Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Memorial Day sales are starting to kick into gear, and I’m hoping to do another round-up this weekend with more of my favorites. For the weekend open thread, though, I’m drooling over this stretchy button-front blouse — it looks perfect for running around on the weekend and looking pulled together but still being super comfortable. It’s part of the James Perse online sample sale — was $155, now marked to $89.

(L-2)

Comments

  1. momentsofabsurdity :

    I have this blouse (or at least, its James Perse equivalent from last season). I love it but a) the sizing scale is so odd that I accidentally bought an XL (oops) and b) the fabric stretches a TON so I need to throw it into the dryer before wearing it (may be related to the, you know, buying an XL by accident, but still annoying…)

  2. Sweet as Soda Pop :

    Not digging the shirt… Pockets on the boobs are not my thing.

    We’ve talked a lot about gifts for law school grads, but what about Physical Therapy school grads? My best friend just graduated with her DPT and I have no idea what to get her. I sent flowers when she passed her boards, but would like to do something different. I don’t think she has a job lined up yet, fwiw. I thought about something to start her working wardrobe, but she’ll be wearing lots of khakis and polos, so that’s not a great idea… I’m looking to spend about $100.

    Ideas? TIA!

  3. I was prompted by the post a few days ago asking for updates to post one of my own. I posted back in February about concerns over my relationship with jealous boyfriend of three years, and I was so grateful for all your thoughtful comments and advice. Here’s my update: we broke it off in February (after a particularly stormy fight) and have had very little contact since then. I have tried to focus on work, picking up new hobbies, expanding my social circles, and generally keep moving. However, I am miserable without him. I miss him so much it physically hurts. I can’t remember how awful all the jealousy and accusations made feel, and I want to be back with him so, so badly (although I don’t think that’s an option any more). I’ve tried dating others but I keep thinking of him and missing him and not feeling able to focus on the person I’m on a date with. And, it sucks living in the same small town still – I always wonder if I’m going to run into him.

    I know in my head that the relationship wasn’t working and it wasn’t healthy, but in my heart I miss him and love him and keep thinking that perhaps we shouldn’t have ended it. Basically, I have no closure. I know this stuff takes time, but I am truly a mess, even three months on – I dream about him pretty much every night and I can’t stop thinking about him.

    Unfortunately therapy is out of the question at the moment – I started to go but my insurance doesn’t cover it and it became prohibitively expensive. I don’t want to go on antidepressants if I can avoid it, but I am starting to really see my life affected in a bad way (I don’t get much enjoyment out of anything that I used to like doing, and I’m finding it hard to concentrate at work.)

    I can’t stop thinking about Dan Savage’s theory about the “price of admission” to be with someone. Perhaps putting up with his jealousy was the price of admission to be with the person I love, and now I am just heartbroken.

    Has anyone been in similar position and what did you find helped you start moving on and healing? I’ve already done a list of reasons I had to get out of the relationship, but now I look at the list and think I was just out of my mind. I want to stop looking back and reminiscing/daydreaming about him, and instead pull myself together and move on. It’s like my mind is stuck.

    Sorry for the long post. Any thoughts/advice much welcomed.

    • Hang in there! You did the right thing! Don’t go back!

      Are you near a college/university? Often Masters and PsyD students are required to do therapy hours. They’re supervised by their professors and the cost is often really reasonable. Call the psychology department.

      If not, I would seriously consider antidepressants. You don’t have to stay on them forever, they can be helpful in getting through a bad situation such as this and most of them come in generic forms now which are very reasonable if your insurance covers it. At least go talk to your GP about it?

    • Oh sad anon. I remember your post. And I know it is so hard to make this decision and to stick with it. But you need to believe that what you’re doing is the right think. Because yes, Dan Savage may write about the “cost of admission” — but he also writes that irrational jealousy of the type that I remember your boyfriend having is emotional abuse, plain and simple. See e.g.: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/savage-love/Content?oid=889937 (and others, he’s addressed this many times over the years.)

      But I know that the advice of a s*x advice columnist cannot make this easier. And it can’t make this better. Dealing with the end of a relationship is a lot like dealing with a death. You need to exercise self-care like you’re dealing with a death. Have you been honest with family and friends about what happened and why you left? Have you asked for help? Don’t worry about dating right now, that’s not important, worry about reconnecting with friendships and with family and just really relying on those relationships.

      Also — I know you say that therapy is out of the budget (believe me I understand) — but what about group therapy. If you contact your local DV advocacy org, they should be able to point you to a group who meets for women who have experienced emotional abuse. And what might help about going to that is to realize you’re not alone. Its incredibly common to think about going back, to want to go back. For a very long time, he was an incredibly important part of your universe (that’s a key tool in an emotional abuser’s tool-bag) — and its really hard to rebuild when that is out of it. Knowing that doesn’t make it go away, but sometimes it helps to talk about it with other people who have been there.

      Sad anon…I know its so hard right now. And I know I don’t know you. But I also want you to know that you’re doing the right thing and that we’re here for you, even though we don’t know you.

    • Oh no, I’m sorry! Break-ups are so painful. You should get yourself a copy of Susan Elliott’s Getting Past Your Breakup and read it this weekend. Break-ups are not easy and it makes all the sense in the world that you’re still heartbroken three months later.

      I don’t remember your earlier post, but I will say that jealousy/fighting/controlling behavior is NOT the same as the price of admission. The price of admission is leaving cream cheese on the counter. Jealousy/controlling behavior is a major red flag that will destroy your life. You are doing the right thing here — you just need to fight your way through the horrible, painful breakup.

    • Cut yourself some slack. You dated the guy for three years. It’s only been three months. Perhaps it’s too soon for you to dive back in to dating; that’s okay!

      Hang in there! It will get better.

      • It will definitely get better. I was in a similar situation about a year ago – recent break up, missing the guy, wondering if/when we’d run into each other. And it definitely sucked for a while. I didn’t even want to think about dating again. I spent plenty of nights falling asleep on the couch to the tv (or in bed with the laptop playing) just so I could drown out the things I wish I had said/told him that kept running through my brain as I tried to fall asleep.

        But time helps. It smooths out the rough edges. And if therapy helps, that’s good, and if it’s important to you, you should definitely use it. But, it’s not a magic pill either – it’s not going to make the aftermath better, just more bearable because you have a way of getting it out of your head. Do you have friends that you can talk to? Parents, siblings? Anyone that you can just say the things you are thinking to and know that you’ll have a empathic ear, but that can turn around and remind you that the break is for the best and that jealousy is never an appropriate? Are you journaling or writing any of your thoughts down?

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t really have any advice, and I am very sorry that you miss your boyfriend so much. I will say that I don’t think that being with someone that is baselessly accusatory and jealous is a good thing. I can’t imagine that makes you feel very good about yourself. I think you are better off being alone, or being with someone that makes you feel good about yourself.

      I have a few questions – when you broke it off with him, was it a fight or did you have a chance to talk? I ask because if he was an otherwise nice and caring person (with a jealous streak), I wonder if you told him why you were breaking it off. I wonder if he would care. It doesn’t sound like cares to know how he could have improved things.

      Otherwise, I would suggest to simply keep moving (as you said). Keep meeting new people and trying new things. Try not to allow yourself to think about him.

    • If you’re into books, a bunch of my friends have read “It’s Called a Break up Because it’s Broken” by Greg Behrendt and very very highly recommend it.

    • S in Chicago :

      Please don’t go back. You’re doing all the right things, it just takes time. Continue to keep yourself occupied with an external focus–exercise, plan things with friends so you have “something” you’re looking forward to, set some work goals or attend functions related to your profession and delve into them. Honestly, I think you’ll realize that it is often a matter of loneliness and missed routine that is making it so hard. Honestly, some day you’ll look back and wonder how you ever put up with that craziness. Price of admission should be things like occassionally attending sports events you don’t like or keeping your mouth buttoned when his loud-mouth friend is in town–it’s not subjecting yourself to bad treatment and lack of respect. One of my friends gave me some great advice after a bad pattern of routinely going back to someone who wasn’t very nice to me. She said to imagine yourself as a kid and the advice you would have given her then about picking relationships (friends and romantic) as she got older. You wouldn’t have wanted her to settle for a jealous lout, would you? You deserve better. Once you’ve had some more time and space and experiences filling your day-to-day, it will eventually fall into place. Just hang in there. You seriously deserve much better. And stop going through your lists and reminiscing–the more you keep doing that, the more you keep preventing the necessary mental distance to occur where you’ll see the situation more clearly.

      • You are exactly where you should be three months in. Actually, farther along than many would be (and have been — ask me how I know!). Three months is nothing. Especially after three years. AA says you shouldn’t make any big decisions or commitments like starting to date someone for ONE YEAR after becoming sober. I kind of think leaving this guy is like going sober. So I’m not surprised that it feels wrong/weird/strange to be on a date with a total stranger these days.

        Completely agree with others that his behavior does not fall in the category of “price of admission.” (That’s like, “yes, I prefer all the dishes to be done before we close up the house for the night, but he leaves them for the next morning.” type stuff.)

        Also agree with group therapy. Maybe even Al-Anon or CODA because there will be others there who are dealing with staying away from people who are toxic for them, just like you are.

        • By the way, I think this is a really good summary of the “price of admission” thing from Dan Savage.

          Or put another way, a partner is allowed to charge a reasonable price of admission into their life. Like, they can ask that dishes get done or that you fold your clothes or even that s*x be had reasonably often. That sort of thing.

          But asking that you subject yourself to constant emotional punishment, not a reasonable price of admission.

    • Silvercurls :

      Stick to your chosen path, but try being kinder to yourself about reminiscing. It’s only human to be–amidst the difficulties of adjusting to a new situation–wistful about the less-than-ideal situation you just exited. (Example: The Israelites had scarcely left Egypt when they began complaining about how their food in freedom was not as good as the melons and cucumbers they ate while enslaved. I’m not trying to be evangelical; the Exodus story just happens to be on my mind.) Perhaps you’re missing the warmth of being in a relationship as much as you’re missing being with *him*. Whatever you do, don’t go back to your previous unhappiness by reconnecting with him because that will only wipe out your months of working to a new sense of balance *without* this guy in your life! Sometimes the 5% mismatch really *is* more significant than the 95% match with another person. Trust your earlier decision that the “price of admission” (putting up with his jealousy) was too high, and also trust that life really will get better. You can’t make room for something new and improved until you’ve evicted the old and not-so-great. (I’m doing this in terms of physical possessions, but it can be the same way with personal connections.) Good luck. I hope you find ways to stay contentedly if not happily occupied this weekend.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Why don’t you want to go on anti depressants? Speaking for myself, I resisted medication for months while I was depressed because I wanted to prove (to whom? myself?? the world???) that I didn’t need medication, that medication is for other people and I wasn’t that bad. I was afraid that medication would make me not myself. I was afraid that I would become dependent on the medication. Denial. It ain’t just a river in Egypt.

