It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters.




9 Good Signs You’re in the Right Relationship

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It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your

side that matters.


“How do I know if I’m in the right relationship or not?”


This is one of the most common questions our coaching clients ask us.

And after Marc and I listen to the specifics of their situation, we often toss a question back at them to further clarify their thoughts and expectations.


For instance:

“What do you think a “right relationship” should provide for the people in it?”

Although the answer here is obviously subjective, in all relationships, romantic and platonic alike, there are some clear signs that things are going well.

So today, let’s take a look at some signs you’re in the “right relationship,” along with corresponding tips that could potentially help you make a “wrong relationship” right:


1. No games are being played.


Far too often, we make our relationships harder than they have to be.

The difficulties started when… conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word “love” fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution.


Stop running! Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.

And of course, if you feel like someone is playing games with you, speak up and establish some boundaries.


2. Everyone is on the same page.


If a woman starts out all casual with a man and she doesn’t tell him that she wants a committed relationship, it will likely never become a committed relationship.

If you give someone the impression that casual, or whatever, is okay with you, that’s what will be assumed going forward.

The bottom line is that you have to be straight from the start, or at least as soon as you know what you want.

Don’t beat around the bush.

If someone gets scared and runs away because you were honest and set boundaries, that person wasn’t right for you anyway.


3. The line of communication is open, honest, and clear.


It’s better to talk and find out the truth than to keep going and get nowhere. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t expect the important people in your life to read your mind, and don’t play foolish games with their heads and hearts.

Don’t tell half-truths and expect them to trust you when the full truth comes out – half-truths are no better than lies.

Listen without defending and speak without offending. Communication isn’t just an important part of a relationship, it is the relationship.

Relationships often fail because of trust issues, commitment issues, and above all, communication issues.

To be honest, commit, be clear about your expectations, and COMMUNICATE always.


4. Loving deeds consistently reinforce loving words.


Nurture your important relationships so that when you tell the people you love that you love them, it’s merely a ritualistic validation of what you have already shown them by how you treat them on a daily basis.

Do little things every day to show your loved ones you care. Knowing that the person you’re thinking of has you on their mind, too, means a lot.

Truth be told, you can say “sorry” a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t.

If you can’t show it, your words are not sincere.

It’s as simple as that.

And there’s no such thing as a “right” relationship that isn’t sincere at both ends.


5. Expectations of perfection are strictly forbidden.


Any relationship that’s real will not be perfect, but if you’re willing to work at it and open up, it could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Your best friends and your soul mate may be far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you.

Give them a chance to show you.

When you stop expecting the people you love to be a certain way, you can start to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are.

It’s important to remember that every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect in the end is when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even when times are tough.


6. Honesty, vulnerability, and presence are held sacred.


Although it may sound risky, the strongest type of love is the one that makes you the most vulnerable. It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and transparent over the long term. It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most.

So open yourself up. Truly be with the person you love.

Allow yourself to experience them authentically.

Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and feel every exquisite emotion, both good and bad.

This is real life.

This is how you welcome a sincere connection with another human being.


7. There is a healthy blend of freedom and teamwork.


Keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to be with us or love us.

We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.

And likewise, we should never feel trapped in a relationship.

In fact, if either person feels trapped, the relationship doesn’t really exist. Because that’s what relationships are all about: freedom.


Relationships are also built on a solid foundation of teamwork.


And since relationships are one of the greatest vehicles of personal growth and happiness, the most important trip you will ever take in life is meeting someone else halfway.


You will achieve far more by working with them, rather than by working alone or against them.

It really is a full circle.


The strength of a relationship depends on the strength of its two members, and the strength of each member, in the long run, depends on the quality of the relationship.

And remember, relationships are rarely fifty-fifty at any given instant in time.


You can’t always feel 100%, or a full 50% of a relationship’s whole – life is simply too unpredictable for that.

So on the days when you can give only 20 percent, the other person must give 80 percent, and vice versa.

It’s never been about balancing steady in the middle; healthy relationships are about two people who are willing to make adjustments for each other in real-time as needed and give more when the other person can’t help but give a little less.


8. Personal growth is embraced, celebrated, and shared.


It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in; it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in.


When you connect with someone special, a best friend, or a lifelong partner, this person helps you find the best in yourself. In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.


When you honestly think about what you and your closest confidants add to each other’s lives, you will often find that instead of giving or taking things from each other (advice, answers, material gifts, etc.), you have chosen rather share in each other’s joy and pain, and experience life together through good times and bad.

No matter what, you two are there for each other, growing and learning as one.

9. Outsiders aren’t calling the shots.

Relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside. So don’t let outsiders run your relationships for you. If you’re having a relationship issue with someone, work it out with THEM and no one else.

You have to live your own life your own way; that’s all there is to it. Each of us has a unique fire in our heart for certain people. It’s your duty, and yours alone, to decide if a relationship is right for you. You’ve got to stop caring so much about what everyone else wants for you, and start actually living and deciding for yourself.


Continue Reading 1,000 Little Habits

If you appreciated the above excerpt from “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships“, I guarantee you will appreciate the rest of the book…


Sometimes we need to be reminded to actually practice the little habits that allow us to better understand and nurture the bonds that make our lives whole.

We need to be reminded to be selective in our battles, too.

Oftentimes peace and love in our relationships are both better than being right. We simply don’t need to attend every argument we’re invited to.


Yes, we can do better!

Take this to heart.

Because as you age, you’ll learn to value your time, genuine relationships and peace of mind, much more. Little else will matter from one day to the next.


And that’s why Marc and I are publishing “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships” – to be that daily reminder for anyone who’s struggling to change their relationship situation for the better.

It’s an inspiring touchstone filled with our best advice on overcoming relationship setbacks, letting go of anger, fostering intimacy and trust, expressing our needs, showing gratitude, and more.

Now, the floor is yours…

In your experience, what are some good signs you’re in the right relationship?  Write your ideas down and don't be afraid to share them with your partner.



The Halo Effect: Loving Your Partner More Than They Love You

How to make sure it’s not hurting you.

Karen Nimmo

Relationships are not perfectly, evenly formed.


That’s because the people in them are, er, people.

We all have our quirks, our vulnerabilities, and triggers, our flaws and strengths; our own brands of crazy.


So it makes sense that we don’t love in equal measure; that one partner in a relationship is more devoted than the other.


I recall one woman who couldn’t stop talking about her husband.

He was so charming, so tall, so handsome, so funny, so hot in a suit, everyone loved him, he could light up a room, such a good cook, so socially skilled, she was so lucky to have him….


Trust me, the list was long.

