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13 thoughts on “Click here to ask me a question or to read my advice!

  1. Dear Ask Me Anything,

    I have been dating a guy for a couple of months. We met online at the beginning of January and the first 5 dates were amazing… great time with a text or email follow up and plans for a next date very quickly after each date. But after the 5th date I broke my own rule and asked the guy out – and he said yes… and then the next day cancelled on me and said he had work obligations but wanted to take a rain check for when I got back the following week from a trip I had planned. So I texted him when I got back and we texted back and forth but he never asked me out on a formal date! One night soon after I returned from my trip I had a few drinks and he invited me over and I went and stayed the night. Probably a bad mistake on my part. The week after that he texted me again but did not ask me out – but keeps texting me. He seems to like me and keeps texting me – but if he is really into me shouldnt he be asking me out? He will text me even if i dont respond… What should I do?

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    • Dear Nameless in New York,

      Ahh, the joys of dating. Heck, not just dating, but online dating. Although so many relationships now start online, it still seems harder to read guys when you begin a relationship using sites like Jdate or Match, doesn’t it? There’s so much emailing, flirting, winking, and texting that your head begins to spin. That’s not to say that dating in general isn’t hard, but I found that when I met somebody out and in person who I then went on a date with (or somebody that I was set up with by a mutual friend), things usually went a little bit smoother rather than meeting somebody off of a dating website for some reason. Keep in mind that I am NOT telling you to stop online dating! It’s how I met my now husband! I’m just merely observing that sometimes the joys of technology don’t end up being so joyous.

      Now, on to your question, which is a good one and let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You go out a few times, you seem to get along great, then one “rule” gets broken and things become complicated (usually for the woman. Ever notice that?). Next thing you know you’ve witnessed your crush with a sorority sister and find yourself sitting at an ice cream parlor named Swenson’s and crying into your three scoops (but I digress). Now I’m not necessarily a “rules” kind of girl, but I do agree with one thing: If a guy wants to make it happen, he’ll make it happen. (Hell, the same goes for you, right?). The bottom line is that if Mr. Texter wanted to see you, he’d see you. I take it since you mentioned that things changed after YOU asked HIM out that perhaps you’re thinking that this has something to do with him not asking you out again? Could be– All of my dating experience tells me that he has the best of both worlds: You’re available (by asking him out you did clearly send the message that you like him, nothing wrong with that but it puts him in the drivers seat), and all he has to do to get your attention is text. Perhaps he thinks that since you initiated a date once, you always will– and should. And if that’s the case then is he the guy for you? Only you can answer that. And, let’s cut to the chase: If you sleep with a guy too early on, sometimes it will never become anything more. I know, I know, that’s certainly not always the case (I can just see the comments now– Your friend has a friend who knows somebody whose cousin slept with a guy on the first date and they’re now happily married with kids), but I do think that being intimate with somebody too early on in a relationship can change things, and not always for the better. You can’t turn back time, but you can learn from this if it was a mistake. (If that’s how you choose to view it).

      One last thing, and it’s important (and an intervention that I’ve had to suggest with other friends as well): Stop with the texting! This goes for this guy and every guy after him. Texting is great when you want to let someone know that you’ll be 5 minutes late, but it’s NOT great when you’re trying to get to know somebody better. Even though you don’t respond to his texts every time, he’s obviously not getting the hint. So call him! And if he insists on continuing to text just send back this simple response: “I’d love to talk on the phone, give me a call.” Then wait. You’ve done your part: If he wants things to move forward, he’ll take your cue, pick up the phone, and CALL.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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  2. Dear You Can Handle The Truth,

    I am 37 years young :-). I have 2 small tattoos, and am seriously considering another before summer. My husband, who went with me to get my 1st one about 15 years ago, is now totally against the idea of tattoos. Whenever I bring it up, he says I’d better not get another one, & then he’ll quote the bible (Lev. 19:28). I got my 2nd one about 10 yrs ago, and there was no problem then.

    I don’t see anything wrong with tattoos. I think they can be quite beautiful. I think they can be a unique form of expression. And since my chosen location can be easily concealed, I feel it would be nobody’s business if I did get it. I would have gotten it long ago, but I wanted to avoid the argument with my husband. Now, I hate to say it, but I really don’t care anymore. I don’t think he can fairly deny me of getting one. I want to have it done while I’m still in my 30’s.

