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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Before He Cheats

Not gonna lie, was cracking up a little when the idea for this blog came about. A couple months back, I'd had a conversation with what was soon to be my ex-boyfriend that there are always signs when a relationship is coming to an end or before someone cheats. And I believe that, there are. (1) Despite how clever one might think they are? When it comes to skirting around? They're just not - here's the six biggest signs your relationship just might not be on solid ground:

  1. Change in Frequency of Intimacy - there's a reason why this is the #1 sign - it's a signal of how connected you are with your significant other. If this suddenly drops? Pay attention; because something is likely off.. even if it's not cheating.
  2. Your Calls Suddenly Start Going to VM - If your partner starts suddenly letting your calls go to VM where they didn't use to? Might not mean anything; but if there starts to be a pattern? Radar up...
  3. Sudden Drop in Time Together - and then maybe spends the time you DO spend together distracted?? Big.Red.Flag. This is a sign of shifting focus; sometimes that makes sense - like when you're starting a new business, changing jobs, etc, new baby, whatnot... but, outside of that? Big.Red.Flag.
  4. Everything You Do is Wrong - If there's an uptick in your partner's criticism, it could mean that your 'sweetie' is looking for ways to shift blame from what they're thinking/doing - or it could be that you're going through a klutzy phase. :p
  5. Things start getting secretive - Start noticing that the computer is suddenly on lock-down, texts messages from other men/women come in and get quickly deleted or not returned in your presence, the cell phone never leaves his/her side, changes in trust levels without real justification? That's a big, big sign of something wrong - those without anything to hide? Don't suddenly start. Now, if your guy or gal was ALWAYS the secretive type? Might be a different story - check for tinfoil hats. ;)
  6. All About Appearances - if they suddenly start hitting the gym, losing weight, get obsessed with plastic surgery or something of the like? This can be another red flag - most esp. when paired with other signs already listed.
But what about professionally speaking? How can you tell that your employee(s) might be searching for greener pastures? Amazingly enough? It's pretty similar stuff...

  1. Decrease in Productivity/Engagement - Employees that are looking often disconnect from the culture & stop "giving it their all." - Sound a lot like loss of intimacy?
  2. Decrease in Phone Time, but Increase in Internet Usage - Employees on the hunt often take fewer work calls; but their internet usage, on average, jumps to over 3 hrs/day - and yes, they'll use their body to try to block the screen/minimize it when they see you.
  3. An Increase in Sick Time - If you start seeing an uptick in time home due to 1-day illnesses, or half a dozen family members pop up dead? Might find a resignation is soon to follow...
  4. Complaints are Constant - you'll find this one? Is truly a no-brainer; employees engaged with this do not see a long-term future where they are.
  5. They Start Getting Secretive - personal calls increase but they don't take them at their desk or in common areas; and they speak in hushed tones.
  6. Their Appearance Goes WAY UP - if the business casual guy starts suddenly wearing pinstripes and the crazy-haired chick starts sporting perfectly coiffed do's? Red.Flag.Central...
They're pretty much the same, aren't they?? (2) The danger with a list like this? Is that it might ALSO be something else completely. I still subscribe if you see several of these signs at once? Houston? You DO have a problem - just because they're not cheating doesn't mean they're not checked-out of the relationship. Vegas money? Says they have. So, what do you do if these signs are popping up like wildflowers in your personal or professional relationships? Stay tuned... we'll cover that next time! ;)

(1)Now, to his credit and so no one gets the wrong idea; he didn't cheat... he's not that guy. AT ALL. This is also not, however, about him. That was just the conversation that started percolating this blog post & it's a slightly delicate topic... So, now that we have that out of the way...
(2) The answer to that question is YES. They ARE the same, actually.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#TR30Days Unfriending Pt 2

Once upon a time, the act of BEING a friend meant something. I mean, I know it still does; but I think it used to mean something quite a bit more. Friendships took time to develop and there was an exclusivity that surrounded those relationships that had an air of trust, privacy, and equity. You had to BE there for one another.. present & accounted for in conversation. I remember my Mother saying, "You can't BE FRIENDS with everyone; it's not realistic... and you wouldn't want it to be. The fact that people select their friends make them special; if you're FRIENDS with everyone then how special is it really?"

Good point. Score one for Mom.

Today, we function quite a bit differently - Today we have the "Insta-Friendship" and as such, friendships are much more disposable; incidental with "What have you done for me lately?" seeming to be the mantra of the day for many... with an extremely short, selective memory. Maybe that makes sense, since as a society we've switched friendship from being selective to pretty much completely inclusive. 'Friends' are status and can be obtained with a click of the mouse. Ask most adults, and they'll tell you they know the difference between an online friend & a real life one... but, if you look at pretty much the majority of Gen Xers to my 12-year-old? They're just as involved in text messages/online conversations with 'friends' who aren't present as the ones they're sitting around a table with at whatever restaurant they're at. (1)

So, since it all came so easy; should it be any surprise that at the first sign of difficulty? They/We/Whatever... Unfriend.

Unfriending. This 'word of the year' (2) cracks me up. Today, it's done with a click and conversation isn't even necessary. And, BONUS! If you 'block' someone - you have what's essentially "the relationship eraser." You're just gone from existence... at least online. Offline, is it as easy? I guess for some. I'm never that lucky. Even when I do pretend someone has dropped off the face of the earth, (3) they still don't disappear. I end up running into them, inadvertently saying something that gets attributed to them even when it wasn't meant to be at all; or some other example of the Universe throwing us together. It used to make me a little wonky because, after all... we'd UNFRIENDED. Hellooooo... doesn't that essentially mean I don't have to deal with them anymore? Thought that was kind of the point.

Except, truly, it isn't. Not if you ever WERE friends on any real level. You just can't 'click' away caring about someone else... whether it's family, a romantic involvement, your best friend from second grade, or the weird guy from science that picked his nose but you took pity on him & became buddies because you knew somewhere deep down he was going to grow up to be a really nice guy who'd probably run the next Microsoft. (4) You can't wipe away your history... there really IS no 'relationship eraser' in the world of 3D. One of my fellow Twitter #TR30Days Tribe Members, Cherie ,really spoke well to that on her blog. She was overly kind to me in my opinion; but, I'll take it with thanks. :) In her blog, she hit on the "online relationship eraser" when said that we tend to just disappear:

"My understanding of the definition of un-friend: “The concept of deliberately taking someone’s noise out of your life.” When it comes to online relationships we do so in a somewhat cowardly way – we “x” them out to hide their posts. We “unfollow.” We “ignore.” We don’t tell them. We don’t look them in the eye and say – I can’t be your friend anymore because of …..whatever. We hope they never find out."

