When a relationship dies but is not gone (aka: The relationship with multiple endings)

This is a long story that starts with a friend’s Facebook post.  In the middle is a horrible mini-lesson of “how NOT to break up with someone.”  There are multiple endings.  Pass it up if you don’t like relationship stories.  Read if you do, friends. * I’ll start with the first ending of our relationship.…


Flowchart: What to do when you discover you’re the side-chick, pt. 2 of 2

The first time I ever dated someone and discovered he had a girlfriend, I was 20 years old.  I remember feeling hurt and betrayed.  I remember thinking, “WHYYYYY didn’t he just tell me?  If he’d just told me first, I could have made a consensual, intelligent decision.”  I was jealous.  Angry.  Upset.  I told him…


10 better questions to ask someone than “How are you doing?”

There were at least sixteen years of my life where my automatic answer to the question, “How are you doing?” was (either) “fine” or “good.”

Lately, I’ve veered into the more grammatically-correct, “Well.  I’m doing well.”

Usually, it’s all a lie, though.  Some of us, on particularly horrible days, will answer with a, “OK,” or, “It’s going.”  And that’s as deep as it gets.

Once, when I waitressed at Red Lobster as a teenager, I asked a customer how he was doing.  He sincerely answered my question, detailing the events of his debt, his sense of aging, his last birthday.  The level of confusion I felt as he prolonged the required, 1-sentence answer?  Unparalleled.

But I think about that still.  What if we really wanted to know the answer to the question, “How are you doing?”  What could we say?  It’s such a broad, general question.  Maybe part of it is, also, just asking a better question.

Here are 10 questions I often use with some of the toughest-to-crack people I know: teenagers.  These are questions I also ask of adults.  They throw people off their game a little.  They evoke a laugh, a double-take.  They often spark sincerity.