When I saw a gap, I took it.

“But what about you?” I asked.

“Isn’t he lucky to have you?”

She paused. Blinked.


“I don’t really think about that.”

Welcome to the Halo Effect.


What’s the Halo Effect?

“I think the perfection of love is that it’s not perfect.” — Taylor Swift


The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias in which we’re heavily influenced by our idealized views of someone.

In the simplest terms, if we believe a person is great, we’ll think whatever they do is great (even if it’s not).


The Halo Effect is common in marketing — but it has interesting implications for relationships: If you put a “halo” on your partner, you’ll see the good in everything they do.

And, while that can promote harmony, it can also blind you to their flaws; it can lead you to justify poor behavior.

And it can cause you to see yourself as inferior.


There’s nothing wrong with adorning your partner — as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of yourself.


In meeting your partner’s needs, striving towards their goals and dreams, you can slowly lose sight of yourself.

This means you can end up not knowing who you are as a person in your own right.

When this happens (or ideally well before it lands here), it’s time to back up the truck and redress the balance.

It’s never too late to find and express yourself as an individual.


Here are some things to think about.

1. Your partner is just a person.

No better than anyone else — and certainly not better than you.

They are vulnerable and flawed in their own ways.

Make sure you see their imperfections too.

And, just as they don’t need a constant ego stroke, they don’t need the pressure to be Amazing.

Inputting a halo on someone, you’re telling them they’re the best they can ever be.

They’re not: it’s healthy for everyone to be given room to change and grow.


2. You’re training your partner in how to treat you.

When we begin a relationship, we’re negotiating the other person’s landscape — their thoughts, feelings, behavior, and history.

We’re trying to get a “read” on them, work out the lumps and bumps, figure out how to successfully walk alongside each other.

So the way you treat yourself is important because it’s a guide to your partner as to how you expect and want them to treat you.

If you position yourself as inferior, think about the message you are sending out.

You are more important than me.

Is that what you want?


3. Know what YOU bring to the relationship.

This is challenging for people who struggle with low self-esteem.

My client in this case was a lovely person, a devoted wife, and mother, she had brought a huge amount to her relationships and family — and made a lot of sacrifices.

But, when asked, she was dismissive about her role and input: she said, “it’s just what I do”.

While that’s true, you’re allowed — and need to — appreciate yourself within the relationship.

More than that, you must.


4. Don’t dodge the praise — welcome it.

Anyone who is in the habit of deflecting attention away from themselves will find it hard to take praise.


They’ll brush aside compliments or thank-yous or anything that builds them up — but be quick to absorb (and be hurt by) words or actions that bring them down.

And this fosters low self-worth.

So allow yourself to be praised/thanked: Notice it and accept it graciously.

When people know you appreciate it, they’ll do it more often.


5. Name what lights YOU up.

People who’ve been giving a lot within their relationships or families often say they’ve lost their identity: I’m not sure who I am, anymore.

I need you to get back to me.

Having free time can make them feel anxious and insecure because they don’t know what they want/like to do.

So write yourself a list of your interests — including those you had in the past and would like to revive.


Just seeing it written down gives you a starting point for reclaiming your identity.


6. Put the relationship first — not the person.

Relationships work best when each person acknowledges the importance of the partnership AND each believes they are making a valuable contribution.

So prioritize your relationship.

Create time to be together, to do things you both enjoy.

Make sure your partner knows they matter.

And, if you want their full respect, show them you matter too.




The manipulative behaviors you’re confusing with love

Are you mistaking toxic or manipulative behavior for love?

These are the warning signs we often get wrong.

E.B. Johnson, NLP-MP
Colored Pencils, Colorful, Heart, Love

For some, falling in love with someone forms a big part of their future happiness.


Humans are social creatures, and a lot of us seek that social fulfillment in our intimate relationships. Unfortunately, though, true love isn’t always easy to spot.

Many of us struggle for years with that special someone, only to realize they were never the person we thought they were.

There are a number of toxic, manipulative behaviors that we’ve been taught to treat as love.

Rather than seeking to build equitable, stable, and steady relationships — we rush headlong into our passions and can find ourselves crashing into a wall.

To be truly happy in a love that suits, we have to be honest.

Are they actually treating us with love? Or are they seeking to control and take advantage of our happiness?


Love shouldn’t create discomfort.

We have to get a handle on our definitions of true love before we can find it in someone else.

That doesn’t come from the movies, or what our friends and family tell us should make us happy.

Love can only be defined by us, but within that definition should always come a base of understanding, respect, and compassion.

Our parents should love us for who we are, not who they are able to mold us into.


Love shouldn’t create discomfort.

We shouldn’t have to suffer for it, or give up who we are and what we love for it.

Sure, every relationship faces challenges.

The relationship itself should not be the primary challenge in your life, though.

It’s time to be honest with ourselves.

Brutally honest.


Are we hopping from one relationship to the next?

Do we find ourselves struggling against partners who keep tabs on us?

Demand that we give them our power?


Is your loved one overwhelming you with gifts or an obsessive presence that’s forcing you to lose touch?


This isn’t loving.


It’s toxic behavior that will undermine your long-term autonomy and joy.

If you want real love, you have to get real.


The toxic behaviors you’re mistaking for love.

Does your partner keep constant tabs on you?

Do they overwhelm you with gifts, or insist on hoarding all the power in your partnership for yourself? While these can seem like loving or flattering behaviors in the early days, they can become corrosive and toxic over time.

If we want to safeguard ourselves from this kind of manipulative behavior, we have to first be honest about how we’re being treated.


Keeping tabs


Does your partner insist on knowing where you are at all times?

Do they demand constant updates, or blow up your phone whenever you go out with friends?

While this can seem like a caring gesture, it’s actually quite controlling.

Of course, our partners should know where we are, but they don’t have to be in the middle of every experience that we have.

That’s unhealthy.


Overwhelming with gifts


Are you in a relationship with someone who showers you with gifts?

We’re not talking a little something here-and-there to make you feel special.

We’re talking about the kind of gifts which make you feel bad.

The kind of gifts that make you feel guilty or powerless; the gifts that keep you quiet.


Believe it or not, our partners can shower us with presents in order to overwhelm us or keep us from confronting them.

It’s a power play and distraction from the real issues.


Backhanded humor


A sense of humor is so important in any relationship, but as with anything else, there’s a line that can’t be crossed.


Does your partner weaponize their humor to make you feel small?

Do they use backhanded jokes and then brush it off as “nothing serious”?

Jokes made at your expense are serious, and they can erode your self-esteem.

You should feel safe enough with your partner to know that you’ll never be the butt of their jokes.