Word. That is kind of the way it's usually done. Even 3-Dimension-ally, we tend to just drop off the face of the earth. But maybe, just maybe, it shouldn't be. Or, if we're too uncomfortable with looking our "friend" in the eyes and explaining why we're going in a different direction... maybe we shouldn't be so quick to call them a 'friend' to begin with. Because if we do, even if we no longer have that 'friendly feeling;' we owe it to our once-friends (who might very well still care about us) to let them know the score. Otherwise?
Take a little more time to get to know them, assess their core against our own to see the mutual fit - or misfit - before we go 'all-in' and then maybe we won't later want to drop them. I don't know... this doesn't feel done; but I'm not quite sure where I'm wanting to go with it next... so, this might get a 're-edit' or there just might be a part 3. We'll see. :)

Thoughts? Message me; you know I love to know what you're thinking!

(1) I didn't USE to be part of this group; but it was pointed out recently that now, I am. Gonna work on that because that DOES drive me a little nuts.
(2) Seriously. 2009 - according to the New Oxford Dictionary... look it up if you want. :) I keep mentioning it because it TOTALLY cracks me up.
(3) which is, admittedly, very rare
(4) or potentially rule the world; but either way, not someone you want on your bad side

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#TR30Days - "Unfriending" Pt. 1

Unfriending. What a weird word... on a funny note, it was the "Word of the Year" in 2009 according to some dictionary or other. I've tried to write this blog three times and I keep getting stuck at this word; because it feels so foreign to me.

UN-friend. Is that like a "do-over" or a relationship eraser?? That seems kinda crazy to me!

This comes up because of one of the bucket list points in my #TR30days bucket list.

Make a point of working on repairing a couple of key relationships that I let lapse over the last year UPDATE: Okay, so I made good progress with one & that's awesome... but with the other I can't help but wonder if some relationships just are better left ... I don't know for sure; but there was negative movement there rather than positive & that is somewhat disconcerting

The one I didn't make good progress with? Has been resolved... we came to the realization that we aren't, actually, friends. There wasn't a big fight or major issue; it was just a calm discussion in which we came to the understanding that we weren't - from a friend perspective - a good fit. There hadn't been a good enough 'screening' to see the ways we viewed the world, and how we treated other people. It's not one side's fault, or the other really - it's both.. we just saw each other for the people we WANTED the other to be, rather than who we really were. I wonder how often we do that with people on a personal level? I know it's a pretty commonplace thing in the workplace - we'll see a trait or skill-set or a personality that we want/need and focus on THAT to the exclusion of things like integration into the workplace culture, their developmental areas, etc... you know, the "Total Fit."

I'm a total sucker for Greek mythology, philosophers, and the "Old Thinkers." I'm a little awed by their knowledge & creativity, really - and so totally not above referencing their brilliance to make up for the lack of my own. ;) My understanding of friendship was really cemented back in High School when I first read Aristotle's Ethics - books 8 and 9 really hit it home for me. Genuine Friendship is one where you love/like another person for the sake of that other person. We're all pretty familiar with that concept... it's "good will." When you both display that good will? Well, that's friendship. Friendship is based on 1 of 3 things:

1) Goodness (Virtue)
2) Utility (Advantage)
3) Pleasure (Fun)

You can wish good things for the other in all three bases for friendship; but, 'wishing' or 'wanting' good for a "Friend" isn't the same as actively desiring and pursuing benefit for the other person for the sole sake of the other person ... regardless of what you get out of it or how it might benefit you. “Those who wish good things to their friends for the sake of the latter are friends most of all, because they do so because of their friends themselves, and not coincidentally” This is why Aristotle says that friendships based on categories 2 and 3? Are imperfect and don't last. Just because someone is fun or can help you get ahead? Doesn't exactly mean they're a friend; regardless of how fascinating they may be or enjoyable the times you spend together.

My "unfriend" and I? That's where we went off tracks, I think. For a time, I was completely distracted by my own life and really didn't give hers the amount of consideration she found it to be due (1) and as I listened to her discuss her benefits, her wants, her needs, her fabulosity, her talent, her ability to get others to do things for her, her age, her her her... I found myself quickly & truly turned off. I don't pick my friends based off of what they can do for me. I don't even really pick them based off what I think I can do for them - I see both of those as a naturally occurring by-product of a healthy relationship. I choose my true friends based off of who they are at their core: what they stand for, believe in, who they are in that moment and who they're trying to be. I look at things like their philanthropy, how they relate to people, how others feel around them over time, their ability to hold conversation, how the influence the world... or their little piece of it. Most of all, I look at how they treat other people; talk about them, support them, lift them up, etc... people who trash-talk others, are overly-critical of others rather than focusing on how to positively impact them or their own developmental needs? Have no place in my life. We all have our junk to deal with and goodness knows I'm no exception; but by and large, I guess what I'm saying is that I believe/I look for my friends to believe that we should maintain a focus on what we can do for our friends & not what they can do for us... or how much "fun" we have together.

So, back to the 'unfriending.' Was it a #fail? If the point of my 'bucket bullet' was to repair this relationship and instead it was ended... did I miss my mark completely? I pondered this a moment; and in the pondering I found my answer: I wasn't thinking about what life would be like without my 'unfriend' in it; in truth, I wasn't bothered by that at all. I wasn't sad or disappointed - because, at the end of the day, we're not well suited to each other. How do you repair or restore what never really should have been? You don't 'unfriend' your true friends... I think some friends you have to step away from for awhile; but you don't abandon. If ending an association is as easy as a 'clicking a button' on FB or through being completely turned off in a 5 minute phone conversation? Then, in
truth, the proper classification for that person may very well have been on the FB friends list - but more as a social & professional 'acquaintance.' So, while I'm not sure I'd go so far to say it's a #win; I'm not sure it's really a failure, either. Either way, I learned something and I guess that's a positive I can take away from this, right??

There's another take to the 'unfriending' that I'm interested in pursuing... the 'relationship eraser' was fascinating to me. Anyway, it'll hit the blogs tomorrow.

(1) though certainly more than she gave it credit for

(2) Week 1 Update Can Be Read By Clicking Here

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week One Totally Done #TR30Days Update

So, we've wrapped week one. Thought I'd just go down the list and update where I'm at. Had a couple of disappointments this week; inside and outside the list... but, overall? I'm okay with the progress I've made this year. Not sure what's up with the font colors on this one - but, can't really do anything about it.. sorry, folks!

Gratitude: "Gratitude is not only the Greatest of all virtues; but the parent of all the others." ~ Cicero(Ok, this 'bucket' was absolutely snagged from @Sexythinker, the talented Ms. Amanda Hite - but it's fantastic & absolutely fits with where I want my focus to remain!)

  • Make a point of reaching out and expressing gratitude to 1 person that has made a positive impact in my life each day. UPDATE: Done this, every day. It's kind of cool to see how such a little thing made a big impact. Looking forward to continuing this week two.

