Tuesday, November 30, 2010

VENT SESSION #1: Top 10 most irritating things

Every now and then we want to allow our readers to just vent and let it all out.  Today we kick off Vent Session #1.  Ready... GO!

Top 10 Things That Irritate You The Most :

10.  Not getting paid on time. (soooo... I worked my @$$ off, and there's no money. Great.)

9.    Slow drivers who are driving in the fast lane.  (step on it or get out of the way!)

8.  Dumb/annoying co-workers. (don't talk to me or look at me)

7.  People who dont cover their mouth when they sneeze/cough.  (did you really just sneeze into my mouth?)

6.  Drunk people talking to you when you're sober.  (WTF, get away from me, I'm sober and you're not funny)

5.  People who can't admit they are wrong.  (even when they are blatantly wrong, they just cannot own up to it.  Annoying!)

4.  People who block the whole aisle while grocery shopping.  (see #9.  MOVE OVER!!!)

3.  People who don't shower/have poor hygiene in general.  (shower? deoderant? toothpaste & toothbrush? Anyone? Bueller?)

2.  People who think they are big shots... when they aren't.  (no comment)

1.  People who talk loud on their cell phone in public places.  (STFU - SERIOUSLY!!!)

My wife and mom don't get along... and now we have a baby on the way! How do I deal?

Question:  My wife and mother had a falling out last year.  I’ll spare you with the details, but for the past year, my wife has been avoiding all family functions that take place at my mother’s house.  She doesn’t speak to my mother let alone see her  - all of which is intentional.  My mother brushes it off as if she doesn’t care.  We are expecting our first child together and my wife is in her eighth month of pregnancy.  During this whole pregnancy, my mother has not seen my wife once.  Both of them are too stubborn and apologize to one another.  Our baby is due in January and I would really hate to bring our new baby into this world when there’s so much friction between my wife and my mother.  What should I do? (Seattle, WA)

Social Shrink:  Listen, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.  Your mother is your mother, and your wife has to accept that you will not choose sides in this case – it’s just wrong.  You are stuck between a rock and a hard place and while it’s not the best position to be in, there are ways you can approach this situation.  While your family doesn’t need to become the Brady Bunch, everyone can still learn to respect one another.

How can I spend Christmas with my future in-laws without upsetting my parents?

Lucas Allen
Question:  Every year I spend Christmas with my folks. Recently, me and my girlfriend got engaged and her parents live in Hawaii while mine live in New Jersey (where I live with my girlfriend). Though I've talked to my future in-laws on the phone and webcam, I never met them in person.

They invited me to spend Christmas with them this year, which I am very excited about doing! However, I know this will create tension among me and my dad. He doesn't have any family or friends in the area and he expects me to come over for Christmas with my girlfriend.  I can't seem to come up with the courage to let him know that I plan to go to Hawaii. Please help! (Ridgewood, NJ)

Social Shrink:  Hmm.. that's a toughie! Parents definitely want you to be home for the holidays, but it is very understandable that you should meet your future in-laws. Would it also be possible for him to come along? He might want to meet his future family as well, not to mention a chance to go to Hawaii!

Monday, November 29, 2010

My boyfriend offered to pay for my boob job... should I do it?

Please do not go to the extreme like Heidi Montag
Question:  I've been dating my boyfriend for about three years and one day I started joking about getting a boob job.  Ever since then, he's been bringing it up with me for weeks on end even though it all started off as a joke.  The other day, he sat me down and seriously offered to pay for me to get it done.  He even printed out a list of doctors in the area that he had researched on.  He's 100% serious and although it caught me off guard, I'm considering it since it is something I've thought about.  Should I do it?  Or will I regret it?  (Sacramento, CA)

