Concept Creep, Or “You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”

a lego figure of Inigo Montoya, a character from The Princess Bride
Image by Caleb Wagoner / CC BY

Concept creep has to be one of my biggest pet peeves.

What’s concept creep? It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Concept creep occurs when a concept that originally meant something very specific later comes to encompass a much broader set of unrelated, or only loosely related, phenomena.

Psychology has been particularly plagued by concept creep.  » Read more

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When You Have to Interact With a Manipulative Person You’d Rather Avoid, Act Like a Gray Rock

a gray textured rock face
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

In a recent essay, I wrote about 10 things that I do that help me write openly about my life without going crazy in the process. After that article came out, I had several readers write back in response. One point in particular seemed to resonate with many folks, tip #6, in which I discuss how to deal with people who are trying to stir up conflict,  » Read more

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A Sigh Can Set Off a Conflict As Easily as the Words We Choose to Say

a bunch of darts stuck in a dart board
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

I’m learning a lot about myself from him. From looking at who I am through his eyes.

He has that kind of hypervigilance you only get after years of dating women who set traps. Who modify their behavior ever so slightly as a test, to see if you notice.

Like those silent bargains I’d make with God as a kid: “If you really exist,  » Read more

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Just Because Communication Is Direct, That Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Harsh

a closeup of someone's hand holding a baby bird with a background of a grassy lawn
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

A little while ago, I published a piece called “My Number One Kink Is Direct Communication.” In that essay, I talk about the reasons why I have such a distaste for playing games with people when it comes to communication. I’m not a big fan of passive-aggression, guessing games in which one person is expected to mind-read the other’s thoughts,  » Read more

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My Number One Kink Is Direct Communication

a brick wall
Image by Rachael Towne / CC BY

It’s been decades, but I still vividly remember my old elementary school. It was a brick building. Standing outside at recess, I’d often stare at those walls,  fascinated by the flaws in the blocks, the cracks and places where they were uneven. I was generally a talkative kid and often very social but occasionally I’d get overwhelmed.  » Read more

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The Problem with “You’re Just Jealous” as a Conversation Ender

a photo of a tabby cat in the close foreground with an out of focus black and brown dog wearing what appears to be a leopard print blanket in the background
Image Source by Jason Riedy

“I wish you’d just own up to what’s really going on here,” he says.

“What?”

“You don’t really think it’s a bad idea. Admit it,” he says. “You’re just jealous.”

I don’t know what to say. I settle on, “That’s not what this is about.”

Because it’s true I’ve had my insecurities in the past regarding him but not to an unusual magnitude.  » Read more

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