All Articles Tagged "advice"

Six Steps To Help A Ratchet, Or How To Deal With A Friend Who Loves Drama

May 4th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a ratchet friend in your life. Don’t feel bad, we all do. I bet you can think of that friend right now: the one who finds new and exciting ways to make his or her life as stressful as possible. The one who says she (or he) should be on a reality show, and you know they mean Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta. In my mind, ‘ratchetness’ has less to do with implications of etiquette/appropriateness, and more to do with the ability one has to relish in needlessly stressful situations. Whether it’s work-related drama or relationship problems, we all have that friend who seems addicted to drama.  In fact, most of us have been that friend at least once or twice in our lives.

What’s that you say? Not you? Just me? It’s cool. I’ll own it.

Whether you define ‘ratchetness’ as a set of isolated practices or a consistent state of mind, we can all use some tips for communicating with our strong-willed friends. These steps can help us:

Stop calling your ratchet friend a ratchet (remove judgement):  NYC relationship coach, Trenia Parham, encourages us to “…focus on the other person’s humanity, instead of reducing them to a flaw or mistake they’ve made. People are whole, flawed, complex beings. Both saint and sinner.”  While you may not call your friend a ratchet to her face, if you’re already judging your friend, then real communication is impossible. Just like we can tell when someone is silently undermining us, you can’t support someone you don’t respect.

Check yourself (assess your intentions): “I think the way we communicate with friends that are full of drama is more about [us] than about them,” Parham said. To that end, we have to ask ourselves how WE are gratified by constantly being the go-to friend. Does it make us feel needed? Smart? Loved? Important? Parham goes on to say that our friends don’t need our advice as much as we think they do. “[Your friend] has as much agency to be as  ‘ratchet’ as she wants to be, but now you have to decide if that’s something you want to be around, and that makes you responsible for your part.”

Talk less; listen better (listen actively): Active listening is defined as a way of communication that promotes mutual understanding.  What does that mean in real time? Parham offers us grounded examples. “Stop formulating responses in your head while the other person is talking. Put down your phone or thoughts about what you have to do when the conversation is over, and focus on the person sitting across from you. Does your friend need a friend to listen to or a therapist? As a friend, stop trying to fix it, that’s not your place.” It’s when we open our hearts and practice listening WHILE being empathetic,  and sometimes all a person needs is space to vent. I truly believe everyone has wisdom and knows what’s right for them. And when a person has a safe space to talk things through, they can generally find the answers they’ve been looking for.

Step 4. Keep it real (practice compassionate honesty):  One of the biggest pieces of advice Parham gives is to refrain from offering unsolicited advice. At the beginning of the conversation (or at the end of the rant), ask if they’re open to hearing your take on the matter. “If they want your opinion, offer it with honesty, but don’t wield the truth like a weapon,” Parham said. “Hearing something you may not want to hear is hard enough without someone delivering the truth without tact. Make the decision to be supportive regardless of if they want to do things your way.” At every turn, we have to let go of our own agenda for our friends. There is a chance that you will give an epic pep talk full of great advice, and most of it will go unfollowed. As friends, we have to learn to be supportive without being attached to the outcome.

Know when to end the conversation (set boundaries): Many folks (ratchet or otherwise) live their lives in circles. They keep dating the same guy; they keep having the same fight with their boss, and while they pretend to want your advice they really just want to keep venting. Though we think that being a good friend means we have to listen every single time, Parham believes that having healthy relationships means setting our own boundaries. “Be honest. If they keep getting cheated on by the same dude and aren’t willing to leave the relationship, tell them you don’t want to talk about it anymore if she’s not ready to do something about it.”  I know, from personal experience, when I listen against my will, I’m more likely to gossip out of frustration. That’s not helpful to anyone involved.

University educator and creator of the brilliant #lemonadesyllabus, Candace Marie Benbow recently Instragramed herself wearing a shirt that said, “Ratchetness as praxis.”  I love the shirt because, though the word has different meanings in different circles/contexts, it hints at a truth: There isn’t ONE acceptable and credible way of existing in the world. ‘Ratchetness,’ for all its negative implications, is beautifully unapologetic. To that end, the only real advice one needs, when thinking about how to support our headstrong homies, is to take five giant steps back and trust that they have it under control. We can call this minding our own business, or we can, as Parham encourages, call it an attempt to “stop looking at people like they’re broken. When you see your friend going through a hard time, think about how you would want someone to treat you in your messiest moments.”

And that, in a nutshell, is how we can help a ratchet (and ourselves).

