So today, we're talking about relationships and dating advice. So, it's like how to be, I wanted to call this Hookup Hotshot, but there's already a porn site called that, and I didn't want to step on any toes. So you know, Hookup Hero: Be Wise Before You Advise. We're just getting into how to advise friends about relationships, about dating. So in the beginning, I asked y'all, "What's some advice you would give," or "What's some really good advice you've gotten?" And I see we've gotten some responses about that. So I'm gonna go ahead and read that before we get into anything else. Justin says, "The advice I always give involves being honest with them" "and their partners about what they want." Transparency. Communication. I polled a lot of friends for the advice they would give, and it boils to really similar themes. Let's all be honest. You know what I mean? DeJ Loaf has a song where he says, "Let's just be honest," "let's just be real." You know? And I agree. So, Foofoo says, "Hello." NewGal says, "Hi." Hello everybody. Your stream is all black. Oh, that's, I don't know. I'm sorry, maybe some technical difficulties. Maybe try refreshing. But of course, you know, for the warm welcome. I'm glad that you're here and I'm glad to be here. So I think that transparency, like Justin says, is really, really important, right? It's really important to communicate with your partner. That's a very critical step. So I think that there's a lot that goes in to giving good advice to people, right? Whether or not you're someone whose friends often come to advice or not at all? I think that's something that isn't discussed. Is kind of the weight of being the advisor, right? And this is something that I've talked about with friends in the past. I think I'm someone who friends come to often enough for advice. I guess I seem to have a level head and know what's going on. I don't, the joke is that I don't. But anyway, other folks don't need to know that. But I think that's something that needs to be talked about is kind of the weight of being the advisor to folks. So I tell anybody who's in a position where they give advice a lot, whether it's about relationships, dating, friendships, whatever, to really check in with yourself, right? I think that sometimes, if you're someone that people always go to for advice, they don't always, there's not always reciprocity, unfortunately. I think without meaning to people can be self-absorbed. And that's not my nihilistic outlook, I just think sometimes when people are wrapped up in problems and they think, "Oh, Alex is a person I can go to for answers." Or Dana, whoever you are, right? They don't always think to say, "Hey, well, how are you?" So if other people aren't checking in on you, it's important to check in on yourself, right? See how you're feeling about things before you give advice, after you give advice, and ask for what you need. Always, always ask for what you need. I'm a huge, huge, huge proponent of transparency, which is much easier said than done, but nonetheless important. But it's really important to check in on yourself and see how you're feeling, even if no one else is checking in on you. Probably especially then, right? So check in on yourself and see how you're feeling. This is really critical, like I said, after giving advice, but also before, right? I think that when friends come to us with advice, we have certain biases, certain feelings, certain outlooks that we kind of need to address before giving advice, right? So if your friend comes to you and says, "Hey, my boyfriend has been flaking on me." Or "my boyfriend has, I feel like he doesn't listen to me." Right? And you say, "Oh, well I think you should dump him." I think you should think about that first, right? Because is it really gonna serve your friend to just dump her boyfriend out of the blue, right? And ask yourself why you're giving that advice. Maybe you feel like since your friend started this new relationship they haven't made time for you, and that makes you feel upset. It makes you feel not cared about, right? So that's something that's something that's really, really critical to address before giving advice, right? 'Cause in your quest to give good advice to your friends, you don't want to adversely affect your relationship. Cause then your friend's having relationship problems and then y'all are having relationship problems. And that's not fun for anybody. So I think it's really, really crucial to take a moment to check in with yourself. Now I like to also engage these topics on social media. So I did a poll on Twitter the other day where I asked folks "Who do you normally go to for problems and advice?" Right? I said, "When you're having relationship problems" "or need dating advice, who do you turn to most often" "for the best and most reliable advice?" I asked about family, siblings and cousins, so kind of folks in our age bracket, family, parents, friends and peers, or yourself. So out of all the people polled, it's about 30 people, no one said siblings and cousins. So I find that a little bit weird. I'm an only child, but I feel like people normally turn to their siblings, at least that's the idea I had, but I guess I was wrong. 4% ask their parents. 64% of you turn to your friends and peers, and 32% of you turn to yourself. So it seems like people have a good pulse on who they can trust for dating and relationship advice. And it seems like the biggest pieces of community that we use to guide us in terms of relationships and hook ups are our peers, our friends, our chosen family so to speak and ourselves. I feel like that's really, really good, right? I think when I look for dating advice, when I look for relationship advice, I sometimes ask my mom, I sometimes ask my grandma, but usually, usually, usually, I'm asking my friends, 'cause they're right around my age, right? Dealing with the same issues I'm dealing with. Dating the same people I'm dating. Sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. And I turn to myself, right. I feel like I know what I like best, so I turn to myself for dating advice as well. So I think, before you give advice, and we just talked about this, there are some things you should be mindful of. One, you're not in the relationship, right? So I think that there's always a desire to give unsolicited advice or insert ourselves into things, but at the end of the day, you're not in the relationship, so when you're giving advice, you should really, really be mindful about how this is going to be received, how it's gonna