How to Stop Thinking About an Off-Limits Crush

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Just like how I was born to write about why I love being single, I am the exact person to write this article about different ways to stop thinking about the crush you can’t date. Why? Because news flash! We live in an imperfect world where not every girl/guy gets the girl/guy at the end of the movie. Otherwise known as… My life.

Continue reading “How to Stop Thinking About an Off-Limits Crush”

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How to Slow Down a Relationship That’s Moving Too Fast

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When you meet someone that seems to be everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more, it can be hard not to fall head over heels. Hold off on your “future wedding” board on Pinterest, though. The phrase “good things come to those who wait” is especially true in a relationship; if you feel like things are moving too fast, they probably are. Take these steps to slow things down and avoid ruining a relationship that could have great potential. Continue reading “How to Slow Down a Relationship That’s Moving Too Fast”

No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

No Boyfriend. No Girlfriend. No Problem!

Let’s cut to the chase. I’ve been single for a fairly long time now and I’m okay with that. Of course there have been those moments at 2 A.M. where I can’t sleep and think too much and have cried for no reason at all, but 99% of the time, I haven’t been bothered by it. I haven’t lived these past several years thinking “Oh no! I’m single!”. Instead I’ve been focused on a thousand other things. Being single didn’t define me, it was only one of several hundred words that could be used to vaguely describe me.

However, 24 was a turning point for everyone having something to say about my singledom. Apparently, 23 had been the last year I could be single without it being an area of concern. When I turned 24, that age brought with it a heightened interest in my love life. Too many friends and family members had something to say. “You’re too picky!” “There’s someone, don’t worry.” “Aren’t you lonely?” “Don’t settle, my niece didn’t meet someone until she was 45.” “Let me go through all of my friends to see if there’s someone who might be interested!” What the hell? Each new and uninvited comment from some friend or stranger about me being single led to a type of thought process I had never had before.

Everyone’s opinions started swaying the way I viewed my own love life. For a few months, I was in panic mode. I downloaded a dating app. I tried to work out why I was single with whoever was willing to listen. Maybe I had been single for too long, maybe I was too picky. Worst of all, I was starting to feel bad for myself. However, I wasn’t actively working on trying to change my relationship status. There was still that little inner voice screaming at me that I really did like being single and that I wasn’t looking for a relationship right now. When I started to write this article, it was supposed to be about the important benefits of dating yourself. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t sitting right with me. This piece would have come out as yet another article trying to provide validation as to why it is ok to be single. Being single is a choice, not something forced upon you. That right there is the catch to society’s view of singleness. It’s treated like a disease that needs to be cured. I’m writing this for all my fellow single people in the hopes that you will realize this is not the case, and you shouldn’t have to justify why you’re single to other people.

Like I’ve already said, being single is an active choice. If I really wanted to be in a relationship, chances are pretty high that I could be. But I don’t want to be. People write that off as me being picky. I call it going with my instinct. I don’t decide to hang out with someone based on some list of factors I’m trying to check off, I go with what my gut is telling me. If something doesn’t feel right to me, I say no. And I’m sure this is the way for many other single people who are being told they’re too picky. You’re not being picky, and you don’t have to defend why you are being picky. You know you better than anyone else, and you know what is best for you better than anyone else.

There’s also the slight chance that people just aren’t actively seeking out a partner. On my current list of priorities, finding a guy is not near the top, and I’m even less interested in trying to make something happen by force. People are all about organic these days. Eat organic, use organic soap, wear organic clothing, take organic medicine, blah, blah, blah. We’re a society that is so focused on organic products, yet when it comes to relationships, we’re so quick to turn to apps and asking for set ups in order to find some type of relationship instant gratification. What happened to the organic relationship? One that occurs naturally without the assistance of a distance locator and the option to swipe right or left? A better question, why should you have to tell people that’s what you’d prefer to happen? An even better question, why is everyone so focused on other people’s lives and relationships?

