Dating as a Girlboss: Thoughts on Ambitious Goals, Guys and Making It Work

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Hello, World.

Today I come to you with a topic that’s far more personal than my recent posts. Today, I want to discuss modern dating; specifically, if you’re career driven, have many goals for yourself, and are hesitant to settle down until you achieve your goals. For the purposes of full disclosure, I am by no means an expert on dating. In fact, I’m probably quite the opposite. However, lately, relationships have come up in conversations with friends more and more. I joked recently with one of my friends that I left for the summer with mostly single friends and returned to find a good portion of my friends dating someone or at least having a hand in the dating game.

During a night of drinking with my roommates a few weeks ago, we swapped war stories about relationships we’ve had in the past. As I sat there, the sweet scent of a Mike’s Harder wafting up my nostrils, listening to my friends lament the failed attempts of relationships past, I couldn’t help but think that I’ve never been really really burned. I mean, I’ve had failed relationships and once they ended I thought, “That wasn’t the healthiest, but overall I learned a lot.” Additionally, I’m a firm believer that most of the time, there isn’t one completely innocent party. A relationship is a two-way street, and often both parties act in a way that contributes to the relationship’s demise. In all honesty, looking back on the relationships I consider significant, I don’t think the guys I was with are bad people, not then and not now. But I look at where we are now, individually, and laugh. We couldn’t be more different. The guys I dated went their own way, and I went mine, and we ended up in very different places. There’s a reason we separated and it was for the best.

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However, it’s funny how different dating is as you age. In high school, dating was fairly easy. You went to the movies, you hung out by firepits in backyards, you argued about whether you were going to hang out or not based on if he could borrow the family car. In college it was different, but still pretty easy. You studied together, went on dates in your college town, attended parties together and argued about whether you were going to go to that party with his friends or go to that event with yours. I’m not trying to simplify dating, sometimes it is heavy and sometimes it has intense, serious consequences. However, in the grand scheme of things, dating in high school and college seems easier because it’s easy to meet people, it’s easy to see them, and you’re both operating in similar spheres of life. However, dating post-college isn’t as easy. My friends are all on dating apps and recommended I sign up. So I did. I scrolled through a few profiles and didn’t find anything promising, so said maybe that wasn’t the best approach. My friends often tell me my standards are too high. Maybe they are, but I also haven’t met anyone I wanted to lower my standards for, so I remain steadfast in my pursuit of the “unrealistic.”

In addition to relationships entering conversation more frequently with my friends, some of my favorite bloggers have also been contributing to the dialogue. Katy Bellotte, the Youtube persona and author of TheKatyProject.com, has constant negativity clogging her comment sections with readers ridiculing her videos and blog posts for focusing primarily on relationships. This obviously raises the question: why do people react so viscerally to a college-aged woman (who has her own business) discussing relationships, f*ckboys and casual sex? Some women comment with “I like you, but all you talk about is relationships. It’s annoying. You don’t need a man!” But here’s the thing: she doesn’t need a man, but maybe she wants one. Maybe she doesn’t even want a man in the sense of an ever elusive creature who she can chase through various frat houses, she just wants a relationship, someone she can feel something for who isn’t going to text her “Send nudes” at 3 am or “you up?” at midnight. People expect someone like Katy, who is a business owner, driven, dedicated, and absolutely killing it, to stand firm and say, “I don’t need a man.” They expect her to have walls on all four sides of her being that refuse to let anyone in because she’s a strong independent woman. However, I think vulnerability is important. Vulnerability is what allows us to learn. If you can only be either a strong independent woman or a senseless romantic that’s extremely limiting. Why can’t women who are strong and independent want relationships?