  • Start integrating gratitude as a prosocial behavioral motivator in my work UPDATE: Doing this genuinely takes thought - but, I've started with it.

  • Share 1 thing a day from the Encyclopedia of Gratitude & write about how it's positively affected my life - why I'm grateful for it, too! UPDATE: Did this 4 out of the 7 days - fell off the wagon on Friday. Can't decide if I want to post them daily or not; so they're hanging in 'drafts' right now... does anyone care one way or the other??

  • Pay it Backward - Reach out to one person that has 'paid it forward' with me and see how I can help them in return... then do it! UPDATE: Person Identified! :)

  • Make a point of working on repairing a couple of key relationships that I let lapse over the last year UPDATE: Okay, so I made good progress with one & that's awesome... but with the other I can't help but wonder if some relationships just are better left ... I don't know for sure; but there was negative movement there rather than positive & that is somewhat disconcerting.

  • Do something with 1-2 friends that I normally don't get time to go do things with - expand my social 'outings' outside of my norm so I can really get to better know and appreciate my friends/connections - going to try to schedule something once a week. UPDATE: Did this & made plans again for next week - it was so cool getting to just catch up & get to know someone that I wish I had taken more time with sooner! It's really fascinating to see how different people & friends can add this new dimension of perspective to our lives. Not to mention it was just keen fun!

  • Be open to dating - still not real hip on the thought of another serious relationship; but I guess they don't start there, do they?? :) So, I'm resolved to say 'Absolutely' to at least one invitation over the next 30 days. Still has to be with someone I'd WANT to go out with - I'm not going to just say 'sure' to anybody. Criteria should still apply, right??? :) UPDATE; So, have been asked out twice. Wasn't really interested in either but said we could hang as friends, if that worked? So, going to grab drinks/lunch with both over the next couple weeks. The dating thing is really low on the list of priorities - I'm mainly focused on just not being closed down to the idea.

  • Restart Champagne Thursdays with the local ladies! :D UPDATE: Was out of town this past Thursday; but did make plans for this next one! It's ON, friends!!

Giving Back- Volunteering/Altruism Project:

  • Complete the Natural Disaster Donation Project (1) by end of June. UPDATE: Drop-Off/Pick-Up 1 accomplished. Have 3 more before end of week. Holy cow, that's BUSY.

  • Start the "Altruism Adventure" with the girls - teaching the importance of altruism, demonstrate the principle in my own life & have the 3 of us perform 1 altruistic act a week. UPDATE: Haven't really made progress on this yet; didn't see the girls much last week.

  • Continue volunteer efforts - for this 30-days, want to include work with Attitudes & Attire. UPDATE: Contacted them to schedule time as a speaker.

  • Organize a suit drive for Attitudes & Attire. UPDATE: Started this; need to publicize this week for pick-up/drop-off week 4.

  • Find a workable date for the Blood Drive for Providence & continue to work towards facilitating/organizing that event. UPDATE: No progress on this. Evidently, the Provi-hood has a history of bad turnout with the Red Cross; so have to have a LOT of commitments before they'll commit to a date - this is proving something of a challenge.. but I will not be daunted by it!

Health & Fitness - Mental & Physical:

  • Drink my 3 liters of water a day (and stop complaining that I don't like how it tastes! LOL) UPDATE: Didn't do this for 5 of the 7 days. Not even close. Gotta step it up week 2.

  • Integrate One 15k each week IN ADDITION to the daily 10ks... cut time by 30-seconds/mile UPDATE: Got some less than stellar news on Friday and I've fallen off the wagon. Will get back on it again tomorrow. No, scratch that... I'll do it today.

  • Restart Physical Therapy for my jaw - increase opening from 24mm to 28mm by end of 30days UPDATE: Scheduled. First opening isn't for 2 weeks though. In the interim, doing home exercises.

  • 1 hour of dance EVERY day UPDATE: DID THIS!! :) SO.MUCH.FUN!!!

  • Do squats for 30 minutes every day while watching "How I Met Your Mother" UPDATE: Traveling, haven't watched it - but have done 30min of squats each day. I'm sore.

  • Start friends Bible study with A (and maybe Julie?) UPDATE: A & I are underway! :) If anyone else is interested in the Girl Friends Bible Study, hit me up and I'll send you the info. It's kinda nice, really. It's been over 10 months since I've done this with fastidious regularity; didn't realize how much I missed doing my daily bible studies.

  • 5:30 am workouts 3 days a week with Heather UPDATE: Yeah, not so much. Sorry, Heather - I'm in town this week... wanna go for it? Tues. Thurs. Sat.??

  • Read 3 books a week - but make sure one is just for fun and one is for general learning & one is for business (rather than ALL on business). UPDATE: Done! Unmarketing, How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What's Left of Your Career, and BossyPants. Traveling made this one easy. I recommend all three heartily. Started: The Help (fun), The Social Animal (business category), and Girl Wars (parenting: general category) this week.


  • Register for remaining conferences for 2011. UPDATE: Almost done - have 3 more to register for: Blogher 2011, HRTech, & HRSouthwest. Oh, and Radical Toronto - guess that's 4!

  • Solidify Q3 Social Media Plan & Strategies for TxMQ & Clients. Write proposal for same. UPDATE: The plan is about halfway done... should have it completely laid out on my iPad by Thurs. this upcoming week.

  • Work with Lisa on her Q3 & Q4 professional plan. Update: Starting this Tues.

  • Revisit 2011 business plan strategies for Q3 & Q4. UPDATE: Done.

  • Gain commitment to bi-weekly trainings for team & write schedule. UPDATE: Broached subject; but haven't done much else with it other than get our current training materials to revamp.

  • Finish new BD opp presentation for potential RPO client. UPDATE: Done! :)

  • Restart video blogging for work. Commit to 1/week UPDATE: Did one this week, but didn't like it. Might redo today. But, got it all set up!

  • Identify a potential Jr. BD person for DFW. UPDATE: Done, in a totally unexpected way, too! Really intrigued by how this all came about and looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Good Life & The Evolution of You(Me)

Life really is good - I love this version of the video - but, as always, the picture I see in my head? You guys reading my blog with this playing in the background! LOL

So, once upon a time, there was this guy named Solon. Solon was, in fact, one of the "Seven Wise Men" of Greece. He was smart, he was a little peculiar, and he DOMINATED Athenian politics for decades... he was actually credited for founding Democracy in Athens. (1) So, Solon was a pretty smart guy; but more than that? He was Cool... he wasn't just focused on knowledge for it's own sake; like so many of his Athenian counterparts... Solon was all about knowledge for the sake of the SOUL. You see, he was of the belief that progress came through learning that lead to actions that improved the world around him... and that led to the improvement of the soul... which was the whole point of being. To him, our whole lives were about this evolution of enlightenment within ourselves, our own soul - he wasn't as concerned as the WORLD at large evolving; he thought the good life started from within and radiated out. (2)

And that? Is a thought I can take and run with... and I guess kind of am with the #TR30Days challenge.

