Wednesday’s TPS Report: Asymmetrical Neckline Belted Sheath Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Asymmetrical Neckline Belted Sheath DressThis gray Tahari dress reminds me a lot of the popular J.Crew Origami dress — the neckline is very similar, but the sleeves look a bit different, and this gray suiting material looks very different than the wool crepe used for the J.Crew dress. The Tahari version is very well-reviewed on Nordstrom, though — so if you for some reason have tried the J.Crew dress and didn’t like the fit on you, maybe give this one a try. (I’d probably swap out the animal print belt for one of my own, probably in a sedate color like black or maybe a dark purple.) It’s $128 at Nordstrom. Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Asymmetrical Neckline Belted Sheath Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
(L-3)

Comments

  1. Ooh, very pretty!

  2. Immediate threadjack: I need a gift for my dad, like stat. Preferably something I could order on Amazon so I could have it by the weekend. He’s impossible to buy for!

    He’s kind of your typical guy. He likes sports, but we’ve already done all of the t-shirts, mugs, etc. for his favorite teams. He likes to grill but already has all of the equipment. He’s more of a beer guy than a liquor guy, so getting him a nice bottle of liquor doesn’t really make sense. He’s super sentimental about his family, but I don’t have time to do a picture book or anything like that.

    Any ideas? What was the last great gift you got for your dad or other guy in your life?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I got my dad a book written by the former coach of his favorite team looking back at his time on the team. Maybe there is something written by a coach or former player that he likes?

    • My dad sounds similar to yours – last good gift was a flying lesson (he always wanted to do that), which I got a groupon-type thing for. Have you thought about experience gifts? This year I said I’d take him to the Intrepid in NYC for a day though we haven’t done it yet. Somethign like that could be easy to get too since you don’t necessarily have to get it in advance.

    • Do you live nearby? My family has been doing “experience” gifts for my dad for the last two years: each of my siblings plans an event to do with just that person and Dad, like go to the orchestra (which is wife does not like), or a baseball game, or seeing a comedy show, or something like that. That way we each get to spend some quality time with him, which is what he really wants, or so we’re told.

    • Blackbird :

      +100 for experience gifts. Tickets to a game. Tickets to a beer festival. Not only will he get to do something he enjoys, but he will get to do it with a family member which sounds like something he will doubly appreciate if he’s the sentimental type.

      We no longer get my mom “gifts” but only do experiences (e.g. ballet, dinner, or festival). She is getting to be anti-stuff in her “old” age and really just wants to see her busy kids.

      • +1 for tickets to a beer festival! Or maybe a sporting event or concert?

        Also, if he likes beer, why not a six-pack or two of some really swanky local brew?

        • Or maybe a home-brew kit? They’re all the rage with my dudefriends/dads right now.

          • or a trip to a place where they help you brew your own beer at their shop/ restaurant then bottle or keg it for you. The place around here is called “The Brew Kettle” and it’s a lot of fun.

      • Yeah — my dad is kind of impossible to shop for but getting him tickets to a sporting event both gets him a night out he’ll enjoy and guarantees that I’ll be in town to spend time with him, which is like bonus present. Not that I think of myself as an awesome present, but he has historically appreciated it more than … like, when I buy him sports memorabilia or some other sort of object.

    • My SO’s dad sounds similar to yours and is generally difficult to shop for, too. The most successful gift we got him was an international beer of the month club. He really got a huge kick out of getting it every month.

    • If you don’t have to ship, what about a sampler of yummy beers? Haven’t set foot in a Whole Foods for about a year, but Central Market here let’s you build your own six pack. World Market let’s you do this, too. A six pack or two of good beer plus some gourmet snacks?

      Or if you live in the same city, maybe just cook a nice dinner and pair with fun beers?

      • Lets, not let’s, curse you autocorrect

      • a passion for fashion :

        i just got dinged for posting too quickly, but this is basically what i was suggesting — ive done it for dad and FIL and it has gone over very well. You can buy one of those metal tubs, maybe with a team log, and fill it will beers and beer related snacks and stuff.

        Also, a beer of the month club is great. My husband go one for christmas from my dad, and its like christmas every month!

    • I agree that dads (and men in general) are tough to buy for! I usually get my dad clothes – he doesn’t like to shop, so Christmas/birthday gifts from my mom, sister and me keep him covered.

      I just got my boyfriend a Blongo Ball set for his birthday because we like going to the park with our friends… since your dad is into family, maybe something like that the entire family can enjoy together?

    • Lots of electronic toys on Amazon. Mini remote control helicopters, for example. Those are fun.

    • Oh, can’t believe I forgot these.

      For the sports fan: box set of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, avail on Amazon. If he likes basketball, the Magic versus Bird DVD from HBO, which is Fan-tas-tic. Also avail on amazon.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Beer club or tickets to a local brewery tour? Someone already mentioned beer festival tickets, which are fun too and Oktoberfest is coming up! Mmmm I can’t wait for pumpkin beer….

    • microbrew beer of the month club?

    • Cool watch?

    • Depending on his location, if he can still use his pool for awhile (i.e. the South) I got my dad a floating cooler for the pool and he loved it! Kinda cheesy but fun.

    • Might he be interested in brewing his own beer? My husband and I received a nice starter kit from Williams Sonoma for Christmas last year and have since graduated to more complex recipes. It’s fun and doesn’t take much in the way of space or supplies.

    • Conde Nast has prints of New Yorker cartoons on their website, grouped by themes (family, sport, lawyers among others) – I often have good luck finding something there which will resonate with the recipient.

    • West Anon :

      Rubs, spices, marinades etc from Williams-Sonoma, for grilling. It’s consumable, and usually their food items are delicious!

    • Ugh I hate that. I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday and he said “time” as in he never has enough “time.” Time with me? No, just time. A watch? No, I have one. Socks it is….

    • PumpkinDoodle :

      I got my father a gift subscription to Ancestry dot com for Christmas (which, to my surprise, he actually used!). If your father is into family, this might be an option.

  3. books? Oxford Companion to Beer (if he is a serious beer nerd) or maybe a cookbook like the Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine.

  4. I have the J.Crew version of this dress in orange, and used it as an interview dress for a tech company. The quality is wonderful and the silhouette is flattering. Got the job, so I consider the dress a good investment!

    • I love the JCrew dress. I am not crazy about this version. It looks like it doesn’t fit the model well. Maybe I am biased though. As much as I am a fan of Elie Tahari suits and dresses, the Tahari by ASL line just doesn’t work for me at all. I also feel like I turn into a shlubby matron in it.

      PS: So glad you rocked an orange dress to an interview & got the job!

    • Big props to you on what I’m sure what a flattering and memorable interview outfit :)

      • Here in my large Midwestern city, I have never, ever seen this Pliage bag. It must be an east coast thing.

        • I never saw one until I moved to Boston. Thought they were really ugly at first, and couldn’t understand why seemingly every girl/woman on the T carried one. Now they’ve grown on me a bit, but I don’t own one. And what’s with the random extra snap? I get that they’re supposed to be able to be folded up, but does anyone ever actually use it?

          • Yes, I use that extra snap all the time. I fold the bag up for storage in my closet when I’m not using it, and I fold it up and snap it shut when I put it in my suitcase to have in case I need an extra tote for stuff I acquire while traveling.

    • I also love that you got the job in an orange dress!

      I tried on the orange J.Crew dress last year. I don’t remember why I talked myself out of buying it, but I have regretted it ever since! I just went to look for it, but alas, only “hammock green” as far as fun colors go at the moment. I already have “The” Dress in approximately that color…can’t really justify two turquoise dresses in my closet.

    • I also have the J.Crew version of this dress in orange (and green!) and I get compliments every time I wear either dress.

      Is it weird that I am contemplating buying it in a third color? ;)

  5. Another early threadjack:

    Do any of you DC readers know which of the brick and mortar stores in our area (I’m restricted to those that are metro-accessible) have good cocktail dress selections? I need one, and I like to try on, and per usual, I’ve left it late and time is rather short.

    Many thanks!

  6. 2 TJS:

    1. After all the talk over the past 2 days, I think I should change my pliage bag as my daily work bag. Does anyone have suggestions for a good work bag (similar size) around the $200 range. I like the Lo&Sons OMG tote, but is it much more professional than the pliage and worth the cost?

    2. Any recommendations for what to do in Montreal? Never been before but am definitely looking forward to poutine….

    TIA!

    • Hike up Mt. Royal! The views are amazing.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Go to the Botanical Gardens!

    • If the pliage works for you, why change it? I live in a really rainy city and the pliage does well in the rain. It may not be the classiest, but I cannot afford to get a new bag every time it gets soaked.

    • Goodness gracious, glad I haven’t been around in the last two days, if people are saying the Pliage bag is somehow inappropriate! Keep your bag if you like it. They’re basic, not in-your-face, and can take a heck of a beating. The hive will pry mine out of my cold, dead hands.

      • orchidlady :

        I don’t think anyone said it was inappropriate — more ubiquitous. It’s certainly an inoffensive choice, but if you want something more unique, this may not be the right bag.

    • I find all the talk about the pliage bag confounding. I bought mine in the Madrid airport news & gift shop in 1999 because a shopping bag ripped and I needed a bag stat. It never occurred to me that the pliage was either anything special or anything not special. It was there when and where I needed it. What happened? I feel like Rip Van Winkle waking up years later to a kerfluffle.