The Bold Type, the new Freeform show, is a current obsession of mine and it’s mainly because the show portrays driven, successful women grappling with friendship, their careers, and relationships. Relationships and the ability to feel strongly for another person is what makes us human. Sure, we fear that stomach-dropping, ears ringing feeling that comes with a read, but unanswered text, or when he’s over an hour late and doesn’t call, or when you find out through the grapevine he’s implied you’re desperate. Dating is scary but I do think that sometimes we–‘we’ being successful and driven women–use our status as a blockade against feelings. If we’re too busy building our empires, we can’t possibly get hurt. There’s only so many read receipt rejections, minutes over- thinking responses, and disappointed evenings women can endure before they feel like sitting on their couch with a bottle of wine and chocolate, pathetically watching romantic comedies and thinking the following

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I mean, dating is hard enough and then you factor in all the conventions of modern dating and it’s basically a no go. By modern dating conventions I mean the whole “don’t catch feels,” “don’t seem too eager,” “make him jealous,” “you have to be casual” stuff. There’s this expectation that we cannot feel anything and if we do feel something then it’s our own damn fault when it goes wrong because we weren’t supposed to feel anything to begin with. To be frank, this idea of dating makes it pretty easy to feel nothing. Few people have the conviction to say how they’re feeling and pursue what they want openly. Why is it bad to admit you care for someone and then pursue them? To be fair, some of us have that “he said you’re trying too hard and he’s not interested,” playing on repeat in our head as background music in the movie of our lives where he asks for our number, ask us if we’re going to make a move, then has the audacity to call you desperate, thinking you’d never find out. Hello – high school isn’t dead (news travels faster than if I live tweeted the whole thing).

Returning to my “too high of standards” for a moment, I think the funny thing is that my standards aren’t actually that high. Is it really asking too much to want someone who is witty and understands that I’m not being snobby, I’m just really sarcastic? Is it too much to want someone who will return texts or calls without it being weird? Who won’t gawk at the phone, exasperated I’m showing my hand if I call them simply because I want to? I don’t think it is. As a general aside, when my last serious relationship ended, someone close to me said I was one bad relationship from seriously screwing up my life. They were joking, but there was some truth in this.  Perhaps because when I’m in, I’m all in or because if I dedicate myself to something, I will sometimes try to work it out for much longer than I should. Regardless, the comment stung. Since then, I’ve refused to let anyone derail my plans. I’ve refused to settle and I’ve refused to pursue someone unless I really felt something (I know, feeling something is breaking the rules… But I don’t always like playing by the rules, so…)

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Some people want a Nicholas Sparks movie to play out in real time. Some people are being “realistic” for accepting modern dating as it is, building their fortress and refusing to “catch feels.” Some people think dating should have an aspect of *gasp* mutual respect. All of us think we have the dating game somewhat figured out, and if we don’t we come up with coping mechanisms… either refusing to acknowledge feelings or recusing ourselves for a few rounds (aka months/years) of the dating game. I joke pretty regularly that I have horrible timing. I tend to catch people on the cusp of a major life change. My first serious boyfriend and I broke up because he was going through a personal change that affected all the relationships in his life and our relationship was part of the collateral damage. My second serious boyfriend figured some things out and acted upon certain discoveries, which terminated our relationship unexpectedly and quickly. Then, the next person to come along entered my life before I was about to move across the country and few people desire a long distance relationship, especially in new relationships. However, I do feel like the expression “you’ll meet the person when you stop trying” is becoming a cliche for a reason. We don’t have to actively look for someone to date. In fact, I don’t think we want or need to engage in such a pursuit. However, regardless of the path you choose when it comes to dating, remember it’s okay to have standards, it’s okay to stick by those standards and it’s certainly okay to feel. How are we supposed to have lasting, healthy relationships if their beginnings are built on games played through emotional fortresses?

This post is getting long and so I think I will conclude with this: find someone who makes you laugh, who the conversation is easy with, who challenges you, who supports you, and who won’t waste your time, forcing you to wonder where you stand. Find someone who makes it clear that you’re important and that you matter.

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What are your experiences with dating post-grad or while in school?

Truly,

Callie leigh

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Are the Bad Boy and the Bad Friend Really Different?

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Hello, World.

I was in the fourth grade the first time I was friends with someone who consistently hurt my feelings. This may not seem unusual, I mean fourth graders can be pretty rude little creatures. The thought of my precious niece having to deal with “mean girls” in elementary and middle school makes me physically sick. I dealt with mean girls from a pretty young age. I used to think something was wrong with me. I used to think it was always my fault that something was going wrong with friends. Then I realized that kids change their opinions on literally everything so frequently, it’s hard to know if changing their mind about friendship is personal or not. However, when you’re a fourth grade girl who hangs out with her best friend one night after school, getting stomach cramps from laughing so hard, only to walk into class the next day and have her glare at you and ignore every attempt to talk to her, it’s hard to see that behavior as anything but personal.

