ATTACHMENT THEORY EXPLAINED WHY I SUCK AT RELATIONSHIPS

Learning attachment theory helped me understand why my relationships weren’t working. Turns out, we’re all pretty predictable (based on our attachment style).

I have a dirty dating secret: I’ve been single for 2.5 years, and for some reason, I’ve been the one to walk away in nearly every single dating interaction I’ve had in that time span. I felt like I was always the one sending the text saying “it’s been nice, but I can’t/don’t want to do this.”

In every serious relationship I’ve been in, I’ve been the one to drive it into the ground at the end (with a healthy dose of self-sabotage) then call it quits.

I would be fine being single for a while, but then the craving for connection and touch would come back. The shit thing is, once I got it I immediately wanted to run. I always had intense fear when things started getting even slightly more serious, even though nothing had seemingly changed.  One minute I’d be happy cuddling with someone and telling them my secrets, then they’d walk out of my apartment and I’d start spiraling and thinking I was better off alone. I was giving myself romantic whiplash.

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Why was I like this?

I always wanted to be in a successful relationship, but I couldn’t break the pattern no matter how awesome the person was and how much potential was there. I felt ashamed I was like this. Even after I quit drinking nothing changed.

No advice seemed to help and no self-improvement work I did seemed to change the oucomes. I couldn’t chalk it up to not meeting the right people because even when I met someone and started to get to know them I didn’t know how to manage my feelings or express my needs. It got easy to put it on other people, but after I stopped drinking I knew deep down that I had some real work to do.

I had just finished telling my therapist about the guy I had ended things with who had the AUDACITY to call me “hot and cold,” when my therapist gave me some homework. She knows I love a good self-help book, so she tasked me with reading Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller.

Since she’s smart, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she suggested the book because I seemed ready for a healthy dose of humility and self-awareness around how I am in relationships. At that time, I had recently become aware codependency was an issue for me, but I didn’t know I was about to find out that I am also part of 1% of people that fall into the most troubled attachment style.

Turns out, my whole ‘come here, go away’ act makes a lot of sense based on my attachment type.

Basically, there are four attachment types: secure, anxious, avoidant and disorganized/dismissive.

Here’s a really basic breakdown of all four that I pulled from this website (if you want more info). 

Secure: Low on avoidance, low on anxiety. Comfortable with intimacy; not worried about rejection or preoccupied with the relationship. “It is easy for me to get close to others, and I am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.” 

Avoidant: High on avoidance, low on anxiety. Uncomfortable with closeness and primarily values independence and freedom; not worried about partner’s availability. “I am uncomfortable being close to others. I find it difficult to trust and depend on others and prefer that others do not depend on me. It is very important that I feel independent and self-sufficient. My partner wants me to be more intimate than I am comfortable being.”

Anxious: Low on avoidance, high on anxiety. Crave closeness and intimacy, very insecure about the relationship. “I want to be extremely emotionally close (merge) with others, but others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t love or value me and will abandon me. My inordinate need for closeness scares people away.”

Anxious and Avoidant: High on avoidance, high on anxiety. Uncomfortable with intimacy, and worried about partner’s commitment and love. “I am uncomfortable getting close to others, and find it difficult to trust and depend on them. I worry I will be hurt if I get close to my partner.”

About 56 per cent of people in the world are secure. Around 20 per cent are anxious. Twenty-three per cent are avoidant, and the remaining 1 per cent are a combination of anxious and avoidant (according to this article by Elite Daily).

I don’t know about you, but I always wished I had a rare blood type so I could feel special. Turns out since I’m fearfully/avoidantly attached, also referred to as disorganized or anxious-avoidant, so I can still feel statistically special based on the fact that I absolutely run my relationships into the ground as soon as they seem like they’re going somewhere. Or as Mark Manson puts it, this attachment style is “the worst of both worlds.”

Thanks, Mark. You know how to humble us one percenters.

Excuse my french, but this revelation sacré blew my fucking mind. First of all, I wasn’t the only one who was like me. Second, it made me feel less alone to know that a little less than half the population is gonna ride the struggle bus when it comes to relationships because of something they learned in infancy.

Last: I was relieved to have a label and explanation.

