holiday weekend free-for-all – July 2-4, 2016

olive 4thThis comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school. If you have a work question, please email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book recommendation of the week: Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Haunting in a way that will stay with you.

* I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 1,039 comments… read them below }

  1. FD*

    Holiday kitty!

    Alison, I stumbled on a book this week that I think you’d really enjoy if you haven’t read it already. It’s called The Interestings, and it follows a group from their days at an art camp to their fifties(ish). It’s a really enjoyable coming of age story that showcases the difference between expectations and reality in a way that’s both humorous and heartbreaking.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! I read it last year and really liked it. I need to put it on my list for upcoming recommendations. I like Meg Wolitzer a lot — you should also try The Uncoupling, which is a sort of modern retelling of Lysistrata. (Oooh, I need to put that on my recommendation list too.)

      1. AVP*

        If you guys liked that you should also try Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, which just came out. It’s the kind of book where you start thinking of the characters as people you know and old friends instead of book people.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I had never heard of this, and when I searched it on Amazon.com, the first thing I found was a pilot for Season 1 of an Amazon TV show based on the book. Looks like they’re taking feedback on whether they should do more.

      1. FD*

        That’s how I got interested in the book too. The episode was…fine. Sorta different though.

    3. Artemesia*

      There is a pilot for a tv show based on this book currently available to watch on Amazon prime. I don’t know if they will pick it up but it looked like it had potential — the pilot moved from camp to the future and back.

    4. MsChanandlerBong*

      Sounds similar to The Class by Erich Segal. It follows a group of five Harvard graduates for several decades. It’s one of my favorite books.

      1. Confused Publisher*

        Have you read Doctors, and Acts of Faith, also by the same author? I really like that his narratives follow characters we care about over a long period of time.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          I think I read Doctors a long time ago. Acts of Faith is on my to-be-read list, but that list has 1,900 books on it, so I might not get there for a while. :)

  2. Levsha*

    How have you made your close, local friends as an adult? I’m in my mid-twenties and noticing that all the new friends I’ve made since college are from work, where there happens to be a large cohort of people my age. But what if that weren’t the case? How do grown-ups make friends? (especially interested in answers from more introverted, though not necessarily shy folk)

      1. Critter*

        “so we have to hang out with whichever motherfuckers happen to have kids in our neighborhood”

        I’m dying. This is amazing.

        1. Rana*

          This is utter truth. You have a kid about the age of my kid and you live near me? I’m chasing you down on the street and we’re swapping phone numbers within fifteen minutes of chat.

      2. Dot Warner*

        Thanks for posting this! I moved to a new state recently and it’s been difficult getting to know people.

      3. Rosa*

        Glad to see more people have this problem than I thought, but does this also mean I’ll never have a deep conversation with a person?

        I had a sliver of hope that adulthood would be more than crying alone in my room, but I guess not.

        1. Critter*

          Maybe :( most of my deep conversations happen online. I often wish that they could be in person, but I’ll take them online vs none at all.

          1. Rosa*

            Well that’s disappointing, but I lived this long without them so I’ll just have to keep that in mind.

            1. Sarah in DC*

              Please don’t give up on deep conversations in person! I have made a couple of friends as an adult who I can have deep conversations with (one through another friend and one through work, although we no longer work together if anyone is wondering). If you are looking for deep conversations try a place of worship if you are religious or an arts group or other “cultural” thing. I think people are generally more open to conversation in spaces like that. (Not that you can’t have deep conversations with someone you met playing rec softball for example, it’s just easier to start them when you are looking at a piece of art and eating cheese and wine then when you are trying to play center field :) )

              1. Rana*

                Plus those are the sort of conversations that emerge slowly over time, as you and your friend gradually reveal more and more about each other. Think of it like entering a deep, cold pool – for most people, diving straight into the deep end is shocking and unpleasant. But slowly drifting there in a lazy fashion on a your floatie can be quite pleasurable.

        2. neverjaunty*

          In all seriousness, if adulthood feels like crying alone in your room and that you’ll never have deep conversations with people, that’s not an issue with making friends – that sounds like something else is going on.

          Mind you, that column is hilarious, and in some places spot-on: “And people don’t stick to their own categories as much as you’d think. You throw a party or start a book club and people show up, they’re curious, they’re into it. You go sing karaoke at a bar or go bowling and everyone is ready to strike up a conversation. They don’t necessarily care if you’re exactly like them. People are always friendlier than they seem. It’s strange how I didn’t understand (or care to recognize) that when I was younger. Interesting people know that interesting people come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.”

      4. lonely librarian*

        I gave up on that article when both the poster and the writer mentioned their boyfriends. You want lonely, try being single in that same age bracket and beyond. I moved to a small city with very few other incomers on my own and meeting people is so hard. I have to call my parents every weekend so I don’t go from Friday afternoon to Monday without ever opening my mouth. And it’s self-perpetuating, because if you have no one to go with, going out is awkward (I am the queen of going to functions by myself, but it’s starting to just look weird) and then you never meet potential romantic partners either. Sigh. I don’t want to be a Bridget Jones-type, constantly bemoaning my lack of a man, but at least I could go to concerts without attracting pitying looks!

        1. JaneB*

          much empathy! 47, long term single, and making local friends is hard, but finding local friends who want to do stuff in “family time” (evenings and weekends) seems impossible.

          1. lonely librarian*

            Yes! I completely understand with my rational brain that children and spouses are more important than friends, but I hate that my most important in-person social interactions are relegated to the domain of “frivolous girls’ night out” by people with families. I look forward to the quarterly book club that’s organised through work for weeks, and other people just forget about it, it’s so far down their list of priorities. :(

        2. dear liza dear liza*

          Much sympathy. My first job out of grad school was a thousand miles from anyone I knew. I figured it might take me a year to find my social niche. Sadly, even though I went to numerous events and tried all kinds of outings for 3 years, I never found a niche. I even went on dates just so I’d have someone to go to things with! And this was a huge city, I don’t know why it was so impossible.

          1. lonely librarian*

            I can imagine a huge city has its own challenges. I hate that in my city, where historic high unemployment means no one ever moves here, everyone has their friends from high school and doesn’t need new ones, but at least I’ve somehow become “known” a bit in the bike and running communities just by going to some events. None of them will ever invite me to coffee, but it does make me feel like I fit in, ever so peripherally.

        3. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

          Same over here.

          It’s getting better, but it takes a lot of time. Are you volunteering somewhere, and have you joined Meetup?

          1. lonely librarian*

            Heh. One of the reasons I’m thinking of giving up on librarianing is because I cannot move to another city like this and start over yet again when it’s time for my next career move. There are literally no Meetups in my region. I have the impression that people here just don’t need the internet for things like that – if you want to do X, you get in touch with Jim-Bob who does X, and you go from there. I have found groups for all my hobbies – but people just talk right around me, because they don’t know me and haven’t met an outsider since 1997 so why would they talk to me?

            1. V Dubs*

              Wow that’s so extreme! I’m sorry you have such a unwelcoming place to live in. Do you mind sharing what city/state it is? Future planning and all…

              1. lonely librarian*

                I’m not in the US, so no fear. :) The funny thing is that this region is famed for its friendliness. But I read something recently that broke down the distinction between friendliness and hospitality, and it said that what people here really are good at is the latter. (In my less charitable moments, I say they’re only nice to you when you have tourist dollars in your hand.)

                I joined the local running group and after a few weeks, I had a group of people I now run with every week and make small talk with. But it literally took me a few weeks of silently following people around a track for an hour before anyone even introduced themself to me!

            2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

              Come to the states!! You’ll be welcomed with open arms, that’s for sure. Trump gives us a bad name, but really, people are good. :)

              If you’re willing to move to most places in the US, you’ll have no trouble finding a good job as a librarian!

              1. lonely librarian*

                Ironically, there was a recent ad campaign encouraging Americans to move to my region if Trump won. I was like, “Why? So you can hate them as much as you hate me?” :D

                I am definitely going to look more seriously at the US for my next career move. While the job market for librarians is terrible there, it’s non-existent here. Every MLIS grad in Canada can list off the three librarian jobs open in the country at any given time.

                1. HTM*

                  So, being a Canadian and given your comment about tourist dollars, I’m dying to know where, exactly, it is. Vancouver Island? Montreal? Newfoundland?

                2. lonely librarian*

                  Close – Cape Breton. Beautiful surroundings, great quality of life in terms of commute time, housing costs and access to fantastic outdoors activities, but good lord is it an insular society.

    1. AMG*

      Through friends of my husband, neighbors, coworkers. I feel like it has to be more deliberate as an adult and it’s more okay to say, ‘I really want to be friends. Let’s go have coffee.’ Or something.

      1. Temperance*

        We’re so much younger than our neighbors that it’s hard to be friends. We’re childless and in our early thirties, and everyone else is at least 15 years older and has a bunch of kids. Well, except for the woman who lives next door, but she’s here 2 or 3 days a week and at her husband’s house the other few.

        1. Colette*

          I think it’s possible to be friends with people with very different lives, providing you’re both willing to make an effort. It might be a “let’s go for brunch every so often” friendship rather than “let’s hang out four times a week”, but it can still be valuable.

          1. Temperance*

            Sadly, I don’t think we have any common ground except for our shared geography. We have other friends who live a few blocks away in our neighborhood, so we aren’t lonely.

            My town used to be very blue collar, and it’s changed over the past 15 years or so to be occupied largely by white collar professionals. We’re close to Philadelphia but have our own unique culture/feel, so it’s now a desirable place to live. The people who owned or inherited homes beforehand saw serious increases in their property value, but with a huge culture change.

            I’ll put it this way – if I asked these folks to go to brunch, they’d laugh at me and call me a yuppie, in a non-ironic way.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            This is my problem–they’re not willing to make the effort. I’ve stopped trying.

            I have a work friend I like and she goes to the same salon as I do, but I haven’t worked up the courage to ask if she wants to hang out a little bit outside work sometime. She has a family and people just don’t have time.

            I do have my meetup group, and last time we did something (cleaned up our Adopt-a-Street), several of us went out afterward and sat in a doughnut shop for three hours playing Cards Against Humanity. It was so fun. But I don’t see them outside the group except on Facebook.

            1. neverjaunty*

              “People just don’t have time” is a good way to deal with the anxiety of not working up the courage to ask people to hang out, no?

              (I say this, lovingly, as an introvert who has been known to say ‘there’s nothing out there but weather and people’. We tend to forget that other people can be just as socially awkward and anxious and hoping someone else will take the initiative.)

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I have asked people before, and they demur even when they’ve acted like they want to. So it’s not entirely me. If I keep getting turned down, I’m not going to keep asking.

                I probably will ask her–she’s very nice. But she also may not want to be friends outside work. That’s okay if not.

              2. Colette*

                People make time for what’s important to them, most of the time. It’s possible that a new friend isn’t important, right now, but it’s also possible that they’d love a new friend.

                I think that, like dating, it’s about not being too desperate. Be OK with getting together every couple of months, have your own interests, and let friendships grow rather than expecting to become great friends instantly.

                Which reminds me that I should email some gym friends now that I can walk again.

                1. Rana*

                  Yes. I find being deliberate is the hardest thing about the whole friends-as-adults thing. Overlapping circumstance is no longer enough; you need to create contexts in which relationships can grow.

                  And so many times when one of us does set up something, the rest of us are astonished and grateful and we all talk about why we don’t do this more often.

                  (Having scheduled meet-ups also helps.)

          3. Mando Diao*

            It’s a bit more complicated than that when they have kids and you don’t. Their kids understandably take priority in their lives, and they simply will not hang out with you unless it’s convenient for them. The people who care less have the most power in these situations. It’s not a malicious type of power or control but they have no problem saying no when they know that you have an easier time adjusting to whatever is convenient for them.

            1. Colette*

              There are plenty of people without kids who have other important commitments in their lives, and plenty of people with kids who maintain friendships. Yes, the average person with kids will need to work around the kids’ needs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have friends.

        2. NJ Anon*

          Our neighborhood has mixed ages. Don’t let that stop you! One of my husbands best buds in the hood is a good 15 years younger. Who cares? Are our neighbors perfect? Hell no but neither are we. We hang out, have a few drinks and have fun. Sometimes we even call each other out on out imperfections. But we are their for each other. Perfection went out the window a long time ago!

        3. Punkin*

          One of my fondest memories is going to our next door neighbors’ on Sunday nights to watch West Wing. We would alternate cooking. We married later than a lot of people (37 & 45 – first marriage for both) and it is so hard to find older couples with no kids around here. We have friends with kids, but Sunday nights are (understandably) filled with homework & getting baths & ready in general for the week. The husband passed in 2007, but we took BLT makings over last weekend and played Scrabble with her & her younger brother (who lives with he since her hubby passed).

          Don’t limit yourself to certain groups. They were about 12 years older than my hubby. Loved them both.

    2. FD*

      I’ve met most of my closest friends online, through forums for people interested in some of the same shows or hobbies I like–easier for me because I often work atypical hours and I’m often not available when other people are around.

    3. The IT Manager*

      I have had trouble with this and just not made friends. I’m having a good run of luck right now with friends though. I have made friends from two sporting activities I take part in. I found both groups on the internet by searching my interest and my city.

      In one, we’re more of acquaintances. We do our activity together plus some picnics and other things, but we don’t share personal intimacies or at least I don’t. I’m not sure how to transform these casual friendships to something more because we’re in a large group most of the time.

      With another sport, I have found myself opening up to individuals. It takes work. Since I do not see these people at school or work, I actually have to make an effort to keep in contact and arrange meetings. It’s not that it’s not enjoyable, but I have to come out of my shell, ask people to do things with me and risk rejection, and make the time for it.

      That’s the biggest thing I’ve realized about myself. I need to make the effort. I can’t just wait for them to invite me along to what they’re doing.

      1. Levsha*

        Yeah, that’s what I find tough. I volunteer regularly, and while I like my fellow volunteers a lot, I can’t quite imagine making the jump to inviting just one of them to coffee or something. When I have done deliberate friend-making things, it feels so awkward.

        I feel like there are two schools of thought – “you have to make a lot of effort and eventually it grows into something more/fake it till you make it” and “you don’t find friends, friends find you.” Honestly, my life experience has been more of the latter. I can’t think of a friend where I had to make a concerted effort to get to know them. Either we’ve fallen very naturally into a friendship or we’ve remained acquaintances. So while I recognize the wisdom of making the effort, putting yourself out there, etc….it’s so hard to do in practice when it’s contrary to how my life has worked up until this point!

        1. The IT Manager*

          I think the “you don’t find friends, friends find you” mostly works for school aged people or people who are lucky enough to have a work cohort. Basically for those people lucky enough to have potential friends where they spend hours hours every day. If you don’t spend hours together with potential friends, “you have to make a lot of effort and eventually it grows into something more.”

        2. Elkay*

          I find volunteering makes me feel more lonely because I’ve expended a lot of energy to be there and talk to people but I haven’t got anything socially out of it (i.e. new friends/acquaintances).

          1. teclatrans*

            Elkay, I have had that experience too. Being around people with shared interests but still not making friends feels like it’s own special torture.

    4. Natalie*

      I’ve made mine through other friends mostly. I started a book club with a few close friends who invited some other people from their circles, and I’ve become friends with those women. And I’ve become friends with some of my existing friends’ new partners. But I keep a fairly close circle, so probably not representative.

    5. Kyrielle*

      I’m in the area I grew up in, so some are friends from high school. My husband’s friends through work. And since I’m a parent, parents of my children’s friends.

      I’ve also seen people find friends through Meetups and volunteering. And through our local Buy Nothing group (I take part in it, but I mostly exchange brief words with people; we are friendly, but not friends – but I know some members have become fast friends that way).

    6. Temperance*

      I’ve made a lot of cool women friends through craft beer clubs for women. I haven’t done meetups, because the local ones near me are just for moms/seniors/sports fans, but I’ve heard good things from other people.

      I’m an introvert, but I’m not even a little shy. I can talk to anyone and will regularly introduce myself to new people etc.

      1. zora.dee*

        Have you considered starting a meetup? They are kind of pricey ($180/year) but I would bet there are some other 20/30 something women around you that also don’t have friends who might join if you created one. I am amazed by how many women have joined the one I run. Of course, I undercut that with my complaints about my meetup group that I posted below, but really, I was so happy I had it for like 2 years when I didn’t have a BF and it gave me lots of social outings and I made lots of friends.

        1. Temperance*

          I unfortunately don’t have a ton of free time to run stuff, but I’m always happy to show up. My husband is the most important part of my life, along with work and PT, so non-couple socializing sometimes falls by the wayside. :(

          1. zora.dee*

            Yeah, i know what you mean, I am having that problem now, even though I had a lot of time when I first took over the group. But I hope you find a good solution soon!

    7. zora.dee*

      I’m really struggling with this right now. I’m in my late 30s, and moved to a new city 6 years ago. I was running a meetup group for a couple of years, for 20s/30s women, and made several new friends from that group, which was great.

      But in the last few months I’ve found out that all of those women have been hanging out with each other in various combinations without inviting me to anything. (thanks, facebook) And if I’m not actively being Social Director, I never hear from any of them. So, I’m feeling like it must be me, because they all seem to hang out with each other, but none of them want to hang out with me.

      And I’m working at a new job where I only have 3 coworkers in our satellite office, so I feel like I have zero human contact and spend all of my time by myself. Which is really bumming me out.

      Any advice? Should I just conclude that it is me, and no one likes me? I really don’t feel up to starting all over managing lots of meetups to make more friends, just to have them all bail on me again….

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Oh, that sucks. :( I, too, have somehow drifted out of the social circles I once belonged to and I’m not sure how to get back in…because I feel like if my presence was missed, they wouldn’t have let me drift in the first place?? And/or I think about reaching out but get hung up on how unbelievably crappy it would feel to be rejected/blown off.

      2. Elkay*

        I find this really tough, it’s tiring constantly making an effort and being rejected.

      3. Colette*

        What happens when you initiate plans? If they say yes, show up, and have a good time, they like you just fine. If they’re too busy every time, then they probably don’t feel like they click with you, and you will need to keep looking for your people.

        1. zora.dee*

          somewhere in between.. more than half the time I initiate it doesn’t work out, but yeah, sometimes they do show up and we have a good time.

          You’re right, if they show up at all that means they like me okay. But there’s something about it feeling like I do 99% of the work to make things happen. I guess I feel like they’re “just not that into me.” And I’m not sure how to make the decision about what to do with that info.

          Do I continue making the effort knowing that I’m going to always have to be the one to do all of the work? Or do I decide that I don’t want to be friends with people who aren’t making the effort to reciprocate?

          I just literally have one friend I can count on to get together once every week or two, and she just decided to move across the country in a couple of months. So, I’m feeling kind of lost about what to do now.

          1. Elkay*

            It may sound cheesy but there’s a lyric that always really resonates with me, “I’m too tired to pretend it doesn’t hurt to be left out”, I feel like it fits the situations where you’re not part of the in crowd and you don’t know why.

            1. zora.dee*

              Thank you for this, Elkay. I feel like such a baby to whine about this kind of thing, but it really hurts.

          2. Colette*

            I’m also the person who initiates plans most of the time, and I’m ok with that. That doesn’t mean you have to be, of course.

            I’m a pretty organized person. I like knowing what I’ll be doing in advance. A lot of my friends are more spontaneous. They’ll make plans, but they’re more comfortable doing things on the spur of the moment. So not planning things doesn’t mean they don’t like me, just that that’s not how they operate. I like plans, so the onus is on me to initiate.

          3. teclatrans*

            Perhaps these other get-togethers are being driven by one or two people who choose to exclude you, and the rest like you find but just always are responders instead of initiators? Another hypothesis is that if you are the Meetup organizer and always seen to have your shit together, they might feel a small power differential, or they might just want to get together outside the Meetup dynamic and your position makes you intrinsically linked to it?

            My suggestion would be to identify 2 or 3 women you think you connect with and invite them to some one-on-one outings, to see if the friendship might deepen or if the connection is all surface-level.

            1. zora.dee*

              yeah, those are all good points. problem is, I already did that. these are women I clicked with and started inviting to do one on one things outside the meetup group. And then sometimes in combinations of 2 or 3 at a time. And only recently I found out that they are also hanging out in various combinations, but never inviting me. I only hear about it afterwards. and to a couple of them I actually tried to gently mention that I would love to come along next time, but then wasn’t invited again.

              So, I just don’t know if I give up on all of them and try to find a new couple of friends to start over with. Honestly, I’m feeling really hurt by this so I think it would be hard to hang out with them again anytime soon. without letting my hurt feelings show.

            2. zora.dee*

              But thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. I’m not sure I know what to do yet, but it definitely feels a little better just getting to talk about it a bit. I really appreciate it. I feel weird complaining about it to my boyfriend, so I’ve just been keeping it in, which definitely feels worse.

    8. ThatGirl*

      It’s hard, especially without kids. I’m 35 and no kids nor plans for them. I’ve made friends at work, through Yelp events, one at a park district aerobics class, but it has always been an effort to maintain. And most of them have kids so it makes it a little trickier, I like kids fine but it just means they’re busier.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Oh, I can so relate to the friend thing. At one point in my mid-thirties, all of my friends either left town or had kids. The ones who had kids seemed to shun me. It didn’t seem on purpose- its just that they were very, very busy and didn’t include me in “kid things” (because who in their right mind would want to go to an interminable dance recital of elementary through high school students or a birthday party with 30 six-year-olds) I felt left out and alone and it seemed impossible to make new friends. Mostly it happened when I got a dog and started going to the dog park. No, no “besties” but people who I liked to hang out with and have a cup of coffee.

        Now I live in a midwest city notorious for its “niceness” and I have made one friend after 3 years. Someone I can call and say- what are you doing tonight?, do you want to get together. She is 20 years my senior and I am so grateful. And I can’t really say “how it happened” We met at a neighbor’s house. I was interested in her work. I admired her positive attitude. We are both academics so I had a lot of need of advice about tenure track stuff. I was busy with my own work so I suppose I wasn’t too needy.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          We might be in the same midwestern city, especially if it’s two cities kind of mashed together with a river running down the middle. And your username makes me think we might get along just fine. If I’m right about the location, coffee sometime? Fjionna at gmail dot com.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      The one thing to remember is that it’s really, really hard! I don’t know anyone who finds it super easy to make real friends after college. It’s mostly a matter of time and discrimination. It can be very easy to meet people but hard to make friends. When we moved here two years ago, I vowed that I wouldn’t hang out with people simply because they’re there, and I’ve held to that. I’ve made a bunch of acquaintances but only one or two friends. Which, frankly, is ok by me.

      I do have a lot of friends, though. Before we moved here, I was in NYC for 10 years. I didn’t make any real friends until about three years in. I’m very lucky– I’m a choral singer, and volunteer choruses tend to attract people I want to hang out with, so I found a very tight group of friends in my old chorus. Then I met people through those friends. I went to a lot of parties and talked to everyone. I’m not shy, but I do value my alone time a lot, so I see myself as more on the introverted side. And eventually I made good friends. So I always advocate taking up a hobby you love that will introduce you to a lot of people you’ll see on a regular basis. But remember that you won’t become friends right away– it takes time.

      Making friends feels a lot like dating. A LOT. “Hey, want to grab a coffee sometime?” is just as anxiety-inducing between potential platonic friends as it is between potential romantic partners. I met a bunch of people down here through a friend, and here was the trajectory: we met at a synagogue thing, I friended her on Facebook, two months later I worked up the nerve to invite her to brunch, she started inviting me to things, tra-la. Through her, I met a woman I really clicked with and a bunch of people I like well enough.

      My only advice is to steel yourself, take a deep breath, and invite a couple of people out for brunch or a quick drink. And accept their invitations unless the idea of spending four hours basket-weaving makes you want to tear your hair out. You’ll get there. :)

    10. Felicia*

      Its super hard. I have made a really good friend relatively recently through this book club Im in. Once before that through a nerdy meetup I go to sometimes. Meetup has been great for me for making friends as a grown up for me, specifically meetups specific to my interests because theyre full of other grown ups looking for the same things as me.

    11. neverjaunty*

      It’s not that it was actually any easier when we were younger. It’s just that all being shoved together in the same place – say, college – gives everybody a natural excuse to talk to one another, shared experiences, and something to talk about. So you’re used to having steps 1-5 of meeting people and making friends already prefabricated, and then you go out into the adult world, and you don’t have any practice at the basics.

      The thing is that people are naturally social (and, as that Ask Polly column points out, often friendlier than you think). If people are shoved together or grouped up, they naturally tend to try to find points of commonality. When you don’t get those handed to you in the form of a dormitory or a job it IS harder!

      1. Dan*

        Throw in that when we’re younger in the same place, we’re likely all in the same phase and looking for the same things. It’s easy(er) to make friends when you’re all young, single, in an unfamiliar place, and unestablished.

        When you enter the workforce, you’re with people in all different phases of life. Some are even close to retirement with grandkids.

        My college co-op was with a well known employer. When I started for the summer, everybody on my floor was twice my age. It was weird.

    12. Lily Evans*

      I’ve been having this problem. I just moved to a new city that isn’t super far from most of my friends, but making new friends will be challenging, I think. I’m planning on trying some classes and meetup groups. I also found a dating app that gives the option of looking specifically for friends. However, it’s surprisingly intimidating? It’s mostly other women, but so many of them seem out of my friend-league. And starting conversations over an app is still super awkward even when it’s just to make friends.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Also, I really loved a post I found in Captain Awkward’s archives that encouraged the letter writer to consider each new person as just a cool person to get to know rather than a potential BFF. It’s really changed my approach to friend-making by taking some of the pressure off and letting friendships develop (or not) more naturally.

        1. Colette*

          I think that’s really important. It’s a way of avoiding pressure in yourself and on the person you are getting to know.

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        Back in the days before the internet was huge, I joined a dating service. You would go their office and look through “binders full of men” and, if someone seemed intriguing, go find their video in the library-like shelves full of VHS tapes. I never met a man who was worth having a second date with, but I made three awesome women friends! We always ended up at the dating service’s office at the same time and struck up a friendship. We four ended up going out to dinner together, on a couple of road trips, had sleep-overs (even tho we ranged in age from early-20’s to late 40’s).

        So, I guess the moral of the story is: If you’re willing to put yourself out there and strike up conversations, you can make friends at any age in any venue.

    13. Mimmy*

      I met one of my closest friends in grad school; I was in my late 20s/early 30s at the time. She’s since moved away but I still see her on Facebook from time to time. I do miss her though.

    14. BSD*

      This is obviously not an option for everyone, but I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve made a lot of friends in the past few years through having maintained a personal blog. I’ve ended up meeting up with a lot of people who also blog on the same platform after we’d followed each other for months/years and had struck up online friendships. I’ve found the benefit of this to be that once you do meet up, you can skip the small talk and a lot of the getting-to-know-you stuff that takes up so much time in the early days of friendship because you’ve already been reading about each other for ages and probably have some pretty significant shared interests.

      Huge caveat: I suspect this only works if you live in a big city, otherwise the odds of striking up a relationship with a stranger online are too small. (Though I also now could travel a lot of places and know there’s someone I could make plans with, which is pretty cool.)

    15. Stephanie*

      I made friends through friends of friends (like “Hey Stephanie! You should meet Wakeen! He also lives in your town!”), my running group, and improv. It’s definitely tough and takes a bit longer than you’d imagine.