be applied, right? And that you're not giving advice to yourself, you're giving advice to your friend. So try to speak in a language that they're really gonna hear you. Try to give them advice that they're gonna use, not advice that you would use because you're not in this relationship. You can't save or shield your friends from heartache, and you shouldn't. So I think another part of giving advice is there's this desire to be sort of paternalistic maybe, or to protect your friends from things. And not only can we not do that all the time, but it doesn't serve us, right? It doesn't help our friend. A lot of the lessons that I've learned, I've only learned from having adverse experiences, from kind of falling and having to pick myself back up. So I think that it's really, really important to understand that there are certain lessons that, fortunately, unfortunately, can only be imparted through experience, And when you're paternalistic, when you protect people from things, you're really protecting them from learning the outcomes of their actions, right? You're really protecting them from learning about themselves. There are really critical insights that are gained from mistakes. Now this doesn't refer to toxic relationships, right? I would never advise you to say, "Oh, well my friend has to learn," right? If you see signs that your friend is in an abusive relationship, in a toxic relationship, definitely take steps that you can to get them out, to talk to them about that. That's something else, right? But like I said, if your friend is not listening to your advice, you have tried to talk to them over and over again, over and over again, excuse me, about something and they don't respond, sometimes that's all you can do, right? Sometimes you can't make them do anything. You can't make anybody do anything that they don't want to do, right? So it's not always good to shield our friends from outcomes. Sometimes that's the best way they learn. So I have some relationship do's and don'ts for being a hookup hero. So these are things that you should do when giving advice, things that you should be mindful of, and things you should probably stay away from. So some dos. Be transparent. Don't be mean, but do be honest, right? There's always different ways of saying the same thing. So if you see that your friend is spending all of their time with one person and your relationship is suffering, their work life is suffering, whatever. Instead of saying like, "Bitch, you spend too much time" "with your boyfriend," right? Say like, "Hey, I notice that you spend "a lot of time with Darrel." "I'm feeling a little neglected in our friendship." "Do you think maybe next Thursday" "there'd be time to hang out?" Right? There's always a good way to approach it and a bad way to approach it. So like I said, be transparent. Say what you mean but don't be mean. Like I said, be honest, but don't be rude. Two, listen to your friends goals for their relationships and prioritize them. This is very, very important, right? A lot of the time with giving advice, I think we impose our ideas, our values onto other people. When really we haven't checked with our friend to see what they want. So, before you give advice, ask your friend, "Hey, what do you wanna do?" Right? That way you can respond to their needs and be centered on them as a person in the relationship. Take things with a grain of salt. You know your friends, right? Did they embellish it? If you friend is prone to hyperbole, right? And they're telling you problems with the relationship. Try to take it with a grain of salt, right? If your friend's complaining about their girlfriend and they say that she's always forgetting dirty socks around the apartment, right? She's always doing this, she's always doing that. And you know your friend kinda tends to go overboard. Be mindful. Still give them advice but be mindful about your friends limitations. This applies in any sense. Let your friends know if you feel something isn't right and tell them to follow their gut too. This is kind of what I touched on when I talked about toxicity and abusive relationships, a little bit, a couple minutes ago rather. If you feel that something isn't right, communicate that to your friend, right? If you say, "Hey, I feel like this person," "I feel like she's isolating you" "from your friends and family." That's really, really, really, really crucial to share. Tell your friend to follow their gut. I think the best advice I can give anybody, whether it's about relationships, friendships, a job, new opportunities, is to lean into yourself, right? Follow your gut. I remember this one time I was a kid and I woke up and something said like, "Don't go to school." And this was not the normal like, "I don't wanna go to school," kind of jitters. This was like don't go to school. So unfortunately, I ended up having to go to school. And the school got shut down. There was like a gas leak. And about two hours after I went, I had to come back, right? So your gut knows, right? That little feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach. Follow that because it's usually, usually, usually gonna steer you right. Especially when you know yourself very well. So always follow your gut and get your friends to follow their gut too. Five, let your friend know if you've seem them exhibiting dangerous or toxic patterns. This includes checking your friends when they're wrong and calling them in. So just like you shouldn't tell your friends if you see their partner being toxic. If you see your friend exhibiting toxic behavior, it's really, really important to call that out too. To call them in. I don't know the difference between call ins and call outs. We can take a minute to go over that. But a call out refers to what happens a lot of the time in digital space, social media, after the spaces too. Where someone says, "Hey, you did something really problematic." "You said this slur or you said whatever." This is really problematic what you did, so I'm gonna call you out. But fortunately, call outs can be very ego driven and not about promoting accountability. So call in is language I forget who created it, but call in is more just like, "Hey listen, you're really important to me and I'm gonna" "tell you why this thing that you did wasn't alright." "It wasn't copasetic." "So if you can call attention to this behavior" "and fix it for yourself," "that would be really important." "That'd be really great for me." So that's what a call in is. So if you see your friend exhibiting toxic