A fearful-avoidant type both desires close relationships and finds it difficult to be truly open to intimacy with others out of fear of rejection and loss, since that is what he or she have received from their caregivers. Instead of the dismissive’s defense mechanism of going it alone and covering up feelings of need for others by developing high self-esteem, the fearful-avoidant subconsciously believe there is something unacceptable about them that makes anyone who knows them deeply more likely to reject or betray them, so they will find reasons to relieve this fear by distancing anyone who gets too close. As with the dismissive, the fearful-avoidant will have difficulty understanding the emotional lives of others, and empathy, while present, is not very strong—thus there will be poor communication of feelings with his partner.

I always had thought I was just a mess romantically because….well just because I had baggage and trauma. But then why was I still single after I stopped hating myself?

To add to the slap in the face attachment theory served it, apparently, if you put certain attachment styles together it’s more or less destined to be a hot garbage fire. Like for example, avoidant people and anxious people are like magnets to each other romantically but it makes for a problematic partnership. It’s shit, because it’s really not the fault of either people, but more a perfect storm based on their desire for intimacy and tolerance for closeness in relationships.

Since I’ve found out what attachment style I am, it’s helped me come to peace with my patterns and start challenging them with clear communication and different thought processes. It’s also helped me pick people who are better for me (*cough* where all the securely attached men at? *cough cough*). I’m shedding the shame when it comes to my dating dirty secret because I now see my behavior when it comes to men as a totally subconscious protection mechanism. I learned it before I even knew I learned it, and I can also unlearn it. I finally have some hope that romantically, I’m not going to keep reliving groundhog day of the same dating scenarios. I have a shot at being secure.

Like with everything else related to self-improvement, awareness is the first step.

As one writer for Elite Daily puts it: “none of these attachment styles are labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy.’ They’re simply descriptions of the way you act in romantic relationships. They’re not forms of judgment.”

Unless you’re Mark Manson, then you can be a judgmental asshole, apparently.

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If you’re looking for a more detailed crash course in attachment theory that includes more actionable steps to take to becoming secure, your best bet is to read this book or this book. Yes, reading a self-help book to fix your love life is probably going to feel like a move pulled directly out of a rom com, but once you get over yourself it’s really not that bad. For more basic info, you can also watch this video or pay a little bit of coin to take a quiz to see what category you fall into. 

ON CELEBRATING THE FACT THAT YOU ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE

I believe people make decisions about other people based on this super rough formula I totally made up:

It’s whatever information they have in front of them, plus the trust factor (what you are willing to share with them and the likelihood they will get more information in the future) and physical proximity, plus shared tendencies and hobbies, multiplied by their individual life experience (shared life experience can make you much more likely to get along), divided by differentiating characteristics and values. What makes people different? If you are someone who puts themselves out in the world, has a vocal opinion, acts differently than the majority of society (for example, if you don’t drink),  dresses differently, has taken an unconventional life path, experienced a specific type of trauma etc. etc. You’re going to be different and therefore less likely to be able to connect with just anyone.

Obviously this is not very scientific, but the reality is that we are constantly processing some variation of this formula when we come across new people.

My name is Raegan and I am in rehab from being an over the top people pleaser. I come by it honestly — I get it from my mother (she works in sales and it made her exceptionally good at her job).

It’s a characteristic that I’m working very hard to overcome and I know I’m not the only one who a) deals with this and b) finds it hard to swallow, especially when I look at the ways it’s done more harm than good over the years.

I find the formula above freeing. It reminds me that there’s just no way, based on all these factors, that we are going to emotionally connect with a good chunk of the people we meet — it’s just a fact of life. It also reminds me to take off the tophat (this isn’t an audition, Raegan) so people can see the real me. Because the formula doesn’t work when you change to fit the mould of what you think the other person wants.

Some people don’t struggle with this. If you are one of those people please SHOW YOURSELF IN THE COMMENTS.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

So how did I (collectively: we) get to this place where I (we) care so much? Based on research, it looks like fear, anxiety and pressure play a big role, which isn’t very surprising.

Pressure….

  1. To be likeable and nice.
  2. To appear as though you have a squad* or a lot of friends.
  3. To feel accepted (which is why being different can be so damn hard).

We’ve all heard the phrase “nobody likes a people pleaser.” So why are there so many of us?

Short answer: we are hardwired to belong, so don’t feel too bad.

“The need to belong, also often referred to as belongingness, refers to a human emotional need to affiliate with and be accepted by members of a group.