Here’s the thing, the people who are focused on you being single are solely focused on what you might be lacking as a single person. Please, dear concerned friends and family members, ease up on the concern. We singles do not want your pity, or sympathy. In fact, it’s almost insulting. You may see your intentions as helpful. You may think that finding me the perfect setup could be a top notch good deed to add to your list. But here’s the thing, unless we’re asking for your help, do not assume we need your help. Stop focusing on the empty space next to us when we walk into a room. Again, that’s an elected empty space. It doesn’t mean we are sad or lonely. It just means we’re doing our own thing.

And that’s a good thing! Being single means really getting to discover who we are. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. In my case, I see my twenties as a precious and valuable time of life. They’re a time to begin a career, nurture your hobbies, discover what types of people excite you, find out who you are and aren’t compatible with. Yes, you can do this with a partner, but you can also do it on your own. The friends I seek out and enjoy spending time with definitely have the qualities that I’ll probably hope to find in someone someday. Because I’m single, I have the time to invest in all of these areas. But again, I’m not here to provide validation for someone else, we’re only validating it for ourselves.

I’ve come back to a point where the only person I listen to when the topic of me being single comes up is myself. I appreciate the people who want to find someone special for me, but if I’m not worried about it, they shouldn’t be either. I’m embracing this time for what it is: a time to explore, to create, to dream, and to do whatever the heck it is thatI want to do. I’m selfish, but I’m ok with that! There will come a day when I’m ready to stop flying the single flag and I’ll readily give up my time for the sake of someone else, but  for right now, I’m enjoying it for all it’s worth. I hope all my fellow singles are as well. Don’t worry about what others say or think- they were all single at one point too, and as I’ve said, that was anything but a bad thing.

Why I Love Being Single

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I was born to write this article. I’m confident enough to even say that this is something that should be written on my tombstone. I love being single. Of course, I get those “Oh, aren’t you lonely?” “Don’t you want a boyfriend?” questions and remarks. Trust me, I’ve dedicated a whole YouTube video to it, which I suggest you watch if you haven’t yet. Anyway, do I care? No. Is it annoying? Yeah, but you live with it. I always anticipate questions or concerns coming from left and right since it seems to be most people’s life duty to find a mate in life. YOU DO YOU, BOO BOO. YOU GO GET HER/HIM, GLEN COCO.

But for me? I’m living and enjoying that single life for as long as I can. I’ve dated, sure…in high school. I’ve had multiple crushes in life but never did anything about it because I’m a wimp. TBH, I’ve been single for pretty much all my life. Are we going to include middle school relationships? No, because are those REAL relationships? Not really. Those are the relationships where you’re like: “Alright, see you at school tomorrow. I’m awkward and in my growing stage. OK. Let’s hold hands.”

The thing that gets me the most is that people think that being single is a curse or you’re just so unhappy. News flash! I’m 99.9% sure I wouldn’t be able to do so many things in my life if I had a significant other. I’m enjoying making my own decisions, learning how to be OK with going to things alone and accepting the fact I’ll always be the third/fifth/seventh wheel in any dating situation.

Being single lets me have FUN. I can go talk to whoever I want without the necessary feeling that someone back home is judging me because I’d be considering cheating on them. My friends pass me to the cute guys since they know for a fact they can’t go after them. (Cue the How I met Your Mother: “Haaaaave you met Ashley?) You could be that one friend who is able to go places while your coupled friends respond, “Oh, I wish I could but we already made plans with so and so.” WELL, your loss.

You build a thicker skin when you’re single. You’re gonna have to learn how to go to things by yourself and not feel like the ultimate loser in the room for not bringing anyone with you but it’s the price you pay. Heck, some people will look up to you for being so confident about yourself which is something I would never take back….Unless Chris Evans changes the game and suddenly wants to date me, but I digress.

Another reason being single is awesome is knowing the attention I would have given to someone I was dating is solely going to my family, friends and dog. My dog gets his own category. I’m focused on building my bonds with my close ones and I’m okay with knowing I’ll be the shoulder people cry on when they’re going through a hard time with THEIR boyfriend or girlfriend. I probably give the worst advice ever but at least they know I’m there to just listen.

So don’t think the single life is the worst life. Go by my motto: SINGLE LIFE IS THE BEST LIFE. But again, if Chris Evans knocks at my door, I’ll drop all of this in a heartbeat and marry him right then and there.

