Filtered by Category: Showing Up

On deep-shallow companions

Image: Eckhard Hoehmann / Unsplash

Image: Eckhard Hoehmann / Unsplash

As I’ve been working on The Art of Showing Up, I’ve done quite a bit of research on the “ideal” number of friends a person should have, and, in the process, have come up with my own theory on this topic: Regardless of how many friends researchers say you need, or how many friends you currently have, I think everyone needs one (1) individual to fill the role of deep-shallow companion.

Your deep-shallow person is the one who happily listens to the most humdrum shit about your day, pretty much every day (and then shares theirs in turn). They let you go on and on about the traffic you sat in, the errands you ran, the minutiae of your to-do list, and everything Sweetgreen did right or wrong with regard to your salad order. (My experiences with the Sweetgreen app — which used to be very bad and are now, somehow, better? — are the epitome of deep-shallow talk.) Deep-shallow stories are both too boring and too complicated for most audiences. There’s no real drama, but there’s also definitely a five-act Shakespearean play, and it somehow all took place in the self-checkout line at Target.

Deep-shallow companionship is the height of intimacy, demonstrated through extremely not-intimate topics. It’s a bond and love that is rooted so deep, it can withstand this particular type of shallow conversation. 

Of course, most relationships include some deep-shallow talk, and occasionally, the first coworker pal you see when you walk into the office is gonna hear your terrible commute story whether they like it or not. It’s fine! But your deep-shallow person is the one who willingly listens to this stuff daily, and also shares their own with you. It’s often a role filled by a parent, sibling, or romantic partner because it requires so much love.

My suspicion is that a lot of loneliness stems from not having a deep-shallow companion. Which really sucks! Because if you try — consciously or not — to make someone your deep-shallow person and they don’t want to be (because they already have a deep–shallow companion, because it’s too early in the relationship, whatever), you probably won’t get the attention or enthusiasm you’re looking for, which just feels bad. It doesn’t mean the person doesn’t want to be friends with you or that they don’t like you (truly!)...but it still stings. Deep-shallow conversations are often when we’re our most relaxed and uncensored and real selves; not having a deep-shallow person can lead to feeling very unseen and incredibly alone.

I share this theory not to call attention to something you feel sad about and can’t really fix, but because I know how how it feels to not have the words to explain this particular kind of intimacy, or describe what it looks and feels like. I think it’s really helpful to be able to name this kind of companionship, and to be able to articulate exactly what you’ve lost if your deep-shallow person is no longer in your life. ✨

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Some questions to consider before having a tough conversation

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I recently read a 2016 HBR article about when to skip difficult conversations, and it included a checklist of 11 questions to ask yourself that I thought were really smart/helpful. Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

  • What is my “secret agenda” or “hidden hope” for this conversation? (Long-term harmony? Revenge? That they will change?)

  • What’s my contribution to the situation?

  • Do I tend to look for problems with this person or about this issue?

  • How long ago did it arise? Is it a repeat or recurring problem? Could it become one?

  • How committed am I to being “right”?

  • What reasonable, actionable solution can I offer?

  • Is this the right person to talk to about this issue?

It’s so easy to come up with excuses to justify skipping a tough conversation (“it doesn’t really matter, they won’t change anyway”)…or to make something your problem when it’s actually not just because you’re horny for conflict and justice. These questions are a good way to step outside some of those feelings and get a clearer sense of the best way to proceed.

P.S. Some related reading: tips to keep in mind if you want to be a better conversationalist + just a bunch of good things to read if you want to be a better manager. 💬

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Alanis Morissette's "four boundaries" are so good

Image: Steph Wilson /  SELF

Image: Steph Wilson / SELF

I read the new SELF profile of Alanis Morissette yesterday, and Alanis’s four boundaries are, hands down, my favorite part. Here’s what she said:

“I talk about this with my kids a lot, the four boundaries being: You can't tell me what I'm thinking, you can't tell me what I'm feeling, you can't fucking touch my body/you can't do anything with my body, and don't touch my stuff.”

Damn. It really does come down to that, doesn’t it? ✨

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Two tips to keep in mind if you want to be a better conversationalist

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

I recently read We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee, which I really liked. The book has a lot of great, practical tips for being a better listener and better speaker — based in scientific research, and Headlee’s career as a radio host.

Since I’m sure none of us want to turn into the living embodiment of “I am feel uncomfortable when we are not about me?”, I thought I’d share two of my favorite tips for talking a little less (or just a bit more effectively) from the book here.