The need to belong involves more than simply being acquainted with other people. It is instead centered on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group as well as providing the same attention to other members.” (Full article here)

If there’s something I’ve learned from reading ‘Braving the Wilderness,’ by Brené Brown, it’s that belonging begins with ourselves. It really starts and ends there.

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”
Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

You are not for everyone, and you will not belong everywhere but that’s a good thing. You deeply deserve to be appreciated for who you are, and celebrating the fact that you are not for everyone is an extension of that.

REJECTION SENSITIVITY

This is hard to admit, but I know the pain of what happens when your opinion of yourself is based on other people’s opinions of you. Essentially, it means your self-esteem is as fragile as a sandcastle and some mean kid can come and kick it over at any time. I spent all my teen years bending over backward to be liked. I gave everything to everyone and as a result I got dumped, treated like a doormat (you don’t exactly command respect when you are like this) and had one person flat out say they didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I definitely developed rejection sensitivity as a result.

Taking baby steps to get to know myself and show my true self to people, knowing full well that I could be rejected, is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my adult life. For me, part of working through my rejection sensitivity is celebrating the fact that I’m not for everyone in a healthy, glass half full kind of way that honours and shows love & gratitude to my true self. 

It doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t give a shit about how I make people feel. It means I can say no and not feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. It means not chasing people down who don’t want me. It means not going over the top when it comes to simple apologies. It means taking the power back and not letting other people dictate how I feel about myself. It means I’m no longer apologizing for who I am as a person.

There’s always room to grow and I know I’m not perfect, but if you don’t like the real me, you can pretty much kick rocks.

“Taking ownership of your own fears and anxieties is the first step toward improving your relationships. Rather than expecting others to heal you, start by healing yourself.

This requires you to take a good look at the anxiety that fuels your neediness and longing for approval. The more you can deal directly with that anxiety within yourself, rather than trying to work it out through relationships, the more you will begin to heal those old wounds.” (Full article here)

Every day I accept more and more that I am a serious, opinionated, life-loving, risk-taking, aggressive, acquired taste and I don’t need to change who I am to make people like me. I am healing. I am going where I am wanted.

If you feel you are not in a place where you “belong to yourself” yet, as Brené would say, that’s ok. Don’t blame yourself. It’s pretty damn human.

When you aren’t sure if you are people pleasing, ask yourself:

  1. Am I being genuine?
  2. Am I working for approval?
  3. Am I being agreeable to avoid conflict?
  4. Am I reacting genuinely, or am I objectively crafting responses?
  5. Am I caretaking, or am I responding truthfully?
SHARING YOURSELF IS SCARY

Here’s my question: does the way you are interacting with others honour your sense of self-worth? How committed are you to rebuilding, healing and sharing yourself authentically even when it’s scary? Even if you make a commitment to yourself, then stumble or break it, it just means that you are willing to fall, f*ck up, get back up, honour that commitment to yourself and KEEP TRUCKING. Struggling doesn’t make you any less strong.

Here’s one more Brené quote before I send you on your way:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

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HOW I’M UNPACKING YEARS OF SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

This narrative of “how to be a woman” hung over my head playing puppet master, making me do things I knew weren’t right for me.

When I was 19, I won a booty shake contest at a local bar (specifically, The ‘World Famous’ Palomino Club, if you live in Winnipeg).

Why did I do it? I was drunk, a friend was egging me on and my boyfriend at the time was unimpressed when I said I was thinking about it. So naturally, I did it to prove a point.

But when I was up there, it felt weird and performative. Even with four (maybe even five?) shots of Fireball in my system, I couldn’t reconcile that feeling. But I walked away with a bunch of cash and bought myself a Big Mac so I wasn’t thinking too hard about it.

Self-objectification (SO) is thinking of oneself as an object of others’ desire first and as a person second. 

In simple terms, self-objectification is objectification coming in an incestuous full circle.  

According to a study done out of Eastern Michigan University by Kroon & Perez, “regular exposure to objectifying experiences socialize girls and women to engage in self-objectification, whereby they come to internalize this view of themselves as an object or collection of body parts.”

As someone who attended my fair share of therapy growing up, and went through an eating disorder treatment program, I’m surprised that the first time I heard about the concept of self-objectification was when I started trying to put words around this thing I was feeling and noticing.