Why I’m Not Jealous of Selena Gomez

(Image Credit: Image Group LA/ABC)
(Image Credit: Image Group LA/ABC)

I’m not jealous of Selena Gomez. Not even a little. She may be able to whisper her way through a bop while being rich and attractive, but really, I’m not jealous at all… even though my boyfriend finds her attractive. Yes you read that right, my boyfriend thinks Selena Gomez, a girl that looks absolutely nothing like me, is hot and it doesn’t bother me one bit. But if it did, I wouldn’t be alone.

Lots of people laugh at their partner for looking a little too long at Gomez or other celebrities in a magazine spread, or playfully chide them for body appreciating comments under the guise of just kidding, but secretly many people find themselves feeling a twinge of insecurity when the concept of their better half finding someone else attractive comes up. But there’s no reason to feel this way, and I’m about to tell you why I’m not jealous of Gomez and you don’t need to be either.

First and foremost, the most important beauty lesson anyone can learn is that another person’s beauty does not negate your own. I repeat, someone else being thought of as pretty in no way makes you any less attractive. It doesn’t matter how different that person looks than you. In a world full of so many beautiful things to appreciate, it’s not fair to yourself or your partner to believe there is only one type of pretty out there. Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and colors and there will be times when your partner notices other beauty in the world.

And so do you. Remember that when you feel that twinge of jealousy start. You know that you’ve checked out at least one of The Avengers or a boybander, or maybe even that guy that lives down the hall, on at least a few occasions. It’s natural to notice pretty things and that’s completely okay. You’re fully aware that you have no intention of ever trying to act on those “wow, look at the hotness” feelings and if you want to be in a healthy relationship you have to trust your partner to have the same casually notice and then move on with the day attitude.

Yes, I brought up trust. You knew it was coming and you’re already ready to argue that you can still feel a bit jealous even if you trust someone. And that’s true, but it’s trust that you can use to put out the jealousy fire. If you can trust that your partner really wants to be with you and only you, and means it when they say you’re gorgeous, remind yourself of that when their eyes start to bulge out of their head during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Then go back to my first point and tell yourself someone else being pretty doesn’t mean you’re less. And then remember how you drooled a little at the checkout line yesterday when you saw the cover of Men’s Fitness. Do all of that before you let yourself start to feel bad or judge your partner and you might find that the jealousy is subsiding and it’s really not that big of a deal.

That’s why I’m not jealous of Selena Gomez. We may look totally different and my boyfriend may get that glazed over eye look whenever she’s on television, but I’m okay with it because I trust him and know that not only am I beautiful, but he genuinely thinks so too. And I know that I get the same creepy silent stare whenever I see Jake Gyllenhaal. It happens, so I’m not jealous of Selena Gomez one bit. Well, maybe I’m a little jealous of the being filthy rich part, but that’s not the point. Heck, if she were my type I would probably have a crush on her too.

True Love Doesn’t Always Come With a Foot Pop

(Image Credit: Antonio guillem)
(Image Credit: Antonio guillem)

When I was younger, I used to think that the only way to know if a relationship was true love was if my foot popped when I kissed my boyfriend. I know, it’s ridiculous, but that’s just what I had seen in TV shows and movies. Guy meets girl, they fall in love, and on their first kiss? Boom. The girl’s foot just pops right up. Then the cheesy instrumentals played, the credits began to roll and you leave the theater knowing Jack and Jill live happily ever after.

The movies made it look simple, and this is an idea that was ingrained in my brain at an extremely young age. Even though I know that love isn’t as simple as a foot pop, there’s some sense of comfort in realizing the true mark of romance lies within an uncontrolled reflex in the foot. If I’m being honest though, there’s still a part of my anxiety that just screams: “NO FOOT POP. NOT TRUE LOVE.”

The cliche romance ideas continued into my teen years, and became even more robust. As a high schooler, I used to be extremely obsessed with this idea that if my relationship didn’t encompass what the media had defined as a happy relationship, it was doomed to fail. On that list was a variety of cliché-driven concepts, like a foot pop, no fighting, and butterflies every time I see them. I don’t think I was aware I made the list and would check it off. While all my high school relationships were riddled with bigger problems, in my young and naive mind my relationships failed because of my superficial checklist.

