Relationships can be hard enough to manage without the added stress of the almighty dollar. So, what do you do when someone you care about owes you money? Siblings drift apart, best friends become enemies and working relationships become hostile if borrowing money isn’t handled properly. Here we examine three ways to talk to your friends, family, and even coworkers about cash in a respectful way.
Scenario: Your Little Sister Becomes a Big Freeloader
Most of us have either lent or borrowed money from a family member before. It’s natural to want to help those who are closest to us, but when does loaning money go from being helpful to harmful to your relationship? For example, there’s nothing wrong with loaning your little sister who’s in college some cash to buy books for next semester. But what happens when she’s hitting you up when she wants a new dress for homecoming, a plane ticket for spring break, or for you to pay her phone bill?
How to deal:
In situations like this, loaning out money is actually harmful…to your sister. Instead of learning to manage her funds wisely--which is part of becoming a responsible adult--little sis’ is being careless with her money and expecting you to foot the bill. It’s best to have a frank conversation that goes something like, “I love you and I don’t mind helping you with the occasional school expense. However, I want you to be independent and learn how to manage your money responsibly. Why don’t we sit down next week and create a budget that works for you?”
This lets her know that you care about her and want to help, but that you are drawing boundaries in your relationship. She’ll thank you for it in the long run and you eliminate an unhealthy pattern of co-dependence that can lead to resentment in the future.
Scenario: Your B.F.F. thinks you are a B.A.N.K.
It’s easy to lose track of money with friends in a social setting. Spotting someone at the movies and picking up the tab at dinner are part of reciprocally altruistic relationships. But what happens when you always pay for dinner, buy the concert tickets, and loan cash without ever being paid back? How do you approach the situation without coming off as a penny pinching miser?
How to deal:
I’ve found one of the best ways to deal with this situation is to establish boundaries in a fun way. One option is to take turns treating each other when you go out. That way there’s no awkward conversation about who owes who money. So the next time your mooching friend asks you to pick up the tab, try saying, “Sure. This one’s on me. Next time, it’s your treat.” If you keep it light and smile, you’ll establish a boundary without embarrassing your friend, who might not even realize she’s taking you for granted.
Scenario: Mixing Business with Money
The same approach can also work well in a professional situation as well. However, it’s best to avoid borrowing and lending cash to co-workers altogether. You don’t want to go from being best buddies with Becky in accounting to thinking, “B*&%! better have my money!” every time you pass her desk. If you can’t afford to give it without them paying you back, then you really can’t afford to help.
“Bank of You” User Agreement
When someone hits you up for some cash, it’s best to talk about it, set boundaries, and avoid large sums. My experience has taught me that it’s best to avoid lending money altogether, but if you must here are a few tips I recommend to keep your relationship intact:
1. Make sure you can afford it! If you can give the loan from extra money you have saved up, that would be best. The last thing you want to do is go into debt trying to help someone else.
2. Evaluate the relationship. Make sure that you—and your relationship with this person—will be just fine if you are never repaid one penny.
3. Make it legal. For only $8, you can download a promissory note from Nolo.com and have your friend or relative agree to sign a simple loan document. It should detail the amount borrowed, when repayment will start, and the interest you will be paid.
True friends will understand and respect your financial boundaries. If not, then they probably are not great friends to begin with. #LoanDenied
You're a Made Woman. So chances are, you like to have at least a loose plan in place. Get married by 30, go back for your master's within the next couple years, launch your dream business by next summer. Plans are great, right? Right. But at times it can seem like life is laughing at (and then promptly sh*tting on) these seemingly perfect plans. If you're anything like me, you've had many a wrench thrown your way. Sometimes it feels like as soon as you start to gain momentum, yet another issue rears its ugly little head. Maybe you didn't get that promotion you had your eye on. Maybe you made a costly error at work or in your business. Maybe you're going through a tough break up, or even suffered a family tragedy. Whatever the case may be, it's first necessary to realize this: you're not alone! You WILL get past this, and you will be stronger for it. I know from personal experience that your mindset is everything when it comes to overcoming setbacks. Wondering how I get my mind right? Read on.