Post-argument affection


Over-the-top affection after a conflict can be a very toxic warning sign of a partner who’s trying to manipulate you.

While coming back together after a fight is important, it’s equally important to do it in a measured and healthy way.

A partner who tries to smooth things over with extreme affection can often be one who wants to glaze over much-needed resolutions.

Maybe they lean into physical affection rather than talking things out when there are issues.


Over-the-top jealousy


Jealousy is one of the most common behaviors that we can mistake for love.

Being jealous is not being in love.

That’s because our jealousy comes from a place of insecurity.

When we doubt that we’re worthy of love, we start to fear that our partners are moving toward someone more worthy.

This inspires jealousy, which causes us to lash out.

We don’t rage at our partners with jealousy because we love them.

We use jealousy because we’re afraid they won’t love us.


Becoming the boss


Every relationship has its own power dynamics, but happy relationships recognize the value of equality.

When we come to the table as equals, we are able to resolve conflicts and face adversity together. Handing one partner all the power leads to resentment and heightened conflict.

We don’t always realize the imbalance either.


Many of us find ourselves very willing to give up our own power for the simple gift of someone agreeing to “care” about us.


Rushing the finish line


When you’re someone who has really specific visions for your future, it can be great to meet someone with the same visions.

The excitement of meeting this person can often blind us to some hard truths, though. Is your new partner rushing you to the finish line?

Do they tell you how much they can’t wait to be married or start a family (even though you haven’t been together very long)?

Tread cautiously.

Question their motives and why they’re so intent on getting you across the finish line.


Obsessive closeness


Does your partner demand to be physically close to you at all times (especially when it comes to other people being around)?

Is it bordering on obsessive?

Do they refuse to go anywhere without you?

Do they refuse to let you go anywhere without them?

Rather than a loving behavior, this is an insecure and controlling behavior and one which will lead to major resentment and contempt in your relationship.


Inability to go without


One of the most toxic behaviors we often confuse for love is the age-old “I can’t live without you” manipulation tactic.

This is used most often when you find the courage to stand up for yourself.

Your partner will tell you that they can’t live without you (which implies that they would also take extreme measures if you were ever to end things with them) and then expect you to back down on whatever demands you were making.

When they see you walking away, they’ll use this technique to pull you back in.


What you need to do next.

Are you waking up to a relationship (or partner) that is less than ideal?

Have you realized just how unhealthy their obsession with you is?

You’ve got to own it and take action, and that starts with rebuilding your self-esteem and getting focused on your own happiness and wellbeing.


1. Build a base of self-esteem

Waking up to the reality of a toxic partner isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

Unless we learn to see them for who they are, we’ll stay stuck forever in a cycle that leaves us miserable and broken.

We have to wake ourselves up and find the courage to stand up for ourselves, but that requires first building up a solid base of self-esteem from which we can launch a defense of self.


Separate yourself from your relationship and learn to love who you are inside and out.

Your body is beautiful.

Your soul is gorgeous.

You have so many skills and so many talents that can bring the world (and the people around you) joy.

Identify those things and love them, embrace them, and start celebrating yourself.


Fall in love with yourself for a while.

Learn how to love every inch of who you are and celebrate the gifts you possess. Look in the mirror every morning and name 3 physical characteristics you love.

Each night, write down 3 things that you do well.


As you fall for your strengths, learn how to embrace your weaknesses and see them as the full picture of who you are.

You are worthy and deserving of happiness, but it will continue to elude you until you embrace this truth.


2. Be honest about their behavior

Self-esteem is a great place to get started when it comes to assessing your relationship, but it’s only a first step.

Once you’ve started believing in your right to be happy and loved, you need to step back and take an honest look at your partner’s behavior.

You need to look beyond the “I love you” and the “It’s just because I care.”

Rather than listening to their words, look at their actions.

Who are they proving themselves to be?


Question the motives behind their need to be close, their need to control what you do or who you see.

When you imagined being loved by someone, did you imagine that it would make you feel so bad?

Or that it would make you feel anxious or nervous?

Be honest about their motives.

Do their demands serve you or them more?


When you start to see how one-sided things are, you’ll be able to better stand up for yourself and take action.

Fixing things isn’t going to happen overnight.

You need to first acknowledge their behavior and the impact that it’s having.

Toxic partners aren’t inspired out of a desire to make us happy.

They’re motivated by a need to get their own way in the world.

Peek behind the curtain and question every motive.

See them for who they are.


3. Consider the future you want

We cannot build long-term relationships without simultaneously considering the quality of our futures. They go hand in hand.

The person you decide to build a life with is the same person you set-forward facing goals with.

Our partners play into our happiness in a big way, and a bad partner can cause damage that costs us decades of joy.

Rather than settling for someone who doesn’t treat you well, you need to consider the future that you want.


What does your ideal relationship look like?

When you consider your future, what do you imagine?

For us to get where we want to be in this life, we have to have a very clear vision of the relationships, careers, and even families that we want to build.

Does this person treat you like the perfect partner would?

Do they value you and respect you?


You can’t change anyone but yourself.

Holding on to someone toxic will only bring more toxicity into your future.

Who they are now is very well who they could be forever.

Are you willing to settle for that?

Do you want this person to treat you this way for the next 40, 50, or 60 years?

You need to look to your future and safeguard by taking action in the name of your authentic happiness.


4. Set boundaries for yourself


Boundaries are so important in every relationship, but they become especially important when we find ourselves dealing with a toxic partner.


Our boundary lines are the limits by which we protect our wellbeing and our needs.


They allow us to communicate our expectations, and to keep our environments free of the things that erode our happiness.

Are your relationships turning toxic or vile?

You need to start setting boundaries for yourself.


Instead of wasting more time and energy with conflict, spend some time setting boundaries for yourself and building the courage to communicate them explicitly.

Think about what your ideal relationship looks like. How do you want to be treated?

Where is the “do-not-cross” line for you?


Take time setting boundaries that matter.

Once you’re clear on where your limits lie, sit your partner down and communicate with them.

Tell them how their behavior makes you feel and tell them that you’re not willing to settle for feeling inferior or unhappy anymore.

Communicate that you have a right to stand up for yourself and also make it clear that disrespecting your boundaries will result in removal from your environment.


5. Put your happiness upfront


When we chase love, a lot of us chase this idea that someone else can (or will) make us happy.

It’s understandable.

From the youngest age, we’re taught by movies and even our parents that the love of another person is the ultimate means of validation.


Unfortunately, though, this just isn’t true.

We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy, and we are the only ones who can validate our sense of self-worth.


Start putting your happiness up front.