      PS: 13 years later, it still looks and works great.

    • I adore the Lo and Sons bags, it makes me very sad that they do not ship to Canada (am currently trying to figure out a way to get it across the border, if I don’t get distracted by a Michael Kors bag first).

      Did my Masters in Montreal – definitely hit up the Botanical Gardens (where I did my research, le sigh), Biodome is across the street. Wander around the Old Port (I went to Les Jardins Nelson last week, gorgeous outdoor patio). Shop along St. Denis (go to Juliette et Chocolat!), but also hit up Ste. Catherine street (Simons is a big dept store, good basic stuff and then an upper floor of designers). Walk up Mt. Royal. Have fun!

    • Equity's Darling :

      I did my undergrad in Montreal- I’m not sure how to search the site (though perhaps one of the other posters can help out on that?…), but I’ve written out lists of things and places to go several times. Enjoy the city, it’s lovely, especially in the fall when the leaves are all changing.

    • No, you’re not *really* looking forward to poutine, it’s actually rather vile.

    • Please don’t feel like you need to change your pliage bag. I got the impression that the only thing that people thought was “unprofessional” about them was the lack of structure (particularly for an interview situation). But for an everyday work bag I don’t see anything unprofessional about it.

      • seriously, i agree. it’s certainly a better looking bag than the dirty and ratty ll bean boat tote that i see female partners carrying around all the time (in addition to her purse).

    • I had to use my (limited) google-fu to find out what this pliage bag looks like. It looks fine. I don’t think it looks unprofessional.

      Do you like it? If so, keep it.
      Does the bag look out of place compared to the bags that the other employees in your company use? (Only you can decide whether this matters or not, if it *is* out of place. Sometimes, it can feel better to fit in. No judgment regardless of whether fitting in is important or not to you.)

      • Honey Pillows :

        Every once in a while, I step back and realize how very, very abstract this is, and how incredibly women-only these concerns are, and I have to laugh. I see successful power-suit guys on the metro carrying ratty backpacks all. the. time. They wouldn’t carry them to an interview, but here we are, arguing over whether a well-designed, useful, water-resistant, respected-label, simple, understated nylon bag is professional enough simply because everyone else has it!

        No judgement, I also base my purchasing decisions on how unique a thing might be, and we ARE on a professional fashion blog, but gracious, it’s a bit silly to realize how much time we spend thinking about this!

        • I personally don’t give a sh!t about this sort of thing, but, let’s give some credit to the women spending a lot of time thinking about this:

          Women are also judged way more based on our appearance.

          And if we want to be part of a certain group, we do have to adhere to those rules (to some degree) even if we are working long-term to change some of them. Until that change comes, the force of these expectations will still be there and we will still have to deal with them, each in our own ways.

        • Amen!

        • Cornellian :

          I have that thought on threads like yesterday’s “size of my ankles” thread. Like, are we really doing this?

    • Old Montreal; wander St. Denis and look at all the beautiful people and stores; if you’re there on a Sunday, check out the Drum Jam on the mountain; eat at a BYOB place on Prince Arthur.

    • eat at cartet (they do not take reservations)!!! their brunch is awesome and they have a little gourmet food store in the front that is great for buying special treats

    • eastbaybanker :

      My Longchamp is a weekend/travel bag but only because it is pink. I agree that they are completely sufficient workbags in neutral colors. Especially if you see a purse as a functional item made to transport stuff, and not as an object of desire which somehow expresses who you are, who you wish to be, and your good taste in choosing a bag others couldn’t afford.

    • It is in no way more (or in my opinion less) professional than Le Pilage, but I love my Baggellini “Expandable Tote Crinkle Nylon.” It is giant. It has pocket to organize. It can crush down smaller if it is empty. The handles go over my shoulder. It doesn’t have the zipper dangling out there. It is durable.They have other bags that come in patterns. It is not $200. Or even $100.

  7. Growing up to make a healthy family :

    TJ: Could some of you share your stories on how to grew to create a good and healthy marriage and family when you grew up in a really chaotic childhood home? And any resources to help someone in that process? One of my best friends just ended his long term, really good relationship, due to freaking out once they started talking marriage and children. I’m at a loss how to help, because, what I saw was a remarkably good relationship, he clearly still loves her deeply, he’s in incredibly pain, and I think this is 99% about his NEVER having seen a healthy, happy, marriage longer than about 5 years. He’s emerged from his tumultuous childhood as an incredibly compassionate and responsible person, so I was surprised (though I guess I shouldn’t have been) that he still had such deep turmoil associated with believing he could create a good family life. At any rate – help? stories? books? He did start seeing a counselor. Thanks!

    • whatever that may be :

      Anyone hear the recent This American Life episode, “Show Me the Way,” about the teenager who ran away from his dysfunctional family to try to live with his favorite fantasy author, Piers Anthony? There was a great quote at the end:
      “One thing you who had a secure or happy childhood should understand about those of us who did not: we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all cost or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic and above all else, survivors, we’re not that way from perversity, and we cannot “just relax” and “let it go”. We’ve learned to cope in ways you never had to.”
      — Piers Anthony

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Wow, I love this quote. So, so true. I’m totally sharing this with my therapist next week. And I was a huge Xanth fan when I was a kid.

        • “learned to cope in ways you never had to” is also so applicable to other experiences that not everyone has: bereavement, poverty, abuse, assault, trauma, violence. I want to take this thinking with me to do better not judging. You never know what someone has been through.

      • This is a wonderful quote… and so true.

        Therapy is the best thing for him. There’s no way you can help him, so just keep encouraging him to see the therapist.

        • karenpadi :

          Second the therapy. I had a pretty great childhood but I still have issues stemming from watching my parents’ very unhealthy marriage. Therapy taught me to recognize certain behaviors, determine why I’m doing them, and gave me a new way to think through situations so I wouldn’t regress to what I had thought was “normal”.

          I still struggle but luckily I’ve dated men who are understanding (and know they have their own issues but have also sought therapy at some time in their lives).

    • I wouldn’t call my childhood chaotic or dysfunctional at all, but both my and DH’s parents are divorced… before we got married, we worked through one of those 1000 questions to ask before you get married books, and there was a whole section like “what positive examples of long term relationships have you had in your life?” For both of us, our grandparents celebrated their 50+ year anniversaries, and we discussed things relating to that.

      So maybe- even if you didn’t grow up directly in a stable, happy, two-parent home, reflecting on your experiences with ones that are could help?

    • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

      I agree with Lyn that a therapist could be helpful. I grew up in a chaotic series of households; my fiance was raised in an incredibly stable and loving and healthy household, but married someone with mental health challenges that created a truly chaotic household for him and his kids for two decades.

      Before we merged households, including his kids, we found a spectacularly good therapist who specializes in blended families. Working with her has helped us create a stable household for ourselves and for his kids. It seems to be part observation, part communication, part similar goals and values, part voodoo magic. In other words, not one thing.

      If you are intent on buying him a book, I would suggest you flip through John Gottman’s, “The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work.” We discovered about 2 years into our relationship that we had both read it before we met. Everything I have read about blended families says that a stable and loving relationship between husband and wife is critical to create a stable and loving household for the kids (his, hers and ours). I assume it is the same in an unblended family, so that might be a place to start. (Added bonus: it was interesting reading from an almost anthropological perspective, not cheesy as so many of these books can be.)

    • Sometimes when people grow up in dysfunctional families, even when they are in a healthy relationship, associate relationships with turmoil. I think the best thing for him is therapy. You can be there and support him, but he really needs to do the hard work with a therapist to get at the root of his anxiety about relationships.

      In my personal experience (my parents are divorced, my dad has been married 4 times) with my DH (both parents divorced and remarried), the best thing has been to talk it out. We spent a lot of time talking about what we thought marriage was and what we wanted out of it. I found 5 Love Languages helpful in navigating communication with my husband who has a different style than me. But lots of talking/communicating/being honest about what scares you has really helped in my own marriage.

    • Seattleite :

      In addition to therapy, please suggest Harville Hendrix’s books to him. Specifically, “Keeping the Love You Find.” This is not a weekend read. This is a tough book, filled with tough exercises. It will work only if he does the exercises ON PAPER. But he will learn a lot about himself, his patterns, his triggers, and how to get what he wants.

  8. I looked at the latest version of the J. Crew Origami dress (in the green/dark teal color) in the store, and was turned off by the material–it seemed scratchy and felt more synthetic than wool on a quick tactile investigation. Has anyone recently purchased this dress–can you speak in more detail about the quality of the fabric? I love the cut but scratchy fabric is a deal-breaker for me.

    • As I mentioned above, I have the J.Crew dress in green and orange. I bought the orange dress several months before the green dress, and they are definitely different materials. I probably prefer the material of the orange dress (more like wool), but the green version does not seem cheap or scratchy to me. It is lighter weight, which is actually kind of nice in the summer.

    • Locomotive :

      Because it is fully lined I never really had a problem with the outside fabric.