Your first thought might be to close all of your blinds, hit up your boys Ben & Jerry, and treat yourself to a good old fashioned pity party. But I'm guessing that won't do much to lift your spirits (or your ass). My advice? Let off some steam! Face the situation head on. Don't be ashamed to cry if you need to, write an angry letter to your boss (and immediately shred and/or burn it) or go to a kickboxing class. A walk on the beach or somewhere else in nature can also do the trick. Do whatever it takes to get that messed up energy out of your system and get in the frame of mind to move past it.
Once you've acknowledged the situation, take a look around. Think about how blessed you are to be where you are at this very moment. Chances are, at least a handful of people would gladly trade places with you, tear-stained face and all. Think about all of the once (seemingly) insurmountable hurdles you've left far, far behind you. Remind yourself of your strength, your strong will, your ability to come up with creative solutions to problems. It was you that persevered through a recession and landed your dream job. It was you that mustered up the strength to walk away from that toxic relationship you were in. It was you that cared for a loved-one when he had nobody to turn to. Don't ever forget where you've been, and how those experiences have shaped you. Use these memories to help you re-evaluate where you are and what your next steps will be.
Then, it's simply a matter of moving forward. Take that first step. You may not know where it will lead, but forward motion is always better than being stagnant. I don't know the details on your particular setback, so I can't tell you whether you need to keep working toward that promotion or start looking at other job opportunities. Nor can I tell you if you should start dating again, or just give it some time. I definitely can't give you a step-by-step guide to overcoming a personal loss. But I can tell you this: keep going. Keep working. Keep appreciating the people and the little things around you. Before you know it, the clouds will part and you'll be able to make some sense of it all. And you'll be able to appreciate the sun that much more.
This post was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Love Yourself." Each day we released updates of videos, poetry, images, and original content, all based on the theme of loving yourself. Click the link to read more!
There's so much anxiety that surrounds a first date. Will I like him? Will he like me? Will he be The One? At the very least, you hope you don’t end up stuck in awkward silence hell for three hours. Although you never know how a date will ultimately turn out, there are some crucial preparations before--and necessary actions during--your date to turn it into a successful mission. Take notes, Soldier:
Make sure your pedicure is on point. I made this number one for the pre-date to do list, but a Made Woman should always strive for pedi perfection. This is extra important before a date because if your feet look crazy, guys take it as some kind of direct reflection on the type of girl you are. So get them together! If your feet are beyond saving, wear closed toe shoes and pray that you don’t end up in any situations that require you to remove them.
Google him. Google him, Facebook him, find him on Twitter. With the technology we have now, there’s no reason to go into any situation blindly. Find out what college he went to, what kind of work he does (being a “YouTube rapper/comedian” isn’t going to cut it), and if he is posting any creepy pictures of himself dressed like an animal. *UnFriend*
Shave/wax . . . everywhere. You never know what will happen on a first date! You may not think that his hand is going to mistakenly graze your leg when he’s speaking to you, and you may not plan to let him walk you inside your apartment after the date. . . .but these things happen! Better to be safe than sorry, I say.
Don’t experiment. Now is not the time to try the new shade of lipstick you received as a gift at the MAC counter. On a first date, stick with your foolproof look. If you're debating between a natural look and a "va va voom" look, I vote for natural. Less is more, and it’s important for you to feel comfortable and confident, as well as sexy.
Think of at least three topics of conversation. If you don't know your date well, you may not know how much you will or will not have in common. No one wants to sit on an uncomfortable date, in silence, watching the cell phone minutes tick away, willing someone…anyone to call with an emergency. If you have at least three interesting topics of conversation on hand, you can buy yourself at least a half hour of time in the unfortunate event that your date is boring/quiet/weird/all of the above.
Avoid ex talk. This goes hand in hand with point #5. Prepare better conversation starters than how your ex was a no good ____ (insert expletive). If your date asks about your prior relationships then address them (you don’t want him to think something shady is going on if you dodge the question). But, in my opinion, bringing up exes on the first date gives the impression that there are still unresolved feelings. First date conversation should be fun and light, and ex talk is neither of those.