      When I hit bottom (which really, really sucks and I highly recommend you avoid) and finally went on medication. None of my fears came true. It was like this horrible cloud was lifted off of me. For the first time in months, I felt like myself again. Not the sad sack version of myself I’d become acustomed to, but the real me, that had been buried under the horrible weight of depression. I was on the medication for about a year, during which time I was able to get myself help and learn how to feel like a normal human again. I couldn’t have done that without meds. I did not become dependent. And now I try to talk about my stint on medication whenever appropriate, because it saddens me that there’s a stigma against medication which prevents people from getting the help they need.

      Please reconsider medication, Sad Anon. It sounds like you need the support right now.

      • Even as the daughter of a mental health professional, I thought medication was either for “crazy” people or “weak” people. Then I went on a low-dose anti-depressant and it was like the sun shone in my life for the first time in months. It was like a weight lifting off my chest I hadn’t even realized was there.

        I don’t know how to describe it. Its not for the weak though, its for the smart.

        • “I went on a low-dose anti-depressant and it was like the sun shone in my life for the first time in months. It was like a weight lifting off my chest I hadn’t even realized was there.”

          I second this description of what it’s like to go on an anti-depressant. I also viewed them as being for weak people but once I was on them, I couldn’t deny that it was clear I hadn’t being seeing anything clearly for months. I didn’t realize what a relief it could be to stop crying all the time.

          • THIS. Started taking citalopram (celexa) during law school after just thinking my anxiety was something I could “learn to control.” I’ve never been happier in my entire life. Realizing you may need help makes you strong, not weak!

      • Thanks SFBA, this is interesting to hear. I have all the concerns you list in your post, together with a general sense (probably from my upbringing) that I should be able to just pull myself together and deal with this, not through medication. But the truth is, I am a mess, and I cry in my car on the way to work, and in my car on my way home after work. I hold it together at work (thankfully being insanely busy has been a distraction) but it’s getting harder and harder. I am just waiting to hit rock bottom so I can start feeling better again, but every week feels worse than the one before.

        • I’m agreed from above. You are describing serious symptoms of depression that are impacting your ability to live your life in several major ways. Remember, situational depression is still depression. And rock bottom is a misnomer…because frequently you hit rock bottom and kind of bounce…hitting it repeatedly over and over again. Until you’re kind of bruised and battered.

          At least talk to your PCP about maybe trying low-dose anti-depressants if you’re thinking about it. They won’t force them down your throat. Also, there are places you can go where you can get lower cost or free therapy — maybe ask your PCP if they have an in-office social worker who could help you get a referral of some sort to an agency.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          You’re welcome. Yes, I felt that way too – I’ve always been a pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps self-reliant kind of girl, so I really resisted getting help because if I needed help, then I wasn’t who I thought I was, and I really didn’t want to do that. This was a serious mistake on my part. Smart girls use the tools they need to get ahead, which can include meds.

          It deeply troubles me that you’re almost looking forward to hitting rock bottom so you “can start feeling better again,” but what you’re not recognizing is that you could hit rock bottom and *stay there* without help. It’s not like you hit the bottom of the pool and can use the floor to launch yourself back up to the surface. You could just sink to the bottom and be stuck down there, and drown. Please don’t do that to yourself. Please believe me when I tell you that hitting bottom is the most horrible thing you could do to yourself. Please make the choice to get help and get better.

        • Agreed and SFBA are so so right about rock bottom. It’s a much worse place than you’d think. Avoid getting there if you can.

        • AnonForThis :

          I understand the way you’re feeling. Many years ago (gosh, 10+, and I am since married) I had a relationship ended that had gone on for about 2.5 years. It was very volatile (and somewhat abusive) and one day he ended it with no explanation. Left. He just stopped talking to me. When I finally got him to say something to me after days of crying, screaming, and begging, he pretty much just said he didn’t want to be with me anymore, if I could leave his things at X place, and that was it. No explanation. No talking. No nothing. Just here today, gone tomorrow.

          I felt like you for what felt like such a long time. I felt like my whole self was broken. The complete and utter lack of closure, to this day, is probably the thing that bothers me most and delayed my healing so much, so again I truly understand what you feel. To this day I still do not understand why he did what he did. Before I got married, I wrote him an email (we had not spoken in years at that point), telling him that I was sorry for any hurt I had caused and I wished him the best. He never wrote back. He still has not and I still have not heard from him since he told me he didn’t want anything to do with me. I don’t suspect I ever will. I am not going to lie- I still sometimes have nightmares about him and the whole deal, even though I am happy, coupled up, and it has been 10+ years. I even admit part of me wishes he would just write back and tell me he was sorry too. I feel like my scars might 100% go away if that happened. But, I have spent a lot of time since I met my now husband realizing this will probably never happen, and so I think I have healed as much as I can. I am proud of how far I’ve come.

          I too remember crying and crying at a moment’s notice. I felt empty and alone. I felt like nobody would understand what I went through because all of our mutual friends would never believe how volatile and abusive the relationship was. Some of my friends didn’t even really believe me that he just stopped talking to me. It was horrible.

          One day though… I just got so. sick. of. crying. I think I was at the grocery store walking by the fish counter and I started bawling because they had the same type of salmon we had cooked together, or something, a million days previously. I was crying at fish. I just kind of felt pathetic at myself, and there was just some sort of lightbulb that clicked, I guess, and suddenly I just didn’t want to cry any more. It was like some mental switch just got flipped and said… no way, I’m done. I’m so done with this. It was better ever since. I tried to heal the lonliness by pursuing goals he never wanted me to. That helped. I journaled a ton. I dated some very nice people casually, no expectations (no –s*x– either). They were just nice men I could get dressed up for, go out, have some dinner a few times, and feel a little better about the world. After doing that for awhile, things started to feel more normal and I started to find myself really interested in men again. That made me feel even better… like a normal person, like there was such a thing as love after loss and that it’s really true there were other fish in the sea. I will never forget the feeling of kissing my husband for the first time. it was exhilirating and a feeling like I never experienced with ‘the other.’ Amazing you could be with somebody for almost 3 years and never feel your heart pitter patter and flutter.

          My point is that healing comes… normalcy comes. Eventually. It may take a long time or some internal mechanism, but the healing comes and normalcy, despite bad memories, can and will overtake you. And there will be a point where you are with a new man who makes you feel so much more amazing than you ever did before, and you will wonder how in the world you could have ever wanted the past back. Part of that is finding a new routine and a new person to put in that slot in your heart labeled ‘the one I love.’ I found that one of the hardest things about that break up was not so much that I had lost him specifically, but rather that i had lost that routine of being with somebody and lost the vision/labeled slot in my heart of the person who i was supposed to love. Suddenly all those future fantasies like ‘get married’ or ‘travel with your partner’ became empty because there was no partner anymore and I could no longer see who that partner for the future might be. This feeling gets better over time when you do start to feel more comfortable seeing different men. you start to feel sparks for them and realize how there are a lot of different people who might fill that label. then, you start to realize how it’s just the partner and the future you miss, and not necessarily the old partner himself. Again, it takes time, but I think this sort of aspect of losing a relationship is one of the things that makes it so hard to heal from.

          Again, it takes time. Don’t push yourself. Cry if you need to. There is no shame in that. It’s a long process and healing hurts, but one day there is an end, even if you can’t see it right now.

          • Thank you so much for sharing this. The crying over salmon in the store really resonated with me – I am at that stage now where I am constantly reminded of him, which of course is only normal since we spent so much time together – every day items have become associated with him.

          • I have been there as well. In a relationship with a jealous manipulative man that for some reason I loved way too much. He actually ended it, which was the best thing for me because I don’t know how much longer I would have let it go on. But it took me about a year to get over him. I had to take sleeping pills to sleep at night. I cried at the drop of a hat. How did I get over it? I talked to one particularly good friend a lot. I journaled. I did all the things that I didn’t dare do while I was with him for fear of inciting his jealousy. Give yourself more time. 3 months is not enough. Get out and do all the things you’ve hoped to do (start crossing off your bucket list). Talk to friends. Write down how you are feeling. I didn’t take any anti-depressants, but the sleeping pills saved me. Without them I couldn’t sleep at all; I’d just stay awake obsessing, crying naked in the bathtub (yeah, it was bad), and wondering why, what could I have done different. So give yourself more time. Don’t date yet. Write it down and it will gradually work its way out of your system. I look back at it now and I’m so grateful that I didn’t stay with him. I would have been miserable. Instead, I met a wonderful, loving, giving man who is now my husband. He values me, trusts me, and loves me with all his heart; all things my ex was unable to do. He makes me so happy and I would have had none of that if my and ex and I had stayed together.

          • This is beautifully written and very self-aware in a way that it is hard to be. Thanks for posting it.

        • Anonymous :

          I would also urge you to reconsider taking antidepressants. My experience was that it took the edge off so that I still cried but it was not a never-ending, over-the-top experience. I also did therapy, which was immensely useful. I stopped the antidepressants after a couple of years, as well as the therapy. Five years later, I am so glad I did both. One thing I told myself to motivate was that I wanted to bounce back as well and as fast as I could so I could meet that right person and be the healthy, stable person that person would want to be with. I also feel like antidepressants, because they help to keep you from going over the edge, help you to heal faster and get your mind going in healthier directions so that you might get to a good place a little faster than without them. I hope that helps.

      • If you try anti-depressants, be prepared for the first or second one you try to not be right for you. I had terrible experiences with the first two anti-depressants (racing heart, could not sleep, sweaty hands) and decided it was better to go without. Some friends recommended herbal supplements, never tried them, but that’s another option.

    • I heard once that it takes about 1/2 as long as you were with someone to fully get over that person. I think this might trend a bit long, but I think it gives some perspective. You were together for 3 years. That would put you at needing about 1.5 years to fully get over him. You have only been apart 3 months – that’s how long someone would need if they’d only been together 6 months.

      I know that you can’t just apply math to love and get a nice, clean result. Emotions and feelings don’t work that way. But you got to give this some time. It is totally natural that you are focusing on the good times you had and are daydreaming about being back together. It is really comfortable and feels really good to be in a committed relationship. Now that you’re apart, you are without your best friend, your other half. Now is when you have to kind of, grow your own other half back (if that makes sense), and that growing, hurts.

      What worked for me was just doing what you are trying to do – expanding social circle and developing personal hobbies. This was how I got into fitness and working out. When I’d be alone in my apartment and feeling lonely and mopey, I’d get myself to gym. This redirected my focus and energy and gave me a great endorphin high. It also didn’t hurt that after a month or so of this, I lost some weight and started getting toned, attracting more male attention, pumping up my self-esteem, and showing me not only that I could still attract guys, but that I could attract better ones than my ex.

    • Gotta run to the airport, but, real quick: Remember that being in an abusive relationship is like being a trained dog! He’s got you trained. (I got trained, too, so, no judgement there). At first, he was nice. then, he’d start being jealous, but still nice sometimes. But, it feels oh so good when he’s nice! And that’s exactly how to go about training a dog – you don’t give him treats all the time, after he’s learned how to shake hands. Serious, sounds weird, but I was reading a book about clicker training, and it finally clicked for me that my ex had trained me! So, OF COURSE you feel like crap right now. It doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision. It WILL get better, though. Please, please, please….the price of admission does NOT mean accepting an unheathly relationship. For me, change of scenery helped – go visit some friends that live out of town?

      best of luck to you!