    • There are two versions of the dress, I think: wool crepe and wool flannel. I have a suit in the wool crepe and love it. It doesn’t wrinkle easily, isn’t scratchy (to me), and is seasonless. It still looks new after two years (I’m a 3L — it was my most frequently worn suit for interviews, for networking events, and as a summer associate).
      I’ve seen the wool flannel dress in-store, and never the wool crepe (but don’t go in the store that often). I also didn’t like the feel of the flannel.

  9. TJ – I’m struggling with what to say to a supervisor about a project (X) that is not going to be completed by the end of the week, as requested. Here’s what happened: I am assigned to a very active project (Y) that requires constant attention – there is no putting it aside for one day. In addition, a surprise issue popped up last week in case Y that required additional, immediate attention. As a result, I have been trying to chip away at X, but realized this morning that I am way over my head in terms of what X actually requires. I know the deadline in X is not real (we are trying to “keep things moving” and this is something we have discussed with others but there is no external deadline like the deadlines I have been dealing with in Y).

    My plan is to say something like “I’m having trouble meeting this deadline for project X. I have been trying to work on it, but as you know, Y requires my constant attention. I have taken a look at how I have been spending my time and I think I can either keep up with Y, or do project X, but not both. I have been prioritizing Y because all of the issues in Y are immediate. I have talked to Colleague, who has time to work on it next week. Do you think we can be flexible with this deadline?”

    I probably *can* finish this this week, but I am fried from the emergency in Y last week and I can tell my work is suffering. The firm will get a better work product if someone who has more time can be devoted to it.

    What are your thoughts?

    • If it is reasonably likely that you cannot finish X by the deadline, I’d bring this up sooner than later by explaining that Y has suddenly become urgent and you anticipate having to devote a lot more time than you originally expected, that X calls for doing the following 5 things, 2 of which are done, that you have spoken with colleague and that you anticipate being able to complete it the other 3 things by next week. I would make sure that your internal deadline truly is flexible, ie the head attorney isn’t planning to fold what should’ve been done by the end of this week into something else w/ a quick deadline. It would also be good if you could under-promise and over-deliver by getting X done ahead of whatever becomes your new deadline.

      I would not say that “I have been prioritizing Y” because you are expected to “prioritize” everything.. and I would not discuss dropping X altogether at this time. I would wait until the X project is done and then explore the possibility of dropping X or figuring out some kind of scheduling to do both.

      good luck!

    • first of all, don’t put off the discussion; it might actually matter for week’s end for some reason you don’t know. I’m not really clear on the issue with project X though: are you really saying you don’t have the skills for it (“way over my head in terms of what X actually requires”) or that you don’t have time for it?
      If it’s the latter, I think most supervisors are very understanding about immediate/external dates taking priority over lower importance/internal date projects – but the fact that you’ve put off elevating the delay would be my concern if I were your supervisor. Ideally you would want to escalate this as soon as it became apparent that the project would need to slip, which sounds like it was last week, so it could be reassigned to someone who could make the date. So if this is the story, fess up asap and tell her the emergency last week absorbed time you expected to have for X, and now that the emergency is resolved you have realized you can’t complete by this week – would she rather reassign or extend the date? This sort of depends on how much additional time is needed for X – if it’s more work than is doable by week’s end by anyone you need some sort of apology/lessons learned I think.
      If though the problem is that you don’t have the skills for the project, or would need more time to complete it due to lack of experience in the area, that’s a bit more delicate, especially if those are skills you’re expected to have in your position/level. would need more info to make a recommendation here, but if it’s something you SHOULD be able to do but aren’t I would probably burn the midnight oil to get it caught up…

    • Is he your supervisor for both projects? If so, then he should know about surprise issue on Y. If not, explain to him. But, I’d say something similar but more direct “As a result of having to spend more time on project Y last week and because the scope of project X is larger than the attention I can provide, I am unable to complete project X on time. Colleague has time to work on Project X with me next week to complete it. What do you think?”

      Honestly, if he doesn’t have his head in the sand and supervises both projects, he has to know that Project Y supersedes Project X and any setbacks will therefore impact it.

    • I’d avoid stating your last sentence unless you’re confident that you’ve already established yourself as a performer with this particular supervisor.

      Actually I think it is sufficient to say ‘I’m struggling to address X and Y concurrently, and think this week’s deadline for X is at risk – can you give me a sense of what to prioritise ?’ And then give the supervisor some room to diagnose the situation – she may know that the Y surprise is a one-off, or that X is an issue because someone else isn’t pulling their weight, and so on.

  10. Can anyone identify the jacket Rachel Maddow was wearing last night while covering the RNC? It gave an overall color impression of charcoal, but was a tweedy mix of black/white, I think. Maybe a heavy knit? Looked drapey instead of stiff. I’m totally in love with it… will try to find a link.

  11. I am about a month into my dream job (my first legit job after law school), and I keep making mistakes. Little ones, mostly. But I can’t stop beating myself up over them and feeling like everyone thinks I’m an idiot and that they hired the wrong person. Ugh, the worst feeling. My chest is getting tight.

    Any tips for getting over this new job anxiety?

    • Stop making small mistakes! Really, if that’s what is causing you the anxiety and you want to stop beating yourself up over it, then be more careful and spend more time making sure you have dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. Especially if you’ve only been there a month, you should be extra dilligent since you are making your first impression!

      • downstream :

        Wow, this is terrible advice. Yes, I agree that ideally B wouldn’t make mistakes, but do you you think she’s sitting there thinking, Ohhhh, my problem can be solved by not making mistakes! Silly me, why didn’t I think about that!

        Better advice: everyone makes mistakes and 99% of the time they’re not a big deal. More likely than not, you’re blowing them up in your head when other people either don’t notice or don’t care. It sounds like you’re more anxious than anything else because you don’t mention that people are actually reacting to your mistakes (just your perception of how they’re reacting). If people are noticing/reacting, take a step back and see what their reactions are – are they just nicely pointing out that you put something in the wrong cabinet? Some things you learn on the job and it can take a little while.

        And if they do notice, most likely they only think about it for 10 seconds and then move on. There is a receptionist at my job who is constantly making mistakes (misspelling a huge client’s name, for example) and while I think she’s somewhat incompetent, it’s not like I’m sitting around complaining about her all the time.

        • 1. First legal job – and apparently dream job.
          2. Only been there a month
          3. Anxiety over small mistakes.
          4. All easily fixed by being more careful.

          I think it’s the best advice ever. And in my legal jobs, small mistakes, while small, repeatedly occuring (as she implies) is a BIG deal. It shows you lack attention to detail.

          • It is good advice but not for someone with anxiety over every little small mistake and that is on pins and needles. And, seems to be conscientious and is still making mistakes.

          • downstream :

            Thanks eek – that’s what I meant. In general being careful and conscientious is good advice, but the real issue here is that the OP was freaking out over small mistakes. And from what she posted below, it doesn’t seem like they were mistakes that could be fixed by being more careful (like typos) – they are mistakes that you learn by doing. Telling someone who is anxious over these types of “mistakes” to just be more careful is the opposite of helpful.

        • a passion for fashion :

          really? I think this is wonderful advice (perhaps not delivered with the best opening line). Taking more time to go over things and make sure you dont make the mistakes is very important. And particularly in law. Although small mistakes are unlikely to lose a case, get you sanctioned, etc, as someone more senior who is reviewing your work, i would think you are careless and/or not taking the time you need to/giving the necessary attention to detail. If it continued, I would think twice about giving you work.

          And there is a big, big difference between a receptionist making mistakes and an attorney making mistakes.

          So please, do not beat your self up about the mistakes, but please do take more time and pay more attention to details.

        • Pelican Brief :

          You even state that teh small mistakes the receptionist makes make you think “she’s incompentent” yet you think she shouldn’t worry about her small mistakes?

          I whole heartedly disagree

          • downstream :

            My point was that although she makes mistakes, I’m not thinking that she should be fired or that she’s an idiot. Just, mistakes happen.

            But jeez people. Someone comes here to ask about anxiety over making mistakes and instead of reassuring this person that she is overreacting (which she almost certainly is), you all jump up shouting that she should be more conscientious and it’s her fault, without even knowing what the mistakes are! No wonder she’s anxious.

    • Anon for this :

      This has been definitely covered ad nauseum here in the past 30 days. Search g**gle for [thissite]: anxiety and you should be able to read previous responses.

    • I have found that making lists of the common mistakes you are making helped me when I found I was making small (stupid) mistakes. Before you turn in any assignment or document, run through your list to make sure you have everything covered. My lists included things like (1) check dates; (2) check punctuation; (3) check signature blocks; etc. You will feel silly doing it at first, but it really works. And for me, knowing I have checked off/through my list, helped with my anxiety.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Oh man. I’m one year out of law school (also in my dream job).

      What kinds of mistakes are you making? Lots of typos? Lots of corrections of your writing style?

      I ask because all those types of mistakes are different. If you’re turning in work with lots of typos, you do need a system that will help you not do that. One every now and then is fine, I hope, but not lots in the same document.

      If you’re getting lots of corrections in your style, then that is really really really normal. I still get lots of corrections, but I just try my best to remember what I’m doing wrong and even keep a list of some partners’ preferences (e.g., Partner A hates split infinitives; Partner B never starts a sentence with “However,” etc.)