Social Shrink:  I'm going to answer this truthfully as if you were my sister or good friend.  When I first got this question from you, my initial reaction was that your boyfriend doesn't love you for who you are.  The fact that he is offering for you to change your body shows that he is not satisfied with the real you.  Are you not offended that he doesn't think you are perfect the way you are?  A significant other should love you both inside and out for everything you are.  If they one day say something like, "Dress this way" or "Think this way," I would personally think it's a red flag that they are not the one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Relationships = meeting halfway

Question:  I've been in a 4 year relationship and my girlfriend is not willing to compromise for us to be together.  We both finished grad school and are working now - she's in DC, I'm in Toronto.  She complains to me everyday how she hates her job and is only working 3-4 days a week.  I am starting my own business in Toronto and told her to move up here with me so we can work together.  Instead, she says she loves her life in DC and doesn't want to move.  I even told her I would move to NYC to be closer to her and for her to move there because there is better opportunity and her family is there, but she is unwilling to compromise.  What should I do? (Toronto, Canada)

Social Shrink:  Long distance relationships are hard; not only are you dealing with the difficulties of a relationship but you are also dealing with the distance and not being able to see each other as easily.  That can cause a lot of stress on the relationship.  You sound like you are willing to make a sacrifices to be with her, and are a little more practical with your career.  She does sound a little immature and willing to have fun over her career.  All relationships are based on give and take/compromise. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Facebook stalk my ex-girlfriend... and can't stop!!!

Question:  Social Shrink - I broke up with my girlfriend three months ago.  Ever since then, we haven't talked or have even seen each other.  As a result, I compulsively Facebook stalk her so I know know what she's up to.  She still puts regular updates and photos all over her Facebook page and I always need who is posting on her wall.  If I see a guy has written something, I need to stalk him as well just to make sure she's not seeing him.  I'm realizing that this isn't helping me get over her and don't know what to do!  I can't de-friend her since it will be obvious, but every time I sign on Facebook I go right to her page.  What should I do?  (San Francisco, CA)

Social Shrink:  Congrats on admitting you Facebook stalk!  There are many of us out there that will never admit how much we stalk people on Facebook, but let's get real - everyone does it!

What is very obvious is that you still have feelings for your ex.  This is natural, especially if you both went out for awhile, and it will take some time for you to get over her.  It won't get any easier (or faster) if you keep stalking her and having her on your mind every second.  The time you're spending stalking her you could be out meeting new girls to potentially date.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How do I "break-up" with a toxic friend?

Question:  Dear Social Shrink: I am friends with this one girl who I believe to be toxic to me. I say "believe" because she hasn't done anything exactly to create a falling out between us. We have been friends for years but more recently, I feel like she's been using me. She asks me for rides just to get her from one place to another, expects me to pay for certain things, makes plans with me then cancels last minute which I later find out she went to hang out with other people. I already told her some of these things annoy me but she is in complete denial and comes up with excuses for why she did these things. I don't know what to do and tried hanging out with her less but I find myself continuing to end up in these situations. Help! How do I break up with a friend? (San Diego, CA)

Social Shrink:
Hi There,

Breaking up with someone in any kind of relationship is always hard. It's good that you already told her how you feel but make sure she understands that. Maybe she doesn't know what she is doing and that's why she is in denial. However, if you believe her to be doing these things maliciously then she is definitely a toxic friend. 

Beyond the sex: It was strictly sex - but now I want something serious!

Question:  I've been having sex with my friend for a few months now and we decided at first that it was going to be casual sex and nothing more.  Now I find myself developing feelings for her because I'm missing her when she's gone.  I'm enjoying the sex, so I don't want to risk the fact that she may be scared off by these feelings.  I don't want to ruin our friendship but I can't help these feelings that are beyond just the sex.  What should I do? (San Antonio, TX)

Social Shrink: RULE OF THUMB: "Friends with benefits" situations never really work out.  No matter what, when two people share such intimacy, barriers are crossed when it comes to sex.  Feelings are unavoidable.

My friend cheated on his girlfriend! Do I tell her or keep his secret?

