Thursday’s Workwear Report: Martha Dress

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

Boden always has a pretty killer clearance sale in early October, and this year is no different — TONS of stuff is marked below $50, from blazers to dresses and more. (Check out our post on how to build a work wardrobe at Boden if you’re new to the brand!) There are lots of lucky sizes left, but one of their classic dresses, the Martha, has a ton of colors and sizes left. This dress is now $45-$120 (down from $150) depending on color and size — the pictured red dress is $90. (Try it with a leopard print belt or shoe, à la Selina Meyer.) Note that some sales may be final. Martha Dress

This very popular portrait collar dress comes in plus sizes (as well as regular, tall, and petite sizes) and is marked down to $35-$45 in a range of colors, but not red; this dress (with sleeves! and pockets!) comes in a range of colors and sizes and has a red option.

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Comments

  1. Job searching :

    Reposting from the other day in hopes of getting another response or two (thanks to the person who responded the first time!) I am going to apply for a job with a company I had previously received an offer at. I turned down the offer at the time for a job at a competitor that paid better (and this company wouldn’t match it, although I tried). Now, I am applying to a different position in a different practice area in a different office location. I think I am likely to get an interview based on my experience in a niche area, so if I do, should I mention that I have applied to the company before if they ask “how did you hear about us” or the like? How do I explain turning it down without seeming fake?

    • Just be honest if it comes up – you’ve been interested in the company, had an offer but took a different one because of compensation. I don’t see this as dealbreaking or unusual. And it might end up opening up a better line of communication for when you negotiate an offer if you get one. They likely will figure out you applied before, so I wouldn’t try to hide that but I don’t think you need to affirmatively raise it. And by focusing on comp, you aren’t being negative about them.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        I agree – this is very normal. Acknowledge that you’ve applied before and let them ask if they want more details. Taking another opportunity because of better compensation is kind of no-brainer; if they have a problem with that, that’s a red flag right there .

    • Does it necessarily need to get to the place where you explicitly get into the details of turning them down? “I first heard about XYZ back in ABC, and I actually applied for position X then, but it wasn’t the right match at that time.” If they bother to follow up with “why not?” then smile and say you had another offer that paid better. Deliver it right, and they’ll laugh. It’s not like you did something heinous.

  2. wow this dress looks killer but that high neckline, I already know it’ll irritate me all day. Anyone else have that issue?

    Also would appreciate any therapist recs for Nova/Arlington area. Particularly for anxiety but also a host of other things that are cropping up in my life.

    • I bought it and had that exact issue (along with it not fitting me properly through the stomach).

    • No Problem :

      Check out Sunstone Counseling. Locations in Falls Church and Old Town. Each therapist has a bio on their website that describes their specialties.

    • Same. Anything with a high neckline like that feels like it is choking me.

  3. How does Boden fit? I’m a curvy size 14 with a very large chest. I head back to work next week after my maternity leave and would love to have some new clothes that make me feel great. I saw several Boden dresses that would work well in my business casual office, but I have no idea how they would fit.

    • Many of the dresses have an empire waist or a higher waist so if that doesn’t flatter you, I would pass. I want to love Boden but their dresses just never work for me, even the tall versions which should have a lower waist.

    • I’m a pear shape and I’ve had a lot of issues with their sheath dresses, especially in terms of gaping at the waist and leaving an extra pooch of fabric around my lower stomach. They seem cut to fit straight/apple shapes better.

      • I have a straight figure and have always thought that Boden would fit pears better. The fit is typically wide in the hips but very short-waisted. If you are not short-waisted then there will be excess fabric around your waist because the hips of the dress are hitting at your waist. Long sizes don’t help because the waist isn’t any lower, the skirt is just longer.

      • I am a high-waisted pear (2 on top, 4-6 on bottom) and I LOVE Boden dresses with all my heart. They are fitted through my top which makes me look slim and flattering (darted/pleated) in the lower half.
        I also lean towards a Tall in most dresses since I like them to be at the knee, not above.

    • Flats Only :

      I am a curvy 14 with a 38C chest. I am also 5’1″ and short-waisted. I can generally order the size 14 regular and get things hemmed – the waist tends to fall in the right place. Some of their dresses are fairly short (“falls above the knee” in the description) and I don’t have to hem those. The quality is great, most of their stuff is machine washable, and they often have free shipping and returns so it’s definitely worth a try.

    • They typically offer free shipping and returns for orders over $50. So if you are interested, I think they are worth trying.

      Their ponte sheaths with a blazer on top are my go-to for days that i know will be long and demanding.

    • I have this exact body type (size 14 as well) and their dresses are MADE for my body. I have the Honor dress in three colors and the Elsa Ottoman dress in 2 colors. They’re my absolute favorite dresses.

      • anon a mouse :

        Same. And they put the actual garment measurements on their site so you can check them against something you already own.

        • This. There’s no need to wonder “how it runs,” it tells you for each and every garment.

      • Anon in Texas :

        I’m an 8-10 with tummy and my height is 5’8″. Would Boden work for me? Of course, I like to hide my tummy.

        • I think if you’re more apple than hourglass or pear the Honor dress would definitely work for you because I find the rouching (sp?) flattering. The Elsa Ottoman you may not like as much because it has nothing to hide the tummy. (But I don’t exactly have a flat stomach and I wear them all the time and love it, so your mileage may vary.) Also their measurement chart is spot on, so you can measure yourself and be pretty certain that you can rely on their chart.

        • I think it really depends on where your waist is. I’m also 5’8, size 8, bit of a tummy, and their stuff doesn’t work for me because it is too high waisted.

      • I’m a curvy 5’4″ 14-16 with a large bust and I agree – Boden is a GREAT fit on my body. The waists run a little high, which works well for me, but I can even wear a Long and have it work – the waist will still fal lat an acceptable point, and gives me a longer hem to either shorten or not. I wish Boden had stores stateside as I’d shop them more often then.

    • I am built like you and wear their clothes regularly. It’s one of the few brands that fits right out of the package.

  4. What to wear over this dress? :

    I recently bought this dress. DH thought that the large white V in the front looked odd but I like it and it also highlights my waist really well. (If you agree with hubs, let me know).

    BUT, as is the case with all sleeveless dresses, I need suggestions on a cardigan or other topper to wear over it. I’m petite so the long boyfriend cardigans look really of on me. Ideally, I’m looking for a cropped cardigan that doesn’t mask my waistline. Honestly, a bolero would be good in this case but I know that many people think they look very dated (and I tend to agree).

    Any suggestions?

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-camuto-stretch-sheath-dress/4562865?origin=keywordsearch&keyword=vince+camuto+dress&top=72&sort=Sale

    • I like it a lot but I wouldn’t wear it to work, myself. It looks almost nude.

      I also wouldn’t put anything over it – it will ruin the appeal of the neckline.

      This feels like one of those dresses you love but can’t wear.

      • I’d wear it to work all the time with a navy blazer or cardigan. It doesn’t look nude at all.

        I do think it’s more of a summer dress.

      • What to wear over this dress? :

        What do you mean nude? I have dark brown skin so no one will mistake the white V for my skin color. :)

        Would something like this work? Just found this:

        https://www.amazon.com/Rekucci-Womens-Rounded-Stretch-Bolero/dp/B074XFHSHM/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8&th=1

        • MM LaFleur Sant Ambroeus Jardigan in Ecru or Driftwood

          • Thanks! I tried that one on last year and returned it. Too much extra fabric which made me look bigger than I am.

          • That is weird–the Sant Ambroeus is very fitted. Are you sure you didn’t try the other jardigan?

          • Yeah, it’s the same one I tried (I have the longer jardigan, but returned the shorter one). I’m not sure how to explain exactly but I like the sides of the jardigan or a cardigan to lay flat against me. With the MMLF shorter jardigan the sides billowed out and make me look larger.

          • I agree with the OP re: the jardigans. Does the same for me.

        • It does look nude on the website because of the overexposed picture and the pale model. But it should be completely fine in real life. I do think, however, that the look of the dress will be negated by putting a layer over it (too much going on with a layer plus the white and blue sections). I’d probably wear this with a cardigan and a white or white-patterned scarf that covered the white section, if I had to layer. In which case it would essentially be a blue sheath dress. And then I’d enjoy the dress uncovered when going out at night (because I do think it’s a nice dress).

        • Ah, in that case, it’s a great choice.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Before I saw this comment I was going to say “it looks weird on this pale model, but if you have dark skin I think it would look great,” so I think it probably looks good on you.

      • what? no, this is a work dress. It doesn’t look nude

        I’d find a close to matching navy structured cardigan or jacket and wear the crap out of this dress. Not a boyfriend cardigan. Something like the mmlafleur jardigan.

        I’d also wear pearls, but that’s my answer for everything.

    • To me it looks like you have layered a white tank under a navy dress…

    • givemyregards :

      I think it’s cute! But the dress is so structured, that the curve shape of the bolero seems off to me. I would lean more towards a cropped blazer or a cropped cardigan that also has a V-neck. This sweater is longer, but the belt gives it some structure and it comes in a petite size: https://www.loft.com/wrap-cardigan/443816?skuId=23585379&defaultColor=9000&colorExplode=false&catid=catl000012

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      I love this and think it’s great for work. No specific suggestions, but rather than trying to match the navy for a topper, I’d consider something red–and not just red-red, which could veer toward flight attendant territory, but also burgundy, maroon, pink, all of which I love with navy.
      Another option I would consider is layering a white blouse under it. People have mixed feelings about the sheath-to-jumper look–and it may look a tad juvenile if you’re already petite–but I’ve seen it executed really well.

      • I was going to suggest this too. It may be hard to find the right blouse but it would look really smashing if you could.

      • I’ve never done the blouse with a dress look. Any suggestions on a blouse to go with this? I’m thinking something with a deep V neck so that it wouldn’t obstruct the v neck of the dress.

        Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful suggestions!

    • I really like the dress. Not sure if this would actually work, but I have a Calvin Klein cropped cardigan that I really like wearing with dresses. Something like the one at the link below. On me it doesn’t look quite as short as it does on the model. I like that it doesn’t have that curved shape at the bottom that the bolero does that I think can look dated.

      http://www.lordandtaylor.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302023712&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442150798&R=788627646534&P_name=Calvin+Klein&N=4294929600+302023712+4294965210&bmUID=lXIwNtS

    • Rainbow Hair :

      AAAH i think it’s so pretty!!!

      No advice on the layering, because my need to cover my shoulders + inability to figure out layering is why I don’t wear dresses like this. Very sad for my wardrobe.

    • Cropped blazer, lightweight moto jacket, etc.

  5. Wedding gift etiquette question – I was invited to my (male) college friend’s wedding back in May but couldn’t attend. I went on their registry shortly after the wedding to pick something small to send them and there was nothing less than $500 available. What do I do? Send a belated card? Card with cash? If so how much? One of my friends here suggested $100 (we’re all in NYC) but that seems like kind of a lot considering I didn’t even go and we’re not that close anymore (although I don’t want to burn bridges).

    • Could you donate somewhere in their honor and send the notification in a card?

      • +1. I like this. There are so many great charities. Two of my favorites are Kiva (microloans for shopkeepers, seamstresses, etc in developing countries) and Heifer International (a flock of chickens for a family, irrigation for farmers).

      • Don’t donate in their name. There is no such thing as a neutral organization. They might not support the agency you are giving money to. Just give them a gift card to one of the stores that they had their registry with.