01. Stay out of the weeds

Getting into the weeds when you’re talking means you’ve lost the main path of a story, and are instead “wandering aimlessly in a field of trivial details.” Here’s more from Headlee:

“Getting into the weeds often sounds like this: ‘We went to Italy in 2006. No, was it 2007? Wait, it must have been 2005 because it was just after I took that job in Boston. I think that’s right. Sharon would know for sure.’ By the time you get back to the real story, your friend is staring at you with glassy eyes and considering making a break for it to get a latte.

The business psychiatrist Mark Goulston says we only have about 40 seconds to speak during a conversation before we run the risk of dominating the exchange. He describes the first 20 seconds as the green light, when the other person likes you and is enjoying what you have to say. The next 20 seconds are the yellow light, when ‘the other person is beginning to lose interest or think you’re long-winded.’ At 40 seconds, Goulston says, the light turns read and it’s time to stop talking.

Take a moment to gauge just how long 40 seconds is. Look at the second hand on your clock or watch, start to tell a story, and stop when you’ve hit 40 seconds. That’s not a lot of time! If you waste it with superfluous detail, you’ll never get to the meat of your message.”

FORTY SECONDS!!! That is…not very many seconds! Here’s Headlee again:

“We can also end up there when we feel compelled to correct the fine print of someone else’s story. Imagine a friend is telling you about a scary skiing accident. He says that after he was airlifted to the nearest hospital, he received an emergency MRI to see if his ribs were broken. You jump in and say, ‘Well actually, the MRI wouldn’t show your ribs. An MRI only shows soft tissues. Are you sure it wasn’t an X-ray?’ You have just steered a conversation (and possibly a friendship) into the weeds.

The onus is on you to determine what information is essential and what is unnecessary. That can be difficult sometimes. But if you’re thinking about it, you’re already making progress. All too often, we continue to spout information without consciously considering if we should.

The next time you find yourself providing a lot of detail about a personal matter, take a close look at the other person’s face. Are they looking at something else besides you? Are they stifling a yawn? If so, they might be trying to escape. Forget about what year you bought your first Toyota, and move the story along. Your friends, family, coworkers, baristas, and cashiers will thank you.”

02. No repeats

I once had a boss tell me, “Take yes for an answer.” He was basically saying, I agree with you, you’ve won me over — why are you still talking about it? The comment made me a lot more aware of the ways I might be repeating myself in conversations, regardless of whether the other person is saying yes, no, or something else entirely.

Here’s Headlee on this topic (Italics mine):

“Repetition is the conversational equivalent of marching in place. It’s not interesting and it doesn’t move the conversation forward. We sometimes assume repeating information helps drill it into someone’s head. After all, we’re taught from a young age to repeat the information we want to learn. … These types of repetition [e.g, flash cards, repeating dates in your head] help you to retain new types of learning for one key reason: you’re the one repeating the information. Research shows that when we repeat something multiple times, it ups our chances of remembering it. The benefit increases if we repeat that information to another person, but the benefit isn’t shared with the person listening. So if you’re in a meeting and you repeat a deadline to your team four times, you’ll probably remember it well but your team members are no more likely to retain it than if you’d mentioned it only once.”

Basically: if you’re repeating yourself because you don’t feel like you’re being heard, well…you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. “Often, when someone hears the same thing for a second and third time, they think, ‘I already know this,’ and they stop listening,” Headlee says. So, why do we do keep doing it? Headlee says it’s often the result of wanting to keep a conversation going, but having nothing new to add.

Repetition is particularly noxious when you’re repeating negative statements. If you’re upset with someone and just keep saying, “You fucked up and I feel away about it” over and over again, they are likely going to get frustrated and tune you out — not suddenly have a light bulb moment and apologize the fifth time you say it.

And it doesn’t even have to be direct criticism to make the other person feel bad; even if you’re not saying “you, personally, fucked up,” repeating a negative comment about a situation can still bring the other person down. For example, if your friend selected a restaurant for lunch and then the server was rude, your order came out cold, and they forgot to bring you the refill you asked for…and you just keep repeating “ugh, this sucks” and “I’m so disappointed” and “I can’t believe how terrible that service was” over and over again…it can start to feel like criticism to your friend, who feels responsible for your displeasure, even if it’s clearly not their fault.