    • Major hugs. That sucks. I ended a relationship that wasn’t working for me about 6 years ago. It wasn’t a very similar situation but iut was a very difficult decision to make because he was mostly great, yet there were a few things that just weren’t right and I thought ultimately the decision would have to be made sooner or later. It was not easy.
      The reason I am sharing though is that a few years later I really did look back on that relationship very fondly (e.g., He loved me sooooo much, etc.) and I ended up running into his friends at a party. We ended up talking extensively and they kept wanting to know what happened and why I ended it. I didn’t say anything unkind and was just vague and then one of his friends said something to the effect of “it’s all right, I get it,” going on to recount some really sh*tty behavior on my ex’s part that I had COMPLETELY rejected from memory. It really blew my mind because 1) I totally did not remember it at all and 2) I thought no one in our little circle ever noticed any of his lesser moments.

      My point is breaking up is hard and memory can make things that were awful seem totally okay in retrospect. I know what you mean about price of admission but I don’t think your situation is quite what Dan had in mind. Hang in there.

      Also, while I get the anti depressants reluctance, what about something natural like St John’s Wart?

    • Thank you all for your recommendations. I am taking all of this to heart and perhaps this is the weekend when I figure out a game plan for turning myself around. I am starting to realize that I can’t rely on just processing this in on my own in my head. I’m not really talking to my family as for some reason (a vague hope of fixing this relationship?) I don’t want them to turn against him, but I have great, supportive friends who listen and remind me of how was talking about this relationship when I was in it.

      • Are you seeing your family much at all? If you have a good relationship with them, it might be good to spend a weekend with your parents/a sibling/cousin/very long time bff etc. I think part of a breakup like this is that you lose part of your identity, which was tied to this other person for so long. Being around family can be soothing because they knew you (and loved you) before, and will be there for you long after. They can remind you that this relationship is not who you are.

        Also, I think you should tell them. Not all the gory details of course, but get it out there- he was jealous and it was unhealthy. The more you say it, the more you will remember it.

        • Thanks, yes – I’ve booked a trip to see family this summer. They know we’ve split up but they don’t know why (and they are somewhat puzzled, especially by my unwillingness to talk about it.)

          • Talkaboutittalkaboutittalkaboutit.

            I know it sounds hard and stupid. But ask for help from the people in your life who matter. And don’t pull punches either (and don’t sugar-coat it, be honest about it) because they need to know the why (because otherwise they may be tempted to tell you ‘oh, you can just patch things up’). Because, right now you need the support of the people in your life who are important to you! I know its hard…but talk about it. Its the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

          • I split from an emotionally abusive boyfriend 10+ years ago. It was a multi-year relationship. My family still doesn’t know that he abused me. I should probably tell them, but it’s so tough. So don’t feel horrible if you can’t tell them.

            I have learned through that breakup and others that I can’t handle dating after a breakup. You should learn to “date yourself,” i.e., learn to live life as a single person. It’s actually really fun. (Movies are cheaper! Restaurants bring your food quicker! You can get tons of free drinks from men in bars, thank them, and then leave!)

            You have to know who you are, as an individual, before you can offer that person to others in relationships.

            This website also really helped me in my last breakup: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk.

            You did the right thing. Intense jealousy is emotional abuse.

      • Late to the thread, but what others said! You did the right thing, my dear, and IT WILL GET BETTER.

        There will come a time, when everything will hurt less, and you will be able to go back to all the places you’ve been, and reclaim them. Make new, better memories, so they predominate, instead of memories with your ex.

        I think of the suffering and grief that comes of any breakup as sort of the opposite of “price of admission, ” — it’s the price of freedom. You’re free from the emotional abuse and his thrills-and-chills roller-coster. As tough as things are right now, your life is wholly your own. There will come a time when you’ll savor in it, and revel in it.

    • I still miss the guy I broke up with in 1996 because he was cheating on me. He has made a couple of plays for me, but with the distance we now have from each other, I see that our life paths are too disparate.

      I wish I had advice for you. I don’t, but I am concerned because your post sounds so much like what I’m learning as a volunteer is what women/girls go through when they are trafficked. Not saying you’re looking for a pimp, just that you sound like you are very, very vulnerable and need to be careful about any decisions you’re making. Remember to value yourself!

      One small thing that might be encouraging–my son and I have both noticed that when one of us notices we are in a depression, that is usually the first step towards getting out of it. When we are deepest, we don’t notice it’s happening. When we recognize it and begin to see the role it’s playing, then we are on the way out. I hope you are too.

      • Anonymous :

        I think it’s kind of awful that you posted this. How does it help Sad Anon to know you still miss a guy from 16 years ago? It’s obviously out of the norm, and it’s really selfish and strange for you to to have shared this.

        • Silvercurls :

          Gently, gently, please. Thanks for sticking up for the OP, but JenK only spent two sentences on her own circumstances before turning her focus to Sad Anon’s situation. Most of us can’t fully respond to a request for help without first reexamining our own experience in similar circumstances. After all, unless we’re trained therapists, on what other body of knowledge can we draw?

          I trust that each original poster here is able to sift through the responses, attend to what is helpful to her, and ignore the rest without being destroyed by an outlier comment. The women who visit this site generally seem quite able to transform present difficulties into challenges that are met, learned from, and transcended.

        • No, it’s not. It’s reality for some people and the OP probably knows this so why hide it.

          • You’re right. Why hide it? I know when I’m consoling someone about something I make sure to be as candid as possible. If someone’s crying about her weight, I tell her that frankly she would look better if she gained or lost pounds. If someone’s upset about not getting into grad school, I explain that the economy is awful so she probably is even less likely to get a job now without that graduate degree.
            It’s true – since it’s a reality for some people, I should make sure to mention it when someone’s asking for help.

        • It’s called “normalizing”–letting someone know that they are not the only person goig through whatever it is they are worried about. See the last couple dozen posts.
          Getting out of a bad relationship is important, but carrying a soft spot for that person is not a problem; I think being full of hate or spite would be a much more harmful reaction. The trick is not to let yourself fool yourself into thinking that your fondness for the person in one way means you ough to be with him in another.

          • That makes some sense – I kind of get why you posted what you did, then. Thanks for clarifying,

      • I’m just going to chime in from..well gee, how to put it…the other end of the WRONG path when dealing with this.
        i had a similar situation (emotionally abusive relationship, really, he cheated, etc, whatever you want to insert I don’t think it really matters WHAT precisely the problem was, other than recognizing the relationship was broken and fundamentally unhealthy for you). Anyway.
        After over 2 years, broke up, (he cheated, sort of epically, so last straw). We were supposed to move in together over Christmas and broke up after Thanskgiving, (this was years ago) so it was a very “Totally set on one direction then BLINDSIDE, BOOM” kind of thing.

        I did this same thing. Distraught. Sleeping pills to sleep. Coffee to wake up. Lost 20 pounds. Couldn’t eat. Didn’t care. Basically the walking comatose when I wasn’t busy crying till I threw up. (sorry to be graphic). But really, depths of freaking despair.

        And yeah, it went on for a long, long time. I’d say it was a sold 6 months before I just couldn’t cry any more. But I still pined. I compared everyone to his few favorable characteristics. There were some things about him that were great (there always are, right?) and after awhile, it seemed like they somehow outweighed whatever was wrong with him.

        Small town. I’d run into him here or there. Hard. Mutual friends. Awful. You know, the whole deal.
        About 3 years after we broke up, and I’d had a sort of not so great experience with another guy, it was christmastime. Was out with a girlfriend, needed a ride. So I called him. I think I wanted to see if he’d come. Because I *wasn’t over it*, really. He actually did. I got mixed with him again.

        Long story short: NOT ONE THING HAD CHANGED.
        I realized really quickly, hit me really hard, that he was broken. Effed up. Not ok. JUST like before. Because that’s who he is. All those thoughts that “if only this thing were different, everything would be great because otherwise he’s awesome”? Just keep walking through them, love, because the hard truth is that one thing? It will NEVER be different, because that IS who he is. He isn’t that great guy with this one little issue, he is THAT guy. With the issue. They aren’t separate. That IS him. And it won’t change. Ever.
        It was easier to let go the second time, but I wish I could have realized, really understood, before doing it *again* that the saying “a leopard can’t change it’s spots” is really true.

        Time with him would be just the same. It wouldn’t be like it is in your head. It wouldn’t be all the good stuff without the jealousy and craziness. It would be *just the same*. Exactly. Maybe even worse (mine was) because then they figure you’re so into them you’re not going anywhere. Just keep walking. Literally and figuratively. You’ll come out the other side eventually, but you can’t do that if you turn back around and go the way you came.

        • CleveAnon :

          Can I just add my experience to the wrong path here too?

          I broke up with a guy when it became apparent that he’d cheated on me and didn’t have a problem with it, nor was he bothered by the fact that I did have a problem with it. I then carried a torch for this man for five years, through several other relationships and a couple of major life changes. We got back together after five years, and guess what? Nothing had changed. He had no problem picking out engagement rings with me and planning to move in together while maintaining his extracurricular activities with at least one other woman.

          There’s one good thing to be said for the “wrong” path, and that’s that it can sometimes, if you’re ready for it, bold face and double underline the things that were wrong the first time, and ensure that you never make the same mistake again.

    • You are NOT alone. I had a probelem with my ex, Alan Sheketovits. He perfered the bottle over me. I am ALMOST over him (my mom calls it “EGGZOVER”) and I do NOT like it when guys just want me for sex. I am worth alot more then that. You, like me, will find another guy who will treat you right! We are better then the men who act like boys. Eventuelly there will be another guy, we just have to wait for him to show up!!!!! He will be there. There are alot of guys who want me (and you); you have to be pickey! Not just any slob! It has to be the right slob, my dad says! I say FOOEY! No slob for me. I want the real deal. A guy who is a prince who will treat me like the Queen of Sheba! Yes, that is what we deserve! Not just any slob! So forget that guy–men are all around. Pick the right one! Best of luck to you!

  4. Mary Ann Singleton :

    I like this shirt, but there are no returns/exchanges, so I would want to try it on first.

    On another topic – looking for reviews on the Cole Haan Violet Air 60 pump. I really want this in the nude color but I’m hesitant to spend so much on pumps (even with this weekend’s 25% off). I almost bought it in purple last week on sale, but I really need the nude-for-me version more. Should I wait for a better discount? Hope that it goes on sale?

  5. ChocCityB&R :

    Yay Weekend open thread! Random question related to non-work wear:

    What do you ladies wear around the house? I’ve recently discovered that I’m a sad sad frump from the moment I get home from work until I leave the next morning. I like to be comfortable and get out of my restrictive work clothing, but often that means an oversized t-shirt and sweatpants (and not cute yoga pants, I mean the heavy cotton with the elastic at the bottom sweatpants).

    So, what do you ladies wear when you get home, and what are some more stylish but still comfortable after work options?