Let me paint you a picture: A guy sees a beautiful girl in a crowd. Maybe she’s sitting in the corner, or has an imaginary spotlight following her as she floats around the room. Her personality or character doesn’t matter. Everything else melts away, and nothing shines through but her beauty. He chooses her because she’s a mythical creature who’s MYSTERIOUS!!!! Why? Because we know nothing about her other than what she looks like.

Oh, not to mention the fact that we’ve also been socialized to believe that beauty = goodness of character.

Iliza Shlesinger has a bit in her Netflix special Elder Millennial on the fun scenario I described above.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve shoved myself into a tight dress (the one in the photo below is leather and especially terrible) and hoped somebody noticed me. I was totally oblivious at the time how much I was setting myself up for disappointment.

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Typing that makes me want to light my computer, and my entire soul on fire. Don’t try to tell me that’s not what we’ve been force-fed in movies and TV. That’s what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner growing up; If we are picked out of a crowd based on looks, it means we are valuable and valued.

The danger with self-objectification is that it is associated with a number of ills including body shame, appearance anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Think about how that manifests itself for a second: women who self-objectify put all their value on being seen as a sexual object, then when they finally get to the part where they are supposed to be *~SExuAl*`~and have sex, they’re supposed to shut off everything they’ve learned up until that point and “enjoy themselves and be free.” BUT they are typically so preoccupied with the way their *INSERT BODY PART* looks that they can’t. Even. Enjoy it. (NOT THE FIRST TIME I’VE TALKED ABOUT THIS FOR A REASON)

When I did let good men into my life, there was almost a part of me that discredited them for liking me for who I was as a person. After all, I had been completely brainwashed into thinking the only thing that was valuable about me was my looks, and I found it hard to believe someone was going to give a shit about my personality, goals, dreams and hobbies.

I shrugged off accomplishments and thwarted off feeling proud for YEARS. I didn’t think it all meant anything compared to the cultural currency of beauty.  This narrative of “how to be a woman” hung over my head playing puppet master, making me do things I knew weren’t right for me.

The worst part is — I had no clue.

My self-objectification was so internalized it was totally undetectable. I wanted to be mad at myself, but I know from reading other women’s stories that I’m not the only one.

Not only had I objectified myself, but I knew I had also done it to other women. For example, every time I would worship someone for their body on Instagram without any regard for their humanity.

I actually felt sick to my stomach when I initially started doing research for this article because it felt like too much to wade through. But here I am writing this, so I guess you could say I put on some rubber boots and I’m getting to work.

I don’t regret participating in that contest (being under 20 is the perfect time to do dumb stuff like that), but I recognize now that winning money by shaking my ass in front of a crowd of strangers and doing things to get them to cheer me on is the perfect marriage of objectification and self-objectification.

Once you understand self-objectification and see yourself acting it out, you can’t unsee it.

I’m still coming to terms with the catastrophic damage that years of self-objectification have done. The diet pills, drinking to be less self-conscious, jealousy, following fit girls on Instagram as weight loss motivation and the *all-consuming concern* that someone will see my cellulite.

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2015. Closest I’ve ever come to doing a boudoir shoot and I look so serious. I’m wearing a HUGE pushup bra (I have small boobs, don’t be fooled) and I didn’t want to take off my jeans because I was too self-conscious about my cellulite at the time. Photo by Kanisha Szekely.

When you strip it all away, it’s simply a way of existing in the world. A story we tell ourselves that has been told to us for generations. Awareness is everything. You can contribute to the narrative the media has rammed down your throat, or start to rewrite it.

For me, this isn’t in line with who I want to be, so I’m ready to let it go.

I read in a Psychology Today article that learning about SO reduces its impact (thank goodness), and they suggest that we actively work to…

  • Override self-surveillance (e.g. sitting a certain way to look skinny, looking in the mirror constantly to check yourself)
  • Reduce our contact with sexually objectifying media (e.g. stop reading appearance-focused magazines)
  • Reduce contact with sexually objectifying people or groups (e.g., discussing another woman’s appearance with your friends because of something they posted)
  • Choose clothing based on comfort
  • Challenge sexual objectification when we hear it or see it
  • Decline to participate in demeaning the appearance of ourselves and others
  • Counter critical self-statements
  • Compliment on things other than appearance
  • Cultivate sustainable ways to affirm our worth

Learning about SO helped me find the missing puzzle piece in understanding why my self-esteem was non-existent for most of my life. I’ve gotta say, it’s actually kind of a relief to know what to call it now.

