Ask Toi: How Do you Tell your Friends to Watch their tone with you?

You have to just tell them.  This notion of allowing folks in the name of friendship speak to you anyway suggests that you are keeping them even in an unhealthy state just to keep them around.  That’s the same notion used in some romantic relationships just for the sake of not being alone. I know you want to preserve relationships and of course blowing up at everyone is frowned upon but real friends should be open enough to speak the truth in love.  I think sometimes we forget that keeping real can go left sometimes and you must have a little finesse when you deal with other humans.  People have things in their life and on their heart that not everyone needs the in your face approach or the let everything happen approach.  There is a balance but you are the ONLY one who control that.

From what I gather you have allowed a build up go on way too long and you need to address the relationship as a whole. It sounds more to do with if that friendship should stick than it does with tone.  As adults you aren’t going to necessarily get it right all the time, but friendships are a choice unlike family.  If you choose this relationship in more than one way, then you need to find out what attracted you to it in the first place.  Keep in mind that not everything can remain.  So that means that there are times when relationships can run its course.  You don’t sound as if you are just someone in a tiff with a friend but more you are recognizing the unhealthy part of the relationship.  You have two choices, keep some control of how you allow folks to speak to you, or let it continue while you get frustrated and mad that you didn’t speak up.  I would suggest you speak up when things are being said and if that doesn’t work, you may need to figure out the extent of the relationship and let it take its natural course.  Also you have to own some responsibility.  I have had friends who for various reasons have crossed lines, but it’s not the habitual line stepper that was the issue it was my issue for not making others respect me.

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Ask Toi: How do you deal with someone who Deflects all the time?

Consistency and straightforwardness.  There is no other way.  You will have to find a way not to be like the person you are dealing with.  Be clear and concise.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  People who deflect are often not the type of person who opens up to faults.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  For example, the friend that complains that the utility company is always giving them a hard time but doesn’t ever want to admit that they make a thousand payment arrangements that they may not honor, or just simply doesn’t have a good payment history to begin with.

If you are in a romantic relationship this can be hard.  You address a situation with them. They make a billion excuses and you are left frustrated.  Look at the level of relationship. Are you dating?  Maybe this is a deal breaker for you.  You try to work with it unless its continual dishonesty and then you decide that this person doesn’t meet your standard.  Is it in a marriage?  Try finding ways to approach them. If none of these thing work, get a 3rd party to help.  If you, and the 3rd party can’t get them to see the error of their ways, you may want to consider some soul-searching.  It’s 2018 and I am not for breaking up families at all.  Let me say that for the folks in the back, breaking up families is not the will.  However what else isn’t the will is doing the work for two people.  This is not how relationships are supposed to work romantic or not.  So be wiser this year, work on you.  Be clear when you deal with a deflector and attempt to make some things work.  However if you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have exhausted ALL of your means, find ways to either let nature do its thing with the relationship or hit it on the head and roll.

What do I mean about nature taking its course?

If it is a friend that is always deflecting you might find that you spend less time with them. They will begin to wonder what is going on.  Have a talk and say I brought up a few issues and you dismissed them with your actions. Be clear in how they were dismissive and let them know that this is unacceptable.  If it is someone you are romantic with, if they aren’t self indulged they may notice that things aren’t what they once was.  Bring that up and remind them how their actions continue to be dismissive.  Have a plan if its someone you are romantically with.  Sometimes we sit around knowing that things should end but because we don’t want to hurt their feelings, we wait and pray and hope they will end it. Put your big girl/boy drawls on and face the music.  If is marriage you can’t be in a one-sided marriage.  I know a lot of miserable people who are in these marriages and literally cry or sad all the time.  This can’t be at this point. It’s one thing to say someone else is doing ABC, but it’s another to stay rooted just for the sake of saying you didn’t give up.  You not giving up should be in your actions.  Working all the time to be the change you want to see. Making sure you meet your partner full way to what they need and if you can say yes I have done that but…. you haven’t done all you can.  Let’s knock this I do for them but they….. If there is a they you have to own that something you have allowed may be the cause for the set up in how they treat you.  Did you let a few things slide?  Has things always been a certain way, and now you are growing and changing? There is nothing wrong with growth and change at ALL. You will need to bring up the change to your partner and if they love you they will do their work to be a better version of themselves to you.  No need for dead weight in 2018!  Don’t be the weight to your partner but don’t take deflecting excuses this year either.

Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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Monday Push Through

So this has been an interesting weekend to say the least. Today I wanted to talk about anxiety and how it works to hinder you but can be overcame.  I went to a funeral over the weekend by myself and before you even think NO I am not about to blog the funeral.  This is more about me getting through it.  No one likes funerals.  They aren’t designed to be liked.  However for me they are a place of extra anxiety.  I remember as a kid going to maybe 2 or 3 funerals.  I can tell you who they were and the relationships of the people.  My very first one I was an usher and I fell into some vomit and let’s just say I was super embarrassed.

The second one I got sick physically and I still do when I go.  To view a person’s body makes me sick thinking of it.  Even when my mother in law passed almost a year ago, the fear of the whole situation made me frozen.  I got through it because just like on Saturday, I had to.  My stomach was hurting. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a thousand and one times.  My hands were sweating.  I was having several panic attacks.  I want to shout out my support system who talked me through it because had it not to be there for a good friend, I wouldn’t have gone or I would have gone, felt sick and left. I am super glad that I pushed past it.  See anxiety is an awful feeling. If you let it ride your life you will find that you miss out on so much. I know this to be true because I have missed so many social activities behind it.  I would agree to go to something, get anxious and then back out. I would never tell people why it was just too much of an overcoming feeling for me to deal with so I wouldn’t.

Then others would get tired of asking me to attend so they wouldn’t. I knew why so I never asked or even pushed the conversation.  Also some people would invite me to something never tell the dress code and here I am showing up to something under dressed and knowing all eyes were on me and making me feel like running or not going to the next event.  All of these can be debilitating.  They cause you to lose out on life.  I have been pushing myself in the last few months to push past it but I can’t say it has been easy.  It’s hard to go to things alone but its something that is necessary so I have been doing it.  I feel great and I feel like every time I do it, it makes me stronger for the next event.

So if you are dealing with anxiety, go in your time but push through. You will feel super sick, maybe feel like you are going to throw up, but its the best to accomplish the goal of attending whatever would have normally held you back.  So for your Monday motivation, acknowledge wherever you are feeling in adequate and take one step to beat it and you will amaze yourself at what you can do if you push through!

Adult Not Grown

I finally get it.  Shout out to my parents, Charles and Rhonda but I finally get it.  All the times I was yelling out how “grown” I was and my parents would come behind my rant, and burst my bubble, I would feel some type of way, I was wrong and they were totally right.  But the reality is they were teaching me an invaluable lesson.  A lesson I need to share with some of my adults who have yet to walk in what it is to be a grown man or woman.

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As an adult its easy to think you have arrived when reality you have not.  You think that age has finally granted you the right to speak up and do whatever it is you want until life hits you and find out real quick the difference between grown and an adult. After many conversations with other adults let me help some of you fake grown adults out a bit.

An adult by definition according to the law is anyone who is 18 years and up.  How many 18 year olders are supporting themselves?  Not many.  However when they get in their feelings and want to talk they throw grown around and quite frankly not living up to it.  There are 50 year olds that are doing the same.  Your age doesn’t make you grown, its how you live your life that makes you grown. Just like when I was in college with a car but had a scholarship I was feeling myself except that my parents were still insuring my car.  See if I really wanted to be grown I should have been fitting ALL of my bills.  Yes I had two jobs and taking 19 credits and doing well, but the reality is I would have been financially supporting myself without their help then I could have hollered I was grown. My parents would have respected it.  Trust and believe they awaited the day for me to be grown.  All I had to do was use the energy of wanting to say I was grown and really be grown to get there.

Grown is when you can finance and deal with the repercussions of ALL of your actions. So if you fake grown and are pregnant with a baby that others will have to help you to support you just made an adult decision but ain’t grown enough to handle it.  See now I can say I am grown.  No one can say that they had to support me.  When I had my kids, my parents didn’t shell out money for my children.  They could just be grandparents and not feel like they were second parents in command.  As much as anyone could have had so much to say at the end of the day, no one had to support me financially.  I made a grown and an adult decision and still do this day.

See adulting will have you thinking the best of yourself when you aren’t in that place.  Grown people do grown things.  They can handle rejection, they can handle fall out from their decisions, they can stand on their own.  You can’t call yourself grown when at the very sign of pain or hurt, you fall apart.  You are just an adult that can’t take things. Grown folks are just grown and handle life has it comes.  Now that isn’t to say that things won’t knock you down, but there are childish adults that whine and die if any one thing happens.  Please understand where you are.

