For Everyday Advice
I am like the least assertive person ever because I don’t want to come off as an asshole. How can I stand up for myself without seeming rude?
Dear restrained stranger,
Before you become as assertive as you are aiming to be, understand that sometimes people need to be the “asshole.” There is a difference between being an asshole, recklessly stating harmful opinions without regard for others’ feelings, and being assertive, speaking up for oneself when others are the reckless ones. If the people you are standing up to get upset with you for being assertive, it is usually because their own egos are getting in their way and they try to be as defensive and self-assuring as possible in attempt to prove to themselves that you are in the wrong, not them. Now, being assertive can go very far to the point where you can become the asshole, you just need to be aware of yourself and try hard to get your point across without attacking them. One last thing; accept the fact that more times than not, even if you are not wrong, the people you stand up to will see you as wrong, and that is okay because it happens to everyone. In all reality, in many cases, it is hard to determine who is truly right or wrong; so whether or not what you say is heard or taken into consideration, and whether or not you win or lose an argument, in the end, do not worry about the outcome because, either way, it will more than likely be forgotten in a day or so. If anyone calls you an asshole, just remember this; you have already expressed concern for the feelings of others by sending me this letter, so more than likely, you are fine.
Be brave and good luck,
A friend who doesn’t always make the best decisions tends to come to me for advice and I have no idea what to say to her, let alone how to give advice. My big problem is that I usually make safer decisions than most people. Unlike my friend; I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or have sex. The thought of all this makes me uncomfortable and sometimes makes me uncomfortable around her. The only advice I could possibly give her would be based off my own safe lifestyle, will she even listen to me?
Thanks for the help,
I will admit your problem throws me through a bit of a loop here, but I’ll do my best. Understand that your yearning to know how to give advice is noble. Though many friends need someone to listen, there are those that cannot even go as far as doing that, so the fact that you are seeking help on how to help other people is very rare and you should feel proud of that.
Though as you lead what I can only guess is a simpler lifestyle, I don’t know how well you will be able to help people who usually party or live a more “edgy” lifestyle. I am imagining you as having a more concerned-mother- figure sense of direction whenever it comes to your friend asking you for help. If this is true then you need to realize that is not the way to go. Besides your friend, there are many others that do the same as her and you will meet many like that in your life, and though your association with them is based on your choosing, if you wish to give them advice when they ask for it you need to understand that people will make dumb decisions and must try to put yourself in their mindset to get a better understanding of what is bothering them; then you should be a better help to them.
One last thing: I know you want to be a good friend, but if she and her problems make you uncomfortable, always know that you don’t have to put yourself through that. When I am not responding to letters the advice that is asked of me can become annoying and draining fast, and when that happens I ignore it. No one should ever be upset with you for not wanting to handle their baggage. I hope I helped and you are on your way to bettering your friendship and endeavors as Sally the Shrink.
My younger adopted brother, now 19, (a kid I took under my wing 5 years ago) recently became homeless, again, after being kicked out of his last apartment by his roommates. For about a month he has been sleeping on my couch. He doesn’t have anywhere else to go because he doesn’t have good ties with his actual family. This is in part because he doesn’t have the best support network, but mostly because of his own actions. He works in Charleston but only works 28hrs a week and refuses to look for another full or part time job though he does draw and kinda tries to sell his artwork. I told him he has two months to save up for a place. The thing is, is that I don’t think he’s going to be able to save up enough money because he’s not even working the 28 hours, getting sent home or leaving early and spending money on other things and not any bills to help me out. I’m willing to wait till the end of February for the deadline but wondering if I should even do that considering I don’t think he’s going to be able to have enough. I love the kid, but at some point he’s going to have to fully except the consequences of his actions. Any advice?
Brother bearing with it
While I commend you for being a “Good Samaritan” to someone for as long as five years, I’m sure you have realized by now that there is always a breaking point for doing someone good. For starters let’s talk about your “brother,” a nickname I’m sure you gave him because he didn’t have one or his real brother is not supportive. It is just a title you have given him, so while you want to extend a brotherly hand and help him out, he is not your family and he is an adult, so you have no real responsibility for him and should not feel guilty about giving him a deadline for rent. Besides not being immediate family, the boy shows no sign that he cares about helping with rent because he’s getting sent home or leaving early from work and is spending what little money he has on other thing than the roof over him. While he has the right to choose what he does with this money, making your life difficult by freeloading should not really be an option. I am no better, like your brother myself and many others his age have that “Carpe Diem” outlook on life, but at the end of the day he should know what’s important and comes first because he should know that if he doesn’t the hammer will fall on those that do not deserve it. Tell him that you love him and will always be there for him emotionally but not financially. You have done a good deed but now its time to let the injured bird fly on his own… or some junk like that.
You know what to do,
December 2013/January 2014
My family situation at home is kind of shitty. Christmas has never been happy at my house. It’s all forced and stiff and uncomfortable. Some of the family members are dramatic as hell, some significant others aren’t welcome and come anyway, and I’m pressured to get presents for all the people I don’t like with what little money I have. I despise every second of Christmas because I’m forced to stick around them all day. I have friends that really enjoy Christmas because they have better family situations and they get annoyed with me when I talk bad about the holiday. Similarly, I get jealous of (and annoyed with) them for being so excited, and I often feel misunderstood. Any advice?
Xmas Ass Kick
Dear Ass Kick,
While I disagree with the way you feel about Christmas, I cannot say I blame you for the way you feel. Religion says Christmas is about Jesus, marketing wants you to get wrapped up in commercialism, but in the end the holiday season should be a time for enjoyment; Enjoyment of being out of school, enjoyment of food and presents, whatever suits you. Giving, family, peace on earth, and good will towards humankind are important things to keep in mind during the holidays, but in your case I think you should just do the bare minimum.