behavior, call that out, call them in. That's really, really crucial. It's not only up to your friend to be the best partner that they can be. But it's up to us to make sure our friends are being good partners or being respectful or not being abusive or not being toxic. "What do I do if I think my friend's" "in an abusive relationship?" So I think that's very, thank you Christina. I think that's a very complex topic. I don't think all of us are in a space where we ever know the answer to something like that. I think that there are a lot of signs that someone is in an abusive relationship. I think that a big one is isolation. Intimidation, right? So if you're not seeing your friend that much or his parents haven't been hearing from them, a big thing abusers like to do is to isolate. So they cut you off from your friends, they cut you off from your family, your social network or support groups. That way they can abuse you. So I think that if you see, none of this behavior, this behavior, excuse me, would have to be considered contextually. Your partner or your friend, is spending a lot more time with their boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, significant other, right? Doesn't necessarily mean they're in an abusive relationship. But it's really just their partner trying to isolate them. So if you see that happening, that's a big red flag. If your friend, their entire mood has changed. If they seem more agitated, they seem more paranoid, right? Things like that. Specifically in relation to their partner, these are all pretty big signs of someone being in an abusive relationship. Obviously there are things like bruises for physically abusive relationships. But as we know, abuse isn't always physical. It can be emotional or mental. So I think that if you think that your friend might be in an abusive relationship, it's really, really important to talk to them. It's really important to surround them with community so that they're not isolated. So I'd recommend you and other friends of theirs maybe family members of theirs if you're on good terms with their family, kind of approaching them delicately and talking to them. Recommending counseling if that's something they're open to. And really trying to stick with them and check in with them. It can be very daunting like I said, if someone is in an abusive relationship. I unfortunately was talking about this with a friend maybe a week or so ago where they had a friend who got into a relationship. Started spending less and less time with them and unfortunately they were a little bit younger so they didn't know the best step to take. But they tried to check in with their friend. But it unfortunately did not work out. But the friend is out of the abusive relationship now. Great to hear that. And their friendship is being mended slowly, right? But I think that if you think that your friend is in an abusive relationship I recommend drawing closer to them. Showing up for them, really trying to surround them with community. Really trying to surround them with support and being transparent, right? I don't think that's the time to kind of tip-toe around the subject. Be mindful of your friend and what they're dealing with. But I think that's the time to be like, "Hey look, something does not feel right about this girl." "Something does not feel right about this guy." "Something does not feel right about this person." "I'm very, very concerned for you." "I noticed that your behavior has changed." "I noticed that you seem more upset" "and depressed and withdrawn lately." "And I'm really, really, really worried about you." That's the best I advice I can give. To be very, very transparent and very, very present with your friends if you think that there is something going on. What are some other do's? Oh so now we're on to the don'ts. So when you're giving advice, don't impose your outlook. Maybe your friend does things that you don't. Maybe your friend likes BDSM and you don't. Maybe your friends poly and you're not. Don't impose your outlook, right? There's a difference between something being dangerous and something just being something that you don't like. So try to know that going in and don't impose your views or your values onto your friends relationships. Don't hold grudges against your friends partner. That's a big, big, big one. I think something that keep people from coming to us for advice, keeps them from being transparent, is that we say, "Well I've heard you complain about this dude" "four times in the past." "I heard you complain about your girlfriend a lot" "in the past and I'm sick of it." "I don't wanna keep giving you advice" "if you don't listen to me." It's really, really important. Some people move slower than we do. Not everyone is gonna respond to our advice instantly or at all and that's okay. You don't give advice just to be listened to. We give advice to respond to the needs of our friends and the people in our lives. So, don't hold grudges against your friends partners. It doesn't help. If your friend knows you hate their partner, they're gonna be less reluctant, they're gonna be more reluctant, excuse me, to come to you for advice in the future. And that's not helpful, right? You wanna be on the front lines with your friends. You wanna help them. So if you say like, "Oh I hate this dude." "I don't wanna talk about him anymore." It makes it really, really daunting for your friend to come to you and trust you for advice, right? 'Cause not only do they feel like they're bothering you or they're being tedious, which makes it so difficult to ask for advice in the first place. But they have to wonder, "Is this advice coming from a place" "of concern where they care about me?" "Or is this advice coming from a place of them" "hating my partner?" Which are two very different places to give advice from. So, don't be paternalistic. Like I mentioned, we can't protect our friends from everything. And we really, really shouldn't. It's not helpful, it's not good. It's not protective, it's just paternalistic. So don't do that, right? Let your friends learn lessons. Four: Don't, don't, don't, I cannot stress this enough. Don't throw bad situations in your friends faces if they don't listen to you. Don't be So all of that, "I told you so." Or "You never listen to me." Or "this is what you get." That's not helpful for friends. I think that if I went to my friends and I said, "Hey, this dude flakes on me." "I don't know what to do about it." And they said, "Oh just dump him." And I didn't take that advice and