great trip, for what I’ve heard.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t know; I did let the tour operator know that the train gets in at that time. If I miss them, perhaps I can grab a cab and catch up with them at one of their stops, or maybe they’ll wait a little bit for me. That’s iffy though; I’m not the one who booked it–it’s a share-a-tour thing. If the original client wants to go go go, they have priority over me.

        I’ll make sure I have their contact information on me. I’m planning to get a cheap UK mobile once I’m there to both forward my phone to and so I can make local calls. If the train is on time, there won’t be any problem. The guy who runs The Man in Seat 61 website, where I found all the information on the sleeper train, said that it’s 90% on time. That’s pretty good odds.

        1. Claire*

          I’m just wary because the stats I’ve seen indicate that Scotrail considers it “on time” if it arrives within 30 minutes of scheduled arrival time. And that 90%+ arrive within that timeframe. I’ve also heard people say that the Edinburgh-Inverness leg is the bit most likely to result in delays.

          Sorry, I’m really not trying to worry you, this is the stuff that gets me anxious when travelling so I’m probably just projecting. I’m sure it will all be fine!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Guh, you can’t make me any more nervous than I already am. I love traveling, but it’s the planning I hate. Maybe as Cb says below, it will be early. Oh please oh please.

            If I have to, maybe I can grab a cab and catch up with them. Like I said, I’ll have their information with me.

      2. Cb*

        I’ve been on the Caledonian sleeper that got in about 20 minutes early but I’ve also had the normal daytime trip take 2 hours longer than usual. What is the first stop? You might be able to grab a train there?

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I don’t think there IS a stop. I know the train splits up at dead o’clock in the morning, but on that particular one I shouldn’t have to change over.

          If the tour group picks up from the station, then they’re most likely aware of train foibles. I’m just trying not to worry about it because I’ll drive myself insane.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Ah, the tour guide emailed me! I let him know about the train times. Perhaps he can pick up the other guests before picking me up (I was first) and that will give me a little time if the dang thing is running late.

            I’m not so worried now. :)

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Sorry I figured that out after a bit. :P Brain wasn’t processing all the information.

  21. Stephanie*

    So need some reassurance and commiseration here. Does anyone ever feel “behind” his or her peers? I graduated college six years ago and a lot of us (myself included) did the whole new grad/uncertain job/extra schooling for a bit. But as we get older, I notice peers are getting more settled into better, more career-oriented jobs, long-term relationships or marriages, and so on. I feel like I’m falling behind.

    On a rational level, I know these feelings are silly because situations aren’t static and that it’s easy to fixate on others’ highlights without knowing the realities. However, there’s some deeper, more emotional level that won’t let me shake this feeling. It also can be hard balancing being genuinely excited for others while dealing with my own disappointment and frustration.

    Does anyone else feel this way?

    1. anon*

      Urgh, I know what you mean. I’m 29. In 2011, I got my first job in my chosen industry in another part of the country, and after 3 years, I’m ready to go back to my hometown. Unfortunately, after an unsuccessful long distance job search, I’ve realized I’ll have much better luck relocating and THEN continuing my search. I have some cash saved, but considering how hard it is to get an apartment without a job, I’ve decided to stay with my mom for a few weeks, maybe a couple months.

      So I’ll be 29, no job, no home, no car, no boyfriend, no kids, living with my mom… it’ll be like I’m 19 all over again… only sadder. I know there’s no point in comparing myself to others, but I am bummed about this. Most of my friends are getting married, buying homes, having kids, and shining in their careers. I’d like those things, too! Well, mostly the career thing. ;)

      It also can be hard balancing being genuinely excited for others while dealing with my own disappointment and frustration.
      I know what you mean when you say this. I used to feel this way very strongly. I can’t remember how I got over it… It’s important that you do, though. Your friends don’t want to be afraid to tell you they’ve gotten engaged, or got a new job, or whatever… Having a chip on your shoulder can push people away. And I don’t know your circumstances, but I bet even the friends you envy, there’s something they envy about you, too! The grass is always greener on the other side.

    2. Anonsie*

      I know how that feels. Even though all my friends are doing the same as me, my partner’s friends make at least twice what I do and seem to think I’ve done something heinously stupid at some point in my life so not be making six figures already. They really don’t get how it’s possible, and I have no idea how they managed to do what they did. It’s really starting to get to me! I don’t go with him when they have parties or events anymore.

    3. Luxe in Canada*

      Oh gosh, yes. All the time.

      I just went through a baby boom in my social circle, seriously, eleven kids between the start of June and the end of October. I’m more at peace with it now, but when all the announcements started popping up all I could think was that they had everything I want from life, and I don’t, and it’s not fair. You know what, though? Collectively, they do have everything I want, but individually each couple only had most of what I want. And maybe that’s still not fair that I’m missing so much of what I want, but at least I’m not as far behind the pack as I’d thought.

      The same thought patterns apply to my peers with exciting jobs, higher education, cars, buying a home, falling in love, getting engaged, getting married, having a puppy, having a kitty. I’m not as far behind as it seems, because nobody has everything. The people who seem like they have their lives in gear don’t; they just have better marketing than you or me. :)

      1. cuppa*

        I feel you on the baby boom. I got two birth announcements on the same day in the mail last week…

    4. Clara*

      Yep. I’m nearing 30 and haven’t had a job due to illnesses and malady of medical issues that prevented me from doing such. I’m on the last semester of college. The degree is for a field that I lost passion or feeling in due to my college program being very draconian in it’s rules and the end result being of little reward and respect.

      So now I feel that I’m pigeon holed in it for life since I think it’ll look very bad for me to work a year or two, and go back to get a degree is something that is more lucrative and flexible. I’m so behind by ten years on my life that I feel ashamed for it, especially compared to my brother.

      1. The Maple Teacup*

        Hell yes. I struggle against feeling “left behind” when considering my mother when she was my age. She had two kids, a marriage, a house and part time job she enjoyed. I’m 28, no children, and I live in a basement with two roommates because my husband left me last year. Lost Oldjob a few months ago, so I had to take the first full time Newjob that was offered. It’s hard not to feel less successful when things like a home/children/spouse are something you (I) want. So I let myself feel sad for a while. Then get back to work trying to improve my situation

    5. GrumpyBoss*

      I spent my 20s feeling this way, even though I tended to be “in the lead” across my friends – graduated first, settled into a career path first, hit a specific financial milestone first, got married first, bought a house first, etc. but still, I always thought I was behind. There are always people who seem to have more.

      In my 30s, I realized – it is not a race! It took the pressure off.

      In my 40s, I’ve grown very short and annoyed with friends who still feel the need to compare everything. There is no set timeline. Live your life – and don’t you dare let someone’s success (or lack thereof) make you question your own!

      1. Ali*

        I feel behind too, but now that I’m considering a career shift, I don’t really compare myself to work peers or anything. I do feel disappointed sometimes that I didn’t succeed in my original choice and I think oh I wish I had made X decision and could’ve ended up like so and so did. However, I’m looking at a different field now and don’t really know anyone in it yet, so no point in making comparisons.

        I definitely feel behind in life though. I’m 29 and am now just starting to save to leave my parents’ house, and I feel like such a little child when I see people my age who have nice apartments or have even bought their own homes. I especially envy those who can live in New York City or other big city alone with no roommates, whereas I know I’ll need a roommate once I get to move there.

        And I totally feel the married/relationship thing. So many people my age are in long-term relationships or have no trouble finding partners. I know of one girl who broke up with a guy in May of last year. By July, she already had a new relationship. A coworker who is younger than me and never saw himself getting married young had his wedding this weekend and is going on an amazing, two-week honeymoon to Europe. (He told me how he’d been dating his girlfriend for five years so it was time to get married, or something.) I feel like it will never happen for me and that everyone my age who’s desirable is already off the market and not coming back.

        To me, being married is a sign that you have your life together and are responsible and mature. But then I realize that I know people who aren’t in relationships that are mature and my logic makes no sense anymore. Yeah, I don’t get me either…

    6. Felicia*

      I feel this way alll the time, in pretty much every way (with work, relationships, being the only one to live with my parents.) And it’s put a strain on all my friendships because i’m bad at dealing. It’s also hard for me to feel excited for people sometimes (and to properly sympathize when something bad happens to them, because I still think they’re so ahead of me, even with their bad things). It sort of helps me when i’m feeling really bad to think of anything positive that’s going for me. Even if it’s just i had some good ice cream or I saw a good movie. Just something that I can say went well even if it’s small. It’s probably a horrible thing to do but it also helps to think of people who have it worse than me like “it sucks for me but at least x, y or z isn’t happening!” It won’t work for everyone, but I sometimes find schadenfreude makes me feel better.