You deserve to be happy just as much as your partner does, just as much as anyone else on this planet.

You don’t have to settle with being a second-class citizen in your own relationship.

Prioritize yourself and know that you are just as worthy and worthwhile as anyone else.


Stop chasing your partner’s approval.

Stop worrying about whether they will love you or not if you stand up to them.

Do you love yourself?

No one else’s opinion of us should matter more than the one we have of ourselves.

We deserve to be happy.

We deserve to have fun, and we deserve to be respected and honored by the people that we love.

You have to put your happiness first and do what it takes to protect yourself and provide the future that you want.


Putting it all together…

While many of us spend our lives chasing love, we often find ourselves settling for partners and behaviors which are anything but loving.


An inability to live without you isn’t romantic.

Insulting jokes and constant criticizing aren’t aimed at making you better.

These are all toxic behaviors that we confuse for love, and in order to overcome them, we have to accept them (and our own self-worth).


Rebuild your self-esteem from the ground up.


You need to believe in your self-worth to see how you’re really being treated and how it’s truly affecting you.

Be honest about their behavior.

Are they showing signs of love, or are they proving that they want to possess you?

Look to the future and consider what you really want.

Is this the partnership you imagined?

Are you willing to accept this level of unhappiness for the rest of your life?

Set some boundaries for yourself and communicate them explicitly.

If your partner can’t respect these limits, take a step back and make some more serious considerations.


Above all else, make sure that you’re happy.

Your joy is valuable and deserved.

Only you can guarantee you get the future that you want, though.




12 Tiny Changes To Help You Get Your Life Together

5. Eat the frog.Kirstie Taylor

Kirstie Taylor

ᐈ Change life stock photos, Royalty Free change your life photos | download on Depositphotos®

“Life together” feels kind of subjective, right?


What makes you happy won’t be the same as what makes me happy.

One person could strive off climbing the corporate ladder while you could be thrilled working at your local coffee shop.

So no, this won’t be a generic guide on how to make your life fit into the stereotypical mold of what society deems “the dream.”

This article is to help you live a life that’s authentic to you in the most effective way possible.


Because, if we’re honest here, without a little effort and organization, life can quickly get ahead of us.

We can feel lost in the chaos.

Like we’re barely treading water instead of flowing with the current.


That’s because life is an unpredictable journey.

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know is coming.

But what you can do is set yourself up for the best possible chances for success.


With a few tiny changes to your habits, you can feel like you’re floating with life rather than fighting against it.

You can finally “get your life together” in ways that feel authentic to you.


What are those tiny changes? Let’s dive into them based on the different aspects of your life they can help:


Mental Health

Write things down.

We’re said to have at least 12,000 thoughts a day.

Numerous studies show our thoughts affect our reality and, therefore, our mental health.


If you don’t take inventory of your thoughts, they can slowly eat away at your happiness.

Once you feel consumed by self-criticism, doubt, and negative thoughts, it’s hard to accomplish much of anything, ever.


So I pose to you this: start writing your thoughts down.

It can be as simple as a few stream-of-consciousness sentences in the morning.

Or perhaps you journal what you’re struggling with most.

Maybe even start a gratitude practice to bring some positivity into your life.


Stop wasting time on things that don’t add to your life.


You don’t need to say yes to everything, plain and simple.

In fact, agreeing to every plan that comes your way may make you feel like you’re less connected to your life, simply because others dictate your schedule.


It’s OK to say no to your co-worker’s holiday party.

You can let your friend know that you can’t make it to their gender reveal party because you need to take that day on other things.


Once you stop allocating your time to everyone but yourself, you can finally do the things that feel like they’re piling up, like building that Ikea nightstand that’s been sitting in your room for months.


Or simply relax. Sometimes, we all need a day off to unplug, disconnect, and do whatever we please.


Reflect more.


If you don’t reflect on your life, you’re bound to make mistakes or choices that hurt you over and over. What brought you to the point you’re currently at is the culmination of your past.


So when was the last time you learned from it?


I changed my love life by taking note of what went wrong in my relationships.

I found a career I love by considering how much fulfillment I felt in my past jobs.

I worked through bouts of depression by making peace with painful memories.


But I wouldn't have accomplished any of that had I not taken the time to reflect on how my life had gone thus far.

The same applies to your situation.

If you want to feel like you’ve got your life together finally, consider what lessons you can learn from the life you’ve already lived.



If you want to make moves, make plans.


I mentioned above that I changed careers.

And that wasn’t even the first time.

I’ve changed careers twice in the short time I’ve been alive.


But let me be clear: I wouldn’t have been able to make either of these changes without a plan.

I took a coding course to gain that skillset, and I worked as a nanny until I made enough money from writing that I could do it full-time.


If you want to make big moves in your professional life, you need the stepping stones to get there. Sit down, plan those out, and then move forward towards something more rewarding for you.


Eat the frog.


I came across this term when my friend and fellow writer,Eva Gutierrez

, posted it on Instagram.


When you wake up each morning, start your day with the hardest or most annoying thing on your to-do list.


When you’re hung up on the things you need to do but don’t want to do, you’re more likely to procrastinate.

That scroll through Instagram becomes a scroll through TikTok, which somehow ends up with you binge-watching The Office.


See what I’m getting at?

When you tackle the hardest parts of your to-do list (or life in general), you feel more motivated to accomplish other things rather than putting them off.


Make schedules the night or week before.


Whether this applies to your full-time job, side hustle, or fledgling career aspirations, save yourself some time and headache; make schedules.

There’s nothing that eases my foggy morning brain, like knowing exactly what I need to get done that day.

If you find it hard to start your mornings or don’t know how to organize your days to fit in all your goals, adopt the idea of schedules.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy complicated. I keep mine in the Notes app on my phone.

That way, each morning, you’ll be able to hit the ground running, rather than feel overwhelmed by having everything and nothing to do.


Physical Health

Get more sleep.

When you’re deprived of sleep, you’re in a worse mood, make crappier decisions, and your memory is impaired.

It’s not a badge of honor to boast that you only slept four hours; it’s shooting yourself in the foot.


Prioritizing my sleep is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.

At the very least, I know that being cranky and exhausted won’t be an issue when I’m enjoying life and working through my goals.

Experts suggest getting an average of 8 hours of sleep per night.

Begin prioritizing your time in bed and watch your overall mood about life begin to change.


Use the Pomodoro Technique.


The fact that humans sit for hours and hours during the time they’re awake is slowly killing us all.

But I understand to an extent; most of us have to sit to get our work done.


But what you can control is how long you sit.


So I want to introduce to you the Pomodoro Technique.

