How to be a good friend when you don’t know what you did wrong.
Ever have a really good vina stop talking to you? Either they disappeared for while or they just totally ghosted you, without any explanation? For those of us who have been there, we understand how difficult that road it is to navigate.
For you vinas who have never before experienced this pain, but are going through it now, my heart goes out to you. It hurts. Especially when you have a deep history; when your lives are so terribly intertwined… I’ve been there before and I’ve learned a great deal on how to act, and how not to react.
FIRST, CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES:
Did you give your vina advice she didn’t want to hear?
Did you two have an argument?
Did you suffocate them with love?
Did you bad mouth her bf?
Or, are you still utterly confused as to why she is shutting you out? I’ve been through each of these scenarios but I will say… in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to let your confusion turn into anger.
Don’t fight fire with fire. In these situations, it’s best to cool off before you approach the subject with your vina. For a few days, just be silent; be still. After a decent amount of time has passed, only then should you try to open the line of communication. Understand you might not get a response immediately… or for a while… or ever.
What’s important is that you let her know you’re there no matter how much time goes by; whenever she decides she’s ready to talk. Then, give her some space and be patient. Yes, it’s probably the hardest thing to do when your vina is shutting you out; ultimately, the best reaction in these situations is to keep calm and try not to pry.
In your message (text, voice, email, or through a mutual friend), make it clear your intentions. Whatever her reasons, at least she knows the door is always open. And you’ll know you tried. Even though if the problem takes time to resolve, you’re baby steps.
IF YOU NEED TO TALK IT OUT:
Have a conversation with your mom or dad, brother or sister, boyfriend or girlfriend. Confide in another trustworthy friend instead of taking that hurt, anger, and confusion to your friend. They can help you try to make sense of the situation; and you won’t further seal off that door with the friend who shut you out.
People say “if they’re a real friend… they’ll come around.”
Sometimes that’s true; sometimes people just need a significant amount of time away before they are ready to reopen the door. And that’s okay, babe. However if she doesn’t… it may be time to face the facts. Some relationships come to an end faster than you expect them to.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME:
If your vina is ghosting you with no explanation, don’t feel obligated to jump through hoops for her. If you acted as your very best self and she still wanted none of it, don’t waste your energy What’s important to remember here is: time heals all wounds and we learn to move forward.
It’s never easy dealing with a friend who is pushing you away. How do you handle it when this happens to you?
With the way technology has advanced over the last decade, it’s become all too common for people to be affected by scammers, criminals, stalkers, and imposters. Here are some easy tips to ensure you’re being safe while using the Internet.
WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA…
In an era when fake news and malware runs wild via links on your favorite social media outlets, you should be aware of what you are clicking on in your feed. To avoid clicking malicious links or being taken to a fake news outlet, you can do the following:
- Take note of the headline, then open up a search engine to investigate the source it appears to be coming from. Personally, I am partial to the search engine website DuckDuckGo because it doesn’t track you, which is super important nowadays, seeing as a law was recently passed to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell your browsing history.
Be safety-savvy on Facebook (and other media outlets) by doing the following:
- Be careful who you share private information with. It’s hard to tell sometimes if the person on the other end of the line is scamming you. So trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Watch out for those catfishes, vina!
- Lock down your privacy settings so the general public, or maybe just certain people, cannot access some of your more sensitive information, such as birthdates, names/info about family members, photos of your children and home possessions.
- When you’re on vacation, don’t post photos or trip details until after you’ve returned. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who were broken into while on vacation, and the culprit ended up being a random Facebook friend. Don’t put yourself in that position—your posts can wait!
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WALLET…
If you love to shop online, make sure you’re purchasing from trusted vendors. If you see something on a unique online boutique, browse for a PayPal option or use a major credit card.
In the event of a scam, often times PayPal or major credit cards will cover your losses and help you rectify the situation. Be sure to speak with card services or PayPal support immediately should you become the victim of fraud.
Do not click on ads. Even if it appears to be from a trusted vendor or source, some ad links can infect your system with malware or spyware. You’re safest if you just don’t engage. If you see a killer deal on an ad, take note of the vendor, and pop open DuckDuckGo to search for the actual website. Sure, it takes *slightly* longer, but it’s nice knowing your device isn’t going to get a virus because of your impulse to click on the first deal you see.