I came to them later and maybe he did it again or we broke up. And my friends go, "I told you so." That's deeply, deeply hurtful. I don't think anybody appreciates being told, "I told you so." And I know feeling right is a good feeling. I'm a Taurus, right? So I love to be right, unfortunately. But it doesn't serve us to throw stuff in our friends faces. It's not good, it's not helpful, and it doesn't make for a positive friendship or relationship. If you have the urge to say I told you so, really bite down and resist that urge and ask yourself why that's important to you. Another really good one. Don't tell your friends partner things they've told you in confidence. So your relationship is with your friend. Not your friends partner. So unless like I said, your friends doing really toxic or abusive things, don't throw stuff like that in their faces. Don't go to your friend's partner and say like, "Hey look they told me this." Your partner, excuse me. I keep confusing the word partner and friend. I don't know why. But anyway, if you do that, your friend's gonna feel like they can't trust you. They're gonna be very, very upset. And rightfully so. If I told my friend something in confidence and then they went and told my partner, I'd be really, really upset. Sometimes through your friend, you end up developing a friendship with their partner. Some type of relationship. So maybe you have the urge to say, "Hey, well Dana told me this about your relationship." "And I just wanna give my advice or see how you're feeling." All those things can be done together, right? So if you feel like you wanna talk to something, talk about something to your friends partner, I recommend you pull your friend aside and say, "Hey would you mind if maybe" "we had a mediated dialogue about this?" I think that I'd really like to know your partners input." "I'd really like to know more of your input" "and see how you guys interact." "So maybe we could sit down and all have a conversation." And that's gonna be infinitely better than if you just kind of like go to your friend's partner and talk to them. How do you give advice to a friend without imposing your own opinion or scaring them? I think that if you sit down like I said, check in with yourself before you give advice and think about your own friend's limitations, and how they best respond to advice. I think that that's a really, really big helpful step. I like to plan things out before I do them. So it sounds silly maybe to make a little outline for a conversation, but I think that can be really, really beneficial. Like make a little script. That way you say like, "Hey, these are the points I want to address." "I wanna address that you feel" "your partner doesn't listen to you." "I wanna address how you feel when you and your partner "yell at each other all the time." Those are the two big topics I wanna talk about. And I know that you respond best to... feedback when you feel comfortable. So maybe your friend does best if they get advice when you're out and about. So you say, "Hey I really wanna shoot the shit." "I really wanna shoot the breeze and talk about stuff." "Let's go get some froyo." You can do that. Or you can say, "Hey." If your friend likes to do stuff kind of one on one. The kind of person I am. I like to get advice in private. I don't like to feel like I'm putting my business out in the street as it were. I would really appreciate a friend saying like, "Hey I really wanna check in on you." "I really wanna spend some time together." "Why don't you come over and we can watch" "Ghostbusters and talk about relationships." "Braid each other's hair." I don't have a lot of hair to braid but braid each others hair and talk, right? So I think responding how you know your friend likes to be interacted with is really, really important. You're in these friendships. You know your friends, right? So think about advice you've given maybe in the past and how it's gone. And use that as a schematic for what you're gonna do in the future. To avoid scaring them, I think that there are some things that can seem really daunting to bring up. And by their nature, might just be scary conversations. If you're telling your friend, "Hey I think you and your partner "have a very codependent relationship." By it's nature, that's a little bit scary of a conversation. So I'd invite you not to step back from daunting conversations. Just change how you approach them. So think to yourself, "How would I like to receive this advice?" "How would I like to give this advice?" "How do I think my friend" "would like to receive this advice?" And kind of pull them aside, call them in, and say, "Hey look, there's no other way to say this." "I think this is a really important thing to say to you" "but I know that it can be scary." "I think that if you just take a second to listen" "to what I have to say and put your" "trepidation aside so that we can talk about this." Being transparent from the jump about what you want and what you want in the conversation with your friend is really, really important. Like I said, things are just scary by their nature sometimes. Feel free to tell your friend like, "Hey, this might be a scary conversation" "but I think it's important none the less." "So I really hope you listen to me when I say this." "I really hope that you'll hear what I have to say." "That you'll hear me out before you run away" "or before you shut me down." Does that kind of help? Let me know if you want some more perspective about that. I think that when we're talking about hook ups and relationships, it's also important to understand hookups and relationships are pretty different. Just like dating and relationships are different. So the advice that you give respectively is gonna be different. A hookup is something, it's weird, right? It's just this weird colloquialism that I feel like is in constant flux. When I was younger, hookup just kind of meant like hanging out. "Me and my friends are gonna hookup later." It means we're gonna meet up and go out. And now a hookup has all these like weird fluctuating definitions where a hook up kind of means making out, but also sometimes having sex. But hooking up just refers to like, excuse me, very, not quite that serious behaviors. So I wouldn't say that hooking up is dating. If a friend comes to me and says, "Hey I've been hooking up with this" "dude from my Chem class." It doesn't mean that they're dating or in a relationship, in a traditional sense. This means maybe they're meeting up, making out, having sex, right? So