Question:  I've been friends with this guy for years and he's been dating this girl who I've become friends with as well.  Recently, he told me that he cheated on her and that he doesn't want to ever tell her.  Since I have been friends with the guy longer, I feel like I should keep his secret.  But, I feel like I should tell his girlfriend because it's "girl code."  What should I do?  (Newark, NJ)

Social Shrink:  You can always write the girlfriend a letter just like Snooki and JWoww did on MTV's "Jersey Shore"... but that didn't turn out to well in the end!  It sounds like your guy friend has turned his relationship into a "bad romance" (queue Lady Gaga).  It's a tough situation to be in for you, since you're not sure what you should do with this information.

Holiday sales worth getting trampled on?

Question:  Every year I come home from college for Thanksgiving and my mom always drags me to go shopping on Black Friday while my sister gets to stay home.  It’s been a tradition since I could remember, however, I absolutely hate it!!!  I hate the crowds, I hate the vicious people that argue, I hate parking, I hate people shoving me, etc… How do I tell my mom that I don’t want to go without disappointing her? (St. Louis, MO)

Social Shrink:  I think what you just said absolutely describes Black Friday - it is pure chaos.  But, it doesn't seem like your mother will be upset that you don't like Black Friday, but rather that you don't want to spend the time with her.  If it's something you have done with your mother for years, she may consider it her "bonding time" with you.  It may hurt her to find out that you have never liked this time with your mother for all these years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My five year relationship is going nowhere. How do I end it?

Question:  How Do I tell my boyfriend of 5 years that I don't see a future with him anymore?  I feel he is very attached to me, and is smothering me all the time.  Over the year or so, I don’t feel like I am in love with him anymore. What do I do? (San Jose, CA)

Social Shrink: Now, that is a tough situation to be in.  It’s going to be hard on him regardless, but you have to be honest with him.  I would suggest that you do sit down with him and tell him how you have been feeling lately and the things that are bothering you.  Communication is always key.  If you want some time apart to figure things out for yourself, then tell him.  He has a right to know.

If you plan to break up with him, expect him to be upset, but this is something that you have to deal with, because it is also your happiness in the end.  I wouldn’t try to use anything like “let’s still be friends” because in reality, you guys have always been something more and you both will need your time apart.  Remember to be true to yourself!  But do it soon, the more you drag it out the more resentful he will be.  It's better to tell him now before it gets harder!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top ten songs abour your ex-boyfriend

Maybe he dumped you unexpectedly, maybe things just didn't work out, he may have cheated on you, or you may have been fed up with all the fighting - bump these top ten songs about your ex-boyfriend and sing along:

10. Heather Headley - I Wish I Wasn't In Love With you
Mariah Carey - Can't Live If Living Is Without You
Aaliyah - The One I Gave My Heart To
Janet Jackson - I Get Lonely
Alicia Keys - Sleeping Broken Heart
Allure - All Cried Out
Rihanna - Take a Bow
Toni Braxton - Un-Break My heart
2.   Mary J. Blige - Not Gon Cry

... And the number one song about your ex-boyfriend...

Top ten songs about your ex-girlfriend

Whether your ex-girlfriend dumped you, you dumped her, she cheated on you, you cheated on her - pop in these jams in your iTunes and listen to our top ten list of songs about your ex-girlfriend:

10. Eamon - F*ck It (Don't Want You Back)
9.   Uncle Sam - Don't Ever Wanna See You Again
8.   Timbaland - Apologize
7.   Tony Rich Project - Nobody Knows
6.   Usher - Burn
5.   R. Kelly - I Can't Sleep (If I)
4.   Fugees - No Woman, No Cry
3.   Boyz II Men - It's So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Yesterday)
2.   Nelly - Just A Dream

... And the number one song about your ex-girlfriend...

I have a passive-aggressive roommate. HELP!