Fourth grade and my twenties aren’t that different when it comes to friendships in all honesty. People say romantic relationships are riskier than friendships… I disagree. I personally invest far more of myself into a friendship than I do a relationship. Maybe this will change, but when I make friends, I want to be friends with the person for a long time. Also, I think it’s easier to feel less afraid of a friend hurting you than a potential suitor. How many of us go into friendships with the same guards up as we do when we’re dating someone new? We aren’t as guarded because we haven’t necessarily been scorned the same way by our friends. Sure, friends have falling outs as the years go by, but friends drifting apart is natural. It’s something that people typically don’t bat an eye at in life. Oh, you grew apart from so and so? Ms. Whatshername stopped calling after moving to a new place? That’s just part of life! I once wrote an open letter to the friends I’d fallen out of touch with, and I think falling out of touch is healthy sometimes and it really is normal. As frustrating as it can be, sometimes life just takes people different places and you’re no longer speaking the same language.

However, sometimes we don’t drift apart from people, even when we should. Some friendships seem great on the surface but are actually terrible for us. Why is it that we can recognize a bad boy a mile away, and know immediately the boy is bad for us, but when a bad friend is staring us down, we pretend like the boy and the friend are not made of the same cloth? We’ve grown up hearing about the exception to the rule in men. The Mr. Darcy versus the Mr. Mayer. There is a nice guy out there, just waiting to be found. Yet we don’t have the same scrutiny when it comes to friends. We accept friends like free samples handed out in the mall. We meet new people, find a common interest and bam! We’re friends. There’s so much less fear, no endless moments of thinking, “am I doing this right?” I’ve had a lot of unhealthy friendships in my life. In fact, those mornings in fourth grade made me scared that I was going to walk up to my friends one day and have them not like me, partly because the pattern that started in fourth grade was repeated in eighth grade and sophomore year of high school, until one day I decided to just stop trying to be friends with people who couldn’t decide if I was worthy of their friendship. If they couldn’t decide, they didn’t deserve my friendship. However, when I got to college, I encountered a group of people who were constantly rude to me for no apparent reason. My fourth-grade insecurities came to a head, and I ended up ugly crying in my towel to a friend. That’s when I made the decision final: if someone was going to treat me with the same amount of concern they would treat gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe, they didn’t need to be my friend.

Toxic friendships are hard to spot. They come in all different forms, some friends are passive aggressive, some are aggressive, some are so hot and cold the constant fluctuations give you whiplash. The first time I saw a toxic friendship play out in a big way was in the movie Something Borrowed (book and movie). Ironically, my oldest friend and I joke that we are similar to Darcy and Rachel, but not because of the toxicity of their friendship. We’re just opposites who happen to be best friends [the similarities stop there, though. Trust me.]. Anyway, Darcy and Rachel seem to be best friends on the surface, but the deeper you dig, the more you realize the friendship is incredibly draining and Darcy is consistently acting in such a way as to belittle Rachel. Though they seem like such great friends, the friendship is killing Rachel. No friend should belittle you. I had a law school friend who I talked to a ton first semester but took a step back from the second semester. The perception of myself as a law student, without their influence, was a stark contrast. I no longer felt like I was doing something wrong for not getting something immediately. I don’t want to go too far into it, but let’s just say I realized, with some distance between us, that their small comments were actually contributing heavily to my self-doubt and feelings of incompetence.

I’d like to conclude with this: you may not recognize a bad friend with the immediacy you would recognize a bad boy, but you should develop enough confidence in yourself to know that if someone is making you feel less than or inadequate or like they’re doing you a favor by being your friend, you’re most likely better without them.

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Have you ever had a toxic friend? How did you know? What did you do to change the situation?

Truly,
Callie leigh

How to be Single: Why it’s important

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Hello, World.

I recently watched How To Be Single for the first time, and was cracking up through the whole movie. I totally loved it: loved the message, the cast, the whole thing. While the film is meant to be a comedic look at the different ways people are single, and how they handle the status, I think that the message of the film is actually really important. Sure, watching Rebel Wilson make vulgar comments about men or show up late 3+ hours to work is funny, but I think the storyline I most enjoyed was Dakota Johnson’s, which shows a college graduate terminate a long term relationship so she can figure out “what she’s like on her own.” Frankly, being alone is something most people struggle with.