      • Please DO NOT do this! Someone who I considered a good friend just did this to me for my wedding right after I gave her a cash gift for her new baby. It was such an awful gift – worse than the physical junk I didn’t want. It said to me – we don’t think you actually need the money, so I’ll give money to a charity WE like and attach your name to it. Also, we’ll get any deduction not you!

        Really, it changed how I view this person. It’s hard to be around her. So I really really caution you against a charitable gift. It is NOT a gift to the couple. Just send a check for $100 and a card. You’re out the same amount and the friend can use it – especially after the expenses of a wedding. I’ll never understand why our culture often acts funny about giving money but in this case it’s the best gift.

    • Card and cash. I normally do $50 if I don’t go and $100-$150 if both spouse and I go, depending on how close the friend is. I think $50 is fine if you’re not close and you didn’t attend. But I’m not in NYC.

    • I would do a card and a $50-75 gift card to somewhere like Nordstrom. If I’m giving less than $100, I don’t like to give a check or cash because I feel like it highlights the amount, if that makes sense (I guess it doesn’t really make sense but whatever).

      • Senior Attorney :

        I feel like a gift card to Nordstrom is weird for a wedding gift because they don’t carry many household items. I guess either husband or wife could buy an item of clothing or cosmetics, but it doesn’t seem very wedding-y.

    • Or a giftcard to where they were registered. If there isn’t anything less that $500, they’d probably welcome giftcards so they can get those items themselves. $50 or even $75 is fine.

    • It’s been 5 months. Move on. You aren’t close, you didn’t go, so you didn’t send a gift.

      • Flats Only :

        Yup. Assuming you didn’t do something obnoxious like RSVP Yes and then not show up, you don’t need to send a gift. A wedding invitation is not a dunning notice.

        • You don’t *need* to send a gift but it’s a nice gesture and it’s not a faux pas to send it five months later. It sounds like OP wants to send a gift and her friend and his new spouse would probably really appreciate it, so why discourage her? I agree it doesn’t need to be a large amount though.

      • A wedding is the only invitation that just the act of being invited means you send a gift. You of course should give a gift. Don’t worry, you have a whole year to give a gift.

        We got one on our 6th month anniversary which was a cute way of handling a late gift. They wrote a note that was like “Just wanted to wish you a happy 6th months you newlyweds! We loved your wedding and here is something to continue this year of celebration!”

        • No. No. No. No. There is no invitation that obligates the giving of a gift. Not even a wedding.

          The polite thing to do is to acknowledge the invitation with a reply on whether you will be attending. The nice thing to do send a card of congratulations. Presumably, if you get invited, you are friendly enough that you would WANT to give a gift in commemoration of the event. So, do that if you want. But you are in no way obligated.

          • Agree completely. Just being invited creates no obligation on your part.

          • Emily Post backs me up. An invitation = a gift for a wedding.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/a-refresher-on-wedding-etiquette-from-tricky-plus-one-scenarios-to-cash-bars/2017/05/25/f5f7d974-3f1e-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html?utm_term=.9062b7119a79

            This is taken from the article above:

            Q: If I can’t attend the wedding, do I need to send a gift?

            A: This is the only invitation that you’ll receive where the gift is considered obligatory. This is a big-deal invite; this is not a birthday party. The actual wedding itself — to be there and to be asked to be present when someone is committing his or her life to another person — is a massive honor. It’s important to recognize that commitment and say, “Thank you for considering me someone you would like to have at this very special moment.”

        • Flats Only :

          This sounds like quite a racket. So do you send invitations to everyone you ever met (or didn’t meet – that rich guy mentioned in the newspaper can afford to send you something) and expect gifts from them all?

        • No, this is absolutely wrong. You NEVER need to give a gift. That would be terrible etiquette.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Well, yeah. Good point.

        And I’m definitely Team An Invitation is Not An Invoice For A Gift.

  6. need advice :

    My boyfriend of almost 2 years said he wasn’t completely happy with our relationship. I asked if he wanted to break up, and he said possibly but first he wanted to talk about things.

    So we talked and he said sometimes he felt good and happy, but other times he felt unhappy or uncomfortable, and he didn’t always feel excited about sharing things with me. He either couldn’t or didn’t want to analyze further (when I asked what makes you feel good vs bad). Just, “I don’t know.”

    I asked how he wanted to move forward, whether he thought things could change. He said he thought change might be possible but didn’t know how likely it was or how specifically to change things. Then he perked up when I suggested doing a couple hobbies together he’s interested in but never gets around to.

    He said he wanted to keep dating through the end of the year, see how it’s going, and then spend some time apart if he doesn’t feel better, to see how he feels then vs when we’re together. From his tone it sounded like he thought a break was the most likely outcome.

    I’m struggling between leaning in (committing myself to these joint hobbies, improving things to the extent I can, trying to communicate really well) or leaning out (trying to resign myself to the end of things and not waste time, maybe initiating contact less in hopes that he misses it). For what it’s worth I would be devastated if we end up breaking up. And I have a tendency to jump to action instead of sitting with uncomfortable feelings. I want to give it the three months if the alternative is breaking up, but I don’t want to be acting like a deluded fool denying reality.

    My reaction is colored by the fact that he has a history of not recognizing the root cause of what’s making him feel bad, thinking everything in the world is wrong when he is really just hungry or tired, and then the dissatisfaction goes away with the hunger. So part of me thinks he’s largely reacting to other stresses in his life and attributing it to something in our relationship.

    • Look, I know you’re not listing all his good qualities and all the reasons he’s the best thing in your life, but he seems like too much work. He’s generally unhappy and wants to see if he feels better, but can’t articulate anything more than “I don’t know”?? No. It is not your job to change his moods. What specifically is HE doing to improve the relationship? Because it sounds like he’s doing no work, and dumping this all at your feet. You’re not going to be able to magically find the combination that makes it better for him.

      Considering this is part of a larger pattern of ignoring his feelings and/or making them your problem, this sounds… like a relationship you’re better off leaving. You’re doing an awful lot of mental labor for him, and he seems to be doing none for you. Trust me, this is not how you want the next 50 years of your life to go. You want someone who will own his own feelings and even occasionally be able to articulate them to you.

      • need advice :

        I mean, he is the best thing in my life, but I can’t deny that he’s a lot of work. And he’s willing to do work but I think the energy and ideas of what to do would have to come from me.

        • That’s crap. That’s not how a relationship should work.

          • +1,000 Eff that. He needs to figure out what his deal is, that’s not your job and you should not be doing all the work to solve his malaise about the relationship. He could use some therapy IMO to get to the root causes, since it’s clear that he can’t do it on his own.

            “I don’t know,” is such a cop out. What is he doing to get to the bottom of I don’t know. If something wasn’t working in his job, would he tell his bosses he didn’t know what the problem was and then not work to figure it out? Absolutely not. Why does he get to pass this responsibility on to you in his personal life? NOPE.

          • +1 – a relationship should not be this much work for JUST YOU. If he has an issue, and can’t clearly articulate it, then maaaaybe try couples therapy, but really, I’d walk. You deserve someone who is committed to working through things with you together, not just dumping his issues at your feet so that you can offer up suggestions to fix it, oh, and still telling you he may not be willing to be with you at the end of that work. Or, you know, a partner, not a whiny hangry man child).

          • +1 to this.

            OP – girl, just go. Just go. The relationship isn’t working because it isn’t working, and that’s not your fault and may not be his, either. For whatever reason he is not into it anymore but he doesn’t want to s*ck it up and break up with you. If he can’t articulate the problem, you can’t fix the problem. You can “try” all you want, but the relationship has run its course and it’s time for you and him to go your separate ways.

            I’m sorry. I know this hurts and it’s not fun. But I gotta say, to me the whole “let’s keep dating till the end of the year” seems like a way to ensure family holidays won’t get awkward or lonely, and then he’ll dump you after New Year’s. Don’t wait. Just end it. You’ll eventually be glad you did.

          • OMG this. I recently got out of a LTR, same situation. In hindsight, I was carrying that relationship. never again. I did not miss it once it was gone.

          • +1

            when i read this, I thought that (while i sure there’s good qualities), he seems like someone who will spend the next 20 years pouting and asking you to guess what’s wrong.

            I think you should skip to the spending time apart stage (and actually spend time apart, don’t torture each other with a “trial period” or any of that nonsense.

        • I think that’s completely unfair to you. You can’t fix him, and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying.

        • Yeah no. He’s not willing to do the work, he’s willing to have you try harder and harder and do more and more work. Reassess why the best thing in your life is a guy who just tried to dump you.

        • Anon in NYC :

          To me, that sort of emotional labor is a deal breaker. His inability to spend time identifying the root cause of his feelings means that this is going to be a regular cycle. I would have serious doubts about trying to solve his problems with your ideas/energy/effort. I view it almost as you dragging him uphill through the mud. Do you want to do that for the rest of your life?

          • Right. Because from what I’ve seen, this pattern of “we’re broken, you fix it” never stops once it gets started. There’s always going to be something wrong that she’s responsible for fixing. He may get happy temporarily but there will always be a new reason, down the line, why it’s not working and thus she needs to do better/work harder.

            OP – I think sometimes people here are too quick to jump to the “dump him” advice but not in this case. Cut your losses and get out.

        • Triangle Pose :

          I have a longer comment in moderation but take a good re-read of what you just said. He’s only willing to put in the last bit of work once you’ve done all the grunt work. Men who love you do not treat you like this.

        • “People are not improvement projects” – Senior Attorney

      • Consider taking a break starting now and revisit at years end

    • “My reaction is colored by the fact that he has a history of not recognizing the root cause of what’s making him feel bad, thinking everything in the world is wrong when he is really just hungry or tired, and then the dissatisfaction goes away with the hunger.”

      Even so, do you want someone who directs those feelings at your relationship? You either want someone who realizes a relationship with you is the greatest thing since sliced bread (ideal!) or at least someone who keeps your relationship off the table when it comes to vaguely blame things. Do you want to marry someone who has vague dissatisfaction? What if he wakes up 5 years after you get married and decides he wants a divorce for vague reasons? And what if you bring kids into that? Would he direct his vague dissatisfaction at them? I know it’s so, so hard to break up with someone (I broke up with someone at 34 I was positive I was going to marry – it was gut-wrenching), but it’s ultimately better than being with the wrong partner (trust on this – I met the most.amazing.man ever about 8 months after the breakup.)

      • +1. I actually have a history of directing negative feelings, general dissatisfaction, and unhappiness at relationships. I destroyed a lot of them along the way. My now-husband absolutely refused to accept/entertain that—I did it once, and he gave me an ultimatum that if I kept bringing up, “Maybe we should break up,” he’d just walk. I’ll admit that I still have a tendency to feel unhappy, start spiralling, and get in my own head and think it’s about my husband and my kid (so, yes, your bf will likely bring kids into it), and feel like starting over will solve things. Through therapy, I’ve developed some ability to cut off those thoughts and figure out what it’s really about. And while I’m figuring out what’s wrong, I never, ever articulate thoughts of unhappiness with the relationship, wanting to divorce, etc. To be clear, if there is a problem with the relationship that I can articulate, I absolutely will, and DH and I address it. But I don’t go to him with, “I’m unhappy, I don’t know why, maybe it’s you.” Basically, your boyfriend is likely to continue this cycle, at least in his own head, and by bringing you into it, he’s being unfair to you, putting a lot of emotional work on you, and undermining your sense of security in the relationship.

      • Delta Dawn :

        +1 There is a male that I love dearly who does this. Because he’s two years old. Because he is my toddler son.