Put your phone away. Answering texts, even if they are just from your mom, may give your date the impression that you aren’t interested or that you're texting other guys. Leave your phone in your purse; the messages will still be there when the date is over.
Don't order a side as your main course. I’m not a subscriber to the notion that you should tailor what you eat on a date. I don’t think it’s particularly attractive to curtail your appetite to try to impress a man. I've also heard from many guys that they are more comfortable on a date when the woman orders a normal sized meal than when she orders something ridiculous like a side salad. Besides, if you end up dating the guy long-term he'll find out at some point if your appetite is out of control.
Monitor your drinking. If things are going well and you decide this guy is someone you'll want to see again, cap yourself at two drinks so you can have a real conversation and will remember the entire date the next day. You don’t want your dream date remembering you as a sloppy mess.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is rife with unknowns. He may be way less cute than his profile pic, he may only speak in gamer, (i.e.: “So, what’s your World of Warcraft avatar look like?”), or he may be worth a second date. The only way to find out is to bring your A-game. Use these tips and your mission will be a success. Good luck!
It's not an easy thing to do – pack up your bags and move your entire life away from the only place you've ever known. But when you find yourself thinking over and over, “there's gotta be more out there than this,” finding that courage and motivation to move away can change the course of the rest of your life.
Maybe you've never left your hometown in your entire life and the thought of starting over elsewhere is appealing, yet soul crushingly terrifying. Too enormous a task to handle. Maybe you hate where you live with every fiber of your being, but your family is there and you can't bear the thought of leaving them. Maybe you aren't really scared of the concept of moving, but just can't find the motivation to get your shit together and just DO it already. How does one even begin? Well, I did it. And I can tell you that not one bit of it was easy. It was scary, I had no idea what I was doing and I had no clue what to expect at all. But was it worth it? Absofreakinglutely. Am I grateful I did it? HELL YES. Did it make me a stronger person? Duh. I can tell you that if there's a piece of you longing to move at all, you really should sit down and explore your options. The time is now. I'm here to share with you my story and hope that it can help motivate you to make a change in your life, if that's what you're looking for.
I grew up in Albany, NY and I always knew it was not the place for me. I hated the cold, I always felt like there was nothing to do, when I went out on the town I was constantly surrounded by college kids and felt like the oldest person there at the ripe old age of 23. All throughout college I knew it was only a matter of time until I got the hell out of there. I didn't know where – but I knew I wanted it to be warm and full of new opportunities. I constantly talked about it with my roommates and tried to encourage them to join me. After all, moving away alone to a place where I didn’t know anyone sounded terrifying – especially for an introverted person like me. They'd always agree that they wanted to get out, but it was obvious that the fire wasn't in their belly for it. So I asked myself, are you going to wait for someone else to change your life or are you going to go and do it yourself? The answer was obvious. I knew if I didn't make a change I'd grow up and still be sitting in Albany, wondering what would have happened if I just grew a pair and got out when I was younger, responsibility-free and able to. That was enough for me. So how did I do it?
Pick A Location
After visiting people in Los Angeles a few times, I realized I could see myself there. Beautiful, sunny weather year-round, a big city, tons of people, and the entertainment industry offered a lot of possibilities job-wise. I knew I wanted to do it, but this wasn't even on the same coast as where I was from. Moving across the country when I had never lived anywhere else sounded like an impossible challenge to tackle alone. But I wanted it so bad I knew I had to figure out a way. So I set things in motion.
Do Some Research
I knew I had to research companies I might be able to work for and reach out to my network to see if anyone knew people out there that I could talk to. I knew I had to research good places to live. This was all work that I did in my free time. Wikipedia is a good resource for information on a city, and you can also check out Craigslist to see what rent is generally like. I found a roommate through roommates.com, which charges a small fee for its services but I found it to be well worth it. Rent.com is also a legit site to apartment hunt. Salary.com is a great free service that can give you a general idea of what you should expect to make in your new city. Get ready to Google your heart out for awhile - but you definitely want to be prepared for what you’ll be getting yourself into.
