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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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What Is Romance? What Makes Hooking Up and Hanging Out Different Than a Relationship?

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Image by Jamie / CC BY

If Labels Are for Organization, Then I Guess I’m a Bit of a Mess

“So what are you looking for? Something casual? Dating? A relationship? Something romantic?” she asks me.

And it takes me a long time to formulate an answer to the question. Not because I’m not interested. And not because I don’t care about her.  » Read more

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