    16. Lindsay J*

      Ugh, I’ve really been struggling with this recently.

      I have some great, BFF type friends. But they live on the other side of the country from me so I see them like once a year at most.

      When I moved down here we kind of had a friend group built in – a bunch of us moved from NJ to TX at the same time to work at the same place. But even there, I felt like I never really fit in with the group. They accepted me when I was there, but wouldn’t specifically invite me if my boyfriend at the time wasn’t hanging out with the guys. We all grew apart. I broke up with my ex and moved about an hour away. There is one girl that I keep in touch with but she is so insecure and negative that I can only tolerate her in small doses.

      And now for the last year or so I just don’t really have any friends. I’ve tried putting myself out there, but either the people in groups have nothing in common with me, or they’re really exclusionary, or they’re perfectly nice but we meet and just play games and never talk about anything so there’s no “getting to know you” and no way to build to socializing outside of the group.

      I went to Global Reddit Meetup day last week hoping I’d at least talk to a few people. I probably said 5 words to one person who was walking their dog, and a few words to people asking about the different kegs of beer. Otherwise I sat alone watching everyone else talk to each other. It kind of sucked.

      I’m planning on starting to volunteer so maybe I’ll meet somebody there. And there is a regular Reddit meetup I went to a couple times last year but couldn’t go to regularly because of my work schedule. Now I can so I’m going to try to go back to that.

      The other problem is that trying to meet people and make friends is expensive. Most groups around here meet at restaurants or bars (really mostly bars). And it’s kind of shitty to sit at a place and take up their seats and socialize without giving them revenue, so you have to at least order a drink, and doing that a couple times a week every week adds up.

      Boyfriend and I also do pub trivia and we’re going to see if we can find some people to invite to join us.

      I downloaded the Bumble app, which is like Tinder but has a BFF mode. I used it a little bit the first day I downloaded it but then never went back in to see if I had any matches.

      I’ve always had a lot easier time finding boyfriends than just friends. I think maybe because there are so many avenues that are purposely built for meeting a significant other? There’s also kind of a standard way to progress things, where there really isn’t either one of those things for just making friends.

      1. zora.dee*

        About meetups being expensive: have you tried suggesting some free/cheap ones and see if other people want to join? I have a meetup group that does a regular Sunday morning walk (not every week, but most weeks) and low-key hikes and people have really loved it. It’s easier to chat with people when you’re moving, and it’s free and low-pressure and people have really liked that. I know other groups that do after work walks, too.

        The way ours works: we meet at a coffee shop near a lake with a walking trail, I post about a 15 minute window for everyone to gather out front of the coffee shop, and then we head out and walk in a loop that is about 3 miles. Maybe there are other people who also feel like it’s really expensive but haven’t said anything.

    17. Levsha*

      I really appreciate all these responses! I have a pretty good set of friends right now, but I’m at a transient period in my life/all my friends are likely to be on the move, and I’m TERRIFIED that if things change or if I move, I’ll never have friends again.

      Weirdly, hearing that everyone finds this challenging makes me feel better!

    18. AliceBD*

      A huge number of my friends in this city are from my church. (I’m saying church, but also works for other religious groups.) You see them every week, you’re often doing something together, and you have a common interest. I have friends who are atheists belong to basically atheist versions of church, with the community of a religious group but without the religion. If I go to church every week, I basically never feel lonely. If I skip it (other than for being out of town), I start to feel that way.

      Most of my current local friends are not near my age. Like the Ask Polly article Alison linked to, the activities I’m interested in are not the activities that most people my age seem to be interested in. The activities I’ve done here and in my previous city seem to attract women in their mid-50s (my mom’s age) to mid-60s. I’m in my mid 20s. In my previous city I was in a romance novel book club and did church stuff. Here I have taken Spanish classes, gone to a few crocheting/knitting groups (the only one that worked with my schedule etc is one I helped start with church friends, all of whom are women older than my mother), been in a handbell choir, volunteered with various things through my university alumnae association, and more. I am slowly starting to make friends with my sorority alumnae group here. I was president for 2 years to make sure we had regular events and to encourage younger women to join, and it has started to work, so I’m starting to have more women there who are close to my age and share some interests. They have also just re-started a 20s and 30s group at my church, although I feel like a fish out of water there because everyone else who attends is partnered and usually comes as a couple. I’ve looked on meetup for groups, but they are either an hour away on the other side of the metro area or they are entirely uninteresting to me.

      Another issue is that lots of things happen out at restaurants/bars/coffee shops. I don’t have tons of money to spend on buying stuff at these places. Plus, I only drink water and don’t eat pastries, because other drinks and desserts don’t agree with my digestive system. So I don’t like things that are just drinks, either alcoholic or at a coffee shop, because I just have to sit there and order water and feel bad there is nothing else I can get and support the venue. Also can’t eat pizza, which gives a similar challenge.

      I am introverted, in that I recharged by being by myself, and I need a lot of alone time. However I am not hesitant about attending events where I don’t know anyone and am good at making small talk. I am outgoing and have no social anxiety, so I don’t usually have any concern about going to events that some of my (non-local) friends have with going to events to meet new people.

    19. Christina*

      I started a cookbook club! I’m not a hugely extroverted person, but I find food (especially food in someone’s home) has a special ability to bring people together.

      I saw an article on Serious Eats about a cookbook club, and commented that if anyone in Chicago wanted to start one, to email me. About 6 people emailed me from that, plus about 6 people I already knew as acquaintances that I thought might be interested. There were 6 people at the first meeting, but we average about 12 people per meeting since (I have about 30 people on the email list for the group). At this point, the cookbook club dinners are almost the exception to when we get together–we go out to dinner, farmers market on the weekends, go to cooking classes, summer concerts…

      A few of us were just talking last week about how this was such a lucky and unique way to make friends as an adult, because yes, it is absolutely hard!

      More on my blog (click on my name for the link) if you want to read more about it and the books we’ve done and how it works.

    20. hermit crab*

      On a related note, anyone in the DC area want to get together and awkwardly hang out and maybe become friends?

      1. Lady Kelvin*

        Seriously, I’m in. I could use some new friends. Or really anyone with whom to get out of the house and chat for a bit, I’m not super picky.

        1. hermit crab*

          Let’s do it!! I’m going to put an email address in the website field (hopefully that works) and anyone who’s interested is welcome to send me a message! I don’t comment often, but I’ve been a reader here for a long time and (in the least creepy way possible) sort of consider you all my friends already.

          1. hermit crab*

            OK, I don’t think that worked, but the email address is peagreenpoems at gmail.

    21. dear liza dear liza*

      We’ve been in our area for over 10 years now and I have plenty of acquaintences but not too many friends. The social life here revolves around church and kids, and if you are not Christian with children, well, you’re kind of out of luck. I’m completely open to all kinds of people and age groups, but I’m continuously disappointed by how few people return that openness. Just recently I played my game, “Will this person ever ask me a question?” in which I mingle with some strangers at a bbq or picnic and have a conversation- and see if they ever, ever, ask me a question. Most times the answer is: No. Example:

      Me: “I really like movies too. Have you seen anything recently?”
      Person: “Oh, well we saw Finding Dory and it was cute. The kids really liked it.”
      Me: “Oh, I saw Finding Nemo but haven’t seen the sequel. I like how Pixar tries to entertain adults, too. Did you like Dory?”
      Person: ” It was okay.”
      Lull while I try to think of another conversational topic.

      Note that there’s nothing wrong, it’s just that I have to do all the work. Bah.

    22. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I actually have a very close group of girlfriends that I met on an online message board. We were all at the same stage in life and have kept up our friendship for over 10 years, we live spread out in our metroplex but we meet up fairly regularly.

      I also met a couple of good friends through work. One of them actually asked me to be her friend, haha! She had moved here not knowing anyone and we had lunch a couple of times. One day she said, “You’re really cool and I don’t know anyone here. Will you be my friend?” So I invited her to a few get-togethers with my friends and she actually ended up becoming really good friends with another friend of mine. I don’t hesitate to introduce people who I think would get along well!

      I have also met several good friends through my running group. I joined it when I was training for my first marathon and, well, when you spend several hours with a group of people every weekend you get pretty close! A few of those friendships have stuck even after we didn’t run together much anymore. A few of us started a book club, since then others have joined the book club as well and I’ve gotten to know them as well.

      I think it helps to do some group activities and see who you end up talking to every time. For example, with my running group, a few of us would initiate get-togethers outside of running. “Hey, let’s meet up for brunch at this cool new place we talked about on our last run!” or “How about we all talk about how our last race went over drinks?”

    23. Lady Kelvin*

      I moved to DC last summer because my husband lives here (we were long distance for 3 years while I was/am in school). Since I work remotely trying to finish writing my PhD I never leave the house except to walk my dog. I have absolutely no friends in DC and its already been a year, I’ve tried running groups, going to the gym, etc but the only people I know are people who work with or are married to people my husband works with. It is so hard to make friends, sometimes I meet people and think wow we could be friends and then I never see them again because no one else needs new friends, seemingly except me. Plus I left people in Miami who I was really close to and its hard to have to start over again. At least if I worked in an office I would talk to people outside of my house, but alas, the only people I talk to are my dog and my husband. It makes me hate what is likely a perfect good city to live in, but I am so lonely.

      1. Rana*

        Maybe try taking a class in something? I find that there’s something about the dynamic of being in a bunch of people wanting to learn new things that creates more openness than other groups. At the very least, you will be forced get out of the house and chat with people for a bit, and that is really important when you’re dissertating. If you can find something that results in a physical object and uses your hands (knitting, pottery, baking, etc.) that’s also really helpful, because those parts of your brain are starving for attention right now (if you’re like I and my friends were when dissertating).

        Hang in there!

    24. QualityControlFreak*

      Honestly, I have to say it’s been by accident mostly. I’m a strong introvert, not shy, but I really need time to myself. I just … lived my life, did stuff I was interested in, and in the course of that met people who were interested in the same stuff. So we did the stuff together, it was fun, and we became friends. Deep conversations came after that. ;)

    25. Mando Diao*

      I’m in my early 30s and I’ve started making friends with people in their 40s and 50s. They’re better at sticking to plans and they don’t have any of the relationship drama that makes people drop out of friend groups or bring headaches to everyone else.

    26. Phyllis B*

      What about when you’re in your sixties and want a buddy? It seems like most of the women I meet in my age group are 1. Married and want to socialize as a couple or 2. Single and want to find a new man (hitting the bars.) I’m married, but my husband doesn’t like to socialize. He doesn’t care if I do, just leave him out of it. I Just want friend to the movies or a play with, discuss favorite books with, go to a restaurant and share a glass of wine and an appetizer with. In my fourties I had friends, but life took us in different directions, and now I have no one to hang with.

      1. zora.dee*

        awww, I’m in my late-30s, but I feel like I would love to be your friend! Maybe think outside the box a little bit, maybe someone in a different age bracket would still really hit it off. When I did lots of volunteering, I got really close with a few women 20-30 years older than me, I was always kind of dorky so I feel like we totally had the same interests, more than I did with other 20-somethings. And everything you listed there sounded really fun to me. I don’t have any magic solutions, since I’m having trouble finding friends, too, but I sympathize and wish you luck and hope you find some soon!

    27. AnotherTeacher*

      I think I’ve mentioned this before – I’ve made some good friends through volunteering. We all share a common interest, so there’s an immediate connection. Though our volunteer work is at the center of these relationships, with a few people, I’ve forged genuine, “we talk about anything,” friendships.

      As an introvert, this has been an easy way to make friends, because I have something concrete to do and don’t have to find things to talk about. The friendships blossomed naturally.

    28. AVP*

      If you’re a woman of feminist leanings, I would do a search and see if your area has a Toast/Hairpin Facebook or meet-up group. That’s how I’ve met all my non-school, non-work adult friends. Try the archived Toast open threads.

    29. Monogamish*

      We all know that trying to make friends poat-college is a lot like dating, so it boggles my mind that OKCupid hasn’t released a “let’s be friends” version and/or actually marketed the “looking for: new friends” option more. Their personal profile + matching algorithm is genius, and I have met some very cool people, including some that didn’t work out romantically but became real friends.

  3. AnotherTeacher*

    +1 for Alison’s book recommendation. I picked it up on a whim – I’d never read the author’s other work at that point – and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Lillian McGee*

      I loved Never Let Me Go too. Also devastating and beautiful is Remains of the Day. I wasn’t wildly impressed with his other novels but those two are outstanding.

        1. Bookworm*

          I adore Remains of the Day. It’s good to hear that the last one was good as well; I’ll have to pick it up!

    2. TheLazyB*

      Weirdly I just finished a book called The Girl With all the Gifts by M R Carey and there’s a book club question at the end comparing it to Never Let Me Go. Anyone else read that? Is it a good comparison?

      1. Overeducated*

        Huh, I read both and didn’t make a connection. They are very different in most ways but have some common core elements, I guess (children, containment, imagined English landscapes). Never Let Me Go is a much quieter book, and more about growing up and loss, while Girl with all the Gifts is more traditional Sci fi dystopia.

        1. Turanga Leela*

          Agreed. For whatever it’s worth, I didn’t like Girl With All the Gifts, and I don’t like most sci-fi, but I love Never Let Me Go. A friend who also loves Never Let Me Go says that it is technically a sci-fi dystopia, but contains almost none of the tropes of the genre. You could read it as a deconstruction (or just as a beautiful, understated novel).

          1. AVP*

            Back in high school we were learning about book criticism and going to an all-girl school almost everyone turned in feminist critiques of what we were reading…except for me, I wrote a deconstructivist critique of Remains of the Day. It worked perfectly!

      2. AVP*

        I’ve read both and don’t think they’re similar at all except on the superficialities of being about ‘odd’ children in England- but Ishiguro has gotten more into spec lit over the years. I think The Buried Giant is more in that vein than his older books…

    3. Camster*

      I love this book! I read it in my book club several years, not knowing what it was about. Very well written and captivated my interest. A co-worker and I were discussing this book just this past week.

    4. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Yes, same with me! I also picked it up on a whim at a used book store (I’d remembered seeing it recommended somewhere else) and really liked it.
      I watched the movie version a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t really love it. Anyone else seen it?

      1. AnotherTeacher*

        I didn’t care for the movie, either. But, since I’d already read the book and knew what to expect, I missed experiencing that layer of the narrative.

  4. Cat Woman*

    I got the book that posters recommended last weekend to me: Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Due to settlement of a class action suit between Amazon and Apple, I received 35.00 in Amazon credit. I used it to get this book, as well as Thug Kitchen’s first cookbook (love that website) and A Street Cat Named Bob. All free. :)

    I’m feeling a little better about the money situation this weekend. I checked my credit cards and I’m seeing my available credit balance start to increase, which is nice. I haven’t used my cards for anything in the last couple months. Although if there’s another cat situation I might have to. Hoping I won’t, though.

    I’m selling a piece of gym equipment tomorrow–a weight machine–so that’s 75.00 in my pocket. Found a new purse I can sell. Also, I was one of the people that got a bunch of vouchers from Ticketmaster for free tickets, so I was able to snag some tickets, which I’ll sell on eBay. Actually, I didn’t get them for the sole purpose of selling them. I got some for my husband and it turns out he won’t be able to use them. I have a gym membership I can cancel soon. It’s only 10.64 a month, but it’s one less thing to pay. I’m locked into my cell plan for another year, so I’ll have to wait on that one.

    So, I’m feeling better. Thanks to everyone who gave me great suggestions. I especially liked the one about buying good items at Goodwill and reselling them.

    1. Cat Woman*

      Just went through my closet and found a total of 6 bags I can eBay: three Coach handbags (one new–got it at a tag sale), a black leather handbag, a small Simply Vera handbag, and a big shiny black bag I got as a free gift from some store years ago, tags still on it.

      Anyone think the used Coaches will sell? Whoever buys them would need to clean them and one probably should have the straps replaced.

      I honestly didn’t think I had any more things to get rid of, but apparently I do. I could also sell my camera, I’m thinking. I don’t use it except at concerts, which are maybe once a year.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Awesome! You’re doing well. I’ve been following the Total Money Makeover for a while. My husband was out of work for seven months, so things have been really hard for us. But, by following TMM, we’ve been able to improve our financial situation drastically. We went from almost losing our car to repossession to having enough money on hand to pay all of our bills up until August 23. I sold a lot of stuff to get to this point, and I can honestly say I don’t miss it. Being able to fall asleep at night without stressing over money is so much more valuable than a candle holder or a purse (to me, anyway).

      2. zora.dee*

        Used Coaches are super popular. I had a friend who was scouring eBay for Coach bags every day. Definitely post them.

      3. AnotherAnon*

        The Coaches should definitely sell on Ebay! You can search for the model of your bags on Ebay to see what others are/have sold for, then price yours similarly and take good photos to accurately document the condition. You might consider selling them as-is and letting the next owner repair them if the wish, if you think the cost of the repair won’t add much value to the item’s worth.

      4. ginger ale for all*

        Don’t skip listing non designer purses. I collect vintage purses and I rarely look at who made them, just what they look like. I tend to go for vintage wooden painted or decoupaged ones. You never know what will sell.

      5. automotive engineer*

        You might consider also listing on poshmark as well as ebay. I know some people look there when they want a specific designer and new w/tag items can fetch quite a bit.

    2. Scotty Smalls*

      Just wanted to post some encouragement! I got out of debt a few years ago and it was one of the kindest things I could ever have done for myself. Since then, I really enjoy helping others do the same. I’m going to teach Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey’s class) in the fall and can’t wait.

    3. Cat Woman*

      I decided to try Mint.com for budgeting, etc. I’m in the process of setting it up now and it seems pretty easy. I tried YNAB, but I had a hard time with it for some reason. Thanks to whoever recommended Mint.com!

  5. Haru*

    Is it unreasonable to skip out on one activity (clubbing) my friend had planned for her four-day bachelorette weekend? She’s insisting I go even though I said I would find this absolutely miserable and getting a wisdom tooth removed would be less wretched. I agreed to do everything else she wanted those 4 days, even though the activities range from this isn’t something I would find enjoyable to I’m only doing this because she’s been my friend for almost 10 years.

    I can’t understand her point of view. If a friend said they didn’t want to do something, I would never tell them no argument, you have to do this. The part of me that hates conflict is tempted to give in to her demand so we could go back to normal.

    For additional back-story, her maid of honor had originally planned a simple weekend at the beach for the bachelorette, partially because one of the bridesmaids is unemployed at the moment and maid of honor can’t take any more days off that month, but the bride said she didn’t want that and has turned the weekend into a laundry list of activities she wants to do before she gets married to be done over the course of four days.

    1. Haru*

      We’ve never argued before and I try to avoid any disagreements with friends, so I feel so stressed and not sure what to do.

      1. Myrin*

        I sympathise completely, however, I feel like this is something it’s worth arguing over. She is clearly in the wrong here and you and all the others don’t have to stand for that.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          And it also doesn’t have to be an argument! It can just be a very nicely said, “Sorry, I can’t do that! But I’m looking forward to doing X with you.”

      2. neverjaunty*

        Someone who is only your friend if you agree with her, and who treats any disagreement as “arguing”, is not really your friend.

        I cannot fathom insisting that a friend do an activity with me if that activity makes her miserable, ESPECIALLY if she’s dealing with a wisdom tooth on top of that.

        1. Elle*

          I don’t think she is dealing with a wisdom tooth; if I read it correctly, she would rather be dealing with a wisdom tooth then going out clubbing.

    2. the gold digger*

      Nope. Not unreasonable. The bride is being unreasonable – four days? Four whole days of stuff she wants to do and you are supposed to do it with her? If you have a job, that means you are supposed to use two of your precious vacation days to tag along (and pay for) things you might not want to do?

      Your friend is being really unreasonable. It’s OK for you to tell her you cannot participate in everything.

      Back in my day, when we walked uphill both ways to school in the snow, there was a bridal shower and there was a bridesmaids lunch and then there was the wedding and you were done, left with nothing more than a dress you were never going to wear again and some cake.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Four days? And you must do everything she wants during that time? And she’s ignored people’s concerns about their financial and work situations? She’s being awful.

      Any chance several of you can say “we can’t do that, but we can do Saturday to Sunday”?

      1. Critter*

        Right? I thought a “four-day bachelorette weekend” sounded like the premise of a shitty summer comedy, but then the extra info about how she’s insisting on having it this way makes her sound like a real peach.

        Haru, does the club have food, at least? Clubbing is awful, but perhaps it’s one of those places with leather couches and chicken tenders. Or quesadillas.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Seriously. These bachelorette weekends are getting out of hand. I have never been invited to one, but every time I hear about these weekends, it sounds awful to me. Now, if a bunch of my really good friends wanted to get a house in some beautiful, relaxing location and drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of food and just hang out (and nap), I’d be down with that. But running around and spending tons of money for four whole days? Nah.

        I’m actually impressed with the MOH who took everyone’s situations into account. I’m disappointed that she caved to the bride.

        FOUR DAYS.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          Seriously! I’ve been married 10 years now and you know what we did for my bachelorette party? Went to dinner and then to a bar. This was like 2 days before the wedding, when my bridesmaids came in town for the wedding (because they all lived out of town at that time). One of my friends had plastic cups made for her bachelorette outing around the same time and I thought that was fancy.

          Now it’s a whole weekend-long affair. And it seems like there are more parties than ever.

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          A good friend of mine got married back in April. She and her now-husband had “Wedding Week” things planned that covered 5 or 6 days. BUT — lots of guests were from out of town and wanted to go sight-seeing and get together (they’re all friends from a large national group who see each other at the group’s annual conference), and all of the events, save for the wedding itself, were optional. I dropped in for one of the dinners, but then ducked out when everybody headed to a comedy club afterward.

          If you’re going to do the big “Wedding Week” thing, it’s definitely best to say, “We’d love to have you come to any or everything, whatever works best for you.”

      3. K.*

        She sounds like a complete bridezilla. I would opt out of the whole four-day shebang, but that’s me. A weekend is one thing, particularly if you have people coming from out of town. (And even then, a weekend trip seems beyond. All the bachelorette parties I’ve been involved with have taken place in the city in which the bride lived.) But four days of scheduled “we are only doing what I want, so there” activities is beyond.

        It’s an invitation, not a subpoena. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Four days seems really…excessive. I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to want to sit out an activity or two, especially when those activities are spread over four (!!) days.

    5. Levsha*

      My shoulders are up around my ears just thinking about a four-day bachelorette weekend. No, you’re not unreasonable.

      I would love to hear from someone who has had this type of wedding with lots of events, etc. To me it honestly seems like a lot of pageantry, like staging a giant expensive theatrical production in honor of yourself. I realize I’m not exactly coming from a neutral perspective, but this is one of those things where I feel like the majority of the world is nodding along going “yep, totally normal” and I’m like why.

      1. Temperance*

        My horrible SIL did this (I did not partake, since she skipped my party and I wasn’t about to celebrate her because I hate her). She had a brunch, then her shower, then her bachlorette in the same day. She had several brunches, cookouts, meetups for the wedding party (WHY) and then a huge, expensive wedding. My husband’s brother went along with it because he wanted to have a family and she was also willing.

        This is the same woman who told me I should let her get married first because she was older and in a rush to have kids.

        1. anon who needs a name*

          I think a brunch/shower/bachelorette in the same day is totally normal, and it’s also convenient for people who have to travel from out of town to get there. Then the two big events are on one day instead of spread out, so it saves a lot of time and money. I’ve gone to quite a few of those and while it’s exhausting, I appreciate that it’s only one day I have to mark off in my calendar.

          Multiple brunches, cookouts, and meetups on the other hand is ridiculous and definitely verges into self-importance imo.

          1. NJ Anon*

            Back in the dinosaur days, not everyone who was invited to one function (i.e. shower) was necessarily invited to another (Bachelorette).
            We did the shower a month or so before the wedding and the Bachelorette (do people still do these?) The weekend before.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Love the theater image, Levsha. I watched Princess Diana get married and thought no.way.in.hell.

          My husband used to say weddings and funerals are for those left behind. He did not mean the “look at me” crowd but the saying works there, too.

          Temperance, you controller of weddings, you! Am shaking my head. What is the matter with people like your SIL.
          I was oblivious so it took me years to figure it out. We set our date and friends suddenly set their date before ours. I finally figured out that the reason I did not know their date was because they were waiting to see what we were doing. Ick. Fortunately it worked into a non-issue because we did not even pay any attention to sequence. It just was not important to us.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Why do they care who gets married first? Is it so they can have their mutual friends’ excitement all to themselves before everyone is all blase about the fourth and fifth weddings of the summer? Do they think people will run out of gift money and they’ll get the short end of the stick? Socially competitive people do so many things that I do not understand!

            1. Not So NewReader*

              It struck me as funny because it was a Grand Canyon size lack of understanding of where I was at in my thinking. I did not want a church wedding and felt I had to have one. I did not care if people showed or not because people do what they can as they can. Likewise with presents, people do what they can and that is it. Yeah, maybe you are right about excitement/money/travel expenses and so on. My friends put themselves through a lot of needless and pointless pressure.

      2. Your Weird Uncle*

        Ugh. O god. Four days is absolute madness, and I agree with you completely about how it feels like a lot of self-important pageantry. I’m getting married in November and honestly I can’t see what all the fuss is about; I would be mortified to suggest anything more than we’re already planning.

      3. Kay*

        We did a sort of longer wedding weekend thing. It wasn’t my favorite idea at the outset, but it quickly became apparent that it was the first and last time for some length of time that my extended family would be together, so we tried to provide opportunities to gather that were not compulsory.

        So the schedule was:
        Friday lunch with family
        Friday evening rehearsal dinner (wedding party) + welcome to Maine reception (everyone)
        Saturday morning wedding 10:00 am
        Saturday wedding reception brunch 11:00 am
        Saturday afternoon BBQ on the beach 3:00 pm
        Sunday morning yoga on the beach 9:00 am

        We went to great pains to emphasize that EVERYTHING was totally optional, and that we wanted to provide opportunities for people but not make it a slog. In fact I personally skipped most of the BBQ and definitely the yoga. So I think it worked out. It was a case of getting married in a vacation-y type of place with a large extended family who wanted to spend more time with each other. Me, personally, I would’ve been happy with a quick in & out but neither was I unhappy with the way the schedule expanded.

        1. Levsha*

          That makes more sense to me – taking advantage of family time while they’re all there. It’s the elaborate proposal, then engagement party, then wedding shower, then multi-day bachelor(ette) party with matching outfits rigamarole before you even get to the wedding that just brings something confused, horrified, and judgy in me.

          Also the idea of wedding reception brunch is amazing. I would love to eat waffles at my wedding.

          1. Kay*

            I explicitly nixed an engagement party, and my bachelorette was me + three friends going to a b&b, drinking lots of wine, and taking a cooking class the next morning. People seemed to have fun at the bridal shower, which confused me? I was pretty explicit about how awkward I thought it was to open presents in front of everyone but they all liked it, I dunno. The endless parties and expectations, UGH.

