Saturday, November 27, 2010

7 Things Women Should Know About Men

I write alot of blogs for both men and women but I want to address the women in this one. As a little girl, you weren't really told that much about the inner workings of men (I know I wasn't). I saw men as these "other" people that lived by a different code than women. That we'd never understand each other but you would have to find a way to coexist. But as I've grown older, had male friends, had relationships, I realized men aren't all that hard to figure out. So these are just some points to take into consideration ladies as we interact with our opposite sex...

1) Its Hard Being A Man:
There is a lot of media attention about how hard it is to be us ladies but honestly, its hard to be either sex these days. Men have pressures just like we do. Because they have been presented as the dominant sex, it is sometimes easy to forget that your way in the world is not made just because you are a man. In some aspects, the world is far less kind to men. For example, single men can't get government assistance if their life depended on it. You're far less likely to help out a homeless man than a homeless woman. Men go through stress strain self doubt and issues as we do. If you understand that, its easier to relate. If you realize your man is in a bad mood or is off in his own world, this is not the time to compare the severity of your days. Give him a hug, tell him you understand. Men are not indestructible so be the welder and not the wrecking ball.
2) Settling Down Really Can Be That Scary For Them:
They're not lying. Especially when a man is having insecurities on his ability to provide financially and emotionally for another person, the last thing they want to do is commit. It is a scary thought that you will have to support you, a wife, and kids. If you don't go to work, nobody eats. So don't pressure relationships. Men have a way of coming around but take heed to his words. Most men's logic makes sense. If he is not feeling secure, he probably will not make a good mate right now anyway.
3) Men Have Feelings Too:
Women I'm sure you know this from having male friends, men are sensitive. In our society, sensitivity is a weakness so they probably won't burst into tears over dinner. But know that you CAN hurt his feelings. And considering men are rarely taught how to deal with emotions such as heartbreak and disappointment in a healthy manner, you may see a side of him you would never want to see. It is part of your job in a relationship to protect your partners feelings but I see so many women ripping into their man and when he says something back, they go cry. Why do you assume your arrows don't penetrate when his did? Find a way to communicate with your partner. It doesn't have to be normal talk sessions, whatever works for you guys. But the longer you stay with your partner, the more you'll get a gage for what insults penetrate. Warning: This is not an advantage to bring up in an argument. Refrain from ever hitting low blows. Men are much more inclined to leave when their feelings are hurt than women. If you hit that blow, you may never have a chance to fix it. So protect him and he'll protect you. The more you're kind to him, the more likely he'll be inclined to never hurt you.
4) A Man Needs His Masculinity
This goes with the point above. Not only have I seen women say hurtful things but emasculating things. Never attack a man's ability to provide, his strength, his essence of masculinity if you want that man. I can guarantee you your relationship will be short lived. Men have the proclivity to want to be perceived as kings. But women get this confused: its not a dominance thing, its a respect thing. They want to know they are cherished and respected. Be discrete about disagreements. Keep your relationship in house. Men perceive a loss of respect of their peers when they see him not getting respect from his own lady. A man with a wounded ego is like a dog with a broken leg; they may be the sweetest but when they are wounded, they bite. Because of the rise of women in successful arenas, we sometimes forget that its not a competition between you and your man. It does not make you weak to cook him dinner, rub his back, and say to him: "I'm so blessed you are in my life. I love you" Not only does a little pampering of your man promote peace but it stops him from wanting to leave the house for attention, helping you with those other contenders we just talked about ;).
5) Men Are The Strong Helpless Type:
They don't need you but they need you. As confusing as that is, it is true. Hence why men are so obsessed with the "ride or die" chick image. They need to know you're not going anywhere so they can rely on you with a sound mind. Although ride or die is not particularly healthy (that's another blog spot :) The concept I will agree with is stability. Its hard to knock a woman who is always the same and never waivers. As women we sometimes have a tendency to let our emotions build and then explode. You ever heard your man tell you that you're crazy when you do that or sit there perplexed wondering why you're not the same as he left you. The reason men don't respond favorably to outbursts is that they begin to doubt your stability. He begins to question: "Who am I gonna come home to today?" Now true, men like the exciting, wild, unpredictable women but they rarely are with them long term. Men like peace at their house. This one is the hardest for me because I'm a natural talker. When I feel a certain way, I want to stop everything and talk about it until my little heart is content. But try not to bombard the man at the door. Instead, relax, give him a kiss, and talk it over calmly later on in the night. He's more likely to listen and you keep the stable vibe. You want your man to want to come home, to be around you, and to feel like he can count on you being around and being consistent.
6) Men Like Women:
That's why he got you in the first place. That doesn't change simply because one is in a relationship. You cannot take every women off the planet to protect your man so instead of screaming when he looks at Nia Long in Friday or taking away the man's porn collection (yeah I said it), understand that he is not on the verge of cheating. A good man is not one who sees no woman but you, a good man is a man who chooses you REGARDLESS of the other women he sees. Be confident in yourself. When you go out, compliment the waitress on her hair enjoy your dinner then take your man home. He got you for a reason, she's not sitting in your position.
7) There are Differences Between Us but Our Cores Are the Same
We're all actually quite simple when you break it down. Don't do anything to a man you wouldn't want done to you. We're the same in wanting love, respect, peace, honesty, and companionship.