Here’s Headlee again:

“Try to become aware of how often you repeat yourself, and think about what might be prompting you to do it. Do you feel like you’re not getting the acknowledgement you need from the other person? Has he or she failed to follow through on things in the past? Are there too many distractions present when you’re trying to have a conversation (i.e., saying something important while your kid is playing a video game might not be a good idea)? Are you prone to ramble in your conversations?

Over the next few weeks, get into the habit of pausing for a couple of seconds before you respond to someone. Before you repeat yourself, take a moment to find something new to say. You can even ask your friends to tell you when you’re repeating something. I had my son say ‘echo’ every time I started repeating things, and after hearing it a few dozen times, I began to break the habit.”


The whole book is very good; I really recommend it, especially if you’re a manager! You might also want to check out Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation. ✨

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Should you happen to find yourself spinning out, try cleaning your bathroom

Image: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

Image: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash

Whenever I find myself pacing around my apartment and kind of spiraling, dealing with a brain-on-fire situation — when I’m overwhelmed and I know I should do something but I can’t decide what it should be so I’m doing nothing and everything all at once — I’ve gotten in the habit of just…cleaning my bathroom. Like, I don’t overthink it; I just go and do it. And 15-20 minutes later (which is about how long it takes me to clean my bathroom, despite what I might tell myself when I’m avoiding doing it), my sink is sparkling and I feel so much better.

Why is cleaning the bathroom the perfect activity in these moments? I think it’s because it tends to be a relatively quick and contained chore — unlike, say, cleaning your closet, which you’ll start with the best of intentions and then somehow spend $75 ordering hangers online before falling asleep on piles of clothes — BUT it’s just long enough to distract you and redirect your energy, to get the headspace required to make a decision, to gain a sense of accomplishment, and to basically press the reset button in a panic moment. And because it’s one area of your home that could pretty much always benefit from a little cleaning! 🛁

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Reading list: Pride edition

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

In honor of Pride Month, I put together this list of the best and most memorable content about the many shades of LGBTQ2IA identity, lived experience, and history that I’ve read over the past several years. It’s a mix (in no particular order!) of moving, funny, sweet, sad, infuriating, and informative content, and is meant for both queer folks and allies.

First person/essays

“You Girls Having Fun?”, Eater.

A Modest Proposal, David Sedaris for The New Yorker.

Planning For A Future We Can Actually Imagine, BuzzFeed.

The Catastrophist, or: On coming out as trans at 37, Vox.

My Wife and I Are (Both) Pregnant + A Year Ago I Had a Baby. So Did My Wife., New York Magazine.

Introducing My Parents To My Boyfriend Meant Introducing Them To Me, BuzzFeed.

I Fell In Love With The First Girl I Dated After Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

Harry Potter and the Secret Gay Love Story, The Paris Review.

The best $6,250 I ever spent: top surgery, Vox.

No, We Won’t Sandwich the Bride: On Handling Gay Tokenism, The Toast.

My Queer Skincare Secrets, Gay Magazine.

Being Queer Means I’ll Never Stop Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

I Got Kicked Out Of A YMCA Locker Room — Twice — Because I’m Trans, BuzzFeed.

I Thought My Immigrant Mother Would Never Accept My Queerness. I Was Wrong., Bitch.

Falling in Love with My Transgender Husband, Marie Claire.

I Dress ‘Straight’ to Protect My Clients, Racked.

How I Divorced My Husband of 5 Years, Came Out at 28, and Married a Woman, A Practical Wedding.

This Is What It’s Like When Your Dad Comes Out To You, BuzzFeed.

When I couldn’t tell the world I wanted to transition, I went to Dressbarn, Vox.

Now We Have Seen The Epitome of Anti-Gay Hatred, Gawker.

Please Don’t Stop the Music, The Nation.

Only When I’m Dancing Can I Feel This Free, MTV.

After Transitioning, No One Calls Me Fat Anymore, BuzzFeed.

Could The Baby-Sitters Club Have Been More Gay?, The Paris Review.

A Love Letter To All My Gay Firsts, BuzzFeed.

‘Mallory Is Not Gone’: Daniel Mallory Ortberg on Coming Out As Trans, The Cut.

How I Learned the Craft of Going on Dates with Girls, Catapult.

How to Draw a Horse, The New Yorker.

Advice & service

‘My Parents Still Won’t Accept That I’m Gay!’, The Cut.

Ask Polly: Why Do People Always Think I'm Gay?, The Awl.

#1194: “I’m moving in with my girlfriend and now my homophobic parents want to disown me.”, Captain Awkward.