            We tried so hard to make waffles work but apparently they are very hard to do for 150 people. :( We did quiche, build your own crepe stations, a yogurt bar, and mimosas instead. Apps were all breakfasty too, mini cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting, french toast sticks dipped in maple cream, and little triangles of toast with bacon jam. And then we did not do a wedding cake but a brownie sundae bar instead! I think the food is the thing I am most proud of planning. (Insomuch as I am proud of planning any of it, which I am really not because I did not put that much effort into it, tbh!

            1. Michaela*

              I had a friend who felt totally awkward about the opening-presents-in-front-of-people thing at her shower — so she got her six-year-old niece to open everything. The niece had a blast, it was super adorable, and she got to duck a thing she didn’t want to do.

          2. YaH*

            My sister had brunch at her reception! It was a breakfast buffet with an omelette chef and a pancake bar, and she had cupcakes instead of cake. Best wedding ever.

      4. misspiggy*

        I did a multiple-event hen night (UK bachelorette equivalent) precisely because different people would be up for different things, depending on inclination and wallet. We did a really girly museum/art show, afternoon tea in a nearby garden, dinner in the same area, swing dancing, and late-night drinks and silly games. Several people only took part in one or two activities. It was lots of fun and meant I could invite colleagues that we couldn’t afford to invite to the wedding. Everyone paid their own way but no gifts were involved.

      5. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I’m about to be a part of one of these weddings. I just got asked to be a bridesmaid on Thursday and I’m already kind of exhausted thinking about it all!

        First, she asked me to be a bridesmaid by getting a label printed up and putting it on a bottle of champagne. Pretty cute, but she could have just asked, lol. They already had an engagement party, there’s going to be a “wedding party party” for the wedding party to meet everyone, I’m sure a dress-shopping outing, bridal showers (plural), a bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs ($$$$$), plus all of the activities of the actual wedding weekend.

    6. anon who needs a name*

      What is up with these long extended bachelorette or bachelor weekends? I’ve heard of or known quite a few people over the past year who’ve made weekends out of them and I think it’s kind of ridiculous and doesn’t take into account that not everyone can afford them or has the time to go. It seems so excessive.

      Honestly, I would say you don’t even have to go for four days. That’s asking a lot, especially since it’s not like it’s a 4 day vacation you guys had planned and agreed on. If one of my oldest friends wanted me to spend 4 days for a bachelorette, I definitely would not go for all 4 days. I’m irritated enough when I have to take time off work for someone’s wedding, let alone a bachelorette.

      I’d say to skip the clubbing – and I feel you on that – I’ve definitely only gone to the dinner and drinks part of parties and skipped the clubbing because I would have been miserable. Do the other bridesmaids and guests feel the same way? My guess is they’re probably not too pleased about the 4 day thing, even more so if you guys are expected to foot the bill for a lot of it.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I agree that it’s excessive. In fact, I think hen and stag nights are silly altogether.

        If I were getting married, I wouldn’t even WANT one. I don’t like being single and to me, it would just be a relief that it was over. If some friends wanted to take me out to dinner or drinks to be nice, I’d probably be like, okay, but I just don’t see the point.

        1. anon who needs a name*

          Yeah. I don’t plan on ever getting married because I actually like being single, but I’ve always said that if something changed and I did get married, a nice dinner with friends would be cool. But then, I’m also a fan od a city hall wedding, so.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I’d like to have a wedding. A small one, but still a wedding. In fact even if I were marrying an effing PRINCE or a celebrity, I’d want a small wedding!! I don’t need a Maypole and carnival rides and a pony and a champagne fountain and 62976419289241 guests. Well, wait; the pony would be cool….

            All I want is a pretty cake and a pretty dress and a few pretty flowers and a pretty husband. ;)

            1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

              Whoa whoa whoa now, don’t go throwing out the baby with the bathwater!

              A pony and carnival rides sound pretty nice.

              Also, chocolate fountain instead of the champagne, and we’re on a roll. But really, who says I need to invite anyone to my wedding anyways? I might just throw myself a wedding, marry myself, have my pony and my chocolate fountain with a carousel, and call it a day.

                1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

                  Always cake! A big cake. Chocolate. Vanilla. Heck, I want all the tiers in all the flavors. Perks of no groom means I get to make all the decisions!

            2. Blurgle*

              Thing is, if you were marrying a prince you’d get a big ceremony but not much of a party – thems what waves view enormous, day- long receptions as tacky.

              You also wouldn’t have to lift a finger.

        2. TootsNYC*

          “If some friends wanted to take me out to dinner or drinks to be nice, I’d probably be like, okay, but I just don’t see the point.”

          Here would be the point of that:

          It’s a big, exciting change in your life. Your very closest would like to have a little bit of time to marvel at it with you. BUT…at the wedding, it’s going to be busy, and lots of relatives claiming your time and attention. And so, this sort of gathering, and the OLD version of a bridal shower (which was ONLY your closest women kith & kin), was a chance for them to be with you pretty intimately.

        3. Turanga Leela*

          I didn’t have a bachelorette, and I wish I had. Nothing crazy, just a party with good food, good cocktails, and my girlfriends. If I were doing it over again, I would do that.

          I know a few women who have had bachelorette weekends because their friends are scattered around the country. It’s harder to get people together for a one-off party than for a weekend. Four days is long, though. And there should definitely be no pressure to attend.

      2. dear liza dear liza*

        Oh…this reminds me of an opportunity to do an interthread! A friend of a friend was roped into a bridezilla’s wedding and not only was the bridezilla demanding that this friend attend a week-long bachelorette bonanza, but then sprung on her that ALL THE BRIDESMAIDS WOULD BE SHARING BEDS. The friend barely knew the bride- who was of course getting her own bed.

      3. Mike C.*

        I was going to say, I feel like the bachelor’s stuff is actually going in the opposite direction. One friend of mine did high end go carts, a trip to the shooting range, dinner and ended the night at a nice bar. One brother of mine had my dad, myself and my other brother hiked through an underground lava cave. Mine was go carts and a nice picnic lunch and hanging out with college buddies.

        This four day shit, holy cow. Though I’d be up for clubbing, provided I knew that the djs were good.

    7. Jen*

      Wow. I suggested (as an option to consider) a weekend trip for my sister (I’m the MOH) and she said “i don’t want to do that to everyone!”

      We ended up deciding to do a dinner/night on the town on the Thursday before her wedding. All out of staters are flying in Thursday anyway, since all the rehearsal stuff is Friday. The groom and groomsmen are also doing their deal on Thirsday; I think they are going fishing or something during the day and doing a bar crawl after.

      Only person annoyed is my (our) mother who doesn’t want people hung over for the rehearsal. Which is at 5pm Friday. We ignored her and told her she’s lucky we didn’t try to do this Friday night before the wedding!!!

    8. Lily Evans*

      What even does a typical bachelorette party look like? All I know is what I’ve learned from movies and TV shows. Is a two day weekend normal for these things? I’m going to be a bridesmaid for the first time this year, and there’s talk of doing the bachelorette party as a weekend at a casino out of state and I really don’t want to do that. I’m the only one who works weekends, so not only would I have to miss more work (I already agreed to the shower and, obviously, the wedding day) but that’s just so inconvenient and expensive. Add to that the fact that casinos in general are so not my idea of fun and I can’t stand half the bridal party. I’d also rather have teeth pulled, honestly, but I feel obligated to go.

      1. RKB*

        My sister’s bachelorette was a day at the spa (for wedding prep — we got our nails done, things waxed, facial hair removed, deep conditioning for our hair) and then dinner at The Melting Pot. We toasted her impending marriage and had a wonderful time. Ours was laid back and lowkey because my younger sister was 13 at the time and I don’t drink.

        1. EmmaLou*

          Good grief. I need more morning hot chocolate…. I read that as your sister got married at 13?!!!! So sorry…. More hot chocolate … more thinking….

        2. Lily Evans*

          Something like that would be so nice! I wouldn’t even mind going out to bars for the night if we could just do it in the major city where I live/work that’s under an hour from everyone else. Or even something where they all live, since it wouldn’t be all that far for me to drive and I work the early afternoon-evening shift. But a whole weekend seems like overkill.

      2. Al Lo*

        My bachelorette was a one-night thing a few days before the wedding, after my out-of-town bridesmaids came in. We had dinner at my sister’s house, went out to a pole dancing class (So. Fun. It was so much fun, my sisters and I took a 6-week class the next year — for a while, we tried to do some sort of workout activity [zumba, pole dancing, belly dancing] together, usually based on whatever we could find a Groupon for. I’d still love to do one more regularly), and then went out for drinks and dessert afterward. I didn’t pay, but I think that they ended up chipping in maybe $50 each for the class and the food?

        My husband’s bachelor party was a Saturday day thing with his brothers, his dad, and his groomsmen. I think they played frisbee golf, went out for dinner, and maybe had one other activity.

        I also had 2 showers — one pretty big one hosted at my church, for lots of family friends and people who had known me for my whole life. A couple of my bridesmaids hosted that one. The other was a smaller, family shower, co-hosted by my aunt and my mother-in-law. Both sides of aunts/grandmas/etc came to that one, rather than doing a small one for each side of the family.

        That all seemed pretty normal, and not excessive, to me.

      3. KR*

        I would use work as an excuse. No shame if you skip it – “Oh sorry, I ran low on PTO/my boss says I can’t call out/can’t afford to miss a weekend of work. Can you maybe go hang out one afternoon or evening with them instead of the whole weekend?

        1. Lily Evans*

          Since it’s not a firm plan yet, I’m going to try to suggest something that’s only one evening, since then I wouldn’t need any time off work. I wouldn’t really be able to go to them, even for a dinner or something, since the casino in question would be a good two hour drive from where I am. My friend who’s getting married is generally very sensible and laid back, I’m hoping she’ll see sense instead of listening to her high-strung MOH.

      4. The Other Dawn*

        My bachelorette was my best friend/MOH taking me to dinner and to see the strippers. That’s it. The idea of a four day is so bizarre to me. A weekend would be OK, but I don’t a casino is the right way to go with that. It’s tough for some people to come up with money to go away for a night, let alone also needing to bring money to gamble with. Plus there’s the sky-high prices they charge for food and drinks in those places.

        1. Lily Evans*

          Exactly! And while the bride and MOH come from well-off families and I could get by without it being a hardship, the other two bridesmaids definitely would have trouble affording this. I’ve said it before, but I fell like I’m living in the movie Bridesmaids.

      5. Turanga Leela*

        I’ve been to… two? It feels like more. Bachelorette #1 was an evening where we rented a limo and dressed up. We went out to dinner, then a pole dancing class (Al Lo, this is clearly a thing!), then wound up bowling for some reason. Bachelorette #2 was a two-day weekend. We rented an Air BnB in a centrally located city and spent most of the weekend in the house. We hired people to come by and do cooking and mixology classes for the group of us, and other than that we just hung out.

        It’s very reasonable to express your budget and scheduling limitations and stick to them. Nobody else gets to decide what you can and can’t afford, especially since you’ll have other wedding-related expenses (e.g. bridesmaid dress). In most situations, I think it would also be fine just to decide that you don’t want to go because it doesn’t sound fun, although that’s more complicated if you’re a bridesmaid because going to the bachelorette is seen as part of the deal. But it sounds like you have a perfect excuse to get out of this one—you can just say you have to work and send your regrets.

        1. Lily Evans*

          Ha, I should recommend pole dancing as an alternate activity because I would love to try that! And at this point, I’ve made it clear that a full weekend isn’t an option for me if I’m also going to be at the wedding. Even if it was a cheaper weekend I still wouldn’t be able to swing it (nor would I want to be stuck over night with this particular bridal party). Honestly, I’m kind of glad to have a built-in excuse!

          1. Al Lo*

            Seriously, it was so much fun, even for our group of crazy non-athletic, non-dancers! Most pole studios have bachelorette packages — I think ours was about 90 minutes long?

            When we took our longer class, the class before ours was an advanced group, and it was fun to show up early enough to watch them run their routines at the end of the session. That’s some serious core strength and athleticism!

      6. Athena C*

        My friend’s bachelorette party was at my apartment. We ordered pizza, bought a bunch of booze, and just hung out and talked. It was exactly what she wanted, and everyone had a great time.

    9. animaniactoo*

      So basically she’s become a bridezilla, and you’re asking if it’s okay not to concede to bridezilla in the hopes of not getting eaten? 8•)

      It’s totally fine, and doesn’t have to be an argument and would actually be a really good thing for her not to get her complete and total way over all of this. It’s “her day”, but it’s not so much her day that she gets to dictate and request stuff that makes people feel uncomfortable and leaves her hand in their wallet. And it’s fine to refuse to go along with that – “I’m sorry, I really can’t do that, not even for you no matter how much I love you. But I’m really looking forward to ______” (as Alison suggested, ending it with what you are willing to do, gives a positive note for the end). Repeat as necessary.

    10. V Dubs*

      I posted a very similar question almost a year ago! No, I didn’t go clubbing, but the bride wasn’t upset. I did drive 7 hours one way for the two-day weekend, so I think that makes up for it. It’s fine to stick to your guns on this one.

    11. Curiosity Killed The Bridesmaid*

      Your bride sounds a wee bit like a bridezilla that she is forcing, not just a longer celebration on her behalf, but also that everyone partakes.

      All weddings I’ve been part of have had missing bridesmaids at bachelorette. One was heavily pregnant and couldn’t travel easily so she missed the entire celebration. One was an underage sister of the groom who only attended the non-alcoholic portion of the celebration. Two sisters of brides in two different weddings only joined us for dinner and drinks, skipping the other celebrations because they had no interest in joining in (hiking for one, gaming and move watching for the other). And a bonus bachelorette was maid of honor treating the bride to a spa day was optional that most of us skipped for financial reasons.

      So I totally say to push back because a real friend, even a bride, would understand and not want to force you to do something you don’t want to do.

      Also four days is a lot! The longest we did was just two days (half day Friday evening, all day Saturday, and half day Sunday morning). Four days would be very unreasonable to me.

    12. salad fingers*

      Can I ask a related question about saying no to brides? My friend and her daughter were invited to friend Sara’s destination wedding in the Domincan Republic (to stand up and be the flower girl, respectively). Wedding was planned, finalized, invitations sent out and most RSVPs received just before the Zika virus became international news. I believe there was still the option to move the wedding back to the states, and I believe it was suggested by several guests.

      My friend is hoping to have another child soon (Sara and her soon to be husband, too – they’re hoping for a honeymoon baby) so she tells Sara that she is uncomfortable attending her wedding but wants to do everything she can here in Chicago to celebrate and support her new marriage. Sara is suuuuper upset, pretty much stops talking to my friend, stops responding to questions about the bridal shower. Thoughts?

        1. salad fingers*

          Sara thinks that the DR isn’t one of the riskiest spots, that the wedding won’t be during peak mosquito season, that the bug spray she’s including as part of the bridal gift (serious cringe! not actually that cute/funny!) will cover them and that my friend (divorced) doesn’t have someone solid for baby 2 at the moment so shouldn’t be concerned. All iron clad arguments, right?

              1. salad fingers*

                I know! The thing that truly confuses me is that Sara, PhD holding and otherwise intelligent adult, is not concerned about the baby she and fiance are actively trying to make. The delusions are strong in this one.

    13. Ellie H.*

      I agree that your friend sounds unreasonable and that it’s a rather extravagant sounding itinerary. BUT if it’s a situation where you are all staying together and doing all activities together the whole weekend (like staying in same hotel rooms or all in a rental house or something, eating all meals together etc.) it seems to me that there’s a chance it might create more bad feelings than it would be worth, if you are the only person who doesn’t go and she is a very close friend you’d rather not have bad feelings with. But if it’s in your home city or you’re staying separately and there are other activities not everyone can make it to, or if you don’t think it will cause too much ensuing conflict then of course it’s reasonable not to go.

    14. Lauren*

      Dump this “friend.” Back out of the wedding party and encourage the unemployed bridesmaid to back out as well. With this bride’s demands up so high now you must know it is only going to get worse. And I mean MUCH worse. There is no way you can salvage this friendship so save yourself a lot of grief and pain and financial cost. No sense losing those along with the friendship.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, I think I am with you on this one. Four days? Bridezilla has lost touch with reality.

        There is no argument when you say, “Sorry four days is not doable for me. I have to back out of the wedding party.” She can’t force you to do this.
        As far as the friendship, I think this friendship is pretty much on the rocks right now. You will forever have this vision of your self-focused, bridezilla friend having her “look at me” four day weekend. This is going to be a tough vision to shake off.

        The consolation is remembering that many people do not remain in contact or friends with the people in their wedding party anyway. We had a thread on that a while ago. If you knew the friendship would fizzle out in the future anyway, how does that change the way you see things right now?

      2. Turanga Leela*

        I wouldn’t assume the friendship is lost. I wouldn’t even assume that she has to back out of the wedding party. She can explain what she can and can’t do, be nice about it, and see what the bride says.

    15. ginger ale for all*

      I think it is time to talk to the bride about her turning into a bridezilla. I have never done that before, has anyone here done this? I wonder how it would be best approached because she is so over the line that I am not sure if anything would get through.

      1. LJ*

        I’m going to come at this from a slightly different perspective: while I think 4-day-long bachelorette parties are ridiculous and participants should be able to do whatever they want, there is something to be said about throwing a stress bride some kindness. Now this may not be the case for this bride, but when I got married a year ago and all around is this crazy pressure to have the “perfect” wedding and associated celebrations. With social media the way it is, you are supposed to have all your bridesmaids in their matching dresses and t-shirts drinking champagne as the sun sets. It’s nuts. So bride may feel like she needs to do this to keep up with the joneses or because she’s spent years doing this for other people and wants to feel as loved and celebrated as they were.

        Definitely have a chat with her. But be loving.

    16. Mando Diao*

      She sounds like she hasn’t participated in a lot of group activities as an adult. Half of the group is going to be too hungover on Day 3 to make it to the fancy brunch. Even the people who are jazzed about the plans now might fall into, “can we just see a movie?” mode by the second or third day. If people are coming in from out of town, they might want to go shopping or pick out their own restaurant for lunch. My advice would be to go through the motions and pretend you’re into it, and just wait for other people to start to opt out of activities as the weekend wears on. Outside of preferences, she’s asking people to expend a lot of physical energy and people are eventually going to start dropping like flies.

      I can’t say I don’t understand the impulse to have a lot of fun parties before friendships fall by the wayside in favor of marriage and children but this is exactly the sort of behavior that makes friendship hard to figure out as we get older.

      1. Haru*

        Sorry, I didn’t have a chance to use my laptop past two days. Thank you for saying its okay to opt out of one activity! I feel better. My friend hasn’t talked to me since I said I will do everything, but go clubbing.

        This behavior is out of character for my friend, and I agree with LJ. From past conversations, she feels a lot of pressure to have her wedding be better than her cousin’s wedding. Up to her engagement, she’s been a great friend. I’m hoping I can avoid doing anything that will upset her and that everything will go back to normal. I don’t want to ruin our friendship over this.

        All, but one bridesmaid (Karen) have brought up either financial and/or time constraints and tried suggesting going back to original plan. But, the bride hasn’t changed her mind. And Karen keeps suggesting more expensive ideas and saying how the bachelorette weekend has to be better than bachelor weekend. I know two of the other bridesmaid for a few years, but none of us know Karen well. My friend was recently convinced out of flying to another city for 2 days and then finishing the other 2 days in another city, so I’m hoping she’ll change her mind by the time its that weekend.

        1. Haru*

          If it makes any difference, the bridal shower is on a separate weekend from the bachelorette weekend.

          1. Lauren*

            I hope I am wrong, but given your additions I strongly suspect that few if any of you will be friends with the bride after the wedding.

            Best of luck to you!

  6. Myrin*

    Alison, I wanted to take the time to tell you how much I appreciate your awareness of social and cultural issues and how fast you shut down any shit-talker who comes around.

    I’m saying this because I recently (accidentally, ugh) went into the comment thread on a video by a person I really liked and admired, both video content- and personality-wise. They’ve talked a lot previously about feminism, homophobia, and classist attitude in a way that I appreciated very much, so I was incredibly disheartened to see that not only did they not shut down a thread about race that included gems such as “In today’s society, a straight white male has it the hardest in every aspect of life” or “It would be unfair to cast someone just because of their race and also if there were only black people!1!!” but actually made some seriously dumb joke that left me speechless. I now have a seriously bad taste in my mouth whenever I see that person and won’t watch their videos any longer.

    However, that’s just backstory for why I’m especially appreciating you, Alison, and the regular commenters here. It’s a good atmosphere where I don’t have to fear I’ll be blindsided by you doing a sudden 180 and decide that there’s no sexism or something and that pointing it out is sexist and arglbargl. So, really, thank you so much for running this site like you do!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thanks! I can definitely see how it would be easy to decide to just not wade into moderating comments at all and just let it be a free-for-all, which clearly a bunch of sites have decided to do. But to me it’s always felt like that’s like having a party and being okay with guests pooping in your living room and letting a fist fight break out in the kitchen.

      (And to turn this around, let me say how much I appreciate you all, after a week of fending off non-regulars who were attracted here by that intern post and were attempting to use more typical internet standards of conversing. I always felt great affection for all of you, but this week really drove it home!)

      1. Mimmy*

        I figured that was why the number of comments on several threads this week were so high.

      2. Myrin*

        But to me it’s always felt like that’s like having a party and being okay with guests pooping in your living room

        Don’t you mean “pooping in the potted plant”? ;)

        But seriously, had they just not answered at all, I wouldn’t have thought anything about it – like you say, lots of sites and individual people choose to let comments run wild. But the way they not only took part in the exchange but actually had something super weird to say (it wasn’t downright horrible or offensive or anything, just showed that they didn’t take people with a particular – and very reasonable! – complaint about something seriously) just didn’t make me like them anymore, to be quite honest.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        “…that’s like having a party and being okay with guests pooping in your living room and letting a fist fight break out in the kitchen.

        That was an amazing visual, LOLOLOL. I just spit cherry juice all over my computer. XD

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Bookmarking. I have a comment policy on my blogs–fortunately, I’ve only had to deal with spam and not assholes. I’m sure that will change if I ever become more well-known. :P

      4. Kyrielle*

        Heh. I saw that making the rounds on FB, and I hope some of the folks I saw commenting on it there didn’t show up here. (I’m confident I wouldn’t know if they had, because you cleared out the worst of it and then dropped it into moderation, and…these would’ve fallen into that.)

      5. Not So NewReader*

        Similarly, friend had a large party and found people smoking pot in his guest room. He was complaining. I said, “Control your party, set boundaries.” Judging from the look on his face I am from outer space.

        1. Perse's Mom*

          “But… but… but if I set limits and enforce them, these people I’ve never met before will think I’m not a cool guy!”

      6. AVP*

        “More typical internet standards of conversing” is such a great way to think about those awful threads.

    2. Levsha*

      Agreed! And I feel like I also get the benefit of your awesome regular commenter’s additional advice (thinking of Jamie and fposte in particular) which I don’t think would happen without the commenting culture you’ve created.

      1. Bibliovore*

        and Katie the Fed and Gold Digger (yes, she is the ONLY reason my husband and I have a will. Lawyer: What brought you in today. Bibliovore: Gold Digger

        1. the gold digger*

          Bibliovore, you just made my day! Thank you! And I am so happy you guys have a will!

          PS I just sent an email to Jamie, whom I have met IRL, to tell her we miss her and to ask if everything is OK.

          1. Jean*

            +1. I think of Jamie at odd hours of the day (when I’m driving in areas that remind me of parts of Chicago, because I think she lives in or near Chicagoland) and always hope that all is well with her.

    3. Mimmy*

      This is seriously my favorite interactive site – I’ve been on other sites that go from really enjoyable to downright unpleasant, and stays unpleasant enough for me to stay away. And I’m not talking provocative sites!

      One site in particular is a fan site for a singer I love. Some days everyone is on the same page and genuinely celebrating a great TV performance or videos posted from tour performances or even meet-and-greet stories. But, other days, it feels like we’re picking apart every little aspect of a performance, which sometimes leads to picking apart each other. I’ve been following this singer and interacting with other fans for well over 10 years, even making a couple of friends. But the nitpicking got to me so I stopped going to the site. I truly miss some people, but my sanity is more important.

      Anyway – Alison, you and this site are truly unique – I can come here with little worry that my comments will get picked apart (that happened to me several times in the aforementioned board). The commentariat are certainly no-nonsense, but still very reasonable. Cheers to all!

    4. TootsNYC*

      I like that you emphasize that we shouldn’t be mean to the commenters. I’ve seen attacking comments on another website, and it really just ruins the whole thing. I often encounter situations in my life that might make interesting conversation, but I won’t ever bring them up, because people seem to think there isn’t a real person on the other side of the online conversation.

      I actually now and then see a comment that I wish you would delete. I might argue for a slightly heavier hand–though I appreciate the idea that your boundary-setting response is out there for everyone to see–it helps to set the tone.

        1. TootsNYC*

          And sometimes it’s nice to see all the people saying, “Hey, that was mean! No fair.” It helps establish the norms, and hopefully it makes the OP feel like someone’s standing up for them.

    5. Aurion*

      Another appreciative reader chiming in. Alison, you strike a very good balance between shutting down rudeness and allowing us space to have our discussions, and I’m really grateful for it.

      I’ll also add that I’ve learned a fair amount from these discussions; some people have changed my views, others gave me some perspective that I didn’t have before even if I didn’t ultimately change my mind. I like to think I’m a little wiser for reading this site.

  7. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Who here is sad about The Toast shutting down yesterday? It sounds like Nicole and Mallory are excited to move on to other things, which is good, but I will so miss it.

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I’m so depressed! I’ve had a lot of stuff published over there and it’s been overall a fantastic experience to write for, so I guess I’ll have to take my freelancing out into the wide, not-so-friendly Internet void now.

    2. Three Thousand*

      I’m definitely going to miss it. I just discovered it right before it went down, but I can see why people are so torn up about it.

    3. Meemzi*

      I’m going to be hanging out in the archives for a while. I was also new to the site and sad to see my new favorite shut down.

    4. Bookworm*

      I only just discovered it because people were posting about how it was sad that it was going away. It’s like discovering a delicious restaurant a few nights before it shuts down.

      Are their archives going to live on, does anybody know?

    5. Kay*

      I am so completely devastated. I was not a regular but it was always a good place to go when I needed to revel in My People.

      Also one of only two places on the internet where the comments were worth reading. (AAM is the other!)

    6. Lily Evans*

      I’m really sad that this is the first time I’ve heard about The Toast! I have a feeling their archives will keep me entertained for a while…

    7. lulu*

      So sad. Such a wonderful website. I’m excited to see what they’re gonna do next though, and at least they went out with a bang!

  8. Elinor*

    Hey all!
    I really enjoyed the conversation earlier this week related to work meals and dietary restrictions. As I said in the comments, I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 3 weeks ago, and I’d been dreading work meals, even though it doesn’t happen very often. I still feel like crap but I understand it will take some months before I feel better. (Sigh.) Do any of my fellow celiac sufferers have any advice or suggestions? Mom and I are going to make blueberry muffins with King Arthur Flour Co’s new “Measure for Measure” GF flour. I’ll report back! Here is the link for those who are interested: http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2016/06/15/measure-for-measure/
    Thanks in advance! – E

    1. Clare*

      Hi Elinor!

      I’ve been diagnosed 3 years. It seems totally overwhelming in the beginning, I know. The best suggestion I can make is to read. Read labels, read websites etc. This really is a disease where knowledge is power. I basically don’t touch anything until I know it is gluten free.