I can't and won't say I know everything there is to know about men. I'm learning with you guys! But I will say this:men aren't too hard to figure out but you have to know the basics. I hear women say "submitting, taking of a mans feelings is so hard." Trust me its not hard for the right man. If you don't believe your man deserves these considerations, you may want to ask yourself what kind of man you have and why you're still there with him. Relationships whether romantic, friendship, familial, etc. take compromise. But you can't compromise effectively unless you know what the other person wants.

Hope This Helps,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The OTHER people in your relationship. Part III: The Contenders

In relationships, we want to reign supreme. We want our presence to be the only one felt by our partner. But there is and always will be a lot of temptation out there. There are two types of temptation however: dormant and aggressive. Dormant temptation is just good looking individuals that happen to be around your mate. They don't necessarily want them or are doing anything to get them. This type of temptation there is really no relief from. Just as your partner has to come to the conclusion that good looking people exist around you, you have to do the same with them. However, aggressive temptation is what we are focusing on today. The men and women that are actively trying to initiate a response from your significant other. We'll call these people, the contenders. But instead of feeling discouraged or pressured by the presence of other men or women, you can train yourself on how to deal with these individuals who seek to steal your mate from you.

1) Don't Engage the Enemy: Women, this is for us especially. I know the women around your mate can infuriate you with their blatant acts. In today's society more than ever some women feel that relationships are just survival of the fittest. If they get your man from you, that is just how the game is played. There is less and less moral contempt for the "home wrecker". However, do not engage in a game of tit for tat with this other woman. This is not a good idea for several reasons:
One: She is probably better at it than you. Yeah if she is doing something like actively trying to steal someone's mate, this probably is not her first time at the rodeo.
Two: It ruins your character. Be above the trickery. Your have the world's respect at this point. You have done nothing wrong. You are the innocent party. Keep it that way.
Ok Ashley so I can't key her car ;)...What can you do you ask?
One: Have a civil conversation with her:
If you MUST talk to her. If you simply cannot hold your peace, invite her out to a public setting where neither of you can let the situation escalate and set down your expectations. Some women will back down in the face of a confident woman making demands. But do not let her bate you. Say your peace and leave. After she has been told, she can no longer claim she did not know and that is all you want from her. You cannot control another woman but you can...
Two: Handle your mate.
From this point on every interaction you should have should be with your mate. The other individual should no longer affect you, you have said your peace. If the relationship does not work out, it is now in the hands of your significant other. Grown people have a responsibility to not be swayed. If you are grown you make grown decisions. So with that being said, here are ways to keep your mate's attention and loyalty towards you while still smelling like a rose :)

2) Be Confident:
Confidence hides many a flaw. You are the individual in the relationship. Your significant other cares for you so act like it. Confidence shines from the inside out and makes you ten times more attractive than you would be without it. Insecure people tend to be less attractive. So in the face of contenders, smile, put on your best outfit and never let them see you sweat. Trust and confidence go hand in hand. And your partner will appreciate your lack of concern and insecurity. After all, "to be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." - George MacDonald. Your mate will take notice and love you the more for your ability to always believe in your own worthiness.