The method is used to instill a sense of urgency in people to improve productivity, but I want you to implement it to improve your health.

Every 25 minutes, stand up and stretch. If you can walk around your apartment or work desk.

The goal is to break up how long you sit for, rather than being slumped over in a chair for hours of your day.


See a doctor.


You know that ache in your back you’ve been having for months?

Or that mole you’ve been meaning to get checked but are too afraid to? Or the fact you feel dizzy easily when you stand up?

It’s finally time to stop putting it off and see a doctor.

Part of getting your life together is being in your best physical health. But you can’t do that if it’s been years since you last saw a doctor, dentist, etc.

Scheduling an appointment is essentially eating the frog of your over-arching life to-do list.

Once it’s over, you’re going to feel a lot more at ease.



Talk about your feelings more.

There will never come a day when you’ll regret learning how to talk about your feelings with those closest to you.

You’ll strengthen your relationships and move through any resentments that might be lingering.


You’d be surprised how much more fulfilling your relationships are, friends and family included when you can talk about deeper things than what’s been going on with sports lately.


Or the fact you’ve been “fine” whenever someone asks how you’ve been.

So the next time you’re talking with someone, don’t shy away from speaking up about your experiences and how people affect you.

Sure, you might be met with some resistance at first, but it’ll be better for all your relationships in the long run.


Learn better conflict skills.


Everyone argues, plain and simple. In relationships.

In families.

At work.

Between co-workers.

But when you learn better conflict skills, you can take a disagreement from a full-out fight to a constructive argument.

Plus, your relationship with that person will sustain less injury from doing so.


This looks like learning how to communicate issues without name-calling, deflecting blame, or belittling someone.

It’s learning to solve problems with a team mindset, rather than pitting yourself against everyone.


Listen with intent.


How good are you at listening to people?

I’m not just talking about hearing what someone says.

I want to know how much you process, understand, and empathize with the people in your life.


Because not many people do this.


Between having our attention span glued to our phones and always wanting to get the next word in, not many people have solid listening skills.

You’ll strengthen the bond with people closest to you when you learn to silence distractions and listen with intent.


When you start implementing these tiny changes into your life, you’ll start to notice a domino effect. Improving your health makes you a better friend. Being a better friend helps your mental health. Your mental health improves your work-life. And so on.

These might be tiny changes, but they’re powerful. Because, with only one life to live, there’s no better time to get it together in a way that feels authentic to you, then the present.


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Better Advice

Experts Advice on Self Help and Self-Improvement




Think Better, Live Better



Two (incredibly common) toxic, confidence-killing behaviors to avoid:


1. Subconsciously seeking approval from everyone around you.

Some people love to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason.

Don’t buy into their propaganda.

Instead, imagine what would happen if you spent this entire day, and every day hereafter, with all your energy directed toward your most positive possibilities.

Rather than being annoyed, be amused.

Instead of getting angry, become curious. In place of envy, feel admiration.

Life is too short to argue and fight for the approval of those who can't be pleased.

Stop focusing on them, and start focusing more on YOU!

Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.

Believe in your intuition, especially when you have to choose between two good paths.

Believe that the answers are out there waiting.

Believe that life will surprise you again and again.

Believe that the journey is the destination.

Believe that it’s all worth your while.

Believe that you are confident enough to see it through, without everyone's approval.

2. Disempowering yourself with weak self-talk.

“Why me? Why me?”

That's the kind of self-talk that holds so many of us back.

What we need to be thinking is, “Why not me? And why not NOW?”

But, again, so many of us feel like we have to wait: to be hired, to be good enough, to be chosen—like the old Hollywood cliché, to somehow be “discovered.”

Discover yourself!

What you’re capable of achieving from this point forward is not a function of what happened in the past, or what other people think is possible for you.

What you’re capable of achieving depends entirely on what you choose to do with your time and energy starting now.

In every situation you have ever been in, positive or negative, the one common thread is YOU.

It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to recognize that regardless of what has happened up to this point in your life, you are capable of making choices to change your situation.

And it all starts with changing the way you think about it.
When you think better about your circumstances, you are able to live better in spite of them.





6 Signs Someone Isn’t Worth Your Time

Pay attention to the subtle red flags.

Eric Sangerma
Whats your story Pictures, Whats your story Stock Photos & Images | Depositphotos®

During my first few weeks at college, I made friends with a guy who seemed really smart and proactive. We barely knew each other but we got along well — we exchanged notes, drank coffee between lectures, I lent him some of my CDs (yeah, those were still a thing at the time).

But there was one thing about him that kept pecking at the back of my mind and I couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Whenever I asked him about the time, he would give a vague approximation.

For example, if it was 3:20, he’d just say it was 3.

If it was 6:35, he’d say it was 7.

It was like he was too lazy to use more than one word to respond to my question.


Plus, he was always short on change.

Whether it was for the vending machine or the bus, he’d always need a few bucks.

He wasn’t struggling financially or anything, he was just careless like that.

Although I didn’t mind it at first, the trend slowly became highly irritating, up to the point where I needed to address the matter.


That conversation didn’t end well.

Long story short — we stopped being friends from that point on.


It took me some time to really understand that episode in my life.

It wasn’t until much later that I understood my ex-friend.

Life taught me a few valuable lessons on personality tell-tale signs, and that helped me make sense of it all.


Here are a few signs you should be careful around a friend, coworker, date, etc.

Don’t trust them too easily, and don’t be surprised if the relationship crumbles.


1. The Small-Things-Don’t-Matter Mentality

My ex-friend couldn’t be bothered with the small things in life. Extra change or a quarter of an hour meant nothing to him.

I didn’t realize it at the time but this was a flaw of character.

How can anyone expect to keep relationships alive if they don’t pay attention to detail?

This trait indicates that you’re dealing with a person who’s only interested in their own comfort.

They may have lofty goals, but they think this gives them the right to be self-centered.


Selfishness warps all relationships, close or distant, old or new.

He was obviously disrespectful of my time and money (no matter how small the amounts were), and it was about time I realized I didn’t need that kind of toxicity in my life.


2. Resolving Conflict By Deepening It


I already mentioned that I brought up the issue with my ex-friend the moment it started bothering me. When I tried having a serious conversation with him, all hell broke loose.

He started throwing insults at me without even considering my words.

Although I raised the issue by tiptoeing around his feelings, it made no difference.


People who fiercely react to the slightest hints of criticism might have a problem with their ego, says Psychology Today.


This exaggerated sense of self-importance may also be responsible for ingratitude and callousness.

My ex-friend surely had his fair share of self-centeredness, and he was too immature to have a reasonable discussion.