I was talking to this guy earlier in the week - he's something of an enigma to me at present (3) - but that's part of the fun to talking with new people & getting to know new folks. Anyway, somehow we got onto how we've evolved over the years from the perspective of our personas. In some respects, I'm exactly the same as I was when I was 4 years old: I've still never met a stranger, still believe that life is pretty much wholly geared around the relationships you make/keep & success is measured by the positive leverage of the same. (4) I'm still in no real definable social circle & flit in and out of most of them - just like I did in school. Still love music, God, old movies, and unsalted popcorn... though, not necessarily in that order. Overall, with most people I am mostly 'Pollyanna' and it still drives some nuts sometimes. And most importantly? I still believe I have a really good life... always have. Less than cool to downright-tragic circumstances pop up throughout life for everyone - myself included; but, those are temporal & regardless of what they are, it doesn't overshadow the overall tone - there's so many more good memories & experiences than bad ones. Sometimes, I think it's easy to lose sight of that when you're down in the middle of something.

Yeah, in a lot of ways, I'm still the same. At my core, I think am who I always was - but, over the years, my methods for expressing it, my comfort with who I am, my perspectives & coping mechanisms, my fashion sense and what that means? That's changed.. it evolves. And that's not anything earth-shattering; it's SUPPOSED to change. We shouldn't completely be the exact same person we were 2,5,10,20 years ago... sometimes I wonder what the litmus test is for determining if we're really IMPROVING or just changing, though.

Anyway, it just got me thinking; so, thought I'd share. To end this one with a little bit of funny & on a much lighter note? I'm adding a slide-show of the "Evolution of Me" from my fashion perspective. Made me laugh, anyway... :p Scroll over the picture for the captions. :)

Note to Apple Users: Here's the Link to the slideshow since it doesn't show up on iGadgets... maybe it'll work this way? If not, check FB; I'll be linking it there. :)

(1) though, he didn't actually believe 'common folk' should rule; just that they should be consulted and allowed the chance to opine before the Aristocracy levied a decision. So, not really Democracy in my book... but, at least he gave the little people a voice, right? :p
(2) I suspect you always knew where you stood with this dude & I also suspect he was fairly intense; given he believed happiness was only achieved when dead. yikes!
(3) the good kind, puzzling - I'll think I have his # figured out and something'll be said/come up that makes me wonder. It's slightly fascinating, really.
(4) YES, I -DID- have that figured out at 4. What can I say? I'm a genius (and could have dominated the world; but I'm not totally sure I would have been a benevolent dictator... so, probably just as well that I didn't ;) ). :p

#TR30 "The Little Things"

I'm totally picking "The Little Things" for my gratitude moment for today. My whole day was really an exercise in appreciating the little things. Woke up JONESING for caffeine (1) but they'd burned it at the hotel. Fortunately, there was a soda machine in the office building @ work & Melissa had 75 cents so I could get a diet Coke. I've never been so grateful for quarters, coworkers, or Coca-Cola Industries. :p Yes, I am aware I'm an addict & forget the 12-step program; I'm okay with my chemical dependency to coffee.

Starbursts saved my day - still getting over losing my voice & every time it'd start to disappear? Those sugary squares saved me! :p

Oh, and the whipped mousse yogurt & the fact that they sell Spicy V8s at the convenience store in front of the hotel? Made my day. :p

A little bit of gratitude #TR30Days

Wrote this out last night but was just worn out so went to sleep before posting...

So, the topic I chose from the Encyclopedia of Gratitude today is "My Mother." And I really am grateful to have such a great Mom - she's watching my kiddos this week while I'm traveling & they're having a blast. Because she IS my Mom, she's "improving" things about the house - reorganizing and such. When I was younger, this drove me nuts. Now, I just see it for what it is: she wants to show she cares... so, I roll with it. :) Love you, Mom - hope you're having fun with the kids!

And from today:

In other news, started the #TR30days challenge yesterday. Absolutely did all of the daily requirements I had set for myself; and made progress on a couple of the 'big bullets' that are more project-based over the whole month as opposed to something I'm trying to create a daily behavior out of. Not a bad start! :) I'm not going to put each day's gratitude posting on FB/Twitter; I really plan on posting just the weekly updates. So, if you want to check it out then look for the #TR30day tags in the titles in my post archives. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GDE. Week Three: Michael

So, my first pick from New Year’s Eve is up at bat: week three is upon us and my date with Michael is rapidly approaching. Have to admit, I really think he’s got potential… which is kind of a shame as he’s only going to last a week. It’s way too early in the experiment to break the formula. One Guy: One Week… but, if he’s awesome? I’ll look him up again in a year or so. Here’s his profile:

About Me
Hello There. I am a fairly simple man looking for whatever God, Fate, Karma, or whatever the hell you want to call it decides to give me. My greatest passion is always my three children who I have full-time. After that, the woman i am with…next to that is history (I am a history major). I love to spoil the woman I am with but love and expect just as much devotion in return. I’m a former investment banker that turned HR by trade and so am still a fairly frugal person.

First Date
Whatever would be done on the first date I am sure of one thing…you would be swept off your feet

We are going to the DMA on Friday. Turns out, Michael’s a full-time Dad of three rambunctious kids ~ all under the age of 6. Wow. I’ve done the party of 5 thing with a previous LTR; and to say it’s a handful is an understatement. My Grandmother had 5 children of her own and I just don’t know how she did it without pulling her hair out or chemical aid. Even when they’re all being angels (1) it’s a pretty time-consuming event. Finding time for the relationship became a really difficult balancing act and since we were both pretty involved parents? We had a hard time staying on that tight-rope. And I don’t care who says something to the contrary; intimacy? IS important in relationships and we had practically zero time for it between baby dolls, baseball bats, horseback riding lessons and homework. Which ultimately led to him pawing his visiting high-school sweetheart, his Mother’s coffee buddy, and then some random grocery store chick. Which was also ultimately what led me to say, “See ya.” Anyway, back on point…

If I were actually trying to date Michael long-term? I think the kids would be an issue... because he does NOT have help from their Mom; she split like a year or two ago, evidently. But, as he’s really just a week; it’ll be interesting to see how full-time fatherhood meshes with my primary parenting of the girls. Since we’re going to be walking around the DMA; I’m thinking jeans, my off-shoulder, long black angora sweater and my peep-toe Louboutins. A little flash of red under a high, high heel is a very good way to start a night out…. don’t you think?? Wish me luck!