    Should I or shouldn’t I??

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    • Dear Expression vs. Religion,
      Let me begin by saying that I understand your dilemma. I too have a tattoo, and though the resistance I’ve received hasn’t been from my husband, I’ve certainly heard my fair share of opinions on the small snail that graces my ankle (case in point: My mother wouldn’t call the tattoo “small”).

      It seems to me like you already know in your heart that you’re going to get that third tattoo. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that perhaps you’re looking for 1) somebody to validate for you that it’s your right to get another tattoo if you so desire, and 2) to help you figure out how to talk to your husband about this decision w/ out it being a huge blow-up.

      Am I on the right track?

      The fact is, I happen to agree that your body is yours and that your husband can’t “rightfully deny” you another tattoo, or anything else that you decide to do (without harming yourself or anybody else). Of course we always want to take into consideration the feelings of our spouses because we want the same courtesy returned, but at the end of the day, my belief is that we don’t get married so that we can tell our husband or wife what to do (I think I can hear my husband snorting in the next room!).

      Having said that, there are certainly times when a husband or wife may ask their partner to do or not to do something (for instance, I have a friend who asked their spouse not to call her mother his “monster-in-law”) and the partner, though they don’t understand (“But honey, she really is!”), may agree. Picking and choosing our battles is so important! And here’s what I’m constantly telling clients of mine in the work that I do: You may not understand why x,y, or z is important to your partner, but it will feel good to both of you to hear it and to respect it. I guess what I’m saying is, in an ideal world you would respect his opinion and he would respect yours, you could agree to disagree, and then you would feel good about getting your tattoo and not worrying that it’s going to turn into an argument. But I know, we don’t always live in that ideal world, do we?

      I know you gave me the passage to the Bible that he quotes, but honey, I’m Jewish! So I had to look that one up. What I found is basically this: ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.’ Is that correct? I would want to know why it was OK with him that you got tattoos in the past, but not now. Have you asked him? Is his religion something new-found? Perhaps something significant on that end has changed for him that you don’t know about. Sometimes when we sense a disagreement we shy away from having the actual conversation that could possibly lead to hearing something that we don’t want to hear, but I’m wondering if you truly know what exactly it is about the tattoo that bothers him. Perhaps if you explored the reason behind his resistance you may be (hopefully genuinely) sending the message that you want to hear from him. He may change your mind. He may not. But at least you’ll be communicating about the actual issue at hand instead of the “You better not” and “You can’t tell me what to do’s.”

      If you’ve already explained to your husband, just how you did with me, about what the tattoo symbolizes for you and just how important it is, and he STILL doesn’t want you to do it, then you need to decide if getting the tattoo is worth the battle. Does one outweight the other? Only you can answer that one. However if at the end of the day your husband does not agree or approve, but he can respect the fact that it is essentially your decision to make then you will, I think, feel better. And maybe then you can not only get that third tattoo, but maybe even get him to like it.

      This is a tricky one, but I do hope that you can come together to find some common ground. Perhaps you reminding him that your tattoo will be in a concealed place (or maybe will say “I love (insert his name here) ;) is some sort of a compromise. And at the end of the day I believe that the choice is ultimately yours to make.

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      • Dear You Can Handle The Truth,

        Well, I will start off by saying that you are surely in the right line of work. Your responses are excellent! Your reply was a lot more insightful than I expected (no offense).

        I did bring the issue up again with my husband, over dinner, during our date night. He gave his usual response, “No, I don’t want you to get one”. But I pushed a little and asked why. He said he does not believe that body markings are appropriate. While his religious views are not new-found… I guess nowadays he can be considered a deeper Christian. In the past 2 years he has taken his commitment to God more seriously and has become involved in church ministries.

        So I pushed a little more. I asked him if he was embarrassed that his wife had tattoos. He said he wouldn’t call it embarrassment, but doesn’t believe in body markings, and doesn’t understand the point. He admits wanting to get one before we met, but is glad that he never went through with it. He said tattoos are something that may become regrettable in the future. Okay, maybe so but after 15 years, I have yet to regret my others.