        Being hungry or tired is a toddler’s excuse for poor behavior. It doesn’t work for a grown man. Your boyfriend is saying he’s just not that into you.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, my ex was like that, to a T. He had a lifelong history of depression, no interest in learning *any* healthy coping skills, was hostile in therapy, took a LOT of medication but to very middling effect, and … generally blamed others for his feelings. His parents, me, his job, our geographical location, you name it.

        One of the very basic tasks of maturing into adulthood is to be able to analyze and respond appropriately to your own feelings. Not gonna lie, I was in my mid-30s before I could recognize and reject some patterns of my childhood, so I’m not perfect by any means.

        But a guy who says, I’m unhappy, I don’t know why, I think it’s you, but maybe not, but if you will do what I want while I let you dangle for the next three months … is not a guy you want to marry/permanently partner with. Things will not get better. This conversation with him is an awful terrible painful GIFT to you: run now.

    • That’s a tough situation. I recommend reading the article “F*ck yes or no” on Mark Manson’s website to get a sense of how YOU feel about this. Then if you find that he isn’t feeling the same way (and it’s not attributable to hunger or lack of sleep or whatever), that may be a sign for you.

    • Do you want to keep dating a guy who wants to break up with you? Why? He’s not interesting in fixing things he is just marking time.

      Do you want to spend the rest of your life trying to be good enough for someone who gets hungry and tries to dump you?

      Explore your self esteem.

    • I dated that guy for way too long. You deserve someone who’s excited about you and who you also want to share your life with. If you guys aren’t that foe each other, end it. Look for the person you want to come home to. Also, a lot of “I can’t imagine breaking up” is really just fear of going through the breakup. They suck – there’s tears, sad conversations, the loss of your routine, having to date again. All of that. But those things are worth going through to end up in a better place. There’s nowhere lonelier than a bad relationship.

      • +1

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Same! Out there are thousands, millions of people who would be THRILLED to be with you. All the time! Even when you’re disagreeing! Even when stuff it tough! There’s a guy who will not pull this manipulative crap. There’s a guy who will face problems with you, side by side, instead of putting the problem between you.

        I’ve dated a guy like this for a long time. I tried so hard to make him happy. I did so much work. But he didn’t want to be happy with me, he wanted to be in control, and that meant withholding and changing the rules and finding fault.

        You love him. I bet he loves you. That’s great, but it’s not enough. All those memes about “find yourself a man who looks at you the way [whatever, a dog looks at a slice of pizza?]”… that’s out there. And it’s worth getting.

        You sound so generous and thoughtful … give those gifts to someone who is going to give those same things to you!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, yes, yes!! I was married to that guy for 15 years and it’s so horrible.

        And now I am married to somebody who thinks the sun rises and sets on me and thinks my annoying qualities are adorable and who laughs at them instead of shaming me for them. It’s so great. And it’s what I deserved all along and it’s what you deserve, too.

        Take that tendency of yours to jump into action, and jump into making yourself a new improved life without this guy. The magic can’t happen until you find the courage to leave the bad relationship.

    • I would walk. What’s in this for you? Tiptoeing around his feelings (that he can’t articulate) for three months sounds freaking exhausting.

      • Shopaholic :

        +1 – I had a long post in moderation essentially saying this (have no idea what got me into moderation)

      • need advice :

        I won’t deny that his feelings can be exhausting. He makes me happy when this kind of BS isn’t going on.

        • Senior Attorney :

          That’s the wrong analysis. Everybody is capable of being great on occasion. But if he’s also capable of being awful, what’s the point?

          After 15 years of putting up with somebody like that, my new rule is “the relationship stands or falls on its WORST moments.”

          • need advice :

            Well, the great times with him feel better than the great times I’ve had with past boyfriends, friends, anyone really. I feel on top of the world. But I definitely don’t feel on top of the world right now.

          • Hugs. I’ve been there, I know it’s not easy. But roller coaster highs and lows do not make for happy long term relationships.

          • Senior Attorney :

            That may well be, OP. But with all love, I hear the high from heroin makes you feel on top of the world, too. Before, you know, it ruins your life.

          • Also, I think with people who make us feel like sh!t we start grading the “good times” on a curve. When things seem to be going well, it feels like it’s amazing and wonderful because we’re used to feeling so insecure and fearful with this person. Honestly, I think this is why so many women say that the best s3x of their lives was with their worst boyfriend.

    • Triangle Pose :

      He sounds like a lot of work. He wants you to fix his nonspecific feelings of unhappiness but can’t tell you what it is about your relationship that is an issue for him. In your entire comment you are the one asking him how to make him feel better, you are the one asking him what he wants, you are the one asking him how he thinks things will go in the future, you are the one suggesting solutions and possible fixes, you come up with couples hobbies (gee, I wonder who will have to go to the trouble to plan, schedule and come up with the couple activities?). Nowhere in this do I see him expressing his ownership of the problem or suggestions for a solution, or even a clear expression that this bad feelings stem from his relationship with you rather than his own life (The man isn’t mature enough to attribute his own crankiness to hunger? My little niece can do that and he is 9.)

      I know you can’t put everything good about him in the comment, but given what you have said, I just don’t understand being devastated if things don’t work out with this guy.

      I suggest you say – Look, you’ve got some bad feelings. I understand from our conversations that you don’t know why you have them, you’re unhappy with our relationship somehow but don’t know how or what to change and you can’t indentify what changes you need from me. I think we should take a break now and you can figure out if this is something you need to fix on your own or if your unhappiness is about our relationship. I like you a lot but I can’t wait around and try to help you with this when you can’t figure out what is bothering you. Let’s take a 3 month break now and you can let me know at the end of it if you still want to be in this relationship and if you have any ideas on the source of your issue or what changes you’d like me to make in the relationship.

      • need advice :

        Thanks, this script is helpful.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Good luck. I really hope this works out for you and I feel for you.

          • new job who dis :

            +1 and to add on.

            Whatever amount of time you decide on – 3 months, whatever – YOU also need to move on and don’t let yourself hang around *waiting* for him.

            you need to experience YOUR life and evaluate whether you find yourself better off. My spouse and I went through this same thing. “I don’t know how I feel and I don’t know what to do.”

            ok then bye. I’m moving out. figure out yourself then we’ll talk about it later. I’m not here to baby your confused feelings and put in all the relationship work alone.

        • Do this. You can always start the new year fresh with him if he works out his issues and wants to rekindle. Don’t be the people that stay together Oct-Dec to ‘get through the holidays’ only to break up in January.

          • need advice :

            Scary! But may be necessary. Thanks to everyone who’s commented so far for the supportive comments, even if I didn’t respond individually.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree he’s trying to just get through the holidays. Which sounds miserable. Fall and the holiday season are so fun but also pretty stressful. You’re trying to make time for everyone and still have your own life. Why would you want to make time for someone who’s thinking of breaking up with you? Are you going to spend NYE with him? What kind of start to 2018 is that – kissing the guy at midnight who told you he might dump you tomorrow? Are you going to put energy into finding him The Perfect Gift for Christmas and then be disappointed when he gets you something lame or doesn’t get you anything at all because oh what’s the point this relationship has an expiration date anyway? Ugh. No.

    • You deserve to be with someone who 100% knows he wants to be with you. You deserve to be with someone who thinks the world revolves around you. You do not deserve to sit around waiting for this d0uchebag to decide unilaterally what happens to your relationship. Dump his indecisive, manipulative a5s.

    • Shopaholic :

      Why is he putting all this on you? Speaking as someone who has had these conversations in past relationships, they almost always lead to breakups and usually because he doesn’t have the guts to pull the plug. So he makes it all about how he’s not happy but it’s my problem to fix. I honestly just wish I had pulled the plug earlier. My experience has been some guys have a hard time ending things and just drag things out in a way that is torture.

      I would honestly make a decision to leave and walk now – you’ll feel much better about yourself than letting this drag out.

    • I think you’d do well to ask that he start unpacking his feelings with a therapist. I am NOT one to prescribe therapy for everything, but this would make me crazy. Just the back and forth you outlined to date sounds like a ton of work. He’s got to figure things out for himself.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Yeah, I would walk. You deserve better than “I’m vaguely dissatisfied with you but I don’t know why and you fix it.” If he really wants to be with you, let him realize that and ask you to take him back. Show him you value yourself. Don’t let him set him assessing your worth and finding it falling short as the tenor of your relationship. He may be looking for someone who will let him do just that for life.

    • Anon for this :

      This situation sounds a lot like one I was in a number of years ago with my now-husband.

      We ended up breaking up (and then getting back together). We’re now happily married, but I say that only for context and because it explains why I understand the break-up now. Generally if you don’t get back together, I think it’s much more difficult to know the root cause. I don’t think happily married is the most common ending in this situation, though.

      My then-boyfriend, now-husband came to me and said he was unhappy, he didn’t know why, he was very vague, thought maybe it was our relationship, maybe not, etc. I convinced him to work on it for awhile, rather than break-up immediately but it was a really terrible, terrible time and we eventually broke up. Leaning in to a relationship someone else is meh about is probably some of the worst emotional torture you can go through. Tiptoeing through his feelings, trying to be bright and chipper and happy and just THE BEST girlfriend, scheduling fun plans where he won’t have fun, etc.

      Months after the break-up, we got back in touch and one evening, he tearfully confessed that he had finally figured out that he was severely depressed (and had been most of our relationship) and wanted my help in seeking treatment, particularly given he was having suicidal ideations. I helped. I stuck around while he got some therapy and meds and after he committed to treatment and committed to a relationship, we got back together.

      Frankly, your boyfriend sounds a lot like mine was during that time. Obviously I’m not trying to diagnose him, but it’s something to consider. If you think that’s the case, but he’s not at a point where he’s willing to go to therapy and maybe get some meds, then you need to put on your mask first, so to speak, and move on.

      • need advice :

        I’m glad it worked out for you. It does sound really similar (even down to once hinting at suicidal thoughts, but never wanting to talk about it again). And yes it really sucks trying to be THE BEST girlfriend.

        • He’s controlling. It’s a huge red flag. Get out and get help.

          • need advice :

            I don’t understand how this follows.

          • Anonymous :

            He hints at suicide. He has vague bad feelings. You try to be THE BEST girlfriend. That is classic anuser control.

          • You might consider checking out Dan Savage for this. People threatening suicide as a way to sort of hold themselves hostage and prevent you from ending the relationship or moving on.

        • Anon for this too :

          While I’m glad it worked out for 10:58, don’t hang onto this story, and frankly run from the depressed guy. I was with him for years, and many years too long because I thought it was cruel to leave someone depressed, it’s a mental illness, he’d get help, all the reasons. Being the partner of a depressed person can tak you down far. I read this earlier and thought “get out” and your comment just solidifies that.

        • Anonnymouse :

          I typically don’t believe in ultimatums but I would tell him to get some professional help to figure himself out and take some time apart (with a definite timeline of a month or two) or you’re walking away. If he isn’t willing to get help, then this pattern of behavior will only continue and enter into an unhealthy/manipulative territory.

          Being single can suck sometimes but its sooo much freeing than being with someone who you have to wonder even wants to be with you at the end of the day.

        • It is not your job to get your boyfriend to deal with his problems. He needs to figure out how to get help on his own. Obviously, you can help him and support him, but this is not your responsibility.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          “Leaning in to a relationship someone else is meh about is probably some of the worst emotional torture you can go through. Tiptoeing through his feelings, trying to be bright and chipper and happy and just THE BEST girlfriend, scheduling fun plans where he won’t have fun, etc.” THIS IS SO TRUE.