(1) Which is Rare.

About the "GDE" Posts- The Great Date Experiment

So, quick note about the "GDE" posts. A few years back, I realized that I was dating the same guy over and over and over again. They weren't bad guys; but I definitely trended towards the self-absorbed... and, for anyone who's dated anyone like that? It's not the easiest thing in the world to deal with. Anyway, I took a year off from dating and then when I started up again? Met & dated that SAME guy. And at that point? I'd had it. Over a LOT of wine with some friends, we came up with this idea: how cool would it be to take the expectations out of dating - REALLY take them out so that you could just get to know and learn typesets? Study personalities and think about what really works with you? If you weren't all hung up on trying to find a 'relationship,' would we see crazy come out to play earlier?? We didn't know, but figured my "picker" was broken & since insanity is doing the same thing over & over, expecting different results? Figured it was time to mix it up.

And boy did I ever! 52 guys, 168 dates, 52 very busy weeks, & a whole lot of laughing at the hijinks that ensued. It was a lot of fun, really... All done above board, very "G/PG" level-activities; and I learned a lot about life, liberty, & the pursuit of romance. I figured I'd write the book much like I write my blogs, with each chapter representing each new week's guy. I'd start it with the "initial set-up" in a blog post & then go from there. Pretty much everything you'll read is as it happened & absolutely what was said in conversations. Specific names, affiliations, and ages will be changed a bit to protect privacy. :). So... That's really all there is for us to say about that! :).

GDE. Week Two: Stephen

So, after the fun of the first week?  I decided that someone a little more… stable… probably came with age.  As such, I went to my inbox with the strict intent of finding a 40+ man to play with.  And that’s when I found?  Stephen.  Or, more specifically MedGuyinDallas. 

About Me
Hello. I figured I would try this site after reading reviews of it on a popular men’s magazine site. Who knows? Maybe this is better than eharmony or Match, among a few others but only time will tell. Sometimes you get what you pay for! Anyway, I’m here to meet new people seeking fun times and adventure; nothing serious to start.
First Date
  A first date should be no more than conversation over coffee and such. A second date is dinner and drinks(if you prefer), but in no case should it be a movie or club.

From:  MedGuyinDallas

I like coffee and it seems so do you.  Why don’t we get to know each other over Starbucks?

From:  TheOneCrystal

Well, hard to say no to a fellow coffee craver.    Love Starbucks; but not so much hanging out there.  What if we took it to… say, a park?  Tell me about yourself, MedGuy; what do I need to know?

From:  MedGuyinDallas

Coffee in the park? Can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning. Does Saturday work for you?  I’m a surgeon; I work in Dallas and live in Highland Park.  I was married for 2 years but it didn’t work out.  No kids; but I do have a Weimaraner named Chuck that is pretty high maintanence.  For fun, I like to sail and run.  I also enjoy music.  Where’s Aubrey? 

From:  TheOneCrystal

Saturday works great, actually.  I don’t go out often during the week because I have my kids and my career is a little high maintanence… though, not sure if it rivals your dog or not.  Chuck is a very interesting name for a dog, btw.  I was married for 6 years – nearly 7 by the time our divorce was final.  It's been over 4 years and am jumping back into the dating game after nearly a year off.  I know this is normally something you’d ask after a date; but I’ve never been one to follow the rules… 2 years married?  Can’t help it; that seems rather… brief?   Oh, and if that doesn’t scare you off… I have two little girls and they’re awesome.  Totally the focal point of my world. 

From:  MedGuyinDallas

2 little girls – looking forward to hearing more about them.  I’ve always been partial to Hot Moms; the MILF thing is pretty hot.   As far as the fast marriage goes; she was a fast woman and while I joke about them I don’t want to be married to them.  I’m sure you understand. 

From:  TheOneCrystal

I’m guessing it was a little late (read: very, sleepy late) when you wrote that?  Prior to meeting is typically not the best time to break out the creepy compliments.  Hellooooo, Leisure Suit Larry!  :p  Ok, the rest of the week is a little nuts for me; let’s just plan on meeting Saturday – say, at White Rock Lake?  8am?  Bring a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with 2 shots of espresso and all will be forgiven.

From:  MedGuyinDallas

See you there.

Well, this should be interesting.  Let’s see if he does better in person than he did via email… because MILF?  Reeks of some sort of pedophilic wanna be… just totally creeps me out.

GDE. Week One: Diving in Feet First

Turns out, Nick wasn’t at all stymied by my utter display of klutziness.  He called again, rather late, under the guise of checking on me.  1:45am is STILL super late to be calling; even moreso since our date ended at 10pm.  Seriously, I was in so.much.pain.  I came home, used a Lush Marathon bath bar (1) and soaked for ages.  Pruny would be a kind descriptor for how I looked when I finally emerged from my bathroom… but, kind of makes sense given I was in the tub for over two hours.

It took me a minute to realize that he was not as concerned about my well-being as he was just a little bit weird.  He started off by asking about my feet.  Makes sense, as everything on me hurt and we had gone ice-skating, right?? But then, he kept talking about my feet. And how he’d love to rub them… and kept going until he reached the point where he was talking about actually sucking on them.  Gah-rooooss. I'm a pretty clean person -maybe obsessively so- but that still waxes unhygienic to me.  When the lightbulb finally came on as to his little foot fettish?  I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough… literally.  I wish I had managed it a minute or two faster; because I didn’t hit ‘END’ before he got out, “I’d really like to see you again – think the babysitter could come back?”

“Nick, it’s 1:45 in the morning; no, pretty sure the babysitter can’t come back.  Besides, even if she could?  By the time I got to civilization everything would be closed.”

"My place never closes; you could wear those sexy heels you had on earlier and I could take them off of you… with my teeth.” (2)

“OhMyGawd, Nick.. Stop.  Seriously, Gross.  First of all, I barely know you. Beyond that, no self-respecting woman would let you touch her Louboutins with your teeth.  Get real.”

“But-”  *CLICK*

Nick never got to finish that statement. When I hit the ‘END’ button on the conversation?  I decided I was also ending our week -  oh well, maybe week two will hold more potential.  Back to the inbox.

(1) Lush, I’m not sure I’ll ever completely forgive you for taking those off the market.  BRING THEM BACK!!!  www.lush.com check out their bath bombs and bars.  Fan-freaking-tastic.

(2) never.ever.never.ever

GDE. Week One: We Meet Again

I had been home for exactly 45 minutes when Nick called me.  Which would have made it 15 minutes shy of 2AM.  I attributed the insanely late night call to wanting to ensure that I had made it home safely and thus, didn’t hold it against him.  He asked what I was doing and I told him I was getting ready for bed.  When he asked if I was in my nightclothes?  And I called him a doofus and told him I’d talk to him in the morning.  Just before I hung up, he asked if he could see me again on Friday.  I told him that could be arranged and we made plans to go ice skating.

