Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why People Create Fake Online Relationships

I am quoted in this article about why people create imaginary relationships online at YourTango.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Questions You Must Ask About Your Online Relationships

If you had no doubts before, surely after the Manti Te'o fiasco you are taking a hard look at your online relationships. Let me say that I'm no online prude. I have clients I work with who I've never met offline. I've had virtual assistants I've never even spoken with on the phone. I've done online dating and talked to high school boyfriends online. I've taken virtual classes and have colleagues I've "met" in those classes who I've never met in person. All of that is fine. I do try to recognize these relationships for what they are, and accept their limitations. I'm suggesting you try to do the same.

Let's do a little Q & A.

·         Q. Should I be concerned that he doesn't want to meet me offline?

 A. Yes! You should absolutely be concerned if he only wants to talk online. Not wanting a real face-to-face says he definitely has something to hide. It could be the same thing that explains why he's never available in the evening or on the weekend. Someone who doesn't want to meet you is not a boyfriend, friend or any other type of intimate. They're just someone you talk to online.

·         Q. Why am I always the one initiating contact?

 A. Great question. Why are you always the one waiting for the magic "ping" signaling contact from this person? You're waiting because you've stopped living your life and you're living for a person you hardly know. I know, when you contact him he's quick to respond and flirt. It's still a sign that he might not be that into you. In fact, it's a sign that he's likely not that into you. Set a timeframe during which the relationship has to progress. If it doesn't, it's time to move on.

·         Q. Am I spending too much time with people online?

 A. Maybe. Your high school boyfriend who you haven't seen in 15 years is not your boyfriend. Why are you spending hours chatting him up online? It didn't work out the first time, right? You might consider what you are not doing that you would be doing if you spent less time online.  Like having dinner with your friends or working out at the gym where you might meet a real person. Consider adopting a rule of spending at least as much time with real-life friends as on-line friends. You can also try a little technology cleanse.

·         Q. How long do I go without a face-to-face?

 A. I'm talking in person, not Face Timing or Skyping. What are you getting out of the online contact and what are you missing out on? One recent study concluded that only real-life friends lead us to feel happier. Another study found that you can have a lot of online friends, but you won't feel supported by them the same way you do by your real-life friends. Online chats, texts and even phone calls are for getting to know someone. Once that's done, it's time to move on and meet up, or end it.

·        Q. Why can't I find him on Goggle?

 A. Not everyone has a huge internet presence, but you can tell where they ought to show up. Someone who graduates from Stanford should appear on an alumni list and a professional should be listed on a licensing website. The absence of this type of confirmation ought to raise your suspicions. You can always ask the person about it. Any reasonable person meeting online would understand your desire for a little concrete validation that they're who they say they are. After all, people lie.

 Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. Then move away from any imaginary boyfriends you uncover and keep it real.
This article was originally published at YourTango.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Are You Dying To Be Happy In The New Year?

One of the regrets of the dying is that they wish they'd allowed themselves to be happier, realizing, finally, that happiness is a choice. I hate to be morbid, but it's something to think about. Life is short. Here are a few things you might consider for more happiness in the New Year.

·         Establishing a goal of being happier makes a difference. It's that idea of choice mentioned by the dying. If you think, I can't be happy because [fill in the blank], you are not establishing a goal of happiness. Similarly, I will be happy when…, though it establishes the possibility of happiness, also implies that, I will not be happy until… You will be happier if you simply decide that happiness is important, possible and something you will work toward.

·         Do things you think you will be happy about. Need I point out the obvious? Do not do things you think you will be unhappy about. There are no guarantees here, since it's clear that often we don't know what will make us happy. Nevertheless, thoughtfully considering whether something is likely to make you feel happy because it fits with your values, interests and strengths, is a good start.

·         Savor things that are positive, even small things. Hearing your favorite song on the radio. Playing with your kids. Making someone smile. When you allow things to go by too fast, you don't truly enjoy them. But it's more than slowing things down. The more you try to notice and savor positive things, the more positive things you notice.

·         Do what you love. Please don't say you can't. Maybe you don't get to do it 8 hours a day and maybe you don't get paid to do it. But don't let that stop you. Maybe you're tired of waiting for your big break. Writers often write after they finish their day jobs; think Kafka. Actors wait tables until they get their big break.  If you want to run a marathon, go for it. No regrets. No giving up.

·         Accept the things you cannot change. In fact, embrace them and figure out what you're going to do about them. It's not about changing them (remember, they can't be changed), but about changing how you deal with them. Crises are in this category, and they're opportunities for change and growth. Let them snort when you make lemonade out of lemons. It feels a whole lot better than drinking the lemons straight.

·         Choose experiences over things. We'll always have Paris, but those Jimmy Choos, no so much. Things don't last and, if they do, they'll be out of style. Paris is always fashionable. Even that dream house is not going to feel as dreamy as time passes. But the hiking trip you took with your best friend and the time you saw the Eiffel Tower as the sun set (yeah, I have a thing about Paris), these are things that stay with you, make you smile years later and can feel transcendent.
Ask yourself how you're doing in each of these areas to jumpstart your happiness journey. Then ask yourself to identify one small thing you can do to pump your happiness up a notch. It's a new year. The clock is ticking. Paris is waiting.
Feeling Good, Nina Simone
This blog was originally published at YourTango.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Tips Toward Wellness

It's the new year and time to focus on those resolutions. Read my newsletter about wellness for my top tips.

I'd also like to invite you to join my virtual wellness group. Contact me for more information, and to start your new year off moving in a positive direction.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading my blog!