      Next-to-last thought — If people are still giving you work, and especially if the same people are giving you work over and over, then they don’t think you’re an idiot. Everyone makes mistakes, especially at first. The partners and senior associates do not expect perfect work out of you every time. Just do your very best and keep learning and getting better. I can’t promise you’ll feel like less of an idiot or that you’ll stop making mistakes, but you will be just fine.

      Last thought — This is about feeling better, overall. If you’re having severe anxiety, I recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. I went through CBT during my first year of law school and it seriously changed my life. It helped me realize that I can really choose how to feel by getting myself out of destructive thought patterns. If I mess up, I just make a note and figure out how to not do it again. We can’t change the past or what people think of us for little mistakes. We can only control how we see ourselves, and I really think that if we see ourselves as bad@sses and try really really hard not to get down on ourselves, we will project that to others. No need to beat yourself up over the past when all you can do is move forward.

      • AnonInfinity – TJing this TJ.

        I struggle with anxiety and started with a therapist doing CBT about six months ago. I moved states and have not been able to start up with another therapist in my new locale. I do have a workbook that my last therapist gave me, but for whatever reason haven’t been forcing myself to work through it. The anxiety is most affecting my personal life/relationship with SO. Any book recs or tips generally? I still can’t quite get my head around the “oh here I am feeling anxious, this is just anxiety, it will pass, etc.” thing.

        • Any chance the anxiety is covering for other feelings that are somehow unresolved or unacknowledged? This has been my experience.

          • I’m sure that’s a possibility, but I’m not quite sure how to uncover that? I have been told by many people that I hold myself to an unrealistically high standard and put a lot of pressure on myself – so there is some perfectionism at work I suppose. Maybe an underlying feeling of not being good enough? Is that what you mean?

          • More like, swallowing feelings like “I feel angry at XX right now b/c of ___ underlying boundary being crossed”. What I displayed as anxiety/panic for years and years turned out to be tons of anger, frustration, and fear that I wasn’t expressing to anyone. The standard books talking about perfectionism, “should” thinking, catastrophizing, were helpful, but didn’t dig deep enough. I suspect this is quite common.

          • I should add, “. . . wasn’t expressing to anyone including myself.” Which is probably the key. Uncovering it is taking therapy over a period of several years. YMMV, of course. But it’s been enormously helpful.

          • I hear ya. I have tried to get better about expressing my feelings in a way that is productive, i.e., not screaming, not being snarky, not saying “you did this, you did that” but saying, this is how I feel when this happened, etc. It is a work in progress for sure. I still feel that if I say how I am feeling it will cause problems, I will be rejected, etc. Clearly need to find a therapist in my new locale asap!

        • AnonInfinity :

          I did all my work with a therapist rather than books, so I’m afraid I don’t have any to recommend. You say that you’re having trouble making yourself work through it. I felt that way at first with the journaling exercises (I assume that’s what the book has you do?). I eventually realized that if I wanted to feel better, I had to make myself do it because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to recognize my triggers and my spirals. Once I got over that hump, it started going much better. I would set aside time each day to really think about my day and really think about what made me anxious. Then I’d kind of relive those events and really deconstruct them. It sucked and it was time consuming, but I came out on the other side much healthier, mentally.

          I hate to sound trite, but you really have to just do it and give it 100%.

          And if you’re having trouble working through the book, is it possible to find another therapist in your area so you’ll have some accountability? What shook me up was that I was having trouble making myself do the exercises, and my therapist finally said, “Look, you’re talking a lot about the therapy, but you’re not actually doing it. It might be more helpful if you did it rather than us spending all this time talking about it and talking around it.” Having someone hold me accountable like that really helped.

          • That sounds exactly right about how I am stuck. I know I just need to do it, and I know I need to force myself to do it. The tip of setting aside time each day to do part of the workbook is a very good one.

            I am on a temp health insurance plan and am working to find a therapist that won’t bankrupt me while I am looking for a new job. The sad part is that I should have some accountability through my relationship, as my anxiety is having a major impact on a major facet of it and will probably be what causes the end of the relationship if I can’t figure it out. And yet, here I am, still stuck. Still making excuses.

            You are right, I need to get my arse in gear and do it.

          • You might check if a local grad school trains future therapists. One of our schools does this. State residents pay for therapy on a sliding scale that tops out at half of a normal session cost. The therapists are still learning, but they are supervised and we get the benefit of different/newest approaches.

          • Thanks! I will look into this.

        • I’ve also done CBT for anxiety (with a strong dose of perfectionism thrown in there) and like AnonInfinity found it really life changing.

          One thing that my therapist was big on that you could do on your own is bodily relaxation (tensing and releasing muscles, deep breathing, etc). She argued in favor of starting with this first because she believed that you’ll have a much more difficult time doing the cognitive “there is nothing actually dangerous here” work if your tensed muscles and shallow breathing are sending a contradictory “there’s something terribly wrong here!” signal. I’m pretty convinced now that the bodily signals are as important as the thoughts, and I can sometimes head myself off from a total freakout just by recognizing when I’m starting to hold my breath and trying to release that.

          In my experience, seeing an actual person was far, far more helpful that reading a book. Maybe it was the time and attention I devoted to it once I got into therapy (since I was paying money and all and determined to do the homework), but books were not nearly as effective for me. It was also the case for me that things I’d read or been told many times just finally “clicked” at some point in therapy. Example: After many, many sessions of my therapist pressing me about what the worst thing that could possibly happen was in various scenarios and me getting dead ended (me: I will screw this up at work. her: And then? me: ??) I realized that simply being wrong/making a mistake was the worst case scenario for me, and I never thought past that (I will screw this up, and that will be awful). After I finally realized that, then I could get to the cognitive reframing part and realize that messing something up, while it might be uncomfortable at the time and not ideal, is not actually a crisis (I won’t get fired, etc). It seems like an obvious CBT insight in retrospect, but I don’t know if I would have been able to get there without the therapist there to push me and help me recognize those patterns.

        • Migraine Sufferer :

          Try hypnosis. Worked for me.

      • I have nothing to add to this conversation except to say that I think this is really good advice, especially the parts about how if people keep giving you work, they don’t think you’re incompetent.

    • Thanks all.

      It’s not that I’m not being careful. It’s that I work for a very small nonprofit with only a few other attorneys (who are very nice but very busy). I’m kind of just being thrown into the job with minimal training (because they don’t have the staff to spend a ton of time training me), so I’ve been asking lots of questions, but there have been a few times where I have to just make a decision and no one is around to ask first. I guess these aren’t *mistakes* per se, but I look back and think, “ugh, if I had that to do over again, I would do it differently.”

      I know that my coworkers expect me to learn by doing, and that includes making mistakes sometimes. Like: I got a deluge of emails the other day and one of them went unanswered. It’s not the end of the world, but I still keep thinking about it.

      • downstream :

        Replying to an email a day late (or even several days late) is not a mistake! It’s what happens when people are busy. Unless it was super-urgent and had to be done that day, or just normal-urgent and from a huge client, this is totally a non-issue. You’re just beating yourself up over nothing.

        One of the senior partners here mis-used a word in a pleading which caused there to be a motion to dismiss filed and we had to defend it…probably cost several thousands of dollars because he used the word X instead of Y. Now THAT’S a mistake. And no one thinks he’s an idiot, he wasn’t fired, etc. I really do think you’re just making a mountain out of a molehill.

        • I would agree. Unless it was something with a deadline of yesterday, just deal with it today and move on. Suggestions for coping:
          1. Don’t over-apologize for your mistakes, it’s annoying and unprofessional. If you actually screwed up, admit to it with a simple “I’m sorry, I made a mistake” then focus on how you are going to fix it and what you can do to keep it from happening again. But replying to an email within 24 hours isn’t screwing up in my book, so don’t apologize. Suggested reading: “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office”
          2. Keep lists and lists of lists. Who to contact in case of x, phone numbers you might need, etc. When in doubt, write it down, you’ll probably need it in the future. One important suggested list: “Ask X about …” Then when your busy co-workers have a minute, you can hit them with all your questions for the day, rather than bugging them every hour. If possible, sent up a standing time once or twice a day to go over your questions with them – ask if they prefer first thing in the morning, after lunch, an hour before the end of the day, etc.
          3. Develop a system for emails – use folders, tags or flag for followup as your email system allows. I have “dead with this today” “deal with this week” “filed for reference” and “waiting for x” folders. Suggested reading: Getting Things Done.
          4. Realize that edits and constructive criticism are just that – they aren’t personal, and they aren’t a reflection on you. As the new person, you will probably have people giving feedback or revising some of your work. If you are nervous about something, try to complete it as soon as possible so you can get a review or second opinion before you send it out.

          Good luck, take a deep breath and remember – you aren’t performing organ transplants. No one is going to die if the email doesn’t get sent out today. Give yourself some slack and some perspective and the anxiety should ease up a little.

          • This is really helpful. I am going to save it for myself for future reference. Thanks.

      • Sometimes I covertly contact my law school if there’s no one from work around to ask. Maybe that could work for you if you have a good relationship with anyone there, or know of some competent people? For example, my law school has an “Ask A Librarian” chat feature on the library home page, and I used it all summer to ask the librarian for research tips when I got stuck, rather than bugging my supervising attorney. He never knew, he just knew I turned in well-researched product. If you’re an alumni, you paid for all that kind of stuff, you’re still entitled to use it. Maybe something like that is an option?