Anyone who knows me?  Knows that I’m a ridiculous klutz.  Think… insurance hazard.  I totally am.  I broke my foot and ankle walking down a level driveway to my car one afternoon… in flats.  So, watching me ice skate is a total trip.  But, I had told Nick that I had been taking lessons and so he wanted to see me in action.  (1)

We went to the Star Center in Plano.  While a much smaller rink than the Frisco Star Center; it’s also much less populated and so there’s a smaller audience to see me fall flat on my keister.  This is a win for everyone in my book.  Nick?  Is an excellent skater.  He was skating backwards, at first grinning at me and then pulling me along as I was losing balance on the ice.  Finally, determined to show him that I WAS actually capable of skating at an 8-yr. old level; I popped in my headphones and skated up ahead of him to show him how I could take the turns leaning in without slowing down.  So…. to the tune of “Don’t Tread on Me?”  I smacked face-first into the wall and fell backwards onto a toddler. 

Grace Kelly?  I am not.

Laughing his butt off?? He totally was. 

I’m not sure I’m going out with him again.  And I’m also not sure on who’s call that decision will be made.  But, I do know that my entire body is going to need to be iced for a good, long while.  And I shouldn’t tell my insurance company that I was at the rink when they determine I broke every bone in my body… because I really think I might have.

(1) By the way, I never progressed past level 1… never could figure out how to skate backwards; my ankles kept turning in.  I figure this was ok because really?  My center of gravity (read: my big booty) would never be able to do all those quick turns, axles and jumps… :p

GDE: Meeting Nick

Let me just say this:  Bliss?  Was really rather fun!  It was a fun experience; but I wouldn’t go so far to say it lived up to the name.  First of all, I get it’s a vegetarian restaurant; so, I wasn’t really shocked when there was no meat on the menu  (BD? You’d LOVE this place).  I WAS kind of taken aback when I found out that nothing is warmer than room temp – he kinda forgot to mention it’s a RAW restaurant.  There are few foods that I think really taste great tepid… they, however, disagree.

Anyway, the evening started out fairly well.  He was waiting just outside for me and you could see the “Please don’t be her” look in his eyes when there was a rather hefty woman with dark hair that poured out of her car 2 rows in front of me.  And you could see the relief in his eyes when I was the one that walked up and said “hi there!”  He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek (1) and inside we went.  You could tell he dined there regularly because he didn’t even look at the menu; he just ordered for both of us (2) and went right back to conversation.  Conversation, I had realized rather quickly, had him doing most of the talking and me doing little responding.  Forty-five minutes later, our meals came out.  He still had yet to ask me a single thing about me.

I’m thinking he must have been grateful for his entree’s arrival because it allowed him to take a breath.  I’ll concede mine literally took my breath away – although rather small, it was stunning in it’s arrangement.  Come to find out?  He ordered me a starter salad for my entree – I had the Chanterelle Stack Salad… he does get points for remembering that I love mango and avacado.  I totally got it when we had dessert, though – we had a Chocolate Bliss.

Evidently, the real reason people adore this place is not because of the dinner fare… it’s the “superfood elixers.”  Once again, Nick ordered for us – he chose this Chocolate Bliss thing that had vanilla agave and cocoa butter.  Holy Cow – symphony in my mouth!!!  This totally made up for the whole ‘order for me before I even get a chance to see the menu’ thing that he’d been doing all night.

After dinner, we were already on Greenville Avenue, so we went and had a beer at Blue Note – total departure from the uber health-nut vibe he’d been sending out all night.   I’m not a big beer drinker – but it was pretty awesome.  There’s a cool patio; like 50 something draft beers and a huge bottled selection.  He grabbed a pint for himself and a Fat Tire (3) for me and then the best part of the evening started.   Nick really chilled out and opened up.  More importantly, he realized that our evening had been horribly one-sided and so started asking me about myself.  Moreover, he actually paid attention and asked some really insightful questions… major bonus points.  I HATE when a guy asks me a question and then cuts me off while I’m answering it and trots off in a different direction.  It shows a complete lack of interest, really.  And who wants that??

When it was time to part company; he walked me back to my car.  Normally, I’d probably go barefoot because 5″ heels really start to hurt after a couple of hours.  When we got to my car, he toyed with my hair.  I’m totally an 18″ of personal space kind of girl and so I didn’t quite know what to do with that… but, before I could really make up my mind he dropped the lock and said goodnight.  Ok… comfort zone stablized and back home to Aubrey.

I was in Frisco before I realized he didn’t try to kiss me goodnight.  “But,” I rationalized, “maybe that’s a good thing… I don’t know yet where his mouth has been and his dinner?  Was Raw.”

(1) was cute
(2) so.hate.that
(3) it was the only beer I knew at the time :p

GDE. Week One: Nick

Well, something interesting DID come in:  DallasGuy.  35 year-old Christian Television Producer, sandy-blonde hair, 6’0 tall and RIPPED.  Check out his profile:

I am full of energy and like to stay active. I am goal oriented and don’t like to settle for mediocrity. I believe the impossible can be made true. I think life is about continuous improvement and self maintenance-both inside and outside.   I exercise frequently and am little OCD, but still can chill. Does that make any sense?  

Traveling is something I would like to do more often. I spend time in the North West Arizona-South Utah area backpacking and hiking. Can you say Grand Canyon : )   Honesty, genuineness, and open-mindedness, are a few qualities I look for in a woman. She would have to be one who looks to improve, both mentally and physically. She should be attractive with a good sense of humor and a willingness to try different things.

Do you like… The outdoors? Going to the lake? The mountains? Live music? Exercise? A good movie? Good meaningful conversations? Cooking with your man? If you have some or all of these qualities and want to get to know me more…don’t hesitate to drop me a line …Happy Searching!

Well, that’s certainly a good start – and when you pair that profile with his smoldering blue eyes and smile that revealed gorgeous dimples?  Then you can understand why I had ZERO problem making Nick my week 1 guy.  Now, he didn’t eat meat – but, I can work with that.  We are meeting for drinks and dinner at Bliss; which he assured me is a very hot, very ‘now’ restaurant in Dallas.  And he wasn’t wasting any time; we’re meeting tonight!  Damn.  It’d be so much easier to meet on January 2nd… not sure A’s going to be around for wardrobe support!