When it comes to Christmas at home, put up with what little you have to, try to enjoy your time with the amount of family members you do like, then afterwards go celebrate in a way that makes you content. Let us face it, the celebration of the holiday does not last all day and it sounds like they do not care whether you are there all day or not. A Christmas evening by yourself may be just what you need. Though your friends will have Christmas booked with their families, you can still celebrate and be excited with them on days before or after Christmas; trust me those are usually better than the actual day.
As for getting gifts, screw the people who are not close to you. Money is scarce even more at Christmas and there is no point in spending it on your uncle’s new girlfriend’s son. Spend the money on the people closest to you: Parents, stepparents, siblings, possibly grandparents; anyone who you want to give a gift too. Immediate family, though not enjoyable all the time, is essential if you don’t want to have a holly jolly shit storm of drama coming down on you.
I hope this holiday season will be a much more pleasant experience for you. It all depends on how you choose to survive, not deal with, survive. I do not expect you to be singing “Jingle Bell Rock” by the end of it, but at least be chill enough to not change the station when it plays on the radio.
P.S. If you have not had eggnog before, try it. It’s like liquid cake.
My fiancé wants to get married in a couple of years but this is my last year at Lake Land. I had planned on going to EIU in the fall but my mother doesn’t want to pay for it, and I’ve been thinking of taking a year off of school to save up for the wedding. But my fiancé says I should apply to EIU regardless of what my mother thinks. What should I do?
When it comes down to it, I think you know as well as I do that you are going to end up doing what is best, so it comes down to what you think is best. While your wedding is very important to you and your fiancé, there is also the matter of what the outcome will be should anything fall through; it sounds bad but there are always those possibilities. Hopefully your engagement will not end, but regardless there is the importance of going to school and getting what you are after in life. Love is important but your own future really should come first.
So if you do take a year off, it really should be to save up for EIU and maybe set some aside for the wedding. You can get married and keep going to school; the wedding just will not be as glamorous as you would hope it be. If your fiancé is telling you to apply, then you know how important your future is to him as well. He loves you and wants the best for you. He knows in the end that, if you go to school, you will progress farther in life and you will both still be happy. In summation, I say go to school and be happy with the fact that you are getting married.
I am allergic to perfume. My immediate family respects this but my extended family just doesn’t get it. I have to leave virtually every family gathering early, usually with a migraine. Should I just stop going to family stuff all together?
It sounds like to me that your extended family irritating your nostrils is inevitable. Family is important but you have obviously talked to them and they are not respecting your health. Depending on how important your extended family is to you, I would say yes, stop going. Everyone likes to perceive that family is pure love, but that is utter bull crap. If they are not close to you then, in their minds, there is no reason to fully respect you. That is not always the case but it obviously is here. Silas says stay away from allergens and selfish family members; both are hazardous to your health.
I am a twenty-three year old asexual woman with depression. I’ve been single for about a year, and my last relationship was a disaster. I would like some companionship, but every person I seek out seems to want sex. Being asexual, I don’t feel any sexual arousal from anyone, so this presents a problem for me. It would also appear that there are very few people who identify as asexual in this region, so it’s pretty hard to find someone who is also just looking for a companion. Any advice on this situation would be appreciated.
Owner of a lonely heart.
Dear Lonely Heart,
To begin, I sympathize with your situation and can tell you that you are definitely not alone in this. There are plenty of men and women who feel the way you do, but like you said, this region does not have a whole lot to offer individuals such as yourself.
There are three basic options. First, online dating. This is not a very good road to take; mainly because there would be no intimacy whatsoever if the person lives far away, unless you are okay with reading sweet nothings through text. The good part about dating via the internet is that you are bound to find somebody who feels the way you do. Be warned though; you will find plenty of the opposite of what you want.
Second, look for men that have pledged to be celibate until marriage. If you do not follow a faith, then this will probably be an issue, but most men who choose to be celibate will be willing to tend to your romantic needs and are more trustworthy. Be careful though, as some men who do not have sex can be very awkward or clingy.
Third, though you are asexual, explore sex life more. Men want, hell, we sometimes need some kind of erotic pleasure in our lives, but that does not mean we do not want companionship. The next time you are with someone, tell them how you really feel and compromise with them until you reach a point of comfort and peace of mind with the other person. I can only imagine how hard being asexual is, but everyone deserves to be happy with somebody regardless of how they feel about their naughty parts being played with. I hope I have shed some light on your situation.
P.S. Whatever you do, do not give up.
My boyfriend and I have different religious views. He doesn’t mind, but I’m afraid that these differences will eventually drive us apart. What should I do?
I am guessing by your name that your boyfriend is the more religious one. His beliefs will always be important to him, perhaps even more important than the relationship you two share, but I am guessing he also has his priorities; as long as you and the relationship remain part of his main priorities, then you have nothing to worry about. If he is one-hundred percent fine with your atheism and is not subtly trying to make you religious then there should not be any problem for you either.
Differences in faith can make any relationship hard, but all will go fine as long as each person can accept the other’s beliefs. He seems to be doing a pretty good job of that from what you have said. Even if your fear was to come true and you do break up due to religious differences, then it was obviously never meant to work out in the first place. Keep the relationship going strong, relax, and do not let all these hypothetical situations go to your head.
If you have a question for Silas, you may either submit it in written form to the Navigator office in Student Life or on our Facebook page, Lake Land Navigator.