    • I’m definitely a “sad frump” after work. I get home, maybe go to yoga, hop in the shower (even if no yoga was involved), and throw on some shorts/sweatpants, and a t-shirt. I live alone, so I have no one to impress, and this is what is comfortable for me.

      • Sames. My dog doesn’t care if I’m wearing leggings and a college t-shirt to sit on the couch.

        If I’m going out to do more than walk her down the block and back, I put on real clothes. Nothing fancy, think jeans + a t-shirt or a sundress.

    • I do the same thing that you do. My poor husband!

    • What kinds of tops do you wear to work? I like to wear something nice but comfortable, like a patterned blouse and cardigan with easy jewelry. Then when I get home, it’s nbd to just switch my slacks or pencil skirt out for dark wash trouser jeans, and switch my heels for flats. I still feel like I’ve got the “put together” feel from work, but it transitions over into something more comfortable. This might not work if you are very business formal all day, because a crisp button down or a silk shell or something isn’t going to have that easy feel in the evenings, but I think it works pretty well for my business casual wardrobe.

      However, if I know I’m not going anywhere in between work and bed … it’s just jammies/ sweat pants straight away and I hang out in them all evening :)

      • Research, Not Law :

        This is what I do, too. I’m also business casual.

        I also keep a “home” outfit for the entire workweek. It’s basically jeans or knit skirt with a not-so-basic jersey top. Since it’s still out from the previous evening, I don’t have to think.

        Not that I don’t spend a significant amount of free time in “yoga” pants (LOL, because I don’t use them for yoga). I don’t feel guilty about it either – my husband isn’t exactly a model in his off-time either.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I want to know the answer to your question, too. I usually change out of work clothes and into yoga pants/sweatpants, and a sweatshirt when I get home, but that kinda bums the DH out. He doesn’t see me all day, and then I’m frumpy as soon as I walk in the door. I’m reluctant to spend money on in-house clothes, but maybe the rettes have inexpensive suggestions.

      • I really like these Merona t-shirts from Target: http://www.target.com/p/Merona-Womens-Gathered-Neck-Top-Assorted-Colors/-/A-13916104

        I have it in 4 colors: black, red, and two jewel tones. I occasionally wear one to work in my business casual office under a cardigan so I’ll leave it on when I get home or change into one or something like it when I get home. They’re only $10 and just as comfy as an old t-shirt, so I think they’re a great alternative. I think a fitted tee and a pair of jeans (or even leggings or yoga pants) is quite a step up from sweatpants.

      • I wear Champion (Target) black yoga pants or crops and the fitted v-neck tees from Old Navy. Used to just wear pajama pants and old sorority tees, but I thought I would throw the husband a bone and at least wear something slightly fitted.

        I feel a little more put together wearing yoga pants and a jewel-tone tee versus pajama pants and a horribly stained XL tee shirt from our college days. Either way, though, the bra is replaced by a sports bra basically the minute I walk in the door.

        • me too- I change into yoga pants + tshirt as soon as I walk through the door. DH actually enjoys the yoga pants, so no complaints from him on that. I make a conscious effort to avoid the oversized tees and fleece pants so that I don’t look like a total disaster. I’ll also run most errands in yoga pants. It’s a little shameful. I wish I could wear yoga pants to court. Maybe with a jacket? (kidding! kind of…)

          • I once had the following exchange with my roommate. It was before my morning coffee.

            Roommate: I’m so glad it’s casual Friday! That means I get to wear yoga pants.
            Me: [spits toothpaste on myself] You’re wearing YOGA PANTS to WORK?
            Roommate: What? It’s only a half day.

            And there she was. Wearing a professional top and shoes with yoga pants. To go educate the future of America.

          • @a.: wow, I would not have the balls to actually do it. ha! Maybe this is a sign that there is a market for stretchy professional pants after all.

      • Honestly, my solution? Target jersey dresses. I can’t wait to get out of my lawyer-gear immediately upon getting home, and DH was similarly bummed when I immediately changed into yoga pants.

        Now I change into some kind of jersey dress. It’s as comfortable as being in PJs, but looks a bit better. And I’m not scrambling or going out looking like a frump if I need to run to the store later in the evening for say, cold medicine.

        • Second this – in warm weather, I’m all about casual dresses and skirts – Old Navy is a really good source. Add a fitted tank top to the skirt, and you get a really cute, sexy in a girl next door kind of way, look that’s as comfortable as pjs.

    • I’m about the same. If I’m sure I’m not going anywhere, I’ll change into my pajama pants, but they are pretty and come in tall size

      http://www.target.com/p/Gilligan-OMalley-Womens-Modal-Pajama-Pant-Assorted-Colors/-/A-12346725

      and I would feel fine answering the door in them. I have enough of these for every day of the week, all in black. I usually wear a black tank and a pretty side-tie wrap cardigan in kind of a cream color with them.

    • Kontraktor :

      I pretty much wear this sort of thing too because, I mean, I’m cooking, doing dishes, cleaning up after my cats, etc. If we go out to dinner/do something, I just put on jeans + whatever sort of cute top I’d wear on the weekend.

      I recently went and got some cute PJ sets at JC Penney. They were so cheap so I felt I could order 4 or 5 sets without feeling like it was a waste. Most of the pieces all coordinate so I can mix and match. I feel a little cuter when I am wearing printed PJ bottoms + coordinating PJ top than when I’m wearing random sweats and a college/ratty t-shirt. Forever21 and Kohls also have a lot of cute, cheap PJ sets. Also, I stalked some Neiman’s sales and got 2 sets of Natori PJs when they went on super super sale. I have a gray Natori robe and a black PJ set. Love them both. Would highly recommend doing something similar because they are niiice PJs and are great to curl up in/they are so soft, but because they are originally expensive/well made, I feel like I’m doing better than just ‘regular’ PJs.

    • Maddie Ross :

      It all depends on when I get home. If it’s before 8pm, I try to put on jeans and a nicer shirt or sweater, or a jersey dress in the summer. More than anything it’s just because I own a lot of “regular” clothes (like jeans) and like to get some use out of them. If it’s after 8, or I’ve had a rough day, it’s right into yoga pants and a t-shirt. In the winter, I wear one of several hideous oversized sweatshirts I’ve had since law school.

    • I’m pretty sad sack around the house (Team Sweatpants all the way). The saddest sack thing is that the only reason I’m not wearing sweatpants on any given night is because I’m too lazy to go upstairs to get them and change out of my work clothes. Now THAT’s sad sackdom. ;-)

    • I struggle with this too. If I’m just going to be around the house, it’s usually yoga pants and a t-shirt. If I have to run errands or walk the dog, I might put on jeans.

      It’s frustrating because I strongly prefer to shop for/buy casual clothes, but I wear them the least.

    • I am all about comfort when I’m just around the house (I live alone). Sweats, tee shirts, “lounge wear,” these are my staples. I am not ashamed to admit that I get excited at the end of the workday thinking about how I can go home and get comfy!

      I do try and step it up when I am going out (meaning running errands – and I definitely wear “real” clothes for dinners, shopping, and other social outings!), but as long as I’m just chilling in my living room, I figure I don’t need to look stylish.

    • I exercise after work, so when I get home I go straight in workout clothes. After workout, I go straight into rando, sad sack sweatpants (elastic cut out of the bottom) or other sundry target/old navy pj pants + oversize t shirt. At least one piece will invariably be stained. If for some reason I’m not working out that night, I go straight to the after-workout look. If I need to then go to the store/pick up pizza, I’ll swap the sweats for whatever pair of jeans is laying on the floor. If the shirt looks particularly hobo-esque, I’ll either put a jacket/fleece/hoodie over it or swap it for a clean tshirt.

      Really, the most important thing is that whatever I do, when I get home from work I have to take my bra off. It’s usually replaced with a sports bra though.

      If I want to look more “stylish” I’ll put on black yoga pants or the jeans laying on the floor and a solid color non-screen print shirt (but let’s be real, I’m probably just picking this up off the floor too). I might leave my earrings in.

      • +1 on bra removal. Often the best part of the day!

      • +2 on bra removal. I go bra commando the rest of the night. (I normally wear push-ups for my B cups. No bra might not work for everyone.)

        Yoga pants + stretchy sleepwear henley from Gap Body + no bra = SO is a happy man.

        He’s a little less happy when the sleepwear shirt is covered up with a flannel shirt or hoodie, on cold nights. But he deals.

      • Thirdsies on bra removal. Aaaaaaahhh. It’s almost time AS WE SPEAK.

    • just Karen :

      My poor husband has gotten accustomed to me saying with glee as I head up the stairs “I’m changing into stretchy pants!” whenever I get home and know I am in for the night. I used to change into jeans – now even those aren’t comfy enough for me when it’s just me and DH at home.

    • I’m always cold so usually hang out at home in terry or velour pants, tank tops and matching zip hoodies. Those sets are comfortable without being too frumpy. I avoid the ones with the writing like the plague though.

    • eastbaybanker :

      This is embarassing, but I was watching an episode of The Bachelor when it dawned on me that it was possible to look adorable while lounging around the house, instead of wearing my XL college t-shirt from 2001 and some very old greying black yoga pants.

      Taking my cues from a gaggle of 15 overly tan aspiring starlets, I found myself a bright lightweight sweatshirt that falls slightly off my shoulder, some leggings at Target, some bright tank tops from Target and J.Crew, and a grey J Crew marled cotton sweatshirt. I wear flip flops around the house in summer, and Uggs in winter.

      • You want embarrassing? I wear flip flops like you – but my winter footwear is also flip flops. Plus socks. And I wonder why I don’t have a boyfriend…

        • One word, two items…. BOOBS! :-) Ladies, men do not care if we wear strechy pants around the house. I’m pretty sure. Or socks with sandals. I think this is a female preoccupation.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I got sheepskin flip flop slippers to fix that problem. I think that’s just a little PNW flavor that’s never going to leav me. :-)

    • I live in the South and my husband likes to keep the windows open/climate control off far deeper into the summer than any reasonable human being would (referencing the post above, does that count as a price of admission thing? Because it kind of makes me want to kill him, but he’s worth it. Most of the time.). I’m business formal at work, and have little kids who like to give me big hugs with mysteriously sticky stuff on their hands. Anyway, for all of those reasons, the moment I get home I change into a lightweight cotton jersey dress. Someone posted a link to a great one from Target a few weeks ago, I bought it, and it’s my current go-to, but I actually have quite a number of them. I sometimes wear flip-flops with them, but mostly just go barefoot. It’s comfortable and cool, but still cuter than wearing my pajamas. I am guilty of wearing sweats in the winter, but in the summer the thought just makes me want to burst into flames.

    • I wear all the fun, quirky things that would be inappropriate for my office. It’s part of the fun of getting home!

      However, I tend not to buy uncomfortable clothes (for work or play) anyways, because they make me behave like a cat that’s been crammed into a sweater, squirming, scratching, and pulling in order to free myself from the annoying garment.

    • My SO is completely tired of seeing me in my black Danskin bike shorts and my Darren Sproles mock jersey (which he calls “that football thing”). He’s practically begging me to get new lounge-y clothes.