        • I’m not an alumna yet, but I absolutely call the librarian who was my legal research professor for tricky research issues (e.g. I have no idea where to look for a certain answer). He actually loves it! The librarians at law schools generally love their jobs, actively like research, and enjoy it when people ask for their help.

        • Definitely second looking outside your office where possible/necessary. In our first year out, my law school friends and I frequently had urgent email chats — “Does anyone know how to do X?” “What is that rule that says Y?” “Do you have a template for a Z filing?” And as a clerk, I reached out a few times to former professors for resources or explanations of things I hadn’t covered in law school (“Could you recommend a good basic article on ABC?”). It was a big help, and it made us all feel a little more secure to know that we could ask some of our “stupid” questions to someone outside our offices.

      • Something that has served me well that I learned from a program with which I volunteer is, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

        Basically, the idea is to slow down and take the time to do things right the first time. Taking a little longer do something, to double check your work, and make sure it is done correctlytakes less time than doing it over or correcting mistakes. It can be really hard to remember in a high pressure situation, but slowing down makes such a difference, whether you are talking about making sure the numbers are right in a document (my work life) or working on the response to someone who is hurt on a trail (my volunteer life).

      • If your “mistakes” are really just “things I’d handle differently next time,” you’re right that they’re not mistakes. You’re learning your system for handling things, and as long as you do feel like you would handle the situations you’re in more effectively the next time, you’re doing just fine. The important thing is to show your superiors that you’re catching on; e.g., the first time you got 50 emails in a day it took you 2 hours to answer them and you missed one, but the second time it only takes you an hour and you got all of them. It’s just not always possible to figure out the best way to do something the first time you try it – you only look bad if it looks like you are being consistently careless or consistently not learning from mistakes.

      • There’s some great advice on here so I’ll just say that the “they think I’m an idiot and wish they didn’t hire me” feeling is SO first year lawyer. If you feel that way, it means you care about your work — congratulations! My co-junior and I used to joke that the partner on our case wished he had a trap door in front of his desk (like a Bond villain) so he could just send us down the chute whenever we made a mistake.

      • I’m in my second year at my first job out of law school and struggle from what the senior partner refers to as an excess of perfectionism. I was lucky enough to end up in a position that pays pretty good attention to mentoring but I will pass on what I have heard here: this is a learning experience for you, and when you hire an attorney fresh out of law school, you are aware that you have hired an attorney fresh out of law school. If you learn from the experience, you are fulfilling your part of the bargain, and if you beat yourself up over not knowing everything while you’re new, you will do it forever, because you’ll never know everything … so put away your self-flagellating materials and embrace the fact that you are learning.

        Coming to this thread kind of late but I wanted to say this because you seem really similarly situated to where I was last year, which was a lot of arm-flailing and excessive self-inquiry over “the small stuff”. :)

    • Just breathe. This happens to many first years. Come up with some ways to avoid these mistakes. Try having your assistant proof read things and red pen them for you. Make a checklist of things you need to complete/check based on the mistakes you’ve made. For example, does this filing need a cover sheet, have I checked dates with opposing counsel, have I included the correct style of the case, do I need to check local rules before filing, etc. Don’t worry, it will all be okay. Just focus on not making the same mistake twice and learning from every mistake, no matter how small.

    • Hey there, sorry you’ve been going through this, and yeah, it sucks.

      Can you give us a bit more information about what sort of mistakes? Are these typos that you fail to catch? Are these omissions of little bits of information that need to be in a brief or letter?

      If you tell us exactly what type of things, maybe we can give pointers.

      Part of it is being new– you’re not just learning new tasks and working on new projects, which is already a lot, but you’re also learning how this particularly company works, you’re learning the personalities, who to go to for certain things (internal networks & processes), so it can be easy for little mistakes to creep in when you’re overloaded like this.

      Be kind to yourself. And don’t be afraid to take a little extra time to look things over before sending them to someone. I’d rather someone took an extra 5-10 minutes than to rush to try to show they’re quick but give me something riddled with little mistakes.

    • Ask A Manager just put a post up this morning about “Imposter Syndrome” that might be helpful: http://www.askamanager.org/2012/08/impostor-syndrome.html

      • Super helpful — thank you.

      • Impostor Syndrome was Exactly what I was going to bring up…. I have recently realized I have had it my whole life…. and realized that it would be worse to be one of the people who always thinks they are Goddess’ Gift to Humankind And The Most Awesomest and yet don’t even notice or care when they do make a mistake. ;o)

  12. Diana Barry :

    Why is the model standing so funnily? It makes the dress look weird.

    Quick family relationship threadjack for those of you who aren’t tired of reading about them! My SIL has had a hard time fitting into our family – and by that I mean that my sister, my sister’s husband, my husband, and I have often found (and continue to find) her annoying. I think I have figured it out – it’s bc she talks a LOT and will dominate the conversation, and our reaction is mainly “OMG, nobody cares!!!”. Note – we are very nice to her, and always keep our eye-rolls internal. But she is a very nice person, even if she sounds like a know-it-all – she is GREAT with our kids and very helpful in general. So I feel bad that it’s hard for me to spend time with her, bc she does really mean well.

    I’m not sure if she talks so much bc she grew up in a loud Italian family where they all talk over each other, or bc she is nervous, or what. (Our family is not really loud, and we all take turns talking.)

    So my question is – is there any way to let her (or my brother) know that if she didn’t talk *quite* so much, it would be much easier to spend time with her? My gut instinct is no, we shouldn’t say anything, and just deal bc that’s the way she is and it’s easier to not rock the boat. (My family also outwardly ALL gets along, there are no snide comments ever, everyone is generally very pleasant to one another.) WWYD?

    • Eh, if it were me (which it wouldn’t be, because I’m a quiet person), I would feel incredibly self-conscious if someone told me not to talk so much. I think it would probably hurt more than help. If she can’t figure out from interacting with you that you relate to each other differently than she’s used to, then she’s probably not self-aware enough to be able to adjust to your family’s volume/cadence.

    • In all honesty, you and your husband sister and her husband kind of sound like a group of the “mean kids” if she’s nice and you just find her annoying and you all internally roll your eyes. How would you feel if you were her and you found that out? Wouldn’t you feel even more isolated? You definitely should NOT say anything, that’s the epitomy of mean kids style.

      • I disagree with this; a person can be nice and also annoying at the same time. Recognizing that fact isn’t being a ‘mean kid.’ Also, it’s rude to dominate the conversation.

        However, I probably would not say anything to her or the brother. If she starts yakking on about something no one cares about, when she pauses for a breath can you acknowledge what she said briefly (“That must have been rough” or “How funny!”) and then re-direct the conversation to something more people want to discuss? I have tried this with boring talkers, and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

        • Pelican Brief :

          I agree, having four grown adults just do things like “internal eyerolls”. . . have we not grown up yet? Can you not just try to redirect the stories or talk about something else so she doesn’t end up talking about things you find annoying. . . that’s how most adults act. Not “eyeroll, omg shoudl we tell her she’s annoying and will totally never fit into our family if she continues”

          All that will do is isolate her and your brother . . .

          • Senior Attorney :

            Agreed!

            Disclaimer: I am probably more like your SIL than I am like you and your sibs. I get enthusiastic and loud and I daresay there are those who find me annoying.

            But I can’t help but think: Really? You are going to discount all her good qualities and focus on the fact that she’s not exactly like you, and choose to get all eye-rolly and talky-behind-her-backy, while ignoring the fact that she’s very nice, she’s great with your kids, and she’s very helpful in general? Seriously?

            Dude. How about tolerating peoples’ foibles and concentrating on their good points?

      • I disagree, too! Don’t you know someone who is perfectly “nice,” but annoying or difficult to be around or loud or a little obnoxious or can’t pick up on cues that the conversation is over or gets overly excited or always talks about her cat/dog/boyfriend? I don’t think it’s fair to characterize them as mean just because they don’t like someone whose fault happens to be something other than not being nice.

        For the OP, I guess I agree that saying something will probably be really hurtful and not productive. If it were *my* family, someone would probably be trying to make light of it with her– “SIL, it’s nice to finally have a real talker in the family!” or “I know we can always count on SIL to get a conversation started!” I have an uncle (by marriage) who is a notorious talker, and these are the kinds of things he gets all the time. Of course, the big caveat is that they are always good-natured comments (it would be easy to make them super-snarky, but that’s not how they’re made), and he knows/embraces that he’s a talker. So something like that will definitely not work for everyone.

        • Oh god, we have some in my family that could bore for our country in the Olympics. The worst is when you cannot get a word in edgewise, or changing the conversation topic would be really abrupt, and result in their hurt feelings. As they’re so sensitive the only way to avoid drama is to wait out the monologue. Commiseration but no solutions so far!

    • Go with your gut– don’t say anything. The hurt feelings and ensuing awkwardness/resentment arent worth it.

      • Diana Barry :

        That’s what I figured. Thanks.

        It’s funny, on reflection I am more worried about getting my sister to like her, bc she is really a nice person – and I am worried that my sister won’t want to move near us (my brother and I live close to one another) and she’ll live far away from me forever! (Is this catastrophic thinking? Bc I do it a lot!)