I began waitressing on top of my 9 to 5 and stockpiled money. All my financial decisions were based around the fact that I needed to save every spare penny. No, I'm not going to go to 3 happy hours this week...I need to save that money. No, I don't REALLY need that $60 dress...that money could be going toward my moving fund. Having a decent-sized savings account can help get you started in a new city - you’re going to need enough for rent and a security deposit, plus enough to buy stuff for your apartment and get you by until you land a job.
Make a Timeline & Commit To Your Plan
I set a date and stuck with it. I told everyone I knew I was moving in a year. I knew keeping it to myself would give me an out if I got cold feet – telling everyone and then backing out would be harder to do. I was determined to make this change in my life. I had it in my mind that this was going to be a struggle, so I was prepared for it to be HARD when I first moved out there. Nothing this huge and life-altering was going to be a piece of cake. When I finally piled everything into my car and set on that cross-country drive, I was terrified. But I was full of hope, too! There were endless opportunities out there for me, and I was actually doing something about it.
I'm going to give it to you straight. The first couple years were very difficult. Making new friends in a new city is not easy, no matter how much of a social butterfly you are. It's going to take a while. Getting to know a new city, find a new job, find new hangouts, figure out the best places to shop, etc. etc. etc... all that stuff takes time. Unfortunately, there's no fast forward button for the obligatory adjustment period. If you're thinking about moving, don't do it if you aren't prepared to deal with some huge hurdles. If you do it thinking it's all going to be a breeze, you're going to pack your suitcase and go home with your tail between your legs in a week. But if you are truly determined and you have a game plan, have some money saved up, and are ready to confront challenges head on – you may be on the right course to change your life for the better. And ya know what, if after a couple years you decide this new city isn't for you, there's no law out there saying you can't go home. Even if you do, you can always say you tried – you did something for yourself, you had a new experience, you did something completely independently.
I promise you that no matter how it works out, you'll be a stronger, wiser person and have learned a lot about yourself and ...well, life itself, from doing it. You only live once, and you owe it to yourself to make this life as interesting and fulfilling as humanly possible. If not now, when?!
In five years I will be 30. That thought alone is enough to bring on utter panic. Factor in all the unknowns: Where will I be living? When am I going to have kids? Will I still be on the same career path?...and alas, I now have a full-blown crisis. So I decided to jot down some plans to help me manage and prioritize my way through the next few years. Hopefully--please, God--having a plan will make the next five years a little easier. And they say you can't plan life...
Throughout this planning process, it's smart to place things in order of importance. What ambitions do you have that you will absolutely kick yourself over if they are not met by age 30? Personally, I'm in a place right now that my career comes first. So my first entries look like this:
1. Advance my career with a position that values my talents and where my fabulous taste in fashion is put to good use.
2. Work in an environment that promotes my well-being.
3. Write the book I've always wanted to write.
By knowing what I'm looking for in an employer and what I have to offer as an employee, I will be able to market myself accordingly. Also, the book will help me hone my writing skills--a professional goal--while exploring hobbies that are personally fulfilling.
Next, think about things like health, lifestyle management and finances. Some may want to go back to school, buy a home, or eat eight servings of vegetables a day....you get the idea. Keep in mind that once you have the basic plan, you can work out the specifics later. Mine are something like this:
4. Run a marathon. (Must begin training now. Ok, tomorrow.)
5. Adopt more green habits.
6. Save more money.
7. Take charge of my finances and pay my credit cards off.
Remember Rachel on Friends? She had to get out the scissors and make the cut (literally) before she could mentally tackle her financial situation. Taking control of your personal habits now will only enhance your quality of life and prevent future financial burdens or health risks.
Okay, this is where it gets deep. Planning for marriage and family can be a little tricky, because a lot of it is out of our control. But it does make sense to decide on the timing of things, and what comes first. Since my career is my priority at the moment, my entry in this section is simple:
8. Date a British man. (I have big plans for him.)
You, on the other hand, may dream of dating a man from each continent, or being married with four kids in five years. Whatever works for you! This is your plan.
