Beware: Proceed with Caution

Have you ever dealt with a toxic person? I think most of us have come across this person at some point in our lives. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky and if you have, I think you will be able to relate to this post.

There will always be people we don’t necessarily click with, people who don’t share the same interests as us. However, some people are just plain toxic. You can interact with these people, but interactions have to be kept at a minimum to prevent the negative vibes from having an effect on you. Keep your distance from people who are never happy for the next person. People who have a hard time congratulating someone on their accomplishments. People who feel the need to constantly one up on others. In today’s society, we refer to them as “haters“. These people are very toxic and the root of their toxicity is low self esteem and a fragile ego. They have low feelings of self worth and therefore, can never be happy for the next person. How can someone who is not happy with themselves be happy for others? They can’t.

These people will never admit to being unhappy. They constantly brag about their accomplishments, their money and everything else that they have that is desirable to mask their feelings of inferiority. People like this are dangerous because they can never be a genuine friend. A friend is someone who is happy for you when something good happens, someone who listens and wants the best for you. Someone who tries to lift you up when you are feeling down. Toxic people do not display these traits. It is okay to be acquaintances with these people but maintain a safe distance as they always have ulterior motives.

Someone who feels the need to compare and to put other people down are in a constant state of self Judgement. They will never feel completely fulfilled because there are always people around them who they have to do better than. Their sense of worth and validation comes from proving that they are better than the next person. This person struggles with low self esteem and low confidence and the only way to lift these levels up is through somehow convincing themselves that they are better than you. This person only talks about their life, their hardships and their struggles. They probably do not really know anything about you because they have never cared to ask. Even if they have asked, it is just to find something new to one up you on. This person will even buy things that you have or copy your hair style, your nails, etc to prove that they do it better or look better. These people will talk badly about others because they are secretly envious of something they have, whether material or non-material. They talk badly about their “friends” when they’re not around yet smile in their face. If their friend accomplished something or is happy about something, the toxic person will smile and say congratulations but inside, they are waiting for you to mess up. Have a relationship that you are happy in? They secretly hope it fails. Boyfriend proposed to you? They wish it was their boyfriend who proposed. Got a new hair style? They will now go out and get a haircut. Going to Florida? They will now go to Europe. They are in a constant state of competition and enveloped in a never ending cycle of envy and hate. Sometimes, people envy the non material things you have, such as love, admiration, confidence etc. They are threatened by your confidence. Your independence. It kills them that you are happy.

My advice is to keep these people at bay and only disclose generic information to them as they don’t even really care and will just try to add it to their list of things to compete with you on and to talk about. Toxicity and negativity are contagious and you know what they say, “misery loves company”.

Justin Timberlake’s selfie brings about change 

Apparently Justin Timberlake has some influence in his native Tennessee. Justin posted a selfie while in the booth on his social media page during the last election. Unfortunately, he was forced to take it down because at that time in Tennessee, it was illegal to post any pictures from inside the booths. However, Tennessee recently made it legal to do so. As long as you do not take a picture with the intent of committing voter fraud or for vote buying, it is totally fine to do so (in Tennessee at least). 

Many states do not allow pictures or video in the poll booth. 

I could see the benefit in being able to do so. I think it could help with attracting more voters, particularly younger voters. I don’t think it has to necessarily be a celebrity to be effective. Young people will want to go out and vote the more they see their peers doing so. Some might go out and vote just so they can take a selfie. Either way, I think it brings attention to the subject. I don’t think you should be able to post WHO you voted for, as many people might vote for someone just because a celebrity that they follow voted for that person. But I don’t see the harm is taking a quick pic on your way out of the booth. 

Is this official?

How do you know when your relationship has went from “dating” to “official”? Does it have to be verbally stated in order to be official? I think there are certain things that have to take place in order for me to consider it official. If you have told me that we are together but other key events haven’t taken place, then it still isn’t real to me. A title doesn’t mean anything without the actions to support it. 

For me, one of the key aspects to being official is when you have met the other person’s family/friends and vice versa. If I have not met the key people in your life, how serious are you about me? If our world and your family world is separate, then I wonder about my position in your life. When someone is truly serious and wants to be with you, they will introduce you to the people who’s opinion matters to them the most. This includes both close friends and family, especially their parents. If we have been going strong for a while and I still haven’t been introduced to your parents and siblings, I really question your commitment to me.  Do you invite me to family parties? Am I ever invited to hang out with your friends? Spending time apart and having your own life is important, but if I am never incorporated into your social life, then what message does that send to me?

Another key aspect to making it official to me is being public. I’m not saying you have to post pictures of us on social media every day, but if there is not one picture of me or of us together, I start to wonder about your level of commitment to me. Are you keeping us hidden from your social media following because you want to maintain a single image? Are you hoping that you have another option from your list of followers if things don’t work out between us?

Public displays of affection……I’m not a fan of the whole making out in public thing but I do like hand holding or having an arm out around me sometimes. It raises a red flag if you can’t hold my hand in public. 

Another important part of being in a commitment is being there in not only good times, but bad times as well. When we get into an argument, do you reach out and try to fix it or do you disappear? If you run off every time we argue and don’t attempt to find a solution to the problem, that shows me you have poor coping skills and I cannot rely on you.