      Be aware of gluten in things like lipstick, even shampoo, some people will say that you don’t need to worry about things like shampoo, but I don’t like to take the risk.

      For work meals, if you have them catered in, it is probably easier to just bring your own lunch due to cross contamination. Unless you talk to the caterer before hand and ensure you are the first one through the line, there is too much of a chance. I once had a work function where they had tacos catered and my boss was kind enough to order gluten free corn shells and make sure that the ingredients were okay in everything else. Well an overzealous co-worker made sure to be first in line and grabbed a flour tortilla and then proceeded to run every spoon along her tortilla as she was making her taco, thus contaminating all of the ingredients.

      If you go out, call ahead and ask about gluten-free and procedures they take to protect against cross contamination, i.e. do they cook the pasta in a separate pot etc.

      If your area has a gluten free support group that has a website, newsletter or Facebook group, that can be super helpful. My area has a very active Facebook group and is a great source of information about which places are good and which aren’t.

      Gluten free cooking is pretty easily adaptable, but baking is a challenge. I haven’t used KAF’s Measure for Measure but their mixes are good and their baking mix makes wonderful cinnamon chip muffins (the recipe is on the box).

      If you have any other questions, feel free to let me know. Good luck with the muffins!

      1. Clare*

        A few things I forgot-

        Be careful of envelopes, depending on where they are produced, the glue may contain gluten. I steer clear of all envelopes after a reaction.

        The FindMeGlutenFree app can be super helpful for traveling.

        Your reactions to gluten may get worse once you are off of it for a while (ugh).

        Cross contamination is the biggest pain. If you live with gluten eaters, get a safe set of cutting boards, PB etc. Be careful of CC when you go to someone else’s house.

        By the time you are three years in, you won’t be able to stop thinking of things to tell a newbie. Case in point!

    2. INTP*

      King Arthur products are great! This post is going to be a very random list of tips, so sorry for the incoherence.

      If it’s at all possible, it’s best to just bring your own food for work things. Most restaurants, even if they offer gluten free food, have cross-contamination in the kitchen. Plus, having a blanket “I just bring my own food because I’m SO allergic” rule keeps people from being butthurt because, say, you ate the separately packaged sandwiches from the gluten-friendly caterer but you didn’t eat Sally’s special dish she brought for you at the potluck because you weren’t sure if she knows anything about cross contamination.

      Speaking of sandwiches, gluten free bread loses all structural integrity when it gets wet. Pack bread separately from ingredients and assemble before eating if you bring sandwiches for lunch.

      When you buy oats, grain flours, etc, it’s worth paying a couple of bucks extra for a certified gluten free version. Oats are contaminated more often than not (they have tested), and other flours may be processed on the same machines used to process wheat flours.

      Don’t assume anything in a restaurant is gluten free without asking, restaurants add weird things to food. Scrambled eggs or omelettes often have pancake batter in them for some reason, flour may be added to sauces it isn’t normally in, etc.

      Maintain all of your own condiments and cooking supplies if you live with gluten-eating people. When they spread mayo, peanut butter, butter, jelly, mustard, etc on their bread and dip the knife back into the jar, they’re potentially contaminating it. Crumbs in the toaster can cause problems. Gluten can supposedly remain in wooden spoons even after thorough washing.

      Trader Joe’s makes the best GF pasta in my opinion (the brown rice and quinoa ones). San-J Tamari is the best wheat free soy sauce. (I bought the kikkoman GF one once and nothing tasted right.) My favorite bread by far is the Target store brand (I forget the name, Simply Balanced or something?). I also much prefer Trader Joe’s and Aldi breads to the $$$$ big name brands like Udi’s. The Immaculate Baking Company has good GF cookie dough. Trader Joe’s has good GF chocolate cupcakes.

      All that said, it’s obviously much cheaper and healthier if you stick to naturally gluten free items like potatoes and other whole grains most of the time, and use those for random cravings or convenience.

    3. TootsNYC*

      My diagnosis is about 3 years old, and I’m still pissed as hell about it.
      I have silent (symptomless) celiac, so I don’t even get the payoff of saying, “wow, I feel so much better!”

      I don’t have a lot of tips that other people haven’t covered–I just mostly wanted to offer some sympathy. I had an online convo on the topic once w/ someone who has serious, life-threatening peanut allergies, and she said, “I’d rather have peanut allergies–it’s easier to avoid peanuts than it is to avoid gluten.” I think she’s right.

      I found that it’s been useful to make sure people know. Then they do stuff like order ice cream for my birthday instead of a cake, or make sure I get to go first in the line.
      I also, conversely, try not to draw attention to stuff like eating my own food. I would rather sit and eat nothing at the meeting, and have a snack bar later, than bring in my own meal.

      And I keep a stash of snack bars in my desk, just in case.

      1. Kay*

        I’m curious – how were you diagnosed if you didn’t have symptoms? What are the implications, then? I didn’t know that was a thing!

        1. TootsNYC*

          I have a chronic cough, and acid reflux is a common cause of that. In order to investigate that, my doctor did an endoscopy–and he saw the condition of the villi.

          If I were to continue to eat gluten, I’d get all the same interference w/ nutrition absorption, and all the same risks of stomach cancer, etc., etc.

          Malnutrition is often what tips the doctors off–early osteoporosis, anemia, etc.

          Diagnoses of silent celiac are on the rise, apparently. There’s a lot of info online.

    4. Kay*

      I think it’s getting so much more common now that if you are reasonable and pleasant about it people are happy to help. I do not have celiac, but have a number of people in my life who are (including our current department intern!) so I know enough about it to help a little. And I like doing so. So I guess one thing is that you aren’t always putting someone out if you make them aware that you’re celiac – decent people will want to help.

      I would add: do figure out (and then let people know) how sensitive you are to cross-contamination. I do a fair amount of GF baking, but obviously my kitchen is thoroughly contaminated. That is not a problem for my sister-in-law, but it was for a former coworker. And I would hate to have accidentally caused someone discomfort or illness, so I would feel worse going on blindly than simply knowing I should buy something instead of making it.

      In other notes: mixes are getting better and better. I just bought some Hungry Jack Funfetti Gluten Free Pancake mix that I’m bringing to a family weekend for my sister in law. We like experimenting together. I made Betty Crocker’s Yellow Cake GF mix for the intern two weeks ago and they got thumbs up from everyone, not just the GF folks. Anything King Arthur Flour is amazing (I’m biased, being from Vermont) and their blog, Flourish, is featuring more and more GF recipes. There’s one up there now for blueberry hand pies!

      1. TootsNYC*

        Also–do educate yourself very carefully about cross-contamination.
        For celiacs, as opposed to those with sensitivities or bad reactions, any cross-contamination is likely to be an issue; the thing I read was “three breadcrumbs.”

        So, look into stuff like cookware contamination, spoon contamination, etc.
        And then you can educate any people who frequently cook for you.
        I had to coach my MIL through this; we discovered that her canned chicken broth of choice has hydrolyzed wheat protein in it. I got her to stop using a wooden spoon. I checked that she uses stainless steel cookware instead of nonstick or cast-iron.

        (Kay, w/ that pancake mix–remember that if it’s -ever- had a traditional batter on i, a nonstick griddle tis strictly off limits to a celiac, as is cast-iron. You need to make the GF pancakes in a stainless-steel skillet that’s been through the dishwasher.)

        1. Jules the First*

          Heh heh…I once had a reaction after an otherwise very enjoyable date. Said date had been chowing down on pizza and beer all night, and apparently enough ahem saliva was exchanged!

          If you’re newly diagnosed, I strongly suggest heading over to Gluten Free Girl – she has a ‘newbies guide’ which is excellent.

          For work meals, you’ll find it easier to opt out entirely for a while (bring your own meal or eat before/after); the words ‘I’m on a special diet for medical reasons’ are the magic spell for making restaurants and bars ok with you chowing down on your packed lunch. In a couple of years when you’ve got the hang of the diet, you’ll find it easy to figure out what you can and can’t manage (I navigated a wedding buffet with no guidance and no problems just a few months ago), but for now it’s probably just overwhelming.

          Mix-wise, the Betty Crocker GF mixes are also awesome.

          Hang in there – this gets easier! (Diagnosed celiac for 17 years, plus corn, soy, oats, and dairy allergies!)

          1. Elinor*

            Thanks for all of the excellent advice, everyone. I’ve made notes and bookmarked. I can report that the Measure for Measure flour is great! the muffins needed to be cooked a bit longer, and they aren’t as *pretty* as regular blueberry muffins, but they are delicious. It’s got the xanthum gum in it already.
            Thanks again everyone.

      2. Development Professional*

        I couldn’t agree more with the suggestion to get really clear on how sensitive you are. YOU. Not “most people.” Not “most celiacs.” Etc. You. Three breadcrumbs is actually quite a lot of contamination. Several orders of magnitude more than, for example, what might be on utensils that are shared but have been through the dishwasher. So figure out what works for you, and stick with that. You want to be safe, but you also don’t want to go to crazy-making levels of precaution if YOUR sensitivity doesn’t require it.

        Also, I would encourage you to, as much as possible, start to learn about and incorporate foods that are naturally gluten free instead of trying for substitutions. There’s a place for gluten free flours and pastas, but macaroons (made with coconut by design) and rice noodles are really frequently going to be much better. I know it feels like so much deprivation now, but try to look for what you can incorporate that’s new and not just recreating a GF version of your previous menu.

        And I think someone already said this, but liquid soap is a sneaky gluten culprit!

    5. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Baking gluten free can be very tricky. I like to remind myself that people have been baking with wheat for thousands of years and during that time the wheat and the recipes have grown to complement each other. Compare that to the decades people have been baking with wheat substitutes and you’ll understand when I tell you to treat each new recipe as an experiment and don’t be too crushed if it fails. Your recipes will fail a lot, whether you are converting a wheat recipe or using a recipe designed for GF flours. Try lots of different recipes and flour blends and understand that you’ll probably have preferred blends for different recipes. Also try nut flours and recipes to give yourself a better variety of foods. You’ll probably end up overhauling your diet: it doesn’t make sense to substitute GF products one to one for every wheat product you eat.

      *KAF baking mixes are fantastic, I love them all! Most people I know think their GF yellow cake mix is better than Betty Crocker. But substitute at your own risk. I’ve tried substituting coconut oil for the oil in their brownie mix and it boiled in the oven. Still not sure how that happened. KAF basic flour blends are also among the best but they don’t make great biscuits, for that I use Pamela’s baking mix (contains almonds and dried milk).
      *GF baked goods get gooey fast. Freeze all but 2-3 days worth the day you bake.
      *Get a digital food scale. Flour blends can be finicky and measuring them can also be tricky. Plus they cost the earth so you don’t want to waste them.
      *Potato flour (not starch) and rice flour are my favorite thickeners for gravy and stews. I use corn starch for some recipes too.
      *I buy a different kind of potato (sweet, red, golden, russet, etc) each week to help us eat a variety. Plus we eat a lot of rice.
      *There was that whole concern about arsenic in rice a while back and it’s more of a concern when you’re eating GF baked goods (where rice is the primary grain) on top of eating rice at many more meals than most. Consumer Reports recommends 1.25 servings of rice a week where a serving is 3/4 cup dry rice. That equals .93 cups of dry rice per week. I did the math on the muffins my daughter loves: she can eat 20 muffins a week (easier than it sounds) if she eats no other rice. I never got around to doing the math on GF bread but you get the idea. White rice contains less arsenic than brown and if you cook it like pasta and drain the excess water you’ll also be draining off much of the arsenic. I also use a lot of rice from India and China to help offset the risk.
      *GF flour blends absorb liquid differently than wheat flour. I’m still figuring out the what and whys of this. What I’ve found is I have to keep stirring the Swedish pancake batter when I use GF flour but not when I use wheat. And I have a rhubarb custard bar recipe that uses a cake mix as the base. When I use KAF GF cake mix I get a sort of tart-like crust. A wheat flour mix behaves very differently; it’s fluffier and will absorb some of the custard. Still good but it seems like a different dessert.

      1. Jules the First*

        Hey Yetanotherjennifer….your recipe conversions will have more success if you start with ones which are crafted in weight rather than volume measurements. The key is that GF flour blends are finer than AP flour, which means that a cup of GF flour has quite a bit more flour in it than a cup of AP, but 220g of AP flour is still 220g of GF flour. The other place where you’re probably having trouble is your flour blend – AP flour is 60% starch and 40% grain, so the GF mix you substitute for it should likewise be 60% starch (things like potato starch, arrowroot, cornstarch, tapioca starch) and 40% grain (brown rice flour, bean flour, buckwheat flour, etc). If you use a nut or bean flour as part of your mix, you’ll also need to tweak the fat content a little lower, because those flours have fat in them as well. Practice also makes perfect – after 15 years of GF baking, I can swap pretty much anything, so if you have specific questions, please ask!

        Your brownie mix went wrong with substituting coconut oil for ordinary oil because coconut oil has a different proportion of fat to water than a traditional liquid oil so it’s a really tricky substitution. I recommend using coconut oil as a sub for butter or solid shortening, and sticking to liquid oil when it calls for oil.

  9. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Oh! I have been waiting to post that I was mistaken when I said that Michelle Singletary had also recommended “The Nest”. It was The Turner House by Angela Flournoy that I was thinking of. Similar theme of adult siblings dealing with an estate, but that’s where the similarities end. I haven’t read it yet, but I did like The Nest, although I thought some of Sweeney’s characters were not given enough physicality, I had a lot of trouble picturing some of them in my head.

    1. Jubilance*

      The Turner House is excellent, though I didn’t like how it ended kinda abruptly. The book is set in Detroit and as a native, I loved that aspect. My mom really loved it as she grew up on the east side of Detroit, the main focus of the book.

  10. Hey Sexual!*

    What does sexual attraction feel like? How do you experience sexual attraction? Does the phrase “he’s/she’s hot” mean that free from all other commitments the speaker wants to have sex with the subject?

    Long story not so short, I’m middle aged and recently realized that I’m bisexual. But in trying to figure out how I was blithely unaware of this I came across the terms Asexual, Demisexual, and Gray-sexual, and I’m pretty sure I’m in one of those categories. But I was unaware of this because up until now I assumed how I felt inside my head was how everyone else experienced sexual attraction too. These assumptions allowed me to live a straight life while still never quite fitting in and being able to easily navigate romantic relationships. And I do want a romantic partnership. In the past while in my rare relationships I wanted to have sex/make love to my partner. I have never experienced that sexual desire strictly based on someone’s physical appearance; I always need to know someone at least a little bit before sexual desire kicks.

    1. Critter*

      I guess I’ve always experienced sexual attraction as a sort of “I would like to touch that person”. And considering how very fond I am of my personal space, recognizing that I would like to be physically intimate with a person is a big deal. The feeling is often tied in to finding a person aesthetically pleasing (at least in a conventional sense?), but not always. For me, “he/she is hot” usually just means that I find them physically attractive. Like you, I can’t simply jump into bed with someone I don’t feel like I know well/ am comfortable with. Although I can feel attracted to someone, my personality would need more.

    2. Critter*

      There’s also that pheromone thing, maybe? People will point out “would you have sex with Attractive Person”? And I always think “well, I don’t know. Do they smell nice? Are their hands soft? What’s their breath like?” Someone being nice to look at is not enough.

    3. anon who needs a name*

      This is totally normal. I can acknowledge that a man or woman is objectively attractive – they have pleasing features – but for me saying “oh, they’re hot” is like saying “oh, that cake looks delicious” but not eating it because I’m not hungry.

      I’m probably somewhere on the demi/gray scale – though the overwhelming amount of labels out there is not something I’m really interested in applying to myself – so I usually need to know someone before sexual desire kicks in. Though, as someone who is also bi, I usually have an easier time of it with women because I feel more comfortable and form connections quicker than I do with men. So depending on the person and how quickly I get to know them, it could mean 4 dates or two months before sexual desire kicks in.

    4. anon attorney*

      I don’t think there’s anything weird about that. I have rarely if ever felt desire for someone before getting to know them. I appreciate aesthetics and “hot” strangers and celebs in a theoretical kind of way but that feeling of real desire, the physical sensation and longing, only kicks in for someone I’ve got to know. For context, I’m a pansexual cis woman.

    5. Emily*

      As someone on the ace-spectrum who has been on-and-off trying to figure out my romantic orientation for years (I know that I can be attracted to men, but maybe also women and people of other genders? But it’s harder to tell when I don’t really want to sex anyone and have only ever dated one person?), I’m curious about the responses you get.

    6. Meemzi*

      For me, “hot” people
      -draw my attention
      -make me want to look at them again
      -make me want to look at them longer
      -stick around in my mind for a little bit
      -feel different in my brain than people who fit the above for other reasons (like cute babies being cute)

      Also, one time I actually got stupid because of an attractive person. I was working the front desk of a fitness/sports type place and person walked in. I have no idea what I did, but I totally forgot to have them fill out the intro form, get their information, tell them anything about the program.

      1. Meemzi*

        I guess (for me) there’s a way to go between “hot person” and “person I want to touch sexuality” . I also want to interact first. I guess like relationship foreplay? Like talking and non-sexual touch open the doors to actual sexual desire. Without that interaction, I can’t want to have sex.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Hmm, interesting question.

      For me, when I think someone’s hot, I find their looks aesthetically pleasing. (I mean, they’re something I consider attractive–everybody likes different stuff and some of my friends are meh about guys I am mad for.) I can also notice that someone is hot and not want to do anything with them. For example, I’m so straight you could use me for a ruler, but I can look at beautiful women and appreciate their looks and enjoy looking at them.

      I can look at people who aren’t really my type and still think, Oh, that person is pretty hot. Matthew McConaughey is a good example. I think he’s quite pretty, but I’m not really turned on by him at all. Chris Evans, on the other hand…..yum yum, get over here, Captain America. >:)

      When I’m attracted to someone, I immediately start thinking about what we would do, and that turns me on. If I don’t feel it from the very beginning, it usually doesn’t happen later for me. Personality does play a part in considering a relationship of any kind. Obviously, if I met someone and he were a racist tw*tmonkey or something, I wouldn’t like him or want to do ANYTHING with him no matter how hot he was. Sadly, it’s been a while since I met anyone I’ve been attracted to who felt the same way about me. :\

    8. misspiggy*

      I’d agree with others that when you say ‘he/she’s hot’ you’re usually pointing out that you like their face/body shape. I do sometimes get a jolt to the unmentionables if I see someone particularly stunning. But this doesn’t mean I want to sleep with them – that’s a totally different set of criteria. For me smell and personality are where it’s at. Bi woman with high sex drive here.

    9. Mando Diao*

      I respond to charisma, which I am aware is not a very helpful answer. However, I think it could help you to see that there are plenty of people out there who are good-looking, nice enough, and have a handful of interesting facts about them, but they just don’t resonate with me. I can tell myself, “The charisma wasn’t there” and have that be enough of an explanation to satisfy myself.

      IMO you shouldn’t get too caught up in wondering if you’re demisexual. Some people look for any excuse to feel oppressed; don’t go looking for labels on tumblr if you want to keep your sanity. Demisexual refers to people who only feel deeply attracted to people after getting to know them well…which is the approach preferred by mainstream conservatives and/or smart people who are looking for a serious relationship with someone who isn’t a jerk.

    10. stevenz*

      First of all, “hot” in this context has no definite meaning. It’s one of those overly worked words that has been beaten into submission to mean just about anything the speaker wants it to mean, with regard to a person’s desirability or appearance. There are lots of other old fashioned words that say the same thing: gorgeous, beautiful, sexy, a “looker”, stunning, etc. “Hot” just happens to be in fashion.

      To exemplify a personal interpretation of the term “hot”: I have a female friend who I’m very attracted to and would like to date, and I think she would be amenable (not a synonym for hot!), but when I think of why I haven’t asked her out (again) I am concerned that “she’s too hot for me.” In this case, by “hot” I mean that she has a much more active social life than I would have myself, someone “in demand”, and I wouldn’t want to have to keep up with that, therefore she wouldn’t be satisfied with me as a partner so why bother. Hot in this case does not mean that she’s drop-dead gorgeous, though she’s pretty striking at about 6′ 3″! (A woman being taller than me is not a problem.)

      Also, there are women who are considered to be really beautiful who don’t stir me at all, and others who would be considered moderately pretty or even plain who I’d like to crawl all over. How is sexual feeling felt? When I see someone across a crowded room, I get that feeling inside as a kind of barely contained surge of warm energy, all systems on high alert, restlessness in the loins, and they completely dominate the part of the world we are sharing. It’s a great feeling. (Wanting to make love with them is a pretty good giveaway, too.)

      Now, it’s always been the case that men are much more “moved” by physical appearance, while women tend to look at a package. I think the OP is female, so I’m not surprised that her attractions are a bit wider ranging. Women are more sexually-ambiguous than men – they kiss, hold hands, are generally more physical with each other than men are, more accepting of differences, and more likely to see sexual encounters with other women as no big deal even if they consider themselves heterosexual. In other words, women experience desire differently than men – and I don’t think that should be judged.

      I have made such comments like this before, but I tend to object to manufactured terms like demisexual. We have become much too fascinated with labeling as a means of legitimizing every possible kind of behaviour, when in fact no such legitimization is needed. If you’re adults, consensual, and not hurting anyone, it’s fine. Don’t try to conform to some fleeting cultural definition. They’re dehumanizing, not to mention silly. Love who you want. You don’t have to answer to anybody or accept any societal attempt to pigeonhole a behaviour because no two people on earth behave the same.

    11. Guest*

      I’m sure no one is reading this anymore since it’s been a few months, but I’ve just been going through these threads since I think they’ve very interesting and they’re are a lot of insightful people in this forum.

      That said, reading over a couple of responses to this question and it seems like a couple people clearly have an axe to grind.

      I’ve never really understood people who are intensely “anti-label” and this is coming from a person who rarely identifies strongly with anything. I mean everything is a label, what do you think adjectives are? I just think is interesting that people will identify strongly with things like “gamer” or “eagles fan” but when it comes to sexual/gender identity there’s usually a lot of handwringing about “putting yourself in a box/don’t label yourself”. It’s weird.

      To me, it’s your life and your identity. You can call yourself whatever you want and as much as you want or not all. Do what makes you feel comfortable and content with yourself and don’t worry about other people’s opinions.

  11. Rad Radost*

    My roommate is hosting a coworker’s labradoodle this weekend. The dog is adorable and super well behaved and does tricks and doesn’t even shed. I love this dog.

    Next week I’m going to be dogsitting my brother’s enormous malamute mix, who is slightly too friendly and never, ever runs out of stray fluff. He’s going to look like a total mess by comparison. At least he’s cute.

    1. Miss Nomer*

      My best friend has a malamute and he’s the best. He’s also ridiculously fuzzy so I hope your vacuum works well! :)

    2. Jules the First*

      Having dogsat my sister’s extra-fluffy shepherd-husky-wolf, I sympathize. The real question, though, is does he slobber?

  12. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Finally updated my MacBook from Yosemite to El Capitan this morning (just finished, then I posted about the books above). Surprisingly smooth. I got some sort of popup that some file was incompatible, but I didn’t recognize it, and everything I used to use seems to work, so…yay?

    Also, the minion is off on an adventure for two weeks, so my better half and I have been visiting all of the restaurants we keep reading about in the area, and going out ON A WEEKNIGHT to our local favorites for their specials! Date night every night! :D

    1. SophieChotek*

      Enjoy your free time.
      Glad to hear that the transition from Yosemite to El Capitan went smoothly.
      I have been avoiding doing it because I have heard such mixed reviews.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I admin Macs as part of my job, and we initially told users to hold off on the upgrade for a while (back in the fall and winter), but I’ve been testing it out a lot, and it’s fairly solid at this point, so upgrade away! (Back up, as you always should, but not because of the upgrade.)

        1. SophieChotek*

          What is different with upgrade? Do things run more smoothly? (I need to back-up…)

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Most of the differences are under the hood. Some small things you probably won’t even notice unless you admin Macs (for example, in Yosemite, the creation of a new admin user used to default back to non-admin, and you’d have to check admin again, but that’s fixed in El Capitan). There’s also System Integrity Protection, which makes it much more difficult for system-wide malware to compromise your system.

      2. stevenz*

        I just upgraded from Snow Leopard, so put off was I by reviews of the OS’s since then. Also, I don’t like the flat, dull graphics. But the upgrade went fine, no issues at all. And the computer runs a bit faster with a bit less beach ball, so I’m satisfied. It has new features that I’ll never even find, but if it works better and supports newer versions of apps, that’s all I need. I’d say go for it. (I read an article in CNET about this very question – in April, I think – that convinced me it was time.)

        Now we’ll see what Sierra is all about.

    2. Mike C.*

      Ugh, I run a 2011 MBP and I hate the nagging because I know it’s just going to make my machine run slower. I always run security updates though.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        If you upgrade to an SSD (instead of a traditional hard drive), your old MBP should run El Capitan very smoothly.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            That’s always been the most cost-effective way to speed up an older computer, I’d definitely max out the RAM.

          2. Anonymous Educator*

            Honestly, back in the day, RAM was the best way to speed up an old computer. If you have 4 GB of RAM and an SSD, the SSD will give you a much better performance boost than 8 GB of RAM.

      2. Anxa*

        I run a 2008 and am so mad bc I will never be able to upgrade from Snow Leopard, because everything more recent isn’t supported for me. Which isn’t so bad, only software now assumes you have better than SL. And SL isn’t even that old!

        And I just upgraded to SL this year, after havinng Lion (I think) for about 7 years). I’m so hesitant to update these things.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      OK, in case anyone is still reading, so far after installing El Capitan I’ve had to reinstall Prey, but it’s working, and I had to go into Settings>Mission Control and turn Dashboard back on using As Space as the setting. Annoying…but everything is still working as before! \o/

  13. GettingHelp*

    I have my first ever therapy appointment on Monday and I have no idea what to expect.

    I am going because I am having doubts about my career path and need a professional to help sort my feelings out since I keep on going in circles.

    I know that all my problems won’t get resolved in a one hour session but I really want to make some progress on this. Online I can only find advice that tells me to prepare what I want to get out of therapy… but that is it.

    I don’t know if I should prepare a bit of a vent that lets her know everything I’ve been thinking/feeling lately in one fell swoop or if we’d just be easing into it all.

    I know I am probably severely overthinking this whole thing but I really don’t want to show up with the wrong expectations.

    1. ThatGirl*

      My husband is a therapist so I can offer a little insight.

      Think of it more like a first date. You want to at least get through a few basics before jumping in to your vent. A skilled therapist will ask a few questions and let you talk and get an idea of what you want and need out of it. But you also want to make sure it works for you.

      You know what you want out of it so definitely say that, but at least spend a few minutes on laying the groundwork before a rant :)

    2. Lionelrichiesclayhead*

      Good luck! Yes I think sometimes the first session can be a little bit all over the place just to set some expectations. Also it’s important to remember that you are trying to figure out if you even like this therapist. If for some reason you don’t click with this one, don’t be afraid to keep searching for someone you do click with and trust. I think people forget that finding the right therapist is part of the process too. Not all are going to be the right fit or offer the type of approach you are looking for.

