If you talk so much that your friends can’t stand to listen to you, Kate has a word of advice for you: join Twitter.
I love to talk, and I say pretty much everything I’m thinking or feeling. Sometimes my friends will complain that I talk too much. Is it so wrong that I like to share?—Damien
It’s not wrong, but it’s definitely annoying, and sometimes annoying is worse, you know? That you even recognize this as enough of a problem to email me is encouraging, but I get the sense that your intentions might be less than good. Are you after whatever tenuous stranger-absolution I can give you, as a “See?!” to your friends? Because a guy who is so far up his own boom-boom—I mean, your problem is basically that you like to hear yourself talk—is very unlikely to be humbly considering the actual, interpersonal implications of his behaviour. See?!
So while I don’t think I like you, let’s consider what you can do. Any tight relationship needs an infrastructure of patience, forgiveness, and indulgence: Everyone, when you get to know them for more than a minute, is annoying in some way. And talking it out is okay, since some people can only understand and process stuff by unwrapping it and turning it over in front of their friends. But talking “at” someone is a monologue, not a relationship, and subjecting them to the fact that you take yourself very seriously is going too far. Stop. Fortunately, there is still a way to communicate all of your ideas and observations, where your friends can pretend to listen without actually having to: Twitter.
I would love to have my life together. I am now a busy, working single mom with a lot on my plate. My home is always a mess, and I want it to be organized. What should I do first?—Cindy
I love this stuff, but I got pro-level help from Amanda LeBlanc, star of the Style Network’s The Amandas, a reality show/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder study of LeBlanc and the girls (the aforementioned “Amandas”) who work for her organizing company. (They wear Southern belle–style silk dresses and high heels while ripping up carpet and building shelves; it is amazing.)
LeBlanc says, “Knowing how and where to start is something that evades most people, so you are not alone.” On the show, the first thing the Amandas do is remove every single thing from a designated organization space and purge it, and LeBlanc gets incredibly, inspiringly bruuutal—like, your clothes should hang an inch apart in the closet, and if you have a small closet, too bad. So decide what you need, and where it all lives, so you won’t have to revert to a precarious t-shirt-tower system again. Being able to purge torn Aritzia garbage and never-used yoga mats, as well as the emotional and economic justifications that get misapplied to them, is the make-or-break part of organizing. (Maybe watch some Hoarders if you need additional “cleanspiration,” which is an excellent word I just made up.) LeBlanc suggests, “A great way to conquer the purge is to do the first one alone, and then bring in an objective person”—I will totally do this for you; I am so mean—“who can help you make the more difficult decisions.”
Recast this major change into little, manageable Halloween-candy pieces. LeBlanc says that starting small means “really small”—instead of deciding to organize your bedroom over a weekend, mentally break that down into several projects, like closet, dresser, and nightstand. Then narrow in on “your real priorities” and start there.
That’s all cool, but I’ll add that it helps to include a reward, so after completing each project, you get a related treat: wish-list shoes for the closet; dumb-but-nice lilac sachets for the drawers; a new Hitachi Magic Wand for the nightstand. LeBlanc says, “Build off of what you’re completing.” The small but important successes you’ll have along the way should be cleanspiration enough to keep you going.
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