      • That said, I’ve been hanging out all afternoon in the really comfy maxi dress I wore to lunch, but he’s been installing and air conditioner and now a new light fixture in my bedroom, so I think I could be wearing anything or nothing and he’d hardly notice.

    • I totally change into nightgown and yoga pants as soon as I get home. I partly got into this habit because my ex worked from home, and was always in “hang-out pants” (those plaid flannel or cotton ones), and I felt weird being dressed in street clothes. Now I feel kinda bad about it because I am not very sexy or intriguing for Professor Bhaer when we’re at home, but damn, it’s so comfortable. Also, he claims he likes me just as well that way, so I’m totally not going to change :p

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Yes yes yes on removing the bra! BUT I have HH girls, and so without a bra things are somewhat…messy. So I basically have to wear a sleep bra of some kind to keep things in place. I think the hubby might explode if he saw me in yoga pants and a fitted t-shirt, things have devolved so far. Maybe I’ll take baby steps and start there, working my way up to the jersey dress suggestions. Also, I love the idea of the off the shoulder with a tank top underneath look, but have never been able to find anything like that. I’m thinking of what Christina Applegate wears in her new show up all night. It’s an oversized shirt, but with shoulder poking out so it doesn’t look so schlubby. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

      • Yes! I like that for comfort at times. I usually use a tank and this hugely oversized sweatshirt and just partially zip it. It’s so comfortable. I wish I had an oversized, yet cute, shirt like she wear a lot in the show, but I’ve only found that style shirt in really short sizes. I do have two of those, though. :)

    • Skippy pea :

      Sigh, I was looking for real recommendations whereby I would be inspired to wear some nice aft work clothes not shlumpy greying balck track pants. But you guys are such enablers!

      Srsly, DH really does not like me hanging out at home in clothes like that. He himself takes effort to wear comfy but presentable clothed at home, so I feel like I should make the effort too….for both our sakes. Still looking for appropriate comfy and casual outfits to wear at home.

      • I never wear yoga pants at home. In the summer, I usually change into a lightweight lose skirt like the one below (It was a gift, I normally buy much cheaper ones at goodwill/Ross, etc), and then keep on my work shirt if it was comfortable or change into a basic fitted tee if it wasn’t. I know my husband likes how I dress at home, but I don’t dress this way for him, it’s just the most comfortable outfit in the summer. I have a huge collection of cute pajama bottoms (mostly from Old Navy) that I wear in the winter.

      • What about trying out a cotton chemise that fits your style and need for lounge wear. Check out the lounge clothing at anthro. I also like their lounge shorts, which to me are cuter and have more style than pj bottoms. I think there have been lots of other great suggestions, some of which I often wear: comfy skirts, colorful tanks, jersey dresses, sun dresses, fitted henleys.

      • Just got a super-cute split-neck sleeveless black shift at NY and Co for around $20. I purchased black, but I remember seeing yellow and a peacock blue. Fit perfectly after the first wash. So easy to just pop on (and so comfy)! I also recommend the Target jersey dresses. I’m also in the market for a polo-style dress—Lands End has some, as I’m inclined to think that they’d be cute and easy, too.

    • Definitely a jeans and t-shirt girl. On super tired days pajama pants and a tank top. I wear jeans almost exclusively when not a work. But I try to buy nice neat jeans so I don’t look sloppy.

    • This thread totally caused me to go to Old Navy after work for some new loungy clothes. Of course they’re having a sale for Memorial Day. $4 ribbed tank tops and $15 yoga pants!

    • Leggings! Cute and comfortable.

    • Also in the sad frump camp. I get home and pretty much immediately take off the work clothes and put on a pair of my SO’s old gym shorts and a tank top. I really should invest in something less schlumpy…but it’s just so comfortable. I do put on real clothes if I’m planning to leave the apartment, though, even if it’s just to run to the laundromat or bodega.

    • Such an interesting thread. Seems like I’m an outlier who loses her jacket or cardigan, maybe swaps a tailored shell for a knit, but keeps on her dress or skirt until bed-time. It helps that much of my work wardrobe is set up for travel – it looks sober, structured and reasonably stylish but is actually really comfy – A-line skirts, straight shifts, stretch wool. I don’t have kids but fix dinner and stuff in these outfits, with an apron tied on.

      Another idea might be to check out some ethnic dress shops, particularly South Asian ones, and look for cotton tunics to wear over leggings or jeans. I find that designs for ladies (colour, embroidery, the odd sequin or so) and for guys (band collars, long sleeves, muted colours or white) both work for me. Usually very inexpensive.

    • Rural Juror :

      I have an old friend from law school who had a stunning girlfriend. He once confided in me that he couldn’t even tell if she was attractive anymore because once he gets home from work she’s already in sweats. Every time I slip into my sweats after work (which is every day, immediately), I keep glancing at my bf trying to figure out if that’s what he thinks of me. I’ve been trying to sub yoga pants for sweatpants. It’s tough. These suggestions helped!

    • Government Work? :

      Old Navy is good for this stuff. You won’t look super polished, but they have basics for this at low cost. They may not have them now but check in the fall for their fleece pants. They come in grey or black and are boot cut. Warmth of sweats but with some shape to them. I usually layer a tank, long sleeve shirt, etc w these. For spring through fall, they have foldover jersey shirts that are knee length. There should be a decent selection of colours in-store right now. Pair w a tank, tee, or work top from that day if it looks okay. The rockstar skinny jeans from there also have a high spandex content and aren’t restrictive. I’ve changed into these to wear around even if I’m not going anywhere later.

      Also, check Loft or Anthropologie when they are having super discounts. You can pick up jersey dresses, nightgowns or lounge wear for under $20/piece at that time.

      • Government Work? :

        I have no idea how that linked to anthro. They have some cute stuff but much of it can be found somewhere cheaper. Link wasn’t a huge endorsement of them.

  6. You guys, I’m laughing thinking about all of us drinking our bitter, bitter coffee from our FOOEY mugs next week.

    So far we have a pretty wide geographic spread – NY, MA, CA, CA, MD, CT, PA

    So I don’t think we’ll be running into each other in the hallways. But that would be funny.

    “You will know me by my coffee mug”

  7. So I’m summering at a mid-sized firm in a Western city this summer, and my mentoring attorney just asked me if I’d like to take a couple of depositions next month. I am very excited, but also very nervous. I’ve only been to one deposition in person, and I’ve read 12-15 deposition transcripts. This is seriously all I know in the world about depositions. I know the lawyers at my firm will give me good advice, but so far it’s all been stuff that is too many levels ahead of me – I need very very basic advice about how a deposition should work before I even know what kinds of questions to ask of my mentor lawyers. Do any of you have 1) any advice, or 2) any good resources that start from square one (or zero…)? Books, videos of good depositions, stuff like that?

    • Maddie Ross :

      You’re just a summer associate (as in, not licensed) and they are letting you take depositions? Wow. Not to be snarky, but I didn’t realize that was allowed. In any event, if you can get your hands on it, the NITA Deposition Skills textbook from the class is a good primer. Also the section in the Curmedgeon’s Guide to practicing law. There is an instructional video you can find on YouTube for having your deposition taken that would probably be helpful to watch as well. It’s really for a deponent, but it’s good to see what types of instructions deponents get.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Second the NITA book.

      • What state are you in? In some states, non-lawyers cannot take depositions. Are you sure they asked you to take the depsoition and not just attend?

        • I should add some real advice here. I would suggesting writing down everything you want to ask about. The point of the deposition is to let the witness talk as much as possible. Its not like trial testimony where you want to keep it focused. The more they say, the better. So let them talk if they want to talk. As follow-up questions to every tangent they go off on. BUT, keep your list of things you want to ask and make sure that no matter how far they veer off topic, you hit everything on your list.

          • You need an outline.

            The NITA materials have a very good description of the “funnel” of questions: broad at the top = open ended questions like “what happened next?”; middle in the middle = slightly directed questions like “after the meeting, did you talk to anyone?”; focused and the narrow bottom = “After the meeting, you spoke to Chris, correct?”

            Then there is the tree limb analogy: find out how many limbs there are, then explore each one fully before moving to the next.

            Q: why did you stop mowing my client’s lawn?
            A: because i ran out of gas in the mower?
            Q: any other reason?
            A: their yard smells.
            Q: any other reason?
            A: the neighbor pays more.
            Q: any other reason?
            A: i hate your client.
            Q: any other reason?
            A: no.
            Q: so you stopped mowing my client’s lawn because you ran out of gas, their yard smells, the neighbor pays more and you hate my client, corrent?
            A: yes.
            Q: let’s talk about running out of gas. [insert all your gas questions here.] then: is there anything else related to running out of gas that we haven’t discussed?
            A: no
            Q: let’s talk about your claim that my client’s yard smells. [repeat process.]

            But I must say I think it is a very bad idea for you to be doing this and I would do it only under the following circusmtances:

            1. someone who has worked on the case is present
            2. someone who has worked on the case discusses the goals and potential pitfalls AND what to do about them with you
            3. the same person reviews your deposition outline
            4. someone practices being the witness with you.

            Also, how is your evidence mojo? Are you prepared to hear objections, decide whether to rephrase and if so how, or not rephrase. Practice this.

          • Good description of the funnel method. I usually did “What else, what else, what else” several times before I got to “Anything else” because what else suggests there’s more. Anything else is to close off the subject.

            Try to also summarize. You’re looking to create little nuggets that are easy to pull out of a transcript or video. So in NITA’s example,

            Q: so you stopped mowing my client’s lawn because you ran out of gas, their yard smells, the neighbor pays more and you hate my client, corrent?
            A: yes.

            But you do it for all your important points.

            Open ended questions at the beginning of your funneling. Depositions with lawyers who don’t ask them are the worst because you just know there’s so much information they’re not getting.

            Don’t talk over your witness, and don’t let the witness talk over you. A gentle reminder that your court reporter will get really frustrated should suffice, but I also occasionally had to tell people that we’d get done a lot faster if they’d let me get my question out and if they’d answer my question (sometimes you get witnesses who are determined to tell their story, so you’ll get some rambling answer that is tons of info on top of the very simple/short answer to your question).

            Someone said let the witness talk as much as possible. This cuts both ways, depending on the purpose of the deposition. You could just end up having to object to a bunch of stuff as non-responsive and re-ask your question, which gets really tiring (see comment above about, “We’ll be done a lot faster here if you just answer my questions, Mr. X, without the added commentary.”). Don’t be timid or afraid to say, “That’s not the question I asked you. I asked you X.” If this is an adversarial deposition, it’s important to control the witness; it’s the witness’s lawyer’s job to get the witness’s story out. If this is more just fact-finding (say, a witness to a car accident who was uninvolved with the accident) depo, probably more okay to let them ramble on.