      1. Windchime*

        Yes, this. I recently started therapy and visited a very nice woman therapist twice. She was a perfectly fine person and seemed very competent, but I didn’t click with her. I asked for an appointment with someone else and got randomly assigned to someone in the next town over and I love her. She is just very practical and we clicked.

        So don’t be afraid to change to someone else if you don’t feel like the first person is the right fit.

    3. Sarah in DC*

      Honestly it depends on the therapist to a certain extent, but all of them that I’ve ever seen have an intake form where you write out why you are there in a free text field or check off things from a list (or both) as well as general background info and maybe mood questions. Then you talk through the form with the therapist in the first session as a getting to know you type thing. They should willingly listen if you have a vent but they may also have specific things they want to cover (often goals as well as practice policies, canceling, etc.) So you may end up with a combo of ranting and easing in, but it’s pretty unlikely you will end up venting for the whole first session. Hope this helps! I’ve gone to several therapists and when you find the right one it can be a really great (if not always fun) thing.

    4. animaniactoo*

      My only advice would be to be prepared to be fairly ruthlessly honest with the therapist. We all have sides that we realize are not so great, moments, thoughts, etc. So we don’t pull them out and look at them and put them on display. Your therapist is the one place you WANT to do that, you want to dig in and get it all out on the table. They are not there as somebody for you to impress, they are the person who is going to help you with all of that, and not giving them that kind of info means they’re going to be less effective for you.

      Okay, I lied, I have more advice. A good therapist/patient relationship is not something that happens automatically. The first few sessions are also for you to evaluate them and decide if you are comfortable with them, and feel that they will be able to really help you. I’ve been through 4 therapists (much younger stuff, fairly well sorted out now), and the first two might have been good therapists for somebody else, but they weren’t good therapists for me. My last 2 therapists, I got more accomplished in one year with each of them than I did with the other 2 in the previous 4 years. All of that was about how they handled and dealt with me. For me personally, I needed somebody who was totally capable of being compassionate and sympathetic, but would also call me out on my bullshit and say “you know that’s wrong, c’mon”, and actively challenge me – nicely, compassionately – but not just let is stand. Other people may have gotten further with the first two therapists I had.

    5. Meemzi*

      In my experience, the first appointment is pretty boring but still emotionally tiring. They’ll ask why you’re there, the background of your situation. If you talk having a diagnosable thing, they’ll probably ask a big about your diagnosis like who did it, did you do x evaluation, treatment, etc. You don’t get much “done” but you get the feeling that you’re taking steps.

    6. themmases*

      Do not prepare a vent. Only spend some time thinking about what you’re goals are for therapy.

      A good therapist will be using these first few sessions (assuming you like them and decide to keep going to them) to assess your needs, make a treatment plan, and generally help you lay the groundwork for the work you will do later.

      Honestly venting may feel good in the moment but it’s not an effective use of your therapy time. That was super disappointing to hear when I went to therapy! By the time I got it together to go, I had a lot of thoughts and complaints built up that I just wanted to let out. But anyone could sit silently while you vent your spleen, it doesn’t take a professional to do that. It serves you better to be in dialogue with them so you know they understand what you’re saying and they can help you.

      Plus if you think about it, what you want to get out of therapy arises from the stuff you want to vent about… just organized and with some thought put into what you think the solution would look like.

    7. BRR*

      I want to say that my therapist is only so so with work advice. I’ve bad a bad year with work and my therapist has repeatedly said that they can only give dates of employment for a reference. I’ve corrected her every time but just keep in mind every therapist has their strengths and weaknesses. She’s still helped me work through things but her practical employment advice is off.

    8. the gold digger*

      Apparently, taking a spreadsheet listing out every relationship a person has had, the ages of the men involved, the professions, the length of the relationship, whether sex was involved, and any other objective data a person might think would be useful to a therapist when the question is, “Why can’t I seem to have a good relationship” is Not Done.

      Even if a person thinks it might help save some time (and money) for the therapist to have all that data up front.

      1. Tandy*

        Well, speaking as a therapist, that would certainly give me some ideas as to possible answers to the question. Not from the data itself, but the fact that the client produced such a document and expected it to be helpful would be extremely telling!

      2. Soupspoon McGee*

        I thought I was the only one with a relationship spreadsheet. Mine also has columns for what initially attracted me, what didn’t work out, what practical/concrete thing I learned from them (like how to drive a stick shift) and what I learned about myself/relationships as a result of dating them. It was illuminating, to say the least. My therapist thought the existence of it was amusing.

      3. Anxa*

        I so need an outlet for spreadsheets. I’ve never really developed real database/spreadsheet skills but I’ve been a spreadsheet lover since I use to inventory my family’s stores inventory as a kid.

        I have definitely done this at the doctor, too, and I knew I had found a fitting doctor when he didn’t look askance and dismiss it. Too bad he moved. I did it mostly for me, though, because otherwise I just kind of forget to mention everything I meant to tell them and walk out feeling like I wasted the appointment.

        I had multiple layouts: organ system by organ system, head to toe, chronological, etc. But I only had one out at the time.

    9. Jillociraptor*

      Way to go on seeing a therapist! Therapy has been such a helpful step for me and I really hope it is too!

      I’ve seen several different therapists at different points in my adult life, and while my issues have varied a bit (and occupied different levels of acuteness), in almost all cases, the therapist started with some version of the question, “What’s been going on, and what do you want my help working on?”

      Honestly, at some points, my answer has been bursting into tears and choking out an incoherent phrase here and there. At other points, it’s been more like, “I’m not sure, but things generally don’t feel great.” And at a few points, it’s been a very specific thing that feels out of whack and we dive right in, talking about what’s been on my mind, and what I would like to see change.

      If you have an answer to the question, that’s the best place to start. You’ll have time to talk about all the other things, too. If you don’t have an answer, your session will probably be mostly about helping you hone in on one. Or just sobbing, which is okay!

      Good luck! I hope you find this experience to be really helpful in dealing with whatever’s leading you to therapy!

    10. Celery*

      I found the first appointment quite off-putting because half of it was filling out a stack of paperwork including a fairly extensive questionnaire about whether I was likely to cause physical harm to self or others. I was having some workplace issues that were leaving me a little off balance but not anything like that far off balance! I’m sure it’s just a general practice and they probably all have to do it, but I hadn’t expected it and was a bit gobsmacked. I wish I’d been warned to expect that.

  14. The IT Manager*

    I’m kind of excited that Dark Matter and Killjoy returned to ScyFy for season 2 last night. I binge watched both of them earlier this year, and now I get the chance to watch in real time (which for me means episode by episode within a week of airing). But I am also unsure if I want to watch episode by episode or just store them all up on my DVR and watch all at once.

    I got all excited by the return of The Americans a few months ago, but never got around to watching the episodes yet. I love the show but it’s dark and complicated I feel too tired or busy to start on it. Once I get a bunch of episodes stored up, I have to evaluate if I have the time in my life to allow a weekend to get sucked into a TV show at the expense of accomplishing anything at all.

      1. The IT Manager*

        That used to be sprinkled for me. But my new cable provider has given me a massive DVR that holds at least 50 hours of shows and is only half full. It’s crazy how I have the entire season of Greys Anatomy I watched on it plus several seasons of the 10-15 episode variety. It’s almost a curse all this memory because I’m not forced to make decisions and delete.

  15. Critter*

    I had pho for the first time earlier this week, and it was amazing, and a friend told me it was great hangover food. And now I’m pretty sure I purposely overdid it last night so that I’d have an excuse to have it again today.

    1. CMT*

      Phở is my favorite! As well as being good for hangovers, it’s excellent when you have a cold or are feeling under the weather. Or any time you’re hungry :)

    2. Tex*

      A Vietnamese co-worker once told me to look for pho places that have bone marrow as an extra side. This means the establishment makes their broth from scratch instead of pre-made (instant?) soup. I still usually aim for the banh mi sandwiches.

      Happy eating :)

    3. SL #2*

      I grew up and am living next to a suburb with super-high Asian populations (think like, 80% Asian) and so the idea of someone never having pho before astounds me. But I’m glad you are now on board with pho and have discovered its magic!!!

    4. Dan*

      I spent two weeks in Vietnam over Xmas, and TBH, the guy down the street from my apartment makes better pho than what I had in Vietnam.

      1. SL #2*

        My uncle says the same thing; apparently “American” pho tastes better than anything you can get in Vietnam? I’m not sure if it’s a flavor thing.

  16. Still needs a name (maybe this is it)*

    Hi all, I’ve written in before about my worries about surgery/job searching/etc. I just wanted to chime in that I’m actually having a nice weekend. After surgery, then infection from surgery & re-hospitalization, and now side effects from medications, this is a huge deal. I actually feel like maybe possibly I can actually start resuming my job search. Today I feel strong enough- like I can do it. This is a good day.

    1. NJ Anon*

      Best of luck! I am just 2 weeks post op from back surgery. I too had been job searching and am actually hoping to hear back about a second interview. Take good care of yourself!

    2. AcidMeFlux*

      Congratulation on your progress!! I’m glad to hear that. I’m in a similar situation; had surgery, 2 weeks in hospital, two at home, lots of pain (what the doctors like to call “discomfort”. HA!) More surgery planned to repair a failed skin graft with another long hospital stay to accomodate a new wound care plan….I feel totally beat. I’ll hang on to your good attitude and optimism. It IS a good day.

  17. Mimmy*

    Today begins my family’s annual gathering at the shore. I dread it pretty much every year, but I’m particularly dreading it this year. No worries, my family gets along beautifully. However, including me and my husband, there are 10 adults and 9 children. This can get rather chaotic! The kids are between the ages of around 9-18, so they’re not as rambunctious as they were when they were younger, but corralling 19 people can be crazy. I have issues with sensory overload and sometimes confusion (since I can’t always process things easily), so I am absolutely dreading the noise and “kids being kids”.

    My family have become sensitive to this and have encouraged me to step away if I need to. But it makes me sad. I remember maybe 2 years ago, we were celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday (which i think is the main focal point of these gatherings). I had to stay in another room because I knew all the shrieking and commotion would get to me. I actually started to cry because I was feeling defective – I was all “why can’t I just enjoy my family like a normal person??”

    I’m also prone to anxiety when things are uncertain or not ideal. I know the parking situation this year is going to be extremely limited. Hubby and I will actually be staying in a nearby hotel–an old hotel that we hated but there are few options. Parking is limited there too, so we’re going to be walking back and forth between the hotel and my family’s shore house.

    In general, it is such a different environment for us. It’s just hubby and I at home, so we’re used to just doing our own thing whenever we want. So having to adjust to my family’s timeline is always challenging. The fact that my 3 siblings all have kids makes it difficult to get any real one-on-one time too. Thank god for my oldest sister. She has been so in-tune with my issues and has been a huge help. I can’t wait to see her later. She gets annoyed with me sometimes, but she is so gentle in her demeanor and I can tell she cares. Her girls are awesome too – my sister taught them well.

    Okay I better get packing! Sorry for the ramble – feels good to get that all out.

    1. Meemzi*

      I get overwhelmed, too. My siblings all tend to step away for a bit and do their own thing. To be honest, if we didn’t we wouldn’t get along very well. When we visit family on the farm and we get that “time to take a break” feeling, big brother goes out to talk to the horses, I go upstairs to read, little brother goes upstairs to play guitar, little sister goes to play with the barn cats.

    2. Mike C.*

      Yeah, I don’t have anxiety issues, but I’m really uncomfortable in situations like this, especially when the adults won’t talk to each other.

    3. Sami*

      An idea: would it help if there were structured activities that weren’t loud and chaotic? You’d have something to look forward to that wouldn’t hopefully turn out to actually be a pain in the neck.
      Good luck!

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Personally, I think you trick for this is to plan downtime or “you” time away from the family. It’s not like you have to be with them EVERY waking moment. So, for example if dad’s birthday dinner is a big affair, take the afternoon to do something by yourself (beach, nap) etc. I think doing that can help you deal with the chaos a little better.

    5. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My problem with family gatherings was always that I never got to visit one on one, or even just adults-only in a group, with my siblings. When our kids were all small, one brother and I were the only ones whose children had regular bedtimes, mealtimes, etc. The other siblings never imposed any such discipline on their kids; they would go to bed themselves and leave the kids to their own judgement and devices all night long.

      So at family gatherings, my one brother and I would make our kids go to bed at midnight, which was two hours past their normal summer bedtime, and they would happily go to bed. The other two siblings’ children, having never had an enforced bedtime, would whine and fight against this new outrage, and so we never got the peaceful adult visiting time that would have been so nice.

      1. stevenz*

        I have had this problem more with friends than family, and I agree it’s absolutely maddening!

  18. Regular poster going anon for this*

    Does anyone have any advice/tips/recommendations for dealing with and getting over envy and jealously? This is happening a little bit in my work like and especially in my personal life. I get really jealous of women who are prettier and better looking than me and I know it’s awful but I do it all the time. Whenever I see a women who is conventionally attractive and well put together I immediately start thinking about how it’s not fair, how I don’t like her and how she’s an awful person and there must be something wrong with her (even if I don’t know her). I am not conventionally attractive (and I won’t ever be without drastic measures like surgery) and it’s a work in progress for me to accept my body and my looks the way I am. When I’m around a woman who is beautiful I feel like a completely different species from her. There is one woman who I’m especially jealous of, who is dating a good friend of mine and who works for a non-profit that my non-profit deals with sometimes. She has a pixie cut that I could never pull off and most days she doesn’t wear makeup and she is a perfectly nice person but I don’t like being around her. I know this is my problem to get over and that I can’t know if a random person is an awful person just because she is pretty. I want to set a good example for my nieces and nephews (and future children) but I have no idea where to even start changing this behavior.

    1. regina phalange*

      I also get jealous of women prettier than I am, and where I live, there are tons of them. I was so self-conscious when I dated my ex because I felt like every time we had a female server, she was secretly thinking to herself, “what is HE doing with HER?” (my ex, I feel, is so hot I want to cry). Anyway. Lately when I am out and see women prettier than me I just feel worse about myself. I don’t have an answer to your question but you are definitely not alone!!!

    2. Bibliovore*

      As the designated fat/ugly friend in high school what really helped me was Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth that read when it was published.
      Practical advice includes-
      Catch yourself having an opinion about another person’s appearance- anything- dress, hair, weight.
      Make a conscious effort to not have any opinion about any person’s appearance. (do not engage in any conversation about someone’s appearance- co-worker, friend or celebrity.

      The end result is that I ceased to have opinions about my own appearance and became more comfortable in my own body.

      Also- my husband recently stated in mixed company that I said to him when we dating that all of the women in my family get better looking when they get older. And he said that was true. I don’t remember saying that but I think I read somewhere that women as they age become more self-assured and that self-assurance was attractive. Not sure.

      1. Allison Mary*

        I really like this, I think this is a great way to approach it.

        In the past few years, I’ve become more and more aware of social expectations around how gender is performed and of course one of the big ones for cis-gendered women is appearance and being viewed as sexually desirable. I believe this is rooted in the idea that the biggest component to a woman’s value is the degree to which she can attract a man – I’ve often wondered whether women who are primarily interested in people other than hetero, cis-men experience this to a lesser degree.

        Of course, all of this is complete balderdash, as I don’t believe a woman’s value is intrinsically tied to her appearance – and at an intellectual level, I’m sure you don’t believe this either, RPGAFT. So I imagine the trick is going to be getting your lizard brain to accept this at a more fundamental level, and I think the strategies that Bibliovore presented above are a fantastic means of trying to accomplish this. I really love the idea that if you can stop having opinions about the appearances of others, you’ll probably stop having opinions about your own appearance.

        If you happen to be a Doctor Who fan, one of my favorite moments from season 9 was when the Doctor and Clara met up with an old friend named Rigsy, who had just had a baby girl. All three of them are leaning over the crib, and Clara says (as many people do, in this situation), “Oh, Rigsy, she’s gorgeous!” And some of my favorite lines from the whole season follow next, when the Doctor responds, “She’s much better than that, she’s brilliant.” This moment, for me, really pinpointed how we as a culture tend to prize appearances rather than character, often to our own detriment.

        It’s not only acceptable, but probably preferable, to be able to experience some level of physical attraction with a mate. But beyond being able to appreciate a long term partner’s physique, it just doesn’t really serve any purpose to be passing judgment on others in our society, based on their appearance. Not only does it not help you accept yourself, but really what you’re doing is reducing others (particularly other women) to their status as a sexual object (probably for men).

    3. neverjaunty*

      The armchair answer is that you have to get over your feelings about yourself first, because you’re kind of throwing them up on other women, if that makes sense? For some reason it matters to you that another woman is (in your opinion) prettier than you – you take it as her being pretty AT you, or her looks taking away something that you feel you deserve. I apologize if this sounds snarky, because it’s meant in all sincerity, but cognitive-behavioral therapy may be one short-term way to deal with these negative thoughts?

      1. Elizabeth West*

        You beat me to it–I had this problem with a relative when we were younger. I was so jealous and she’s better-looking than I am and always has been. She is the golden one and has everything I ever wanted and can’t get. But how I felt about her was more a reflection of how I felt about ME.

        CBT can help because it can teach you ways to get out of that spiral of thought and provide a way to redirect. I did go to someone and it did help.

    4. Anon attorney*

      Without sounding glib I think that until you make your peace with how you feel about yourself, it will be difficult not to have negative feelings about people who embody what you feel you don’t have. I know it’s a cliche to recommend therapy all the time but this is something I’d consider taking to a therapist. Preferably one who is switched on to the destructive messages the patriarchy gives us about women and appearance.

    5. NJ Anon*

      I am not particularly attractive but it doesn’t keep me from being jealous. Some people are born beautiful, some smart, etc. That’s life! As long as my husband is attracted to me for whatever reason, that’s good enough for me!

      1. NJ Anon*

        Personality matters too! I used to work with someone who was drop dead gorgeous but she was funny, smart, kind, etc. Loved her to pieces!

    6. Redrum*

      I’m sorry you’re feeling this way about yourself. One thing that REALLY helps me with jealousy is to compliment the person I’m jealous of. It makes me feel better about myself and makes that person happy too. No matter how pretty a person is everyone has insecurities. Compliments break down walls and I swear you will feel better about yourself.

      1. Hellanon*

        Or make friends with them. I did this in high school/college and in my first few jobs – made an extra effort to be friendly, to find the thing we had in common, find something to share a laugh about. At the time I think I might have just been doing it to show myself I could; the net result, though, was that I a) made a lot more friends and b) realized that other people are just… people. And that knack for making genuine connections with people has been a tremendous asset, both personally and professional – plus, on the flip side, I don’t waste my emotional energy being jealous of other women’s looks, I have better things to spend that on…and do.

      2. Lindsay J*

        One of the biggest things that helped me was learning that everyone does have insecurities; that the girl I think is gorgeous and so put together is worried that her hair is too frizzy, that the girl that is skinnier than me is insecure about the size of her breasts, that the girl with dark hair is jealous of blond women, etc.

        I knew I certainly wasn’t thinking when I was looking at them, “Gee, well Regina looks great but she needs her chest filled out” or “Emily would be so much prettier if she were blond,” – I was just thinking “Wow, they’re so pretty,” and that helped me realize that nobody but me was worried about the fact that my teeth are too big or that I could stand to lose a couple dozen pounds.

    7. Engineer Girl*

      As others have said, these women aren’t doing this to hurt you. They are simply living their own lives. You are hurting yourself as your jealousy is making you unattractive to others.
      I like the recommendations for therapy to reshape your attitude. The recommendation for CBT too.
      I’d also remind you that you are only viewing a slice of these women’s lives. You might be thrilled with your own life if you knew the full extent of their problems.
      My biggest recommendation is to take your eyes off of others and start focusing on how you can make your own life and other lives better. The self esteem from that alone should improve your attitude. Also develop an attitude of gratitude. Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t have. Joy makes people infinitely more attractive. Don’t forget that hard times creates perseverance and resilience.
      My last bit of advice is a blog called Inside Out Style. It focuses on the best clothing/jewelry/style for your body type.
      Really – stop focusing on others and what you don’t have. You’re missing out on some great friendships.

    8. NicoleK*

      Once in a while, I’ll have to remind myself that there is always going to be someone prettier, thinner, smarter, richer, funnier, taller, luckier, has better hair, better skin, and overall more put together than me. That usually nips the jealousy in the bud.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Aside from this, my younger sister was the “beauty” and I… was the smart and responsible one. It drove me crazy that people just fell all over Sibling because she was pretty. She hadn’t done anything to ‘earn’ it, she had just hit a genetic lottery that I didn’t (that also happened to coincide with current ideals of what constitutes beauty). So, I’ve had lots of practice for a long time to the point where I’ve just become resigned that I’m never going to be that woman who stops traffic.

        Like you, OP, short of a lot of cosmetic surgery and a team of top-notch stylists, I am never going to be like that. But, that’s OK. I don’t need to be that to be OK. There are always going to be people who are better looking than me — and worse looking (depending on who is doing the eye of the beholder). There are always going to be people who are younger, fitter, whateverer.

        The part that really burns my thrusters is when other people feel that they have to point out that I’m not going to be the next Ms. Universe in some way, shape or form. Oh, really? Geez, I’m really going to have to get a mirror so I can stop living in this fantasy land where I’m all that and a bag of chips, then. I know that that is more about them, that they are insecure for some reason but it’s annoying and hurtful nonetheless.

        http://www.scarymommy.com/mom-responds-to-being-outfit-shamed/

        1. Engineer Girl*

          So here is the epilogue to your story. I was the smart one, my sister the beauty. She never had to develop a work ethic or be empathetic because she could get away with it.
          Thirty years go by…
          My sister lost her looks especially from partying. She doesn’t have the person skills to keep a job. She’s desperate and unhappy. I had to work hard but I saved my money and am comfortably retired. I lived a clean life and look much younger than my little sister. I figured out the best style for my clothing. The hard times I put up with in my younger days makes me resilient now.
          I’m glad my life was harder.

          1. Hellanon*

            Other thing to think about is that if all one brings to one’s relationships is looks, that’s not much of a contribution, in the greater scheme of things. Like you are saying, if you *have* to develop your personality, your skills, your empathy, you then bring a whole lot more to everything you do, and all of it will make you a far better friend. I want people in my life who have something to say, something to cook, something to organise, something to do – if all I want is pretty, there are cats & art museums for just that purpose.

          2. Dynamic Beige*

            Oh yeah, not exactly the same thing happened to my sister but she did learn a lot of things the hard way, which must have come as such a shock to her. We never got along (obviously) and I haven’t seen or spoken to her in years… and I’m OK with that.

            I have seen that happen to many other women (and men) though, they get old, lose their looks and are just lost as people. It’s really sad.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      What have you done so far in life to invest in yourself? What do you do to show YOU that you think you are worth something? (sorry that is a lot of you’s).

      Not being able to let go of a thought can be a symptom of a tired mind. So this is worst case scenario because the thought is something that you beat yourself up with- this sounds absolutely exhausting. You can’t win with you. How are you doing on eating good foods? You getting in vitamins and minerals on a regular basis? How about some water with electrolytes?

      Not being able to let go of something could be grief. It’s okay to be sad that nature shorted you. I want to say, my legs are kinda screwed up. For years I looked at other women’s legs and said, “why can’t I have that?” As the years went by I changed over to wearing pants or jeans all the time. It gave me an illusion where I could con myself into believing I was just like everyone else. I finally realized I had to cry. Cry when you need to, if you need to cry every day, then so be it. That is what you need to do.

      Not being able to let go could be because there is nothing else going on in your life or you have become bored with what is going on. What are you willing to do to shake things up in your day/week that would spark your interest? Doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be interesting to you.

      Not being able to let go of this jealous could be because you have not put the time in to make yourself special in some way. What do you do that is uniquely you? What skills could you develop more? What could you add to your life that you do not have now– keep this one with in reason- no multi-million dollar mansions. Within reason, what could you add to your life now that would broaden your outlook?

      I suspect you have more than one of these going on and it is exasperating an already bad situation for you. I suggest using more than one thing and doing a multi-pronged attack. For the immediate, I have a suggestion. Every time you go out in public, count, yes, actually count the number of average women you see. Or look on the internet at the women in news. Even many of our female leaders are not glamour queens, many of them are average looking women. Train your brain to look at everyone, not just the ones who reinforce your own negative image of yourself.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Every time you go out in public, count, yes, actually count the number of average women you see.

        This is what I had to do to become comfortable in a bathing suit at the pool as a middle-aged woman. As a teen and young adult, I had very little body self-consciousness; I thought I looked fierce. Fast-forward to fat and forty, and I wasn’t so cocky anymore. So I looked around at all the women and noted their similarities to myself, and that I wasn’t judging them as anything except average women.

    10. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good responses. Three things I want to highlight.

      1. Therapy. You really can control your feelings to some extent, and it will make you much happier if you get a handle on this. (also more successful in all probability, because right now it’s getting in the way of working at your best with others. Even if you stay professional, it really makes a difference.)

      2. Keep in mind that not only do most of the people you are jealous of have issues in their lives that you have no idea of. Very often they are directly related to the good things you see. Ask any really attractive woman about the price she’s paid on her way up, for instance, and you will find a shocking number who have to deal with a higher than usual level of harassment, and / or who are not taken seriously by colleagues because they must have “charmed their way up” (or slept their way…) or just on general principles. (Why so may people buy into the myth that a realy pretty woman MUST be an airhead is a subject for another rant.) If you look at high school year books, you will see how often the “most likely to succeed” is NOT the most successful one. Generally those are the “golden children” who everyone is jealous of, but they also often pay a heavy price in a number of ways.

      3. Focus on being the best you you can be. It sounds trite, but if you are busy thinking about the things you can do, wear, say etc to show yourself to good advantage or to feel good about yourself, you’ll have a lot less time and energy to spend on the negative feelings. That helps stop the vicious cycle and create a virtuous cycle. Start with the assumption that conventional markers (especially conventionally pretty) are not the only way to have a net plus. I have a friend who was frankly ugly when she was in her late teens and early twenties. But NO ONE who knew her in those days would ever have described her that way, nor would most of them remember that if I mentioned it. She was always put together and her personality just overshadowed the rest. So much so, that I think that if someone had asked any of her friends “Is Susie pretty?” they would honestly with something like “Uh… I never noticed”

      1. Not So NewReader*

        An extreme example of beauty not being the magic solution to life, is that woman who recently killed her daughters and then police shot her. She had the world by the tail with her good looks, but on the inside she was a very confused person. Her life had to be unbearably hard to her in ways that we will never understand.

        It’s very easy to focus on what we don’t have. It takes discipline to periodically make lists of things we do have and we are grateful for.

    11. Is it Performance Art*

      Ugh, we tend to treat beauty as something that gives you a massive amount of unearned benefits without any downside. It’s almost as if we want people to believe that beautiful people are the enemy. I don’t know how much this is a factor in your case. There also seems to be a current vogue for psychology studies about the advantages of beauty. When journalists write about them, they usually frame it with some person who’s known for being a knockout complaining about being treated a certain way and the article ends with something about how she’s so clueless to not realize how easy she’s got it or how beautiful people clearly live in another universe. ]It may be helpful to remind yourself that like any other trait, beauty has advantages and disadvantages. Beautiful women are still people and while they’ve had different experiences because of their beauty, the same can be said of people who grew up in a different part of the country.
      It might be helpful to remind yourself that beauty is just one of many ways you differ and is value neutral.
      Getting to know pretty women (maybe ones you already share interests with) might be helpful. You’ll probably realize they’re people too and their lives will seem a lot less charmed.