Now, in the age of social media, there are hundreds of Facebook pages dedicated to giving you tips and insights to the perfect relationship. They tell you that the only way to have a good relationship is to have someone who is basically the perfect human being. They need to shower you with praise, post about you on Facebook or Instagram, and of course, devote all their attention to you. There are articles posted every day about 10 ways they’re not good for you, or how to tell you’ve met THE ONE, and we eat it up.

And if you’re like me with the occasional bout of relationship-driven anxiety, these articles are torture. You know better than to click on them, but you do. You read every article, think of your significant other, and then somehow convince yourself that the habits you never thought twice about are now super critical to whether or not they truly love you. Then, before you know it, you’ve updated that subconscious “perfect relationship” list and realized maybe this isn’t the right fit.

I understand, rationally of course, that this probably sounds crazy. If you’re confident in your relationship, why does all that matter? Well, you’re right. It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t to me anymore, but what about the younger generations?

We live in an age where our relationships are being defined by how often our significant others are posting about us, what they display publicly for others to see. It’s about thinking that all relationships fall into this cliche box of butterflies and cute selfies, and that’s so concerning to me.

No two relationships will be the same. We all have different personalities and different ideals that make the complicated world of falling in love with someone work for us. Sure, there are the golden rules we all follow: no abuse, no cheating, no possessive jealousy and a few others. But each relationship will have its own checklist. One that is not defined by how many likes you get on Instagram, or the number of back massages you get. Rather, it’ll be defined by what you feel works best for your relationship.

I have parts in my relationship that I love. We bond over video games, Rooster Teeth and Clemson football. We have cute pet names, we share silly stories about our pets like they are our children, and sometimes we just sit in different rooms because we want too. We probably talk way too much, and we split our responsibilities as evenly as possible. But for some people that may not be the best way for their relationship to flourish.

They may both be introverts and sit in silence for hours at a time, whereas another couple may spend hours on end talking until they fall asleep. Some of them may be more traditional in their roles, while others might be more modern. Every relationship, every person, every situation is different, and the more we try to compare ourselves to what social media and Hollywood perpetuates as “the perfect relationship,” the more we’ll be striving for something that may not be achievable.

Just because you and your significant other don’t go out for date night three times a week, or they don’t post about you constantly on social media doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect for you. Just because your foot didn’t pop or you stop getting butterflies every time you see them or kiss them doesn’t mean you still don’t deeply care for that person.

Stop comparing yourself to what you think is right, and start defining the relationship on what you feel is right. So what if it’s not traditional, or what all your friends are doing? What matters at the end of each day is whether you are happy and if the relationship is healthy. Everyone is going to have an opinion on how you should create a lasting relationship, but only you know best.

If you have found something genuine, that truly makes you happy, it won’t be found in the amount of PDA, kisses in the rain, or an occasional midnight rendezvous. It’ll be found in developing a genuine connection with someone who just loves you for all your quirks, your positives, your negatives and your crazy obsession with sloths.

Trust yourself, talk with your significant other and go on with your happy relationship. You’ll know when it’s time to call it quits if you need to, and you’ll know when to keep pushing forward based on what’s working for you.

Everyone is different, so don’t worry if your relationship doesn’t look like your best friends. As long as you’re happy, that’s what truly matters.

I Don’t Care If It’s Petty; Being Social Media Official is Important to Me

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I can remember the first time my boyfriend posted a picture of us together on his Instagram calling me his girlfriend. I cried. That may sound overly dramatic and cheesy, so let me back up a little and give you some backstory. When my boyfriend and I first started dating it was meant to be something casual. Neither of us was looking to get into a relationship and we were more dating for the sake of why not. When it became obvious to both of us that this was going to be something a little more serious than a few fun nights out, I was in no way prepared for being in a relationship with a social media stoic.

To say he’s relationship reserved and I’m an all out there kind of girl is an understatement. As soon as I was sure I wanted this guy in my life on a more permanent basis, my natural reaction was to start sharing posts about him with my friends. Selfies from dates and status updates about cute things he did began dotting my social media. It was all fine and dandy until time began to pass without him ever doing the same. I immediately began to wonder, does he not want people to know he’s dating me? Is there someone on social media he wants to seem single for? Crazy thoughts went abound and drove me slightly batty for a few good weeks.