            Docs: I always brought my copy (with my initials in the top right corner so I didn’t accidentally hand someone else my annotated docs), copy for the witness, and copy for opposing counsel. Some people hand their exhibits to the court reporter to mark. I always marked my own (ie put an exhibit sticker on it and handed it to the witness as I said, “I’m handing you what I’ve marked as Jones Exhibit 9″), usually writing my stickers out beforehand because I liked to do descriptive exhibit names (if witness = Jones, stickers are Jones Ex. 1, Jones Ex. 2, Jones Ex. 3, etc.). Always refer to the exhibit as Jones Exhibit 1, Jones Exhibit 2, Exhibit 1, etc. It can feel awkward at first, but otherwise, you may find yourself with a transcript where it’s not apparent what exhibit you and the witness were talking about. And every time I handed the witness an exhibit, I always marked “X1″ or “X18″ on my own copy so I could instantly keep straight which docs were which exhibit numbers when I was moving between multiple docs.

            If your opposing counsel or the witness gets nasty, make sure you stay or get on the record. All you have to do is look at the court reporter and say, “I want this on the record” so s/he knows s/he is supposed to be taking this down.

            That’s some pretty basic stuff. If you have more specific questions, post ‘em! Above all, keep calm, stay in control, and carry on. Chances are this depo will be a non-event, but crazy stuff does happen. I had lots of criers (it’s their or their lawyer’s job to ask for a break, not yours), a woman who had a seizure in the middle of a depo, nasty opposing counsel… one other frequent commenter on here (you know who you are, please tell the story!!!) had the most insane first depo that, if I recall, involved the witness threatening to post cell phone video of her to Al Jazeera’s website, among other things. Keep your cool, stay professional and calm, and you’ll do fine. Good luck!

      • Many states have a third year practice certificate that allows law students who have completed their first 2 years to practice alongside a supervising attorney, including the ability to take depositions and argue in court when the supervising attorney is present and signs everything.

        beccavt, the thing to remember is that you are being allowed to take these depositions because the attorney expects it to be straightforward and the witness to be relatively cooperative. It’s excellent practice and the attorney will be there to ask any follow up questions or redirect they think is necessary. Just remember that the court reporter will take down every single word you say (including every ah and um). It’s a lot like questioning a witness on the stand during trial except you’ll all be sitting around a conference room table so trial transcripts are helpful as well. Good luck and enjoy it!

        • thanks, that’s good to remember. I’ll try to focus on the basics, and not get worked up that it’s going to be complicated or there will be a difficult witness or something. :)

      • Depositions are covered under the third year practice rule in my state, and I am technically a third year as I’ve finished my second year. I will be closely supervised by an attorney, I’m sure. Two summer associates from last year took depositions, and one questioned a (minor) witness at a trial.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Please make sure you & your firm comply with your state bar’s law student practice rules. The bar may require written consent from the client. I took my first depo in law school during a clinic and supervised by a prof. This is a GREAT opportunity and you should do it if you can. If I were you, I’d write up an outline ahead of time and have the attorney review it. Find sample outlines around your firm, or in books like Mauet’s Fundamentals. I love anything by Jim MacElhaney. Also, you are going to need a cheat sheet that lists objections and the rules of evidence, in case anything comes up.

    • Dunne on Depositions is a great book.

      You’ll do terribly in your first deposition. Everyone does. The most important thing is for you to read the transcript after the deposition so you can see what you sound like on paper.

  8. Ok, so my SO frequently hangs out together with my friends from college. We all get along great and they even work at the same firm together. But recently Joe planned a birthday dinner at an expensive restaurant (where we would have to pay at least $80 each) to celebrate. Joe invited the usual group but excluded SO. Before this, Joe made some comments and tries to spend more time with me than his own gf. SO thinks that Joe secretly wants to be with me but can’t. Joe’s gf will be at the dinner too so I just thought that it was a one off event where they just forgot. But SO thinks Joe is being passive aggressive. TBH, I was pretty put off that SO wasn’t invited since the both of us always attends gatherings together. Because of this and having to shell out that kind of money for one night, I don’t want to attend the dinner at all. Joe said he’s not sure if he can change reservations to accommodate SO. SO says he doesn’t want to go at all. Should I go or not?

    • Is this a birthday for a third party, or for Joe himself?

      If a third party, who has nothing to do with the whole Joe/SO debacle, and you like the third party, then go to celebrate his/her birthday – or, better yet, don’t go and invite him/her to a separate dinner with your SO to celebrate together.

      If it is Joe’s birthday, don’t go, and question why you would want to be friends with this DOOSH.

      • Second this advice. Whether Joe realizes it or not, he is trying to push out your SO and get you for himself. Tell him, in no uncertain terms, that you won’t come without your SO.

        And make sure that you’re not unconsciously sending him signals that this invite was in any way appropriate. Do you talk to Joe a lot at group gatherings? Do you laugh at his jokes more than others do? Do you physically interact with him (hugs, hand on his arm, etc.)?

        I would make sure you’re sending the right message, and sometimes that means being a little colder than you would normally be. Try not to spend any time with Joe just the two of you. He may be reading more into that than you realize.

    • I’m less worried by the invite situation then the Joe has told you he wants to spend more time with you than his gf issue. Forgetting the dinner issue, you need to lay down the law with Joe. You’re with SO and he’s with GF and that’s that. And that may mean spending a lot less time together.

      As for the party, I do think it sort of matters if its Joe’s party or someone third party’s party. If its Joe’s party, I agree that not inviting your SO was a DOOSH move and I’d probably use the expense as a reason to beg out. Because geez. Eeewww.

      • Seattleite :

        Me, too, but I’d flat out tell Joe that the reason I’m not coming is that he didn’t invite my SO. Given that guests would pay their own way, and that couples are included, and that her SO does socialize with these people, it wouldn’t be rude to say, ‘both of us or none of us.’

    • Mindy -OP :

      Update–

      Thanks for the replies! Yes, the birthday dinner is for Joe himself. A bit more background: Joe has been with GF for 5 years and I’ve been with my SO for 4 years so it’s not like Joe and I had a crazy special bond to begin with. I just feel uncomfortable when he calls me all the time so I rarely pick up when I see it’s him calling.

      Anyway, turns out SO has a company event that night anyway so can’t make it so I told Joe that both of us won’t be attending. Joe hasn’t spoken to me since. Not sure if this will cause some friction between us but I agree that it was a doosh move to leave SO out.

  9. MaggieLizer :

    Gave my notice today. I’m excited about the new position but I’m more emotional than I expected to be about leaving the people that I’ve really enjoyed working with at my current firm. So it’s quite bittersweet.

    • Best wishes! I was in your shoes less than a month ago. I was so ready to leave that I couldn’t get why I was so emotional, but I had worked with some of these people for years (been with company for 11 years). E-mail, texts, and Facebook help me keep up with my former colleagues.

    • Right there with you— it’s tough! Congratulations on your new opportunity.

  10. Sunscreen for Women of Color :

    Hi! I am looking for a sunscreen that does not make me look like a Geisha when I apply it. Brown skin + white sunscreen = weird chalky skin look. Any suggestions?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I have brown skin and find that Olay Complete with SPF 15 doesn’t make me look like a Geisha, but anything stronger than SPF 15 sort of does (or takes forever to rub in to the point it doesn’t). So I reapply frequently instead.

    • DC Darling :

      How brown of skin? I am a light skinned middle eastern chick and Neutrogena’s sunscreen doesn’t leave me chalky at all.

      • Sunscreen for Women of Color :

        Beyonce-brown

        • DC Darling :

          That is a sexy brown. I’m one or two shades lighter but I stand by Neutrogena. You can get sample sizes from ebay.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          FWIW – I am Kerry Washington brown or maybe a skosh lighter, and also find I have this problem with some sunscreens.

        • My son is that color too. I am not. I look like shortening bread. I don’t mean this in a snarky way, but why do you need the sunscreen? Do you burn? My son doesn’t so we never worry about sunblock, even living in Florida where my sisters reapply their blonde kids’ every couple of hours.

          • DC Darling :

            Sunspots, wrinkles, general sun damage all happen to everyone regardless of color.

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Even if you don’t burn or have darker skin, you should always wear sunscreen! Your skin cancer risk is lower than fairskinned people’s, but it is not, by any means, nonexistent (and in fact, is often diagnosed in later stages when it is more serious because most people ignore suspicious moles or other warning signs, assuming they can’t get skin cancer).

            In other words, sunscreen – not just to prevent burns.

          • Sunscreen for Women of Color :

            I burn. There is skin flaking off my shoulders as I type. Sigh. In general, I find that I burn in areas that have not been exposed to sun for long periods of time (e.g., winter). When I lived in a warmer climate, I burned when I first arrived, but my skin acclimated to the sun exposure over time, and I burned less frequently. Your son may not burn because of his consistent exposure to sun in Florida. Just a theory.

          • Its actually something of a myth that people of color don’t burn. They can burn, though the discoloring associated with caucasian people’s skin doesn’t necessarily show. But the pain and the peeling and other symptoms can develop. Most importantly, frequent burns (like you can get from frequent exposure to the sun in Florida) can still cause skin cancer, even if you are naturally a darker skin tone.

            I’d start using sunscreen on your son.

          • Equity's Darling :

            I’m mixed, and my mom always lathered us up with sunscreen and made us wear hats when we were kids, she’s very very pale and only burns, never tans, so she is always concerned about sun protection.

            And I most certainly do burn, particularly my nose and ears, and lips. When I’m near the equator or in the mountains, everything burns, and I blister sometimes when I don’t pay attention (which is delightful).

            Suncscreen your son.

    • microscience :

      You might try going with a ”chemical” sunscreen vs a mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens have zinc oxide and other metals in them, and they physically reflect light, which will make you look lighter (or white, remember the 80s lifeguards with completely white noses?). Chemical sunscreen should have a reduced whitewash effect. I use clinique city block (I think) and they add a lot of tint to it to cover the white, but even on my skin it makes me look paler, and, sadly, covers up my freckles. I’m guessing there are sunscreens out there made for WOCs with darker tints.

    • I have the whitest skin known to human kind, so this is not based on personal experience … but what about one of the spray formulas? I think they are colorless.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I use AMBI Even & Clear Skincare, Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30. I love it and only need one to two pumps, so I’ve been working on the same $5 bottle for about six months.

    • It’s a myth that darker skinned people don’t need sunscreen. Still at risk for skin cancer!

      For the past two summers, I slathered the kids in Neutrogena Kids+. It blends into dark skin really well, and doesn’t have the icky sunscreen smell that I remember from being a kid. It comes in a bright blue bottle and as a spray. (Spray is super fun for feet!)

      Honestly, I recommend going to CVS (with a CVS care card) and just buying whatever looks decent. Sunscreens are always changing names/formulas, and what one person finds omggreat! you might find greasy. This way you can return all the rejects.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      LaRoche-Posay works well for me, but I apply asap after cleansing, then do all my other morning stuff so it absorbs…

  11. DC Darling :

    Putting this here so I’ll commit. I am finally going to start eating right. I work out about 4x a week but man do I love my carbs.

    • I like this blog posting about changing habits. Maybe it will help you too.

      http://www.nomeatathlete.com/limitless/

      • DC Darling :

        I have dropped down to what I thought was the size I wanted to be…..yet at as a 2/4 I still have a gut. Irritating beyond belief.