the way you advise that is gonna be different. Christina says, "What about giving advice to your parents" "when they start getting at an older age." Wow, what a topic, what a topic. I think that if you're in a position where your parents are coming to you for advice, you've made the full circle, you've made the full transition. And that's great, right? I think a big important step of growing up is starting to see our parents less as our parents and more as humans. More as people. And so if you're at a point where your parents are saying like, "Hey, can I lean on you for some advice?" That's a really great space to be in. I really commend that. That's awesome. I think that you have to be mindful of where your parents are. Your parents aren't in the same age bracket as you, so they're not necessarily dealing with the same dating challenges that you're dealing with. They're not dating the same demographic that you are, usually. Maybe you like to date up. So maybe you are dating people your parents age. In which case, you have better insight about what to talk to them in regards to the dating pool. But if your parents are leaning on your for advice, I'd advise you to like I said, be mindful that you're parents are in a different point in their life. They're in a different demographic, a different age bracket. So that's where I'd go back to the advice that I gave in the beginning. Checking in what what your parents want. Maybe your parents want a very serious relationship. Maybe your parents looking to get back on the dating market. Maybe they're looking to get married. And the advice you're gonna give them needs to come from a place of someone lookIng to be in a serious relationship. If your partner, excuse me. I keep doing that, do you see what I mean? But if your parent says, "Yeah I'm just looking for something easy, breezy" "light-hearted kind of want to figure out what I want." "Figure out who I am." "I'm just looking to date or maybe hookup." Then don't be sicked out by that. Like I said, your parents are people. So I'm not saying to talk nitty gritty sex details with your parents. I don't know that anybody wants to do that. I certainly don't. But being the daughter of a single mom, I try to say, "Hey mom, what are some things that you're thinking about?" Or "You're just taking it easy, dating?" And hold space for that and respond to the fact that she doesn't really wanna get married right now. She's trying to have fun. So don't be scared by your parents. They're people too. If your parent says, "Hey I wanna hookup, how do I do that?" Help them make a Tinder. Help them make a Bumble. Help them make a Her, right? Don't be turned off or scared that your parents are people too. Parents are people too. So they're gonna do what they want. And it helps to advise them. It feels really good that your parents can turn to you for advice. So be mindful of what they want and what they're looking for. And don't be sicked out by that Don't be scared by that. Don't be intimidated by maybe having a new father, father in law. Maybe having a new step-father, step-mother. Don't be scared by your mom or dad dating again. It's just part of life. So help them the best that you can. What kind of micro-aggression should I be worried about" if I'm giving dating advise to a friend? So think that language is really important in being mindful of micro-aggression. If you're friend is queer and they have a partner who maybe uses pronouns you've never heard before, like cesar is one that comes to mind. Or they use multiple pronouns, he, him, and, they, them. Just be mindful I think that something unfortunate that people do when they're not used to being around queer folks or being mindful to the language is that they'll mess up your pronouns and then they'll like freak out. And what they end up doing is taking up a lot of space and requiring a lot of emotional labor. So the reality is you're gonna mess up at some point. If you're not queer, and even if you are, I mess up all the time on friends pronouns, on being mindful of certain things. But that gives me an opportunity to be introspective about why I messed up. And to apologize to my friend sincerely. So if you mess up your friends partners pronouns, just say, "Hey I'm really sorry." "I'm not used to this and I'm gonna" "try really hard in the future." "Please call me out if you see me making" "a trend of this or a habit of this." "'Cause it's something that I need to work on." A friend of color. Be mindful that even if you are another person of color, not all the things we're dealing with are the same. I know me as a black person, I can speak to black issues but I can't speak to issues that indigenous folks face. I can't speak to issues that like next folks face. 'Cause I'm not that. I can't speak the issues that Asian folks face. So be mindful that everybody has different things that they're dealing with. Different places that they are in regards to their culture that they're gonna be up against. Especially if they're dating people inside their own culture and outside of their own culture. If your friend's in a interracial relationship, that's gonna pose certain problems, certain issues, that maybe you can speak to them or maybe you can't. So just being very mindful and very intentional about the advice you give. And saying sometimes, "Hey I can't speak to this topic." "I don't know about this." If your friend is a black queer person and they're saying, "I'm just tired 'cause my partner" "doesn't respect my pronouns." "My partner doesn't do this." Then give the advice you can. Maybe refer them to some resources and say, "Hey I have this other friend who is" "really good at giving advice." "They're also queer." "They're also brown, they're also black." "Would you mind if maybe I asked them" "or maybe you spoke to them?" I had a friend the other day, this isn't a relationship, but I had a friend the other day whose co-worker needed some advice about something and the co-worker is also a black fem. So they went to their co-worker and said, "Hey I don't think I'm the best person "to give you good advice about this topic." "But I have another black queer friend" "who is really good about giving advice." "So would you mind if I shared some details about this" "with them and maybe you could talk to them?" And that worked really well. Know your own limitations just like you know your friends. Maybe you can't give advice about this certain topic but you know somebody who can. Make sure you check in with your friend first and get permission. And