          I tried for so long to be perfect for my ex. The problem was, he didn’t want any particular thing, he just wanted to be in charge, to keep me at his beck and call. Which meant nothing I could do would ever be ‘right’ because the point was to keep me guessing. I threw myself into it. My identity was “good girlfriend” for a while there; available, helpful, supportive, non-demanding, kind, fun, generous. Do you think it helped? Nope. “I got us tickets to do [thing you love] on Friday – surprise!” “Ugh well then I guess I have to go to the laundromat and do laundry before Friday, that’s cool, it just means I won’t get to study for my exam.” or whatever. Impossible.

          You can’t do it right because there is no right. This is what he’s telling you. I think he might not even know he’s telling you this, but he is. You deserve better.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            For the record, because I am afraid I am sounding unsympathetic… I dated that guy for like 5 years, the last 2 of which were spent with my friends telling me to DTMFA. I hated hearing it; they didn’t understand how much I loved him, how intensely joyful it was to be with someone so [good qualities] when he was being nice. When he was good, he was truly, honestly great. So funny, so insightful, so great in bed.

            And I *did* love him, very really and truly. But he was not in a place where he could be good to a partner. And no one should be with someone who is acting that way. <3 <3 <3

          • Senior Attorney :

            Rainbow Hair is so right. There is no pleasing Mr. I’m Not Happy With You So Please Fix It.

            My husband tortured me about my weight for years. When I finally lost 50 pounds and was the pretty wife he claimed he wanted, he found something else to be dissatisfied about. It’s not you, it’s him.

    • He wants you to be his therapist in addition to his girlfriend, and that’s deeply, deeply unfair.

    • Hi my dear, I had to check the date, because this was me 10 years ago. Senior year of college we had been dating for a year already and pretty crazy about each other. I thought we would figure out what happened after graduation when we got closer to it, but in February a friend of mine told me that he told her that we were breaking up at graduation. We hadn’t even discussed it and not only had he already decided, but he was telling people who weren’t me! He sounds exactly like your bf does – I was always the one cheering him up, encouraging him to achieve what he thought were his greatest achievements at that time, he was prone to moodiness, etc. I withdrew for a couple of weeks, confused and angry and of course he felt like he was missing out and tried to make overtures to me. We stayed together through the end of the year, much to the protests of my friends. I guess I still thought he would change his mind. Nope. Graduation came and so did our breakup. We both stayed in the same city after that and, stupidly, I stayed friends with him.

      Fast forward years later and we still stayed friends. There were a few years in there that I still sort of held a candle for him in my heart. I still dated people but I always thought he was “the one” I would end up with. He moved back to his home city. Then one day I told him my feelings for him, that I was single and asked him out, and he said he would see me at our mutual friend’s wedding in a couple of weeks. He asked to stay with me and I thought yay! this is it!

      And then he was awkward and rude around me and constantly on his phone… because he had been dating a girl the whole time. That was the final straw for me. I realized that I had spent Y-E-A-R-S of my life waiting for this guy, doing anything just to make him happy and he was jerking me around, giving me attention for a little and tossing me aside. I cut off all communication and decided to move on once and for all. I signed up for 0nline dating because I thought I needed to meet totally new people and learn to market myself since I had wasted so many years on this dude. Meeting new people and finally pursuing my interests (I signed up for IM leagues, you name it).

      I met my husband 6 months later. I am so glad I was free of that baggage and that I had my whole heart to give him and not only some of it because some of it was saved for someone else. I am 31 now and I wish so often that I met my husband when we were young and had even more adventures together, but I also know if I met him at 25 I would not have even seen him because I was still pining after that d0uche!

      Wouldn’t you know it but as soon as that college boyfriend learned that I was dating someone seriously and no longer in communication with him – just like a child seeing his toy in someone else’s hands – he freaked out and made several attempts at grand gestures to win me back. Including after I was already engaged! Ugh, it was a romcom gone very bad. Even worse was that I later learned from friends that he had a serious girlfriend when he was doing that — it just made me sick to think he was jerking around some other poor girl.

      Some people need to make terrible mistakes for themselves no matter what people tell them. That’s what I needed to do even though everyone told me to cut him loose at the first utterance of “I think I will break up with you in 6 months.” I hope you don’t but only you know that. But if you really want advice, my advice is to cut him out. Fully and completely. It will hurt. But deep down you know that you deserve someone to be as game and crazy about you as you are about him. Someone that sees you immediately for the gem that you are and not someone selfish to keep you on the line while he thinks about it. Romcoms are fun but they are all about the chase and gloss over the fact that grand gestures are made to make up for some seriously bad stuff that happened. (But steady relationships don’t have drama and are boring for tv!) Choose the easier path – and when you meet the right person it WILL be so [email protected] easy for both of you to just know you want to be with the other person. I wish you all the best and lots of hugs. Right now will be painful. But clearing your heart for something better will be so worth it. I promise, promise, promise.

    • Pull away. It sounds like he feels super sure you will always be around for him. And honestly, you deserve better than someone who is not sure about you.

      • +1000

        A friend of mine is dealing with a very similar issue except they’ve been together for over 4 years. He’s only been pull BS like this (every few months unsure where he wants the relationship to go, her putting in all the work, overall immaturity etc) because he knows she’s not going anywhere. Both him and your boyfriend have no incentive to change. Make it clear to him that you need him to put in the work and change/figure himself out or youre gone. Otherwise, the likelihood of him changing is slim to none.

        For what its worth another friend of mine did a similar thing to a guy she was dating after he was wishy washing about feelings about 3 months in. She broke it off and stood her ground. About 4-5 months later he got his act together and came back ready to commit and theyve been happy for the past 3 years.

        So I say all that to say its usually not worth sticking around. Usually, they need to realize they could lose you if they dont put the work in to change (whether its therapy, time alone, – they need to create a plan for themselves). Sometimes they come back sometimes they dont. Either way youll have your dignity intact.

        • The common thread in this and the other “we ended up married” story above is that the GUY put in the work to change himself. It wasn’t that the women just found the magic combination of effort to fix him, it’s that he took steps to get better, and THEN came back and resumed the relationship. Explain to him that you understand he isn’t happy, so you’re giving him the breakup he needs. He can choose whether to work on himself and get his act together, or he can choose not to, but it won’t impact you. If he gets it together at some point, and you’re at a point where you feel like exploring that, then you can tentatively dip your toe back in the water. But that’s probably quite a ways off from now. And he has to do the work to get back in your circle.

          • Bingo. The takeaway from stories like these should not be ‘it worked out for them and now they’re happily together so I just need to wait it out’. Its that the guy voluntarily put in the work necessary to sort HIS sh!t out then came back ready to start over. The way the OP described, he doesn’t seem to have any intention of doing so and expects her to pick up his slack. That is unhealthy, manipulative, and wrong.

            And you’re right in saying even if he decides to put in the work OP should “tentatively dip your toe back in the water”.

    • DTMFA. Don’t wait until the end of the year.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      “He said he wanted to keep dating through the end of the year, see how it’s going, and then spend some time apart if he doesn’t feel better, to see how he feels then vs when we’re together. From his tone it sounded like he thought a break was the most likely outcome.”

      What a d-bag. Stringing you along for months? Nah.

    • I suspect his intuition is telling him this is not a good match–for whatever reason–and that’s what’s giving him pause. I’ve been in this situation. I’ve seen friends in this situation and it always ends in a break (they only get back together if the guy was unsure because he’d never gardened with anyone else).

      You fixing yourself to meet up to his standard (getting into his hobbies) is not going to work long term.

      What does your gut tell you?

  7. I’m not sure how to handle a former classmate. We weren’t close, but I try (tried?) to be friendly to everyone.

    I discovered the hard way a couple years ago that there are takers in this world. Those people who are petulant, needy, sympathy-seekers who act as if they’re incapable of handling their own affairs and always have some type of crisis they want to unload on others. I managed to cut out one person like this when I happened to move cross-country, but now I’m faced with another. Since I never really handled the first person, just moved, I’m not sure how to get rid of this second person, a former classmate.

    This classmate has texted me sporadically for years since graduation. (I’ve never texted him. He lives in another state, so we don’t see each other.) I realized about a year ago that he was this type of person and decided I wanted nothing to do with him, so I minimally replied to his texts (just a couple words), and in June, I simply stopped replying altogether. He just texted again last night. You’d think he’d get the hint, but no. What should I do here? Not replying feels rude, but telling him the truth – “hey, I don’t want your negativity in my life” – seems unthinkable.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I would continue to ignore it, unless there was a professional reason to keep him as a contact. It doesn’t sound like you have much of a relationship with him at all, and you’re making more emotional work for yourself by thinking about this. It’s not rude.

    • Just don’t reply.

    • If it bothers you to just see him reach out, you have my support in blocking his number.

    • Delete his texts without reading and move on.

    • Introduce this loser to need advice’s loser boyfriend above. They can be BFFs and you can move on with your life.

    • I have a high school classmate who has only reached out to me over the years when she wanted something from me, usually help in finding a job. We weren’t close in high school and this is the only contact she has ever had with me. Happened again a couple of months ago, I was griping about it at home, and DH said “ignore her”. I did. It feels right. My advice to you, “Ignore him”.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Note to self just did a podcast all about how to handle this type of thing without ghosting.

    • Why don’t you just ignore him?

  8. Any Trello users? I’ve used it for collaboration in the past but am now using it to manage all my projects/to do lists. Any other users want to share ideas/tips?

    • Love Trello and use it heavily to manage my home life. I have daily lists, weekly lists, packing lists, grocery lists, recipe lists, menu planning list etc. DH and I are both on board with using and updating it, so it’s a really effective tool for both of us to know what needs to be picked up at the grocery store or Target if we happen to be there.

  9. Atlanta traveler :

    Recommendations needed for Atlanta! (I thought this had come up before, but searching the archives didn’t yield much – feel free to reply with a link if you have one.)

    I’m flying in on a weekday with my sister later this month and have lunch, an afternoon, and dinner open.
    Lunch: looking for fast casual or cafe style (order at the counter), preferably near the airport because we’ll be pretty hungry
    Afternoon: what would you do to fill it? Looking for fun things to do, not necessarily touristy. We like farmers markets, shopping, ice cream, and seeing cool parts of the city.
    Dinner: no more than $20-25 for an entree, no location preference as we’ll have a car. But we’re staying near the airport so nothing crazy far from that or that would put us in the worst traffic. Up for any cuisine – we just want a place with really good food!

    • https://www.zomato.com/atlanta/the-feed-store-college-park/menu?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Local&utm_campaign=GoogleMenus

      Very close to airport and very tasty.

      • Atlanta traveler :

        Ooh, that looks delicious! Thank you!

        • Dang, it went into mod…
          One more idea if you enjoy and are able to walk a bit:
          Take MARTA to Inman Park and walk the BeltLine to Ponce City Market.
          It’s a good way to enjoy the fall weather and work up a little bit of an appetite.

    • So unfortunately, the area near the airport is not close to the places you’ll want to see. And there’s no place out there I could recommend in terms of food.

      If you need to eat immediately on landing, you’d be better off eating in the airport (One Flew South in Term E is often cited as one of the best airport restaurants in the United States, Ecco in the international terminal is a branch of an excellent local Italian restaurant) and then going to your hotel.