    • Ugh, sister in laws. I have never met anyone who liked the person her brother or her husband’s brother married. I include myself in that group. My sister in laws are both completely out of touch with the family and just do not fit in at all. So no advice, just commiseration.

      • I have five sisters-in-law, and I really like one of them. The others range from complete dislike to tolerable. So not zero, but only batting .200 here.

      • After recently finally meeting my brother’s girlfriend, I was pleased with how well we got along. Guess I should probably talk her up as a keeper then ;)

      • It may only because I am being compared to his first wife that they hated but my husband’s two sisters and I get along fantastically.

      • I love my sisters in law on my side of the family and one of the women dh’s brothers married (the other one is a piece of work, let me tell you). It can happen. In fact, I sometimes feel that one of my brothers’ wives fits in better with my family than I do. Now my sister’s husband, well, we have some issues with him but I do my best to get along with him, and they’ve only been married 3 years and one of those years was spent with them out of the country. If he treated my sister a little better I think I’d like him more.

        As for the op – how long has your brother been married? Sometimes it can take a really long time before a new member of the family can feel really comfortable. Maybe you could make an effort to get to know her more on a one on one basis? That might help your relationship. No matter what I wouldn’t say anything to your brother or to her.

      • My brother’s wife is one of my best friends now. And, no, I didn’t know her before he met her.

      • Ouch – you must not know many people, if you don’t know ANYONE who likes their SIL. I mean, you don’t have to be their best friend, but you can still like them!

        That is just SUCH a broad generalization to make that its not even helpful.

      • My sister-in-law is a good friend, and full disclosure: if they ever get divorced, I want to keep her.

      • No Problem :

        I love both of my SILs! My brothers picked wonderful women to marry. I actually like one of my SILs better than the brother she married…

    • As a person who grew up in a loud jewish family and married into WASPs, I just sit quietly at family gatherings because it was made pretty clear to me that there would be no loud talking in my husband’s family. While I am sitting quietly, I think about how weird everyone else is and try to get out of this head space of growing dislike for the entire family that I’ve gotten into. Let her talk. At least she still seems to like you!

      • My mom was the opposite. She married into a loud Jewish family with 4 boys all within 6 years of each other. Apparently, the first time she met my dad’s family (both parents and 3 younger brothers) they were all sitting around the dinner table and my grandpa looked at my mom and said, “What’s the capital of Colombia?” while my uncles kept raising their voices over the other and pointing and finally one of them got up to make his point more emphatically. Suffice it to say, this was not normal for her Scandinavian Lutheran background. She has grown into the family and everyone else has (thankfully) calmed down a lot.

        • Oh my God, this sounds so much like my family that I just cracked up at my desk. Your poor mom! I’m glad things settled down eventually.

        • This gets on my nerves :

          So I am Jewish, and while my mom’s side is noisy and opinionated, my dad’s side is quiet and reserved. And they are all from the same part of the world originally. And it really annoys me when people describe “loud Jewish” or “quiet WASP” (or “loud Italian” or whatever). Your family is [behavioral adjective]. It doesn’t mean that every family of the same race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, etc., would be described the same way. And if you were, say, WASPy, but married into a black family that happened to be boisterous, you probably would be hesitant to describe your in-laws as a “loud black family.” Just don’t do it. The behavioral adjective is really irrelevant to the minority/majority background adjective.

          • I agree with you completely. I followed what everyone else was saying without really thinking. I know am offended when people place the behavioral adj in front of something else. (Also, raised as and am a practicing Jew, fwiw.)

    • downstream :

      In general I agree with everyone who says that you should just suck it up…but if that is eating away at you, the ONE THING I would do it try to get your brother to talk to her about it in a way that places the blame on you – like, “I think my sisters feel a little intimidated by you because you’re so vocal and comfortable expressing your opinions. They’re so quiet, maybe it would help if you toned it down a little.” Something like that.

    • Nope, I think you’re stuck with her. My mother is (and always has been) the same way. It makes it very tedious to spend extended time with her, even though she really does mean well. She just loves the sound of her own voice and struggles to understand socially appropriate conversation (I’m talking about at a dinner party, for example. Our family just rolls with it.)

      If anybody has suggestions, I’m all ears. But there is no real way to say “if only you weren’t so annoying, I’d like you more.” I’ve tried ;)

    • Hold on to the thought that she’s a nice person and means well. Find other ways to make her feel welcome and appreciated if spending time with her is too hard. Don’t join in when others want to discuss annoying behaviour behind her back – it makes it just that much harder for you to hold on to the good thoughts.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Well the person you just described is me – just sub Irish for Italian. I know I’m loud. I know I talk to omuch. I know I domineer conversations. I know I have alienated people by doing it. At the end of the day, it is who I am. I make an effort at business functions to let others speak more than me. I try to be conscious of my faults in everyday life but it is exhausting and makes me self-conscious and uncomfortable. When I’m around friends and family, and yes the in-laws are family, I just want to be myself. And if my friends don’t like it, they aren’t really my friends.

      She probably knows about her issues. If you point them out, she is going to hate the messenger. Maybe when you spend time w/ her family, observe how they communicate. If they interrupt to tell a story, maybe interrupt her w/ one of yours to make sure you are heard too.

      If anyone else has been the loud-mouth here and has reformed themselves, I’d love some tips. I just enjoy talking. I think I have great and funny stories. I think people want to listen to them. How do you tell someone “you really aren’t that interesting or funny and you are actually just kind of annoying?”

      • I wouldn’t say that I’m a reformed loud-mouth, but I do restrain myself from dominating conversations as much as I want to. I’ve learned that plenty of shy/introverted/seeming boring people are actually hilarious and interesting, and so I want to hear their stories too. I force myself to ask people questions to see what they have to say, so it’s not just me doing the storytelling.

      • Not a loudmouth, reformed or otherwise, but I know plenty, and for the most part get along fine with ‘em. What irks me sometimes, though, is feeling as though they think their great and funny stories (which are, in fact, sometimes great and funny!) are worth so much more than anything I have to contribute to the conversation. Because, honestly, it’s not a conversation if there’s only one person talking. So for any loudmouths looking to quiet down a bit–cultivate the ability to listen. Ask people questions about themselves, and then LISTEN to their answers. Do not let yourself talk over them. Yes, your funny story does tie in! Yes, it’s hilarious! But you’ll still be able to tell it when your conversation partner has completed his or her thought.

      • HUGE reformed loud mouth here. It took a serious talking to my ego and informing her that no, everybody really does not care about my stupid hilarious story. It really struck me when I would see how other people dominated the conversation and I realized that I was that boor also. No thanks.

        I look around the room now and try to draw out people who aren’t talking. I haven’t figured out how to stop the random smart-@ss quips that come out. It is very rewarding though – people respect your talking time so much more when you speak less.

        None of this applies when you’re hanging out with bffs/families, of course.

      • Blonde Lawyer, I think you said you were also from a rowdy Irish family when I was writing about visiting my mom earlier this month. Not sure about tips, but just wanted to say I’m exactly the same way! My family is really interrupty and my husband’s family is. not. My husband is great at being a good listener and what I’ve picked up from him (and this is coincidentally a tip from today’s Carolyn Hax column) is to just keep asking questions of other people to keep them talking. Sure, you can put on the Blonde Lawyer show sometimes (believe me, we put on the TBK and Mr. show often enough) but asking questions gives you a chance to talk while also getting the other person talking.

      • karenpadi :

        My best friend in the whole world is a serious loudmouth and I love her for it! I love having her over because she’s so fun and I love having her at my parties because she turns a dull party into a laugh-fest.

        When I go networking or have a Bay Area meet-up (Sept. 22nd!), I try to imitate her to get the conversational ball rolling. So keep talking loud mouths! I need inspiration!

        • You got it!!

        • Yes. I really appreciate the energy and stream of interesting anecdotes from one of my very talky friends. I’m a brooding introvert, and I like the balance she provides by being her happy, talky self.

          It helps that her anecdotes are interesting to me– she’s not a braggart, and her commentary isn’t very self-centered. (She’ll tell me something she saw in art, or an article she read about [some phenomenon] and she gets super-analytical on the topic. I feel more knowledgeable about random stuff after listening to her.)

      • But honestly, I am one of those loud-mouths, and while I have gotten better at taking it down a notch, I definitely still get out of control when I am tired, or when there are lulls/awkward silences in a group and I have this urge to fill the space b/c it makes me nervous. So, all of this to say to Diana Barry, that I would kind of want to know if I was missing queues and making people uncomfortable. Not that I have a brilliant idea how to tell me, and I would probably be REALLY embarrassed at first, but I would get over it. Maybe what Downstream said, do it in private and try to say it with a really friendly/positive tone, saying that some of the other family members are a little intimidated because she has so many great stories, but they are more quiet, so maybe she could try to give others space to talk sometimes? Frame it as her helping these other people out, rather than something wrong with her?

        Of course, though, if she is particularly prone to drama, or has a really fragile ego, that will still not work, bc she will probably totally freak out (I have one of those people in my family), so if you are sure she’ll do that, ignore everything I said. ;o) but like I said, I would want to know and would not want to be making other members of my new family unhappy….

    • emcsquared :

      I’ll give the same advice my dad gave me about helping my DH integrate into the family – if conversation is the problem, find ways to interact that aren’t talking-based. Play sports with SIL, or go to movies, or paint a house. Find ways to create good memories with her so you can talk about those with her later.