Question:  My freshman year in college has been miserable so far all because of my passive-aggressive roommate.  He never tells me anything to my face if he's upset and will instead show his frustration by slamming the door, turning on the light while I'm sleeping, talking on the phone loud, or just giving me the cold shoulder.  Recently, he's been resorting to post-it notes around our room telling me what I'm doing wrong.  I'm going crazy! I don't want to have to move out, but I'm at my wits end and it's only the first semester.  HELP!!! (Cambridge, MA)

Social Shrink:  Yikes.  Your roommate definitely has some issues, number one being that he must be afraid of confrontation.  Instead of telling you to your face what he's upset about, he's channeling it in unproductive ways that will only make the situation worse.  You need to understand that everyone is different when it comes to conflict, and if he legitimately is upset about something but isn't able to tell you upfront, it may be necessary for you to step up and be the person to bring it up.  It may be the initial thought of bringing anything up that makes your roommate avoid it and find other ways to show he's annoyed.  It's obviously not very effective and definitely immature, but you got to be the bigger person.
Offer to have dinner at the dining hall one night with just your roommate and casually bring up the fact that you notice when he does little things like slam the door or turn the light on when you're sleeping.  Ask him if he realizes he's doing it and if he's mad at you for something you've done.  By opening the forum and giving him the opportunity to bring any issues up in the open, you are forcing him to stop being passive-aggressive and communicate what is bothering him.  You may need to push him gently to just say what's bothering him (he obviously has some communication issues), but you'll be helping him in the long run.  Let him know that he should feel comfortable letting you know how he feels and that you will do your best to not upset him.  Living with roommates is all about compromise and communication and doing this early on will prevent any tension from escalating.  It will also beat you having to sleep with one eye open!

Monday, November 22, 2010

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

Question:  There is so much pressure at my high school to be skinny and fit.  In the locker room, it is so obvious when other girls are pointing at the "fat girl."  I don't think I'm overweight, but I'm not necessarily ultra skinny.  I would say that I'm healthy.  BUT I do feel this pressure to lose weight so I can fit in with the "cool crowd."  I would say I could lose about 15 pounds and then I would be satisfied... What's the best way to lose weight? (Dallas, TX)

If "Mean Girls" is any indication, these girls will end up being hit by buses.
Social Shrink:  This is a common question among women and young girls and we're glad you brought it up.  You're under the same pressure many women in the US are faced with to measure up to a certain societal or cultural idea of what is an appropriate size.   

The reality is that a healthy body does not mean being skinny.  On the contrary, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. If you are feel discontent about your body not because you are overweight, but because you want to "fit in," then you have a negative perception of your body image that needs to quickly change.  Being unhappy about your body can cause unhealthy dieting habits, low self-esteem, emotional distress/anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.  What we urge you to do is to develop a positive body image so that it leads to a healthy attitude and self-perception for your overall well-being.

We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Changing your body image to fulfill a so-called "norm" or cultural definition of beauty is not only a unhealthy, but will never be achieved.  Nobody looks exactly like the other and despite what the media or society or our culture may say, we do not live in a cookie-cutter world.  Embrace what God has given you, love who see in the mirror everyday, and show everyone how beautiful you are inside and out.  There is no reason at all to lose weight to fit in.  In the end, people will see how happy you are inside and out, and they will want to be friends with you.

Check out these for more info:

"When they push you down you gotta get back up"

Question:  I play on my high school's varsity football team and was recently caught drinking underage at my friend's house party.  I ended up getting a DUI and charged for improper driving and underage possession of alcohol.  I got booted from the team  and now my shots of getting a scholarship to a Division I college are blown.  My parents are disappointed in me, everyone at school is talking about me and I always feel like everyone is staring and pointing at me in the hallway.  I feel like a screw-up and don't even want to go to school anymore.  Is it okay if I ask my parents to transfer schools?  What should I do?  (Boston, MA)