Now you may be saying to yourself, this still sounds dramatic, and if you are then you’re probably someone like my boyfriend; an individual who gives little thought to social media and is in fact not trying to do anything nefarious by not posting about their significant other. But if you feel me in the least bit, you’re probably someone like me who puts a certain level of importance on what gets posted on social media.

Let me be clear, I don’t think social media itself is important and realize it’s rampant with superficial posts and lies about how happy and beautiful everyone is. No, what matters to me is whether or not someone deems you important enough to share with friends, family and the world. If they think you’re so attractive that they can’t wait to show you off and so wonderful that they can’t help telling people about it, that’s what matters.

After letting his lack of posting drive me nearly crazy, I talked to my boyfriend about the many ridiculous scenarios I had worked up in my overactive imagination for why he hadn’t posted about me and explained it just like that. His reaction was mostly “Huh?” with a lot of “Why would you think that?” followed by “I’ll go post something.” He didn’t quite get why it mattered so much to me, but at the same time cared that it did and proceeded to post a picture with a sweet caption calling me his girlfriend shortly after. And I cried.

It meant a lot to me that although he didn’t see how being social media official how I did at all, he wanted to make me feel happy and secure in our relationship. It was a small gesture that many would find insignificant, but it was exactly what I needed at that point in our relationship.

Now I know there’s going to be someone saying if you had to ask it wasn’t worth it. But that my friends is one of the most dangerous sentiments you can have in a relationship. Our significant others aren’t psychics. We can’t expect them to know that we’re quietly sitting next to them coming up with a million different scenarios for why they’re not doing something we never asked them to do. So if being social media official is important to you, no matter how petty or insignificant other people tell you it is, don’t hold it in and imagine your significant other is not posting about you for every horrible reason under the sun. Talk to them about why it matters to you and hopefully you’ll find that your social media stoic is happy to post about you if it means making you happy in return.

How to Pretend You Haven’t Googled Someone Before a Date

(Image Credit: pathdoc)
(Image Credit: pathdoc)

There’s a lot that can be said about the ability to Google someone before a date. If you’ve met them online or through a dating app, this can be the best way to make sure they are who they say they are. Safety aside, it can be hard to not search out of blatant curiosity. “Do we have a lot in common? What does he do for a living? Do his friends look like people I could get along with?” All valid questions! We’ve probably all done it at some point. Not a big deal, but in an attempt to not to come off too creepy, follow this advice to make your date feel as natural as possible.

 

Keep your lips sealed

So you’ve looked him up and you hit the Google jackpot: you found it all. You know what sports he played in school, saw pictures circa 2009, what he wore to his sister’s wedding, and what kind of person his ex seems to be. All interesting, but definitely not worth sharing with him. If anything you already know comes up in conversation, do yourself a favor and act like it’s the first time you’re hearing about it. Don’t be like me and tell him that your mom watched his high school graduation speech and definitely approves.

 

Ask lots of questions

Again, pretend it’s all a mystery to you. Ask anything that comes to mind or maybe already came to mind and you already know the answer to thanks to your internet stalking spree. It doesn’t matter either way. If you don’t ask, you’ll come across as uninterested. If you do, he’ll definitely be impressed with how engaging you are. Plus, if you already have some idea of what he’s into, you can ask questions that you think will probably spark an interesting conversation. Just don’t be obvious about it.

 

Act normal

Do everything in your power to not be awkward when he brings up something you found out on your own. Maybe even practice your poker face before you two meet up. The last thing you want to do is ruin your date because he sees your uncomfortable reactions and has no idea why you’re wincing at the mention of his childhood friend Alex. Just smile and nod and change the subject if you really must.

 

If you must do some pre-date sleuthing, then go for it ⎼ just don’t let it blow up in your face. Besides sharing with your best friend, of course, keep that knowledge inside for the time being. Maybe if all goes well you can even own up to it one day.