Patia Braithwaite is a New York City-based writer who is probably somewhere being ratchet right now (whatever that means). You can find out more about her relationship and travel exploits at www.menmyselfandgod.com. She also tweets and Instagrams when the mood strikes her: @pdotbrathw8

Everything You Have To Give Up To Move Forward

April 14th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut, it seems like no matter what you do you just keep spinning your wheels. Lord knows you want to move on. And you’ve talked about it, tried it, but another year has gone by, and your goals seem like they’re just as far away as ever.

The trouble could be that even though you’re pushing forward, parts of your life are holding you back. If you want to really move on and live the life you’ve dreamed of, you have to let go of a few anchors first. From toxic friends to self-doubt, there are some weights that are too heavy to move forward with.

We don’t always know about all of the luggage we’re carrying. But once you spot it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can move forward when you get rid of it. Life can be a struggle, but sometimes it’s as easy as opening up your fingers and letting go.

Times Men Deserve The “Crazy” Label They Try To Put On Us

April 8th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Calling women crazy for having complex emotions is the go-to move for some men. Their ex-girlfriend was crazy, their sister acts crazy, their co-workers are crazy, and they’re “hoping you won’t be crazy too.”

But for the men who think that everything women do is crazy, we wonder if they’ve ever looked at their own behavior and realized they act a fool from time to time, too. Men only think their behavior is normal because no one is every calling them out for their shenanigans all the time.

But today we’re turning the tables and calling out all of the things men do that could earn them the “crazy” label if we were petty enough to throw it around every time things didn’t go exactly our way.

And if we’ve missed anything on your list of male pet peeves — the kooky things that he does but doesn’t realize deserve a label too — feel free to leave it in the comment section.

What Happened To These Couples Who Said “I Do” When They Meant “I Don’t”?

March 24th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Serious question: Would you say “Yes” if you didn’t really mean it? Not every proposal happens with “Dangerously in Love” playing in the background. But what happens when you walk down the aisle despite the chill coming from your your cold feet?

Recently, the folks over at Reddit asked their married readers what took place when they decided to get married even though they had serious doubts about their relationship and wanted to ditch it. And not just any doubts, but “We should have broken up ages ago” or “I was going to say it’s over but wound up pregnant” doubts.

It sounds like a recipe for immediate disaster. But wait until you read these surprising stories. We were shocked at some of the outcomes. And after you read them, let us know: Is it ever a good idea to walk down the aisle if you’re having cold feet? Let us know how you feel about saying “I do” if a person is really feeling more like “I don’t.”

Signs He’s Still With You Because He’s Gotten Too Comfortable

March 15th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Relationships wax and wane as they transition from short-term to long-term. No one tears each other’s clothes off every day (although, if you do, please leave us some tips in the comment section). Sometimes things are passionate, and sometimes life and responsibilities get in the way.

But if you find yourself in a situation that is all valleys and no peaks, you might have discovered the man in your life decided to settle in the relationship he has with you because it became comfortable–and he’s not happy.

Sure, some men aren’t very demonstrative. And other’s mean well but have funny ways of showing it. However, if his passion and interest levels have been hovering around a flat line for as long as you’ve been together, you may be dealing with more than just a moody personality.

We’ve all stayed in a relationship past its expiration date, and done so even though we had a feeling early on that it wasn’t going to work. But you should probably set yourself free if you’re dealing with a man who doesn’t treat you like you were his first choice for love.

Relationship Red Flags That That Let You Know He’s Not The One

March 11th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Every woman who’s thinking about tying the knot has had a moment when she realized that “he” was never going to be able to be part of a “we.” Whether it was something he said, an outrageous thing he did, or being sick and tired of that argument you’ve had for the umpteenth time, it brought out all kind of red flags. As in, “Girl, maybe you should stop wasting your time” flags.

Sometimes feeling worthy of a bigger and better commitment means ducking out of a relationship — and then giving him time to reevaluate his feelings and get himself together. A little shaking up and a reminder of your worth could be the key to finding that the man of your dreams was there all along, and even he didn’t know it. But sometimes, a red flag is just a clear signal that things will probably go from bad to worse. Feel free to keep searching for Mr. Right if you feel funny about the following.

I Got This! Why I Want Absolutely No Parenting Advice From My Parents

February 25th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Shutterstock

As teenagers, most of us go through a rebellious phase, defying and disobeying just about everything our parents say in order to declare our independence– or something like that. My teenage rebellion, however, seems to have spilled over into adulthood.