      Beyond that, get in your car and drive into the city for the afternoon. For what you’re considering, I’d recommend driving to Ponce City Market (you will be able to GPS it) and parking there. There’s shopping there for you to check out, as well as tasty food and ice cream options that sound like what you’re looking for. After you’re done checking that out, I’d grab one of of our bike share bikes (there is a bike share station in Fourth Ward Park, behind Ponce City Market) and ride the Beltline to Piedmont Park (it’s about a mile from PCM). It’s pretty and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which are in the park, are nice if you like botanical gardens (which I do – I’m a member). Then I’d get back on the Beltline and ride a bit past PCM for dinner at Two Urban Licks. Return your bike share bike, get in your car, drive back to the airport.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        It sounds like we have the same ideas re: perfect Atlanta days. We should play hooky one day and execute our dream!

    • If you are able/like to walk a bit, take MARTA to the Inman Park stop and walk the Beltline to http://www.poncecitymarket.com/
      It’s a good way work up an appetite and enjoy a good meal.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      If you’re limiting yourself to the area around the airport for lunch or dinner, you’re really not going to see the best of the city, and apart from downtown College Park, there isn’t much to see that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Also, from the airport, you can use MARTA to get to Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Decatur, so you wouldn’t have to worry about fighting traffic. Also, the MARTA line is embarrassingly simple to navigate because there are essentially only two lines.
      All that said, if I were you, I’d grab a snack at the airport to tide you over and then go to Midtown for lunch. The Canteen is a very well-reviewed food hall that just opened near Tech Square. From there, you could putz around Midtown for the afternoon and hit Piedmont Park, the Botanical Gardens, the High Museum, enjoy sitting on the patio at Empire State South or even Linton’s in the Garden. Then maybe walk down the eastside Beltline, peruse Paris on Ponce, and hit Ponce City Market for dinner. Dub’s Fish Camp, H&F Burger, lots of other things would be in your price range there. That would be quite a bit of walking, but if the weather’s nice (and it generally is this time of year), you’d really see some of the best the city has to offer.

    • Atlanta traveler :

      Thank you all! To clarify some things:
      -No need to limit dinner to near the airport; I just noted that we’re staying there so someone doesn’t suggest a 45-minute drive or something.
      -We are totally up for long leisurely walks :)

      Looking forward to investigating all these recs. Thank you (and keep them coming, if you have more)!

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        If you have time for a sit-down meal while actually in the airport, the lamb ragout at One Flew South in terminal E is one of my favorite things ever. One Flew South is an objectively good restaurant, not just by airport food standards.

      • Anonymous :

        Brake Pad in College Park is a good burger spot and Feed Store, recommended above, is also great, if you want to stay close to the airport. Both are in College Park. Really. Most Atlantans just have never been.

        Ponce City Market, the consensus, is a great choice if you are not wedded to eating immediately/near your accommodations.

        If you want to get a slightly different view of the city, consider going to Le Petit Chou (cafe with great food) or Little’s Food Store (burgers) and wandering through Cabbagetown or Oakland Cemetery before hitting the Beltline. It’s a quicker arrival from the airport. You could then park in the lot near Krog Street Market and grab some Jeni’s ice cream and wander a bit, or stop in at Jake’s Ice Cream right at the foot of the Beltline, on the way. Rent a bike and head to Ponce and then head to Piedmont Park (or pass Ponce and plan to return) and eat dinner at either.

  10. Resignation Scripts :

    I have been looking to leave my job for several months, and now that I’ve finally gotten an offer I’m nervous about telling my boss because we have a huge 4-day event in 5 weeks that I help plan/run. Everyone in the office works on planning/running these events, and though my boss could take over my duties, it’ll make it a lot more stressful for her. The new job isn’t willing to wait another 6 weeks to bring me on, which I didn’t expect anyway, but does anyone have any scripts for me when I go talk to my boss? Also, we have an open-door policy, so should I just drop into her office tomorrow or Friday or send an email to arrange a time? I don’t really want to just drop this news on her, as she doesn’t know I’ve been unhappy here, but arranging a meeting would be suspicious. If you couldn’t tell, this is my first post-college job, so I’m a little unsure about how all this should work.

    • Suspicious is ok because it gives her some time to prepare. Email her Thursday to set a meeting before the end of the day on Friday. Say you only need a few minutes of her time. Do all your leaving-prep before the meeting, just in case they ask you to leave same day. In the conversation, try to be very matter of fact. “I’ve asked for this meeting in order to tell you that I will be leaving XYZ company. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone here and gaining experience on X, and now I’m excited to Y. My last day will be Z. I’m happy to do whatever I can before then to help prepare for Big Event. I know this is a surprise, but I want to thank you for my experience here.” YMMV.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      You could always read this thread (http://www.askamanager.org/2017/09/spectacular-resignation-stories-share-in-the-comments.html) for all the ways NOT to resign! Though you’ll likely find more helpful information in the archives: http://www.askamanager.org/category/resigning

    • Second the advice to send a meeting invite. Put in subject “1-1” or “Touch base” something vague. Have your script prepared. Go in there and be calm and matter of fact to tell her that someone reached out to you with a better opportunity and you have decided to take it. You will be moving on. You appreciate everything you’ve learned from her. You’ll help the transition be as smooth as possible by planning out the event in the next week or two, but unfortunately can’t stay the 5 weeks.

  11. Resignation Scripts :

    It looks like this didn’t post the first time, so here I go again….

    I have been looking to leave my job for several months, and now that I’ve finally gotten an offer I’m nervous about telling my boss because we have a huge 4-day event in 5 weeks that I help plan/run. Everyone in the office works on planning/running these events, and though my boss could take over my duties, it’ll make it a lot more stressful for her. The new job isn’t willing to wait another 6 weeks to bring me on, which I didn’t expect anyway, but does anyone have any scripts for me when I go talk to my boss? Also, we have an open-door policy, so should I just drop into her office tomorrow or Friday or send an email to arrange a time? I don’t really want to just drop this news on her, as she doesn’t know I’ve been unhappy here, but arranging a meeting would be suspicious. If you couldn’t tell, this is my first post-college job, so I’m a little unsure about how all this should work.

    • You’ve posted about this before, right? I don’t really think there is a “script” that is going to make this better. You are dropping a bombshell at a bad time, no matter what you say. Doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, just that this is going to cause stress.

      • Yeah – this. You need to expect some level of freak-out even if your boss outwardly holds it together. It’s possible they could replace you between now and the event, but it’s unlikely. A lot of people will have to make adjustments to accommodate your departure. This is not criticizing you or saying you shouldn’t go, but just being realistic.

        Very honestly, I would tell her ASAP. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the less time she will have to make plans. I would tell her today or tomorrow – as soon as you can get time with her. Don’t wait till Monday. She will probably appreciate having the weekend to think about things.

        Congrats on the new job – that’s the hardest part. Now you need to spend time managing your transition and doing as much as you can before you leave, so you don’t leave behind a bad impression. You will not be able to coast through the next two weeks – be ready to work hard (but also be prepared to have them walk you out immediately so they don’t have to wait to replace you). The more you can do before you go, the less likely it is that leaving at a bad time will cause you reputational problems in the future. Good luck.

  12. My uber driver cut off a cyclist this morning, and then at a red light the cyclist yelled at him, and they got into an argument (the driver was clearly in the wrong). I was just sitting there in the back frowning and saying “Sorry!” but wasn’t sure what else to do. Any thoughts?

    • One star review, terminate the trip and get out, complain to Uber.

    • Report it to Uber. Don’t just rate your driver one star (do that too).

    • Maddie Ross :

      Not sure there’s much else you could have done in the moment, although I suppose you could have gotten out if you felt unsafe. If you think the driver was in the wrong and/or unsafe or threatening, you can/should report him through the app.

    • There wasn’t really that much more you could do. It was between the driver and the cyclist. You can give the driver a bad rating though. Maybe it would incentivize him to refrain from getting into arguments with passengers in the car.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I would give him a low rating – not for making a mistake, mind you, but for being anything other than apologetic and polite to the cyclist.

    • Mention it in the review of the driver. I had a driver once who ran a red light and I let them know and I got an email back, so they do read them. I’m not sure what happened to him as a driver, but at least they knew about it

      • +1 Uber has always been very responsive when I make a complaint. Select the option “my driver was driving dangerously” (I’m paraphrasing) when you send the feedback. They definitely read and respond quickly in those situations. I always get my money back within a day.

    • Rate them one star and they’ll send you an email asking what went wrong. I did that before when a driver did something that I thought was unsafe. They also promised to never pair me with that driver again.

    • Thanks all! Reported.

  13. Which styles of loafers look good with trouser socks? All loafers I see are styled with no hosiery of course- but this winter I’m gonna be wearing my black trouser socks! Currently I wear Clarks Timeless, a really plain black high- vamp loafer all winter. (Team Pants!)

    • I really don’t think loafers look good with socks. Sorry. That’s something my grandma would wear.

      • I wouldn’t wear loafers with trouser socks — it just doesn’t look right to my eye. For wearing socks, I’d switch to oxfords or ankle booties.

    • Fair enough- thanks. What I’m calling socks are the tights-like knee high socks, not thick fuzzy socks, but yeah I am probably in search of a different shoe.

      • I know two women – both over 65 – who still wear those tights-like knee high socks. A colleague…and my own mother. They invariably wear them with khakis, a cotton turtleneck (the kind most of us wore in the 90s), a cardigan, and somewhat square-toed loafers. Are you over 65? If so, there are some loafers from the Lifestyles brand that work well with trouser socks. If you are not yet Medicare-eligible, embrace booties as others have suggested.

        • That’s a little b*tchy. Not incorrect, but kind of b*tchy. But I’m also laughing ruefully because I recognize the look.

          When did it become so difficult to wear socks?? When did we decide that women must show no evidence that they are wearing socks?

          If it’s of any use, SmartWool makes no-show socks that actually don’t show on higher vamp shoes (so may work with loafers), they stay in place and are made of wool blends. So, not appropriate for, like, Chicago winters, but they could possibly get you through October and maybe part of November, depending on wear you live.

          • Socks became verboten when ankle pants became the rage. And ankle pants are [email protected] clothing options for anywhere that has, say, winter.

            And loafers and smoking shoes are totally in for 2017, so ignore the naysayers and do what you like. Trouser socks and all. (I prefer the thin cable knit Smart wool socks myself).

          • I like hosiery! :

            I agree. I am older but try to dress fashionably. I really hate that the no hosiery look is fashionable. It is not comfortable for my feet (I would think anyone’s feet) to go without hosiery in closed shoes, and ankles get cold. So now in colder months, all we can wear are booties?

          • Anonymous :

            Agree 100% with “I like hosiery.”

      • Yup, those are trouser socks — the thin, more refined kind. They’re just not modern or current worn with loafers.

      • Anonymous :

        There is nothing wrong with this. Ignore the haters and mock them when they complain “barefooted/ legged” that the office is too cold. You are dressing for work when it is cold out/ cold inside—not a fashion runway. Zero people are going to notice your socks or comment on them, and anyone that looks at that level of detail seriously needs to get some hobbies. Black trouser socks work with loafers, as do other colors, and knee-highs. You have nothing to worry about on this choice.

    • +1 trouser socks’ day has passed. Not with loafers, not with flats.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Maybe knee-high hose? I think if you get a sheer hose you can get away with it while still keeping a little warmer.

      I am of the opinion, though, that for casual wear, a purposefully chunky sock with loafers can look intentional, but only with the moccasin-style loafers.

    • I’m the outlier, but I wear trouser socks often. You can’t really see them because my pants are hemmed to fall about an inch from the ground. I never wear skirts/dresses and wear a suit 4-5 days a week, so trouser socks it is.

      As for new loafers, check out Franco Sarto – I’ve seen some really nice styles this year. My most comfortable loafers are from Ecco, but the are not as stylish in my opinion (of course, I’m the one wearing trouser socks, so you may not want to take style advice from me!)