I know it’s going to be a struggle. I know I’ve stumbled already. I know it’s worth it.

The most interesting thing about me has nothing to do with the way I look, and if there’s something I’ve learned in my self-love journey I know I’ll never be satisfied with a well of validation that always runs dry. I have a feeling the next time I get on a stage to prove a point, it’ll be empowering. Not objectifying.

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2014. Winning a community radio award. This photo captured a spark of genuine pride.

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11 PIECES OF SEX AND DATING WISDOM I LEARNED IN MY EARLY 20s

Dick pics, consent, condoms, exes, self-objectification and love. Love in the age of millennials.

I have enough exes that they could all get together and make a ska band. I used to be embarrassed about it, but now I know it just means I know better now, so I can do better. I feel like I’ve experienced it all: getting dumped and having my heart broken, dumping someone, having blowout arguments, being used, trying to have casual sex, getting played out, being an unsupportive significant other, being called horrible things — you name it, I’ve probably lived it and learned from it.

Taking a step back from dating for last little while has given me a new perspective on certain things and reminded me of others. Millennials are reinventing everything as a generation, including dating. In some ways it’s amazing because we have more ways to meet people than ever before, but all those avenues of communication can make us less connected than ever before.

Buckle up. If you are related to me, please, for the love of god don’t read this.

Mature themes and swearing ahead, kids.


1. Just because someone uses you doesn’t make it ok for you to use someone else.

Sometimes when we are hurt we do dumb things because we feel like causing pain will cancel out our pain. Meanwhile, it only makes things SO MUCH WORSE. Nobody wins when you act out of spite, especially not you.

For example, maybe he used you (emotionally, physically) and now you wanna get a baseball bat out and go to town on him like Beyoncé in the Lemonade film but you don’t want to reveal your rage and fulfill the “crazy woman” stereotype so you internalize it and take it out on some other unsuspecting guy you find at a bar or on Tinder. *deep breath*

A short-term self-esteem bandaid (in whatever form) won’t cover the gaping flesh wound this person left you with. That’ll only heal with time, my friend.

2. Stop playing the game of “who can care less about the other person”

Whoever can come away more untouched and unfazed from a one night stand or rejection is supposedly the “winner” of this game people play now.

Casual sex culture is scary because it can harden us and makes us think that it’s wrong to have feelings. If we don’t want to play the game, we can be harshly judged or cast out. Sometimes we end up participating even when we know it hurts us. I thought about things completely differently after watching Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution, and I still believe that adults are completely allowed to conduct themselves however they want — but this whole “I don’t have to show you any respect or treat you as a human” thing is just horrible.

The executive director of the documentary said this in an interview for Bundle Magazine and I think it applies to both genders:

“We live in a world where people wear very scant bikinis just to sell us burgers. And whether we like that or not, we are constantly surrounded by those images. We may be guarding our eyes, but we cannot escape them in culture. We might not be conscious of it, but when we pass a billboard, look at a magazine or turn on the TV, we are being primed to that kind of imagery. That commodifies a human being. It makes them an object. And as soon as we objectify someone, it’s a lot easier disrespect them. Or to not see them for the extraordinary creation that they are.”

— Sarah-Jane Murray

3. When it comes to anything in the bedroom — ask. Never assume. 

I can’t believe I have to say this but y’all would be downright SHOCKED at the number of conversations I’ve had with other women where guys will go to do something in the bedroom without any prior warning or consent and it turns out it’s something their partner isn’t into. In 2018.

ARGUABLY! THE! YEAR! OF! FUCKING! CONSENT!!!!

GO FIGURE SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO BE WARNED BEFORE ANAL SEX.

If you are scared to communicate or ask someone before you do something that doesn’t mean you get to just DO IT. If you don’t know someone well and you assume they are down to do something – that doesn’t mean you get to just DO IT.

This behaviour isn’t gendered by the way. I’m aware that trust, non-verbal communication and being under the influence all play a role in the quality of communications taking place.

People try to argue it isn’t sexy to stop and ask something in the heat of the moment but I really don’t know what’s sexier than safe and consensual intercourse with someone who respects you???