Coming Out As Gay In Elementary School, BuzzFeed.

I Don’t Know What My ‘Label’ Is. Can I Be in the LGBTQ+ Community?, Out.

19 Insanely Useful Makeup Tips For Trans Women, BuzzFeed.

Incomplete list of books by black trans women, Queer Book Club.

55 Things That Helped LGBT People When They Were Coming Out, BuzzFeed.

Navigating LGBTQ issues at work: an open thread, Ask a Manager.

100 Easy Ways to Make the World Better for Trans People, Vice.

#453: Guest Post: How Do I Come Out to My Mom?, Captain Awkward.

#978: “If you were a ten-year-old boy who just told your mom you’re gay, what would you want her to say?”, Captain Awkward.

The BuzzFeed Style Guide LGBT section.

News, culture, and history

The Woman Who Cared for Hundreds of Abandoned Gay Men Dying of AIDS, Out.

When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History by Hugh Ryan (available from Amazon and through local bookstores via IndieBound).

Black, queer, feminist, erased from history: Meet the most important legal scholar you've likely never heard of, Salon.

How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru, Priceonomics.

The Bittersweet Beauty of Adam Rippon, Vanity Fair.

No, Queer Women Aren't "Just Experimenting", BuzzFeed.

The Complicated Appeal Of Celesbian Gossip, BuzzFeed.

Who’s Afraid of Gender-Neutral Bathrooms?, The New Yorker.

Queer Eye’s “Black Girl Magic” Is the Blackest, Gayest, Most Moving TV Episode of 2019, Autostraddle.

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Boy Problems' Is a Beautiful Gay Song of Discovery, Jezebel.

“This Is Us” Breaks New Ground With Tess Pearson’s Coming Out Storyline, Autostraddle.

Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History, Town & Country.

How—and Why—Did Fruitcake Become a Slur?, Food52.

Podcast episodes

The Pentagon's Secret Gaggle of Gays, Nancy.

Return to Ring of Keys, Nancy.

Bi Bi Bi, Call Your Girlfriend.

(Both of those Nancy eps made me weep, BTW!)

Fun shit

16 Vintage “Gay” Advertisements That Are Funny Now That “Gay” Means “GAY”, Autostraddle.

An Important Look At Gal Pals Throughout History, BuzzFeed.

21 Pure Tumblr Posts About How Beautiful Women Are, BuzzFeed.

The Internet Has Made The Babadook Our New Queer Icon And Just, Yes, BuzzFeed.

34 Times Tumblr Taught You Everything You Need To Know About Bisexuality, BuzzFeed.

Space Is Gay And I Will Prove It With Science, BuzzFeed.

Baby-Sitters Club Creator Ann M. Martin is Queer, How Did I Not Know This, Autostraddle.

American Girl Dolls Ranked In Order of Gayness, The Niche.

Everyone Wants Rachel Weisz to Dominate Them, The Cut.

“Snesbians”.


Happy reading! 🌈

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How to be laid off

Folks, Terri is back! Today she’s here to offer some good practical advice for surviving a layoff. —Rachel ✨

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Back in January, I got laid off from my job along with Rachel, our entire team, and 200 or so other coworkers. I’ve been working in media for the past seven years and have watched the industry shift and shrink. I’ve witnessed layoffs happen around me, both at work and to my close friends, and yet when it happened to me, I was completely floored. As in, on the floor crying in shock.

I don’t know if anything could’ve prepared me for the sting and multiple stages of grief that accompanied losing my job — the numbness, the confusion, the anger, the hurt, the bargaining, the desperation — but I do know that being laid off is an incredibly specific state of being. It’s also probably different for everyone who experiences it. Some people are relieved, some quickly pivot to the next thing, some people have had something like this happen to them many times before and already have their go-bag packed. But for me, and a lot of people I’ve talked to (turns out, LOTS of people I know have been in similar situations, especially in the past six months), the experience of being laid off and the time that ensues generally follow the same outline.

So, should you find yourself in that boat, here are some tips that helped me survive my layoff:

  1. Take time to absorb the shock.
    Even if your layoff wasn’t unexpected, moving from a reliable schedule of spending most days feeling productive with the same people to...not...is a major life change. I tried to fend off the Bads by networking and setting up freelance opportunities literally the day after getting laid off. A week later, I had a full-on meltdown right in front of CVS because I was feeling like a part of my identity was gone. I’d loved my job. I led with it during small talk; I cherished the work I did and still look back on it with pride. Instead of gradually acknowledging this truth by letting it seep into my consciousness, I’d try to shoo it away. As a result, had a big old “Come to Jesus” cry on the phone with my mom in public that, blessedly, the citizens of New York let me carry on in peace. (I do love New Yorkers.) After that, I gave myself a weeklong break from any kind of work/job searching, which helped a lot.