  14. DC Ladies – anyone else affected by CareFirst’s decision to drop One Medical from their network? I feel like everyone is going to be scrambling to find a new GP come December; should I try to find one now or wait and hope they negotiate and get the situation resolved?

    • Ugh, yes I am also affected! I just had my annual physical at One Medical last month, so I think I’m going to wait a bit to find a new PCP, but I agree that everyone is going to be scrambling!!

    • anon a mouse :

      I was just coming here to post this! I am so irritated. I’m going to go ahead and schedule a physical for the next 6 weeks but I’m so angry that I have to find a new doctor.

    • And in a city like DC where there are no decent PCPs and those who are there aren’t ever taking new patients – ugh. Didn’t realize negotiation was a possibility . . . . Why is this city such a wasteland for primary care? Nothing like this in NYC – even though it’s a much more crowded city – there are GOOD experienced PCPs around how take new patients. Here – everyone is about 15 min out of residency . . . .

    • Anon Lawyer :

      I’m affected too. Really upset about this because I have a phobia of doctors so getting set up with One Medical was difficult enough for me. Worried about going through the process again.

    • It looks like One Medical is demanding a dramatic increase in rates from Carefirst – https://member.carefirst.com/members/news/media-news/2017/carefirst-responds-to-one-medicals-notification-of-termination.page?

      • anon a mouse :

        Yeah there were a ton of comments on Popville yesterday and it definitely sounds like this is OneMed’s decision, not Carefirst’s. I guess they are counting on people liking the convenience enough to stay and self-pay.

        • Highly unlikely I think. One Medical’s demographic is young professionals who I’d venture to guess are mostly healthy and go to the doctor 1-2x/yr for simple things; that demographic is not going to self pay — they’re just going to start going to urgent care. And OTOH it’s not like One Medical offers such high end medical professionals — it offers MDs who are almost never more than 5 yrs out of residency and even getting an appointment with them is a hassle and you usually get PAs/NPs. This isn’t like people who self pay bc they are well off AND have health problems AND the top cardiologist at Columbia or Hopkins is worth a few hundred or few thousand out of pocket if insurance won’t cover it. Any doctor or NP in town can do a strep test if you need one or give you a flu shot.

        • Won’t happen for most people. If they can’t get on with another PCP in town, they’ll go to urgent care when they need something once a yr.

        • In that case, I think One Medical really misjudged their audience. I’ve gone there for about 4 years, and had great experience – twice I’ve called in the morning and been in to see a doctor within 60 minutes. And I love the phone visits. But I’m not going to self-pay, so ….

          Maybe if they realize that enough people will not leave, they will revisit the decision.

    • Yes, I’m so sad about it. I’ve had a amazing experience with One Medical and the idea of finding a new doctor is so overwhelming.

  15. No Problem :

    Does anyone else get a “hangover” the next day after taking Excedrin for a headache? I don’t take it often, but it is effective for killing the occasional splitting headache when nothing else works. Unfortunately, the next day I always feel weird…overall fuzzy feeling, a little tingling or numbness in my face (basically the same nerves that were bothering me with the headache), but the headache is thankfully gone. I’m wondering if this is an effect from the headache itself or maybe I’m reacting to a component of the medicine. I don’t think I have ever taken aspirin otherwise, but I’m fine with Tylenol and obviously caffeine on their own. Or maybe this is a common thing that people experience.

    • Yes, this is a common side effect of headaches and of excedrin unfortunately. Hydration + caffeine helps me.

    • I’ve had this, and still had the residual odd feelings even when taking an rx for migraine. So I suspect it is a “hangover” from the headache rather than the medication.

    • This happens to me, but I’ve always assumed it was a “hangover” from the migraine itself.

      • No Problem :

        …This actually leads me to a follow up question: could I be having migraines without realizing they’re migraines? I don’t have the classic migraine symptoms (aura, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, etc.), but they are often one-sided and can be pretty terrible. Sometimes they last for several days, though I am functional the whole time and not in so much pain that I’m confined to home like many people experience. And my mom just informed me that she used to get migraines when she was my age, which I never knew.

        • Definitely sounds like migraines to me. I’ve never had an aura and my understanding is most migraine sufferers don’t. I’ve only had nausea from my worst couple of migraines (out of hundreds) but I have a strong stomach in general. They can definitely be genetic (my mom had them too) and for me they are correlated to my menstrual cycle, although somewhat irregular (I definitely don’t get one every month).

        • Senior Attorney :

          This was me, and when I finally went to a neurologist he diagnosed migraines and now I am on a low dose beta blocker which has almost completely eliminated them. So I’d urge you to look into it!

      • +1. I don’t take Excedrin (or any medicine usually) but I have always have a post-migraine hangover. It’s a documented migraine phase called postdrome.

    • Some Excedrin has caffeine in it. If you’re taking Excedrin with more caffeine than you’re used to, the lack of caffeine the next day may be causing the “hangover” effect.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      This sounds like a migraine postdrome – I get them after my bad ones. Lots of folks also experience a prodrome in the hours or days before a migraine as well.

    • No Problem :

      My response to Monday seems to have gone to moderation, but I never considered that these headaches might be migraines because I don’t have the classic migraine symptoms (aura, sensitivity to light and sound). But now I read that migraines don’t always have those effects. Ugh :(

  16. Difficult moms (paging ?) :

    I’m struggling and I think approaching a breaking point in dealing with my mom. I remember seeing on a previous thread (but was unable to find it) that there are a few posters dealing with issues like this (narcissistic moms or moms with serious issues where the posters have gone low or no contact). Aside from therapy, which I’ve done but am unfortunately currently unable to do due to work (I am supplementing with lots of reading as a partial stop-gap), I think it would be nice to be in communication with others who have been in a similar place. I’d love to participate if you have a sidebar going somewhere.

    • I have a difficult and most likely narcissistic mother and would be interested in something like this as well.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Hi there! I have been no contact for 4 years. I hope you find a solution that works for you. There’s a reddit section that’s pretty active – raised by narcissists – that you might enjoy

      • I know how you feel JuniorMinion – my feelings about my mom are complicated because I’ve already gone no contact with my father – for about the same time as you (they are divorced). I’m coming to understand that by turning to my mom after ceasing contact with my father, I’ve ignored or tolerated a lot of things I otherwise would not have. Now on balance I can’t say which of them is more difficult. Narcissism isn’t quite my exact situation – but that subreddit has nonetheless been helpful for me too.

    • There’s a subreddit called raised by narcissists that someone here clued me in to and it was so, so comforting to know that there are so many of us. I would also suggest reading some of Captain Awkward’s advice on dealing with difficult people. Her tips on making conversations with them boring and treating them as though you expect them to behave like reasonable adults even when you know they won’t have been really helpful to me in dealing with my BPD (diagnosed by professionals, not by me) family members.

  17. I just read that times article on Tim Murphy. He asked for privacy for himself and his family. Privacy. Please tell me I’m not the only one outraged by the framing of that.

  18. Anon in Texas :

    Has anyone tried and succeeded losing weight with Shakeology? Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

    • It’s an expensive protein shake. Drink any whey protein shake, add a multivitamin = shakeology. It won’t make you lose weight unless you are generally eating less and moving more. Shakeology is not magic.

    • Something like this really only works as a supplement to a decent workout regimen and otherwise solid diet. If you aren’t on the more active side, protein-heavy programs like this can actually be problematic because the protein can turn to fat if you can’t put it to “work” in building muscle.

      • Protein doesn’t magically turn into fat. That’s BS. Those shakes *can* have a lot of calories and if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, then yes, you will gain weight.

  19. Why are women conditioned to believe that only men can be handy and why do they perpetuate it – knowing that there are super handy women and men who don’t know a hammer from a drill?? Had to buy a new TV – set up involved – not even kidding – screwing 3 screws into the stand so the TV would stand up on my table. Now I’m a handy person but even someone not handy could’ve figured it out. Mentioned to an aunt I bought a TV and would set it up that night – and despite being the type who wants women to be professionals etc – her instant reaction is, oh there’s a lot of guys in your building ask one of them to do it. Um why – will he attack the stand with his d—? And am I supposed to then bake him cookies to thank him?? Wtf?!

    • Haha, yea. My mom is the same way. What’s funny is that I’m waaaay handier than my husband.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am handier than my SO, all previous (male) boyfriends, and my male former roommate. I was raised by a community of lesbians and radical feminists (who worked in construction, as electricians, and as contractors), though, so that probably has something to do with my beliefs in women’s abilities to use power tools and my own ability to hang drywall (it’s pretty easy!).

      It’s honestly just expectation and exposure. Yeah, the first set of shelves I hung were pretty crooked, but after the third set of shelves I knew what I was doing.

    • This kind of thing makes me crazy. I had a large piece of art delivered a few months ago and the folks who brought it in (a man and a woman) explained four times how to tell my husband to hang it. I don’t have a husband, and I can work a drill and a hammer just fine, thanks.

    • My mom always complains that I don’t help in the kitchen. So I said, “but I fixed your toilet.”

    • Giving your aunt the benefit of the doubt, there are tvs that are too large to be carried/moved by one person (man or woman). Maybe she wanted you to not hurt yourself lugging a heavy tv around to mount?

  20. Anon for this :

    Looking for book/article recommendations for a guy I’ve started dating that’s a little small minded in the sexual assault/harassment sphere (and probably gender issues more generally). For example, he’s said that he thinks Trump’s hot mic comments were just locker room talk and that false accusations are just as dangerous as unreported incidents. We’ve had a few talks now on this topic and he’s recognized that he hasn’t thought about it from the victim’s perspective, and he said he wants to learn more about these issues. I really appreciate that he’s recognizing his bias and trying to learn more, so I don’t want to recommend something that’s preachy or critical about men not being involved enough in the feminist agenda. For now, maybe something explaining that these issues exist and how they affect society would be great. We had a good discussion from an article about Maryland (where we both reside) changing a policy where police would mark a rape report as unfounded if there were no signs of physical violence.

    Also, more broadly, if anyone has tackled introducing a well-intentioned but small-minded boyfriend into pushing for womens’ rights issues, I’d love to hear about it!

    • To be perfectly honest, I would absolutely not date somebody like this. There are no magical feminist resources out there that can accurately explain issues without hurting this poor dude’s fragile ego. And it shouldn’t be your job anyway. Presumably this guy has access to the internet and knows how to google.

    • Oh, man. Nope forever. I have absolutely never had success in gently educating a partner on issues like this–although God knows I tried in my 20s–because it’s really bad for relationships. A relationship in which I have to argue for my right not to be sexually assaulted and for my right not be branded a liar is not a healthy one, imo. It’s emotionally exhausting to do this work with a romantic partner, because there’s a basic level of support it’s reasonable to expect in a relationship and this guy is communicating he is ill-equipped to provide that to you. MOA, as the kids say.

    • If the feminist agenda is “don’t grab our junk without our consent” and your dude’s unwilling to co-sign that unreservedly, he deserves to be preached at and he deserves criticism. And you deserve better from a partner.

      • Anonymous :

        Second, although I have heard women say it was just locker room talk too. As I say that, that is obvious – they voted for him. I thought the consensus here was not educating the privileged on their privilege?

    • Ok, my comment went into moderation and who knows if it will ever come back. But basically I said I would never date somebody who thought that way to begin with. You should not be worried about hurting his feelings by telling him how the world really is for half the population. He should also be capable of researching this on his own.