say, "Hey you know, I think this person would be" "a really great resource for you to talk to." "I used them for advise in the past." "They talk about these topics all the time." "Can I link you two together" "and maybe you talk about it with them?" Don't be afraid to kind of de-center yourself. Hookups and relationships are very different. So be mindful about that. So I asked some friends, I mentioned this. I polled a lot of friends for advice. Advice that either they would give or advice that they've gotten. So I'm gonna share that with us and then we can unpack that. So my friend Shay says, "It's never too early for couples therapy." I think a lot of people get sicked out by the term therapy or they think, "Oh well we've only been dating for four months." or six months. But if your partner is receptive to it and you're receptive to it, it's never too early for couples therapy. Or having a mediated conversation. Having someone sit down with you and talk about your issues. It's never too early for that. My friend John says, "Have the DTR, define the relationship, talk" "every now and then or whenever you're feeling unsure." if you want some affirmations from your partner. You're not sure what your relationship is doing. Lot of people are like, "Oh, well, I just don't know where we stand." Talk to your partner. Your partner is your best line of communication for all things important to your relationship. So it's really important to sit down with your partner and say like, "Well what are we?" My old teacher, this is some of the best relationship advice I've ever gotten from a teacher I had in high school. And he said, "Never stay in a relationship long enough" "to see yourself become the enemy." So to give some context, I was actually giving advice to a friend about relationships. Troubles that she was having. I was about 17. So I went to a teacher and I said, "Hey Mr. So and so." I don't want to divulge his name. "What's some relationship advice that you could give?" And he said this. This comes from his brother being in a relationship and his brother wanted to break up with his girlfriend. But didn't know how, felt bad about doing this. So he started to do these really ugly behaviors to drive her away. But he ends up making her feel bad and feeling really bad about himself. So when it's time to call it quits, it's time to call it quits. You've done all you can do. You feel it's worn out it's welcome. You've worked on it as much as you can. Don't stay in the relationship to protect anybody else. To protect your partner. 'Cause not only are you gonna end up hurting your partner in the long run, but you're gonna feel bad. So don't ever stay in a relationship long enough to see yourself become the enemy. My friend Tim says, "Communicate." "Communicate well and frequently." That's something that Justin brought up in the beginning of this talk, communication is key. It's imperative to communicate openly and often with your partner. So always be transparent, always communicate and do so often. Talk to your partner every day if you can, if that works for both of you. Maybe you're long distance and you can't quite talk every day, but communicate with your partner. That's very, very critical. That's gonna alleviate a lot of problems. A lot of people when they break up they say, it was all the small things along the way. So really, really communicate and talk to your partner. My friend Cara said, "Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty." I love that advice, right. Have the sex you wanna have and keep the fights clean. Don't go under the belt, don't throw things in your partners face. Don't be mean, don't be cruel. At the end of the day, you don't really want to hurt your partner, right? So keep the fights clean, keep the sex dirty. Also, a lot of friends talked about this concept of how you can give all to one person or if you can give all to one person against the backdrop of monogamy. So if someone says, "Are you prepared to give all "of yourself to one person, can one person "be your everything and show up in all the ways you need? "Can you do that for another?" Which is a really, really important step. So I'm gonna share some of the other advice I got about this topic and then go back. Someone says, "I think something I've recently "come to understand about myself is that although I can grow "and change from relationships, good ones, "I don't have to adjust myself completely "in order to be what the other person needs or wants. "I can small shifts that the person is more comfortable, "or has the right kinds of affirmation, but I don't have to "give up my own comfort or identity in order to do that. Very important, important stuff. Really crucial advice about not changing all of who you are but you can shift in minor ways for a person but if you find that you can't be who someone needs you to be, maybe it's not good to be in the relationship. So now I want to take a break from the advice and share some questions that people submitted. So, someone in D.C. says, "My friends always ask me "when it's okay to assume monogamy. "I don't know what to tell them." Well, as much as I'm annoyed by this, and it's obnoxious, it's never good to assume. You know what they say about assuming? It makes an ass out of you and me. So I don't think it's ever good to assume monogamy. I think in a lot of my circles, people are poly so I don't ever assume monogamy. But again, communicate, be transparent. Have that define the relationship talk. It's never to early to say, "Where are we?" "What are you looking for in a relationship?" Sometimes on the first date I'll say, "So what are you looking for? "Are you looking to have a serious date? "Are you looking to just hook up?" And get a feel for your partner. If they can't answer that question or won't answer that question, that tells you a lot. So I would say to never assume anything in relationship, don't assume monogamy. Just be transparent, ask for what you want. Ask to have your needs met. And say, "Hey, look, I'm looking for "a committed monogamous relationship. "If that's something you're also looking for, "yes, cool, let's do it. "No, okay, well I wish you all the best, "but we're not after the same thing. Or respond how you want to respond. But don't be afraid to have that conversation. Don't be afraid to be transparent. Even though being transparent can be daunting, it's very, very crucial. So I'd advise you to not ever assume monogamy. You never know. Whether that's because you're dating someone who isn't monogamous or because