Some conflict is healthy in friendships and other relationships.

But if someone overreacts and goes straight for insults, you’re better off without them in your life.


3. Money Matters

How people handle their finances is a personal matter and it’s very culture-dependent.

Where I’m from, we seldom show the insides of our wallets to others.


But generally speaking, observing how people handle money can tell us a lot about their character.

Some people are financially toxic and that is a fact.

They may not appear to be at first glance, though.

Certain people are always able to slither out of paying their due.

The habit is impossible to catch at first because the amounts of money you give them are so small you don’t even notice.

Lending someone five or ten euros from time to time — it’s no big deal, right?

It’s no big deal as long as it’s reciprocated.


But these people are happy to be hangers-on and this is because they see you as a convenient source of money (or coffee or rides to work, etc.), not as a person.


I want to be very clear about this — the behavior I’m talking about has nothing to do with people who’re struggling with money.

Studies regularly show that poor people are more generous than others.

In my experience, those who have to make do with a small budget are very careful to think about their daily expenses.

They almost never forget to bring their wallet or run out of money for the bus.

The worst financial leeches I’ve met in life were financially comfortable, spoiled people who simply didn’t care about others.


4. No Joking Around

Everyone loves a good joke, even when it’s on them.

Oh, wait.

Not really.


Humor can be a great litmus test for relationships.


Some people just can’t take a joke, no matter how trivial it is.

That is a sign of a big ego.

Egotistical people are seldom capable of joking at their own expense because their sense of self-importance doesn’t allow them to do so.


But that’s not all.

Even the type of humor someone prefers might tell you a lot about their personality.


High self-esteem was associated with higher use of affiliative, aggressive, and self-enhancing humor styles but lower use of self-defeating humor. High interpersonal competence predicted greater use of affiliative humor and low interpersonal competence predicted greater use of aggressive humor” (McCosker & Moran 2012).


In my experience, people who make cruel jokes like testing the waters.

If you react negatively, they’ll take it back and insist they were just joking and you should just lighten up.

But if you agree, they’ll let the cruelty run free.

On the other hand, people with a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor are generally easy to talk to. They can make dark situations a little better by joking about them.


5. Gossipping

We all enjoy sharing some juicy gossip every once in a while.

The purpose of gossip is complex.

It gives us validation and new knowledge, but it also helps us build relationships, find protection… and there’s a natural element of social enjoyment as well (Hartung et al. 2018).


However, when gossip starts occupying the central place in someone’s communication, it’s a big red flag.


The dark triad of personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy — show consistent associations with the tendency to gossip.


It’s been indicated that “psychopathy and narcissism had a positive relationship with social enjoyment and negative influence gossip, whereas Machiavellianism was positively correlated only with negative influence gossip” (Lyons & Hughes 2015).


In layman’s terms, people who have these personality types have a greater chance of engaging in gossip only for the sake of enjoyment or to harm the target.


So if you have a friend who loves to gossip, consider the specifics.

How often does the person bring these stories up?

What are they getting out of it?

Is anyone likely to be harmed by this?


Additionally, it’s important not to trust these people with sensitive, private information.

They have a gift for making you feel included — you may feel like a co-conspirator when you’re talking about someone else.

This builds trust.

But chronic gossipers will take everything you tell them and turn it against you sooner or later.


6. Obsession with Self-Image

When you befriend someone in real life, you’ll probably start following them online too.

This may reveal that they’re different from what you were expecting.

In fact, you might find out that they present a different face to everyone they meet.


Sometimes you don’t even have to see someone’s Facebook wall or their Instagram feed.

You can just take a look at their profile photo.


Narcissism was found to be a predictor of profile pictures that emphasize attractiveness and personality (Kapidzic 2013).

So if you run across a profile picture that looks like a glamor shot, that might be a hint that this person is prone to narcissism.


On the other hand, some people are just awkward about choosing profile pictures and they go for the best pic they have — so photos alone won’t tell you all you need to know.

More important is the behavior people exhibit online.


It’s awkward to catch someone lying to their followers but it’s happened to me more than once.

Some pretend to be more wealthy than they are, others exaggerate wildly about their romantic relationship(s).

Some pretend their children are geniuses and makeup stories about them.


Using social media enhances everyone’s natural desire to impress strangers.

But some people get entangled in lies — and this leads to unhappiness and hollow relationships.

It’s safer to keep your distance from people who are obsessed with seeming perfect 24/7.


Not Everything Is a Red Flag, But…

Did you know that our food choices and eating styles also reveal a lot about our personality?


A study found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (and low on meat and soft drinks) was characteristic of high openness.

Also, they found that conscientious people were less likely to overindulge in sweet and savory foods. Another study linked neuroticism with slow eating and low enjoyment of food.


Still, you probably wouldn’t choose your relationships based on this information alone.

How someone eats won’t really determine how they treat you.

It’s not always easy to decide whether someone is worth your time.


You don’t want to make snap judgments and unfair generalizations.

But you also don’t want to spend time with people who make you uneasy.


Don’t worry too much about detecting personality flaws in advance — at the same time, you should never ignore the small details that stand out to you.


Even though some people are good at hiding their ugly side, these things always find their way to the surface.

After all, everything we do mirrors our state of mind and personality.


If someone gives you a bad feeling or irritates you for no obvious reason, honor your intuition.


You don’t need to immediately cut ties but start paying attention.

Most of the time, all the small hints will add up and start making sense.

Once you figure out what makes the person tick, it’ll be easier to decide whether they’re worth your attention, trust, and affection.


Monogamous heterosexual marriage is just one of many ways humans can live.



If you haven’t seen the link making its way through social media, I highly recommend Rosemary Joyce’s piece Ask An Anthropologist about Marriage.

It’s an excellent anthropological analysis of the empirical claims made in the oral argument over proposition 8 in the US Supreme Court. In addition, it does a good job of linking back to earlier public statements by anthropologists about this issue.


Joyce is exactly right when she writes that

 Stable societies have been based on many different kinds of social relations that provide for the birth, care, and education of children, as well as the many other activities that marriage covers in modern US society: joint property ownership, joint medical and end of life care, joint taxation, none of which– contrary to the somewhat bizarre, reductive view of marriage argued before the Supreme Court– are about “procreation”


She also cites the AAA’s public statement that

The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.


There may be many good reasons based on one’s personal opinion, religion, or what have you that gay marriage is wrong and should be outlawed.

But the claim that monogamous heterosexual marriage is written into our biological constitution is plainly false.

Anthropologists have shown this again and again.