    12. Mando Diao*

      This isn’t meant as a dig at you, but keep in mind that even though “beauty privilege” rewards attractive women (but only if they want the things that men happen to decide to offer them), they also are subjected to the feelings and projections that you feel about them, from you and other people. Maybe you can feel better if recognize that attractive women often have their friendship rejected by other women? These women you’re looking at, they’ve put a lot of work into their relationships because women like you aren’t kind to them.

  19. salad fingers*

    Anyone interested in sharing what they’re reading right now? I’m just finishing Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Would highly recommend for anyone interested in race, coming of age stories, African writers, books. There’s also an interesting blog element to it that might appeal to anyone who grew up or existed during the nascent stages of the blogging boom (is that a thing?). Has anyone else read this? If not, what are you reading?

    1. Critter*

      I just picked up Between the World and Me and frankly I’m a little scared. Reading non- fiction is always a little jarring for me because I’ve read fiction so much more, and it’s going to be full of Uncomfortable Truths so I’m a little intimidated. I’ve also had a difficult time reading anything recently. I have something like 5 or 6 books that are unfinished because I can’t focus as well. I really have to plod through things these days. I’m in more of a knitting/crocheting phase atm.

    2. Margali*

      I’m about halfway through My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante — I’m reading it for book club. It’s gotten so much positive critical attention, and I have at least one friend (my own brilliant friend, heh), who loved it, but I am seriously underwhelmed at the moment.

      1. K.*

        We read “My Brilliant Friend” in my book club a few months ago. It got seriously lukewarm reactions there. I was very bored by it.

        I loved “Americanah” and “Between the World and Me.” Right now I’m reading “Brother I’m Dying” by Edwidge Danticat.

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I was SO BORED by it.

        I’ve recently started letting myself off the hook on books that just don’t catch on for me. I read a lot (like 100 books a year, mostly literary fiction), and I’d rather move on to something I’m really enjoying. This year, two of the much-talked-about new releases (City of Fire and What Belongs to You) just didn’t work on me.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I really enjoyed Americanah. I didn’t get into Adichie’s other books, which is a shame. Also, I love love love listening to her speak– interviews, panels, whatever. She has the most melodious voice.

      I just finished a couple of family memoirs which were OK but not great. I got an audiobook of All the Light We Cannot See, and I’m looking forward to listening to that on my business trip this week.

      I’ve been having a lot of trouble concentrating on books lately. It’s rough. I love to read, but I can’t seem to pay attention to anything (there’s a lot of work burnout). I’ve been pulling out old favorites and reading those, trying to get that mojo back.

      1. salad fingers*

        Ugh, I am just coming out of a ~6 month period of anxiety and stress and being unable to really read despite feeling like it was one of the few things that would really help me wind down. I hope the work burnout subsides and you get your groove back.

        Incidentally, my boyfriend and I are now borrowing from the bit in Americanah where Obinze is working 6 days a week and using his one day off to read books all day and “become Obinze again”. For us, “sorry, becoming salad fingers again” now means “please leave me alone, I’m reading and decompressing.”

        1. Stephanie*

          Ugh, me too. I had a period where I couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish a book.

          1. Windchime*

            Me, too. I finally was able to pick up Lonesome Dove and read that. It was slow to start with but I ended up liking (and finishing) it.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Heh– I kind of did that yesterday. After I finally put my work down and had a full-on, tear-filled tantrum, I basically avoided my boyfriend all evening and did stuff I wanted to do, like watch the (US) season premiere of The Great British Bake-Off. I hope reading will become a part of that too!

          1. JaneB*

            a colleague and I have a simple gauge for how stressed we are by asking “what are you reading?” – new factual book or lit fic = things are fine, lighter fantasy/YA/detective novels = a bit stressed, re-reading “good stuff” = stressed, binge-reading Georgette Heyer or Terry Pratchet = melt-down imminent

            I too added ‘can’t read’to my list of ‘not coping’ symptoms over the last couple of years, it feels like an actual bereavement at times. SO nice when it comes back…

            1. One of the Sarahs*

              OMG, are you me??? (I also add Agatha Christie for meltdown – if I’m reading girls’ school stories from the ’30s-50s, it’s too late…)

            2. SophieChotek*

              Or…at if you cannot find anything good to read, I go binge-read my old favs too…
              but I agree – sometimes its nice to read old friends (books) during particularly stressful times — you know they are comforting…
              Was it C.S. Lewis who wrote that books are sure friends?

    4. Caledonia*

      I have got Three Martini Lunch by Susanne Rindell to read which I am super excited about – her debut, The Other Typist was outstanding.

      1. Lore*

        I’ll be interested in your opinion! I also loved The Other Typist but was disappointed in Three Martini Lunch for very specific reasons that may not apply to any other reader (which I don’t want to say any more about because spoiler).

    5. Miss Nomer*

      I’ve been reading Sarum from Edward Rutherfurd. It’s a fiction book that takes little snapshots throughout the history of England and it’s been really interesting.

      1. Margali*

        I enjoyed Sarum a lot — the most of all of his books. For more English historical fiction, you can’t go wrong with Sharon Kay Penman. Start with either The Sunne in Splendour or Here Be Dragons.

        1. Chocolate Coffeepot*

          Ooh, I love Sharon Kay Penman! Reading Here Be Dragons was one of the first times I’d ever thought about John as both a king and as a real person, instead of just the Robin Hood villain who gets put in his place when Richard returns from Crusade. And Sunne strongly influenced my view of Richard III.

          Edith Pargeter has also written some medieval historical fiction; The Marriage of Megotta and The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet (which covers some of the same events as Penman’s Welsh trilogy) are the only titles that spring to mind, but there are others. She also wrote the Brother Cadfael mysteries under the pen name Ellis Peters.

          I’m currently reading The Demon’s Brood by Desmond Seward, about the Plantagenet dynasty.

    6. SophieChotek*

      I am always reading about 6 or 7 books at a time.
      I just finished a WWI memoir by an American doughboy a few minutes ago. Easy, fast reading.
      I read Anne Cleeland’s mystery Murder in Thrall this morning. (It’s an interesting series. Class differences and a different spin on aristocratic guy marries poor girl…mystery series set at New Scotland Yard).
      I have Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair and am about 1/3 of the way through that.
      I have the biography of P.L. Travers ready to pick up.
      I am about half-way through A Presumption of Guilt which is a mystery in which the lawyer works for the Help Innocent Prisoners…
      I just finished a reading a book about productions of Lysistrata
      And plan to start A Deadly Measure of Brimstone which is a mystery series set in the interwar years in Britain..
      Can’t wait to see what others are reading…I always needs new ideas for something to read. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been in a reading slump.

      1. ginger ale for all*

        One of my friends makes himself pick a book that has just been returned to the library. Go to your local public library and see if you can grab a book from one of their reshelving carts to check out. My local public leaves their carts near the front with a sign saying that they were recent returns. Seeing what other people pick might get you out of your rut.

        I would also recommend giving art books a shot. Going from plot driven to visually appealing every once in a while is refreshing.

        1. SophieChotek*

          Library cart thing sounds interesting. I’ll have to give it a try.
          Art books…I did just read a photographic essay book
          Maybe I could try to read something on an artist I don’t know much about
          Thanks!

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Finished Joe Hill’s The Fireman. Ow. Ow ow. All the feels. Read it. READ IT.

      Finished Stephen King’s End of Watch and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. The first is the final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, and the second is a marvelous collection of short stories, one of his best yet, IMO. I can talk to nearly anybody, but he is one person who, if I met him, I would be all garrrrggbbbbbglglgllglglglglglglggl LOL. He is my hero. I’d be less nervous meeting the Queen!

      Before that, I re-read The Dark Tower series and now I’m reading Robin Furth’s DT concordance. Because I just can’t let my version of Roland go. <3

      Next up is Clive Barker's The Scarlet Gospels (Harry D’Amour and Pinhead! Yeah!) and John Hornor Jacobs’ Foreign Devils, the sequel to his terrific fantasy The Incorruptibles. I highly recommend John not only because he’s a friend but because he is AWWWEEESOMMMMEEE. Then SK’s The Colorado Kid. I got behind on my SK (I cry your pardon, sai King).

      I’m really enjoying all this reading–I haven’t done it like this in ages. In The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, King says in one of the story notes that he was “waiting for a book to settle (read–doing nothing).” LOL that is exactly where I am after Secret Book.

    8. Oryx*

      I’m reading The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. I know there are some Jasper Fforde fans here, it’s a lot like that.

      1. Claire (Scotland)*

        That’s in the to be read pile on my bedside table. I do love some Jasper Fforde!

      2. Confused Publisher*

        I’d like to know what you think when you finish it. (I have *some thoughts* on the matter and would love to talk them through with someone who has also read it.)

        Speaking of invisible libraries, have you read Deborah Harkness’ books?

    9. Cruciatus*

      I just finished The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin–the final book in the trilogy. Very good, but my sister and I still have some questions. I just started The Last Star–also the final book in a (young adult) trilogy but I’m not enjoying it at all! I feel all the characters turned into morons from one book to the next and I don’t think these kids would think/say the things they are thinking and saying. Depending on which book gets to me first at the library, my next read will be either Dead Wake by Erik Larson or Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo (murder mysteries that take place in Amish country in Ohio–not always by the Amish or to the Amish, but the area is the backdrop of the series).

    10. Stephanie*

      I was trying to read Debt: The First 5000 years by David Graeber and I just. could. not. get. into. it. Around page 75, I was like “Eh. I’m not reading this for class. There are other things I could be reading.”

      I just started Dietland by Sarai Walker.

        1. Chocolate Coffeepot*

          I used to feel that I had to finish every book that I started. About ten years ago, I realized that life is too short to force myself to read books I don’t enjoy. As you said, a great day!

      1. salad fingers*

        Stephanie, are you liking Dietland? I think I might pick that up next. Also are you Stephanie who usually has the muppet avatar or a new Stephanie?

          1. salad fingers*

            Wait, now I can see the avatar again.. It wasn’t there on my desktop. Strange.

    11. nep*

      Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. And about to start Orwell’s Victory by Christopher Hitchens.

      1. AcidMeFlux*

        I loved Paris to the Moon! He touches on a lot of the things you feel when you live in a different country (I love the moment when he gets the bizarre thought that he’s the only person in a Paris discount department store at that very moment who knows what a twi-night double header is). And yeah, I miss Hitchens too, though he did go off the rails in the last years.

        1. nep*

          The other day I ordered Hitchens’s book Mortality.
          So often I think of how I’d like to hear his take on current affairs. Whether I agreed with him or not on this or that point, invariably he made me think.

    12. The IT Manager*

      Just finished Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars about the women “computers” at JPL from the 40s through today. Due to their efforts more women are employed at JPL than at any other NASA center.

      Just started The Geek a Feminist Revolution essays from Hugo Award Winner Kameron Hurley.

      I also just finished the audiobook of Dead Wake about the torpedoing of Lusitaina in WWI.

      1. LCL*

        I’m trying to read rocket girls. I started it and lost it in the stack of books here, sigh.
        In the middle of Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human-urban fantasy set in post apartheid South Africa. I’m loving it. If you like Christopher Moore or Neil Gaimin or Jim Butcher, give it a try.

      2. Rob Lowe can't read*

        I haven’t read that one, but it sounds a lot like Girls of Atomic City, which focuses on the experiences of women who worked at Oak Ridge National Labratory during WWII. You might want to check it out!

    13. Levsha*

      If you really liked Americanah, you’d probably also like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. (or maybe you already have, it’s from 2007!) It has that same incisive and fast-paced tone, but with a deep look at race/ethnicity/gender. Love love love it!

      1. K.*

        Love this book! However, it set me up for a letdown. I read “This is How You Lose Her” shortly after Oscar Wao and was disappointed.

  20. Bibliovore*

    I dropped my three- year old IPAD air and cracked the screen. Genius bar appointment tomorrow. From my research Is it worth it to replace the screen or at this point should I upgrade to a new one?
    Screen replacement $249
    New IPAD $729

    Old IPAD seems to work just fine- I use it for reading galleys, watching Netflix, creating keynote presentations, small group professional development, donor relations and sharing our departmental digital assets.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      A new iPad would be faster, but if you’re happy with your old one, have you considered comparing the price of a screen replacement with the price of a used iPad of the same generation/model? That might cost the same as or a little bit more than the replacement screen.

      Of course, if it were me I’d use it as an excuse to upgrade, but then that’s usually the only time I can justify letting myself upgrade, when I have to.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I do have the money to upgrade and this is a non-reimbursed business expense (so can get back some on taxes) I actually use my first gen one for netflix. (I was an early adopter- only time in my life)
        So any thoughts on size-

        Professional? 9 inch?
        I do travel for work and when I do I take
        IPHONE 6 plus
        Ipad
        MacBook Air

        If the iPad was smaller, might be easier to travel with and show stuff to people…
        when I read on it I enlarge the print so that I don’t have to where glasses.
        If I get the professional can I leave the MacBook Air (its the large one) at home.
        I would use for work processing, keynote, email, and reading.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, a refurbished one! I just bought a refurbished iPad Air from Apple for $419. I read that often they’re models that were given to reporters for a week for testing, that kind of thing, and then they totally redo the case, etc. so all the elements you can see are brand new. I’m very happy with it. Plus it is gold.

    2. YWD*

      I just bought a new iPad Air about a month ago – replacing a 4+ year old iPad 2 – and am loving the display improvements. For me it was similar to going from standard definition to high definition TV. Plus the battery lasts a lot longer.

      I resisted getting a new one for a long time because my old one still worked but I am really happy I did it and find myself using it a lot more.

      1. Bibliovore*

        oh, that is good. I didn’t think about the battery life and I will be traveling to Europe next year.

    3. SophieChotek*

      Oh no! I’d probably just get the new one — better screen, better hardware, faster processor, etc.
      But Cosmic Avenger has a good point about replacing same generation. (I think you can even buy refurbished ones from Apple, but I am sure could be found elsewhere.)

    4. BRR*

      I’d probably just get a new one. It’s a lot of money that doesn’t lengthen the life of your iPad. You could also look into other places that repair screens that I imagine are cheaper.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      Does the new iPad have to be new?

      Apple’s selling refurbished iPad Airs (128 GB of storage) for US$439 right now.

      If you’re willing to go down to 16 GB of storage, it’s US$279, which isn’t much more than you’d be paying for a screen replacement.

      1. Bibliovore*

        the decision tree-
        the iPad is pretty essential to my work life.
        Given that it is in constant use- I will want a quick fix and the most up to date processor etc. It would be great to have a longer battery life- will be checking to see if the newer ones promise that.
        The refurbished ones are the same gen as the one I have so it might make sense just to fix the screen as the one I have is cellular and 128 GB storage.
        Thanks for all the help.

        1. Bibliovore*

          Good news. Just back from the Apple Store.
          They replace my cracked screen IPad Air with a totally new device for 250.00.
          I wasn’t quite ready to replace with an IPAD air 2, or go big with the pro. The new ones promised more but not by much.
          I figure if I get another year out of this one that would be worth the money.

          Only sad part is that I lost my digital galleys (I knew this would happen) and I was in the middle of the new Jennifer Weiner memoir.
          I hope that it is still available on Net Galley.

          1. Bibliovore*

            more good news- I was able to download all the galleys that I hadn’t read on Kindle and Bluefire. I was SURE I wouldn’t be able to do that because of a previous experience. The Jennifer Weiner memoir Hungry Heart is a a fast fabulous read. Publishing in October.

    6. Fafaflunkie*

      I’ve had an experience with an old iPod touch one day when I dropped it face down and ended up with a spider-web shattering all over the screen. This, by the way, happened on launch day for the latest iPhone then. I find my way to the Apple Store near me asking how much would this cost to fix. 10 minutes later they hand me another iPod touch, and tell me “don’t worry about it, but may I suggest a case for it?” I buy their recommended case. A week later I drop the iPod they gave me with the case on it. Another crack. I ended up living with it. Then again this was five years ago. YMMV.

      1. Fafaflunkie*

        And before you ask: that iPod was at least a year out if warranty and I didn’t buy AppleCare.

  21. INTP*

    I have a question about holiday/family events, so this is timely:
    Is it ever acceptable to bring food to a family gathering that is only shared with people with food restrictions?

    I’m gluten free and pescetarian (and mostly vegan at home). A new family member by marriage is vegan. A couple of people have newly discovered dairy allergies, though they aren’t super strict about it. No one ever brings anything specifically gluten free or vegan. Sometimes there’s some chips or salad we can munch on, but we bring our own meals from home. (For major holidays like Thanksgiving I do make a main course or hearty salads with inexpensive ingredients.)

    These events have around twenty people, so it would be expensive and time consuming for me to prepare enough of most things to feed everyone (especially desserts – gluten free flours, cashew cream filling, etc get very expensive). I’m not upset that people don’t make an effort to accommodate me – it’s certainly far less awkward than if they tried but didn’t know about cross contamination or hidden flour – I’m just busy and on a budget and not really inclined to cook for 20 people with nothing in return. However, I’d often like to make a small batch of dessert to share with the vegan, and the dairy free people if they’d like, so that we can all have dessert. (Like half a pie, or a single batch of cookies, etc.) Or if I’m making, say, a gluten free mac and cheese for myself that weekend, bring a few servings worth for the people who don’t eat cheese.

    Is it ever acceptable to do this? Not make a big production of it, just bring it, place it apart from the other food, and discreetly give the others a heads up? Or do I need to keep sharing with either everyone or no one?

    1. Colette*

      I’d suggest bringing something and asking that everyone allow the people with restrictions to get some first – but after they’ve had some, it’s open to everyone.

    2. animaniactoo*

      I think it depends on the people you’re doing this with, BUT that any reasonable people will generally be okay with it. What I would say is that I think you need to be prepared to bring a little more than just for yourself as other people may like to have a bit of your dish, which balances out with the little bits of things that they are preparing that you’re able to have some of. So it’s not a total divide between “no contribution” and “full contribution”. So maybe enough for 2 or 3 people if they were having a full meal of it, but becomes a small amount for 10 or 15 who might want to have some/try it. Does that make sense?

    3. Meemzi*

      My brother usually brings food to prepare for himself. Sometimes he makes enough for everyone (entrée for him, side for everyone else) and sometimes he doesn’t and we just don’t eat his food. BUT we tend to be a smaller gathering.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with, “Hey everyone, this is dairy free ice cream for Barbie and Ken. Please do not eat it. There is regular ice cream here too.”

    4. Random Citizen*

      I have family members with allergies, and will occasionally bring something specifically for them. If it’s a regular dish that happens to be gluten/dairy/egg/whatever-free, I’ll just bring a regular potluck-dish size and put a note on it. If it’s a special allergy-free item and I don’t have a lot, I’ll keep the dish in the kitchen separate from where the other food is served, put a note on it not to touch and let guests with allergies know where to find it (either talk to them or put a note on the table saying gluten-free dessert in the kitchen – please ask so-and-so – either me or kitchen people).

    5. Ellie H.*

      Of course! I’ve done this so many times. Unless your family is unreasonable, everyone will appreciate that you brought something that helps include everyone. In the other thread we were reading about non-GF or vegan or w/e people who thoughtlessly eat the alternate food and don’t leave enough for those with actual restrictions, but I haven’t had that experience very much and usually non-vegans won’t really want the vegan mac and cheese or whatever. If you feel like people would need to be told not to eat it, then just keep it aside and not with the other food or with plastic wrap or something.

    6. TootsNYC*

      “brings food to prepare ”

      but I would say in general, people should bring food already prepared for themselves. At a big gathering, it’s not cool to try to cook in someone else’s kitchen. I’m assuming Meemzi’s brother has taken that into account and it works in that situation, but in general, don’t use someone else’s kitchen on the day-of.

      1. Meemzi*

        Right, he does that when we all (in total, less than 10 people) come together at our mother’s house. Everybody knows he has restrictions and it’s understood that he’s going to be taking care of himself. (He’s strict enough that he brings his own cookware.)

        He wouldn’t do that at a non-family member’s house. If someone did, it wouldn’t be horribly unreasonable to ask the host in advance if they could use the oven or stove to heat up their prepared food.

    7. Jules the First*

      Ooh… On the subject of cashew cream, can I say that I’ve just discovered that coconut oil makes awesome vegan buttercream frosting? (And cheaper than nut cream…) Melt the oil, whip it with icing sugar and your chosen flavourings, then chill briefly to firm it up.

  22. anon who needs a name*

    Has anyone ever had a friendship or relationship ruined after the first time you went on vacation together?

    I’m pretty sure one of my friendships was just ruined over a vacation. I’ve known this friend for about maybe 5 years and we recently went on a 5 day trip. What I think started the trip on a sour note is that she’s in her early 30s and still doesn’t have a credit card, so I had to pay for everything that needed a credit card (with her paying me back, of course). And she’s so cheap. I mean, there was one point we were a 2 hour walk away from the hotel and she wanted to walk – in 80 degree heat and 80% humidity – instead of take a cab or the subway. I know she doesn’t have severe financial issues, so being super cheap put a damper on everything.

    And then she had no opinion on what to do despite the fact that we had discussed certain things to see and do beforehand. I don’t mind making a plan, but I was a bit annoyed I had to set the schedule for the week since if it was up to her we’d just be wandering aimlessly for 5 days straight.

    By the end of it, I was totally at the bitch eating crackers phase – annoyed that she always walks two steps behind me in this weird hovering/stepping on the back of my shoes habit, that if we did go anywhere she was glued to my side, that she spilled food on herself 50% of the times we went out to eat, that she refused to eat ANYWHERE that had fish (she’s not allergic, she just thinks it’s gross, and even though I love fish she’s the type to not want someone to get it because she says it makes her feel gross just looking at it – and do you know how hard it is to find a restaurant that doesn’t have ANY type of seafood on the menu? jfc it was a nightmare).

    By the end of it, I was so glad to be away from her. Most of my former travel partners are too busy with significant others or kids to travel anymore, and while I’m cool with traveling solo, sometimes I want a friend to travel with. I guess I was lucky with all my former travel buddies that we got along perfectly that I didn’t realize how much a vacation could suck if you’re traveling with the wrong person.

    1. everything matters*

      Had this happen when I was 14. We went to camp together. Wasn’t bad but just enough the friendship was never the same.

    2. salad fingers*

      Wow. Honestly, it would be difficult for me to feel the same way about this person after 5 days of that too. Opted to walk for 2 hours instead of take the subway?? Which is typically less than $5? I love to walk, but would absolutely not have been okay with that. The restaurant thing is also juuuuuuust -_-.

      I’ve definitely had not ideal traveling partner situations and for that reason am always frank about wanting to do my own thing, even if that means paths diverging for awhile. Much rather everyone feel like their precious vacation time was well spent than try to spend every waking moment together.

    3. animaniactoo*

      Not me personally, but longtime friend of my parents, we all went camping together when I was young and her son was too. That friendship basically ended on that trip.

      All of the kind of stuff that you’re describing would eventually drive me pretty batty too.

    4. Colette*

      Is she a good friend otherwise? If so, it may be that you just can’t travel with her. It’s possible that you’ll start resenting her less when you don’t have to see her 24/7. It’s also possible that you have incompatible traveling styles (planner vs. live in the moment).

      I’d also question whether she really does have financial issues, based on the wanting to walk and the lack of a credit card. (Not that that’s an excuse – if you can’t afford to go on vacation, don’t go on vacation.)

      1. neverjaunty*

        I don’t disagree, but sometimes the issue is less ‘we just have different ideas about travel’, and more than travel highlights the friend being a garbage person. Say, having no interest in compromise where that’s possible and always placing one’s own pet peeves and quirks above the other person’s comfort.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I agree w/ this. I think that your friend showed herself to be someone you don’t want to know.

          I traveled with a friend once, and it wasn’t pretty, but I came away thinking, “We don’t like to do the same things on vacation.” I didn’t find her to be a selfish, self-centered, inconsiderate, and annoying person.

        2. Colette*

          Sure, that’s possible. But, for example, if the main issue is that she doesn’t want to eat at a restaurant that serves fish, but outside of the trip their main relationship is working out together and occasionally watching movies, then where she’ll eat isn’t really an issue.

          Some people can be terrible to travel with but good friends otherwise. But if this person is terrible to travel with and the trip highlighted the fact that anon who needs a name doesn’t really like her, that’s a reason to end the friendship.

          1. TootsNYC*

            Though, I can also see that the WAY she dealt with the whole fish issue might make her someone I just didn’t want to be particularly close to, even if it wasn’t ever likely to be an issue. I think that’s what happened here.

            1. Colette*

              That is possible. But none of us are perfect, and it seems … unnecessary to end a friendship because someone is annoying in a specific situation that is unlikely to come up again. If it’s a sign of a bigger problem that will happen frequently, that’s a different calculation.

              (Of course, it’s up to the individual to weigh the behaviour and frequency to determine whether is something they want to live with, regardless.)

      2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Yeah, cheapness + no credit card sounds like secret bankruptcy or something like that to me. There’s just no way to KNOW that someone doesn’t have financial difficulties.

        Also, it sounds like maybe the LW just doesn’t like the friend very much? Because these are the kinds of things that would make me crazy with someone I’m already prone to annoyance with… but I doubt I’d even notice most of this stuff with someone I really enjoyed.

        And to be completely honest, I feel a little protective of the friend. How crappy to have your friend and travel companion annoyed with you for the way you walk and eat (too hovering, too much spilling, etc.).

        1. DaBlonde*

          What struck me as annoying was the fact that she didn’t want to plan the trip but she had serious restrictions on where she was willing to eat. You either are easy-going and will go anywhere or you’re not and need to plan things out.

          1. Colette*

            Yeah, one of my pet peeves is someone who says they don’t care what we do but veto things I suggest. I’m not playing a guessing game to figure out what you want.

            1. SophieChotek*

              +1
              So annoying.
              Whether its on a trip or you are just trying to decide where to eat or what movie to see…
              Don’t pretend to be easy-going or “whatever” but then veto everything…

        2. catsAreCool*

          Having a friend stepping on the back of my shoes regularly would be a bit much for me.

          And having to avoid seafood – I don’t even eat seafood, and I find this annoying.

      3. anon who needs a name*

        Eh. She’s not one of my closest friends, but I guess more a friend I made through other friends who I became close to when all my other friends started settling down.

        She definitely does not have financial issues. She has no debt and she doesn’t pay rent and she’s said more than once she doesn’t want a credit card because she’s worried someone will steal her information and she can always just pay cash. Or use her parents’ credit card if need be.

        1. AcidMeFlux*

          Sounds like all-around maturity/passivity issues. I doubt that down the line you’ll have much of a friendship anyway.

    5. Lily Evans*

      This happened once when I went to a convention with a group of friends in college. There was one new girl who really wanted to be in our friend group and she was just super obnoxious the entire time. What put me over the edge was when she insisted that she grew up visiting NYC all the time and knew where she was going and got us all onto a train downtown instead of uptown. We missed the convention breakfast time that morning and there were freshly made croissants. I never forgave her for that.