        Even still, I pushed some more… that’s when I got what is probably his biggest reason for concern. He said that tattoos draw attention, and he didn’t feel comfortable with his wife having that kind of attention. I guess I can understand that. The only way my new tattoo would be visible if I’m wearing a strapless or halter top (both of which I enjoy wearing in the summer).

        The bottom line is, even though he doesn’t like the idea of me getting a tattoo, he knows how strongly I feel about the issue and that I don’t give up easily! We’re going to need to agree to disagree on this one. I told him that I understood his position and didn’t was this to turn into a fight. I explained that while he is happy that he never got his tattoo, I don’t want to be unhappy for not getting mine. I assured him that I love him and respect his opinion and that I’m not just being stubborn. Now he knows that it’s not a fad or a phase, but something that has a lot of significance for me.

        My new tattoo may not read “I love _____”, (which I probably would get inked somewhere at some point ;-) ) but it is one that I’ve given a lot of thought to.

        Thank you for helping me to dig deeper with my husband about this issue. Our conversation was finally really productive.

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      • Dear Expression vs. Religion,
        Thank you for letting me know how it went with your husband, and for your kind words regarding the advice that I dispensed. I am so happy to hear that you and your hubby REALLY communicated about the issue at hand. I’m sure at times it was difficult, and perhaps something that you didn’t really want to do, but it sounds as though in the end you each gained a better perspective on where the other was coming from. Clearly getting this third tattoo is something that you have given a lot of thought about and you needed to express that to your husband and to feel heard, as did he. I’m not only happy that you are going to get that third tattoo without facing a huge blow-up (it seems), but also that you and your husband had a good experience from the healthy communication that took place between the two of you. It is my hope that what you learned from this experience will be translated into other situations that you face as well. After all, relationships of all kinds take hard work, and sometimes even just agreeing to disagree can feel like a real step towards acceptance from your partner. Let us know when you get the tattoo and how it turns out!

        All the best,
        You Can Handle The Truth

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  3. Dear Samantha,
    I just finished reading your article in Tiny Buddha. It couldn’t have come in a better time for me! You have touched my life! Thank you!
    I have to make a difficult career decision and have been struggling with it for three weeks. Should I accept a high paying job that is close to 2 hours away or pass on it and hope I find something else. Money and health insurance have been a challenge this year. I am the single provider for a family of 5. In addition, there is a degree of uncertainty in the future with my current contract role.
    What you have told me (from your article) is that I must listen to my inner ally, my best friend. My gut tells me it is too long of a commute, that it will drain me. I have to have confidence that I will find something else. This is exactly what you are recommending. Thank you! You have left your finger prints on me!!!
    David

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    • Hi David,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for letting me know that my story resonated with you. It sounds like you have a pretty big decision to make regarding a job offer. It also sounds like you are using your internal GPS to tap into what your gut may be telling you, which is that a 2 hour commute every day may drain you, and that in the end, the money may not be worth it.

      This is a tough decision to make, I’m sure, but let’s also look at the positive side of it. You’re the provider for your family, which may be a lot of pressure, but here you are, being offered what sounds like a very good job. Kudos on that! Sometimes we tend to gloss over our accomplishments because we’re too busy trying to weigh out the pros and cons of everything. So before we move on to that, let’s just take that in. Did you take it in? Good.

      Having said that, I also understand that there are some big life circumstances that you need to think about, in terms of providing for your family. Money, health insurance, security, these are all very important and realistic things to think about. You mention some contract work but the uncertainty of it, which I know can be stressful. It’s very hard not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet (it’s just human nature). Any other leads on jobs that are closer to home? I think you’re right to be seriously thinking about a 2 hour commute (I assume that’s each way?). 4 hours in the car every day will affect your quality of life, I’m sure. Some people make it work for them (catch up on phone calls, listen to books on tape, etc.), but for others (dare I say it, most), the exhaustion outweighs the benefits. Totally understandable. No matter what, you need to be the best that you can be (and feel), not only for your family, but for yourself, as well. Let’s also look at your quality of life if you don’t take the job, and the contract work ends. I like what you said about having confidence that something else will come along. Perhaps that combined with listening to your gut and even some planning (saving as much as you can, though I’m sure it’s hard with a big family) is just what you need to feel good about the decision that it sounds like you’re leaning towards.