    7. matcha123*

      I’ve felt this way ever since I entered school! haha

      The majority of my friends have gone to grad school. I haven’t due to financial reasons. On facebook, at least, my friends seem to be in stable relationships where they travel and do fun stuff with their significant others. I haven’t seen my bf in almost a year since he moved for work and forget traveling together. My friends seem to be respected in their workplaces, I’m just there in mine with no change of advancement.

      I’m not starving, but I feel like a total failure compared to them. But unlike many of you, I don’t care for marriage and definitely am not interested in kids. No way. I feel disappointed and sorry for friends who announce pregnancies!

      1. BRR*

        I wouldn’t feel behind because you haven’t gone to grad school. I wish I had never gone. I had tons of debt from it and it really din’t helped me get a job.

    8. Elysian*

      Yes… it’s hard not to compare, but you have to remember that life isn’t about ‘benchmarks.’ It’s not like the “game of life” board game, where you have one thing that progresses to the next. Some people’s lives are winding and different, and that’s ok. You really can’t get “behind” people your own age – you just have different experiences than them. If your friends are married with kids, and that’s what you’re comparing yourself to, consider that if you’re not you have that much more freedom. You can move, and save money, and see different people. That’s not better or worse – It’s just different, and it may be a difference that another friend would find enviable.

      I heard this saying once that I try to remember when I find myself comparing – something like ‘No matter how long you feel, there’s always someone who is looking up, wishing they were as high as you.’ It’s good to have some perspective on these things.

        1. Editor*

          That’s a good point. I feel out of step now — in my 60s — because many of my married friends stopped working early and their husbands are supporting them and winding down for retirement. I’m widowed and still working, and the women in my support group all tend to agree we feel out of step with most of the people our age.

          Unlike some of the other women in my support group, I also have several single female friends who have been very supportive and given me tips on how to cope on my own. It’s amazing that they were so patient with my moaning about not having a husband around, given that they don’t have husbands around. Sometimes our social circles deceive us about what is “normal.”

    9. Anonyby*

      I feel that way too! 28, still struggling to find anything full-time much less advanced. And single, with zero dating experience.

      And then I have to remind myself of what I do have, even if it’s hard to see. My car is paid off, and I have a college degree without debt. Those are definitely things to be thankful for!

    10. Beth Anne*

      YES!! I’m 28 and still live at home. Haven’t EVER had a steady job and the most I’ve ever made is $12/hour. It’s so frustrating. Every time I start a job searching stunt I get stuck in this “not enough experience” struggle. First all the entry-level jobs wanted you to have 2 years experience. I got 2 years experience and they all wanted you to have 3-5 years experience…got that and it went up to 10!

      Meanwhile I know people in my field with NO education and basically fell into jobs.

      I’m also single and people are all I just want you to find a nice guy so you’ll be happy blah blah blah honestly…yeah I want that to happen BUT that is the least of my worries right now…I just want a good job so I can live on my own and start paying off my student loans.

      1. SherryD*

        “I’m also single and people are all I just want you to find a nice guy so you’ll be happy blah blah blah”

        Here’s a story. I was listening to the radio the other day, and the DJ (who was female, fwiw) said something like, “That’s Kelly Clarkson, Already Gone, you’re listening to WKRP. Boy, her early songs were so angsty and dark. But now she’s married and having a baby and everything is much happier.”

        GAH!

    11. Elizabeth West*

      Oh HELL yes. All my friends have children and some have grandchildren. Even my brother has grandchildren. I have nothing. I feel as though my family sees me as a child. They certainly treat me like one sometimes. :P

      I do feel the same disappointment and frustration. And I’m kind of tired of doing everything by myself. It’s just not fun anymore.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Some of my women friends have confided in me that they could not be on their own like me. If they had to manage a house they would move to an apartment and so on. How to manage money escapes them entirely. One friend says she could not stay in a house alone- too afraid.

        I have to thank my friends for revealing this much of themselves. And I suggest to you that probably some of your friends and family privately feel this way about you. They have a quiet admiration for your strength- a strength they themselves feel they do not have.

        What is interesting to me, is that some of the women saying this appear to have the world by the tail. Big house/cars/family/dogs. They got it going on. On the inside they worry about their own setting.

        I wonder if some people project their own worries on to your/my settings. Their actual message is “I can’t do what you are doing.”

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Strength, schmength. I want to get married and have a family now!

          FWIW, I suck at managing money. But I rock at making up weird dinners out of whatever’s in the pantry. :)

          1. Beth Anne*

            Me2! I joke that I want to skip the whole dating thing and just skip to married with kids.

            In the meantime I read the myfriendsaremarried.tumblr.com for comic relief.

      2. Luxe in Canada*

        What’s funny is that I know you’re a writer and I admire the heck out of you for it. That’s some grownup success right there, making a whole book from start to finish instead of giving up halfway.

        I think we’re all blind to our own greatness sometimes.

    12. Mimmy*

      Oh I can definitely relate to that feeling, mainly in terms of career and overall life experience.

    13. Audiophile*

      Yes, I said this just the other day. It was in the midst of waiting to hear back about my soon-to-be new job, I was having a conversation with a LinkedIn connection about possibly going to grad school. I commented that I sometimes happen upon people’s profiles and feel really far behind other people who graduated the same year I did, because they’re have x years of experience in whatever field and I have almost none. He said I shouldn’t really beat myself up about it, because things happen for a reason. He said he waited to get his MBA and that he doesn’t regret it. That there’s nothing wrong with starting from scratch so to speak and that it’s better to start fresh with something I’m actually interested in, than to waste time obtaining a degree that I wouldn’t be happy with. (I twice attempted to get a Masters degree in computer science before realizing my semi-interest in the field, was likely part of the reason I was struggling academically.)

    14. Anx*

      I’m 28 and I have never had a job as good as the ones I’ve had in college since graduation. I am getting really scared that I’ll never be able to recover the past decade. I really regret going to college. If I had just found a job and held it for a years, and then went, I think I’d be in a much better place. I was naive and totally underestimated just how difficult getting a job after college would be. The economy was also totally different in late winter 08/09 than spring 04, too.

      I get really anxious with social media, too. I was very active on campus with a lot of student orgs, and a lot of my peers went on to do really big things.

      1. Anx*

        I made over 12,000 dollars at a part-time job in college. And that was my peak earnings. I am so tempted to take a class at a 4 year school and to see if I can get the hookup with a student job.

    15. Katie the Fed*

      I’m glad I waited this long to get married, although it’s weird to have college friends celebrating 12-year anniversaries when I’m planning my wedding.

      I’m on pretty stable financial footing now, having been childfree for a while, and I’ve been able to travel and do things I couldn’t do once I have kids. And when we do, I think we’ll be ready for them.

      So, you know, doing things out of order has its benefits too. My friends are jealous of the trips I get to take. I’m jealous of their beautiful marriages and children.

  22. Billy*

    First time poster, longtime reader.

    I’m at a loss of what to do and how to approach my situation. All three phases of my life are not working and not firing on all cylinders ( job,social life, fitness/health) since my college graduation in 2008. I’m gaining weight, becoming a different person, and working a dead end PT job which is getting me nowhere. Do you have any guidance/advice on how to handle this?

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Changing is just the hardest thing, especially when the things that you want to change crept up on you .

      Where do you start?

      Probably the easiest thing to tackle on your list is weight. It’s hard to keep weight off, but it’s fun and empowering to start to lose weight at least. Change of diet and adding exercise is mentally engaging, and you get to see progress.

      Out of everything in the ruts we get ourselves into, that’s something that is in your sole control.

      If that starts to make you feel upbeat, other things around you might lift up also. Perhaps it will draw you into other areas that will perk up the social life, like, walking buddies or folks met at the Y.

      (Disclaimer: not a diet or fitness nut here, but I’ve seen my husband transform his own ruts through exactly this the last year. He eats vegetables now! And it’s changed where we can go out to eat and how much fun we have doing it vs the food coma he’d get into after a 16 oz steak.)

      1. Jamie*

        Yes, vegetables – roast them! Hated veggies and the discovered the joys of roasted veggies with a. Little olive oil, sea salt, and garlic…huge part of my diet now.

        Also vegetable soups.

      2. Turanga Leela*

        I second the fitness/weight thing. Personally, I’ve noticed that when I’m taking care of myself, I feel more confident and I’m more likely to go out, take positive risks, and so on.

        Specific advice for that: if you can afford a gym with classes and trainers, that’s great. If you can’t, I’d start a 5k training program or something similar, which you can do outside or by joining an inexpensive gym for the treadmills (hi there, Planet Fitness!). Either way, plan your fitness program and commit to it.