Top 5 Songs to Get You Through a Breakup

(Image Credit: patronestaff)
(Image Credit: patronestaff)

With Valentine’s Day almost a month away from us, what could be better than a list of songs to belt in your car alone on your way to get greasy fast food in hopes of curing that feeling of emptiness? …No? Just me? Okay. At least I know the people that have gone through recent breakups are in a similar boat as me.

Breakups can be messy and unpredictable. There’s the someone cheated breakup, someone got bored and drifted away breakup, and even the elusive mutual breakup. Whatever your breakup situation may be, here are five songs that might make you feel a little bit better if you sing them at the top of your lungs.

Should’ve Said No – Taylor Swift

Let’s be honest, T Swift is the queen of breakup songs. The fact that I was able to just pick one and not make this whole list just her is pretty impressive. But Should’ve Said No is classic and perfect for anyone that was unfortunately cheated on by their significant other. The entire chorus is perfect and so so relatable. Go ahead and angry cry to this one, friends.

Stay Up Late – This Wild Life

This Wild Life is one my all-time favorite bands and honestly their entire album Clouded is perfect to get anyone through a breakup. I picked Stay Up Late specifically because it’s about making a phone call to an unreciprocated love interest. While I don’t advise that you call the person that broke your heart, this song is beautiful and yelling “YOU DON’T LOVE ME, I CAN TELL” along with the lead singer is beyond therapeutic.

Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus

Just about everybody that knows anything about pop culture knows that Miley wrote this song after her and longtime boyfriend Liam Hemsworth split. So if you tried everything to make your relationship work but it failed despite your efforts, go ahead and throw on this song and embrace the heartache that it brings. The repeating line, “Don’t you ever say I just walked away/I will always want you,” is especially heart-wrenching.

Go to Hell – Go Radio

Another angry song that’s ideal if your S.O. left you for someone else. The song is sung from the perspective of a note that was left for the other person. The note says, “Go to hell if you’re reading this and I’m not here/Take your someone else and let me make this crystal clear that/That I don’t need your help and I’m okay by myself.” It repeats the line “go to hell” about ten times throughout the song and is the best song for after you’ve moved past the sadness phase and into the anger phase of a breakup.

Fuck You – Sleeping With Sirens

This a cover of the song originally by Cee Lo Green, but the SWS version is just a little angrier than the original. This song is perfect when you’re almost out of the anger phase and close to being over the person and the relationship the two of you shared. But not quite over it yet. Like, it’s been a few months and you feel like you should be over it because your friends are tired of hearing you talk about it but you still want to talk about it. So go ahead and put this song on repeat until it’s easier to keep them off your mind.

Breakups suck. Everyone knows that. So please do yourself a favor and deal with the emotions you’re feeling afterwards. It’s never good to keep emotions bottled up, so go ahead and start crying on shoulders, punching pillows, and singing your heart out to the tunes I picked just for you. We’ll get through this heartbreak together.

Technolove or Tech = No Love? That is the Question

(Image Credit: astrosystem)
(Image Credit: astrosystem)

Technology has turned communication on its head. I no longer live in a world where people casually converse with the person ahead of them at the grocery store. Instead, you will find a series of people with their heads down and thumbs avidly keying a screen that illuminates their face while sending society into a dark age of relationships.

This is an exploration of what my personal experiences mean and the remorse I feel over a time of communication gone by, no longer enjoyed often.

What is Romance Again?

I won’t be so morbid as to say that swoon-worthy moments are dead, but they sure are far-fetched, if not totally forced. My idea of a Darcy darling has been replaced with Tinder tastelessness.

I am definitely not a damsel in distress, but are there any hot knights out there that I can ride alongside? What happened to the good ol’ days when I was courted by horse and buggy? I miss my sweating palm as I dialed my boyfriend’s house phone and was forced to leave a voicemail on the family line.

Comfortable as I may be lounging in my favorite PJs, I am not forced to swipe left or right robotically on my coach as I eat dinner and dessert—alone. Again. Hey, no judgments here!

This is no Arthurian legend that I’m living here. I am no character in my favorite Jane Austen novel. I left my land line in the ‘90s with my Tamagotchi pets and Furby. While I am happy to have left many misogynistic social practices in the past, where did the romance go?

There has to be a meeting point between the past and present where a “truly, madly, deeply” kind of love can be secured and kept safe from hackers. I haven’t found it yet, but maybe we can figure out the code.