      I also wanted to suggest if you’re still not quite sure what you want to do, to take sticky notes and write down both options on the pieces of paper. One note could say “take new job with great pay, commute 2 hours every day,” and the other note could say “Don’t take the job and stay close to home and family.” Put them in different parts of your home, and when you walk by them, be mindful of what your gut tells you when you see them. When you see the note that says “stay close to home and family” do you feel relieved? When you see the note that says “take new job” do you get a knot in your stomach? Or do you feel excited at the prospect, though still nervous about the commute? It can be a good exercise to figure out how you’re really feeling about this decision. Maybe even hop in your car and take the drive, just to see what it would feel like every day.

      I hope that this is helpful, David. Tapping into your gut I believe will be an important part of not only this decision, but others that come your way as well. And life is not always in absolutes; if you do not take this job, keep the window of opportunity open. You never know what good awaits you, whether near or far.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      Samantha

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  4. Samantha,

    I subscribe to Tiny Buddha and your post had been sitting in my inbox unread. Am struggling with minor stuff (turning 60 and not liking it among other things) so ignoring a post about hard times seemed somehow fitting. Feeling lost, confused and mildly depressed when I actually have a life that is full of good things felt indulgent. Who am I to think hard times applies to me?

    However sitting here alone on Christmas morning, something (my inner ally?) made me click and read. All I can say is thank you. Reading your story and your very simple but powerful life wisdom is the best Christmas gift ever. And it’s a gift I can share. Even better.

    Thanks again,

    Bonnie

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    • Hi Bonnie,
      I’m so glad that today is the day that you read my article, and that you felt as though you got something useful from it.

      I too struggle sometimes a little bit when I’m down– like, does this mean that I’m not appreciating all that I have? But sometimes even gratitude can’t hide feeling of depression, anxiety, or loneliness. What I’d like to say to you is this: Be true to who you are. Grieve when you need to. Cry when you need to. Hibernate when you need to. But try not to stay there. Living authentically– I think– means admitting that our feelings cannot be wrong, letting ourselves be where we need to be, but then also being able to move forward with gusto because we’ve identified what is making us feel this way, and given thought to it (and perhaps even action). Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling (without judgement), and then perhaps the love and kindess that you show yourself will then guide you to a feeling of greater peace. Instead of starting from a place of trying to force the gratitude, start with being compassionate with yourself, and I think the gratitude will follow.

      I wish you a very happy and heatlhy new year Bonnie. You made my day with your kind words, and for that, I am grateful.

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  5. Hi Samantha! This is Alexia, the lucky nurse who got to work with you at the Brigham. I am writing to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing that beautiful letter featured in the Boston Globe’s Salute to Nurses. Not only was it such an honor to receive that recognition (and my family is so proud : ), your words moved me to tears because I felt such peace and affirmation of my leap of faith into being of service through nursing. I remember our time together vividly and fondly, the resonance in our conversations still ringing. I was and still am truly inspired by the wisdom you cultivate in courageously and consciously handling the truth. Your blog is a gift of inspiration and the opportunity to bear witness to your bravery. It is a privilege and a blessing to be part of your journey.

    With gratitude,
    Alexia

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    • Hi Alexia!
      Oh how happy I was to hear from you! I am the lucky one. I still think of you often and am so grateful for the great care that you gave me in the hospital after my liver ablation surgery. I remember you telling me that you had moved into the nursing area and I thought “What a perfect fit!” Not only were you so informed on the medical piece, but your compassion and warmth really made me feel like I was being taken care of in a time of such vulnerability. I know my family was very grateful as well. I am so happy that you are following the blog and are in touch.

      With hope and hugs,
      Sam xoxo

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  6. I’m happy that you are strong at heart and battling this harsh cancer. I was diagnosed in 2015 and am coming up on two years after my treatment. I have been having GI changes that have me concerned bigger problems may be at hand. I sincerely hope not, but I am suspecting that it may just be a matter of time before I get some bad news. I find it quite distracting to go about day by day life, with this uncertainty of what the future may hold. I guess that is a cross for all of us OM patients to bear.. Todd

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