    6. LizB*

      Traveling is one of those things that can make or break a relationship. I’ve been very lucky that all the friends I’ve gone traveling with have compatible traveling styles to me. My family goes on a week-long vacation every year, and we all split up for large sections of the trip because we’ve got very different interests and styles. Your friend would drive me up the wall if I tried to travel with her, though, based on your description. The no-seafood-on-the-menu thing would be especially annoying — that level of pickiness is ridiculous.

    7. Audiophile*

      I had something similar happen a few years ago.

      I had gone to junior high with this person and we had lost touch until a mutual friend died and we became closer. I had posted on FB asking if anyone had any suggestions on where I could go away and she’d like the status, so I asked if she was interested in going with me. We eventually settled on DC, after numerous discussions and the entire planning to the actual vacation was a pretty big headache. She was very frugal, more than me, to the point that she kept suggesting hostels to stay in, which would have been fine except, there were none even remotely in the DC “proper” area. I eventually found a decent hotel in the Arlington area that was a close walk to the Metro.

      During the trip, she didn’t want to do any of the museums or touristy sites, even though almost all were free. On the second day we were there we went to the National Mall and walked from the Archives stop to The Capitol and then we walked to the Lincoln Memorial, stopping at the MLK Jr. Memorial. As tourists, we didn’t know that once we got to the Lincoln Memorial, there really wasn’t a nearby metro station to board. She argued with me that we shouldn’t take a cab to the Arlington station, until I finally said, I’m taking a cab and you’re welcome to get in.

      After the DC trip was over we spent a long time apart. We eventually took another trip together after that.

      1. Colette*

        One of the things I’ve gotten better at is saying “ok, well I’m going to go do X. You’re welcome to join me, but if you don’t want to come, I will meet up with you later.” It’s ok to travel with someone who wants to do different things, but not at the expense of me missing out in what I want to do.

        1. AcidMeFlux*

          I do that too and it works. Not only do you get to do what you want, you get Traveling Companion out of your face for a while, and you also have something to talk about later. It’s good to give yourself some breathing room on a shared vacation.

        2. SophieChotek*

          I agree…sadly (as I commented in my below post) my travelling companion refused to do that.
          Our trip would have been so much better if that had been an option.

          1. Audiophile*

            We did split up once, on U Street, I went to Ben’s Chili Bowl and she went around the corner to a different restaurant.

            The Lincoln Memorial cab debate sticks in my head because she really did want to either walk back towards the Archives stop or walk to Arlington National Cemetery. I said no way because we had spent all day walking and it was pretty hot that day, we went during July.

    8. SophieChotek*

      Sort of.
      A friend and I went on a 2 week trip together.
      In theory, when we talked things over it seemed like we would travel well together and we were interested in the same things; we both agreed there were some historical sites, etc the other person was more interested in but we would go to the others….
      But in practice it didn’t work out that way. She pouted if she didn’t get to see things she wanted to see, or pouted when we compromised about seeing something I wanted to see, but she didn’t. (Once she just literally sat outside while I went in…which would have bee fine, if it hadn’t been followed by…discussions of why she didn’t like it…) – but she also refused to separate and do things apart…which I would have been fine with so we could each see what we wanted to see…
      She also seemed unable to entertain herself – i.e. during downtime, if we stopped for a drink at a charming cafe, etc. she was bored (she didn’t write postcards or have a travel diary and didn’t like there was no internet so she could not update to Facebook, I guess).
      And once we started arguing about directions to a place she wanted to see…which was so absurd, becuase I was the only one who spoke the language, so how she magically knew what the sign said still remains a mystery to me.
      We’re still friends, but I would never go on a trip with her again. Oh, well, lesson learned.
      But we’ll do things like have dinner and go to a movie or something like that.

    9. the gold digger*

      Opposite to your situation – and I think your friend was doing it wrong – one of the reasons I knew Primo would be a good match for me is that we travel very well together. We like to do the same kind of things and we approach travel problems the same way and in the areas we differ, we complement each other.

      Although his razor focus on The Mission (which is not something he has about household things or getting rid of His Parents’ Junk in Our Guest Room) leads him to overlook the WOMAN WITH THE BLUE TATTOOS ON HER FACE! in Schipol. How can you miss a woman in robes and BLUE TATTOOS ALL OVER HER FACE?

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Yes! That is how I knew Mr. Bong was perfect for me. We took a huge road trip together. One day, we drove for almost 14 hours, most of it through pouring rain, and didn’t get to our hotel until after midnight. We had a great time just talking. That’s when I knew we should get married.

    10. zora.dee*

      I feel like I’ve heard my whole life that you should only travel with people who have the same travel style as you do. Even if it’s someone you think is a lovely person, if you travel differently, it will just make everyone miserable. I don’t even remember who I heard it from because I feel like it’s been so ubiquitous of a concept.

      I know it’s nice to have a travel buddy, I’ve mostly done mine on my own, and the couple of times I’ve had a buddy it was so fun! But it is definitely a thing to pay attention to, because it can ruin friendships. The stakes are just so much higher when you are together 24 hours/day for so many days, and the high stress and pressure of not being somewhere familiar. I traveled once with a romantic partner, just a short road trip, and it was so obvious we were not travel compatible. Even though we got along so well the rest of the time.

      As others said above, maybe if you get some space after this trip, you’ll be able to be friends again in the future. But my advice is to be super clear before going traveling with someone to talk about each of your travel styles very explicitly and decide if this is really going to work for both of you. It is totally a thing.

      1. Mazzy*

        I agree, there are too many things that can go wrong that you don’t even think about. I like to walk and can walk for hours without getting tired, many people I know though would get exhausted or bored if I set the pace. Others wouldn’t want to do the nerdy things or nature excursions I’d add to a trip. Conversely, I love personal space so usually get my own room, and I love my own bathroom, which makes me look a bit like a prima donna to those who don’t mind sharing a room.

        My number one travel rule is to delineate from the beginning if it is going to be an active trip or an “adult” trip. Are we going to do lots of sights and city-hop, in which case it will make sense to bring along the kids, because they make it so much funner to do certain sights and you can use them as an excuse to do certain things like carnival rides, or is it going to involve a lot of fancy dinners and drinking and late mornings and tanning at the pool. Because if I go to a new place with an agenda, and my friends can’t get up until 11 because they went out, and they don’t want to walk because they don’t want to sweat, I’m not going to be pleasant to be with either

    11. Snow*

      Yes – I went to London with a friend from a book club, we were becoming close because we both joined the book club to make friends and used to regularly meet for coffee. She suggested a trip to London to see a show and go round museums. I think it started when we were discussing which show to go before we went when it became clear while she said ‘a show’ she only wanted to see one particular show which I didn’t really want to but I caved in the end so she got her way. The whole time we were away I seemed to constantly irritate her. I took a carry all on wheels because I have back issues (and this really annoyed her for some reason) I can’t walk as fast as her and so she spent the whole time walking way in front of me and then eventually waiting for me to catch up while getting huffy about it. On the Sunday we’d planned to go Greenwich but she decided this cost too much so we went to the V & A. She was completely unrealistic about what she wanted to spend when eating out in London and when we got back she stopped replying to my texts so I gave up that book club so it wasn’t awkward. I could have gone along and tried to talk to her but I was pretty irritated myself at that point.

    12. Soupy Twist*

      Are you me?! This sounds exactly like a friend I travelled with to California earlier this year:

      – We stayed with a friend and her bf in Los Angeles (we were coming from Ireland) who generously gave up half the living room in their one bed apartment to put in an air bed for us. As soon as we got there, she decided she didn’t want to sleep in the bed, so she was going to sleep on the floor instead i.e. taking up most of the remaining living space.
      – she would take showers/use the bathroom first thing in the morning, meaning our friends bf was either late for work or had to leave for work without being ready.
      – We rented a car for the first week which we had planned in advance, with the idea that we’d split the driving 50/50. She never once drove the car. Never offered to take over when it was clear I was getting tired. I eventually called her out on it and it turns out it’s not that she couldn’t drive, she just didn’t want to. But didn’t think she needed to tell me, since I’m such a good driver.
      – She would never proactively pay back what she owed someone (quite happy to let others pay for her), and whenever it was mentioned, she would reluctantly dole out the exact amount that was due.
      – One day we were due to take the sightseeing bus to see some areas that she was interested in. She wasn’t keen on spending $40 on the ticket but reluctantly agreed when I pointed out that there’s no other way to get there without spending several hours on public transport (or a catching a very expensive taxi). As it turns out, I was feeling ill that morning, but I encouraged her to go anyway since it was on her to-do list. She spent the next two hours online trying to find a way to get there without having to spend $40 for the sightseeing bus. (Spoiler: for reasons mentioned above, it’s not possible)

      There were so many other incidents, it would take way too long to recount them all. That was back in February and she hasn’t contacted me or our other friends since.

      Bonus story: I found out since that on a subsequent weekend break she took with a different friend, that she ditched her travelling companion and left her alone at the hotel to go out on the town with a guy that she had just met that day.

      Fun times.

    13. Mando Diao*

      She’s bs-ing on a few things. Doesn’t matter if she doesn’t have a credit card. She probably has a debit card (unless she literally has no bills and never, ever buys anything online – which I doubt) , and you can use debit for all of the travel-related stuff you’d need a card for. She’s totally that person who uses “but I don’t have a credit card” as an excuse to never pay for stuff.

    14. Hummingbird*

      Yes. Right now actually. My friend and I had a trip to plan and she was being very uninvolved in the planning. Then with the Paris attacks, she cancelled out of the trip. I asked her if she had second thoughts prior to Paris due to barely having a hand in the planning (I would ask time and time again for her input) and she said her budget. I asked her why she just didn’t say something up front instead of allowing me to build an itinerary and research it out. For whatever reason I cannot get a straight answer out of her for this question. She claims she’ll tell me face-to-face but then never sets a time to meet up. I don’t know what could be such an issue to just email (we don’t live close enough to drive to each other’s place on a whim). I don’t know how to act and with this being such classified info, I’m backing away, debating to ghost into oblivion. I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do; I’ve told her how this has affected me.

      *Sigh*

  23. Caledonia*

    I briefly mentioned this in the Friday Open Thread.

    I have an offer on my flat! It’s lower than I wanted but after taking the time to think it over, I can’t complain that much because I’ve made a whack of money off of it. It’s still really early stages (I’ve verbally accepted the offer) but fingers crossed.

    Ideally, I’d like to take a month to travel around Europe when I get the money released but I don’t know what to do with my cat. My dad refuses to have her and me but will take my furniture (lots of drama, his wife & I don’t get along). He says give my cat up! :( I’ve had her for 7 years. I’m hoping to work something out somehow, maybe my brother & his gf will take her in (and let me stay there).

    1. Elkay*

      That’s great news! As I understand it it’s a lot harder for a sale to fall through in Scotland so fingers crossed everything goes to plan. My cattery takes cats for long stays, I don’t know how good it is for the cat but might be worth looking into.

      1. JaneB*

        My cattery also takes cats for longer stays (and gives them extra play time etc.) – both of my mogs have been fine with long stays of up to 6-8 weeks (some summers I have to travel a lot for work). If your cat isn’t used to a cattery, once you’ve found one you like, it might be worth putting her in for a weekend first so that you can both try it out, and she’ll learn that she gets to come home afterwards.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Yay for you!
      Sorry about cat issues — I don’t think you should have to give up your cat. I hope you find a workable and affordable solution.

  24. animaniactoo*

    I just wanted to say how much I like this site and the commenting community. My previous community became somewhat inaccessible to me due to technical issues, and I have somewhat fallen out of love with it as changes over the years have meant that while it’s still a fairly polite and well regulated community the overall tone of it has changed and it’s not as fun or compassionate as it used to be 4 or 5 years ago.

    I started commenting here a few months ago and have not always been my best self, and I appreciate that I was shut down fairly gently. I love seeing the different viewpoints on things and the differences in experience from company to company, particularly as I have been with the same company for the past 17 years. My company’s a little dysfunctional in some areas, a lot dysfunctional in a couple, and you have to be the kind of person who can survive the environment. Overall, I’ve had a good working relationship with them, but I know that turnover is crazy high in other departments and I understand why, so having an outside perspective of how other offices operate and what kinds of issues crop up everywhere, what’s really and outlier kind of thing, and so on has been great.

    But – aside from all that, my husband has been having a major health crisis for the past 2 months (it’s pretty much over but for the shouting at this point) which meant that he spent a month in the hospital and due to how life worked out that was long distance to me (good for him, it meant he got better care and had better support, hard on me to not be able to be there while appreciating that he was getting what he needed and wanting that for him). Being able to spend time here has been amazing to me in terms of just being able to communicate with people a) about stuff that wasn’t about whether he was going to live and constantly sending out medical updates and b) in an emotionally positive and comforting environment. So I just wanted to say how much I appreciate that this space is here, and how well run I feel it is and how much I like it.

    1. Rahera*

      Sounds like you’ve had a really rough spin. I’m glad your husband got the care he needed, though the distance can’t have been easy.

  25. Audiophile*

    This thread is up early.

    I have no real plans, hoping to get some writing done, as I was putting it off and putting it off.

    Seems a lot of towns are delaying their fireworks celebrations because of unpredictable weather. I think my town is still planning to hold theirs tomorrow.

    Anyone have any fun plans for the weekend?

    1. NJ Anon*

      In my neighbors’ pool with an adult beverage, food and fireworks. Doesn’t get any better than that! And we can walk home!

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Nope. I pulled a hamstring this morning while skating, so I’m holding down this sofa, as it has expressed a desire to fly. ;)

      Maybe I’ll go do something tomorrow. My hairspray is on sale at Ulta starting tomorrow, so I might go there and grab some and window shop a little. It’s supposed to rain all weekend.

      1. Audiophile*

        I’m sorry. Feel better, Elizabeth.

        I wound up taking a trip to Danbury to try to find this CFL light bulb for a ceiling fan/fixture that’s in the kitchen. The lightbulb was too large for the fixture. So now I get to make a return trip tomorrow.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Haha, are you me? I had a race yesterday (Saturday) and I think I pulled my calf. So I’m currently on the couch willing it to get better since I have another race this weekend. And my shampoo/conditioner is on good sale at Ulta starting today.

        We are mostly just hanging out at home in our pool all weekend, my IL’s are going to come over tomorrow to join us. This is the first summer we’ve had our dog, so we’re not sure how she’ll react to fireworks so we are going to hang out at home in the evenings (my city has fireworks shows on the 3rd and 4th).

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I wish I had fun plans. We thought about having people over tomorrow, but it is nasty and humid here and I… just can’t. I wound up with a work trip for which I have to travel on Monday, and yesterday I realized I was SO pissed that I’ll be missing out on a holiday off. The good side of this is that my work trip starts in Philadelphia, so when I go up on Monday I’ll stay with my grandparents in the ‘burbs, but dude. Blech.

    4. catsAreCool*

      Mostly going to stick around home, try to reassure the kitties that the fireworks won’t hurt them. I like the big pretty fireworks that cities sometimes put on, but I’m really beginning to hate the probably illegal fireworks that some of my neighbors set off at odd hours. This time of year, I just hope they stop the noise before 11 pm, but I don’t have high hopes. My cats don’t exactly freak out, but they really don’t like it, and they get nervous.

    5. Aurora Leigh*

      I was going to visit my parents . . . but I got into a minor car accident on my way out of town, so I get to spend the weekend at home after all. I should be more upset about it than I am. I just made the 3 hour drive for father’s day and was kind of dreading it.

    6. Mallory Janis Ian*

      We had my brother and SIL over for burgers yesterday, and then we went and set up our lawn chairs along with practically everyone else in town tho watch the town fireworks show. My 15-year-old son took a bag full of bottle rockets, firecrackers, and some kind of firework called mortars and had a sleepover with his best friend.

      We were irritated with my brother and SIL because we’d invited them over for six o’clock, and they said they’d bed until seven. Which was fine, because seven is our normal dinnertime, anyway. But then they called at seven-twenty, saying that they were just then headed back home (out in the country) from Walmart, so they didn’t arrive until eight o’clock. They are always an hour-and-a-half to two hours late to everything we do, so as soon as they said they hadn’t even been home yet, I grabbed a plate and ate my dinner without even trying to wait for them; the rest of my family followed suit. When they finally pulled into our driveway, I asked my husband, “Well, should I answer the door right away or let them knock for twenty freaking minutes!?”

  26. Seeking Dog Advice*

    Greetings! I do not normally post, but I’m throwing this out there. My dog (13-14 months) attached another dog. Out of the blue, no warning signs. I’m already reaching out for individual classes, but does anyone have advice? She is terribly skittish, so I know I need to work on her confidence. She once showed signs of leash aggression, but did not actually fight. She’s only fought one dog that came in our yard, that she did not know. She is very, very good with our other dog, and can be trusted around small children.

    Any advice? I’d like to find good habits to start before we can get her in training. I hate the phrase dogs will be dogs (like boys will be boys) so I am being proactive. Thanks!!

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Glad you’re being proactive! I completely agree that “dogs will be dogs” is an excuse for bad dog owners.

      Two thoughts, and one anecdote:

      1) It sounds like you’re already doing this, but just in case: look for a dog trainer that offers “reactive dogs” and “leash aggression” classes specifically. I’m always amazed at the progress that dogs make in those classes at my training center. (“My” in that I take my dog to classes there; I’m not a trainer myself.)

      2) When your dog is out and about, make it very very clear that she is not safe for other dogs. Use the yellow ribbon (link in further comment); use a muzzle (more as a signal that “this dog is not safe” than as an actual prevention device; when other dogs approach, put up your hand in a stop sign, say “My dog is not safe for other dogs,” and cross the street.

      The sad anecdote/PSA: A neighbor just made the awful decision to put his reaction dog to sleep, because too many other neighbors walk their dogs off leash. He just couldn’t keep his dog or others safe because the loose dogs would rush over (prompting his reactive dog into aggression). It was the responsible thing for him to do, but so sad that he was forced into it by other neigbhors being irresponsible with their dogs. So: KEEP YOUR DOGS ON LEASH, even if they’re not even a tiny bit aggressive. :(

      1. Gaia*

        I do not agree with a muzzle. Especially in summer months, muzzles can be very dangerous to a dog (they inhibit proper panting, thus inhibiting cooling) and have been shown to damage the snout when fitted improperly.

        My dog is one that doesn’t do well with other large dogs (although adores small dogs). I address this by simply redirecting him away from other dogs. It takes a lot of effort and sometimes means our walks are just pacing the same area back and forth, but it works.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          My dog is reactive to other dogs and I take her out in the early morning hours, before most other people are up walking their dogs. In our class (which I posted about below), we learned an “emergency u-turn” which we have had to execute a couple of times. Basically, if we see another dog on the horizon, we just turn around and go the other way. No sense in seeing if she’ll react to this particular dog or not.

          I would move before I put my dog to sleep because of other irresponsible dog owners.

    2. KR*

      Every time I pass another dog and my dog doesn’t bark like a lot lunatic I praise him a lot. My parents dog doesn’t like males in her house so we take them for short walks/park trips together and reward them excessively together so they associate each other with food so they can get used to each other.

    3. Gaia*

      So, I will say this. Dogs do not attack with no warning. There was a warning, but it probably went unnoticed. If your dog is skittish, she was probably scared (although I’m curious what you mean by off leash aggression) and attacked out of fear. This is a very normal reaction for an untrained dog – they are animals, after all.

      I recommend you find a good trainer (and not one that trains on dominance theory) to help both your dog and you. You need to learn to recognize signs of distress in your dog so you can remove her from the situation and your dog needs to learn appropriate coping skills.

      Good luck and I hope the other pup is ok.

    4. Rebecca in Dallas*

      We just went through this with our dog, I posted about it a few months ago and a follow up a couple of weeks ago. Good for you for trying to avoid this situation again!

      Definitely look into trainers that specialize in working with reactive dogs. Reactive dogs are fearful and when they are over their threshold, they may become aggressive. In my case, my dog would bark and lunge at other dogs if we were out in the neighborhood, but if I kept her moving she would calm down. Well, one day, she was agitated about the other dog she saw and while I was paying attention to her, I tripped and fell. I dropped her leash and she ran and tried to attack the other dog. Thankfully, there was no damage and the dog’s owners were very understanding but I was mortified and was too anxious to take her out again.

      I found a trainer who works with reactive dogs and offers classes limited to six dogs in the class. We have our last class next week and I feel so much more confident with my dog! One of the big things we learned was body language. Your dog probably had some warning signs that she was over her threshold, but you might just not have realized what they were.

      The best thing to do before you start her in training is to keep her out of situations where she might react. If I’m reading your post right, another dog that she didn’t know came into her yard and she attacked it? That’s easy: don’t let other dogs come over. We had a friend who used to bring her dog over fairly often to swim in our pool. After we got our dog and figured out that she was reactive to other dogs, we had to tell our friend that we were very sorry but her dog couldn’t come over any more. She totally understood! It’s not about keeping our dog happy (though that is important) but it’s about keeping other dogs safe.

      Depending on the trainer, you might have some homework to do before training starts. Before our training started, we had to take a class called “Intro to Positive Reinforcement” where we learned the basics of positive reinforcement training and clicker training. They had us practice some basic things before the first class.

      Good luck! It might take some time, but things will definitely get better with some hard work.

    5. Lady Kelvin*

      I agree with all the that the other commentors have said, and I just have one more thing to add. Be your dog’s advocate. Be very firm when saying don’t approach my dog, don’t let your dog near me, etc. Place yourself between your dog and whatever they are afraid of (because most dogs aren’t mean, just terrified and attack out of self defense). Make sure your dog knows that you will protect them, even with the slightest reaction (backing away, back hair raised, ears back, tail down – all signs your dog is uncomfortable). We have a dog who is really shy around people, and while I allow people to approach her and say hello, I make sure they know that she has to be willing to come to them, and they shouldn’t walk towards her, and I have actually had to reach out and grab a kid who kept approaching her while she was backing away. But Kelvin knows we will keep people from touching her if she doesn’t want to be touched, and has gotten much better because we always put her in a position to succeed. I highly recommend dog reactive classes or one-on-one training. It will make a world of a difference.

      1. Jen*

        This. We had a reactive dog and spent a TON of time and money on training. Our dog was super train-able and essentially, our method ended up being to (1) keep the dog 100% busy and focused on tasks and US during the walk. IE no “sight seeing” but attending to us the entire time. This includes but was not predominantly rewarding the heck out of our dog for NOT reacting and (2) extreme proactivity- crossing the street when other dogs are coming our way, telling people to get their off leash dogs away (loudly), etc.

        We also used a gentle leader harness which is NOT a muzzle and will NOT stop a dog that really wants to bite, but does give you a lot of control over a dog lunging. Our dog was 75lbs of pure muscle so this was much better than a normal leash/collar or chest harness.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          Yes, getting a freedom harness made a HUGE difference for us! My dog is over 70lbs and I’m about 105. I feel like I have much better control over her and it forces her to stay closer to us.

    6. Kittens*

      Another perspective on muzzles:

      http://bestfriends.org/resources/muzzles-tool-keep-everyone-safe
      https://muzzleupproject.com/

      They understandably get a bad rap because they are often used without proper training by bad owners with that exact “dogs will be dogs mentality,” but many humane, positive trainers use them to great effect. I have talked about this a little bit in open threads, but like Debbie in Dallas, my dog is EXTREMELY reactive with other dogs (abuse case, so sad). We have talked to a trainer (thanks Debbie!) who showed us the Muzzle Up project as a precursor to leash aggression classes, which we’re going to do this summer! She told us that there have been so, so many occasions where people come to her completely baffled because their dog was happy, tail up, showing absolutely no signs of stress, and then bam, bit another dog. So you’re not alone! Your pup sounds like a really good candidate for a leash aggression class. Update us!

  27. LizB*

    The strap on my favorite purse broke. :( A metal clasp that held the strap to the side of the purse snapped somehow, so the strap is detached on that side. It was made by an Etsy seller based in Italy so it doesn’t make sense to try to send it back to them for repair. I don’t have the sewing/leatherworking skills to remove the broken clasp and put a new one on myself. Any ideas on types of establishments that might be able to fix it for me? I don’t know if I should be looking at tailors, shoe repair places, or what.

    (Also, I took yesterday off work because my mom and sister are in town, and so completely forgot that it was Friday… and was very confused when I saw the work open thread instead of the free-for-all. It’s amazing how quickly my sense of time gets thrown off when my schedule changes.)

    1. Rebecca*

      I have a nice leather case, and the same thing happened to me, so I took it to an Amish harness shop and they fixed it for me. It would be worth checking out.

      1. LizB*

        Interesting! I wonder if there’s a harness shop in my city… I’m sure there must be somewhere.

      2. bkanon*

        I got my messenger bag repaired by our local Amish. Two minutes, two bucks! I was thrilled, because I’ve had that bag since college.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Yes, I’d agree with a harness shop or an old-fashioned shoe pair replace — they’d be more likely to work with leather, I would think, than a tailor.
      I guess you will have to decide how much you want to spend on it.

    3. salad fingers*

      Hmmm, I think I would also recommend a leather shoe repair shop, but I have to advise caution. My bff had a beautiful purse with a similar problem and she sought help at a local shoe repair shop that mostly specializes in cowboy boots. They super manhandled the bag and the repair and replaced her leather strap with a mismatching vinyl (??) strap. They made a new hole in the leather instead of incorporating the existing one. It was just …. it looked like something my dad would do and then respond “but it works now, does it not??” if I were to raise any aesthetic objections. Just a thought..

      1. salad fingers*

        I feel I should add, to be clear, that it seemed like they had a lot more experience with shoes/boots than fine leather bags, and they weren’t upfront about that from the start. That could have also been highly specific to this place, though.

      2. LizB*

        This is good to consider — I’ll look for somewhere that has more experience with related items than just shoes.

    4. LCL*

      When I needed some modifications to my dog tack for my 90 lb dog aggressive hound, I searched online. And selected a craftsman whose main trade was leatherwork for the kink community. He did a great job.

      1. LizB*

        I hadn’t even thought of that! And I have friends who are involved with our local kink community, too. I’ll see if they have any recommendations.

  28. ThatLibraryChick*

    This is a completely random question but I’ve always wondered this. Why do people like running outside during the hottest, sunniest, most humid part of the day? Aside from that being the only time of the day that you have time to run or you’re training to run in all conditions, what benefits are there to running during that period?

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I’m no longer a runner, but when I was training for long distances… you just run when you can run.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, this. I knew a woman out here (in Phoenix) who ran during the hottest parts of the day because that’s what worked for her schedule (she had a toddler). She was training for a half-marathon and said as the runs got longer, that that was the only time she could fit in like a 10-mile run.

    2. Engineer Girl*

      It’s mostly about schedule. And any run outside is always better than exercise inside. I’ve also found that hot runs drive up my cardio rate. I’ve been having a lot of problems lately getting it into the target zone. Hot runs do it.

    3. TB*

      For hard-core runners, there is just “something wonderful” about conquering a tough run in the humidity and heat. There is a certain runner’s high that comes with sweat absolutely dripping off you and your face being beet-red. It sounds crazy, but, some runners (myself included) are gluttons for punishment :)

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Haha, yeah, I have a few running buddies who will run in the heat of the day and I think they’re nuts! I’ll set my alarm for 4am instead.