I “Like” Them:

There is an immediacy that is not only inherent in social media, but also intrinsically part of our lives with the advent of the smartphone. These days you can’t escape notifications and there is no reprieve from hounding texts.

While it is so convenient to have my social life attached to my palm at all hours of the day *insert eye-roll here because I’m obviously being sarcastic*, I can’t help but scoff and think “Who cares what so-and-so is doing at such-and-such an hour?!” Although, I say this as I go ahead and “like” their photo anyway, because that’s the society I live in and I am addicted to the pressures of cyber friendships too.

How can we change this dedication to the cyber “like?” It’s such a massive part of our lives now. I went to dinner the other night with my girlfriends and as we all posted pictures, our conversation wove in and out of social media talk:

I’m so glad the semester is over. You used such a good filter. I just had a major sale the other day, so I am going to make my quota. That’s awesome! No one has liked my picture yet. I did. Yeah, but no one else has. Did you guys see the trailer for the new Leo movie?! Omg, that looks amazing. I can’t wait to see it. Ugh, look who just liked your picture. Who? Just look…

And so the story goeswe momentarily step out of our physical reality into this outside experience so closely tied to what I’m doing at that moment. It’s a new layer of my life that I haven’t quite figured out whether I “like” or not. Regardless of how I feel, this movement towards technological living has given society a new power over the individual as we are swayed towards a virtual reality in tune with others.

No Wait before the Date:

Remember when Christmas was exciting and there were presents wrapped by a mysterious, fat, and happy man who rewarded us for being good? Well, the jig is up. We send Christmas lists to friends and family without any intrigue or mystery because we have to know what we are getting—we have to know that these gifts are right for us.

The innocence is gone as we eat, drink, and are merry with friends and family over the holidays and find ourselves being set up on “blind” dates that aren’t so blind anymore now that we can stalk profiles. With or without the wine, you are drunk on the notion that this might be the one, distorting your understanding of the situation. You now have the ability to kinda-sorta know what they look like, so essentially, you have signed up for “blurry” first date (since people very rarely look as good in real life as they do in pictures).

Then the questions start pouring in… How do I know I like him if I don’t even know if he reads? Is he liberal? Does he like the outdoors? Is he allergic to dogs?! These are all questions I need answered which profile stalking deters us from finding out because catching a glimpse of someone’s pictures categorizes them. We are never able to remove those first impressions with his ex-partner or his agility while doing a keg stand in ’09—we never get a clean slate and it doesn’t give us a chance to find out who someone truly is now.

It is this immediacy that I have qualms with because it has ruined “the wait.” You don’t need to wait around to meet someone because the best versions of those people reside within a little device that fits in your pocket. You are immediately notified when they added you to be a “friend,” and when they “liked” your picture, but what these notifications lack is the meaning within this virtual communication that can only be relayed with human contact.

I mean, what does an Instagram “like” even mean?! Also, how should I react to a man commenting “Gorgeous!” on my profile picture—along with so many other women’s?! These roadblocks didn’t exist for centuries and all of the sudden I’m plopped into a dating scene that is nothing short of understanding social hieroglyphics that include emojis and acronyms for every occasion.

This all sounds nice and confusing, if not a bit superficial and weird, but what about when things don’t work out? What happens when you can’t escape the virtual reality of your ex-spouse?

I Can’t Quit You:

We have all been confronted with the issue of that is *cue dooming sound effects*: the ex. They pop up on your newsfeed time and time again. They went to your spot. They went on a trip that you had talked about. They started dating someone new.

This is where my relationship with technology becomes unhealthy because I always go back for more. How do you move past the “Ugh, I hate them but I want to know what they’re doing” stage? It’s hard but there has to be a way to rewind the clocks to the time when I didn’t have an app that reminded me of our painful parting words with status updates and pictures fun outings.

The best way to channel the years when you were able to move on without a siren going off in your broken heart every time you go online is to un-friend them. I tried it out recently for the first time and it worked wonders. I no longer had the ability to look or see anything. After deleting their phone number, the unhealthy habit was broken forever. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done for ever,” and it’s true because I never have to see him again, or anyone else that I don’t want to see, since I took control of the situation and learned to remove myself from their life. Don’t mind me; I’ll just be dancing down my new singing, “I’ve Got the Power.”