Social Shrink:  Unfortunately the road to redemption doesn't have a GPS, but that doesn't mean you won't get there.  You made the mistake of drinking alcohol underage and now you're paying the consequences.  Everything that you're going through is necessary for you to learn your lesson, brush yourself off, and move forward. As TI and Chris Brown say - "Push the dirt off your jersey than go for the cup/ Or the trophy or the ring, champion no matter what":

Listen, it's not the end of your life and it's your opportunity to show everyone how you can rise above this and change for the better.  If rejoining your school's football team is no longer an option, look into alternate activities where you can still be involved.  Maybe that means volunteering at a local Students Against Drunk Driving.  This is your time to show your parents, teammates and classmates that you're not going to let this bring you down.  You'll also be showing colleges that you're a lot more resilient than what they may expect.

I'm a recent college grad living at home... and caught my parents snooping!

Question:  Social Shrink - I recently graduated from college and moved back home with my parents.  I'm trying to save some money before moving out on my own and my parents agreed it was a good idea.  The other day I came home from work and caught my mom snooping through my desk drawers!  On top of that, a few days before my dad "accidentally" opened my mail.  I'm going crazy... I can't afford to move out on my own but I can't take this anymore!!! (Chicago, IL)

Social Shrink:  The New York Times had a recent article who quoted someone who is in a similar situation as you:
  • “Living at home absolutely crimps my social life,” she said. “You’re still living under your parents’ rules. I refer to it as being stuck in an extended adolescence, one that never seems to end.” (“Facing a Financial Pinch, and Moving In With Mom and Dad," 3/21/10)

This seems to sum it up right there.  That is the trade-off you get for moving back under your parents roof.  While you do get to save money and get free meals, you shouldn't feel like you can do whatever you want just because you got yourself a degree and are no longer a teenager.  Bottom line is that when you're living with your parents, you need to abide by their rules.

That doesn't give them a legit reason to open your mail or go through your stuff.  The best advice would be to be as open with them as possible and let them know how you feel about them snooping.  You may not be sharing what's going on in your life enough so it's making them try to figure out what's going on with you with these "creative" ways.  Get rid of the mystery and start talking with them more: tell them how your job is going, how your friends are, etc.  The more you tell them up front, the less they will need to find out how you're doing behind your back. 

As a side note - if you don't have anything to hide then you shouldn't be worried about them snooping.  If you do have something to hide, maybe it's best you get rid of anything you don't want them to find until you get your own place!  That's motivation for you to move out!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Can your best friend date your ex?

Question:  I have a close friend that told me the other day that her and my ex have feelings for each other. I dated this guy for almost a year and we decided things weren't working out between us. A couple of months ago, we decided it would be better to be just friends. We always hang out with the same circle of friends, including this one friend who has been wanting him ever since I've been going out with him. 

I couldn't believe she told me this! I told her that's it's not okay with me because I'm going to have to see them together when we all hang out together. She said she doesn't want this to change anything between us but I feel like they are still going to pursue their relationship and it's definitely going to change things between us! Help me! (Alameda, CA)

Social Shrink:  For starters, good for you for telling your friend straight-up that you were not okay with them being together.  The fact that you didn't beat around the bush and was honest with her is a great starting point.  You're right, however, that it will ultimately be up to your friend and your ex on whether or not they want to pursue their relationship given how you feel about it.  Ironic that out of all the fish in the sea, your friend has to choose your ex...

In general, our rule of thumb is that exes are hands off - it's about being loyal to your friend since significant others come and go all the time.  Your friend may be caught up in her feelings for your ex and not thinking big picture.  Did you communicate your same feelings to your ex?  If not, it might be a good idea to sit both of them down and tell them at the same time.  If that's not an option, you are going to have to put faith in your friend to choose who is more important to her.

If she values friendships she should back off and maintain her integrity.  If she does decide to pursue your ex despite your wishes, this will show you the type of friend she is.  In the end, you will be better off knowing her true colors and when things fizzle between her and your ex, she'll be left with no one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Now I'm not saying she's a gold digger..."