3) Set Guide Rules and Expectations:

This should actually be done before the emergence of these other people. Early int he relationship, ground rules should be set on how the two of you as individuals feel about different relationship events that could happen. This isn't always the most pleasant conversation so I usually make it into a game. Everyone around me knows that I like the game Scenarios. Its a game where you both sit down over food or coffee and just ask each other scenarios and tell each other truthfully how you would handle them. You can touch upon questions about infidelity, money, sex, love, careers, anything. Mix it up. Don't make it about one subject. And since its a back and forth game, it does not feel like an inquisition. For this situation some good scenarios are:
-"What if we were in the mall and a guy/girl I knew came up and was acting really flirty with me in your presence, what would you do?"
-"What if you had a coworker that was interested in you and came onto you every day and I had no idea about them. What would you do?"
As each question is answered, foster an environment where you can talk about why you feel the way you feel. That way these are all things you have talked about and know what the other person expects from you.

4) Don't Set Up Impossible Situations and Expectations
This goes hand in hand with the expectations you set. Be realistic. Don't set your partner up in situations that are lose-lose.On one hand just no there is no way for your partner to avoid everyone that thinks they are attractive. On the opposite end, don't sign your partner up for a retreat where the coworker that likes them will share a cabin with them either. Being too jealous or too condoning just sets up an atmosphere of a confused relationship. And in a confused relationship, the wrong things gets done alll the time. One example is the phone checking. I hear people say all the time that they check their mate's phone but don't like their mate to check theirs. That's ludicrous. Ask yourself if you were in the situation your partner is would you be comfortable with the rule you set... That's a good way to gage.

5) Remind Them Why They Chose You
If you are feeling threatened... instead of focusing on the relationship between them and mystery person, focus on your own relationship. Bring back the spark. Be romantic. Show them the times they loved to spend with you. Be genuine and loving. Cook them a meal or put on those extra high heels or dapper suit. Try something you guys have been meaning to try. Plan a vacation or a quiet evening home and reaffirm why you two are together. Its good for both of you to see that you made a good choice in staying together.

6) Enjoy Yourself
Too much of life is spent worrying about things we have little control over. At the end of the day (I know it hurts), if they want to cheat on you, they probably will. And if they don't, they will not. So stop worrying over something that has not even and may not even happen. Enjoy your time spent with your significant other. Don't punish your relationship because of fear. Create an environment where you love to be and others will love to be there also.

Hope This Helps,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The OTHER people in your relationship. Part II: The Inner Circle

Let's face it. It would be really nice to eliminate the world's expectations for your relationship. How nice would it be to just pick each other and ride off into the sunset simple as that. Well, if you're going about your relationship like that you are bound for some uncomfortable surprises as your significant other meets the other people of your life and you meet the other people who are in their lives.

These other people can be in the form of various people and all should be treated differently. I will give you a guide on how to specifically manage and interpret each one of these individual categories... Let's focus on the second intruder: The Inner Circle.

Having an inner circle of blood relatives and close friends is a necessity for a healthy life. Friends enrich you as well as keep you grounded. Family reminds you of who you are. True friends are hard to find and are worth holding onto. Good family structure is to be cherished and upheld. But family and friends are still human. They lead completely separate lives than you do. Sometimes even their best attempts and advice can wreak havoc in your life.

#1: Keep the Details to Yourself

This is a warning. You should never tell anyone every single detail of your relationship. One, it is just disrespectful to your partner to converse with others about their personal business. Two, in anger we tend to vent but the people we vent to dont forget just because we forget. Anything you say will be held against your partner. If you don't want that to happen, don't tell them. Your family and friends love you. They never want to see you hurt,so it is engrained in them to dislike people that hurt you. So unless you like awkward dinners and parties, keep the inner working of your disagreements to yourself. Now if you truly feel the relationship is over then its healthy to tell people, do you have to be certain there is no chances for reconcilliation.