        Diet-wise, I’ve had a lot of luck with semi-Paleo eating. I don’t buy a lot of the rhetoric behind Paleo, but for me, what it boils down to is this: 1) Eat real food, not processed or artificial food. 2) Cut out added sugars and almost all grains/starches. 3) Eat your veggies.

        1. nep*

          Agreed — it really does wonders to tend to one’s health. Feeling fit goes a long way, in all aspects of life.
          And re eating habits — those truly are the best principles to follow: eat food, not food-like substances (which are in such abundance these days); cut out refined sugars; and eat the vegetables — especially leafy greens. Truly does a body (and spirit/mind) good.
          All the best to you — It will get better.

    2. MJ*

      Aah, late 20s. You are right on time with this one! This is a huge transition period for many people – a time of letting go of a lot of old stuck ways and transitioning into a more adult version of yourself. Many people miss the signs that you are noticing, and they spiral into depression before they finally figure out that things have to change.

      Change is hard, especially when you know change is needed but you don’t have any particular goals other than getting unstuck (like, you know you need a different job, but you don’t know what ideally that would be).

      If you can afford therapy, that can be hugely helpful for discovering what habits, beliefs, and influences you have that keep you from getting unstuck (like not wanting to disappoint your family, maybe). When you are going through a transition like this, it is sometimes helpful to spend less time with your family (actually put some physical space between you if possible – move to an apartment farther away, for example). Families are powerful influences in our stuckness!

      If you cannot afford therapy, find other supports for change:
      – go to a library or book store and browse self-help to see what jumps out at you.
      – join a new group. Book club, knitting circle, old film meetup – introduce new relationships into your life.
      – travel. Just seeing how other people live can really help shift your thinking.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        Good advice. I remember feeling like this in my 20’s as well. It’s sort of like an “early” mid-life crisis. But it can wake you up and empower you to start a new path.

        If your career is in a funk, this is a good time to re-evaluate what you really want to do and perhaps take steps to get there. Sometimes you have to let go of the safe & secure.

        And yes, I also might recommend some counseling or perhaps a few life coach sessions to get you started. Sometimes it helps to get that professional “push” to focus yourself.

          1. SherryD*

            I heard someone say once, “You feel like you’re 19 until you’re 30.”

            For me it was 26, not 30, but it was that realization of, “Oh crap! I’m not going to be young forever!”

        1. Billy*

          That funk started about 2 years after college. So it’s not like I had any footing to begin with. I had plans to be out on my own at 25,to see my student loans paid off by Nov. of this year (with a decent job),and to be in the best shape possible. However, everything backfired in my face when I failed to get a decent job.Overtime, it just lapsed into the other areas of my life.

          A new path is definitely needed or otherwise this could kill me.;especially when I want to travel and do other things.

          1. Audiophile*

            Everyone else is right, you have to start small. In my case, I decided that a better job was more important to me and that is where I would start.

            I’m also an 08 grad and was stuck in a cycle of dead-end jobs. until I finally got a job offer recently.

            Part of it was I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated, I eventually took a full-time job where the salary was so low that I would have qualified for SNAP benefits if I hadn’t lived at home. I was able to leave that job, after almost 2 years and take a position with a staffing agency type company that placed me at a school, which put me in a slightly better position. a year into this role, I found out it was being eliminated and had to argue with the staffing agency to be placed at another site. This last site, I’ve been at for 3 years. While the client is wonderful, encouraging me to apply for roles with their company, nothing was panning out. I decided to go back to the drawing board and really think about what I wanted. I found a remote volunteer opportunity to increase my skills in social media and make myself more competitive as a candidate (my undergrad degree is in communications) and started applying for communications/social media roles once I felt I had enough accomplishments with this volunteer opportunity.

            Now that I’ve gotten the job offer, I’ll get started on other areas I want to improve – like my weight. I bought a fitbit to start tracking my walking/fitness level. I really like it so far, it much easier than trying to will myself to go to the gym.

            Decide what works best for you, if your weight is easier for you to tackle, start with that first.

      2. Billy*

        I do have other goals in life,not just a professional and a personal transformation. I would love to travel to other countries–Japan and Canada being at the top of my list.

        Funny how you mentioned family. Most of my family lives in the same city that I do and I want to distant myself from everybody.

        A change in direction is definitely needed. I just have to pick a career that suits me well.

        1. Turanga Leela*

          Just had a thought. You’re a college grad, you want to travel and get away from family for a while, and you want to kick-start your professional life. Have you thought about working overseas? (I’m assuming you’re American.) There are a few programs that send people to teach English in Japan (JET is the one I’ve heard of most often), and there may be equivalents for other countries. There’s also always the Peace Corps.

          It’s scary to think about picking up and moving somewhere brand-new, but maybe this would be a way to give yourself the change in direction that you feel you need.

      3. Billy*

        I’m just tired of looking,being and feeling irrelevant in my life, so this cannot continue–one way or another.

        I think the first big move in the right direction is quitting my PT job. I know it may sound like a rash decision, but at least it will allow me to move forward.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Billy, have you had a chance to talk to a a therapist at all? Some of your posts sound a bit like they could indicate depression to me. You might want to talk to someone and get that checked out first – I can be hard to move forward when you’ve got that blocking your way too. When I was treated for depression, it helped a lot in making me able to solve problems and move my life forward. Before that I just felt stuck and overwhelmed.

  23. Luxe in Canada*

    Etiquette question! I ride transit everywhere, and I offer my seat to people who clearly need it more than I do. People with mobility devices or small children are no brainers, it’s easy to realize they need a seat. I have a problem that keeps coming up, though, when it’s less obvious who gets to bump me from my spot.

    Do you tend to stand for people who are clearly older but don’t use a mobility device? What about those dreadful cane-umbrellas — do you count that as a cane, or an umbrella when you’re making the decision? How would you react to a person in their 60s, no cane, hair is dyed so the grey-hair signal is obscured?

    I hate feeling like a jerk, but sometimes I feel like if you’re going to go to such efforts not to look or seem older, then you give up the chance to have righteous indignation when I don’t realize you ARE in need a seat. And then I end up feeling guilty but also huffy. Bleh. (Nobody loses the right to have a seat if they need it, but I think they lose the right to be all “well I never!” and “young people these days! about it…)

    1. Anon*

      Now I’m wondering about this, too! I need a seat, but I’ll give it up if someone clearly needs it more (or asks for it).

      I want to be polite and helpful. But I’ve seen some older people be hurt and offended by an assumption that they need help.

      Also, being old doesn’t mean that a person’s not able to stand on the bus, like being young doesn’t mean that a person can stand. You can’t really predict “invisible” health conditions.

    2. Trillian*

      I tend to pay more attention to expressions and how well people are moving / standing. If someone looks anxious or uncertain or unsteady, or doesn’t have the height or reach to strap hang comfortably, then I’ll offer my seat. I have people offer me their seats – I live in a student area – and if I’m encumbered and feeling like I’m in the way – our buses are designed to pack people, not bags – I’ll accept. I don’t take it as an insult; it’s a courtesy.

      1. salad fingers*

        Agree with this! I’d also add, is this person actively, anxiously looking at seats? Are they making eye contact with people in the handicap designated area? Offer a seat!

        As a useless aside, where I live, there’s an announcement on the bus to please give up your seat for elderly people, people with disabilities and expect*ed* mothers. This has irritated the old grammarian living deep within me. Should I start offering a seat to a woman who I have a strong suspicion may be a mother? Is that what you meant, CTA?

    3. GrumpyBoss*

      Ah, public trans. A display of the worst manners a city tends to offer. I’ll never forget when I was in my 20s in NYC and on the subway. I saw an elderly lady get on, so I asked if she’d like my seat. She said “yes please” so I stood up. A young girl who I’m assuming was an art student because of the tubes she was carrying stuck one of those tubes out to block the old lady and sat on my now empty seat. That was one of the rudest things I’ve ever seen on public transportation.

      I try to give up my seat to the elderly. But I’ll be honest – sometimes I’m tired or my feet hurt or I’m carrying something heavy. Then they are on their own.

    4. robot chick*

      aaahahaha xD I just imagined the utter indignation of my mom (who had me late-ish and is very nearly 60) if someone offered her a seat for being a senior citizen…. ah, seriously, don’t overthink that. If someone looks in pain or like they have trouble standing, do it, otherwise, don’t start counting wrinkles. It might even backfire ;)

    5. Felicia*

      I rarely ever get a seat on public transit because of route/times, but when i do I have the same dilemma too. When I’m uncertain, if I have a long time to go before my stop I’ll stay seated and if my stop is soon I’ll stand if I can (sometimes it’s so crowded that standing up is an effort). I sometimes feel bad but I never sit in the handicapped priority seats (the ones at front), and I guess if they need to they’ll ask…if anyone asks i’ll comply. And then I think of all the people who it isn’t obvious they need a seat – my mom is handicapped, has a handicapped sticker on her car, but you can never tell because she doesn’t use a mobility device. She just can’t stand very long. I guess just do your best!