The fun stuff.
After all is taken seriously, it's time to make room for the whipped cream--the extras in life. If you want to go on a trip to the Bahamas or backpack across Europe, this will require preparation. But the good thing about life's little luxuries is that sometimes our stress dissipates when we know there is break from the routine in sight. My list:
9. Travel to another country, or New York. Item numbers six and seven will determine the success of this plan.
10. Buy a pair of Miu Miu shoes from the actual store.
11. See Chelsea Handler perform. Ideally, by the time I'm 30 we will already be best friends though.
Life's not only about hard work. It will do you some good to think of the fun extras that are within reach IF you plan successfully. This part of the planning process might also reveal those items that are not realistic nor in your best interest. So take caution and keep in mind that necessities come first and indulgences later.
Just remember, these plans are subject to change as you never know what life truly has in store. So while you may not know exactly where you'll end up in five years, don't hit the panic button. The route to 30 may become a lot more clear with a simple plan.
You walk into a room filled with strangers. You panic. Your heart beats rapidly. Your palms begin to sweat. You don’t know where to begin or who to meet. So you quickly turn to the stranger to your immediate left and introduce yourself. After a brief, chatty five-minute conversation…it’s silence. Dead, awkward silence. You clear your throat and nervously smile. What now, you wonder?
Here are some basic yet important tips to networking effectively so that you’re not the person people run to escape from:
Remember these useful tidbits the next time you’re out on the scene, and you’ll be a savvy networker indeed! Don’t forget to read the Networking Guide: How To Network Like a Pro article for more beneficial information on networking!
There are a million reasons preventing you from planning the getaway of your dreams: You can't leave your boss for more than 12 hours. Your fear of flying is paralyzing. Its too expensive. No one will travel with you...it goes on and on.
The thought of planning a vacation can be downright stressful. But the results of proper preparation can result in a new and memorable experience that will rejuvenate your weary soul. Keep the following guidelines in mind when planning your next getaway, and you'll discover that it's not that challenging to get out of the city after all.
First and foremost, what are you looking for in a vacation?
Time to brainstorm! Take a few minutes to truly think about where you would like to visit and what you would like to do. If miles of snow and bone-chilling weather excite you, then perhaps a ski trip to Colorado or Big Bear should be in your future.
Tip: Wander into the travel section of a bookstore and start reading for inspiration.
Who's tagging along?
So you've decided to head to the sunny tropics to escape from the bitter winter cold. Now the question is: who's going with you? If you know your boyfriend hates the beach, please don't handcuff and drag him with you. Instead, go with those who would enjoy your vacation as much as you would. This might be the perfect time to bond with your mom or to plan a girls getaway. Whomever you are traveling with, make sure that you can tolerate spending a lot of time with them.
Tip: Don't dismiss traveling alone. There are many organized travel tours that allow you to travel with groups who share the same interests as you.
Where to stay?
From luxurious hotels to hostels and everything in between, there are many options for lodgings. Your vacation goals, budget, and personal preferences should guide your final decision. Hotels, especially international chains, tend to have more accommodations that make a city feel less foreign and more like home. Bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels tend to have their own unique personalities and special quirks. Hostels tend to be the cheapest, but are also the least private.
Regardless of what type of lodgings you stay in, it's important to look for places that are in close proximity to the activities you want to do. Staying in the suburbs when all of the action is downtown will mean higher transportation costs and will waste your precious time. Also, have a Plan B for lodging in case the first place you booked does not meet your expectations for whatever reason.
Tip: Use the hurting economy to your advantage. Call hotels to book your reservations and see if you can negotiate the initial price they give you.
All of that is fitting where?
In most foreign cities, it's best to blend in as much as possible. Don't take the risk of being thought of as a rich, naïve tourist, and thus the target of a robbery. Leave the Louboutins, valuables, and expensive jewelry at home, and opt for a more nonchalant look. Research the fashion trends of where you're going. For example, if you are going to a more conservative locale like Mexico City, jeans and stilettos will be more appropriate when going out than that bright pink mini-skirt you wear in Hollywood. Also, check the weather forecast a few days before leaving to make sure you have the right clothing and that you will be as comfortable as possible.