      I love DH’s sister and have always found ways to like my brother’s girlfriends, even the ones I wouldn’t usually pick as my friends. I think a positive attitude can go a long way toward reshaping your view of a person…good luck!

    • Is she a relatively new sister-in-law? If so, I would say that none of you “have enough standing” with her to tell her this sort of thing. Don’t bring it up.

      It takes a very, very close friend/family member to be able to tell someone,
      “[you do this behavior. it is annoying, and this is why. please do this less because I don't want it to get in the way of my enjoying your company]”

      Even a close friend/family member who says this is likely to hurt that person. But someone close is much more likely to get through to the person. It’s much more believable then that the hurtful message is true and meant to help, rather than for the mean kids to score points.

      If you must bring it up, absolutely do not say, “WE.” She’ll feel like you’re ganging up on her, and to some extent, she’ll be right. “WE” is true in this case, but is mostly a cowardly formulation that it’s got bad associations. Say, “I…”

      I would also not talk to her husband first. She’s an adult, show her some respect and talk to her directly if she’s doing something that annoys you. Don’t triangulate.

      • ohmigosh, please don’t say “it is annoying” :o( If someone said that to me, I just can’t imagine how horrible i would feel. I KNOW i talk too much sometimes, and I think most of us who talk too much know that we do, we just kind of forget in the moment. I think you can say it without saying “it is annoying” but instead talk about what the behavior is *causing*, i.e. other sisters are quiet and they feel like they don’t get a chance to talk. Telling me that I am taking up a lot of the space is different than telling me straight out that I am annoying :o(

        • The trouble with this approach is that it’s untrue.

          Diana Barry IS getting annoyed. All the in-laws are annoyed.

          It’d be a lie to say it causes others to feel like they don’t have a chance to talk. Talky SIL is not a supervillain with the power to make everybody mute. They can bloody well speak up or change the subject and then they can talk. So this is chiefly about annoyance. SIL is doing something that annoys them. The in-laws also don’t like that she sounds like a know-it-all, so it’s not just the volume of talk, but also the content AND style.

          Pretending that it’s merely , “give others a chance to talk, etc.” conveys the same opprobrium without the honesty and could come across as passive-aggressive. It won’t remove the hurt. It won’t take away from the fact that the in-laws want her to change behavior. It always sucks to be told you have some behavior that people want you to change (rightly or wrongly.)

          I think the in-laws should just deal and accept the SIL. But if someone absolutely is going to broach the subject, I think it needs to be done truthfully. I think if the topic is broached at all, the SIL will get hurt no matter what. So if they’re are determined to say something about it, at least be honest in a way as to why they want her to change, and let her decide if she wants to go along or not.

          • I think it’s most important that the four of you who find it annoying stop discussing it behind her back. Talk to her, or don’t talk to her, or try out new ways of jumping in to redirect the conversations with her, or whatever…but stop with the group discussion. A good rule of thumb for family groups or friends when talking about someone: Would you say this about him or her if he/she were right here right now? You can draw a boundary for yourself next time it comes up and detach from the conversation. So much kinder and wiser in the long run.

  13. Help! I need some clothes. I work from home, and basically leave to take my baby to daycare and run errands. I am usually casual, so I want to put together a ‘casual uniform’ of shorts, jeans, cute shirts, comfy blazers, cute sandals and flats/boots. I am back to my pre-preganancy weight/size but not pre-pregnancy muscle tone, so things don’t fit quite the same way. Generally, I am a size 10 and 5’9″. Any recommendations for cute shoes or shirts? I have the worst time finding shirts that I like for some reason!

    • Seychelles and Me Too are my go-to brands for reasonably priced cute shoes. They both make a variety of boots and flats.

      As for shirts, I think the most important thing is to first figure out the style of shirt that will make you feel most comfortable. Maybe consult with a Nordstrom personal shopper (I believe some J Crews have also just instituted free stylist consults, but I haven’t seen reviews of it yet). Also I know many women’s bra sizes change post-pregnancy, so getting fitted for a new bra could totally change the way shirts look on you.

    • Diana Barry :

      I know I keep plugging Boden, but I just got a bunch of stuff from them for fall and I want ALL THE SHIRTS that they have. Awesome and flattering to postpartum figures. :)

    • Patagonia’s Maha Breathe flat. Best ever!

  14. Do you commute via public transportation? I get the anti-Pliage sentiment because they are popular with affluent suburban DC teens and 20-something Hill staffers, but if I have to carry shoes/lunch/gym clothes/etc., the weight of the bag trumps other concerns. I have bags from Herve Chapelier and JPK Paris (though I just ordered a Love Sac by JPK from rue la la and find the fabric less sturdy than my other JPK bag).

  15. Does anyone have recommendations for cleanses (or ones to avoid)? I’m not looking for the kind of thing where you do nothing but drink water and cayenne pepper for a week, but I’m interested in the kind of thing where you eliminate sugar and dairy and wheat, etc. I was thinking about doing the Junger Clean program (just from the book, not that $400 package), but I’d be open to other suggestions as well.

    • OMG, the CoolerCleanse is amazing and easy to follow! It’s 6 juices a day delivered to you. Highly recommend!!!!

    • I did the Junger one last year and liked it. It’s really tough, and I cheated some, but I still lost 12 pounds (which is about all I needed to lose).

    • I did the following:

      * as much fruit and veggies as I wanted
      * moderate amounts of clean, lean protein
      * moderate amounts of plant-based fat (avocado, olive oil, almond butter)
      * no grains
      * no dairy
      * no caffeine
      * no alcohol (first 2 weeks only!)
      * limited/moderate amounts of dark chocolate (ie: piece of chocolate, not a candy bar)
      * I chose not to limit sugar, but I really don’t eat that much aside from the chocolate noted above. Let’s face it, once you eliminate all boxed and processed foods, there’s not much sugar left in your diet unless you’re pouring it on your fruit.

      I wrote down everything I ate in “notes” on my iphone and emailed it to myself each week.

      Within 2 weeks I felt cleaner, lighter, etc. Within 4 months I lost 2 dress sizes.

      • This is basically what I was thinking. Ignore note below.

      • This sounds great, actually. Maybe I’ll try this soon..

      • Can I ask the rationale behind no dairy? I could probably give up everything else, but I love my cheese. And salad dressing. And milk. And greek yogurt. I’d be willing to try giving it up short term, and try to work on smaller portions long term, but only if there’s some amazing benefits.

        I should make my handle I love cheese.

        • I eliminated dairy because it makes my hips and tummy enormous, makes my cheeks big and round and makes me constipated. (On the other hand, when I stop eating it for at least 3 days, I slim right down.) I also noticed that my skin got more radiant (it wasn’t breaking out to begin with, but it looked downright glowing from within after a few weeks of no dairy). After I did this, I read some places that dairy is a “irritant” (is that the word). No, that dairy is “inflammatory.” I don’t really know what that means, but apparently it is a thing.

          I agree with you about cheese. I thought that ice cream would be the most difficult dairy to give up, but it was definitely cheese. And when I lapse, I lapse to cheese. (If I were a coffee drinker, I probably would have a problem with no milk/cream, too.)

          • Thank you! That makes it worth while to try. I prefer to ask people and not read the websites because of the semi-traumatizing things I usually fine. Then I just feel guilty as I eat my cheese. I will try it for a week, starting tomorrow, because my awesome lunch already has cheese in it.

          • Migraine Sufferer :

            I have similar issues with dairy- but where do you get your calcium? Tums gives me almost the exact same problems but I don’t want osteoporosis when I’m older…

        • I don’t eat dairy because it makes my nose and ears congested. One piece of cheese and I am a ball of snot.

          • Ditto. And it seems to sensitize me to other allergies. Regular amounts of dairy = horrible seasonal allergies; little dairy = little allergies; no dairy = no seasonal allergies, whatsoever. I love cheese. I try to limit it to very small amounts, very infrequently, and at times of year when it’s not allergy season.

    • Could you just make up your own cleanse where you don’t eat refined foods/eat clean for a certain period of time? I’ve been doing a low glycemic diet for a study and I have lost 10 lbs, but I don’t feel overly deprived, and feel like I have much more energy. Bonus points – this is a lifestyle I can maintain easily for a long time, instead of a cleanse that is short lived.

    • Bon Appetit’s “Food Lover’s Cleanse” is great, although a lot of work. They ran it a few years ago at New Year’s to help reset your system after the holidays — lots of fiber, no dairy (except Kefir), and a really wide variety of recipes. NB: it is a LOT of work in cooking, prepping, and shopping. But it was a great way to try new things, feel better internally, and focus on healthy habits for a new year. Google it or search their site for it.

  16. Shout out to NOLA. Figure you prob don’t have power but I’ve been thinking about you nonetheless. Hope everything’s as okay as it can be under the circumstances.

    • Thanks, Herbie! Just have my phone so I need to make this quick. Last night was pretty bad. Really heavy wind that felt like it was going to tear the house apart. Around 3 or 4 it was so bad I couldn’t see out the front. Terrifying! The storm is stalled so it’s probably not going to get much better today. I went out to my car at 6:30 to charge my phone and listen to the radio. Overall there’s a fair amount of wind damage but no flooding. There is no street flooding in my neighborhood. Now that it’s a little calmer I’m trying to get some sleep. I haven’t had power since 6:30 last night and little hope to get it back while the wind is this bad. Thanks for all of the good thoughts!