    • I know everyone is going to say dump him, but I do know there are people who are so privileged they never even had to think about it before, so a little education goes a long way. Just make sure to treat this as the yellow flag that it is, and if you want to get serious with him, make sure to have a lot of probing conversations about his life expectations before you do.

      One of my favorites is the essay “I want a wife”. It actually names the male benefits of our society. There’s also a good one that very clearly spells out the privilege-is-an-escalator analogy and even addresses the “but i’m a white male and i had to work hard too!” ideas.

      http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/wife.html

      https://medium.com/thoughts-on-society/why-do-women-try-to-get-ahead-by-pulling-men-down-a1345b36b91b

      • Oh. And I saved this comment from some random article I read once, but you both should read on this and meditate and discuss multiple times. It was in the context of thinking you’ve agreed on an approach to your lives before kids:

        Here’s the catch, though: maybe when you have the conversation you’re both in the same position (or similar) career wise. Then you (the wife) get pregnant and have awful morning sickness, so you need to take a few sick days. The baby is born and you take maternity leave, which means a couple months at home. You return to work but are pumping, so you’re having to get special accommodation for that.
        Meanwhile, your husband takes no sick leave. He takes a couple weeks off once the baby comes, and is patted on the back for it, nothing like your co-workers’ annoyance at having to cover for you for 2-3 months. He doesn’t have to make any special requests after that, either.

        So after a year of pregnancy and postpartum adjustment, your husband gets a raise and/or promotion. You don’t, because your “constant” (ie, 5 days in a year) calling out and three months away meant you weren’t able to take on the extra duties and hours that would have allowed you to “prove yourself. ” So now your husband’s a step ahead, but that means more money for the family so that’s good, right?

        Except now that your husband is paid more or at a higher level, he’s expected to work longer hours, so you’re the one leaving 5pm on the dot to pick up the baby from daycare, while he can stay late for projects and meetings. He’s got more pressing deadlines and more frequent meetings, so when the kid is sick and has to stay home, you can spare the day off more easily than he can. So again, when time for promotions/raises roll around, he’s the one who seems more dedicated – not to mention, maybe your boss is kinda sexist and has seen so many women cut back their hours after having kids that he thinks, consciously or not, that it’s only a matter of time before you do the same. So again, your husband’s career takes a leap forward, while yours just takes a step.

        Now you’re pregnant again, and you and your husband have to talk about work – life balance. His job is the one with greater earning potential now, and he has more responsibilities anyway. So you decide to go part-time, or stay at home, which you insist is just because it makes more financial sense. It has no bearing on whose career is “priority” or gender at all. Except it does.

        • Wow. This is amazing. Thank you for posting this.

        • nasty woman :

          Great way to explain it.

          OP, I’d also show him the r*pe culture pyramid (google it). It’s a helpful way to illustrate how “benign” things like “what was she wearing,” “locker room talk” are part and parcel of the same system that permits and excuses r*pe.

          For myself, I’d probably not date this person, but I do agree with anon at 1:29 that it can, sometimes, be worth attempting to educate men out of their biases.

        • Anon for this :

          Thanks for sharing! Also love the way this commenter framed the issue.

    • Anonymous :

      This is not what you asked for, but I would suggest having him read the New Jim Crow because it will open his mind generally to seeing things from the perspective of a marginalized group, and to recognizing his privilege. The statistics in the book are well-researched, hard to ignore, and easily digestible.

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks! Interestingly, he is half-black. We’ve talked a lot about race and socioeconomic issues but gender is where we have some blind spots. Not sure what that means in terms of his perception of privilege.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve had luck with asking men to think about s.assault/harrassment in terms of what if another man did that to them. How would they feel? Why would they think a woman would feel any different? If they do think that ‘it’s different’ and you drill down on it, it’s often because they believe a lot of [email protected] myths.

          • +1 I’ve done this also with success. Specifically, i found out a male friend simply didn’t understand that [email protected], was physically painful to the victim. I kid you not.

          • It sounds so sad, but in the context of “I want a wife” above, I’ve had luck by pointing out that guys who have those type of wives typically have a faster career progression than single guys or guys who have working wives. The man usually says “Yes! All the C-levels at my company have SAH wives who can schedule their dr appts for them and buy them new socks!” and then I point out how that disadvantages women too, since they also don’t typically have that level of support from husbands at home. *smh*

    • Yeah, I don’t know. You want to open his eyes but protect his fee fees too? It always amazes me that these right wingers love to call other people snowflakes but can’t handle even an ounce of criticism in their direction.

      There is no sense in dating someone and not being able to say exactly what you think without trying to protect what sounds like a very fragile male ego.

      Be yourself. If he’s man enough to be with you, he’s man enough to be with the real you.

    • Anonymous :

      This is why my dating profile says “If you voted for Drumpf, GTFO.”

    • Anonymous :

      I really liked Missoula, by Jon Krakauer.

    • What about Lucky by Alice Sebold? It’s the story of her own rape and trial. It’s been years so I can’t remember if it’s preachy but it could help develop some empathy to read a first-hand account.

  21. Why am I so tired??? :

    Is anyone else tired all the time? Like exhausted? Any ideas why or how to fix it?

    I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. I’m not overweight. I exercise a reasonable amount. I do have a thyroid condition but I’m medicated and my levels are kept on the higher end of normal since that’s where I feel least bad.

    I wake up feeling achy and tired. Some days its so bad that I sit in an Epsom salt bath for 15 mins just to get moving.

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like this. I’ve been to a GP and endocrinologist and I don’t have any readily identifiable medical reason. But this can’t be normal – right? Or does everyone always feel like this?

    • I feel like this a lot, especially in the fall and winter. I do take vitamin D but I don’t know that it helps much. I think I just am always going to feel like this.

    • I always feel exhausted, and it’s getting incrementally worse as I get older. (I’m 31). I eat well, normal weight, decent amount of exercise, 6-8 hours of sleep each night. I have no medical issues, no major stressors in my life, and a job that’s challenging and somewhat stressful but not out-of-control stressful. I can’t fathom having children because I go through each day exhausted plenty as it is.

    • I used to feel exhausted even after a good night’s sleep. I mentioned it during a physical. After my blood worked showed a low vitamin D level, the doctor told me to start taking vitamin D. It made a big difference.

    • vitamins for relief :

      For me, magnesium and B vitamins have helped, especially B12, B1, and folate.

      Folate under the name of Deplin is being prescribed for people who don’t recover from depression on antidepressants; I personally think doctors should try it first for people whose symptoms are that they are tired, sad about being tired, and unmotivated because they are tired.

      It’s my understanding that symptoms of deficiency can appear before the deficiency will appear on a lab test and that some people have to take “methylated” forms of B vitamins.

      I hate taking supplements, but my thyroid condition results in low stomach acid even when I’m well medicated (as evidenced by lab work), and I am one of those thyroid patients who has gluten issues as well (sigh), so I think I don’t get as much from my diet as I should.

    • This may not at all be related to what you’re going through, but I thought I’d throw it out just the same. One of the symptoms of depression can be fatigue and poor sleep. I got 7-9 hours every night but never felt rested. My psychiatrist prescribed an anti-depressant “sleep stabilizer” and I’ve never slept better in my life. I wake up with energy – something I haven’t experienced in years.

    • Any chance you have sleep apnea and are getting much poorer quality sleep than you think? Do you snore?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        +1 and you don’t need to snore or be overweight to have it. My cpap changed my life. I’m still not a morning person but I no longer feel like I’m living with a perpetual hangover.

        • KateMiddletown :

          Do you hate it though? I have horrid seasonal allergies and I wish I had a CPAP but my coworker (who is 70 and needs it for heart issues and apnea) hates it and says it makes it harder to sleep.

      • Yes, I was about to say this or any other sleep condition like night terrors, etc. making your quality of sleep terrible even if you are getting plenty of it.

      • Why am I so tired??? :

        Hmmm…maybe I should look into this more. Neither DH or I have noticed me snoring or tossing and turning but maybe my sleep is poor?

      • Anonymous :

        Seconding looking into whether you’re getting quality sleep. I didn’t realize until after I got a fitness tracker that what I thought was 7.5-8 hours of sleep actually only translated into 6-6.5 hours of actual restful sleep because I wake up so often throughout the night. I started bumping up the amount of sleep I got to 7.5-8 hours of restful sleep (which is like 9-9.5 hours of time by the clock) and it really did a lot for my energy levels.

    • Anonymous :

      Chronic fatigue syndrome?

    • Why am I so tired??? :

      Thanks, all. Maybe it’s just a byproduct of modern life ;0

    • You’re not the only one. I’ve tried various vitamins, but the only thing that helps at all is getting at least 8 hours of really uninterrupted sleep every night, no exceptions. It hasn’t completely solved the problem, but my husband and the cats sleeping in a different bedroom has made a noticeable difference. I don’t think I have sleep apnea, but I do have other respiratory issues that affect my sleep and that may also be part of it. Like the commenter above, I have no idea how people with kids manage. I’m barely able to keep it together as it is, there’s simply no way I could handle any additional sleep deprivation and remain even remotely functional.

    • Some people have already said this but I saw a doctor two months ago. Turns out after some blood tests I am B12 deficient. 2000 mg of B12 a day has really helped me but you should definitely get some blood tests (according to my doctor at least) to rule out stuff.

      • Anonymous :

        IIRC – B12 is one of those vitamins where the range of normal is very wide – something like 200-900. So a dr. who isn’t thorough would say 300 is fine bc it is in the range of what US labs consider normal. But my PCP told me ideally you should be in the 400-500+ range for optimal energy and in fact in Canada, Europe and Japan, they do supplement when people are below that range. That’s also a test that doesn’t show up in general bloodwork — you have to ask for it/dr. has to think about it when the person is suggesting fatigue. It’s a easily fixable issue that lots of women have – esp those that are vegetarian or those that eat meat but just not very much of it.

    • Anonymous :

      The “higher end of normal” for TSH is either around 2/3 or 4/5, depending on whether your endocrinologist uses the newer scale. My recommendation is to review whether you really do feel better at your current TSH since you are exhausted after a full night’s sleep, which was my main symptom. I am miserable at 2.5 and perfect at 1.5. If you are using the older ‘normal’ scale you may be closer to 5.

      Otherwise, I agree with a sleep apnea test.

    • Two Cents :

      Check your thyroid. I was constantly tired before realizing that I was hypothyroid.

    • If this sort of thing troubles you more during fall and winter, you might look into getting a light therapy box. They’ve made a big difference for me in terms of overall energy level, especially when I lived in Scotland for a few years. (Originally from the sunny American Southwest.)

    • Sounds like an autoimmune thing to me. See a rheumatologist

    • Remember the Golden Girls episodes when Dorothy had the same thing and then eventually was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

    • For me it was undiagnosed food allergies (I had the achiness too). I had even been to an allergist but he didn’t look at the right things, so I just thought I had to accept it and went through 10 years of my life that way. But I got a second opinion, stopped eating the stuff I was reacting to, and felt WAY better within a week.

      I’m putting this out there for two reasons: 1) on the off chance that it might be food allergies for you too; but mainly 2) that issues like fatigue are easy for doctors to ignore and it’s important to be proactive in researching, getting multiple opinions, etc. to advocate for yourself as a patient. The advice to see a rheumatologist is good. I would consider making a list of other types of specialists too–and maybe even another GP–and going down the list until you have someone who will help you find some answers.

      It’s not normal to be so tired, but more importantly, you don’t have to put up with it.