Do not, under any circumstances, open a link from an untrusted source! A good rule of thumb I follow is this: If it looks shady, lady, it probably is! If I don’t know the sender, I won’t click the link. And neither should you!
This post was originally published on the VINAzine <3
We’ve all been there – pouring our heart out to a pal only to realize she’s distracted by her own thoughts… or cell phone, television show, the server passing your table with her kryptonite (a piece of unbelievably delicious cheesecake, of course). The “uh-huh”, and, “yeah,” of the conversation and the stray glances around the room are a dead giveaway.
We’ve also been guilty of passive listening ourselves, right? While our friend is in the throes of a breakdown or when she’s needing advice, we’re distracted by the same phone notifications or television blaring in the background.
Passive listening (AKA not really listening) hurts our friendships. There is good news though – we can fix this now and be better friends by using a communication technique called active listening.
Active listening requires the listener to do four core things: concentrate, understand, respond, and remember. Think of it as a cycle – when we concentrate, we understand. When we understand, we can respond appropriately. As a result, we can more easily remember the conversation.
Easy peasy, right? Be a better listener, be a better vina! Here are a few tips to help you become a better active listener, and in turn, a better bestie.
Make eye contact. Put your phone down and look at your friend’s gorgeous face while she talks! This shows you’re fully invested in what she’s saying.
Re-state, but don’t be a parrot. By paraphrasing what you just heard (in your own words), you can ensure you’re on the same page with the speaker. You can use a leading statement like, “Let me get this straight…” before you reiterate what you just heard.
Learn how to effectively question. Sticking to open-ended questions always keeps the conversation going. You can also use leading or reflective questions, like, “What happened next?” or, “What worries you about that?” to make sure your gal knows you’re engaged in the conversation.
Allow for silence or pauses within the conversation. Don’t get in a hurry during your chat. By taking some pauses or letting comfortable silences happen, it slows down the conversation and allows more time for you both to process what is being said.
Avoid blocking the conversation. Interrupting, preaching, or acting judgy toward your friend is probably the quickest way to make sure she doesn’t come back to you with her dilemmas (or her successes!). Keeping your mind open and mouth closed while your bestie tells you what’s on her mind will help you better process what she’s saying while your bond becomes even stronger.
Like most things, practice makes perfect. Active listening is a skill we hone over time that helps us build trust and understanding between us and our friends. Being fully engaged in the conversation takes some work, but we have in us. Be a better friend by being a better listener, babe – our friendships are worth it!
This post was originally published on the VINAzine <3
Did you know one in three adult Americans don’t sleep as much as they should? Insane, right? Sleep deprivation is a pretty serious thing, and when you don’t get enough sleep it can affect your mental health. Sure, there’s coffee and other ways to energize us when we didn’t catch enough Z’s the night before, but nothing compares to a great night of sleep.
Psychology Today contributors Richard Taite (CEO and founder of Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center) and Constance Scharff, Ph.D. recently published an article which includes a few great reasons why getting good sleep can keep you not only sane, but mentally healthy.
One big reason is your brain needs time to cleanse itself. When you go to sleep at night, you’re giving not just your body time to rest, but also your brain. You know that groggy feeling you get after not getting enough sleep? That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to get rid of all the neural waste (the environmental data your brain collects throughout the day). Let your brain take some time to rejuvenate tonight by getting at least seven hours, so you don’t feel so cloudy tomorrow.
Another reason, as if that wasn’t enough, was that your brain needs to have some time to process “powerful events.” When we go through something traumatic, it may be hard to shut your mind off and go to sleep, but it’s very important you do because it can reduce the risk of having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Taite and Scharff write that,“sleeping within a few hours of a traumatic event acts as a preventative treatment against developing PTSD, helping the brain get things in order so the survivor can effectively process and move on from the trauma.”
The third reason Taite and Scharff present has to do with peace of mind, or mindfulness. They share that the Schools of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Southern California found that subjects who reported difficulty sleeping had better sleep when they engaged in a “mindful awareness practice” (or MAP). Taking some time to meditate during the day or right before you go to sleep can help you become more mindful. Bonus: it will definitely help you sleep better at night, but it has loads of benefits for your overall mental health.