Here are examples of you being an adult but not grown:

  1. Someone having to pay your rent for you.  Grown people provide for their housing.  So if you are in the category of having to borrow money ALL the time you are an adult you are not grown. Grown people make an assessment of where they are financially and get their finances in order.  If that means cutting back, not spending on things they don’t need, etc.
  2. If you always have to call someone else to fight your battles. Why can’t you hold an argument or disagreement? If you find that you always need someone to speak for you, or you only say what you need to say when your support system is there, you are not grown you are an adult.  Grown people do as Kevin Hart, they “say it with their chest” and move on.
  3. If you have credit issues but refuse to deal with it, be grown open them past due bills and handle it.  You may take forever and a day to get it together but you do it because you are grown and have to face the music.
  4. If you have offended someone, apologize.  Yes this is hard to do but as an adult and one who wants to be grown be humble in my Kendrick Lamar voice.
  5. You lack accountability. Yes you are an adult.  Yes you can do certain things, but accountability leaves from parent to child so you can become stable.  The fact that you think of yourself as an island just because “nobody can tell you what to do” shows your lack of maturity.  Handle your business but have the maturity to know when to let others into your space and when to let them go.
  6. Skipping responsibilities such as fathering a child you had, being a good mother, skipping work, not paying bills, etc this is an adult who isn’t grown.  We ALL have been an adult that may have been messy in one or more of these areas, but when you are grown you are constantly trying to improve.  Not going to work is not being an adult, that’s stupid.  Yes stupid.  If you don’t work you don’t eat.  Stop relying on others to bail you out until you get your check next week because you don’t want to work and do what you need to do.

So to all of my adults that haven’t started walking in grown up things, get there.  It’s going to take discipline.  No one should have to carry another adult’s load.  Things happen in life, that someone will have to help others but when this is your everyday life than you need to accept that although you are by age an adult,  you are not a full-grown woman or man.  Get there!  Thanks to my mom and dad for busting my chops many a day.  Especially when I wanted to make decisions that they would have had to deal with the fall out.  I teach this lesson to my own kids.  We can be friends when you can pay these bills is not just a thing that parents say but its a way of life.  You can’t keep talking the talk but not walking the walk.  You really have to be able to handle YOUR decisions.  If YOUR decisions become a community response and it’s not just because you got sick, or unable to work, maybe you need less “grown” talk and more “grown” actions.

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How to Ace Your Job Review

So you got the job, now what?  It’s time to for your yearly review.  Cue in the celebratory music and toss some confetti.  You made it through and its now time to ace the review.

There are a few things you need to do before the review to ace it:

  1. One never get too comfortable.  You know how you dressed when you first got the job verses after you been in your position let’s say 6 months after, cut it out.  Always dress to impress.  I do not care if you have been at your job for years.  Dress accordingly.  How you present yourself matters.
  2. Be on time. Have a track record of being on time. Life happens to all of us but trust and believe if you have a track record of being the “late one” it will come up.  Get to work on time.  Remember what you prayed for when you were in the faith line, get there, be on time, and work.
  3. Know your job and do it well.  You can’t ace your review when you haven’t been doing your actual job.  If you find in the midst of your job that there are areas where you aren’t doing your best, ask for help immediately and before your review.  The amount of people who fluff off inconsistencies makes no sense.  You do realize that your boss knows it and sees it. If training isn’t available then get yourself some.  There should be a wealth of friends that you can call on that can assist you in getting a few areas on point.  If not, get new friends. Either way your employer will appreciate the effort.
  4. Come to your review with areas that can be improved whether it be for yourself or for the company.  Make sure it’s not a list of complaints only. This is called taking an initiative.  Take it.  Coming with suggestions even if it is secretly complaints will look better than just having complaints.
  5. Be on time for your review if not early especially if you are meeting in an area of your office or your boss’s office.  Do not be late.
  6. Watch your tone and your language.  You should be authentic but keep it mind it’s a job.  I am a direct person but in certain arenas knowing the climate of your company matters.

During your review please bring a pen and a pad to write down notes.  One of the most irritating things you can do is come to your review unprepared.  This will come off badly.  Smile, and look your boss in their eyes.  Communication starts as soon as the meeting starts. If you find there is an area of improvement, take the criticism graciously.  Do not try to over explain.  Just note it and improve.  If you disagree, wait until its your turn to speak without cutting off your boss. If they have you write your comments down on your review sheet then do so.  Make sure especially if you are asked to write anything to check your emotions before you write.  You do not want to come off in a negative tone.