Question:  I've been dating my boyfriend for 4 yrs and he finally proposed last month. We've always talked about the type and style of the ring, and he's always mentioned getting a smaller diamond.  I drilled in his head that I wanted a bigger diamond, so he knows that I really wanted a bigger ring.  Now that he's proposed, I've been wearing it for a month and I don't really like it.  What should i do?  I am embarrassed to wear such a small ring!!! (Atherton, CA)

Social Shrink:  Is this question a joke?  All I can see right now are the RED FLAGS meaning... GOLD DIGGER!!!!  Queue Kanye West por favor:

Okay... so, CONGRATS on your engagement.  We are so happy that you two are tying the knot.  But seriously, WTF?!?!  How can you complain about the ring size?!  Aren't you happy enough that you will be marrying "the love of your life"? It shouldn't matter if he proposed with a ring pop, the size of the ring should not be representative of how much he loves you!  Suck it up and realize that the ring does not mean anything.  And seriously, think about if you're a gold digger.  If you you are you, your future hubby better rethink his proposal!!!


It's the holidays - pop in Kanye West's new workout plan!

Question: I've been on a diet for the past 6 months and I've been doing so great!  I eat healthy and have been working out consistently.  Now that the holiday season is coming up, how do I balance my diet and still enjoy all the great food? (Miami, FL)

Social Shrink: 6 months! CONGRATS! Keep up the good work!  Continue what you are doing even as the holiday season approaches - having a balance is always a good thing.  You can always minimize the portions so you can still enjoy the great food without being gluttonous.  Make sure to balance the holiday parties/dinners with consistent work outs at the gym.  I mean, you obviously have shown discipline for the past 6 months, so stick to your work out plan!  Play some Kanye for more inspiration:
It's also also easier to maintain that diet if you have someone to do it with - then you guys can motivate each other!  Regardless, enjoy the holidays and keep up the great work you've made so far.  And remember, it is okay to cheat just a little bit :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wedding bell blues: I wasn't asked to be a part of the wedding party

Question:  I am close friends with a couple and they recently got engaged.  We spend every weekend together and I always thought that if they ever planned to get married, they would ask me to be a part of their bridal party.  During this past few weeks, however, they have asked their OTHER friends to be a part of their bridal party - either as groomsmen or bridesmaids.  I was completely snubbed! I'm hurt because I was not asked to be a part of their bridal party.  Since I was completely ignored, I don't even want to go their wedding at this point.  Do I have a right to feel this way?  Will I be a bad friend if I skipped out on the nuptials? (Phoenix, AZ)

What if you were in Brad and Jenn's wedding party? [Source]
Social Shrink:  This is a sensitive subject - if every couple could include every person they care about in their wedding party, situations like this wouldn't exist.  If you truly are close friends with the couple and would love to be a part of their wedding party, that shows how much this couple means to you.  

On the flip side, while you may very well be extremely important to the couple, they may have other obligations for others to be in their bridal party (i.e. brothers, sisters, cousins, etc.).  It may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that they didn't ask you to be a part of their wedding party, but they very well may feel uncomfortable that they can't include you as well.  It's important to understand that during a big event such as a wedding, it's impossible to accommodate all important people that will be in the wedding.  The reality is that in the end, it's whatever makes the engaged couple the happiest with the least amount of stress.

In the long run, you should be happy for the couple and their pending nuptials and go to their wedding with no negative feelings.  After all, they are still your good friends whether or not you're in their wedding party or not.  Go out, have fun and celebrate with your good friends.  For all you know, your future spouse may be present at the wedding - and our prediction is that if that's the case, this whole scenario will be completely forgotten.

What do others think?  Have you been in a situation similar to this?
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Lending a friend money in good faith... yay or nay?