  2. Also, unfollow/mute/cut your former employer out of your life if you need to.
    Losing your job is like going through a breakup! Especially if you worked somewhere that has a big social media presence! Seeing them continue on as normal can infect still-fresh wounds, so just block them out for a while. You can always re-follow later, or ask trusted friends to give you only the most important highlights. After a while, you might realize you don’t even care about them anyway.

  3. Realize that you will probably deal with constant guilt.
    I was not prepared for the crushing waves of guilt that happened every time I stopped doing anything job-related. With a lot more “free” time, it’s easy to feel like you need to spend all of it looking for and applying to jobs, networking, doing side gigs to scrape together money… anything that feels “productive.” And yes, job hunting really is a full-time job. But! You still need to, like, clean your home and bathe and maybe even go read a book for pleasure in a coffee shop. There is literally nothing wrong with doing any of those things, even though it feels like a violation of some kind of rule. Not being on a regular work schedule means you can very easily do worky-type things all day, but if the circumstances allow, try to avoid that. Because I was lucky to have a good enough savings and severance to augment job-related stuff with more less goal-oriented tasks, I was able to create some rules and guidelines to free myself of guilt. Maybe for you, that means you get one (1) matinee movie for every three jobs you apply to, or maybe that means carving out nap time every day because you need it. The guilt of not doing “enough” never truly goes away, but accepting it and telling it that it doesn’t need to define your laid-off self helps.

  4. Start making a daily schedule.
    You’ll be doing a lot of the same things over and over: You’ll send a lot of introductory emails, spend an equal amount of time willing certain emails to pop up in your inbox, wash endless dishes, spend countless hours alone (a nightmare for an extrovert like me), and become invested in the personal lives of daytime TV personalities. A schedule helps with the monotony and with the guilt.

  5. Figure out your lunches.
    One of the most thoughtful things someone asked me after I got laid off was, “What have you been eating?” Turns out, feeding your stupid body thrice a day is really annoying! At least when I was working, lunch was provided twice a week, and on the others, I could run out and buy something. But alone in my apartment without a steady income, I had to...make?? Food?? I’m not a great cook and I have a tiny-ass kitchen, and every time my stomach grumbled at 1 p.m. I cursed the human digestive system (and my former employer lolololol). I ended up making a lot of toast. There were many fried eggs in there, too, along with many bowls of Corn Flakes and simple dishes like chickpea pasta and lemon butter pasta. I usually love eating, but during the long, lonely days, food was sustenance, and comforting meals like these were manageable and filling. All you need is a few go-to meals to make lunchtime a little less awful.

  6. Accept that paperwork for health insurance and unemployment fucking sucks.
    Figuring this out was so stress-inducing that I asked my friend at one point if it was even worth collecting unemployment (it is, but getting money has hardly ever been less fun). Don’t beat yourself up if your heart is racing and you feel sweaty by the time you’re done with these tasks.

  7. Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones what you need.
    When I’m struggling, I need to talk and let it out and just be with people. Pretty much everyone in my family and friend groups showed up for me in a massive way after my layoff, presenting their shoulders to me when I hadn’t even asked for one to cry on. But some people thought I needed space or that I didn’t want to talk about it or that I was doing fine. I had to say, “I am constantly grieving, but this is what I need from you if you want to be there for me.” And you know what? That’s OK! Some people needed the nudge and were relieved to be told what to do in a weird and awkward time. It’s an incredibly vulnerable, raw thing, but I’ve felt closer to my friends and family than ever since getting laid off because I was open with them.

  8. Lean into activities, if you can manage them.
    Since getting laid off, I’ve become obsessed with crosswords and the New York Times’s Spelling Bee game, tracked my Jeopardy! Coryat score, and done many jigsaw puzzles. I have not, however, become a gym rat or a master baker like I said I would. I only had the bandwidth to do so much, and I’m happy I was able to hone a few new activities during this shitty time. (Related: A case for having activities instead of hobbies.)