    6. Sarah*

      If someone doesn’t seem to be having any trouble walking around on the bus (which is more difficult than walking on the ground, of course), I don’t get up. Definitely not if they only appear to be 60 or so. I figure I would be insulted if I were in good shape, perfectly mobile, and people kept treating me like a fragile, elderly person who can’t stand up on a bus! I don’t think anyone should get confrontational about not being offered a seat, though. Even if you clearly need it, the particular person you choose to confront may also need it for some non-visible reason (sinus infection causing dizziness, first trimester nausea, migraine, sprained ankle, etc), so it’s better to ask politely. It sounds like the huffy people you encountered may not have expected the seats for physical reasons so much as “respect your elders” social conventions.

      I may be biased because I was once chewed out and then harassed by a “disabled” guy (carrying crutches but not using them) for not standing up immediately on a moving bus, but waiting 1-2 seconds for the crowd to clear enough for me to get to a pole. I am too short to reach the upper bars on the bus and wasn’t used to riding buses – I would have been falling and my luggage would have been sliding all over the place. He was yelling “I don’t care if you get a pole, I have a right to this seat. You can just fall in my lap, I’ll catch you.” An elderly woman felt so sorry for me that when she reached her stop, she flagged me over to take her seat.

    7. Mary (in PA)*

      I actually have a way to help figure this out – you can look at the person’s shoes. A person who is wearing sensible shoes is probably older than someone who is not.

      Hat tip to lesser-known etiquette maven Peg Bracken for this one. (“If a lady is wearing high, slender heels, you may let her stand; if she has settled for honest arch supports, offer her your seat.”)

      It’s certainly not infallible (I am in my early 30s and cannot wear heels) but it’s a place to begin.

    8. Turanga Leela*

      Gender matters here–I’m much more likely to stand for a woman than a man. I always worry that an older gentleman will be hurt if a young woman gives him her seat. On the other hand, I think young men can almost always give their seat to a woman because it reads as gallant, rather than, “You’re old.”

      I hate that this is gendered, but it definitely is.

    9. Lisa*

      I never stand up for children. I will give up my seat for someone who looks like they could use it – the very elderly, pregnant women, folks who are unsteady on their feet or otherwise moving awkwardly. I’m always surprised that kids are not taught to do this & pleased when I see them do it gracefully…

    10. C Average*

      I just stand as a matter of course, unless there’s some compelling reason not to (i.e., I’ve just run a marathon, I’m lugging something large, etc.).

      I’ve adopted the communist mantra for stuff like this: take according to need, give according to ability.

      Also, standing is healthier. I sit at a desk all day most days. I like the chance to stand for a while.

  24. In progress*

    Looking forward, looking back-
    Need to vent about the past week? What are you looking forward to?

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      Vent: worked 6 days in a row (my rotation is 4 days on / 4 days off). My fault – I volunteered for the overtime, but it wears me down.

      Looking forward to: seeing The Book of Mormon this week!

      1. Ali*

        Vent: Having a hard time with my weight and my constantly changing work schedule.

        Looking forward to: Continuing my running program and talking to my internship supervisor about how much I want to stay when the program is over.

    2. Ruffingit*

      Venting: Every week this month has been a six-day work week. It gets tiring having one day off a week especially when I have things I do in the evenings as well that are work-related.

      Looking forward to: Getting my car AC fixed. It’s been out for months and I can finally afford to get it fixed this coming weekend. WOO!!

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’m transitioning to a new job, and this month I’m working both part-time. I get to look forward to how awesome my new job will be, but training my replacement is soooo hard, and trying to make sure everything gets done while also trying to let her make her own mistakes… It’s stressful!

      And I leave on Tuesday for Idaho, which I’m both looking forward to and… not looking forward to.

    4. Trixie*

      Vent: My mother is having a terrible time at work and I hate to see her going through it. She’s on her way out because they didn’t renew her contract and they’re not going to make it easy on her the new couple months.

      Looking forward: Paid training next week for Les Mills Body Flow certification. This could be a really good fit for me, I can take it with me if I move, and a good way to transition into yoga certification down the road.

    5. Anonyby*

      Vent: No nibbles on any of the job applications I’ve sent out so far. :( Disheartening, but what can you do.

      Looking forward to: My first non-orientation day with my volunteer gig! Yay for playing with cats!

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Vent: Work week was alternately boring and busy. I’d rather be busy but not killed.

      Looking forward to: Next weekend is my parents’ 50th anniversary. I hate driving over there, but my uncle will be with me, so that will be kind of fun. My mom supposedly booked this mystery dinner thing–I’ve always wanted to go to one of those.

    7. salad fingers*

      Vent: My boyfriend cut a giant slit in upholstery on the side of my couch to find his microscopic missing flash drive. He didn’t tell me that he was going to do this until I noticed the couch askew and said, “Hey, can I move the couch back now? I’m having (friend) over.” and he said, “I wouldn’t do that til it’s sewed back up.”

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

      This led to me angrily drinking two manhattans before (friend) came over, and then buying (friend) and I drinks at a bar close by so as not to be under the same roof as my boyfriend. Wasn’t planning on that, wanted to just hang out at home. Like my couches intact, thanks.

      Looking forward to: spending time with goats! Got sort of a standing invitation to help out at an urban farm around here that is very exciting for many reasons. Also was reminded when I was there last week that goats are so sweet and have such nightmare inducing eyes <3

    8. C Average*

      Past week: the pain in the ass that is being a two-career family with kids in the summer! This camp this week, this camp that week, this kid here, this kid there, this day where there’s aftercare, this day where there isn’t. Our whole summer is a cobbled-together disaster, and I sort of hit the breaking point this past week and made my husband promise we’ll figure out something at least semi-consistent next year so that every week isn’t a different scheduling adventure.

      Looking forward to: Going to a specialist to finally get my allergies diagnosed. Never had allergies until this year, but they’ve been miserable and haven’t let up much at all. I am eager to get some answers and see if there’s anything I can change about my lifestyle to better deal with this. Hoping it won’t just be another prescription; I really don’t care for drugs when there are any alternatives at all.

    9. Mimmy*

      Vent: Nothing really, just that I wish the weather was nicer for the last full day of our Hilton Head trip. Also, I wish things would start picking up with the state council I serve on.

      Looking forward to: Seeing Queen with Adam Lambert on Thursday in NYC!! A relative of my husband’s saw their show this past week and loved it. Got me even more stoked!

  25. Betsy*

    Need help, and I know there are some cat lovers here!

    I am moving in with my parents next weekend. I have a BEAUTIFUL cat, who loves cuddling and playing, but I cannot keep her. :(

    She is good with kids, but skittish with larger cats (she’s on the small side).

    We’re in central MA, but I can drive her to pretty much anywhere in MA/RI/southern NH to a good home. If someone is able to foster her for a year until I can get out on my own again, I’ll pay $50/month plus expenses. If anyone can give her a good forever home, I will welcome that, as well. It’s breaking my heart to think of handing her over to a shelter, especially since she’ll be so miserable there with all of the other cats.

    I’ll respond to this in a minute with some pics, but I don’t want it caught in spam filter. If you can help, send me a mail at eccole at gmail?

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      I don’t really have contacts in MA, but is there a friend you could leave her with?

      I am so sorry that this is happening.

      1. Betsy*

        I’ve been trying pretty desperately to find someone. I’m not a big friend person, and most of the people I was hoping would be able to aren’t in situations where they can take on a cat. A few friends have been rebroadcasting to their larger networks, too.

        I’ve put out calls through my friends, my work bulletin board, my church… and now the deadline is looming and I’m just sort of frantically throwing it open to any community I can find. We can make the current situation work until the 23rd at the absolute latest, but then we’re going to have to turn her over to a shelter.

    2. Bea W*

      I will post to our org’s chat list which will reach people in MA/RI/NH. We don’t deal with cats, but someone on it may know who can help. I can post to my FB as well.

      Sometimes I think about adding a cat to my home, but I am not sure the rabbit will approve of having to share her space.

        1. Bea W*

          I know at least one person did respond with a the names of a couple of cat orgs and I think included you on the email. I hope you got it. If not, I will forward.

    3. Meghan*

      I would totally take her for a year, but our building doesn’t allow pets. :( I live in RI, and I’ll put it on my Facebook.

    4. Trixie*

      If you’re willing to pay her expenses, I would approach a local fostering place there in MA. Explain you’re looking to foster her out for a year, willing to help with expenses, etc. It may be a good fit for someone willing to take on a kitty just for a year. I think there’s a good match for something like that. And, if for some reason things were out at the end of the year, maybe she stays where she is.