Spending time is so very important in a relationship, whether in the beginning or later on in the relationship. If you say we are together but do not make effort to see me or spend time with me, then I am better off alone. How can we bond and grow if we barely see each other? 

Communication: if I tell you that something bothers me, will you compromise or will you tell me too bad? If I am asking something reasonable of you, then I would think its not a big deal to find a happy medium. The same applies for me.  If having my exes picture up on my Instagram or Facebook bothers you, I will take it down with no hesitation. Why? Because you mean more to me than a picture from one year ago. If I have a male friend that you have never met and me hanging out with them makes you uncomfortable, I will introduce you to them or invite you to hang out with us so you can see you have nothing to worry about. When someone isn’t willing to compromise, they are selfish and your feelings are not their priority. 

Has social media destroyed dating?

About a week ago, I was talking to two of my female co-workers about modern dating and some trending patterns and behavior that seem to have become the unfortunate norm.

I would say dating for me began during high school.  If there was a guy that liked you, he would ask for your phone number, call you that day, maybe a day later and by the weekend you would find yourself on a date.  Any guy that I dated came over and met my family and vice versa.  If the relationship made it to a few dates, you naturally became boyfriend and girlfriend and everyone knew what was up.  Don’t get me wrong, guys have been so called “players” for as long as I can remember (girls as well but for the sake of my story I am going to stick with the female take on this issue).  However, back in the day, they put in work.  They at least played the game and made it seem like they were interested in you and made efforts to woo the girl.

All of that seems to have changed now, though.  Guys don’t seem to have the desire nor the know how to properly pursue a woman that he is interested in.   Many of the men that ask a female out don’t want to take the time to go on an actual date.  Now they want you to come over and “chill” or “watch Netflix”.  And half of the guys that do want to go out somewhere expect you to pay for part of the date.  The guys I dated when I was 17 had better etiquette than the guys I meet now.  It was always known that the guy would be paying for the date.  He would be embarrassed to even let you reach into your pocket, especially on a first date.  Often times, if he asks you to just “hang out” and you then suggest going out somewhere, you won’t even hear from him by the time that day comes. Paying for a date also seems to come with the expectation that you will be giving him “dessert” after dinner, if you know what I mean.  If you don’t, you might not hear from him again.

At this point in our conversation, we started talking about social media and the role that we believe it plays in this mess of a dating world.  See, social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat give men constant and immediate access to tons of girls, many of them posing half naked or showing their backside to the world to get “likes”.  If you pose any sort of a challenge or make it too “difficult” for a man, he will easily replace you and find a female that is willing to give him what he truly wants from one of many social media websites that are on his phone. With features like the DM (direct messaging)  on Instagram, females are sending sexy pictures of themselves to guys.  There is even a song by Yo Gotti called, “It Goes Down in the DM”.  This has made many guys think that it is the norm to send pictures of yourself during text conversations.  I have had guys ask me to send them pictures within the first ten minutes of texting with them.  It’s sad that they have no reservation to ask a woman to do this.  The sad thing is, if you don’t send him one, there are probably a dozen other females that will.  It has also become a sad norm that if you are dating or in a relationship with someone, they will look to social media to make themselves feel better or as a way of getting attention when the going gets tough.  You and your man get into an argument and  don’t talk for a day or two and he is already on Instagram looking for the next woman to boost his ego.  It’s pathetic, hurtful and disrespectful.  I dated someone who seemed to jump to Instagram every time things went sour between us.  I’m not talking about major break ups, I’m talking about normal, everyday arguments.  God forbid I was upset and didn’t respond to a text, he was on the prowl on Instagram looking for attention.  Instead of facing problems and talking them out, many people now escape into virtual reality because it is much easier than dealing with the actual issue at hand.  Social media has become a threat to many relationships.  While I do agree that it is the person that is the issue and we are responsible for our actions, the truth is that there are many people who are not strong enough to resist the temptation when it is so easy to do and literally right there in the palm of their hand.  I know someone personally who is very close to me and she had this exact problem with her boyfriend.   Life, kids, financial struggle and a bunch of other elements were taking their toll on her relationship.  He grew more and more distant everyday and seemed to have an obsession with Instagram.  He escaped to Instagram every time reality became too difficult and was meeting many girls there.  It got to the point that my friend felt very insecure and threatened by his social media pages and would sit there looking through tons of females profiles trying to piece things together.  We had friends using fake Instagram pages to “follow” him to try to find out what was going on.  This might sound crazy but trust me, this is actually very common now.  The urge to constantly check your partner’s page to see who is “liking” and commenting has become a part of our everyday routine.  It is threatening when you see people of the opposite sex leaving flirtatious emojis under your partner’s pictures and it is a smack in the face.  I personally feel that if you are in a serious relationship, you should delete anyone who is leaving these types of comments under your pictures.  I was so threatened by my last partner’s IG that I asked him to put up a picture of me.  He refused, which only made my insecurities even worse.

I wish we could go back to a time when things were simpler.  When a woman was a prize to be earned, when the only way you could get a picture of a woman was to take one yourself during private moments, when men had to actually go out and hustle to find another girl as opposed to just clicking the “Request” button.