Question:  Five years ago, me and a group of friends were planning a vacation to celebrate graduating from school.  I loaned one of my friends $1,000 in good faith.  If I hadn't, he wouldn't have been able to join us.  Since it was in good faith, I didn't explicitly say when he needed to pay me back and before I knew it, five years has passed.  Recently, I've gotten into a financial bind and I could really use the money.  Can I nudge my friend to pay me back now?  (Los Angeles, CA)

Social Shrink:  What a good friend you are for fronting the money so your friend could join the group vacation!  You must have had enough extra change in your pocket to loan $1,000 for your friend, so the timing of when he was to pay you back must have not been that important at the time.

Your mistake was that you never explicitly communicated your expectations on when you wanted to be paid back.  For all your friend knows, he doesn't have to pay you back until 2020.  On top of that, you waited five years to ask him about the loan only because you need that money now?

We understand money is tight for a lot of people nowadays.  But you also need to consider your scenario - for all you know, your friend could be in a financial bind as well and can't pay you back the loan under the tight timeline you suddenly request.

Here's our $.02 cents:  inform your friend of your recent financial situation.  See where he is at and be flexible.  Have in your mind that he may say he's financially strapped as well before talking to him so you're not surprised.  If both of you are in a bind, let him know that you do expect to be paid back as soon as he can manage it.  Or, if he does have some extra cash available, offer for him to pay you back in installments that are reasonable to his budget.  That way, your friend doesn't have to fork over $1k right away, and you're still getting paid back slowly but surely.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Which matters more: age differences or liars?

Question:  I was out with my girlfriends a couple months ago at a local bar which was hosting an industry night for young professionals. I was approached by a good looking guy.  We had great chemistry and conversation, and we exchanged #s at the end of the night.  We went out on a few dates and I've been having a great time with him.  He recently celebrated his birthday and one of friends informed me that he isn't as old as he told me the first night.  I do still like him, however he is significantly younger than me.  What should i do? (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Dear Ms. Cougar - It sounds like it is still the start of the relationship and you guys are getting to know each other.  If you see a lot of potential, then I think you should see how it pans out.  You mention you have gone on a few dates, so it must be going well so far. In terms of the age difference, nothing like robbing the cradle!  As Aaliyah (RIP) famously said, "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number"!
BUT - before you let out your cougar claws and reel the young cub in, the issue doesn't seem to be age, but trust.  He already lied off the bat to you about his age rather than being upfront about it in the beginning.  This could pose a problem as he could potentially lie about other things down the line.  Is this something you'd be willing to deal with?  Age ain't nothing but a number... but we're also assuming you won't "Love the Way He Lies" (a la Rihanna) down the line either.


Laid off friend = no-show for my birthday party.

QuestionMy friend recently got laid off.  She knew it was coming for about a month, but was still pretty upset the day it happened.  It turns out that same weekend was my 25th birthday - I had planned a big birthday bash with my closest friends in the city.  My laid off friend was really involved in the planning and was so excited.  Now that she got laid off, however, she tells me she doesn't want to come because she "doesn't want to spend money."  I'm really upset about this... do I have the right to be? (Palo Alto, CA)

Social Shrink: That's a tough one.  There are two ways to look at this: (1) If your other friends (and maybe even yourself) could find a way to pitch in money so that she didn't have to spend any the night of your party, it would show that her presence and sharing the occasion with you is what is truly important. When you look back on the event no one is going to remember if she spent all this money on you; you are going to look back on what happened and the memories created.  If I was your friend, even though getting laid off may have put a damper on my"partying" mood, I would still try and find a way to be there for your celebration.

(2) The other way of looking at it is that getting laid off sucks and you should be sympathetic.  You'll have a birthday the next year and the year after, so if she is a good friend, she'll make it up to you then.  Perhaps you could offer to get together one-on-one with just you and friend after the blow of getting laid off subsides.  Maybe the following week would allow some time for your friend to get used to the news. 

Whichever way you want to look at it, you should still make sure to have fun on your birthday - even if your friend isn't there.

What are your thoughts?


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