it's still early in the dating. So have that define the relationship talk. Ask your partner what they're looking for ask them what they want. And don't be afraid to say, "What are we? "What are we doing?" "What do you want?" "What do I want?" And ask yourself too, "What do I want?" But don't ever quite assume monogamy. Someone said, "My friend is dating a guy, "who insists on having sex all the time. "She was fascinated that I would make out with my girlfriend "and sometimes not have sex. "She said that if her boyfriend got turned on, "he gets grumpy if he doesn't have sex. "She said she was super into all the sex they were having, "but it smelt fishy." Someone from Rhode Island. So that is fishy. I think that based on the question and the way it was phrased, you did the right thing by checking in with your partner. By seeing that it was consensual which is why she said she was super into it. So I commend you for that, that's something you should always do, follow your gut if you feel like, hey, that sounds a little iffy, that sounds a little weird, I'm worried about your consent framework. Definitely ask about that and see what your partner says. It sounds like your friend is dating a really self-centered and immature dude. Unfortunately that's not super rare for a lot of people in relationships to have a partner who's very self-centered or immature or focused on their own needs. When it comes to sex that conversation becomes even more complex and even more daunting. Whoo, that's a bit of a messy situation. But, I'd say your friend needs to lay down some clear boundaries. If that's bothering them, tell your friend to say, "Hey look, I don't always want to have sex. "Sometimes I'm content to just snuggle, "sometimes I'm content to just make out. "How come we can never do that?" To really have a transparent conversation with your partner about why they have those behaviors. And if their partner gets grumpy from not having sex, listen, you're dating, you're not parents right, you're not parenting your partner. Me, personally, and this is the advice I would give. I don't any time to deal with someone being grumpy 'cause they didn't get sex. You kidding? I don't like to be the person who says, "Oh let's break up." But if you're gonna be grumpy and you're pouting from not having sex, ♪ Hit the road Jack ♪ ♪ And don't you come back ♪ That's not for me. So if your friend is mindful of all that, and the relationship's really important to her, she wants to stay in it, I would advise her to sit down and have a conversation. That's something that I think counseling could really benefit both of them, or a mediated dialogue. There's really no excuse to pout if a partner won't give you sex. That's really not ever appropriate. That's really not ever healthy. So I'd let your partner know maybe they're alright with it, maybe they're alright with having a lot of sex, they feel like it's really satisfying. But that issue is actually very serious you need to address it like a serious issue and address it for what it is. Maybe it doesn't bother them that much, but that's something that has potential to be a huge issue in the future. You're not always gonna have a matching libido with your partner, and that's okay, but what's isn't okay is your partner whining, acting spoiled or entitled to your body. So that's an issue they need to really sit down and discuss. Which brings me to some other relationship advice from my friend Tee. Having clear expectations between you and your partner about what you both need and you both expect from each other and giving each other space you both need to grow. Everyone has a different love language so you can't expect each friend or partner to give you everything you would need in the way you would like. This is very, very important and this response to the advice that we just gave, that you can't always be there in all ways for your partner. And that's okay. So you need to sit down with your partner and have a transparent dialogue about what you both need to grow, what you're both looking for in a relationship. What your limitations are respectively and respond in kind, respond to that as it is. Instead of idealizing the relationship or being upset about things not being what you want. Instead of just acquiescing to your partner's demands all the time, I'd urge you to talk about things with your partner. Even have those daunting maybe ugly conversations. Someone else, Sam, says, "One of the best pieces of advice "I learned slowly was the idea of letting go of control. "I want the person that I'm with to be a certain way "and that's how I think I'm deserving, but if I've learned "anything, it's that I don't always know what's good for me. "Stepping back and letting go of control of others "rather than focusing on that person's words "I took power in myself in directing how I would like "to show up in the world and in the relationship." So we can't always control our partner's actions and we shouldn't. But we can control how we respond, we can control how we react. So think about you want to show up in a relationship, what you want to do and prioritize that. So someone from Virginia says, "My friend smokes a lot of pot with her boyfriend." "They're basically high all the time. "I'm worried that they get high to ignore their problems. "Do I have the responsibility to say anything?" So I like this question, I think it's very interesting. I think this is one where you have to be mindful of your own limitations, you have to be mindful of your own values. If you're a person who doesn't smoke ever, maybe you don't see why anybody would smoke. I'm not a big drinker, personally, I'm more of a smoker actually than a drinker, I always say that I prefer to fly than swim. But I don't really relate to drinking or going to the bar that much, but I understand that it's something that people like. So if my friend says, "Oh, I go to the bar once or twice a week." Then maybe that seems like a lot to me 'cause I don't really enjoy drinking, but I don't know that because I don't like it that means it's a big red flag. So I'll be mindful of that before I give advice. I'll say, "You know what, I don't think having a drink twice a week is a big deal, I just don't like drinking." So, that'smyself. I would again, I think a lot of my advice would've been I think that you're already on the right track by checking in on yourself. 