GDE. Day2: The Night Before & Online Dating Sites

I’m excited… my Dating Experiment truly starts tomorrow.  I’ve decided not to wait to check my inbox on the various dating sites.  Also, can’t help but wonder… does being a member of all these different dating sites make me well-rounded or just desperate?  Online dating IS all the rage… right??  And besides, this is a social experiment… it’s not like I’m REALLY trying to find romance here.  (1) 

I’ve decided that in order to have a full week with each guy, I need to check my inboxes today so that I can start corresponding on the first day of that week.  Since the New Year starts on a Wed., this gives me a couple of days to correspond before each weekend.  So, I pop into all of my accounts.  There are over 23 messages between the 4 sites; but not one that really gets my meter running.  How is that possible, you ask?? My answer is:  Plenty of fish.

For anyone that has been on Plenty of Fish, that’s probably all the answer you need.  For anyone that hasn’t?  It’s the online equivalent of the night club Carsons, aka DFW’s local “meat market.”  There’s some truly interesting characters there and most of them haven’t been to finishing school.  Reading through their profiles was really somewhat depressing; quite frankly a lot of them sound like trash.  But, it’s a free dating site…  The ones that don’t?  I’m hoping will see that I’ve viewed their profile and email me because I’ve decided I’m not proactively asking ANYONE out.  If I really believe my ‘picker’ is broken; it makes sense to let them pick me.  For purposes of humor? Here’s my favorite email that I’ve received so far:

From:  BlackKnightKisses

I can tell you’re a woman who knows how to have a good time.  You just need the right guy to show it to you.  Let me shower you with kisses this new year.

From:  TheOneCrystal

Really?  I’m curious, how could you tell?  And, better yet, how do you plan on showing me a good time were we to go out?  What does that entail for you?  Oh, and what’s with the name?  (2)

From:  BlackKnightKisses

I made up the name from my two favorite activities:  chess and kissing.  Clever, no?  (3)  Your pictures just make it look like you have a lot of fun and I also know how to have a good time.  Seems like a good match.  I think this is how I’d show you a good time:  We’d start at Cadot, then enjoy some live music and great art at January’s Late Night at the DMA; have you been?  Finishing the night out with a good bottle of wine and a fire is really my idea of a perfect evening.  Interested?

From:  TheOneCrystal

I LOVE Late Nights!!!  That completely makes up for the cheesiness of your first email and yes, it was cheesy.    Actually, that sounds like a fantastic first date… so, January 15th we meet?  I’ve not heard of Cadot – have you been there?  By the way, what’s your name??  Mine’s pretty evident.

From:  BlackKnightKisses

Was it really cheesy?  I thought it was original… so no brownie points for me then.  At least not there. ; -)  My name is Michael and I work in HR for a local Energy company.  Why so long for a first date – I want to meet you now.  Tonight.  Start the new year out with me?

From:  TheOneCrystal

Easy, tiger.  What self respecting Dallasite wouldn’t already have plans for New Year’s?  The 15th is my first available weekend; I keep a pretty busy social calendar.   See ya then, Michael… my number is 2148xxxxx – call me on the 12th and we’ll get everything worked out.   Till then – C

So, Michael is going to be my ‘Week 3′ guy; but that doesn’t help me for week 1!  Here’s hoping something interesting would come in between now and when I get done watching the ball drop.  

(1) Right. Totally for educational, writing, and socio-scientific purposes only.

(2) Ok, so by the name you’d think this guy might be black, right?  No.  Nerdy looking white guy…. I’m guessing he plays chess; but there’s no reference to that on his profile.

(3) No.   But I totally called that. :p

GDE - And So it Begins...

Book blogging- migrating it over so I can keep focus in one place. They'll all have "GDE" in the title.

Day 1: And So It Begins…

I am 32 years old.  I’ve had “boyfriends” of one sort or another since I was 6 years old – also, coincidentally, when I had my first kiss.  And it was a ‘real’ kiss because I had completely crushed on the little boy that shared the experience with me; and was grounded for three weeks when I was busted by my Aunt.  (1)  And every single one of them was wrong, wrong, wrong for me.  Perhaps the most fantastic example would be my ex-husband…. but, that’s kind of a given or he wouldn’t be my ex-, right?  Right.

Anyway, my ‘picker?’  Is broken.  I end up with the same guy over and over and over again – somewhat handsome, charming, moderately-to very-successful, funny with wit to spare…. and completely self-absorbed, selfish, and more into me for what I can do for them rather than with them.   Can’t imagine why that’s not attractive to me (2) - but, I’ve only myself to blame as I’m the one that picked them.  My best friend, A, tells me that all men are like this… but, I can’t believe that because I know some REALLY great guys.. they’re just married.  So, unless men become better AFTER they’re married?  I’m led to believe that I just need to widen my dating pool – step outside of my normal meeting places and comfort zones and see what else is out there.  Which is how we got to where we are now:  The Great Date Experiment.

The rules are simple:  I’m going to talk to and go out with a different guy, every week, for one year.  That’s 52 men and at least 52 dates.  No long-term strings, no worrying about what the future holds.  Which means I’m free to just really observe men in their natural dating patterns and enjoy experiencing some of Dallas/Fort-Worth‘s entertainment/eats.  Oh yeah, one other rule:  Don’t tell them what I’m doing.  (3)

Step 1:  To widen the dating pool, it’s time to pull out all the stops… sign up for dating sites, inform girlfriends I’m available for set-ups, and join some sort of singles group off-line.  Maybe even the singles group at Church?   This took about a week to accomplish.  The dating sites alone took an entire weekend; but, this is something I can now check off the list.

Dating Sites:  Set up profiles and joined E-Harmony, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, JWed
Offline:  Told A, KW, and BD that it was time to set me up. 
Joined the singles group at a local church  and at the Temple I attend (4)
I feel accomplished:  and now that I’m set up and it’s nearly New Year’s?  The 52 weeks of fun is about ready to begin.  Wish me luck!

(1) In true 6-yr-old fashion, we thought it’d be “safe & secret” if we kissed under the water whilst in my Aunt Joy’s pool.  Yeah, not so much….

(2) can you hear the sarcasm?  Because I’m so throwing it out there.

(3) About writing the book, I mean. Be TOTALLY up front about everything else.

(4) Couldn’t bring myself to date at my own church – I’m there for God, not a hook-up.

About crystalswritingproject
Seriously, it just shouldn't be this hard to find the right relationship. But, after 32 years of completely screwed up and flaming, fantastic dating distasters? I've decided it's time to diversify.... and try something new. Thus, the Great Dating Experiment. For 52 weeks, I'm going to try to go out with a different guy every week and get to know what's out there. No long-terms, no strings - just a social experiment to see how different guys really are from one another when it comes to dating.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chasing Cars

Love this song. It, actually, was what got me to stop and watch my first episode of Grey's Anatomy... I had left the TV on in my bedroom back in what.. 2007? Went in my room to turn the TV off and this song was on in the background while Izzy's boyfriend was dying (1)... it just gave me chills. Not the show; the song. And I fell in love.