#2: Discern What Advice To Keep and What Advice to Discard
Good friends and family usually come with good advice. Even if the advice is good, if you are not ready to take it, DO NOT TAKE IT. Sometimes in life we have to do things at our own place. If you feel like your relationship is in a bad place but you just are not ready to let it go, use your own timeline. You do not want to end up resenting a friend that was just trying to help just because you rushed into something you were not willing to do. Family is an even harder one to sort out. Remember that your family members love you but they are also bonded to you for life so they will not hold their tongues in telling their opinions. I mean, what are you going to do? Leave them? probably not. So everything they tell you, you have to expect them to have a little more bite with their talks. But try to take away from it the underlying message.

Ways to Know Good Advice From Bad Advice
-Know the People Around You: If you really think about it, you already know who has your best interests at heart. Be more ready to hear their advice than self serving others.Though their love for you does not necessarily make them right, they usually have something to say that you need to hear
- Hurting People Hurt People:
Recognize the state in which the advice was given. When people are in a depressed state, their advice is usually depressing. It is not so much the state of life of the person but the state of emotion. Alot of people get this confused. Your single friends can give great advice. Your involved friends can give awful advice. Don't look so much at whether or not they are in a relationship but rather if they are happy and confident in general. Happy confident people give the best advice (This is not to be confused with pseudo confidence and putting on a show however). Usually if you think about it hard enough you know which ones of your friends enjoy their lives and live it to the best of their ability and those friends should be your advice sources.
- Everybody Is Not Wrong: Repetition is your friend. We all have blinders on when it comes to our mates. It serves you well to know this. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. Everyone is not going to like your significant other nor are they required to, but when NO ONE close to you likes your relationship, there usually is a reason. Most relationships are not worth losing everyone around you.

#3: Be Your Own Person:
If you like someone and they are good to you, they deserve the respect of having a fighting chance in a relationship with you. And you deserve to see it through. I have seen countless relationships ruined because a friend or family member didn't like the individual because of something that is more congruent with their own standards. They do not have to date them...You do.

Lastly, if you are having a problem between your friends and family and your significant other and it is not caused by their treatment of you, there are ways to mend these relationships...
1. Respect your partner: If you respect them, other people will. The opposite is also true. Let the ones around you know that you will stand firm beside them as long as they are with you. The people around you will respond to this united front by at least being more tolerant of your mate for fear of your disregard.
2. Create situations for fun gatherings: Let the people around you see how much fun your mate can be. Let them interact with them not as your boyfriend/girlfriend but as a member of the group. This eases tensions and provides chances for individual relationships to form (This is especially imperative in Mom/girlfriend and Dad/boyfriend bonding).
3. Be happy: Honestly, the people around you love you. If you are happy, that will shine through. And the reason for your happiness will also become clear as well.

Hope This Helps,

The OTHER people in your relationship Part 1:The Friendly Temptation

Let's face it. It would be really nice to eliminate the world's expectations for your relationship. How nice would it be to just pick each other and ride off into the sunset simple as that. Well, if you're going about your relationship like that you are bound for some uncomfortable surprises as your significant other meets the other people of your life and you meet the other people who are or WANT TO BE in their lives.

These other people can be in the form of various people and all should be treated differently. I will give you a guide on how to specifically manage and interpret each one of these individual categories. But it will take me a while so bear with me. Right now we will focus on the first intruder: The Friendly Temptation.

We live in a see and get it world. Everything is at our grasps. As things become more available we become more spoiled and less grateful for things that we have, similar to the antics of a trust fund baby. Along with this comes everyone being a call, text, email, etc. away. See back before instant communications, someone would have to think before going outside your relationship. But in the haze and discomfort after an argument with a significant other, our altered states of mind do not mix with the temptation so close at our fingertips. Before you know it, "Are you up?" has been texted and the door is open. Sadly, most people don't cheat with a stranger, its usually a male or female just close enough to get in there.