On one end of the spectrum, the postmodernists challenge the idea that the body can ground gender identity at all.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have hard-core sociobiologists who have shown that our species is so successful because pretty much anyone will raise pretty much any child – you can just pop them out of one relationship and into another. It’s because they are so damn cute — Sarah Hrdy calls babies “sensory traps” designed to make you be all snuggly with them.

A study in 1971 by Barry and Paxson using HRAF and a ridiculously scientific methodology found that in a controlled sample 186 societies, 54% of infants were not raised primarily by their mother.

By the time they’re out of the larval baby stage, that number increased to 80%.


What is human nature when it comes to raising kids?

The old anthropological lesson applies here as well: there is no one form of marriage or family that is natural to humans.

There are a wide variety of possible forms, and we have not finished experimenting with new forms yet. It’s that simple.



Contrary to popular belief, relationship health and quality is quite similar across gay, lesbian, and heterosexual partnerships.


For example, partners in each of these relationship types report almost identical levels of satisfaction with and commitment to their romances on average.

Relatively few differences have been discovered, and most are rather small.


Of the differences identified to date, some suggest that gay and lesbian partners are slightly better off than their heterosexual counterparts, while others imply that they are slightly worse off.

One noted advantage of same-sex couples is that they are nicer and use more humor during arguments compared to heterosexual couples.


This may have something to do with the fact that gay partnerships tend to have much greater equality (i.e., power-sharing) within their relationships, perhaps because they do not adhere as strongly to traditional gender roles.


Although it is often assumed that one partner must play the “wife” in a same-sex relationship (à la The Birdcage and most other depictions of gay couples in the popular media), gay partners feel less pressure to adopt strict roles and tend to be on more equal footing, which may result in lower intensity arguments.


Despite having less heated debates, same-sex couples tend to break up more frequently.


Part of the reason for this is likely due to gay and lesbian partners perceiving fewer “barriers” to leaving their relationships.

Barriers refer to the potential losses you might suffer emotionally or financially if you were to end a romance.

For example, if you and your partner had been introduced to each other’s families, had a shared mortgage and bank account, and had a child together, you would probably be more inclined to try and save that relationship when it hits a rough patch because the meaning and value of these things would change if you were to break up.


Why do same-sex couples report fewer barriers?

One reason is that most same-sex partners do now have the legal option of getting married.

Marriage solidifies a lot of barriers, particularly those of a financial nature, making it more costly to split up (ever hear of this thing called “divorce?”).

Thus, it could be that certain barriers are weaker in gay relationships because they usually do need to consult attorneys and appear in front of a judge if they want to end their partnerships.


Although I have focused most of this entry on the topic of differences, please keep in mind that basic relationship dynamics are largely the same across most couple types.

Thus, when comparing same- and opposite-sex relationships, there are actually far more similarities than there are differences.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on the Science of Relationships.

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I am Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans I am Human card I am Gay/Straight/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans I am Human bisexual stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Staying Seen: Being Bi in Relationships with Straight People


super fancy glasses in bisexual pride colors and the title of this piece


When you identify as queer but enter into relationships with heterosexual people, or those of a different gender to your own, it can feel odd to consolidate these two parts of your identity.

You’re not straight, but society can perceive you that way – where do you fit in, exactly? 


I knew that I wasn’t straight when I was in my teens.

I knew that I wasn’t gay either; if we were to go by the Kinsey scale – for all its faults – I’d hover around a 1 or a 2.

This was confusing for me to come to terms with.

I was surrounded by casual homophobia and toxic masculinity – the sort of "locker room culture" that is so damaging to young men, yet didn’t feel able to really challenge it despite knowing inside that I wasn’t heterosexual.


It was a weird situation where I felt as if I was in some sort of purgatory, drifting in a weird zone between different concrete identities.


Despite identifying as bisexual, the vast majority of my sexual and romantic experiences have been with people who identify as women.

This wasn’t ever something I had consciously planned: it’s just so happened that I lean more towards women than men in my attractions and opportunities, and this has been reflected in the makeup of my experiences.


As a result, I’ve variously been straight-passing when in relationships with women, and have also had people assume that I am gay when my relationship status hasn’t been disclosed.

Regardless of my sexuality not being anyone’s business, this brings in tropes that demonstrate how society often perceives and represents bisexuality.


There often seems to be an assumption that men who say they’re bisexual are actually gay, for example, and that women who say they’re bisexual are actually straight.

Is attraction to male bodies considered the default?

Those assumptions sure make it sound that way.

There’s almost an expectation that eventually, you’ll pick a “side” when such narratives are incredibly damaging.

It can make us feel pressured to “pick” when there’s really no reason why we should need to.


A bisexual man could be with a woman his entire life – but that doesn’t for one second mean that he’s straight.

Alternatively, he could be with men and men only, and this wouldn’t make him gay if he didn’t identify as such.


Bisexual men have to deal with toxic masculinity, homophobia, and biphobia, too. 


Biphobia exists amongst people of every sexual orientation and identity, and it can leave us feeling unsure as to where we fit in.

Acquaintances and peers may assume you’re straight if they only see you in relationships with women, and also might assume that you’re down with their casual homophobia.


Alternatively, they may think that you’re gay, and trying to come out gradually by identifying as bisexual. The revolutionary notion that you could experience attraction to people of more than one gender isn’t often even considered – people often think in binary terms, and it can be difficult for them to unlearn those patterns of thinking.


The sad reality is that because of ignorance and bias about bisexuality if you’re open about your queer identity, you may also risk deterring some potential partners.


Studies have shown that some straight women perceive bi men as being less attractive than straight men, so it’s easy to see why a queer man in relationships with heterosexual people could feel the need to keep quiet.


Unfortunately, it’s perhaps unsurprising that bisexual men are considered to be less attractive by some, as bisexuality can invite connotations of femininity.

These ideas are generally rooted in biphobia, and even if your partners don’t realize it, they may harbor certain biphobic ideas like this.


At school, in the locker room, or on the field, young men are constantly policing each other in terms of expressing masculinity, and at a time often when insecurities are often at their highest, it can be hard to come to terms with your sexuality on top of that.

Particularly if you’re treated as one of the guys, you may be worried that coming out will change how you’re treated, whether or not you have any sort of romantic or sexual attraction to your friends.


How many queer men have had a conversation with male friends that’s gone something like, “It doesn’t bother me that you’re, you know, bi or whatever - just as long as you don’t try anything with me!” or, “You’re cool – you’re not one of those gays who are like, ‘in your face’ about it”?


A stereotype remains that bisexual people are hypersexual, and want to sleep with anything that moves – it can get to the point where you’re telling friends of the same gender that actually, you aren’t even attracted to them in the first place, which can be pretty awkward.