If you know that going into your review there are some areas that you KNOW you didn’t do well, think of ways to spin it.  Reviews are like mini interviews and you should always treat it as such.

Lastly ask questions, ask if there is anything that you can do to improve even if you are a model employee.  Never get comfortable in your position that you aren’t looking for ways to do better.

Congrats you have made it through another year!!

 

 

Hurt People Hurt People But You Can Do Better

It would be nice if we lived in a world where we all could uplift one another.  This is simply and unfortunately not the case.  We live in the world where with the change in political climate we spend hours of a date arguing and tearing one another down. Even politics aside the nature of the human spirit is tested to do the right thing and help one another.  Listen outside of religion and race we are do really share a lot of common experiences.  Think about a new mom who is struggling with life for those first weeks. I don’t know a mom who either experienced or not doesn’t understand what that feels like. What about a new marriage?  A couple unites and struggles with the fusing of this new life.  This is a common experience.

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We need to do a better job in uplifting one another not just when things go wrong like for instance the example of Hurricane Harvey.  Although it’s a beautiful thing to see and is needed, we need to learn to not allow a disaster to come along and THEN we step up.  We have a human right to extend the very best to our fellow sisters and brothers all around the world.  Let me also put things into perspective.  I have some folks that I have a general disdain.  I do not like them, they do not like me, but I give them and anyonelse respect.  I do not have to break bread with some folks to show respect. This costs me nothing. However at the end of the day if I was in a fire, or sick, or drowning would it matter at that moment who saved me?  Most likely not.  My disdain would only come into play when I can control the playing field. With that in mind, I try to make sure that although I may close the door of fellowship based upon personal experience with others that I do not do that with people who have done nothing to me.  Meaning for some when they are hurt they take out on the rest of the world their pain.  Pain is very overwhelming.  However pain I am having with family doesn’t need to spill into my social life.  It’s hard too when that pain resembles and is reminded.  It’s like having a band-aid on and having it peeled off temporarily and the wound hasn’t healed.

I win when I show in spirit, thought, and deed in others’ winning with me or around me. I can’t tell you the countless times as a blogger that I have been asked questions about what to do in a situation.  I am about to celebrate 3 years I don’t even consider myself to be the best, YET, but helping someone get to where I am in hopes that they take off with their site, makes me happy and fulfilled.  Uplifting and wanting what’s best even for those that I may not know is important.  To the ones I don’t vibe well with, I never practice ill will towards them.  It’s a hard balance at times when you have been hurt but me holding onto hurt does nothing but brings me down.  I am not perfect in that category but I am definitely working towards being a better version of myself.  With this in mind, there may come a time when I get to a place where I can sit in their presence and enjoy it.  I can sit in anyone’s presence when I have to and not let it get to me but to be willing to do so when I don’t have to is called personal choice.  I feel that it shouldn’t be forced.  It should be natural.  I can be in a room and say hello, and keep it moving. However to be in the room and chat it up unnecessarily is a personal choice.  I can uplift them and want what’s best for them without interacting outside of the need.

As I see stories of families, friends and strangers coming together during Harvey I am hoping that this continues to spread after the effects of Harvey dies.  I hope this continues in how we interact with one another even on social media.  I am a professional debater but I refuse to tear someone down just because we don’t agree.  Now I may decide to keep it real and not interact with someone who I don’t have to, wish them well and move on but I am at a point that I am not going out of my way to be malicious.  I am going to show support of who you are and your right to be who you are.  No different from knowing a person who is nasty in their spirit.  From a far I can not interact with you, show you respect, but make a personal choice that the vibes you send isn’t right for my spirit and not interact on a personal level.  However I have no right to dislike you and treat you badly, and then say I am a positive person.  Closing a door to a person who means you ill will doesn’t mean you are wishing them ill will either.  You have a right to protect your spirit.  You don’t have a right to be indirectly or directly mean and bash a person for being who they want to.  So I pray for all of those who is reading this blog, that they would be in a place to deal with hurt but don’t continue to hurt others or tear them down.  You have a responsibility to do the right thing towards even your enemies even when you choose to not interact with what they bring to your life.

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I am practicing these things and I am constantly checking myself so that I don’t respond when it’s not pure in heart.  I trust that even if I get it wrong that I can make it right by just doing what works for me and allowing others to do the same.