        I was so looking forward to wearing skirts without having to deal with chub rub. Never gonna happen.

        • Merabella :

          Just commiserating. No matter what size I’ve been, even at my smallest, I have had chub rub. My thighs just love each other so much that they can’t bear to be apart. Once I got over that fact it made me feel better about my body.

          Good luck with the eating right. I have started that and the working out, and FWIW I feel so much better than I did before. Congrats on taking the steps to be healthier.

        • DC Darling. You may never have the perfect body. Try to remember though, if you are a 2/4 and you’ve dropped lots of weight and you’re still seeing things you don’t like about your body, maybe try to focus on the things you do like. Because even models don’t like things about their bodies. We can’t be perfect. But we can be fit and healthy, which it sounds like you are!

          • I agree. Even though I’m an 8/10 and at very healthy weight for me, in my journey to body acceptance it has helped me to see stars who have the same body shape as I do (though thinner, of course).

            For example, I am an X shape, and have the question mark thighs (although not as pronounced as they were a few years ago before losing 30 lbs). I was feeling bad/self consious about those ‘saddle bags’ until I realized that Katherine Heigl, although thinner, has the same shape thigh as I do. And then I started noticing other random people whom I would consider to have nice bodies also had that same thigh shape. It made me realize it was part of who I was and just the way I was made, and I probably will never be able to change it about me. That doesn’t mean I like those bumps, and they will never be my favorite part of my body, but it’s helped me accept that about me more than I used to. I try not to use negative words to describe my thighs any more – which was hard at first, but gets easier the more you practice it.

          • DC Darling :

            I like that. My thighs love each other too much to ever be apart. Now I need a good one for those last few inches of tire around my waist.

            In regards to perfect body, I agree that I’ve made wonderful strides but it’s frustrating to want one thing (no chub rub) and to still not get that 30 lbs later. Yknow what I mean? ah well. At least I’m working out more now.

        • Kontraktor :

          Don’t be too hard on yourself. Toning/gaining more muscle can be a good personal goal, but honestly women were sort of designed to be a bit squishy and have that bit of tummy curve. Sometimes if they pose models in the ‘wrong’ way, you can actually see that even extremely, extremely thin women have that slight hump in the tummy area. Rare if not impossible to find a truly 100% flat stomach.

          But yay for trying out new goals! I downloaded the C25k app today and am hoping to start a more healthy routine too :-)

          • and the media would hate for you to realize it, but many men like that little tummy curve!

        • Chub rub is very difficult to get rid of. Don’t kill yourself over it. Just apply some Body Glide and go on about your life.

        • Oh man–I was just discussing this with my roommate the other day, wondering how skinny I would have to be to not have chub rub. Apparently the answer is “never”. Dang.

          • Luckily, I realized this for myself when I was about 16 or 17 and one of the girls on my team who was 15 (and who, if I remember correctly, was probably still mostly pre-pubescent) was saying how she was just so worried about how she was gaining a little weight because her thighs were starting to rub. Believe me, she was thin as a rail. That’s when I realized that no matter what, my thighs were always going to rub, so I should just make peace with that fact. :-P

          • MissJackson :

            Yes. Unfortunately (?) whether your thighs touch is much more about hip size and pelvic angle than thigh size. Really. There are lots of average-sized women whose thighs do not touch, and there are also lots of very slender women whose thighs touch/rub. The good news is that this really is not about being “fat” — the bad news is that for some people there literally is nothing that you can do about it.

        • At that size, you could build up your shoulders, glutes and quads to get shapely by adding instead of carving out.

          • DC Darling :

            I am working on toning and more cardio now. I do have a very athletic build with dancer’s legs. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised I still have chub rub after years and years of kickboxing lol.

    • Want to keep each other honest? I have a little bit of a head start because I started last Tuesday 5/15 eating no dairy and no grains and writing down everything I eat. But I am not above public accountability.

      • DC Darling :

        Yes!

        Realistic goals.
        -One salad a day
        -Only healthy snacks
        -Keep up with working out
        -I will attempt to write down everything I eat

        FYI I’m only online later in the day

        • My goals:

          – exercise 3x week
          – no (or very little) dairy
          – no grains

          Should we post to each other daily for a week and then weekly? WDYT?

          • Oh please no! Use sparkpeople or weightwatchers but Please let’s not fill corporette with weight loss crap.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Do you use any kind of tracking system? I’ve been using myfitnesspal and I love it! If you use it, we can be friends and motivate each other!

    • Jenna Rink :

      I’m doing the same thing. I’m starting a paleo diet again. It makes me feel great, but then I start craving bagels and give up. I got some paleo cookbooks out of the library and I’m really trying to focus on making a meal plan that won’t make me feel deprived!

  12. momentsofabsurdity :

    Argh. I am inexplicably annoyed at myself. I’m a fast worker, I always have been (this is probably why I would be a bad lawyer – meeting billable targets would drive me nuts). The past couple days, I’ve been working on a (time/labor intensive but requires little thinking) project with some coworkers which we just finished this afternoon. When we put together our tallies, I realized I had done more than twice the amount of work as my two coworkers (one did 8 blocks of work, one did 5, and I did 20). We worked for the same number of hours, so I shouldn’t be annoyed, and really, it’s generally a good thing for me that I can get so much done.

    I still am annoyed, though, so maybe I should plan some more “goof off” breaks into my day from here on out (kidding, kidding, kidding…)

    • DC Darling :

      Why not? If you’re getting that much done you might be setting yourself up as a miracle worker/always dumped on in the future. It’s counter intuitive but I’d scale back a bit to keep myself from being taken advantage of by whomever.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Maybe. I think I’m too well established as a “fast worker” now for it to look like something other than slacking now. Also, I rarely get the opportunity to directly compare my work with others so it was starkly noticeable today but isn’t usually.

    • You will be so glad for that trait if you have kids!

      Or maybe you will loose it. I have a very hard time getting to my former work intensity (ie, I’m screwing off now), think it’s because I have so many other things on my mind now that I have the kiddo.

    • Merabella :

      This happens to me too. It sucks, but I feel horrible if I don’t do work at the pace I know I can accomplish.

    • I have this problem to, and those more experienced than I at my office say I need to learn to “pace myself.” It’s rather annoying. I wish I could just go home when I finish my work instead of waiting on others or goofing off.

    • I’m like this, too, so I do build in some distraction time (like this website). I still get things done a lot faster than most. It’s been frustrating for me, as I have moved into more administrative work, to have to hand off other tasks to people who won’t do them as quickly as I could do them myself. Then again, when I have less time because I’m going to meetings and/or teaching, I don’t need as much time to get work done.

    • Are you finding yourself super-stressed? If so, give yourself some slack, lady.

      Make sure you’re working at a pace that is sustainable.

      Also, if you do work for clients, I have found that it is always better for them to have lower expectations. They then are overjoyed when I exceed them!

    • Another Sarah :

      I do this too, and I had to learn to slow down a bit, which is a horrible thing to say. But when people came to find me to tell me that the email they just sent me that I just sent a reply to wasn’t an emergency (I know it’s not an emergency, but a reply took 45 seconds so I might as well reply so I don’t forget) and to stop constantly being in emergency mode, I figured I would just slow down. And by “slow down,” I mean “appear to be slow but in reality finish in same amount of time and LOOK like I’m taking longer.” :-)

  13. Anonymous :

    I’m running a marathon this weekend with a very specific goal time. I’m nervous and excited.

  14. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    When is it the right time to start addressing people (at first meeting) with their first names?

    Background: I just graduated from law school, but am only 24. I’ve been referring to people as Ms. X or Mr. X until they tell me otherwise, but I was recently told that I should start just saying X. This goes against my “respect your elders” teachings from childhood, so I look to the hive for some guidance.

    • Are you southern? Because I’ve found that this is something of a regionalism. In New England, definitely, if you were working with people or even working with people in affiliated organizations and called the “Mr. X or Ms. X” they’d probably think you were a bit of an odd duck (unless they had a particular place of authority or a title, like doctor or judge or something that is, or they were your client…)

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        I’m from Upstate New York and now live in Denver.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        It’s not just a regional thing. My impression from African American friends out here that the Mr. X and Ms. X is something that is taught in their community as part of good manners and showing respect. As I recall, Ms. Basil is African American. They have to break themselves of this habit at work because the Mr. X and Ms. X thing immediately indicates that they are subordinate to the person that they are talking to, which is not the message they want to send.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          “They” = my friends who are African American. I didn’t mean to make a sweeping statement about an entire ethnic group, just relaying what I’ve been told. Sorry!

        • I think the easiest way is to think about the rule your parents taught you as applying in social settings, and the NGDGTCO rule (use people’s first names) as applying in the professional setting.

          • I’m not from Louisiana (assume you are from your handle) and it took me a long time to get used to my friends’ children referring to me as Miss NOLA. I now use it regularly when I refer to colleagues by their first name to students, but I call even my older friends by their first names. When I was growing up, it was Mrs. Lastname or Mrs. Lastname, which is way too formal in a work setting.

        • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

          SF Bay Associate, good memory, I am African-American. The subordinate issue is exactly what I was afraid of, especially given my age.

          I guess I’m just going to have to start practicing in the mirror.

          • Former MidLevel :

            It gets easier. I promise. :)

          • I should have remembered that from the shoe hunt! :-)

            But really, in most workplaces, I think calling even superiors by “Mr. or Ms” is pretty unusual. This is a very “know your office” type thing, but I’d follow what other people do. And then just fake it until you make it. You’ll do great! :-)

          • I struggle with the same thing. I was raised to call adults Mr. Lastname or Mrs. Lastname, sir or ma’am. I cannot call anyone over the age of 27 by their first name. I just cannot. I try and I fail.

          • Fake it till you make it! I love that phrase.

            Yes, this will become more comfortable the more you work in an office. Using first names also asserts that you are on their professional level, in a sense that you’re a capable professional yourself, and you shouldn’t be talked down to.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Probably less regional and more cultural…. My thought, play it by the ear. It will get easier in the workplace. Tougher will be interactions with those who were in positions of authority over you, ie… law school professors, the dean etc…. (those took anywhere from 5-10 years, and I went to law school in my early 30’s) some you will always keep- ie..my judge is and always will be Judge.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I think it would be very odd to be called Ms. FirstName in a work capacity, but I work in the northeast and grew up on the west coast.

      I tend to err on the formal side in writing (ie, if I am sending an email to a new contact, “Dear Mr. Jones, please find attached the document you requested from Boss’ Name with my edits” until they sign an email with their first name, at which point I switch. I tend to avoid calling people anything in person though, and use first names when it comes up.

      • I do the same thing with writing.

        No problems addressing people by first name in a professional capacity, but feel uncomfortable doing so with “my elders” in a social setting (hence my question, below).

    • Former MidLevel :

      I don’t think there is a hard-and-fast rule for all situations. At the office, go with the culture – if everyone calls the partners by their first names, that’s what you should do. (I was also raised to address people by “Mr.” or “Ms.” until they told me otherwise.)