Now, let’s put this all to use. Today, take a few minutes to be mindful and tonight, why don’t you try getting at least seven hours of sleep – your mind, body, and soul will thank you!
Here’s how to be the support your vina needs in times of trouble
If you’re the kind of person who feels helpless or hates it when your vina is in a rut, you’re definitely not alone. It can be hard to figure out exactly what your role is to a friend who is down and out. Over the years, I’ve learned that when a friend is upset they don’t necessarily need me to fix whatever s going on – they just need me in their corner. Since there isn’t a manual for this, here are some things I do to help my friends when times get tough.
OFFER FREE LABOR
This can be babysitting her kiddos so she can go get a couple of hours of quiet time or going over to her house to help with some of her day-to-day chores like dishes and laundry. Show up with some takeout from her favorite restaurant so she doesn’t have to cook (or clean up).
SEND HER FLOWERS AT WORK
You probably know what her fave bouquet is, so call up the local flower shop and send her a little something to brighten up her day. It’ll put a smile on her face and brighten up her workspace, reminding her she’s got a great friend in her corner even when she isn’t at her best.
SEND A SNAIL MAIL CARD
We live in a world where we are quick to send messages via email or Facebook, which can be a little less personal. You likely know her address, so pick up a postcard or a silly card and send it her way. When she opens her mailbox and sees that love in the stack of mail, she’ll smile knowing you’re thinking about her. For even bigger smiles, toss in a gift card to her favorite coffee shop or store she loves so she can treat herself.
Distraction is great, especially when it comes to the times your pal is going through some heavy shit. Help her leave the troubles at the door and instead, enjoy some chill time. Go camping or take a day trip to a neighboring city and explore. Take her to a comedy joint or to see a silly movie – after all, laughter is the best medicine.
JUST BE THERE
Simply saying “I’m here for you” or “if you need to talk, I’m here” can work wonders. Often times people who are going through a dark time feel alone and don’t want to burden others with their problems. By opening that door, you’re letting your vina know she’s not alone and that you aren’t bothered when she needs to vent or cry on your shoulder.
What do you do when your friend is on the struggle bus?
Gaslighting is a term that has gained traction in recent months (read: Teen Vogue’s poignant article on the subject). But the tactic has been around, plaguing its victims, for much, much longer.
Psychology Today says, “Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power” by making the victim question their reality. It’s a form of slow brainwashing done by narcissists, as well as dictators or cult leaders, who often fall into this category themselves. Yikes!
As scary as the thought of someone brainwashing an entire nation is, gaslighting on a personal scale is also very real and can be just as scary for the victim. Gaslighting has even been dubbed a form of emotional abuse. There are several techniques a person can use when gaslighting someone. Some red flags:
The person is telling obvious lies. The reason? To make you unsure of yourself, what you know to be true, and question who you really trust. By lying to you, the person creates confusion and uncertainty in order to more easily manipulate you.
Denial. The perpetrator may try to convince you they never said or did something they blatantly said or did. This is just another way the person can get you to buy into a false, carefully calculated idea of what is going on around you.
Projection. If you are being told you are the one who possesses their flaws, this is called projection. For example, they’ve been known to cheat, but they then accuse you of cheating. They’re projecting their faults onto you to distract you from their own bad behavior.
They tell you you’re the crazy one. They might as well be trying to convince you the sky is green. If they are dismissive and say things like, “No one will believe you” when they act abusive or controlling, that’s a sure warning sign.
Now that we know how to spot it, how do we protect ourselves and our vinas from falling victim to gaslighting?
Trust your gut. Has your intuition ever failed you? Don’t let go of that strength – listen to it, and believe it.
Maintain your perception of reality. The sky isn’t green; you know it’s blue, so don’t back down. If you know something to be true, hold onto it.
Cultivate a strong support system. Don’t let the gaslighter isolate you from your friends and family. Surround yourself with people who are honest with you, who build you up, and who support you through life.
If you think you’re being victimized through this tactic of manipulation, don’t doubt yourself or what you know to be real. If you have any tips to share with our readers on how to stay strong and identify gaslighting before it can affect you or someone you love, please share in the comments!
This post was originally published on the VINAzine <3