When my oldest son was born I was beyond overwhelmed; overwhelmed and unaware of the challenges that were ahead of me. Seventeen and practically a baby myself, I was young and dumb, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. So naturally, I looked to my parents — more specifically, my mother — to show me the ropes, so to speak. Over the course of the next few years, I soaked up every bit of parenting advice she gave me; hanging on her every word and watching her every move; thankful (to say the least) that she’d even take the time to teach me everything she knew about bringing up babies.

To her, it was what she was supposed to do. To me, it was what I needed her to do. But I don’t think that either of us really thought about the fact that everything she was teaching me would become the core of who I am as a mother.

By the time my second one came along, six years later, I had settled in to this parenting thing. Married now and no longer going it alone, I felt even more confident about what I was doing and how I was doing it. I was still young, but by no means was I dumb. Even so, I still found myself calling my mother, asking her how she managed to juggle more than one child. With her being hours away, I couldn’t watch her, but I certainly listened to everything she had to say.

Then came baby number three…and baby number four…and with 11 years of motherhood now under my belt, friends were calling on me for parenting advice.

But apparently, to my mother and father, I was still that 17-year-old who needed them to guide my every move. This is what sparked my revolt. Much like my teen years, I shut them out. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say anymore because, you know, I had this! Besides, they didn’t know what it was like to raise four kids with crazy schedules. And with them living almost 200 miles away, I didn’t really think they had the right to comment on my mothering. They didn’t see what it was that I did on a daily basis. They didn’t hear all of the praise from friends, teachers, and strangers about how wonderful my kids are.

But comment they did.

Instead of the words of wisdom that I got in the past though, I was also getting judgement and criticism that I wouldn’t even dare to call constructive. With every little dig in disguise, I wanted to yell, “Why would I listen to you? Your daughter got pregnant when she was 17!” (Yes, I realize that I am said daughter.)

But I didn’t say anything. I sat. I listened; rolling my eyes– in my head of course, because I knew better. I let them lecture me about my kids being too busy and my decision to let my oldest son go out on Friday nights with all of the dangerous things teens are doing these days; even though I’m pretty sure that I know a little bit more about “these days” than they do. (Probably because of that whole pregnant at 17 thing.) I let them tell me what I should be feeding them, how I should be feeding them, and when.

To them, they were doing what they’re supposed to do. To me, they were trying to keep me from doing things the way I wanted to do them; raising my kids the way I wanted to raise them. And that way isn’t exactly the way that I was raised.

Is my way right? Who knows. But who’s to say that theirs is either.

Who’s to say that my children won’t turn out to be better than theirs? (Yes, I realize that I am one of said children.) So no, I don’t want or need to hear their parenting advice…or their criticism. To me, it comes across as one and the same. Besides, I’ve got this. There’s no need for them to tell me anything else. Because regardless of how many activities my kids are involved in, how many nights my son is out, or what, how, or when I choose to feed my family, at the core of everything that I’m doing to raise my kids is the wisdom that they gave me in those first few years; the things that made me the mother that I am today. Yes, the challenges and the problems get bigger as the kids do. But every day, I also learn a little more. Every day, I get a little better as a parent. I’m perfectly fine with figuring it all out without their help. And if the day should come that I do feel that I need them, I know they’ll be there.  Likely with a big, “I told you so,” but they’ll be there nonetheless.

How To Pick Up His Slack In Bed

February 25th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Wouldn’t it be nice if every man was a super lover in bed? Or if women were like men and every session was guaranteed to head to the finish line? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Every woman is bound to meet a speed racer or two, or a clumsy lover who doesn’t clip his nails, or a guy who finishes quick. But that doesn’t have to mean that the sex can’t still be great.

After all, why should great sex be all up to him? Women who have great sex lives all have one thing in common: they’ve learned to take the reins into their own hands when necessary, ask for what they want and know what that is. Here’s how to pick up his slack in the bedroom. And if you’ve got some unique tips that took your bedroom game to the next level, don’t leave the rest of us out of the loop, share in the comments section.

Serious About Money In 2016? How To Stop Flexing And Start Saving

January 20th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Do you ever feel like keeping up with the Joneses is keeping you from your savings goals? Try something new in 2016 and find out if ditching these status symbols can earn you thousands in savings.

“When You Get Tired Enough, You’ll Evolve”: Celebrity Breakup Advice For Breakup Day

December 11th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Did you know that more people break up on December 11 than any other day of the year? If you’re trying to move on this season, take a few words of advice from these celebrities who went through the same pain and heartbreak.