    5. Sophia*

      Aww…how old is she? We have a large cat that we’ve been wanting to get another companion for but it’s been too difficult for us since his sister died in October. Plus, we’re in MD

    6. Trixie*

      This was a totally different situation but an old roommate left me her cat and I never understood how she was able to do that. It wasn’t for financial reasons or allergies or family issues or anything like that. We had moved in together with with two other girls at the time so four girls, two of whom had cats. Come the end of the year when school and lease was up, she was heading back home. And at some point, asked if I’d like to keep the cat. I think she saw how much we had bonded and I was pretty crazy about the cat, but certainly not expecting this. And then when we part ways, I pretty much never hear from her again asking how he’s doing, etc. But maybe it was hard to do that when she wasn’t interested in maintaining friendship with me, which I get.

      And then, when the other girl goes to drop off her cat at wherever, she decides Cat #2 isn’t happy and calls me up , asking if I want to keep her as well so two kitties won’t be separated. Which I did because as most cat owners know, whats two cats compared to one. And never hear from this girl again either but wasn’t as surprised by this.

      So Cat #1, who really was my soulmate, finally passed away a couple years ago, almost twenty years old. I was tempted to track down this girl to let her know he’d had a great life (outside of an amputated leg )and was cherished until the very end. I think she would have appreciated it but again she didn’t feel the need to keep in touch in the first place. And I didn’t’ know if I really wanted to open a door we had left shut.

      I would pretty much have to be fleeing the country before I parted with this particular pet. Others, I can see finding a good home for because really, he/she would be pretty happy with whoever had access to the food :)

      1. Bea W*

        So Cat #1, who really was my soulmate, finally passed away a couple years ago, almost twenty years old. I was tempted to track down this girl to let her know he’d had a great life (outside of an amputated leg )and was cherished until the very end.

        I took in a rather churlish and bitey rabbit from someone I lost touch with. Then some 5 years later I found she was working where I was doing an internship and took the opportunity to get in touch and give her an update on what a lovable wonderful companion he had become, and how he had a mate, and was living the high life. I probably brought in some photos. She was delighted to get this update on him. He had not been happy in her home, and she just didn’t know what to do with him.

        When I fostered, I loved getting updates from adoptive homes. There was one woman who emailed me every year on the adoption anniversary to thank me for rescuing and fostering her baby. She had walked into my house and fallen in love with him instantly. I loved getting photos of foster animals in their new homes. It is hard to let them go, but when you see that you’ve let them go to a terrific home and are so loved and cherished, it makes it all worth it and you can’t possibly be sad!

  26. The Maple Teacup*

    Can anyone suggest some cat friendly house plants? The kind that won’t give kitty an upset stomach and can handle the occasional munching.

    1. NW Cat Lady*

      Catnip.

      Seriously, I have a “black thumb,” and use the fact that I have cats as an excuse to never have live plants in my house.

      1. Meredith*

        My cat looooves eating leaves, and managed to nibble the points off all my spider plant leaves. She was fine, the plant has seen better days and now lives in a room she can’t access.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Mint! Your cat may or may not like it, but it smells nice and is totally cat-safe.

    3. In progress*

      Cats benefit from wheat grass! I think all herbs would be harmless. Also, a cat wouldnt even try to eat aloe vera, but if they did, it would be fine. In fact it looks like most succulents are safe.

  27. Bea W*

    I’m home! Israel is really an amazing place. If you ever have the chance to go, do it, and spend at least a week, preferably 2 weels. A week is not even long enough. I was there 8 days, and it was not long enough. I felt we were really rushing through some of it to fit as much as in possible. There was at least one thing we dropped off the itinerary because of not enough hours in the day, and one other thing we did not do because of the security situation. There are so many things to see and experience.

    I was hoping to have photos on line for the open thread, but the time change has had me completely discombobulated, and I only started feeling somewhat normal in my head now. I have a horrible time with east to west changes. I had no problem going, although none of us knew what day it was because of the delay in getting there and the 6 hours of flying overnight and going nowhere. That completely messed up everyone’s internal calendar.

    I left Tel Aviv on Tuesday and got home Wednesday. The flights were uneventful. Twelve hours is a long time to be in the air even in business class. It was like the night that never ended, and I couldn’t really keep track of what time had passed and how much longer we would be in the air very well, because the flight was 12 hours but because the arrival time was EDT, my brain had a 6 hour time frame embedded in it (11:30 PM scheduled departure, 5:30 AM scheduled arrival).

    We got out of Tel Aviv just as things really started getting hairy, but none of us were really aware. Our trip was quiet. We had no idea about rocket fire until someone read about it on FB at the airport. We did have to postpone some sights and cancel the visit to Bethlehem due to tensions, but life was nothing but normal.

    It is true when you hear claims about how safe it is to visit Israel itself. The security there is very effective, and we could learn from whatever they are doing. I noticed a slightly increased police presence on the street in Jerusalem the day I left, but that was it. In the airport, there were signs pointing toward shelters in case of rocket attacks. Those signs were not there when I arrived. I was confused by them for a bit because I didn’t know Tel Aviv was under threat of rocket fire. They said “Shelter” with an arrow and a running figure. Everything otherwise was very normal. I never felt unsafe. People back home watching the news were more afraid than we were.

    I think if this had been back home I would have been more anxious, but the atmosphere is very different. You don’t have this sensational emotional 24/7 reporting all around you with media playing on people’s fears and magnifying them. If you have ever watched news broadcasts outside of the US, you have probably noticed the difference, and I think that has an impact on how scary everything feels. Instead, except for the signs, and early gate closings at the airport, everything seemed very calm and normal. The thing that stood out most was being told, the boarding time for the flight was early, The gate was closing 30 minutes prior to take off, and that it was very important that all flights leave on time that night (Tuesday night) and you must be on time. I am not sure if they also said “because of the situation”. In my line, I was only told the gate was closing at 11:00 and no reason. I didn’t think twice about the early boarding time. I had never flown from Israel, and it was a huge plane to load up for a long flight.

    I have been, and maybe it is just enhanced because of jet lag on top of just having been there, more upset on a personal level over recent events, and emotionally I am struggling with that a little.

    Next Sunday: Look for a link to photos. Everything was so gorgeous! I could not believe just amazing view after amazing view after amazing view through the whole country. There were places I went where I thought “If there is heaven, this is what it looks like.” It was absolutely breathtaking! I have about 1300 photos to sort through. A couple times I had forgotten to charge the spare battery and had to resort to using my phone. In fact, one of the most beautiful places (Mt of Beatitudes), I had nothing but my phone, same at the Dead Sea, my battery died just as I was riding down to the shore line. I am thankful it takes good photos.

  28. tt*

    I have to go to a toddler birthday party today. I am not a kid person, and while I like my nephew, I find the idea of a dozen plus toddlers (at a kids playground in a mall), completely overwhelming. I was hoping to sneak off to the mall, and maybe I still can, but a conversation between my husband and his sister yesterday made it pretty clear she expects us there on time and for the whole thing. Any suggestions besides taking Advil beforehand?

      1. Jamie*

        Ha – beat me to it!

        Just kidding. Keep in mind it will pass and those kids aren’t going home with you. Let you in on a little secret, I adore mine but I’ve never been a fan of kids in general en masse. I don’t dislike them – they just make me all hectic and clenchy with the noise and potential accidents. And the noise and the mess. And the noise and inane questions. Didn’t I mention the noise?

        When you see oodles of kids just be grateful you aren’t a Dugger daughter so you can escape!

    1. Claire*

      My usual approach with these things is to find a job for myself to do that needs doing, and use that to keep myself from the fray. Sometimes it’s getting the drinks/food/snacks ready. Sometimes it’s welcoming guests and collecting presents in. On several occasions I’ve appointed myself photographer/videographer and that has been welcomed. By doing that I have something I can concentrate on that isn’t “argh screaming kids argh”, I feel productive, others are often grateful for the help, and I can distance myself from things a bit. If in just standing around trying to make small talk with near-strangers and fielding random toddlers, I get a lot more anxious about it all.

    2. nep*

      Are you into photography at all?
      I hear you; it’s often quite reluctantly that I attend gatherings like this — I go to honour the person(s) in question, but it’s not how I’d choose to spend my time. I find that it helps (if the people involved are OK with it) if I bring along the DSLR with a couple lenses and make it an occasion to get some fun photos. I’m present and participating, but also using the time to hone my skills.

      1. Tina*

        Those are all great ideas (especially the flask lol), thank you! The photography thing could totally work, since I’m into scrapbooking and can use that as an excuse (even though I do only have a point and shoot).

        I’m also a bit biased against one of the children in particular. Last time I saw him, out of nowhere he took a full flying, superman leap onto my stomach – right after thanksgiving dinner. :\

        1. Not So NewReader*

          A good way to kill someone.