Tip: Don't pack your suitcase to the brim... leave room for souvenirs!
Research, Research, Research!
It's important to know as much as possible about where you're going! Guidebooks often give great insight into a place's history, culture, and main tourist attractions; but for the real skinny, talk with friends, colleagues, and family members who have already traveled to your destination. They may even be able to refer you to acquaintances that live there. If you have the time, visit a consulate office in your local city to get other ideas.
Tips: Check out websites that give insightful user reviews, such as tripadvisors.com and yelp.com.
Know Your Budget.
Now that you have a destination, it's important to figure out how much this will cost. Get an estimate, and then adjust accordingly. Maybe you cant afford to celebrate New Year's in Rio this year, but that doesn't mean that you can't start saving for 2011. Or, maybe that means you should opt for somewhere that still has an exciting, beach feel, like Miami or San Diego.
Tip: Standard costs to consider are: airfare, lodging, food (breakfast, lunch, dinner), entertainment/activities (museums, tours, etc.), transportation, souvenirs, incidentals (extra toothbrush, etc).
Whatever You Do, Always Keep an Open Mind.
Be flexible and patient. Perhaps you were planning a marvelous tour to Northern Mexico, but the insurgence of violence related to the drug wars is giving you major doubts. That's OK. You can either wait it out, or find another destination to consider. The possiblites are truly endless!
Tip: Follow travel trends on Web sites like Bing.com. Staying up on current events/world news is also essential prep work.
We all know the scariest part of Halloween—the Halloween candy. I’m guilty of loving a little bite-sized goodness here and again, but I’m here to tell you: Halloween tends to be the front door to two months of holiday binging; enter Thanksgiving gluttony, Christmas bingeing and New Year’s Day overindulging.
I know I have difficulty resisting the temptation of sneaking mini-sized candy bars now and again, and again, and again throughout weeks before and following October 31st. I don’t know how parents do it after collecting their kids’ treats. I think I’d have to throw it all away. Having all those little bites of goodness around enables more “cheat” days until the New Year comes around.
Well…there are a few ways you can beat those cravings for sweets. First, hide the candy stash—outta sight, outta mind. Then, try a few of these lifestyle habits and you’ll be able to curb those Halloween candy cravings:
1. Drink plenty of water. When a person’s body is dehydrated, thirst is sometimes interpreted as a sugar craving. Stay well hydrated to curb the appetite for both sweet and savory.
2. Add more protein to your diet. A diet that is heavy in carbohydrate consumption—more than 60 percent—leads to more sugar hankerings. Have an egg with breakfast. Throw skinless grilled chicken or garbanzo or kidney beans and roasted beets on a salad for lunch, and six ounces of a meat protein (soy for vegans) with a plate full of fresh vegetables for dinner. Protein sustains the body longer, preventing most mid-day and late-night sugar munchies.
3. Avoid soda or other sugary beverages and foods. Sweet beverages, especially those that are artificially sweetened, trigger the desire to have more sugar.
4. Exercise regularly. Exercise, especially some heart-pumping cardio, represses urges to go on a chocolate binge. It also makes exercisers more resistant to temptation in the presence of chocolate and other candy.
These four tips are good habits to adopt in daily life to help you stay on track with your personal fitness and wellness goals throughout the year.
The most horrifyingly embarrassing memory I have of my mother has to be when I was about 12 years old and we were shopping at the grocery store. Moms went to a huge coffee dispenser and opened up the lid without getting the bag underneath correctly. There was a deafening crash as the entire container of coffee beans hit the floor. My mother just stood there like a deer in headlights, surrounded by a zillion coffee beans, looking like a helpless nutcase. I was utterly mortified and immediately ran away to hide in an aisle. I watched as some annoyed grocery store associates came over with brooms that they probably wished they could have used to swat my mom directly in the arse with.