A lot of people see others coupling off, and feel like maybe it’s time to settle down. And we won’t even go into the subtle societal comments that imply we’re living in a Jane Austen novel… We are conditioned to believe that being with someone is best. However, I’m pretty happy being single, and I have a ton of friends who are also happy being single. I dated someone my freshman year of college, and I’m so glad it didn’t work out because the next three years were REALLY transformative for me, and I don’t think they would have been so important had I still been dating someone. I think being comfortable alone is important, but what I think is more important is using the time alone to really figure out who you are as an individual. Sure, one day you can be part of a couple, but you need to know what you’re bringing to the table, what you’re offering, and how the person you’re dating can compliment the person you are.

Not to hate on people who date a lot or switch from long term relationship to long term relationship, but I sometimes wonder if the people who do this know who they are. It’s hard to imagine that those relationships haven’t sort of defined who the person is. From the outside, it appears that the growing and maturing that happens in early adulthood is happening in relation to someone else. This is probably not true for everyone, and I don’t mean for it to sound like a standard. However, I do think it is fundamentally important for people to know who they are. Here’s the thing: if you don’t know who you are and what you’re looking for and what you deserve, how can anyone appreciate who you are when even you don’t know who that is. Relating this to How To Be Single, [NOTE: this may contain a spoiler, so avert your eyes if you don’t want a small plot point ruined], Dakota Johnson’s character spends much of her time that she’s supposed to be “finding herself” hooking up with or trying to fall for a new guy. The irony, of course, is that her idea of finding herself is finding another male counterpart. It’s soon revealed this is, quite obviously, the wrong way to go about finding yourself.

I think the most important part of being comfortable alone is recognizing you don’t have to settle. Now, naturally, one of the concerns about people being too comfortable alone is that they won’t ever settle down, but I think this is unreasonable as far as arguments go. Yes, people can be too comfortable being alone, but the thing is, if someone really wants to be part of your life, you will accommodate them because it’ll be too good to pass up. While you may be stuck in your ways, and stubborn about the proper way to put toilet paper on the dispenser, if you know the fit is right, you might ease up on the little things. However, you still remain steadfast in the things that make you you: belief systems, what treatment you will allow, your career goals, etc. I think there is a reason a large percentage of people say they found their significant other, spouse, etc. when they weren’t really looking. So, if you’re single, go out there and be yourself, and do your thing, and the love stuff will come when it does. If you’re in a relationship or married or whatever, make sure you know who you are, and what you, as an individual, are bringing to your relationship.

Now, to close, I will say if you haven’t seen How To Be Single, I suggest renting it, making some popcorn, pouring a glass of wine, and watching it ASAP.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Sunday Six

Hello, World.

Today I wanted to share 6 things that are currently on my mind, or at least that have caught my attention recently! Given how much social media there is, and sharing everything, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the stuff out there. Sometimes it’s easier to sift through, and pull out the things that really left an impression! So, here are six things that I keep thinking about recently. tumblr_obngibp8b31vbn0u6o1_1280.jpg

  1. this article about why modern dating is the worst, which I feel like nicely supplements the post I wrote about being single in our 20s.
  2. Plated! I ordered my first week of Plated, and spent last week making the meals. Although one meal wasn’t my favorite, the other two were great! I really liked Plated because it makes me feel like I can cook, helps me improve my cooking, and makes sure I’m eating good meals that are the right proportions.
  3. Truckernuck new arrivals are making me so excited for fall and cold weather!
  4. Katy Bellotte’s instagram is so inspiring. She’s having to time of her life in Italy, and I can’t get over all the beautiful photos she’s been posting. Law school has sort of killed my Instagram game, so I love inspiring accounts.
  5. This article about friendship, and how friendships change over time. I’m not one to really overthink friendships. I try to take them slowly, and it usually takes me a while to figure out who I really want to surround myself with. I do feel like, however, that friends can ghost you way more than guys. All this talk about guys ghosting, and we never even think about how friends do it too.
  6. This pair of pumps is so adorable, I just can’t get over it! Definitely would be perfect for the holiday season.