Now, forget the fact that at the time this thing was playing like every 5 minutes and doesn't really have a distinctive sound. Forget that it was covered by every bland lounge band in the world, I think. Forget that it didn't really FIT my musical inclinations at that time.. I. STILL. LOVED. IT. Kind of ironic, really; since the song is about an ill-fitted relationship.

How many times do we do that with our careers, or our dating relationships? We take a job or date someone that is completely wrong for us; but, we're so caught up in the perceived benefits that we ignore the bad fit? We tell ourselves that their self-absorption is just because they're not used to being part of a pair; or that the lack of warm-fuzzies from our boss is just because they haven't had a chance to know us long enough to see how cool we are - not because they just won't give them. Or the 18-hour workdays isn't REALLY the culture; it's just because we're new & they'll totally appreciate how dedicated we are! It's just US and OUR NEW RELATIONSHIP/OUR NEW JOB against the world.

"we'll do it all, everything; on our own... we don't need, anything... or anyone..."

Except, of course, we do. We do have needs and as we ignore them over time in service of trying to have that 'perfect moment that will change everything' (2) and make something work that maybe shouldn't? It changes who we are, I think. And the other party in the dysfunctional relationship? Knows it. Sees it happening. Senses the often subtle shift as your 'spark' fades away, deflated. At work, depending on the culture it'll either be ignored altogether or the employee might be labeled 'the bad egg' rather than just saying, "You know, maybe this isn't the mutual fit we thought it was." In the romantic relationship, the band-aid most often used is "I Love You."

Those three words, are said too much... They're not enough.

Because they're just words. You can tell an employee you appreciate them; but unless you show it through a well-thought out employee engagement program or a culture of meritocratic recognition? There's a good chance those words of "We're glad you are here" or "You're a great employee" are going to eventually ring hollow.

When I'm working with a candidate during the interview process, the 3rd question I prep them to ask about in an interview is actually related to performance & recognition. "You are hired to do a good job." I tell them, "So consider that a baseline of employment and let them know you realize that. But ask them, 'What happens when I really go above and beyond and knock the skin clean off the ball and out of the park?' How do you, as an employer, recognize excellence in your employees?" And I prep every candidate to make sure that they know the answers can be all over the map & there's not a WRONG answer (3) - just have to make sure it syncs with the way we need to receive appreciation/recognition.

Let's Waste Time... Chasing Cars... Around Our Head

30% of women, post-divorce, say they KNEW they were marrying the wrong guy before they even said "I Do." They knew there was an ill-fit; they knew there were problems that weren't addressed, they knew they weren't seeing the changes that their significant other promised they'd make. But they stayed anyway. In our dating relationships, we'll often let the "I love you" serve as an apology or a 'reset' post bad-behavior & that's never going to ultimately be enough. Because even though you can extend what at times are considered to be an absolutely unreal amount of grace to the relationships that matter to us, or to the employer we give our loyalty to? At the end of the day, what's needed? Is change.

I need your grace... To Remind Me... To FIND MY OWN.

Change. We are really responsible for being our own agents for change. When you're in a situation where you realize your relationship is ill-fated or dysfunctional; or you recognize that things aren't clicking the way you'd hoped or need at work... you have 2 options: You can ignore it or you can do something about it. I've worked with many an employer that will talk about the employee that took the initiative to proactively go to their leadership ... not to gripe, but to raise awareness and offer solutions. They partner with their employer to attempt to find a "win-win" situation. When I was running HR, I did this with our company through 'development plans.' When things weren't working, we would draft a mutual expectations plan so it wasn't one-sided on the employee - because relationships? Are not one-sided and don't work that way. Same thing in a romantic relationship... it can't be one-sided. So, have a conversation (4) and work together & be open to reasonable compromises.

I don't know where...
Confused about 'how' as well...
Just know that these things will never change for us at all....

Without that commitment to modifying behaviors or a willingness in both parties to accept responsibility for the things that each are doing that aren't 'fitting' in the relationship - whether it's work, friendship, dating, or marriage - things will never change. And sometimes, we have to accept that no matter how much WE might be willing; the other half of our relationship may not. I dated a guy that -and I'll remember the scene for as long as I live - that told me "I really, really love you; but I like things the way they are... and I mean, I can try to put your needs first some times but I'm just not good at that. I can say I'll make a point of showing you that I love you - but, I probably won't." (5) He said that with the same tone that you'd expect someone to use when they ask if you want to go get a slurpee from 7-11. What he was REALLY saying is, "I love you in my life; but I love me way more." I was never going to get the 'fit' I needed in a relationship regardless of the effort I put in; not because he was a bad guy or what I did wasn't enough... but, because he was never open to compromise or change. There's no win in that, folks - if you find yourself in that same situation where there's no room for a mutual satisfaction of needs? Then it's time to STOP wasting time chasing cars and find a change of scenery.

(1) or something like that - they're all the same basic plot line, anyway - guy and girl are in angst over something set to some rockin' music.

(2) come on, admit it... we've all done it. How many times in your life have you had a friendship, romantic relationship, or job where you felt totally beat down; but thought, "If I could just make "X" happen; the whole game will change??" I'll admit it, I'm totally guilty of that - I hate giving up, so I've been known to stick it out WAY past when I should have shown someone the door just so -I- can feel like -I- did everything I could and didn't give up.

(3) Unless there's NO answer; and my best advice for those candidates? Run. If a company doesn't know how they show appreciation to their employees or recognize superior performance? There's probably a problem there. I'd seriously ask about their attrition rates and how much of it's 'natural attrition' (people leaving on their own vs. being fired).

(4) Women: Word to the wise.. don't use "Feeling" words in this conversation. It's rare a guy is going to respond to "I feel like" - they tend to be less emotional and will likely respond better to "I think" and/or "I see" backed with three or four examples (not a dozen reasons why they suck). And screaming, crying constantly, or throwing a fit? Will not get you what you want. For a dozen years, I had a rule that if I was angry enough to yell? I needed to leave the room & come back when I was calm. Don't see the point of arguing.

(5). I didn't know whether to give him kudos for at least being aware of his default nature or a "peace-out" as I was leaving over the sheer audacity of his speech (which was condensed for the purpose of this blog post; but yes, he did say that!). In the end, I think it was so stunning that I did nothing; it totally freaked me out that someone could KNOW they were being negligent with someone they loved; but, just didn't care. With time & some research, I learned he probably did care but the psychological discomfort that accompanies changing negative patterns was likely more than he was able/comfortable with handling; so he settled into a "this is just who I am" mentality. You see this often in business, too; miserable employees will stay in positions they hate, with teams they can't stand because it's psychologically easier to deal with than the fear & discomfort that goes along with changing roles/jobs... Even if it'd ultimately make their lives better! The devil we know, I guess....