Yes, our mothers are there to raise us, wipe the tears, bandage the boo-boos, send us to our rooms, chastise us, love us, force us to eat every last morsel of food on our plates and embarrass the crap out of us. For the rest of their lives. We love them, but sometimes we need help dealing with them. Fear not, frustrated friend! Made Woman’s got you (although seriously, when don’t we?).
Problem: She won’t leave me alone!
The sun is barely up and you already have 5 missed calls from your mom. You get to work and there’s a voicemail waiting on your work line saying something along the lines of, “I’ve been trying to reach you… you know I wanted to remind you that it’s your grandma’s birthday this weekend and you better make sure you call her. Shouldn’t you be at work by now? I thought you got in at 8am and it’s 8:05 now. Your boss is not going to like that….” Before you eye that letter opener and contemplate stabbing yourself with it, take a deep breath. Your mom loves you and is having some issues with letting you grow up and take control of your own life. As much as it’s a struggle for you to break free of her, it is a struggle for her to let her baby girl put on her big girl pants and rule her own life.
How to deal?
The key is asserting yourself with as much sensitivity as possible. It’s a thin line. You have to have a heart to heart with your mom and tell her that you are a grown woman and as much as you love her and appreciate her concern, she needs to let you fight your own battles now. It’s important to reassure her that you still need her and will continue to come to her for advice…when you need it. Suggest that you agree upon one night a week to spend together and do mother/daughter things. Tell her to scale back on the phone calls and agree upon a certain amount of times per day/week that you should talk on the phone. The direct approach is really the only way in this case. It probably won’t be easy for her to hear this, so you have to be gentle with your words. Once the conversation is over with, send her some flowers or a card to remind her how much you love her. Mom’s feelings have to be coddled sometimes, too.
Problem: We fight all the time!
Whether it’s about your outfit, the new guy you’re dating, the food you eat, your hairstyle, your diet, or your attitude, you are always fighting with your mom about something. OK, first thing’s first. Think about how hard it is to change your own habits. You DEFINITELY can’t change someone else’s! If it’s always been her style to nitpick over things despite your pleas not to, the only thing you can do is change how you respond to her.
How to deal?
No matter how tempting it is, resist the urge to scream and/or swear. This will only cause her to get more upset and reinforce the nitpicking behavior. Take a deep breath. Tell her that there is no use in discussing whatever issue you are having further, and that you don’t want to ruin your entire conversation by fighting. You can try to talk again later when the dust has settled. Try to appeal to her sensibility and keep things civil.
Get some distance. If your best efforts to get things calm and cool aren’t working, taking a step back from the disagreement may be your best option. If you both have some time to cool off, it may ease the situation a bit. But always settle huge issues. Burying a BIG, serious problem does nothing but create resentment. If it is a complicated and recurring issue that you can’t seem to stop arguing about, you may want to consider going to therapy with your mom. It may seem drastic, but when all else fails, having an unbiased third party to help sort things out can sometimes prove helpful. And if any relationship is worth fighting for, it is the one with your mother!
Problem: My mom thinks she’s 21 – she refuses to act her age!
I seem to have a lot of friends whose parents are still trying to act like they are more their best friends than their parents. This is a difficult one. If your mom is constantly trying to borrow your clothes, your nail polish, asks to join you for girl’s night, tries to dish about her sex life to your friends, etc., you have to take action right away – for your own sanity. This behavior can no doubt be a major annoyance and, at times, a colossal embarrassment as well. Remind yourself that aging is a difficult aspect of life; one that we all have to deal with at some point (if we aren’t already!). Trying to cling onto youth is an obsession in our culture -- Exhibit A: Botox birthday parties-- and this is something your mom clearly has an issue with.
How to Deal?
You are not equipped to fix her problems with aging – again, all you can do is deal with it. Try sitting her down and telling her that as much as you understand her wanting to act as young as she feels, so to speak, that you really need her to be your mother. Keeping that in mind, explain how you appreciate that she tries to relate to you, but that you look to her for guidance in your life and you can only get that motherly advice from her — not your best friends. If despite your best efforts to relate she still refuses to listen, it’s up to you to take control and put up some walls.