  9. Lean into the good things that accompany being laid off that you might miss when it’s over.
    Since being laid off, I’ve had weekday lunches at hard-to-get-into restaurants and spent quality time with friends who’d also lost their jobs. I’ve easily scheduled midday doctors appointments. I’m a terrible sleeper, and my new loosey-goosey schedule has been so generous to my restless nights. I’ve seen my parents a lot more than usual, and forgotten about Sunday Scaries (although they’ve been replaced by constant existential ennui, so…). I’ve gotten to spend some gorgeous spring days outside while people with jobs are stuck at their desks. I watched all of Fleabag and rewatched many old episodes of The Real Housewives of New York. I’ve traveled and felt more spontaneous than I did on a constricted, 10-6 schedule. Being laid off isn’t all bad, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy to enjoy these perks unreservedly (see: guilt). I know that when I start working a regular job again, I’ll wistfully remember that chunk of time when I didn’t have to set a morning alarm. But I also know those things are small, cold comforts in an epically terrible time. Know that it’s OK if you can’t summon much gratitude right now. ✨

Terri Pous is a writer, editor, two-day Jeopardy! champ, and an Aries. She loves abbrevs, reality TV, obscure facts about the US presidents, and the 🥴 emoji. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @terripous, and on sidewalks @ petting every dog.

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The eight types of friends

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

While doing research for my book this week, I came across author Tom Rast’s list of the eight most common friend types (from his book Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without) and thought it was really cute/interesting.

Here’s an overview of the eight friend types Rast defines:

  1. The Builder

    Builders are friends who motivate you, invest in your development, and truly want you to succeed — even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you. These friends help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them.

  2. The Champion

    Champions stand up for you and your beliefs, and they sing your praises. They are the friends who "have your back" and who will advocate for you even when you're not around.

  3. The Collaborator

    Collaborators are friends with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. Shared interests are what often make Collaborators lifelong friends and those with whom you are most likely to spend your time.

  4. The Companion

    Companions are always there for you, whatever the circumstances. When something big happens in your life — good or bad — these are the people you call first.

  5. The Connector

    These friends get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who will share your interests or goals. They extend your network dramatically and give you access to new resources.

  6. The Energizer

    Energizers are your fun friends who always boost your spirits and create more positive moments in your life. They pick you up when you're down and can turn a good day into a great day.

  7. The Mind Opener

    Mind openers expand your horizons and introduce you to new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and allow you to express opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.

  8. The Navigator

    Navigators are friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You seek them out when you need guidance and counsel — they're great at talking through your options.

(Read the full descriptions and an interview with Rast here. I thought the results of his research about the importance of work friendships were super interesting.)

I immediately sent this list to a bunch of my friends to see what role they think they tend to play in their friendships. I’m mostly a Navigator, with some aspects of the Builder. I really like this list as a tool for recognizing the different ways you show up for people and as a reminder that most friends won’t be the end-all, be-all friend in our lives — and that’s completely OK. ✨

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A modest proposal: Take notes when you’re hanging out with friends

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I’ve written before about my friend Julia’s Ladies Article Club, which I’ve had the pleasure of attending on a couple of occasions when I’ve been in D.C. visiting her. I love a lot of things about it, but one of my favorite aspects is that someone always takes notes during the gathering. The note-taker writes down anything that comes up during the conversation that warrants some kind of follow-up — so basically, if someone mentions a product or a recipe or a podcast episode or a good Instagram account, the note-taker adds it to her list. Then she’ll start an email thread with everyone later on to collect/share the items mentioned.

I’ve always thought this idea was so smart and efficient, and I’ve started doing it more when hanging out with friends — even, just, like, during a coffee date. I like doing it because it’s practical, but also because writing these items down in my journal creates a mini diary entry about the hangout/the conversation.


Last month, I was at my friend Emily’s apartment for a little friend dinner party, and when she mentioned a book she liked, I said, “Wait, I’m going to write down the stuff we talk about so I can look it up later.” I pulled out my notebook and pen and Jess said, “Welcome to Rachel’s meeting,” and everyone laughed. AND YET! An hour or so later, Emily asked me where my pullover and my socks were from, and when I told her, she said, “Wait, I want to write all this down,” and took out her phone and opened the Notes app. And later that night, after we’d all gone home, Jess texted the group and said, “Who is sending out the meeting notes?” And we all sent around the things that we’d discussed and made note of.

I always think I’m going to remember all the things I mention or that my friend mentions when we’re hanging out, but when you’re with smart/well-read/interesting people, that’s basically impossible. Just take notes! ✍🏽

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