Honestly, Amber Rose said it best when she was on a talk show:

“If I’m laying down with a man — butt-naked — and his condom is on, and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this. I changed my mind,’ that means no. That means f-ing no. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on, when I say no, it means no.”

Amber Rose No GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. Always talk about testing even if it makes you uncomfortable.

Yeah sex is cool but some STIs and STDs can be undetectable friends. I was lucky enough to have a brother who volunteered at Nine Circles educating people about safe sex practices for a long time so I learned a lot — but mostly he told me that most sexually active adults really don’t have the right facts about this stuff.

If you can’t talk about testing you shouldn’t be having sex. Period.

Ask “when was the last time you were tested?” then go from there. It’s specific, direct and doesn’t pry into past partners.

5. Don’t shit talk your ex. 

No matter how it ended, it ain’t worth it. It reflects more poorly on you than it does your ex. Also, they don’t deserve that.

6. A smiling selfie is way cuter than a picture of your penis.

I know what you’re thinking: “Raegan, does that really need to be explicitly stated?”

YES. IT DOES. BECAUSE PEOPLE ACT LIKE BARN ANIMALS.

ALSO, INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT EGGED ON THE FUCKBOIS BY MAKING IT SO THAT YOU CAN SEND PHOTOS THAT DISAPPEAR FOREVER.

There are people who like dick pics. They exist, and you may have met one. But there are also many women who don’t.

7. Don’t string someone along just because you want attention. 

I’ve done this in the past — I’ll fully wear it. I’m no saint. But thinking about how my action made the other person feel snapped me out of it. Are we really so used to be stimulated that we can’t stand to go unacknowledged for one night? You can’t outrun that fear forever.

I get that it’s easy to avoid ever feeling lonely with dating apps, DMs and Snapchat BUT dating and messaging people shouldn’t be a hobby. If you are only texting someone every Friday night, shut your phone off and go to bed fam. They don’t deserve to be used like that, and you’ve gotta consider taking up a healthier hobby. Like knitting.

 

8. Do believe that you deserve love.

I can’t believe how much of my life I wasted believing I didn’t deserve love. How much I believed that I was just lucky someone wanted me. How much I would turn into a puddle of shitty self-esteem when someone even remotely cool, attractive or interesting would pay attention to me. How I would just assume how it was a matter of time before that person found out too much and RAN because apparently I was such a monster???

Imposter syndrome is a bitch.

Speaking from experience, don’t waste another minute thinking that. If you’re lucky enough to find love, know that it walked into your life because you deserve it. If you can find it in your heart to accept yourself, you’re gonna give off this bright shiny light that’s gonna pull in some winners. If you haven’t found someone, love yourself like your life depends on it (as Jen Sincero says at the end of every chapter of ‘You are a Badass’).

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Which one drives you?

A post shared by MARK GROVES (@createthelove) on

9. Life is too damn short to not have great sex because you are worrying about how you look.

When people self-objectify it can actually lead to sexual dysfunction…amongst other issues. Translation: the more you see yourself as a sex object, the less fun you tend to have during sex. Sad but true.

We’ve all felt lackluster about our self image at one time or another (or always, for some people), but it can sideline you from sex for a LONG time if you let it. That breaks my heart. But we gotta stop being so afraid of not looking perfect and embrace imperfect pleasure.

We don’t get much for free in this life other than orgasms and library books so make the most of both if you can.

Also:

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10. If you ghost someone, you deserve to run into them looking like a potato. The universe is gonna take their side on this one.

There’s a way to be polite, direct and kind. Find that way. Use it. Next time, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask how you want to be treated.

*Mutual ghosting is the ONLY exception to this rule.

11. Put your damn phone away when you are spending time with someone.

Nothing says modern romance on like sitting across the table from someone watching them text someone else who isn’t part of the present moment. Not face up on the table, not face down on the table, not in your pocket with vibrate on, not in sight…

A

W

A

Y.


Love people. Use things.

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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO MAKE FRIENDS AS AN ADULT?

Some nuggets of wisdom, some questions I’ve asked myself and things I’ve learned.

Three years ago I wrote an entire blog post on the topic of making friends in your 20s but deleted it before it ever saw the light of day. I was so concerned people would think I was the social-equivalent of a skunk, and that I would just repel even more people by sharing my struggle.