If you hate that she wears your clothes and steals your favorite shoes, put your foot down as soon as you catch her eyeing that new dress you just bought. Make it clear that this is YOUR stuff and get her away from it. Try offering to go on a shopping trip together where you will help her find some new clothes of her very own that she’ll love. See if she likes the idea of a makeover – this is a nice way to get in some bonding time while encouraging her to wear things that aren’t yours, for once. If she tries to crash your get-togethers with your friends a la Regina George’s mother in Mean Girls, divert your friends to another location. STAT!
Of course, our relationships with our parents are more complex than can be summed up in a magazine article. Despite the problems you may face together, your mom is always going to be your mom. Sometimes just taking a step back and reminding yourself that everything she does is out of love for you can help you deal with a situation. While you may roll your eyes and get frustrated with her, remember that she’s a human, too – not Superwoman. Although it is sometimes easier said than done, love her and appreciate her for who she is, flaws and all. After all, you may be MADE – but you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for her!
He’s suave, has a great sense of humor, and is oh-so-sexy. You just met and your new love interest is very intriguing, but something about him makes you unsure of your next steps. Society is saturated with love/relationship advice and everyone is apparently an expert on the subject. There are all sorts of psychological twists and turns that everyone takes you on while trying to explain how to navigate the dating world. Sure, most of us know the basic do’s and don’ts of dating, but what about the phase when he is supposed to be “pursuing” you. Pursuing/courting/chasing are all different depending on the person, but there are a few universal signs that a man is “gaming you up” that are as bright as neon lights. To make it even easier I’ve organized these according to threat level for my fellow Made Women:
Threat Level Green: He uses lines that sound like they are right out of a romantic comedy. A Made Woman is not looking for rehearsed, scripted comments. She is looking for genuine ones. Although we want someone to know how to talk to a woman, watch out for “charm overload”, over- charming can quickly turn into a major game up session if you’re not on your toes.
Threat Level Blue: Spending too much money too soon. I know I have probably knocked the wind out of you, but hear me out. What’s too much? When it’s out of proportion for the situation. Example: $200 on dinner and you have been out with him on 4 dates. Or, buying expensive gifts too soon. When you don’t know the man, it creates a false sense of “like”. He’s gaming you up by BUYING you. You may become distracted by his “throw it in the bag” treatment and end up getting to know more about what’s in his wallet than who he really is.
Threat Level Yellow: This is a good one, and if you’re not careful you will be in the yellow zone without even knowing it. Your little rendezvous has been going on for a few months now, and you have not met ONE of his friends. Girl, you haven’t even met the cat he’s had since he was 10 years old. Secrecy about his social life, especially his friends, is not good: he’s keeping you from meeting them for a reason...think about it.
Threat Level Orange: He gets emotional too soon. Isn’t it so cute when you don’t answer the phone and your guy calls you back 2 or 3 times, leaves you a voicemail, sends you a text message saying, “Call me back gorgeous, I want to see you”? Sure, maybe. You know what’s not cute? The smoke and mirrors he’s creating by appearing to be so “in need of you” and the fact that you’re falling for it. Listen up girl, guys that are head over heels into you THAT fast usually get over you THAT fast.
Threat Level Red: He seems too good to be true. He swears up and down he plays ball for some random team overseas that you google and can’t seem to find. He’s got a good job, no kids, money, nice car, he’s handsome, treats you like a queen on EVERY level. Did I mention your mother loves him just from you talking about him? He says, “I’d marry you! You are what I’ve been looking for my whole life.” If I told you I was going to give you a million dollars would you believe me? No, you wouldn’t. Approach Mr. Too- Good-To-Be-True with caution. Let his actions do the talking, not his lips.
Now, we here at Made Woman are not trying to rain on your parade. If you feel you found “the one”, march on! We’ll be the Grand Marshall of your parade. But as you’re marching, pay attention to your intuition. If something feels off, do NOT talk yourself out of it. A Made Woman listens to her instincts before listening to her new guy.