    • Do you mean in professional or social settings?

    • When referring to people within your firm, go with the firm culture. More than likely, it’ll be everyone (partner down to 1st year associate) goes by first name.
      When talking attorney’s outside my firm, sometimes I starte with Mr. Lastname or Ms. Lastname, sometimes I just use first names. No particular approach seems more or less right to me. I do, however, find myself referring to older attorneys as Mr/Ms more so than attorneys closer to my own age. Though talking to one of my colleagues, he said he always calls opposing counsels by their first names since they’re equals (regardless of age/years of experience).

      • I think it is partially a firm culture thing. I have worked at some firms where people called a certain partner “lastname” as opposed to Mr. Lastname. At my last firm, everyone was first name except the very senior partner (senior citizen) who was Mr. lastname–even to the other partners who were only 10 years junior.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      We are the same age (although different regions), and right now I am trying to stop calling random people Professor so and so. It’s apparently really stuck with me.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Yeah, there are certain titles for me (Professor, Magistrate, Judge, etc.) that have actually replaced the first names of the person in my mind, so I just assume those are stuck.

    • I don’t feel comfortable using just a first name so I use their whole name at first (i.e. Joe Smith instead of Joe or Mr. Smith). You could try that for the first few times you talk to someone and then switch over to Joe.

  15. Someone was asking about B.B. Cream on a recent thread; this (free) article breaks it down:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304707604577422242426734830.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_LifeStyleFashion

  16. I need negation help. I’m currently employed and was the number 2 on a major
    Company initiative that is expanding. The number 1 just resigned. While my current boss technically should lead, sw doesn’t have the experience, people skills or internal relationships to handle. Sr management knows the i’ve been unhappy and since the resignation took place while I’m out of town, still haven’t been able to talk to me and I know they are worried about me leaving.

    Not to blow my own horn, but in this case I’m truly a key player and not easily replaced.

    I’m unhappy working with my boss and I already have asked for a promotion, still below her level but to cover the work I’m actually doing. I’m really running the department and this is well known.

    Can I hear some stories of negation in similar situation? Id like to try for extra vacation time, better parking and participation in a leadership program. Is there anything else I should consider? I’m willing to walk if things don’t he better an have been applying for outside and internal jobs but would love to stay where I’m at.

    • I can’t quite understand what you’re saying, due to misspellings and grammar issues. Are you asking for help negotiating?

      • aw, that’s not nice. She’s finding herself in a position where she’s valuable to her company, but unhappy about her situation and would like to capitalize on her value to get some more perks. Seems clear enough to me, even if hurriedly written.

        Sorry Misty, I am too inexperienced to help :( Good luck!

      • I’ll agree simply with Snarky in the sense that I want to confirm that “negation” means negotiation and not something else that I’m not familiar with.

        But here’s what I’d do if it does. Since you’ve been unhappy with your job, I’d make a list of the things at your job that make you most unhappy. Is it just money? If not what else? Lack of authority, not enough training, too much of one kind of work and too little of another, not enough vacation, etc.

        Then, I’d think of ways in which the company could correct these problems. Not all of them are going to be salary and benefits. Some fo them may be changes in job title, new responsibilities, abilities to go to new professional development (maybe they’ll pay for you to take classes), that sort of thing. Come up with concrete suggestions, don’t just list grievances. Then seriously make a list to bring into the meeting, but PRIORITIZE. That way, you can know what you can give up on and what you wan to fight for. Personally, sometimes getting some of the structural things about a job that make you unhappy fixed are more important than making more money (though money never hurt anybody.

        • And here I was thinking, I graduated from a really good college 25 years ago, a very good law school 17 years ago, have been a professional woman my entire life, representing my own interests in the workplace and my clients’ interests in court and out — yet I have no idea what negation is. Other than that it sounds like some bad thing that happens in a therapist’s office.

  17. I am serious about loosing this weight! 25-30 lbs of it. I have clothes that I love in my closet that I am way too fat for. I love them so much that I might not notice if they are severely out of style. Where is a good place to get comments on not just a couple of pieces but a whole closet full of clothes?

    • Good for you! Good luck with your weightloss. I did that myself a few years ago & it felt great.

      As for your clothes, I’ve always found the gals at youlookfab dot com to be very helpful on that type of thing. In the forum you can post pictures in your messages & then they will politely let you know if your outfit, or clothing item, or whatever, looks good, is in style, and sometimes, depending on who comments and if you ask, if there is a simple fix a tailor could do, such as hemming a skirt to a more modern length.

    • I’ve always enjoyed watching old episodes of What Not to Wear. They do makeovers of people’s wardrobes, telling them why particular pieces are good or bad. It would be helpful in deciding what in your closet might be a keeper or not.

    • Do you have a good friend you can trust to be honest, whose clothes you like? You could also start there.

      Or, if you live somewhere nice…fly your favorite commenter out! HA! (just kidding.)

  18. Four days on call over a busy holiday weekend. Complicated by the fact that DH and I were making May call schedules at the same time, and both volunteered for the holiday weekend. Thank God its snowing here and keeping the boaters away. Saturday is the tricky day — both on call (my lovely in laws will be up the rest of the weekend, so we’re covered). Worst case scenario there is a 3 year old in a Cars sleeping bag asleep in the surgeon’s lounge in the middle of the night. It’ll be fine, right? Right?

    • Its going to be better than fine. It’ll be awesome! Or fine. Awesome may be over-shooting it. :-)

      But…this sounds like one of those weekends where you get to wear yoga pants to the ER, so plus side!!!!

      • “Worst case scenario there is a 3 year old in a Cars sleeping bag asleep in the surgeon’s lounge in the middle of the night”

        Totally fine! When I was a kid I probably would have thought going to work with mom would be the coolest adventure EVER (my mom was a nurse in a hospital).

        • When I was little, my mom ran a preschool so whenever we were sick, she took us to work and we slept on an army cot with a sleeping bag in the room where her aid (also her cousin) assembled snacks and art supplies. We thought it was fun!

        • Also, when I was little, my dad was a solo-practitioner of family law. So when I was sick, I spent the day hanging around his office. Unless he had a court appearance, then I spent it at the court’s day care. Unless the day care was closed, in which case I spent it sitting in the back of court.

          (Oh…and when I first read your post, I thought it said “worst case scenario, 3 year old in a Car sleeping…” and I was like UM that IS something of a problem). Cars sleeping bag, no problem at all! :-)

          • Solo Practitioner :

            Your dad’s court had a day care????? That’s awesome.

          • It was family court. Though I think they’ve since cut the day care in one of the budgetary cutbacks. Big shame really.

        • I grew up in a small town and my dad’s accounting office was half way between my jr/sr high school & home. Sometimes I would walk to his office, do homework in the coffee room and steal sugar cubes until he went home so I could get a ride. I had forgotten about that until this thread.

          Of course, I also remember visiting him on Saturdays during tax season when I was much younger and playing tic tac toe on the ancient computer that had a printer that was bigger than I was. We thought that computer was SO COOL because it had 3 games (tic tac toe, baseball & one other one I can’t remember).

          Good times.

    • Surgeon’s lounge–more like surgeons’ kids’ lounge. My sisters and I spent part of every Sunday morning for years and years in the surgeons’ lounges of 2 hospitals while our dad did his rounds after church. Never occurred to us that it was a problem.

      IDK what your specialties are. Some, like ophthalmologists, are more likely to be called out on drinking holidays because of the fistfights and car wrecks. I suppose others might be less in demand.

      • You are so right! Most weekend mornings, there is an assortment of kids (mostly under 6) consuming bacon, eggs, bagels, chocolate milk watching spongebob or some other trashy children’s show. It’s hysterical.

        As a general surgeon, its hard to predict whether the holiday will make it busier — its more that our population swells from 25K to 100K and increasing the population just increases the odds that something will go wrong with some one. Plus, we’re at altitude and I have a (poorly researched) opinion that it makes things get worse (appendicitis, gallbladders, bowel obstructions). Glad to know you weren’t too damaged by the time you spent in the surgeons lounge.

      • Surgeon's wife :

        Haha – my kids have spent time in the lounge too if I’m working a weekend and my husband has to take them to rounds.

  19. Boston Gardener :

    Boston recommendations for:

    1. Financial planner-type person
    2. Writing a will
    3. Lead paint inspector

    30s, unmarried, no kids (but expecting both of these to change in the next few years) own a condo and a bunch of random investments.

    • karenpadi :

      Not Boston-specific, but if you have Vanguard, consider giving them a call for financial advice.

      I was planning to find a financial planner, and called Vanguard for some other stuff. I was pleasantly surprised–I was able to talk to the guy on the phone for about 45 minutes for free! He wasn’t certified but he was helpful, knew what questions to ask, and helped me think through my goals.

      If you are writing a will, Vanguard also has a really good “asset and other stuff” inventory. It’s about 20 pages but it goes through things that I didn’t think about. It might be a helpful first step towards preparing to meet with an attorney or deciding if you need a will.

  20. Working mommas and setting boundaries- I need help! I am just back from maternity leave and have been part time for a month. I return to full time next week. I am the analytics lead on a new project, and the PM is already bugging me to be available at all hours in case issues arise. I plan to talk to my manager (not the PM) on Tuesday to explicitly discuss expectations. Any advice? I want to be a good employee, but I also want to be a good momma.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Yikes! This is my nightmare. When I leave work, I leave work. (Except for unusual circumstances).

      First off, what kind of analytic emergencies are going to arise outside of your normal work hours? I would start there. It sidesteps the mama issue and gets more to the point of whether the on-call expectation reasonable for the project to begin with. It may be that the PM is setting an unnecessary expectation, which your supervisor could help correct. Or it may be that they are saying they want you always on-call when really they mean they want to you to be available outside of your normal working hours in the case of a short-term deadline. If that’s the case, discuss how often they anticipate that to occur. If it’s not routine, then clarify that you’ll be on-call only during those times. If it’s routine, then I’d argue that the workload needs to be reconsidered – regardless of whether or not you have little ones at home.

      Oh, and for me personally, even during unusual circumstances when I’m working nearly ‘round the clock, I make my boundaries clear in a no-excuses fashion. For example, I simply state: “I’ll be in the office until 7 pm. I’ll be back remotely at 9 pm.” The reason of course being that I can spend a little time with my kids and put them to bed, but that part doesn’t need to be a point of discussion.

      I didn’t realize you were in analytics. So am I. And I’m fresh of maternity leave with my second. High five!

      • I agree with this – find out what the coverage requirements really are. Don’t make it about your mother status at all, but about understanding more about the role, what it entails etc.

    • Consulting to Analytics :

      tika, I don’t have a good answer for you except to communicate your availability clearly. I had the same problem and decided to continue my part-time a little longer. In most jobs my schedule would be considered (9 to 5, all 5 days) full time but for me its 75%.

      I’m looking for an analytics+finance position where I can be support a PM. Currently in the consulting industry and desperately want to switch. Any pointers from you experienced ladies?
      Also, I came back from mat leave with my first about 7 months ago!

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