      • Honey Pillows :

        Stay safe, NOLA! I’m thinking of you, and hoping you don’t have any damage!

      • Hang in there NOLA; I hope you get power back soon. Thanks for checking in.

      • Sleep well!

        So glad there’s no flooding, hope the damage isn’t too bad, and stay safe!

      • Lost power at 4 am after 3 flickers on and off throughout the night. Sleep deprived and hot today. I’m pretty sure it is cooler outside than in my apartment, too bad I can’t open the windows due to hurricane force winds!

        • So glad you’re ok! My house isn’t too hot. I finally figured out what the horrible banging I heard last night was. There is a big strip of metal along my neighbor’s roofline and it is being slowly ripped off by the wind. Yikes. Having a quiet day with the kitty. She is more subdued after being crazy during the night. Stay safe!

          • My cat is the same way today, could not get her to sit still last night. There’s a shed behind my building that got ripped apart last night so I can relate to you with the mystery noises. Nothing like corrugated metal flapping in the wind. Glad you’re alright and hopefully we all get power back quickly.

  17. Cooking Threadjack (or the outcome of last night’s cooking project):

    The crunchy baked pork chops (from the smitten kitchen blog) were amazing. The only change I made from the recipe was skipping the Parmesan. (I just don’t love the flavor of Parmesan.) http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/01/crunchy-baked-pork-chops/

    The tomato soup from Joy the Baker was not stellar, but fine. http://joythebaker.com/2009/11/creamy-tomato-soup/ I don’t think it’s the recipe that’s not stellar, but my ingredient choices. I didn’t have any tomato paste or bay leaves and didn’t fancy another trip to the grocery store just to get those two ingredients. Also, my cans of San Marzano tomatoes weren’t quite as high-end as what was called for in the recipe.

    DH and I were quite happy to tuck into my dinner nevertheless. The only hitch to this plan was, we were eating dinner at 10:30pm, and stayed up far too late. I’m so tired today, but I do at least have great leftovers for lunch. :-)

  18. I feel like a ‘R e t t e rockstar since I have this dress and love it! It’s super flattering on me (a curvy size 14-16). It is comfortable and I always get compliments when I wear it. Highly recommend!

    • First try at a reply got lost somewhere, sorry if it repeats.

      Yea for you, J! Thanks for sharing.

      I’m a curvy 12-14. How does this dress fit — TTS? Also, I’ve had trouble lately buying dresses because they all seem to have “waists” that come just under the bust, or at least well above my natural waistline — not flattering. Where’s the waist on this one?

      Thanks.

  19. Alright, I need some perspective as to if I am way out of line here. My SO two days a week gets up super early (as in 5 AM) so he can go work out. He doesn’t have to be up for work until 6 AM. Pretty much every morning, there is some snooze button love, but it has got increasingly worse. This morning he hit it every 5 minutes from 5 am until 6 when I finally lost it and woke him up. He falls back asleep no problem whereas I am up the third time the alarm goes off. I want to be sensitive to his desire to work out, but it is RUINING my sleep. This morning I was up 4 1/2 hours earlier than I needed to be! I’m definitely a pattern person, so two days of this and then I can’t sleep well the next. We have sound machines etc. Am I out of line for asking him to actually setting his alarm for 6 (he has the option to work out after work)? Is there some alternative that I’m missing due to sleep deprivation. It’s been an ongoing issue, but he is getting worse and I am getting grumpier!

    • 1) Move the clock across the room so that he has to get up.
      2) Set a rule limiting the number of times snooze may be used. After the second time, alarm get turned off/turned to 6 whatever
      3) Sleep separately on workout days.
      I don’t think you are out of line asking him to work with you. Being respectful of your partner’s needs is part of sharing the bedroom.

      • A word of caution re: suggestion 1.

        I have an extremely hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I set the alarm on my bedside clock radio for 6:45 and have a back-up alarm across the room set for 7:00. Every morning when the back-up alarm goes off, I get up, grab it, and bring it back into bed with me for snoozing. I have been doing this for years, even though I know that it’s ridiculous.

        • Ha! Unfortunately it already is far across the room. I debated putting it outside of the room, but since he already sleeps like a brick I am afraid he’s not going to hear it.

    • Have you talked to him about the problem in the past? Maybe he doesn’t realize it affects you so much? It’s very inconsiderate of him to hit snooze for an hour, especially if he knows it’s a major issue for you. I’d definitely talk to him about it, make sure he knows the impact it has on you, and see if you can’t come up with a solution that works for both of you. If he is hitting snooze without truly being awake, then working out after work might be the better option.

    • I was your husband last year, and my SO made me a desl: I lose the alarm clock and he becomes my alarm clock. He is now responsible for waking me up (…and I realize that this makes me sound like a 14yo).

      • That would work except even if I got him up at 6, that would still be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours before I needed to get up. Though it may be better to just get up on my own terms then deal with the up/down/back/forth.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      My DH does this, too. He snoozed for a HOUR today. He doesn’t even hear his alarm the first half-dozen times it goes off. I’ve suggested moving the alarm across the room, threatened, cajoled, and am looking to see more ideas here.

    • If his alarm keeps going off, and he keeps getting back into bed after snoozing, I’ll eventually start hitting him if it goes off again (lovingly!). I think my husband just hits snooze in a stupor and wants to come back to the warm place under the covers sometimes. Though sometimes I’ll think its my alarm and get up to try to turn off my alarm and only them realize its his. Our mornings involve a bit of pushing and hitting, but its mostly because we’re both kind of in a daze in the morning. He hasn’t complained yet.

      • I kick a bit and normally I can get through that without waking up completely, but maybe I will just bite the bullet and steal all the covers upon the first snooze. Eliminate the warm spot :)

    • He might not even realize what he’s doing – I can hit snooze 5 or 6 times before I realize what’s going on. Moving the alarm across the room could help, or sleeping separately. I’m the early riser in my house and feel terrible about how it’s been affecting my husband’s sleep. We’re talking about adding a futon to the spare bedroom for nights when we need more rest. Salon recently published a rather thought-provoking piece on sleeping separately that you might want to check out:
      http://www.salon.com/2012/08/14/separate_beds_are_liberating/

    • He needs clocky. (Link to follow to avoid moderation.)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m the person who typically hits the snooze button a million times, but now that I’ve moved in with my boyfriend I do my best not to hit it at all sconce I get up for work 2.5 hours before he does. I know it takes him a little time to fall back asleep. I’ve been able to keep it up the entire time we’ve been dating. It’s become a habit, which I never thought I could make because my habit was the snooze button.

      When I lived alone though, I got the Neverlate Executive alarm clock by American Innovative (Innovation?). It has a feature that allows you to hit the snooze button that is set for an amount of time that you specify, and it then cuts that time in half each time until you can’t hit snooze anymore. If you set the original snooze time for something like 5 minutes, the most he could hit it would be 4 times (5 min, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min) and that would all happen within 9 minutes of the first alarm.

      • I think I need this alarm clock – I am the world’s worst morning person…

      • SF Bay Associate :

        ooooooooh!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Ok to make it even more attractive, you can have it set for a specific time that is different every day. Actually you get two alarms for each day and then seven daily alarms that you can set individually for whatever time you want too. It’s the coolest gadget ever.

      • Is it weird to say I love you to someone for recommending an alarm clock? No seriously, that is awesome! My hesitation with Clocky is I will be the one getting up to pick up the damn thing and it will still be disruptive/me awake and grumpy.

    • Anne Bronte :

      There’s a device called the Lark designed by someone who had a similar problem. It’s a personal alarm clock he wears around his wrist, and instead of ringing, it vibrates, so it wakes him up but not you. It’s at Lark(dot)com if you’re interested. Not cheap, but might be worth it if it solves your problem. And saves your relationship!

    • I would seond (third? Twelveth?) the “he probably doesn’t even hear it” comment. I have to get a new alarm clock every 2-3 years because after a while I stop hearing it and just hit snooze in my sleep. It’s probably time to move the alarm clock or get a new one to break his current habit.

    • Great suggestions for alarm clocks but what struck me was that your SO’s desire to work out seems to be overridden by his desire to sleep, at least recently? Maybe it’s too early for him to wake up, if he keeps hitting the snooze button so much, so moving the workout after work might be better for him as well.

    • I used to be a major snooze addict and could easily snooze for an hour a morning, but I cut that our as soon as I met my now fiance. I think it is so incredibly rude to do that to a SO, and I have never done it once in the two years we’ve been together. So whatever the problem, is I think your dude should solve it. It is not acceptable to interrupt someone’s sleep like that.

  20. CKB - Denver? :

    Thanks everyone for your comments about Denver last night. It sounds like a great city that would be an easy transition for us from Calgary. I’m definitely going to let my manager know that I’m interested in the position as I think it would be a good career move for me – maybe coming a little sooner than I had planned, but when these opportunities come up you have to go for it, right? If I get the position I’ll probably be back here asking for more specific advice on where to live, etc.

Add a comment.

Questions? Check out our commenting policy. Tech problems? Please report it to the tech team.