Side note: did you know that skunks live as solitary animals other than in the winter when they tolerate the company of other skunks for warmth??? I digress.

The point is, I know what it’s like to want to have more friends but not know how to build a girl gang. I recall very clearly a conversation I had with my two oldest friends Talula and Jocelyn before I started class at Red River College. I believe I was 20 at the time. The way I saw it, they both had multiple groups of friends they could float between for a good night out. I had them and that was about it. I was somewhat jealous, and I expressed my frustration.

Was I weird? No, they assured me. I was just an acquired taste. I’d make friends in college. Sure enough, I met a few people in college I still keep in touch with to this day (see photo above).

If you’ve ever been scrolling social media and wondered: “Am I the only person who doesn’t have a f*cking posse of people to party with every weekend?” You are not alone. 

I am now two full years out from post-secondary education and am FINALLY figuring out how to make new friends. Take it from someone who thought they had the social skills of an animal that shoots stink out of it’s ass, it’s possible.

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I thought I’d share some nuggets of wisdom, some questions I’ve asked myself and things I’ve learned about making friends.

What kind of barriers are you putting up?

Looking back now, I acknowledge there were certain things that kept me from making new friends at various points in my life.

  • I had next to no confidence, so I always sort of assumed people were just talking to me just to be nice. I questioned their motives which IS SO DUMB.
  • I had a bad habit of avoiding making new friends because I dated a lot (live and learn amiright?).
  • I purposely avoided sports and group type activities.
  • I was really and truly too brutally awkward for words because I second guessed myself so much when I was 18 and 19. I cringe when I think back to some of the stuff I used to say to people I liked and wanted to be friends with.

What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?

It has been said many times that we are the average of the five people we most associate with. Do you want those people to be responsible, kind, smart adults who are pursuing their passions? Or are you gonna hang on to those people who treat you poorly and wring you dry by encouraging all the behaviour you’re trying desperately to grow out of?

Make the choice, you are 100% in control of this. I’ll lean on my favourite quote here and say “participate in your own life!”

If you say you’re gonna do it, do it!

“Oh Becky, so nice seeing you, we should grab a drink sometime? Next week and this week are like super busy for me but maybe sometime before {insert whatever season it is} is over?”

Becky likely sees right through your wishy-washy bullshit. That kind of non-commital talk makes you look flaky, but for some reason I feel like…we all do it?

Why not just say – it was nice meeting/seeing you! *awkward pause* and be on your way. No need to pretend. Also, if you take their card or something and forget to email them then realize later – that’s on you. It’s never too late though….be sincere, apologize and give it a go. If they don’t reply, cut your losses and take the L. At least you tried.

Are you actually putting yourself out there?

REJECTION SUCKS. This is not a new concept.

However, if you actually want to make plans with someone, you can’t be afraid to follow up. If they don’t hit you back, no harm done, at least you tried! Don’t be put off just because someone is busy.

You’ll usually be able to tell if the person is making an effort to hang out, or if they are blowing you off because they never really expected you’d follow up in the first place and they are just trying to be nice. Insert upside down smiley face emoji here.

Are you actively trying to meet new people?

This is the part where you’ll need to talk to strangers and maybe make an ass of yourself a bit. Find comfort in the fact that at least you’ll be talking to strangers who like the same stuff you do. For example, I met so many awesome people I really enjoy seeing every week at the bootcamp I go to, which gave me the confidence to start two book clubs.

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On the professional development side, I make a point of using social media as a connecting point rather than as a way of catching up on what everyone from high school is up to. I’ve met some really awesome people (who you might see featured on this blog soon enough muahaha) by reaching out to them on Instagram, and asking them to grab a coffee — no shame in the game. I slide into the DMs in a non-creepy way, I swear.

I also am trying to go to more industry networking events (to meet other PR people), and joining things like the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Winnipeg program to meet other likeminded people. I’m very fortunate to have an employer who appreciates that I like doing professional development type stuff, and wants to support me. Never hurts to ask!


Oh by the way, I am still friends with Talula and Jocelyn. See Insta above.

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but if you’re already a person who has a tough time making friends, don’t stress about the number. Besides, come wedding time your wedding party will be smaller and save you some paper. Yaaaaaaas chocolate fountain here I come.

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