'Cause you even asking the question, shows that you said, "Hey, is it my place to give this advice? "Is it my place to talk about this? "Do I have a responsibility to step in?" So I think that if you want your friend's relationship to go smoothly, if you're invested in your friend's personal growth, then it's always good to step in. I think it's always a responsibility we have to make sure our friends are being the best people they can be. That being said, it doesn't mean that you're an addiction counselor. It doesn't mean that you're necessarily equipped to diagnose overuse of marijuana. But I would bring it up and I'd bring it up carefully. And I'd just say, "Hey, you know, I noticed that you "and your partner smoke a lot. "Is this just a recreational thing "that you guys do together? "Is this a bonding activity, something you do to have fun "or are you using it as a coping mechanism, "like what might you be dealing with?" And that's a good place to start too. Like, hey I want to check in with you. Are you dealing with anything particularly stressful. And if they say, "Yeah, you know what, finances "have been really bad lately, "I think I'm gonna get laid off at work. "My mom's health is really bad." Then you can say, "Oh, okay, well how are you dealing with that?" And they say, "I'm really not dealing with it. "I smoke a lot, me and Jeff smoke a lot." Then you can address it from there. But if they say, "Actually everything's hunky dory, "I'm the best I've ever been. "Everything's peachy keen, I'm fine, I'm smoking "all the time 'cause I'm having a great time in life. "I'm doing well." Well then say, "Hey, you know, more power to you." But just see what your friend's goals are for the relationship and what they're looking for. I think drug use can be complex. Not everybody likes drugs at all. People have really negative experiences with drugs. So I understand the desire to check in on your friends Hey, you're smoking a lot. What's going on? So just say that. Say, "Hey, how can I help you. "I'm worried that this might be a problem for you "but I'm also mindful as a person who doesn't smoke "that this might just be a recreational activity "this might just be something spiritual, "something fun for you. "So can I ask what's going on there?" And if you have an open relationship with your friend then they should be able to say, "Yeah, thanks for asking, "I actually am fine with my current smoking use. "I'll come to you in the future if it does become a problem. "But right now I'm content with how much I smoke "and how much me and my partner smoke." But be transparent. A lot of my advice today, a lot of the things I've said, a lot of the things that I share normally just boil down to being transparent. Ask your friend, "Hey what's going on?" And tell them what you want from them, what you want to see from them. I think that's really your best bet. So, we are unfortunately about to close up. I would love to know any other questions folks have for me. Things you're concerned about. Anything else I can address for you about being a Hookup Hero and getting wise before you advise. Are there any other questions folks have or things you'd like me to talk more about or unpack more. Oh where's my water. Let me know if you have anything you'd like me to talk about before we close down this session, do some more deep breathing and go away for the night. I may not be able to unpack in detail any questions you ask but it can also be used for future streams. You can contact me on my WordPress or my Twitter and I'd love to keep the conversation going to respond to your questions or concerns. But let me know if there's anything else I can help you with any other things on your mind, things you think I didn't do enough justice talking about, or things you'd like to hear me unpack even more. Christina's right, advising friends is very hard. It's very daunting to give advice. Like I said, in the beginning check in with yourself. It's very, very important that if you're someone who's always giving advice, you advise yourself. Or ask your friends and say, "Hey, I feel like I'm giving "you advice a lot, could I come to you with this? "Can I trust you with this?" Or whoever you normally go to for seeking advice. Oh, I hate this dead silence, I wish we could play some music. Definitely great advice. Ah, well thank you, Justin. You're far too kind, I really appreciate that. I do it all for the clout and the affirmation and the validation actually. So I'm gonna be riding high with these compliments for a week, thank you very much. Any other things, I'll give maybe another minute or two for folks to ask questions or voice concerns. And then we'll do some more deep breathing and then we will go our way for the night. Thank you for being with me, I really appreciate it. I hope you have a great night. I hope this was helpful. I hope you'll reach out to me in the future on social media if you have any other questions. And I hope you'll tune into some streams in the future. Thanks for being here, I'm really excited to be here with you as well. Sometimes I feel like an ass giving advice. Yeah, sometimes I also feel like a know-it-all. But that's why I only try to give advice when people ask me for it and not when they don't. If I notice a problem, I'll say, "Hey, can I talk to you about this?" Yes, cool. No, hey okay. But I try not to give unsolicited advice. That's unfortunately something that we didn't bring up too much today was unsolicited advice and how to avoid that. But I think it was entrenched in the paternalistic dialogue, the protection dialogue. But sometimes I do feel like a know-it-all giving advice. But I try to say, hey my friend asked me for help today so I'm just responding to what they want. And I think that curtails that feeling of being an asshole or being a know-it-all. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and close things out. So let's do one more big, deep breath. Thank you for being here again. If you were here in the beginning, then you know how this goes, if you weren't, that's cool too. I'm gonna count down from three on my fingers, when we get to one, we're all gonna take a big inhale. So big, you should feel it in your back. We're gonna hold it for three seconds and then we're gonna exhale. Let me take a drink of water before I do that. I invite you to take a drink or a snack, eat your nachos, your thin mints, whatever. Alright, okay. Okay ready, three, two, one. That feels good to me. I hope it feels good to you. Like I said, I'm excited to be here. I love doing these talks. Thank you for being here with me. And I hope to see you in the future, I hope you'll tune in. Thanks so much. It's been rad. Bye.