So let's talk about the Friendly Temptation. This is someone who presents themselves in a non threatening friendly manner in your life. This person may even KNOW you are in a relationship but deep down, they would much rather be with you themselves. This is dangerous because the intentions of the other person may not be for the sustainment of your current relationship. You can find yourself in positions where you have undue influence from an outside force on your situation.

Ways to Spot Dissention In the Ranks
These are Ways to Spot if you are dealing with a friend or a friendly temptation:
1) The person always has a negative reaction to the mention of your significant other. Its ok to have a friend not particularly care for your mate but if they have too much emotion about it, they may have hidden feelings for you that will surface later.
2) When you are fighting with your mate, the person urges you to them and away from your significant other. "Awww you two are fighting, come to my house, spend the day with me." and this happens for a period of time. There is never any mention of how you could possibly work it out with your partner.
3) They are "out of line" on occasion. You often find them a little too close to you. They are very hands on. They talk about sex or sexual things too often for comfort.
4) You have a past with them. Very few people can conquer sleeping with you and getting past it enough to be a true friend. Not saying it can't be done but more likely than not, there are still some feelings there, sexual, emotional, or otherwise.
But there are some ways to combat these temptations in your life so that you won't lose the most important person in your life.

1) Engage in a think before you act lifestyle
This is just a way to live. Make sure that before you even put yourself into situations that could prove complicated, you just take a second and review your options. Most mistakes are only made in the heat of the moment. Once the moment is over, the "correct" decision always seems so clear. Thinking beforehand eliminates that heat. So after a fight, just stop and think: "What should I do now?" Go somewhere and take a moment. What you should do will reveal itself.

2)Know Who's Who
It always seems like a good idea in theory to have male and female friends and remain cordial with exes while in a relationship but few people have these relationships in a healthy space. Let's be honest, you know who wouldn't mind getting with you and those crushes may seem innocent but ask yourself, would you want someone with these feelings this close to your significant other? If the answer is no, you may want to distance yourself slightly. Your real friends will respect your relationship space. Any opposite sex people in your life should always a) know about your relationship and b) respect your relationship. People that are not respecting your relationship are not respecting you. Don't get suckered into the late night comfort sessions that so easily get people into trouble. Taking advantage of a weakness in your relationship to get with you is a character trait that probably doesn't make them a good friend candidate anyway. Know the people around you's true intentions. This is not to say that you cannot have ANY opposite sex friends but it is a tightrope act best left for your most dedicated and truest friends. You don't want to end up ruining your relationship because someone in your life set it up to be ruined.

3)Set the Boundaries
Now that your opposite sex friends know about your relationship, you need to set boundaries about your new situation. It may be a little awkward to talk about things of this nature with your friend but it makes for less confusion down the line. There needs to be a certain list of actions that are off limits like calling after a specific time or using certain language or words (honey sweetie baby etc.). Basically make them understand that though you value their friendship, your relationship is a high priority in your life and you are committed to making it work. Trust me, your real friends will have no problem making these adjustments for you. There's never any love lost between me and my male friends simply because they have found love. But then again, I don't secretly want them either.

4) Open Communication & Set Emergency Plans
Open Communication is the key to a great relationship point blank. If you are in bed with an individual, you should be able to tell them anything, right? But most people rarely talk in their relationships. Be real with one another. Make it common knowledge that anything the other person has to say will be welcomed and contemplated on your end. This will facilitate patching things after arguments. When those conflict arise, you will be more likely to find each other and talk it out. Another good way to keep communication lines open is to figure out what I like to call Emergency Plans. Emergency plans are those plans you get together early in the relationship. Don't be afraid to ask them "Well what if we do fight, how do you want us to handle it?" Then you will know not only HOW they act when they are angry but the best ways to combat that from the horse's mouth. Having rules in place like "Don't go to bed mad, if something is on your mind, talk to me" are excellent in fostering a communication friendly atmosphere. Like is always said, closed mouths don't get fed and in relationships, closed mouths don't make it to anniversaries.