          I think I would have screamed a very loud “ouch” and said “no you can’t do that to people.” I do understand that is the parent’s job but there are some things that are just over the line for me and I will say something. One of those things is physical injury or the potential of injury.

          1. tt*

            To her credit, the mother very quickly grabbed him off me, apologized to me, and said to him “not everyone thinks you’re as cute as we do.” though thinking about it, that kind of makes me sound like the problem instead of telling him not to do that!

            1. Jamie*

              I don’t that in any way she thought you were the problem.

              That totally reads to me like a nice way of saying, “listen little mister, we put up with your obnoxiousness because we love you beyond reason, but don’t expect the rest of the world to find you adorable.”

              As a parent I think teaching my kids that the rest of the world won’t love them the way I do was the biggest gift I could give to them.

              That and teaching them to eat with their mouths closed.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      No advice (you’ve gotten some good already!) but commiseration. I have kids and we always kept family celebrations separate from the “friend party.”

        1. tina*

          Hit wrong button.

          The mall playground we went to was huge, which meant the kids were spread out all over the place, and hubby and I just sat off to the side, where no one bothered us. Plus, I’ve of my favorite craft stores was right across the hall!

          As I expected, the nephew ignored all the adults except his parents.

    4. Mimmy*

      Totally hear ya!!! Hearing my 9 nieces and nephews shrieking and having fun all at once is quite jangling to my overly-sensitive nerves. It didn’t help that the house my parents had rented has acoustics where sound carries VERY easily. Add noisemakers to the mix, and I’m ready to rip my ears off!!

  29. GrumpyBoss*

    Cat lovers… I had a terrible scare last night that ended up OK. Just felt I needed to over share because I’m still shaken up.

    I just moved to a new house with my furbabies and my husband. DH was out of town, so I had to take the dog on her nightly walk myself – something I don’t do regularly. I’m not too observant in the evening, so my naughty cat (there is always one in a multiple cat household that is very naughty) snuck out behind us. I come home, did some housework, then start to get ready for bed. I give all the pets a midnight snack, and naughty cat didn’t come out. Completely unlike him, since he never met a treat he didn’t like. I tore the house apart. New house, so I haven’t really discovered where his hiding places were. After 30 minutes, I wonder if he got out. I go outside and am looking under parked cars, under shrubs, etc. I’m super nervous, because there are hawks in this neighborhood. I’m sure he could hold his own against a neighborhood feral cat or someone’s dog, but birds of prey make me nervous. Over the next several hours, I repeat the process. Tear apart the house, go around the neighborhood with a flashlight. By 3am, I sat down at the kitchen table in tears. I’ve never lost a pet! Then, through the window, I saw him in the corner of the neighbor’s fence! I ran out there screaming to not move, while running in my robe and bare feet. I’m sure my neighbors loooooove me! He tried to run, realized he was trapped, so he fluffed up his fur and started hissing. Poor guy was so frightened but otherwise doesn’t seem any worse for wear. He’s back inside now where I’m not letting him out of my sight! He’s holding court with the other pets this morning, presumably sharing his adventure.

    TL;DR: pay close attention to your cats when you go out and give them all extra hugs.

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      OMG. I’d have been panicked, too.

      My cats are always strictly indoor cats and I’ve “lost” each of them at least once although fortunately never outside the house. Harrison once snuck into the attached garage and it took us two days to find where he had hidden himself – he was so terrified at being in unfamiliar surroundings that he wouldn’t come out even for food. I was sure he had gotten OUT-out somehow and was gone for good. In a much funnier story, Tika once got herself trapped between the front screen door and the storm door. I could hear her meowing but could not for the life of me figure out where the sound was coming from. I tore apart the storage closet under the staircase thinking she had gotten in and couldn’t figure out how to get back out (yes, she was that dumb). Finally figured it out after about 30 minutes of looking.

      Tl; dr: my cats are “special.”

      1. Monodon monoceros*

        One of my cats did the between the storm door/screen door thing! He was there for hours before I found him. He was constantly getting shut into drawers, closets, whatever, and he had a silent meow, so he was always there for a long time. Crazy kitties.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Am chuckling- you do the same thing I did. My neighbor was the one who explained it to me. If I scream, I am actually driving my animal (dog/cat) away from me. Their reaction is to my upset.

      My knee-jerk reaction was “noooo, she can’t be right about that”. But the next time the dog got loose I tried it. Sure enough. I was able to grab the dog much easier.
      Yeah, it takes a bit to go back to a normal heart rate. And it’s really hard not to let your upset show in your voice. But if you want to cry, that is okay. Their reaction to crying is much different than fear voice.

      I keep small spritzers of water by the doors now. I also have dog leashes at each door.
      wh
      Try to remember that they read the upset in your voice as you are angry with them.

      Long story very short: I was able to train my old dog to find my cat. He was 100% accurate. It was interesting to see him put his nose down on the carpet/ground and follow her scent. Even if the she passed that way hours ago. It started by us saying “Where is Snowball?” We had him do easy searches. After a bit he got into the swing of it.

    3. NW Cat Lady*

      I know this feeling. My cats are strictly indoor; 2 of them have no interest in going outside, but the 3rd will escape if given the chance. He doesn’t dart out the door immediately, but if you leave it open, he’ll take it as an invitation.

      I got home from work one night several years ago to find that my house had been broken into. The police came and went through the house, and then wanted to know if anything was missing. The only thing I even cared about was making sure the cats were ok. Three of them were in the house (I had 4 at the time), but I couldn’t find the 4th one. He came back about an hour later and started yowling to be let in. I was very VERY happy to see him.

  30. anne*

    This may sound weird but I think I’m admire my boss. Not in a romantic sense, but he seems to be someone I wanna befriend with. I know this is wrong since subordinates and superior should draw a clear line but I thought he would really make a nice friend (platonic). Advice? Would it appear odd if I’m too friendly with him?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Yes, it would appear odd. This is not something you want to do. Friendly is fine and appropriate. Friends is not. He’s your boss. If ever you leave the job, maybe you can strike up a friendship then. Otherwise, it’s just not something you want to do.

      1. anne*

        Thanks for the advice. I just graduated and it’s my first job. The company is not very hierarchal so I get to talk to the management often and have lunch with them even though I’m at the bottom level. I wanted to befriend my boss partly because we are both from the UK, so it feels a little like home. But thank you for your advice!

    2. KrisL*

      It is great though to have a boss you admire. I switched jobs at the same company recently, and I really appreciate how my boss is thorough about things being right.

      1. KrisL*

        That sounds funny, but this is software, and if it’s not right, it causes more problems down the road. Also, he’s nice it the way he explains how it should be improved.

  31. C Average*

    Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled inside the country where you live? What about outside your country?

    1. nep*

      Tough for me to ever designate ‘favourites’ but placed I’ve enjoyed tremendously —
      Inside: Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, northern Michigan
      Outside: Sahel region, Burkina Faso

    2. Claire*

      In my country, my favourite place is the city I live in, Edinburgh. Other than that, the Isle of Skye.

      Outside my country, Barcelona.

      1. Tina*

        Honolulu HI and Santa Barbara CA are 2 of the best places I’ve visited. As far as outside the US, I’ve only ever been to Canada, and that wasn’t particularly exciting.

    3. Liane*

      The Florida Keys! We went SCUBA diving at Looe Key for our honeymoon. Then took The Teens on a dive trip 3 years ago, that my mother-in-law arranged just before she passed away.

    4. Felicia*

      I’ve traveled very little inside my country which I guess is sad …but it’s a big country, and the states I’ve been to are easier to get to. But I really enjoy Montreal, particularly old Montreal.

      1. C Average*

        Ooooh. I love Montreal.

        The times I’ve visited, I fantasized about stealing an “impasse” sign. :)

    5. en pointe*

      Inside – Ningaloo Reef off the Northwest Cape of Australia. It’s stunning, starts only like 100 metres out so you pretty much step off the beach onto a gorgeous coral reef.

      Haven’t been anywhere outside yet.

    6. Windchime*

      Favorite inside the country….Maui, HI. Favorite outside the country: Bahamas. Obviously I am a beach person. :)

    7. Tasha*

      Inside–Washington, DC. I’m a political geek, and it was so amazing to actually visit the places I’ve read about and seen every day on C-Span.
      Outside-Barcelona, after a few weeks of research-related camping. I visited the cathedral that’s been under construction since the 1870s, toured a bunch of museums, and went out for a fancy dinner and to a club with friends for the first time :)

    8. PuppyKat*

      Inside: Yosemite National Park.

      Outside: I haven’t traveled too much outside the USA (which I hope to start changing soon), but my favorite place up to this point is Toronto. Amazing city!

