How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 308: Graciously deflect do-gooding solicitors

And now, a wonderful guest entry from Stephanie, aka guiltyprepster.

Walking through any metropolitan city on a sunny, not-too-hot, not-too-cold day, we all come into contact with representatives of various non-profits looking to talk to us about their undoubtedly important cause. 

I always feel awful telling organizations like the Red Cross and the SPCA that I’m not interested, but luckily there’s a few ways I’ve learned to let them down in a way that is both encouraging to them and leaves you feeling less guilty.

1. Don’t simply ignore. Make eye contact and smile.

2. Try these easy, one-sentence phrases:

“I’m really sorry I haven’t got a second today, but good luck!”

“I’m already a huge supporter, thanks for your hard work.”

“I’d love to know more, but I’m in a hurry. I’ll take a flyer if you have one.”

“No thanks, but thanks for offering, I appreciate it.”

These people aren’t beggars, they’re trying to make the world better. It’s best if we try to make that as easy as possible for them. 

Stephanie is a marketing associate for Argopoint, a management consulting firm in Boston.

Thank you, Stephanie! And, important side note: You are under no obligation give money to anyone who asks. But it’s a lot easier to say no if you do give to the causes you believe in. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount to make a difference; $5 a month to your local Humane Society or NPR affiliate is infinitely better than $0 a month.

10th Jun 2013 312 notes , Comments

Step 307: Radio silence is not an acceptable breakup technique

OK, OK, yes: if you’ve been on just one or two dates, the chemistry wasn’t there, etc., then you don’t owe anyone anything.

But! If you’ve been on 3+ dates/slept together/corresponded regularly, you owe the person the courtesy of at least saying that you’re not interested.

It doesn’t have to be in person if it’s a new thing, but a simple, “Hey, I enjoyed getting to know you but I don’t think this is going to work out” will suffice. It won’t kill you to say it; slog through the 45 seconds of awkwardness rather than let this person suffer from slowly diminishing hopes over the next week.

4th Jun 2013 730 notes , Comments

Thought of the day: Comparison is the thief of joy

This came from my co-worker Ally, when we were chatting about envy, and she is so right.  No matter where you go and what you get, someone will always have it better, at least from your limited perspective. 

It’s impossible not to make comparisons. But they will never make you happy. So next time you do, stop and think about something great in your life. And then get off Facebook for a couple days.

4th Jun 2013 472 notes , Comments

Step 306: Find a primary care doctor

Anonymous asks: What advice do you have for finding a new doctor after moving away from home? I’ve recently moved over 6 hours away from my home town of 22 years and have no clue where to start.

This can be tough, particularly with that whole primary-care-doctor-shortage thing, but it isn’t as complicated as it seems.

One of the best ways to find a doctor (or mechanic, or dry cleaner, or tailor, or pretty much any service-offering person) is just to ask around. Particularly if you work in an office, chances are good that some of your co-workers have lived in town for some time and will name names. Then, call the doctor’s office, say that you’re new in town and looking for a doctor and so-and-so referred you.

If they aren’t accepting new patients, feel free to ask if they can recommend another doctor that is.

The slightly less-personal, but ultimately faster route is to Google (your city name) Medical Society. They might even have a “Physicians Accepting New Patients” link on the website, but if not, just call them up and explain the situation, and ask which of their members are accepting new patients.

You can (and should!) feel free to ask if you can come by the office to meet the doctor and hand over any insurance information and medical history reports.

Edit: A great further suggestion: If you check with your insurance company, they can send you a list of doctors who are “in-network” (and therefore will be covered much better.

23rd May 2013 221 notes , Comments

Step 305: Do not listen to random angry anonymous internet strangers

Here is the thing about making anything for public consumption: Some people will like it, some people will dislike it, and some people will be so so confusingly furious at you for even existing.

The first category is the people you should be focusing on and making things for. 

The second category will sometimes have valid criticism; when they do, listen to them. But don’t get too hurt or caught up on their dislike of what you make — you don’t like everything other people like, after all.

The third category is absolutely useless and you need to ignore them. Seriously. Do not read what they say. Go do something else, something fun, something that doesn’t even involve the internet, maybe. 

23rd May 2013 595 notes , Comments

Step 304: When there is a small, confined space that some humans are leaving and others are entering, the leaving happens first

This is pretty simple but really seems to confound some folks.

If you wish to enter a subway car, an elevator, a bus, an alcove - whatever small but key space - let those who wish to leave that same space do it first.

You see, human beings have mass, and take up space in the universe. Therefore, this elevator/subway/whatever will be better able to hold you once there are less humans in it.

This step brought to you by my fellow MAX riders. It won’t leave without you! Just wait seven goddamn seconds!

21st May 2013 599 notes , Comments

Book giveaway winners!

Y’all. Y’all. There are some fantastic adults reading this blog! I read all the entries — 800+ of them — and they were wonderful, so much so that I’ve made a new blog to celebrate them, I want to get all of them up there eventually.

Also, programming note: sold out of books (heyyyy!), but they should be back in stock by Saturday! In the meantime, B&N has it now

On to the winners! This was really, really tough, and if it were up to me I would give every single one of you a copy, although my publishing company probably wouldn’t like that.

I couldn’t pick just five, so here’s the deal: There are five winners who will receive signed copies, and five runners-up whom I will send signed and inscribed bookplates to. Behold their glorious adultishness, after the jump!

Read More

15th May 2013 107 notes , Comments

I mend my clothes instead of throwing them out.

pearls-and-rubies [Adulting here: Thank you for the amazing submissions! Keep them coming!]

14th May 2013 154 notes , Comments

I loved the Book Giveaway entries (winners coming tomorrow!) so much that I couldn’t stand letting them languish in an old post. So here is the new project; eventually, I hope to have all 900+ entries up. Check it out, submit, go crazy!

14th May 2013 111 notes , Comments

Song and chore pairing: “The Swimming Song” and putting away winter clothes

Yes, clearly, this is just an excuse to post the song that I’ve been listening to on repeat. 

But! It’s also perfect for those who are ready for a brave, metaphor-filled summer. Throw this on and then:

  • Wash everything the way it wants to be washed; here’s the info on sweaters.
  • Fold all your things, put them in a big flat Tupperware-style box (or anything that closes air-tight), throw in a dryer sheet or two and put it under your bed.
  • Drop your heavy coats off at the dry cleaners. Not only will they come back looking new, but the cleaners will tighten any buttons and small mends that are required.

Discussion question: Why are coat buttons the WORST? They are constantly falling off, and I want to know why.

14th May 2013 119 notes , Comments