Growing up, dating, and entering into relationships while bisexual can be an absolute minefield.

While bisexuality forms only part of your identity, it can often feel as if people see your sexuality before they see you as a whole person.

In short, don’t shy away from owning your identity. Whether you identify as bisexual, queer or even questioning – you shouldn’t hide who you are.


There are some things you can do to help manage tricky situations that may arise while dating, as difficult as they may seem.


Talk to your partners – Although it’s not your responsibility to educate them if your partners ever harbor biphobic or heteronormative ideas, it can be beneficial to try and talk things through.

Tell them how you feel: they may not understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.

They might not even be aware of their own biphobia at all, so this can be a good starting point.


Be open about your identity (where and when it’s safe for you to do so) – Work on being proud and confident in who you are. Embrace your identity, as ultimately your partners should love and respect you for who you are, your bisexuality very much included.

Rather than locking away parts of yourself, it’s always better to be open and honest about yourself. Essentially, if your partner doesn’t accept your sexual orientation, they probably aren’t right for you.

You can start the discussion around intersectionality, looking at both your own identities and those of your partner.


Encourage your friends and partners to be open with you – Maybe your friends want to become better-informed or have questions or worries.

It’s best if you can be open with each other, and that includes opening up to you.

Conflict is a healthy element of all relationships – what matters is how you handle it.


Address your own internal biasesInternalized biphobia is a real thing experienced by many bisexual individuals, not just men.

Is your internalized biphobia stopping you from expressing yourself fully?

This is a journey that you and your friends, family or partner might be able to travel on together.

As you grow and unlearn ideas, the people around you may be able to do the same.


Heres some links for you to explore:

originally wri


Your Opinions Are Not Facts

How to share your experience without forcing it on someone elseDon JohnsonDon Johnson


There’s a lot to disagree about these days: politics, shutdowns, masks, travel restrictions, vaccines—you name it.

And then there are the more mundane disagreements in everyday life, the little things, like setting the thermostat.

Someone wants to turn it down.

You want it up.

Someone says, “It’s too hot in here.”

You say, “It’s not hot.

It’s cold.”

Before you know it, you’re in a silly argument.

None of us need more aggravation, especially right now.

In order to express yourself respectfully and diffuse arguments before they start, it’s important to understand the difference between facts, opinions, and toxic opinions.


A fact is a thing that is known or proven to be true:

  • The Earth is round.
  • Google is a search engine.
  • Water is a simple molecule of positively charged hydrogen atoms and one large negatively charged oxygen atom.

An opinion is a view or judgment that depends on your assessment:

  • I like pizza.
  • I feel happy when I take a walk.
  • I prefer to wear dark colors.

A toxic opinion is an opinion disguised as a fact:

  • That project will never work.
  • There’s a worldwide shortage of jobs right now.
  • There’s no hope for a better life today.

Here’s why toxic opinions are problematic:

When someone says “It’s too hot in here,” it’s easy to get defensive because the statement excludes any possibility that your experience might be different.

It doesn’t consider that you might be cold.

“Too hot” is a relative term.

It’s not a universally accepted fact.


It might be cute when a child says “Brussels sprouts are gross.”

But it’s not cute when adults speak in toxic opinions.


Expressing an opinion disguised as a fact makes it toxic because it diminishes anyone else’s perspective.


This is how many arguments start: one person imposes their opinion on someone else.



The typical reaction is to push back aggressively, turning your own opinion toxic in response: “It’s not hot in here. I’m freezing!”


Toxic opinions invite defensiveness and open the door for arguments.


When I teach this concept to my clients, I ask them to argue with me.

I say, “The room is hot.”

They say, “No, it’s not.

The room is fine.

What’s wrong with you, anyway?”

Then I say, “Argue with me now: ‘I feel hot.’” I get blank looks.

People try to argue, but it’s impossible to argue with “I feel hot.”+ You can disagree by saying “I feel cold,” but that’s not arguing.

That’s just stating how you feel.

By saying “I feel hot,” I’m not suggesting everyone else should feel that way.

I’m merely describing how I feel and what I’m experiencing.


“I” statements demonstrate personal ownership, accountability, and taking responsibility. By using an “I” statement, you can defuse an argument before it happens.

Research has shown that “I” statements can reduce defensiveness and aggression.


Toxic opinions invite defensiveness and open the door for arguments.

Arrogance and believing one version of reality—yours—is the only possible view that underlies toxic opinions and could be the single largest creator of arguments.


There are two types of toxic opinions: impersonal and personal.


  • “Conservatives don’t care about the poor.”
  • “Technology is ruining our lives.”
  • “Wealthy people are selfish.”


  • “You’re lazy and leave all the housework up to me.”
  • “You don’t listen to me.”
  • “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

You can rephrase a toxic opinion by saying “I think…,” followed by supporting facts or by stating what you experience and how you feel.

An opinion or your point of view, when grounded by the facts as you see them and the knowledge that others may see it differently, is a powerful, direct, and respectful way to communicate.

It’s empowering to say, “Look, this is my opinion on the subject.

You may disagree, but I want you to know what I think.”


For example, “I feel hot.

The thermostat says it’s 75 degrees in here,” expresses your experience and states a fact. “I think technology is ruining lives.

I read a study from Harvard citing cellphone use by small children reduces cognitive brain function.” “When we agree to sit down to watch TV together, and you get on your iPad, I feel disrespected and unappreciated.”

The purpose of an opinion is not to prove someone wrong or convince them of your point of view.

The goal is to speak truthfully and accurately about what you know or believe without discounting others’ experiences.

Without opinions, we would have no creative dialogue or problem-solving. We would be empty shells with little or nothing to say.


Instead of creating defensiveness, an opinion invites dialogue, because you take responsibility for your point of view by saying, “I think, I believe, I propose, I suggest.”

When you speak this way, it encourages others to do the same. Whether they follow your lead is up to them.

You’ve done your part.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we all have the right to express our point of view.

We may agree with each other or not.

But no one is entitled to impose their opinion on anyone else—whether about politics or the thermostat.


My wife and I have had numerous conversations about the thermostat in our house.

She often feels hotter than I do, and we’ve had our moments.

Now I wear an extra layer on cold days.

She dresses more lightly.

When she says, “It’s too hot in here,” I smile and say, “Oh, so you’re feeling warm?

Let’s turn it down for a bit.”

She looks at me and laughs and says, “Right, I am feeling warm.”


I smile because even though we both teach this stuff for a living, we don’t always get it right.

We’re just humans, after all, living, learning, and trying to be the best versions of ourselves.