    9. Elizabeth West*

      Inside: Hm, that’s tough; probably Yosemite Valley in CA. Gorgeous scenery. Pictures do NOT do it justice. The air is so clear you feel as if you could reach out and touch a peak that is actually thousands of feet above you.

      Outside: I’ve only ever been to England, but I truly feel as if I belong there. I can’t wait to go back. I really felt my ancestry calling to me the last time and that came roaring back as I began planning this upcoming trip. I wish somehow I could stay there forever.

    10. Lore*

      Inside the country: the San Juan Islands. I seriously almost didn’t get on the boat to come back. (I liked Seattle a lot more than I expected to as well.) It feels like a New England fishing village (also something I love), but on the Pacific.

      Outside: the Galapagos was the most amazing trip, but for places I would go back to over and over, London probably wins. Or the north coast of Spain.

    11. Mimmy*

      Inside (USA): Too many to choose!! One thing that was cool was driving through the vineyards in California when we were there for a cousin’s wedding.

      Outside: It’ll probably end up being Niagara Falls when we go in September; we’ll be on the Canadian side. Up to now, I’d say my favorite might be London or Bahamas.

    1. Liane*

      Worst: I got a vicious stomach bug! Monday at work I had a terrible headache and was sweating, then got nauseated. Had to get my supervisor to take over while I stumbled to the bathroom. Ended up calling Husband to drive me home. Usually get over those within 24 hours but I still didn’t feel quite right until Friday morning. And I had to spend Thursday helping Husband find a low-cost dental clinic to get broken tooth fixed. Sucks not having dental insurance.
      Best: Feeling good enough Saturday to go play in the pool with Son after work! And knowing Husband’s tooth is getting fixed ASAP. He has to be on antibiotics and off the bloodthinner for a few more days but they gave him good pain meds too.

        1. Liane*

          I think it was Something Going Around. I’ve also had several people at work tell me that, Elizabeth. Plus, when Husband picked me up, he mentioned feeling a little ill, and when I got home Daughter said she had a bad headache. (Son hasn’t been ill, but he very seldom is.)
          Thanks for the kind wishes, folks. I am glad it’s over & don’t wish this one on anybody.

    2. BRR*

      Worst: My mom had to have surgery this week for a medical issue that occurred while she was visiting me.

      Best: After staying with me for two weeks my parents go home! I don’t want to sound ungrateful but they can get on my nerves and they really can interfere with my daily routine.

      1. PuppyKat*

        Best: We finished booking our vacation! Can’t wait!

        Worst: Trying to keep our dogs from coming unglued during the 4th of July weekend. (This counts as this week because our neighbors were still shooting off rockets and firecrackers through last Sunday.)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I have had luck turning on a radio. You might have to turn it up louder than you would like. My old dog would get very upset about thunder. (I considered a Thunder-shirt.) But the radio calmed him right down.

          1. PuppyKat*

            Thanks, I’ll give the radio or stereo system a try next time. They were both on doggie Xanax as prescribed by our vet, but obviously it didn’t completely solve the problem….

      2. NW Cat Lady*

        Glad your mom is doing ok after the surgery.

        I completely get the “glad the parentals are going home” thing. I love my parents, I love that they come visit, but I’m also really glad when they go home and my life gets back to normal.

    3. Jamie*

      Best: one of my boys got wisdom teeth out and had next to no pain, was like it didn’t happen by the next morning.

      Worst: the day of his procedure he wanted to go somewhere and was feeling fine so I drove him. Do you know anesthesia residuals can make some people projectile vomit? I know that now. Chocolate chip mint milkshake on the way back up is a very specific smell and it took 3 days to scrub put of my car.

      Seriously now that my car is back to normal I can find the humor, but it was one of those moments that happened in slow motion. I saw it happening but with no bag or bucket to hand him all I could do was look on in horror as he covered himself, my dash, my floor mats, passenger window, and worst of all the crevice between bucket seat and console.

    4. Jubilance*

      Best – spending my birthday in Puerto Rico with my fiance. We had a wonderful vacation and it was just what we needed.

      Worst – coming back to work :-( I gotta find a new position.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Post-vacation blues suck, but glad you had a great time! Sending “new job vibes” your way!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Ooh Puerto Rico! At Oldjob, we had a client there. I miss talking to him, but of course I can’t do that now that I don’t work there anymore. He kept telling me I should come visit. I’m glad you had fun!

    5. Stephanie*

      Best: The garden has been producing a lot of eggplants, so I’ve been in an eggplant frenzy this past week. I’ve made eggplant parm, eggplant fries, and a couple of eggplant curries (I wouldn’t have guessed eggplant and okra curry would have been delicious as it was).

      Worst: Got a cavity filled. Since I don’t have any dental insurance, I’ve been going to the dental school. The students are good, but the hand skills aren’t quite there. So lots of pressure. They also used a dental dam to isolate the tooth and the clamp was too big. I left with sore on my cheek and had a sore mouth and headache the rest of the day. Also, I have to go back tomorrow…

      1. Ruffingit*

        Sucks about the dental stuff. Maybe taking some Aleve or other pain reliever before you go might help?

    6. Claire*

      Best: I took a trip to London with my mum and my niece, and we went to the Harry Potter studio tour which was awesome! We also got to watch the first film right there in the cinema at the studios. The rest of the stuff we did was pretty good too (bus tour of the city, Tower of London, Covent Garden, Spitalfield’s Market etc).

      Worst: had to share a triple room with them at the hotel. The niece is fine, but mum is very claustrophobic and gets very anxious in new places. So she was unable to sleep and had the TV on and the window wide open all night. I did not sleep well.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Ahhh I’m going on that tour! I can’t wait!

        Everyone is going to London this year, LOL. I know several people who are but we’re not all going at the same time, darn it.

        1. Claire*

          The studio tour is really impressive! I had a great time. Do try the Butterbeer!

          I go to London a couple of times a year, usually,but mum hadn’t been since before I was born and the niece had never been, so it was pretty cool introducing them to places. :)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Cool. :) I will definitely try the butterbeer. I heard it was pretty good.

            I have so many places I want to visit besides the ones I’m going to this trip. Next time I will not wait so many years to come back.

    7. Trixie*

      Best: Successful resolution on Ebay transaction so not only did I not lose money but got paid and glowing review.

      Worst: OD on sugar and man, did it show on my complexion. Time to try some other snacking options including grapefruit, or cranberries with greek yogurt.

      1. Luxe in Canada*

        Grapefruit can be broiled for a few minutes! I have one lurking in my fridge, waiting for me to stop being too lazy to deal.

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      Best: WE ARE MOVING INTO OUR NEW HOUSE TOMORROW!!! Our hotel living adventure is officially over in less than 24 hours. We even swung by the leasing office today to drop off our prorated rent so all we need to do tomorrow is pick up the keys from the desk.

      Worst: I’m still not sure how I’m going to pay the movers…eek. Been trying to sell my old beater car and had two solid inquiries but no sale.

    9. SD Cat*

      Best: Had a great Thursday and Friday night. :) Thursday was a really fun social +business networking event, and had a dinner + game night on Friday.

      Worst: Really far behind on my to do list.

    10. Mimmy*

      Best: Our trip to Hilton Head for the annual family gathering! Highlights included 1) my dad’s 70th birthday party, featuring a sweet little “show” by my talented nieces and nephews and 2) riding a wave runner for the first (and probably last!!) time.

      Worst: Our last full day was somewhat hampered by off-and-on thundershowers.

  32. Cruciatus*

    I have maxed out my Roth IRA for the year and pay the 6% of my salary for my employer matching contribution. Now what? I have quite a bit of money saved thanks to living at home and no student debt. I haven’t yet found a stock market book that speaks to me so I’ve been avoiding that because I remain too uninformed about it. What’s a good next step for my money? Or a good stock market book that really dumbs it down?

    1. BRR*

      That’s great! Do you have enough saved in an emergency fund as well? If you do then I would save for if you plan on moving or if you’ll need a new car in the future.

      After all of that I would suggest an index fund. How did you pick which Roth IRA to invest in?

      1. Cruciatus*

        Oh, I definitely have enough in an emergency fund. I could pay myself for a few years more than double what my (admittedly low) salary is. Obviously my goal is not to do that. But I could.

        I was completely indecisive about which IRA. I checked out so many sites and did so many Google searches like “Vanguard vs. TIAA-Cref vs. Fidelity.” In the end, most people seemed happy with theirs but they JUST MADE A CHOICE! I was running out of time for being able to make my deposit for the previous tax year (and I wanted to get as much money in at once as I could since nearly everything I read said I was at least 10 years behind the optimal starting point). Anyway, it seemed positive Vanguard stories were always popping up in my searches so I just went with them. I can always change it later if I want. I’m currently doing the Target Retirement account. Once I’m more confident in my abilities I’ll maybe change that but at least the money is doing a little something. So, long story short, I ran out of time and picked the one I read the most positive stories about.