Overcoming temptation is one of the hardest but most rewarding things to do. As William Butler Yeats says: “Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.” You owe it to your relationship and to your own morals to give it a fighting chance. Your friends in your life can prove their devotion to your friendship by adapting to a new role in your life that respects your relationship. If they can't, you know their true intentions and can deal accordingly. After all, you would want the same consideration from your significant other and the people in their life, right?

Hope this helps,


How to Create a Legacy

What do you want to be remembered for? How do you stand the tests of time for people to remember you years after your accomplishments? What do you want your children or future children to inherent from you? As younger people, we do not seem too preoccupied with these notions. We believe we have plenty of time to make our marks on the world. Though you may not be able to achieve everything you want today, these are questions you should be answering or at least setting out a template to answer. Everyone talks about creating a legacy and these are some things that will surely get you closer to being noted in the history books.

1) Focus on The Timeless Not the Trendy: Everybody wants to be part of the IN crowd but the problem with the IN crowd is that different people are funneled in and out of it. You may be popular one day forgotten the next. We can all name countless rappers, singers, athletes, businessmen that were on top of the world and a year years later, their names only come up around the water cooler during reminiscing of yesteryear. There is nothing more depressing or disheartening than having it all and then being reduced to obscurity. To avoid this heartbreak, make whatever you decide to do have a timeless classic feel. Some things never get old or go out of season. And you should have that type of appeal. Instead of falling to every get rick quick scheme and job antics, always think if this decision could sustain you down the line. People sometimes ask me why I go through so much school and I always answer the question the same way. That little piece of paper is permanent. No one can take it away from me but they can take employment and popularity. Education is final. Every decision you make should fuel your future while building up your present. Why put work into something that will not last?

2) Stand For Something: We all know the common saying:Those Who Stand For Nothing, Fall For Anything spoken by Alexander Hamilton, Malcolm X and countless other figures. Its popular because it is true. You should always have a set of values that are uniquely you. These values will define you as a person and give you staying power.I'm not here to tell you what these morals and values should be, nobody should. But once you set them, do not deviate from them. When you deviate from your own values you degrade yourself as a person. You're basically saying "I told myself I was this person but I lied to myself. I don't know who I am" And no one respects that.

3)Stay Consistent: This concept goes with the one above. But it goes beyond being true to the person you want to be. You have to also be consistent in your business and personal lives. Think about the people in your life....Consistent people are not always the most popular but they are ALWAYS the most necessary. When you have a problem, you call the consistent person. When you need to trust someone, you call the consistent person. You RESPECT the consistent person. Flaky people never get far because eventually people stop putting their trust in that person's hands. And sadly, once you are labeled as flaky, it is almost impossible to lose that stigma.

4) Demand Success Now let me start by saying this....success means different things to different people. I am not talking about money, I am talking about the achievement of well thought out goals. The ultimate goal is happiness and contentment with life so set up goals that let you reach those. Then when you do obtain them, you have reached what is called success. Now having said that, DEMAND success from your life. Life isn't always going to be roses. There are going to be plenty of times you fall short or completely bomb a desired goal. There will be times when things out of your control avert your plans or make the road more difficult. But stay on the same road. In life, you get what you demand. If you point your car west in New York, you will get to California. I can't tell you when, I can't tell you what you will encounter on the way, but eventually you will make it. Success if like that too. Have clear cut goals, drive, tenacity, and demand that life give you want you want. That drive sets in motion your legacy.

5) Be a Humanitarian. Spread Love and Resources: This one to me is really important. God gives you what you give to others. If you have made it, you are duty bound to give it back to other people. The world needs help and the world needs love and if you are in possession of those, you are an asset. There is nothing worse than seeing individuals with money talent and wisdom waste it away when people of the world are in so desperate need of only a tiny piece of what you have. Its like you are sitting there will a full ham and cheese sandwich and there is a kid starving next to you. With just a piece of a sandwich (you can still eat well!), you have changed the outcome of that kid's life. And if that wasn't enough, giving back feels good!

At the end of the day you want people to come to your funeral because they genuinely miss your impact on the world. The people that are remembered favorably all had these things in common and you are just as deserving to be in the memories of the people as they are. Live Life, Love Life, Love Others, and Pass it On.

Hope This Helps,