The point I’m trying to make here is un-friend and un-plug as you see fit. Be a “friend” to yourself first. No one can do it for you, so I say take the power that resides in the stroke of your finger as you eliminate the unnecessary and invest in your value. Go out there and wink at that hottie across the coffee shop. Ask for your friends to refrain from showing you pictures of a successful banker who used to party like a rock star. Join a hiking club and have conversations with someone new.

These are all experiences that are available to us now, but we forget when we are inundated with notifications that people “like” us on our lit up screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be deleting my social media accounts any time soon, and I do believe in the good power and logic behind the technology that keeps my life moving forward, but sometimes you have to take the time to reevaluate the big picture and what it takes to get there. There just isn’t an app for that. I can’t download my partner (even though I sometimes wish I could—it would be a hell of a lot easier). I have to cultivate that relationship myself, the old fashioned way.

Share the Love:

While we may have created these obstacles that did not haunt people in the past, and while they are painful realizations to overcome when faced with a virtual reality layered on top of our everyday existence, social media is a powerful tool for us finding love and loving life.

We can share things with friends and family. We can celebrate others’ successes and invite them to cheers to our own. Just remember to stay grounded within this experience. Technology and the social media that it makes so easily accessible is a simulacrum of what is and always will be reality.

In the End:

I think we found our answer to finding that “truly, madly, deeply” kind of love within this society which is to remember that technology and all that it brings is not our physical reality and to stay true to ourselves when we find our world looking more and more filtered.

Tara Talks: Episode Thirty Eight (The One with Cool Dudes with Mustaches)

A while back I made a video about my Top 5 favorite dudes with beards so here’s the same thing but with MUSTACHES because it’s Movember. If you don’t know what movember is… It’s to help bring awareness for men’s health by guys growing out their beards and either they look super sexy or like a bum living on the subway. So yeah, here’s my top 5, Hopefully it’s better than my beard video.

I give you complete permission to judge choice number five but I totally had to bring it back. How can people just forget about how horrible that looked?? I still love him though so that’s okay.

If you want to see who my Top 5 picks were for dudes with cool beards, watch it here!

If you have any topics you want to see me talk about let me know on Twitter or in the comments below!! Continue reading “Tara Talks: Episode Thirty Eight (The One with Cool Dudes with Mustaches)”

Ashleeeybash: Love is DEAD. Or… Is it?

(Image Credit: Ashley Bulayo / The Daily Quirk)
(Image Credit: Ashley Bulayo / The Daily Quirk)

2015 = the year love died. Or… Is it? So 2015 was a rough year for some relationships in Hollywood but hey, there are still those who pushed through it all and are STILL together. LET’S GIVE IT UP FOR THEM! ROCKSTARS I SAY! Continue reading “Ashleeeybash: Love is DEAD. Or… Is it?”

10 Things You Should Probably NOT Thank Your Boyfriend For

(Image Credit: George Dolgikh)
(Image Credit: George Dolgikh)

Girls are such pains. It’s a wonder how guys even deal with them. Am I right?

I’m not.

Unfortunately, there are tons of lists out there that, while trying to pay homage to boyfriends worldwide, arguably promote an unhealthy image of a heterosexual relationship: A boyfriend gritting his teeth as his girlfriend continues to annoy him. Continue reading “10 Things You Should Probably NOT Thank Your Boyfriend For”

New Bumble Dating App Puts the Ball in the Ladies’ Court

(Image Credit: Moxco Inc.)
(Image Credit: Moxco Inc.)

Alright all my single ladies. It has happened. Technology has put the ball in our court!

You’re probably thinking, “What in the world is she talking about?” Well, let me explain. The other day I was watching The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Noah’s guest was Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe. At first, I had no idea who she was and what Bumble even meant but after Noah explained she’s a co-founder of the hit app Tinder… it all made sense. On the show, Wolfe was promoting her brand new app, Bumble, which is a bit like Tinder… but with a twist! Continue reading “New Bumble Dating App Puts the Ball in the Ladies’ Court”