And there you have six things I’m loving or relating to!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Enjoying the Single Life in Your 20s

Hello, World.

Something that’s been on my mind lately is the fact that it seems like everyone around me is either getting engaged or getting married. So many people I know are making serious moves in the dating world, and even though I’m seriously happy for them, I’m getting sick of the dating questions I always get. Countless people ask if I’m seeing anyone, or when I think I’ll get married (hello, I need to be dating someone first), and I can’t even tell you how often I hear “you’re going to meet the love of your life at law school and get married and never return to CA.” I mean, never say never, but also, I’m not banking on this. I actually like being single. This may be shocking, but some women in their 20s don’t mind being single. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re closed minded to meeting someone, but unless the person really stands out, I’m okay just working through school and doing my thing. Powerful women are okay, single women are okay, and driven women are okay. But anyway, I wanted to share some thought about why it’s completely okay to be single in your 20s if you haven’t met anyone or aren’t even looking!
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Don’t feel discouraged when you are single, instead embrace it. I feel like being single in college was one of the best things for me. In high school, I dated or liked someone really often. I felt like I needed a significant other or I was doing something wrong. How immature that thinking was. I did the most learning about myself, and became more confident in who I was when I was single in college. I focused on my girlfriends, and I focused on being happy and being content with being myself. I focused on my goals, and got to a point where I didn’t want to compromise anything for anyone. I wanted to make decisions that felt right with myself. Going to law school was a big decision, and I knew that if I was in a relationship, I would have had factors I didn’t want (like how close or far I would be from my boyfriend, or how to deal with long distance or whatever factors come with having to factor someone in). In season 7 of Gilmore Girls, Rory and Logan have this big talk about factoring each other in when making decisions about jobs and graduate stuff. I knew that was a conversation I didn’t want to have, as in I didn’t want to factor in anyone but myself and my family. I liked having to only answer to myself.

Now, when people ask me about dating in college, I say to keep it casual, keep it to a minimum, and to focus on yourself! Your twenties are your time to be selfish. Enjoy the time to yourself! Learn about yourself, learn about the world, travel, eat good food, drink good coffee, do what makes you happy. You do not need a significant other or counterpart to complete you. When I talk about this, I say, when I meet someone who really catches my attention, I’ll date them or see where it goes, I’m not opposed to the opposite sex, but I’m also not dependent on it either. I will date someone when I feel like I should or want to see where something goes, but I am also completely okay being single, and not in a rush to date. Again, if you meet someone you want to date, date them! If nobody is catching your eye, stay single. Don’t rush or force a relationship because you feel like you should be in one. The last relationship I had, I wanted a boyfriend, I wanted someone to call my boyfriend, so I ignored the red flags and pushed myself in to something that wasn’t healthy and ended poorly. Sure, the experience gave me a lot of perspective, and showed me what I definitely did not want, but it also turned me off to dating just long enough for me to realize the positives of single life.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I like having a boyfriend. I like the idea of going on dates, having someone to talk to, or be romantic with, and whatnot. But I also don’t want a boyfriend that doesn’t make me ridiculously happy or doesn’t treat me well. So, I wait. I will say I think the dating culture for 20 somethings right now makes it difficult to find what I see myself having. If I decided tomorrow I wanted to start dating, and I DO NOT mean hooking up, but actually dating, the kind of dinner and movie shenanigans most people treat as the most archaic practice, even more than what we see in Game of Thrones, I think it’d be trickyMost people my age don’t want to seriously date, and it’s sort of like, why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? If so many people partake in hookup culture, there’s no point in a guy trying to date a girl. I’m not saying there aren’t men who want to date seriously, but they’re harder and harder to come by.

So, if someone comes along that really just makes you want to date, go ahead and go for it. But it’s also completely okay to stay single in your 20s and do all the things you want to do without having someone romantic. There’s nothing worse than getting caught up in a relationship and then feeling like maybe you missed out or resenting the relationship if it doesn’t work out and you put yourself on hold during its duration. It’s okay to put yourself first, and live life, and be happy. Do what feels right, and live each day as best as you can!

Truly,
Callie leigh