    4. Noah*

      Schedule. I try to run in the morning, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Also, if I’m having a horrible day at work, I will use my lunch hour to go on a run and shower at the office when I get back. I would rather run outside, in 100+ degree weather, than use a treadmill.

    5. Lemon Zinger*

      Super late to the party, but here’s my input.

      I live in a desert, and it’s regularly around 110 during the summer when I go for runs– typically after work, so 5:30-6:00. Why do I do it? Because it feels good. I do so much better when I run outside with variable (and sometimes challenging) conditions. Treadmills don’t do much for me. Of course I have to prepare for this by hydrating A LOT during the day, and I always listen to my body if it says “enough!”

  29. Searching*

    WTH? Beebopping along to my iPhone music, all of a sudden it stops in the middle of a song. And I notice ALL my music has disappeared from my Music app. Every. Single. Song. Gone. ???????? Any ideas?

    1. nonegiven*

      Link caught in moderation, but google “itunes stole my songs” and there is a Huffington Post article.

    2. Searching*

      Thanks for thinking along. I do not have an Apple Music subscription, so it must be a different problem. I think when I get home, I’ll do a restore from back-up to see if I can get it back that way.

    3. Coffee Ninja*

      That happened to me for TWO MONTHS straight. I lost count of the number of times I reset my phone, and the hours I spent on the phone with Apple & at the Genius Bar. The worst part was, when it happened the first time I plugged my phone in to my computer to re-sync everything with iTunes and somehow my entire music library on my laptop got erased. All 1300 songs :(

      Apple gave me a new phone & everything, and it still kept happening (I’ve never signed up for Apple Music, don’t store my music in icloud, none of that). I finally found a work around: when you have the Music app open and you are looking at your songs, click on the red “Songs” header at the top. A menu will pop up and at the bottom of the menu there is an option for “Only Downloaded Music.” Click on that to turn it on. I haven’t had an issue since I discovered that.

  30. Today's anon*

    Does anyone have a favorite brand of bike shorts? I am doing longer rides and the ones I have are not so comfortable. Thanks!

    1. salad fingers*

      I don’t but I’ll be listening. I’ve been doing long rides for like, 7 years now and have only ever worn jeans or jean shorts depending on the weather. Maybe I’ve occasionally work more thin spandexy stuff too, but definitely don’t prefer it as I want more buffer than that between the saddle and my lady bits. I definitely get butt chafing from the current setup but not bad/painful enough to make a change.

    2. K.*

      Sugoi and Cannondale. The Sugoi shorts and leggings can do double duty for running (I bought my first pair of leggings in a running store when I bought new running shoes. The salesman had asked about my overall fitness habits so he knew I rode and recommended the brand), which is good because they’re pricey. Both brands are long-lasting.

    3. LCL*

      Terry, because I am a large frame person and am at the size boundary between regular and plus size. And I’m kinda tall. All of the other major brands I have tried don’t have a long enough rise so they don’t fit right.
      For a less well known brand, try Aerotech. Not as fancy as Terry, but they don’t cost as much. They are nice quality and fairly priced for what they are. And their larger sizes are tall enough.
      Also, don’t forget some kind of lotion, it really helps.

  31. Spelling B*

    What tricks do you use to catch typos in a Word document? Stuff that Spell Check can’t find like wrong tense or the like?

    I’ve been having some minor difficulties of rereading a document (a story I’m writing or a cover letter to be sent out) so many times that my brain knows what should be correctly written there and glosses over the mistake. Printing it for a physical copy isn’t an option so I’m looking for ways besides having it in hand with a red pen.

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I like to go over it backwards, starting from the end and reading through each paragraph last-line first. It’s easier to do with a physical copy, but I do it on the screen as well and it helps a lot. Something about breaking up what’s expected to be there helps me catch out dumb “to/too” and “public/pubic” type errors.

    2. LizB*

      If I really need to proofread perfectly, I’ll change the document into a weird (but still legible) font, wait an hour or two, then read it out loud to myself. Sometimes I’ll read it backwards (meaning, read the last sentence, then the second-to-last sentence, then the third-to-last sentence, etc., but reading each individual sentence forwards) to really catch typos, then forwards to make sure things flow well.

    3. SophieChotek*

      Grammarly helps – it catches a lot of spelling, puncutation, it’s often correct about tenses, though not always.

      I have the diction on my computer read it aloud to me. (It seems hard to pause, though, so I only highlight a paragraph or two at a time), jot down any errors, fix them; then highlight the next few sections again and have it read aloud to me by the computer.

      1. JaneB*

        ooo yes, forgot this one. Excellent tip for noticing misplaced punctuation, in particular! (make an effort to pause appropriately at each punctuation mark – does it make sense?)

    4. JaneB*

      Put it away for a week1 If that’s not possible:

      read it backwards (as in, proof the last paragraph, then the second last paragraph, then the one before that… it shakes up your focus on the logic/flow and helps make it less familiar)

      Change the font/presentation/layout, so it looks less familiar (sounds odd, but just having stuff come up at different places on the page or having line breaks in different places can help me catch stuff, and pretend it was written by someone else (I have an entire imaginary alter ego called Jean whose work I proof read at times when I have a lot of writing to do in a short time and no option to let it sit to create unfamiliarity. Jean types in Lucida handwriting font in dark green. It’s amazing how many little errors I can find for her! But I sometimes get very bored at work and have always had an “active internal life” – aka have been a master day dreamer since a little kid)

      1. Jean*

        Brief interruption for two metaphysical questions:
        – Am I your imaginary alter ego?
        – How come I never type in Lucida handwriting font in dark green?

        Okay, that’s all. Back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

    5. Jillociraptor*

      I find that putting a document in an uneditable format (like PDF) helps me to spot errors!

    6. Cambridge Comma*

      Convert to pdf and use the read aloud function in Adobe Reader. Listen as you read.

    7. FinePrint*

      I often read a document backwards, from the end to the beginning. I may have got that tip from AAM. I find I’m less likely to anticipate / guess. It also helps when looking at a long list (my workplace has a very long list of printers that are similarly named; bottom to top reading helps).

    8. Mephyle*

      Ditto to the above ideas of reading out loud (or use a text-to-speech function), reading it backwards, and working on a copy where you’ve changed to a different and bigger font.
      But the most foolproof way to find a mistake or typo is to look at it after you’ve delivered the final version!

  32. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

    Minor bathroom renovation question: how much should I expect to pay?

    We need to make some minor upgrades to one of our bathrooms, and I’m trying to get a sense of the cost before I start contacting contractors (… because if it’s too expensive we’re not dealing with it now at all). Anyone with experience have any broad estimates to share?

    The bathrub area is set up for children, and we want to make it work for adults. Specifically:

    1) The tile currently only goes up to to, like, waist-high (on an adult). We want to tile up to the ceiling (or wherever tile stops on a normal shower).
    2) The shower head is mounted at an adult’s knee height (presumably so kids in the bathroom could reach it). We need it to be remounted at a normal height for adults. (I don’t know if this requires additional plumbing, or if it’s just a matter of mounting it.)
    3) There is a light fixture inside the tub area that needs to be removed. It’s at adult eye level (it serves as one of the lights for the sink mirror).

    I just don’t have a sense if this is a $1,000 job or a $10,000 job (or more). Any thoughts?

    1. SophieChotek*

      I think my parents did a lot more…and it was way more than $10,000
      but I think they retiled the shower and put in a double-sink (so that was plumping), new light fixtures, new toilet, and heated floors.

      1. everything matters*

        My gut said 2-5,000. It will depend on how extensive the work truly needs to be.

    2. LCL*

      Bathroom? The big issue with bathrooms is always water damage. Do a really good investigation of the walls and floor around the plumbing. Bathroom projects are famous for starting small then exploding due to dry rot issues.

      Tile is expensive. And a maintenance headache. If it were me I’d rip it all out and do a modern tub surround. Three to five grand here. While you are in there, you can have the additional plumbing done. I bet the shower head is at knee height cause that’s where the tub fill is and the plumbing doesn’t go any higher.
      OTOH, shower massage type heads are on a hose and really cheap, you could probably fix it without additional plumbing.
      The light fixture removal should be an easy job, unless something is really weird.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I just tiled the back splash on my counter and I put special tile on one section of counter so i can have a place to put a hot pot or hot dish and not ruin my counter. (nope, did not do it myself! lol.)
      I stole the back splash tile for $10 per box on a clearance rack- this was 30 square feet. (2 boxes) A bathroom wall will be much larger. Tiles are spendy. I can’t remember what the counter tile cost. I found that on clearance, also.
      Then I needed grout and caulk- maybe $40 but I had to get two different colors of each.
      It was 250 dollars to have less than 40 square feet of tile installed. And it took two days. The smaller the tile then the longer it takes, which means your labor bill goes up. Most of my tile was 12 inches square.

      Shower head. The pipe has to go up to where you want the shower head. Probably the pipe is in the wall? So they will have to open the wall. Without seeing it, it’s hard to know. I have a wall that sticks out into my bathroom. The tub/shower on one side, the toilet on the other. They were able to open up the toilet side of the wall for repairs to the tub plumbing. Even they don’t know what they will find when they get in there. So once they fix all that then you have to close the wall. In my case, I had to re-sheetrock the wall, then paint and wall boarder. Not wanting to do this ever again in my life, the carpenter built a removable door near the area where the bulk of the plumbing is.

      The light in the tub. No clue- I know that I am usually wrong about this stuff and it ends up being more. This is going to be interesting because the shower will probably be above where the light was. This means a possibility of electrocution if not handled correctly. I am sure code enforcement has lots of rules here. But you will need to cut power to the wiring entirely. Maybe you can disconnect the power at the box that is in line just before the shower?

      This won’t be cheap, even if you watch what you are doing, such as buying items on clearance and doing the easier things like painting yourself to cut costs. I’d agree with Alison, at least $3k, probably more like $6-8K. There are just so many things to factor in, such as where you live will impact labor rates. Remember I can’t see it, so I could be wrong very easily. But I will say, you can blow 3 grand on tile in a heart beat.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I spoke to my friend who does this type of work and he felt it could easily go up to 10k. If they have to take the tile off the wall to replumb, then the wall will need to be re-sheet rocked. Apparently when you take tile down, it tears the paper of the sheet rock making the sheet rock worthless.
        He said a good general contractor should be able to navigate all the aspects of your project- the electric, plumbing, sheet rock and maybe even the tiling.

        Keep in mind that my friend is taking your information second hand and sight unseen.

        I have had a lot of work done here over the years and my rule of thumb it to take the contractor’s estimate and add 20% for unforeseens that you must negotiate OUTSIDE of the original estimate. As an example: I had to have the foundation dug up in one area. I did not realize that the contractor was going to dig alllll the way over the area outside the laundry room sink. The contractor did not realize the drain in the sink did not work correctly. I said, “hey, while you have this apart can you fix the drain?” And I explained. The contractor’s face grew concerned, “This is outside of the agreement. ” I immediately assured him I was aware and would pay him extra. He did the repair for $120. If he had come back later and dug up that space again, it would have been an additional $1K. I happily paid the $120 which was well under my 20% cost overrun estimate.

  33. Yet another Allison*

    How do you deal with neighbors who are the actual, literal worst? These people live two floors below me, but the way our building is laid out the sound from their apartment bounces perfectly around in this little angle and right into my apartment. It’s 10:30 where I am, and for 90 minutes now, they’ve had their TV on SO LOUDLY and they also talk (shout) and laugh over and with the TV. I can literally hear every word of dialogue on the TV, and one time I even listened along to the episode of Frasier they were watching. This happens daily and I’ve heard other neighbors yell, “Shut the fuck up!” out their windows, which I totally TOTALLY get that impulse. My partner works nights and is currently trying to sleep. I think he’s having some luck because our bedroom actually doesn’t have windows and he has a good white noise machine, but still.

    I’ve met these jokers at a happy hour some other neighbors of ours hosted, which somehow makes it more awkward in my mind. Also, we’re moving to the other side of the building in a month, so thankfully, there’s a time limit.

    Please, any tips on how to approach them and what to say? I’m non-confrontational so approaching them seems nerve-wracking but may be necessary. Or should I just seethe with rage for a month until they are no longer my damn problem? Thank you!

    1. CMT*

      Talk to the management! If they haven’t listened to the complaints of many neighbors, it’s time to escalate.

    2. Marzipan*

      I usually suggest approaching people as if they had no idea there was a problem (which, if the building is laid out in an odd way, they may not). You can also turn it around a bit – “I’ve noticed sound travels really easily from your apartment to mine – weird, I know! – so could I ask you to be super-careful about the TV volume? I’m finding I can listen along to what you’re watching! While I’m here, can I ask – does sound from my place travel back to you in the same way? Please do let me know if it does! I’d definitely want to sort that out for you.”

      1. Jean*

        Good point about also turning the same question around on yourself. (“…does sound from my place travel back to you in the same way?”) It’s a nice way to veneer over the murderous urge to throttle the noisy neighbor. Well, _some_ of us have that kind of urge.

  34. Al Lo*

    I moved a bunch of files to a new location on my computer (out of the Google Drive app folder), and now File Explorer won’t search them! I reindexed the computer last night and re-synced Google Drive last night, but it’s still not reading. I enter the search term into the search bar, and get the “no items match your search” error. Whether I search from the Windows 10 Start search bar or the search bar in file explorer itself, nothing shows up. Any insight? Every other folder seems to be working just fine.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Can you still actually find them where you put them?
      I do have this happen to me every once in a while with a file I was just working on, if I save it, and then cannot remember where I put it, if I try to search for it, it won’t show up in a search, but if I poke through the most likely place for it to have been saved, it is there (whew).
      Sorry, at the moment, no ideas — especially if you re-indexed and re-synced.

      1. Al Lo*

        Oh, yeah, the files themselves are there. I can browse to them; I know exactly where they are. I just have a project where I need to grab a few files with similar names from different subfolders and upload them together, and using the search function is way faster than going to each individual folder and grabbing it individually.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Ha! I had this happen at work and tech said, “Well sometimes it takes a little effort to make the search work.” Not like this.

      The way I was finally able to start finding my files was to tell the search where to look, such as desktop or my documents. That did force the search to find them. But for a while I was convinced my files were GONE.

    3. Noah*

      I reorganized my Dropbox folder and lost the ability to search anything for a good week. I tried reindexing too and ultimately gave up. Then one day realized it was working again. Maybe it just takes awhile for the index to rebuild?

      1. Al Lo*

        I would imagine that’s the case, but I was hoping someone had a faster solution. ;)

  35. Elizabeth West*

    Update on the kitty situation:

    Neighbor tried to catch the demon cats and was unable. I talked to him this morning and told him it’s time we pulled ALL outside food. I did it two days ago and haven’t seen them in my yard at all, nor any of the other strays. I’m hoping the mother cat will take her kittens and move on if there is no food out for them.

    The others started coming round when he began leaving plates of kibble out for a kitty he adopted who was mostly outside. I talked to him a couple of years ago about this, and he kept doing it. But his new kitty LOVES being inside and can be fed in there. Plus, he hates them as much as I do, so I hope he doesn’t start doing it again if he decides to let NewKitty out when they’re gone.

    I never left food out for Psycho Kitty–I fed her twice a day and only amounts she would actually eat. We never had this problem before the food plate thing began. If she left kibble, the birds would eat it or a possum if she left it at night (and possums don’t do any harm and she would just sit and watch them–they never bothered her). It was never enough to attract a lot of other cats.

    That’s what I’m doing now, leaving just that bit right where she can get it, in the culvert pipe where she’s hiding. PK will not even come to me anymore (and I didn’t help matters by trying to catch her–she appeared very ill and stressed and I was trying to get her to the vet). She ran very fast and is still alive, so that’s something. If the others go away, maybe she’ll come out of the pipe and start coming to me again. She’s thirteen–she deserves better than to spend her golden years hiding in a culvert, afraid to enter her own yard. :'(

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I cannot trap PK–she won’t fall for that. She’s not feral, just timid AF–though I’m afraid she will be if this keeps up. She is my actual cat (and was spayed long ago, I might add). I WOULD trap the others so Animal Control can come get them. The kittens could be adopted quickly. The neighbor tried to catch them in a carrier but could not.

        She will come out when they are gone. And I want them gone.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          She is going to die in the pipe if someone doesn’t help me. GOD I HATE HOLIDAYS. Everything is closed!!!!! I can’t even make a phone call!! I can’t even feed her in there, because they figured out where she / any food I try to give her is! And she won’t eat it!

          It is the fault of the people who do not spay their cats. They are to blame. I hate them all. >:'(

  36. Marzipan*

    I spent today in London at the March for Europe – it was really good to see so many people coming together to stand against racism and xenophobia, and to think about how best to engage with politicians (and each other) as we lurch towards Brexit. Now I’m on the train home, which will get in about 10.45. (My feet are killing me, so a long sit down is actually pretty good!)

    1. Caledonia*

      I’ve seen some of the scenes, looks incredible, to be a part of something like that must be amazing.

    2. Terese*

      The march got a lot of attention both on social and mainstream media, but what exactly are the protestors hoping to achieve? A few tens of thousands look impressive but like that 4-million strong petition it’s barely a drop in the bucket compared to the 17 million who thought this was the right result.

      All those anecdotes about people who regret their votes are also but a tiny proportion of the 17 million. If 16 million votes weren’t enough, a march in London is hardly going to change minds. If anything it’s making the Leavers more vocal in their accusations that Remainers can’t accept democracy.

      Also, all that anger expressed at the older population for “voting away the future” of the young? And then the stats showing just how small a proportion of the young actually bothered to vote at all? Maybe it’s time to stop trying to segregate and look inwards for a change.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        I think a lot of what people don’t want to accept is the deliberate misinformation of the public (those fake NHS leaflets etc.). It doesn’t feel like the vote was free and fair.
        People are also angry about the lack of a plan. If Cameron had made a notification under Article 50 the next morning as promised, perhaps we’d have more acceptance and more stability.

        1. Terese*

          Thing is, the vast majority of people at the protests are Remain voters, who most likely didn’t believe in the promises regarding the NHS etc in the first place, so that’s not really an argument.

          There’s just a general lack of coherence about the protesters and what their goal actually is. Some are holding signs demanding a 2nd referendum, some are demanding to stay in the EU (so basically ignore the vote happened at all), some want a general election and others want to see a plan. Not so say those are all mutually exclusive, but it’s pretty difficult to gauge the message.

          1. Cambridge Comma*

            I mean that the remain voters are less likely to accept the result because it was brought about by the misinformation of others.

      2. Marzipan*

        A big part of it was standing against racism and xenophobia – which really, at this point, everyone needs to do, as loudly as possible, to demonstrate to anyone who has felt emboldened into vile, antisocial acts by the result that this is not OK. And yes, I think expressing anger was another part of it – anger at the lack of accountability, and at the lies and misinformation underpinning the leave campaign.

        For me personally, my feelings have crystallised over the week. To begin with I was just really, really angry. Where I’m at now is, I don’t get what ‘leave’ is. I mean, remain was always basically one thing, and we knew what that thing was and how to achieve it (basically, ‘do nothing’). Leave, on the other hand, is more a constellation of different viewpoints and possibilities – they look close together from a certain angle, but in many cases they’re lightyears apart. And the leave campaign made itself all things to all people, and stated or implied that a lot of different outcomes would come about as a result of leaving. Many, if not most, (if not all) of those outcomes seem unachievable, and the leave crew rowed back on many of them almost immediately they won. So, when I say I don’t get what leave is, I’d argue that really no-one does, at this point. Not the people who voted remain, and not the ones who voted Leave, either. If, as and when someone presses the button on article 50, they’ll be implementing a process that will necessarily involve choosing one interpretation, and trying to achieve it, and probably getting negotiated down to something less. And I reckon we’re talking at least a decade, to negotiate an exit and then get new trade agreements in place.

        So, I don’t get the section of the leave vote who are complaining that ‘it’s sour grapes to be a bad loser’ and telling people to ‘get over it’. First off, I don’t think that one of the ground rules of democracy is ‘…and if your side loses, you are never allowed to engage with the issue again!’. But more importantly, I think we all need to be engaged with this process, now and as things progress. Even leavers – there is every chance that the flavour of leave we end up with will be very different to the one many people thought they were voting for. The option the nation chose was the really, reaaaaallllyyy complicated one, and that requires everyone’s ongoing engagement.

        Much as I’d love this whole thing to go away, I don’t particularly want a second referendum – I don’t think we should have had one in the first place, so doubling down seems unhelpful. There’s some talk of going back to the nation once the negotiations have happened, allowing people to vote on an actual proposal (which will inevitably be way worse than what we have now) – but my understanding of how article 50 works suggests this would be no go. I do think, though, that our representatives in parliament should be involved in shaping the next steps – although at this point they need to put their own houses in order, in the most literal way, before they’ll be any use in that respect.

      3. Jillociraptor*

        I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with people just being angry and sad, without yet having a policy agenda or well-formed demands.

  37. JaneB*

    Anyone else still feel the need to talk about Brexit?

    I’m so sad, and angry, and upset, about how blatently our politicians played fast and loose with the truth, how they misread the feelings of the ‘non-metropolitan-elite’ part of the population, how quickly and nastily overt racism is bubbling up, how appallingly ignorant much of the voting public is (the result does NOT mean all foreigners have to go home or get residency permits NOW, it will take at least two years. Most Muslims resident in Britain aren’t even FROM the EU, so how the heck does a Brexit vote mean they have to leave?). My parents were all for Leave, and keep telling me everything’s fine and all the issues arising are acceptable, which makes me see that they are getting older in their thinking – their arguments for leave weren’t fact based, more “PC people won’t let us even say we’re English any more and that’s all because of the corrupt EU”.

    The 1st of July commemorations were held for the hundreth anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, the worst day in history for the British Army in terms of losses, the start of the most life-costing battle of the first world war. And yet here we are trying to break up cooperation, both with the EU and within our own country (Scotland now I think has solid grounds for a second referendum on leaving the UK, Northern Ireland is a tinderkeg again…).

    I’m scared, and I can’t concentrate on work or anything, and I’m deeply pessimistic about the next few years. Not to mention the Universities sector, where I work, and particularly the sciences, which I both work in and care deeply about, will be particularly badly hit. I don’t really know what to do – but nothing is definitely the wrong answer…

    Thanks for listening!

    1. The IT Manager*

      I do not have as deep thoughts as you, but from what I saw the only age demographic who voted Brexit was the older ones (maybe 65+) who won’t have to live with the results. Also heard on Planet Money one economist who fact checked the rhetoric say that the British politicians moved to telling outright lies to the public for the first time. (Obviously some generalization there.)

      :(

      1. Terese*

        I’ve already said this in reply to an earlier post, but all the anger at the older demographic needs to be put in context with how small the proportion of the younger demographic turned out to vote. It’s all very well sharing posts on social media but to take a few hours out of their day to vote? Too much trouble apparently.

        I am myself in the younger demographic, and it’s just so frustrating that my peers are more ready to turn on others (and to generalise and demonise an entire age group) rather than engage with the disenchanted among the young.

        1. Elkay*

          Polls conducted for the LSE put young voters around the same proportion as the general population.

          Bruter and Harrison said they found turnout among young people to be far higher than data has so far suggested. “Young people cared and voted in very large numbers. We found turnout was very close to the national average, and much higher than in general and local elections.

          “After correcting for over-reporting [people always say they vote more than they do], we found that the likely turnout of 18- to 24-year-olds was 70% – just 2.5% below the national average – and 67% for 25- to 29-year-olds.

          http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/02/brexit-referendum-voters-survey

      2. Observer*

        And, by the way, if you look at the stats, it’s not QUITE as skewed as is claimed. While the under 20s voted overwhelmingly to stay, that starts shifting bu 25. Also, “over 65” means that a lot of the “older” population is most definitely going to have to live with the results for a long time. And, the oldest ones are going to have to deal with the worst of it, without seeing as much of the benefits they are expecting.

        If people REALLY want to make this work as well as is possible, it’s time to stop painting whole groups with such a broad brush. And that includes all those so called “tolerant” people who have no problem with utter ageism.

        1. Merry and Bright*

          Thank you for saying this. There has been far too much labelling of groups of people from the referendum. A statistician at my work told me this age data was taken from privately commissioned exit polls (it was a secret ballot after all). There is no official data on it yet it is being quoted as proven fact. Exit and opinion polls are often not too accurate because however balanced the sample is you can’t account for personal reasons and variations.

          1. Observer*

            Oh, and it’s worth noting that at least two districts with a very high “older” population had majority “stay”.

            Yes, exit polls can be misleading as all get out.

    2. Jean*

      Sympathies. On this side of the pond I’ve been shaking in my shoes wondering whether our Yankee yahoos are going to be able to pull off a similar Trumpadero (Trumperoo? Trumpification?!) by electing that [insert adjectives and nouns not fit to print in a family newspaper] Unmentionable So-and-So in November.

      It is heartily discouraging to see loudmouthed ignorance prevail. May your fellow/sister citizens be successful in demanding another referendum, and may mine manage to connect with their Inner Sensible Person before Election Day!

      1. Observer*

        Well, I think that the vote acted as a wake up call to some people. One vocal Clinton critic came out in her support. The thinking was “I’m not going to take a chance that my lack of support with translate into support of Trump.”

        Not a ringing endorsement of Clinton, by any means, but pragmatic and necessary, I think.

        The next step is to try to understand what drives the Trump supporters. Just as with Brexit, it’s not just the ignorant yahoo racists that support him, nor are the rest of his supporters a bunch of selfish cowards who don’t care about the consequences to others as long as they get theirs. (I actually heard this from someone whose politics I generally respect, even when I don’t agree.)

    3. Caledonia*

      I’ve calmed down somewhat from last week.

      The Scotland situation is complicated. I’ve seen reports say that we’d be like Greece but without the sun :( Spain will veto us because of Catalonia. Our FM met with the EU leaders and it was reported that while they were sympathetic, they can’t do anything.

      So yeah.

      One of my friends lives in Kent and she has seen and heard some horrific things – her friend got told to F off and go back to where she came from, a young boy in her class was beaten up.

      Not helping with the Tory leadership andLabour self destructing.

      AND BORIS JOHNSON DIDN’T EVEN STAND TO BE PM!!!!!

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        It’s been terrifying to realise how many complete racists have just been holding their tongues for a couple of decades.

      2. Elkay*

        I am so grateful Boris didn’t stand to be PM but very worried about the rest of the political landscape.

        1. Caledonia*

          None of them are worth having. May especially is scary because of her “snoopers charter”

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I wish somehow it could be fixed. I will keep my fingers crossed for everything to work out for the best. Hugs and a nice cuppa from here. _(__)P_

      (that’s supposed to be a teacup and saucer)

    5. Cambridge Comma*

      So many people I know have already been told that they will lose their jobs when their companies move to stay in the EU.
      It’s hard to watch and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

    6. Anxa*

      I don’t have many thoughts or insights on Brexit, but I can commisserate with reactionary politics affecting your work in highered and science.

      I live in a state in the U.S. which was once known for having a pretty great university system and has one other country’s largest research sectors in the country. In the past 4 years it has been decimating its school system and cutting off science funding, making ridiculous laws that affect your ability to do science resarch, all the while counting on biotechnology as an emerging industry in some of the more rural areas.