        1. BRR*

          I was just curious how you picked it and was wondering if you could do the same with an index fund. That’s my plan when I have extra. I also use vanguard for my roth and would probably use them for future investing.

        2. Anon4This2*

          I have Vanguard, TIAA-Cref and Fidelity. I definitely like Vanguard the most and especially like the Target Retirement accounts. They provide my best returns, have exceptional customer service and the lowest fees.

        3. KJ*

          I currently have Vanguard, and have used Fidelity and T. Rowe Price in the past. I like Vanguard the best for their low fees, though the service at the other two was fine.

          I max out my Roth IRA, contribute a required sum to my pension, and contribute to my work’s deferred comp (no match, alas, and haven’t maxed that out yet). I also have automated savings toward:
          – emergency fund (well-established)
          – future down payment (only halfway there, but no plans to buy soon since I’m in a stable rental situation)
          – next car (goal is to buy my next new-to-me car with cash in 2-3 years)
          – major tech purchases (my laptops and phones have been on three year replacement cycles)
          – other large recurring expenses (like auto insurance, which I pay in a lump sum each year)

          And since I got tired of being super responsible with my money, I also contribute toward a vacation fund that lets me travel guilt free when I want to do so! Saving can be sort of boring once you have your system up and running, so having something fun to watch grow (and spend occasionally) helps me stay on the right track.

        4. KJ*

          PS – if you like Vanguard, you may like the Bogleheads books on money management or John Bogle’s own book. (John Bogle founded the Vanguard group.) I approve of his simple and common sense approach to things.

    2. danr*

      find a good broker (someone who does not get paid on churning accounts) and get municipal bonds. The interest is federal tax free and if the bonds are for your state, they will be state tax free too. Just keep reinvesting the interest until you’re ready to retire, and follow your broker’s advice on buying and selling.
      Your bank may have an investment house side. Talk to them first.

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Depending on how adventurous you are, you can lend money on Reddit! They have a sub-reddit there for loaning and borrowing money, and people seem to have good luck actually getting their money paid back (with interest), and the warm fuzzier from helping an actual person in need. :)

  33. I Just Want Out*

    Has anyone else filed for divorce while your spouse is still in the house? Bottom line: House is paid for (not worth much), kids are out of the house, I want a divorce, husband doesn’t, and says he doesn’t have to leave. There’s just nothing left between us, hasn’t been for years, and the longer I’m around him the more I want to smack him with a frying pan. I feel like an ATM machine – I pay all the bills, property taxes, car insurance, and he’s on my health insurance policy at work that costs me around $350/month. He says he loves me, but what he really loves is the free health insurance, room and board, laundry service, etc. It’s been several years since we even slept in the same bed together.

    I have been unsuccessful in finding an apartment or house that I can afford that will accept pets. He can’t keep the pets due to his job (over the road long haul truck driver). I can’t buy a house because it would be considered a marital asset that I’d have to share with him.

    I just want my life back.

    1. BRR*

      I’m not familiar with divorce law but can you stop paying his insurance? It also sounds like you’re doing his laundry, I would stop that.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Generally insurers will not allow the removal of a spouse from the plan without a signed divorce decree. Otherwise, people would be kicking spouses off their plans just because they’re angry or whatever.

        1. BRR*

          I have the option of doing it at open enrollment which happens once a year or if there is a “significant qualifying event.” I also should have been more specific. I meant car insurance as well, it sounds like the OP is paying that too.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Even if you can do it at open enrollment, removing them prior to the divorce being final may cause some issues. This is why I suggest the OP get a lawyer to sort it all out per the laws of her state.

          2. Ruffingit*

            I should add though that I am with you on the laundry thing. I’d quit doing anything for him at all. He can handle his own stuff. Sounds like he’s been getting a sweet deal for a long time OP – you pay all the bills and do the chores too?? No wonder he doesn’t want a divorce, he’s got it made.

            1. BRR*

              Yeah I want to marry to the OP. That’s a good deal. I do agree with getting lawyer of course. I just didn’t know in the mean time if the OP could at least cut him off in some ways. Obviously they cannot skip property taxes or utilities.

          3. Jamie*

            I agree with Ruffing it, they need to talk to a lawyer before making changes since divorce law can be weird.

            And can you even get someone off car insurance once they are in and you share a home? Because we were told once we put the kids on we couldn’t take them off later if they decided not to drive since it’s assumed they will drive if they live at home.

            1. BRR*

              I’ve never tried but I just assumed you could take people off. It seems weird that an insurance company could force you to keep people on your policy. I now have a sunday activity.

              1. Ruffingit*

                They can force you when it’s a spouse because otherwise if people got angry with their spouse, they could just remove them come open enrollment time and the spouse may not even know they’ve been left without insurance. Marriage creates a lot of legal contracts that require you to do things you’re not otherwise required to do for someone.

                1. BRR*

                  I meant more the car insurance like Jamie’s kids. I know health insurance is a lot more difficult.

              2. Not So NewReader*

                Probably not the most ethical advice. And in my example the couple were not living together any more.

                The insurance company gave the ex-husband flack about removing the ex-wife. He ended up just closing the policy and going to another agent. He never mentioned the ex-wife to the new agent.

                Yeah, it’s like pulling a rug out from under someone but he had exhausted all other avenues and was at the end of his rope.

      2. Bea W*

        My mother kept doing her ex-husband’s laundry AFTER she divorced him AND he’d moved out. WTH mom??!! STOP THAT!

    2. Ruffingit*

      Get a lawyer, you’re going to need one if your husband is going to be a jerk about things. Look into moving into a house with roommates for the short term so you can keep the pets. Or, have the lawyer negotiate with your husband to get him out of the house so you can keep the house you’re currently in. All kinds of possibilities here.

      Outside the legal issues though, divorce sucks regardless of whether or not you’re ready for it. I was in a marriage that was dead long before the legal papers were signed so I know how that feels. Get a lawyer, get the ball rolling, get out. Good luck!

      1. Windchime*

        If you are in a community property state, then you would share the equity in the house. Normally that would mean one of you would have to buy out the other one, or the house would need to be sold and the proceeds split. (I’m not a lawyer, that’s just how it’s worked in my experience).

        I agree with others; you need a lawyer. And I would stop with the laundry business; let him wash his own clothes.

      2. I Just Want Out*

        I have seen a lawyer, and told my husband that I want a divorce. He said if I filed, he’d never sign the papers, so he will drag this on forever if he can. My HR department said I can’t cut him from the health insurance unless he signs a paper agreeing to it, and he won’t sign. The worst part is I could owe him spousal support! In my state, you can be assessed up to 40% of the difference between the higher and lower salary, and I make more money! My attorney asked me about physical abuse, adultery, substance abuse, etc. but none of that applies, and apparently the state doesn’t care of someone is as useless as a teat on a boar, that’s not grounds to boot someone out of their house.

        I hate to admit this, but right now I’m trying to find a small house that my parents can buy as a straw purchase, so I can move out, and once everything is done, I can “buy” it from them.

        1. Jubilance*

          Is a legal separation an option for you? If he’s not willing to dissolve the marriage maybe a separation will allow you to get one with your life.

        2. Ruffingit*

          A lot of people claim they will drag it out forever, refuse to sign, etc., but in reality, that doesn’t end up happening. No one can force you to stay married to them. You may find the process takes longer than you might like, but it is not a situation where one person gets to say “I will not sign the papers!” and the judge says “Oh well then, OK I guess you’ll have to stay married to the guy, sorry…”

          It really doesn’t work that way so either see the lawyer again that you saw before if you were comfortable with her or find another one and go ahead and file. If your spouse refuses to sign, etc, the lawyer will be able to tell you how to handle that. On the alimony front, that is just one of the things that you may have to deal with. If that is the law in your state, then it’s going to possibly be the price of your divorce for you. Decide if possibly paying alimony is worth it or if you’d rather continue in the marriage.

          It all sucks, but please do not feel like you’re stuck because your husband refuses to sign. If you want out, get out. It’s going to cost you in time and money, but you need to decide if you’d rather pay the time/money or stay. Keep in mind, again, that a lot of people like your husband threaten a lot of things, but when it comes right down to it and they realize you’re dead serious and going forward anyway, they back off and deal with the situation. Right now, divorce is an abstract concept to your husband and he thinks he has tons of power by not signing the paperwork. He doesn’t have as much power as either of you seem to think he does. That threat doesn’t hold much water at the end of the day.

          Bottom line – go back to the attorney, get the paperwork started. Good luck!