  22. Advice on how to “prepare” for a personal stylist appointment? I have someone coming to my house to look at my closet, help me come up with a personal style, etc. I’m wondering if I should take this opportunity to organize my closet into various groups before she comes: 1) Things I hate/never wear, 2) Things I wear all the time and like 3) Things I love but can’t fit into anymore, etc.

    I’m also wondering if it’s helpful to write down where I usually shop, how much I’ve spent on clothes in the past, sizes I’ve been the past couple of years, etc ? Or to share a pinterest board with her about what I wish I looked like?

    Maybe I’m overthinking this? I just want to make the most of the appointment (and my $$$).

    • No Problem :

      It probably won’t hurt to do this. Would make it easier to identify what you don’t like or doesn’t look good on you and vice versa.

      This is actually probably worth doing myself as I determine what I need to replace or upgrade this season. Never thought to organize my clothes like that!

    • I’d probably send her the pinterest link and other info ahead of time. She may not take the time to prep before an appointment, but I’d hope she would, and this info could be useful.

    • Can you take some photos of outfits you really love? I’ve never had a personal stylist come to my house, but showing her what you already love about your wardrobe seems like a good plan to start.

      Can you email her and ask if there’s anything you could do to prepare for your meeting?

    • From a friend who has done this, she said it was really helpful for her to pull together a handful of “favorite outfits” before her appointment. I think she did a couple work outfits, a casual weekend outfit, and a going out outfit. It gave her stylist a sense of her personality and how she put things together that was a jumping off point.

    • Have you asked the stylist what s/he would find helpful?

      • I have; she said “just leave your closet as it is” — several issues with this, though
        1) I just moved into this house and literally threw everything from boxes on to hangers and into the closet, so it’s not really representative of how I would ideally store stuff
        2) I’m almost 8 months pregnant, so I have a lot of stuff that I’m wearing that is not part of my normal rotation and I bought be cause it’s comfortable, cheap, stretchy, etc
        3) She has a “organization consultant” advertised on her website that I don’t want to get roped into at this time

        I finally bit the bullet and decided to hire someone to help me out due to several life changes… I’m a doc that used to be able to wear scrubs, but now have to wear “business casual” for a new job I’m working now and after maternity leave; I moved from Vermont (yay yoga pants and t-shirts for literally *any occasion!*) to NC; after two pregnancies, one of them twins, I’m a weird cusp size and feel very frumpy, I’m hoping having some clothes and a sense of style direction to get me through the end of this pregnancy and postpartum will nip some of the postpartum depression I had with my last.

        Despite being a fan of this blog, I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $100 on an item of clothing (and the 100+ was probably spent on Danskos for the OR..), wore hand-me-downs most of my life, and have almost an entire closet full of clothes from old navy and target. :)

        Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I will pull out a few of my greatest hits for her :)

        • Anonymous :

          Hmm, is this really a good time for a stylist appt? Will your body change a lot after pregnancy is over?

          • +1 . I love your ideas of how to sort clothes but the whole point of a stylist appointment is to have her come to your place and help you create new outfits and try them on. You can’t wear most of your clothes when you’re 8 months pregnant. I would strongly consider rescheduling when you’re about 6-8 months pp.

          • Great point, yes, thought about this quite a bit. I’m viewing this as a 12-18 month relationship, not just a single appointment. I need her help to get through the pregnancy, transition from postpartum into my new normal. And all this in a much more formal work environment than I’ve been in the past 5-7 years.

            I’m working now and need help immediately. It’s hard starting a new job this far along and I want to make the best first impression I can plus feel good about myself. I can’t wear a knit stretchy maxi dress or leggings and a flowy tunic to work. And the whole sorta plus size, sorta not situation I’m in has made maternity shopping a challenge (size 18 maternity suit… now *that’s* a unicorn!)

            I’m also taking a very short maternity leave so I’ll likely be in some of the maternity clothes when I go back.

          • KateMiddletown :

            +1. Can you wait 3 mos and have her come while you’re out on maternity leave and need a refresh before you go back? This sounds like a service I would have loved w/ a post-baby body.

      • This! Why not ask what the best way to prepare is?

    • SFAttorney :

      Yes, write down where you usually shop and identify the last things you bought (non- maternity). The stylist I used some years ago had a form that asked these and similar questions.

  23. Help me with a script! :

    I had a falling out with a very long-time, dear friend a few years ago. Drugs took over her life, and she ruined our friendship. She has now reached out to be friends again, but I honestly just don’t have the emotional energy to re-engage the friendship. I feel like I owe her a response, but I’m not sure what to say. Any ideas?

  24. Packing for Japan :

    I’ve got a 10-day vacation to Japan (Osaka, Nara, Kyoto) coming up, and could use some packing advice. I was hoping to live out of a travelers’ backpack (eBags Weekender) but definitely want another bag for souvenirs. Any advice on whether to fly out with an empty suitcase, or buy something there? And for moving city-to-city on trains and by foot, would you recommend a soft duffle or wheeled hard-sider?

    • You can buy a reasonably cheap wheeled suitcase in the touristy areas of Osaka and Kyoto. You can also go to a donki/don quijote and get a very cheap soft duffle so if you want a bag just for souvenirs I would recommend getting one there. There are a lot of stairs and less escalators and even fewer elevators in the transit system but I did find having a wheeled bag is much easier than something i have to carry on the shoulder. Just get the lightest kind since you’ll be carrying it up and down stairs.

    • Anony Mouse :

      A side note, but if you’re a fan of handmade paper check out Morita Washi in Kyoto (https://www.insidekyoto.com/wagaminomise-morita-washi-kyoto). I purchased some lovely souvenir/gift items for friends that were pretty easy to transport (being lightweight).

    • I shop A LOT when I’m in Japan. So I bring two suitcases. A small one with my stuff inside an empty big one. It has always worked out fine. If you’re not into traveling on trains with luggage, you can always use a service to forward them from hotel to hotel. Very reasonably priced and efficient.

  25. Am I correct that you have to use money in a dependent care FSA the year you use it? So if we are expecting a baby in 2018, but she won’t start daycare until 2019, it’s pointless to put money in a dependent care FSA for 2018 right? It’s not like an HSA where the money just sits there until you need it.

    • correct. you have to use all of the money. Date of service has to be by the end of the year you contributed. If there is a balance, it is forfeited on a given date (HR will tell you your company’s date). An HSA is a stealth IRA. You can use it for medical expenses anytime. Meanwhile, the money can be invested until you use it.

    • lucy stone :

      Correct. It’s use or lose.

    • Yes, correct – you can’t bank it for the next year.

      • just ?–where does the money “go?”

        lol….can I start a business brokering “advanced payment for childcare services” and childcare providers (that operates only during December 25-31 of each calendar year? )

        • Anonymous :

          Employer keeps it. At least, that’s what they do on the FSA (Flexible Spending Account) side.

          And probably not. I’m pretty sure the IRS would catch on easily enough, has likely written regulation excluding advanced payment, and has specific regulations about payment within the year rendered.

  26. Anonymous :

    I’ve been having a weird sensation in my throat. It feels like something is caught there, almost, and my stomach feels upset as well. I feel the need to swallow and drink a lot of fluids, but the sensation won’t go away. I went to my doctor, who said its heartburn and suggested I take Zantac.

    My understanding of heartburn was quite different. I’ve had what I thought was heartburn before a few times, and it was more burning reflux. This sensation is very different, without any burning. I took a Zantac, which did nothing. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had heartburn that sounds exactly like what you are describing. Maybe tell the doctor the Zantac didn’t work and see if you can try something else?

    • Anonymous :

      Look up silent reflux and see if it fits. Not easily treatable and won’t be fixed by PPI’s like reflux will. For me, it went away when I lost a bit of weight and worked on my anxiety.

    • From a fellow sufferer, it *sounds* like GERD (acid reflux), and Zantac would probably be the right recommendation in that case. Zantac isn’t really effective for short-term relief. Can you try a TUMS?

      (Also, obviously, I am not a doctor, and if you have any reason to think this might be something more serious, call your doctor back or proceed to the emergency room as appropriate).

    • Anonymous :

      That’s GERD. I have it too.

  27. Paris by Mouth :

    Senior Attorney here, thanking whoever it was that recommended Paris By Mouth for food tours in Paris. We ended up doing a cheese/wine tasting rather than a tour, and it was so much fun! Big thumbs up for this outfit if anybody is heading to Paris!

    • Sunflower :

      Senior Attorney, I thought you’d enjoy hearing that I texted your info about Paris By Mouth to a friend who was on her way to the airport for her Paris flight today.

    • Eager Beaver :

      That was me (and maybe others too)! So glad you enjoyed it. It was truly one of the best parts of our trip.

  28. Anonymous :

    Any thoughts on Everlane’s boss boot that have just debuted?

  29. Wildkitten :

    I’m making (or ordering) dinner for six people, with the following restrictions. One doesn’t eat meat (does eat fish), one eats meat but prefers veggies, one doesn’t eat corn or cow dairy. What can I make that is easy or order that is compliant?

    • Anonymous :

      Baked fish with potatoes/rice/salad

      Fish Tacos

      Pasta with goat cheese instead of cow dairy?

    • Tell them to bring their own food.

      Or, make what you want and also serve lots of veggies (non-corn apparently.)

      That many dietary restrictions among a fairly small group just makes me roll my eyes.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Vegetable curry with rice?

    • Anonymous :

      Tacos that people put together themselves — you can make/get fish/chicken/beans and all the sides and people can add/leave off what they want. Not sure if not eating corn means that actual vegetable or any corn product but w something like this – ppl can even do bowls if they want.

      Middle eastern fare – shish kabobs of a few varieties including vegetarian skewers; rice/veggies/hummus on the side.

    • Anonymous :

      Order Indian family style — plenty of veggie dishes and a few chicken/meat dishes for the meat eaters. Rare to run into corn or dairy in indian food.

      • No, no, no! Most Indian food that people have access to in restaurants (i.e. North Indian cuisine that is taken as ‘Indian’ ) has dairy in it. Ask before ordering.

        • Huh? I’ve never run into this, and I’ve eaten in a ton of Indian restaurants.

          • It’s usually that they cook everything in ghee, and some dishes are made with yogurt.

          • People who don’t have a dairy issue often don’t realize that if you have a real dairy problem, *butter* is dairy.

    • This time of year I might go with a ‘fancy’ salad (something like this: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018114-warm-kale-coconut-and-tomato-salad) and a big platter of roasted veggies, plus a nice bread (served with both butter and olive oil). Something like this for dessert, using all coconut milk instead of some dairy: http://www.dinneralovestory.com/come-and-get-it/

    • Anonymous :

      Just make a vegetarian main dish that does not have cow’s milk products in it. So you could do enchiladas but use goat cheese. Or a veggie pot pie but sub something for the cow’s milk. No need to include meat or fish, but you could do a fish-based meal as well. This doesn’t sound that hard, honestly.

      A lot of Asian food does not have dairy, so if you’re ordering, that might be a good start.

    • Goat cheese frittata with a vegan roasted red pepper soup and a salad.

    • Roast salmon, roast vegetables, roast potatoes, salad

  30. You’re not the only one. I’ve tried various vitamins, but the only thing that helps at all is getting at least 8 hours of really uninterrupted sleep every night, no exceptions. It hasn’t completely solved the problem, but my husband and the cats sleeping in a different bedroom has made a noticeable difference. I don’t think I have sleep apnea, but I do have other respiratory issues that affect my sleep and that may also be part of it. Like the commenter above, I have no idea how people with kids manage. I’m barely able to keep it together as it is, there’s simply no way I could handle any additional sleep deprivation and remain even remotely functional.

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