Good Conversation and Good Communication Are Different Things

a dog holding a purple tennis ball in its mouth
Image by Sadie Hart / CC BY

“I don’t know that we communicate well,” I say to him.

“This is news to me,” he replies.


“Really,” he says. “I love talking to you.”

“I do, too,” I say. “We have good conversations.”

“But you just…”

I sigh. “Just because we have good conversations doesn’t mean that we communicate well.”  » Read more

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When You’ve Changed, You Have to Decide Whether to Accept It or Try to Force Yourself Back

a ranch in North Texas. Wide blue open sky with few clouds. A windmill. Prairie grass. A fence.
Image by Aaron Stidwell / CC BY

Two months ago, I moved from Cleveland to Dallas. I laughed the first time I was asked if I might be amenable to moving to Texas five months ago.

But the more I learned about the job opportunity in Dallas, the less insane it sounded.

And a month after that, I was straight out getting rid of most of what I owned,  » Read more

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Could the Kindly Brontosaurus Be Your New Best Friend?

a brontosaurus statue in a garden
Image by Jon Evans / CC BY

I have a confession to make: I’m always the idiot at the restaurant who ordered the spicy food and drank all my water before my meal arrived.

It’s me. I’m the person sitting there trying her best to eat her meal without anything to drink, sweat pouring down her face. Hoping that the server will swing by soon with something to drink and save me from myself.  » Read more

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Positive Childhood Experiences, the Flipside of Trauma

a team of 4 toy soldiers guarding a Rubik's cube
Image by herval / CC BY

Just about everyone is familiar with the concept of traumatic childhood experiences, as well as how they can profoundly shape a person’s life well into adulthood.

What’s far less familiar is another, opposite concept: Positive childhood experiences.

A recent study dug into the prevalence of positive childhood experiences as well as their role in mental health later on life.  » Read more

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September 21 Is World Gratitude Day

a series of Polaroids each with a different letter on them and a smiley face. They spell out "thank you" with a smiley face in between the two words
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Hey folks, a bit of an unusual post for a Friday.

Tomorrow, September 21, is World Gratitude Day.

Gratitude is one of those things that are utterly vital to our emotional health and happiness but entirely easy to miss in the midst of a thousand other concerns, responsibilities, stresses.

Remembering to say thank you and to appreciate the good people and things in your life is a bit like remembering to drink enough water.  » Read more

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The Fine Art of Being Happy When Other People Aren’t

one yellow smiley face ball in a sea of blue sad face balls
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Caring about other people’s happiness is often framed like a virtue.

Good people care that other people are happy. And they especially care that the ones they love are happy.

In fact, some would argue, whether you care about another person’s happiness could very well be what defines love.

The trouble with happiness is that it comes and goes as it pleases.  » Read more

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When Worrying, Remember You Don’t Get Credit for Time Served

a jail cell with the focus on the bars
Image by Neil Conway / CC BY

I’ll let you in on a little secret: There are times when no matter what you do, an issue is going to be ambiguous. You’re not necessarily going to get clarity or answers that satisfy you completely.

Maybe you’re worried that your partner doesn’t find you attractive anymore. And maybe you’ll find yourself embarking on a fact-finding mission.  » Read more

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You Can Date Your Friends, But Don’t Date All of Your Friends

the silhouettes of a few dozen people standing on a beach holding hands
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Sometimes people ask me how I got into writing books about relationships, blogging for a large audience, giving advice.

People always seem to be hoping for some backstory in which I had some kind of grand vision. In which I shot forward with the unbridled determination of an activist and an ideologue for kink and non-monogamy.  » Read more

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Flow State, Hyperfocus, and Losing Yourself in a Task

a river flowing over rocks
Image by Cordelia Chew / CC BY

Have you ever been so completely focused on a task as you were doing it that you completely lost track of where you were? So absorbed in completing something that you looked up only to find that hours had passed?

I certainly have. During the most gratifying, fulfilling writing sessions and also during certain times when I was composing music.  » Read more

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