Over Analyzing In Relationships

I have to admit.  I have been very guilty of this one.  I analyze relationships for a living.  I read into things and speculate on what things mean.  It is great at work.  Speculation is what helps me help others.  However, in a relationship it can be very stressful.  When people worry, it usually comes from a combination of feeling insecure and having a great imagination.  I find that a lot of people are like this, especially when it comes to relationships.   So, when I read the post, Translating Text Messages by Neal on COED Magazine’s blog, I knew I had to share it.

Neal writes…For many guys, the advent of the text message was an absolute godsend. Personally, I hate talking on the phone.  It sucks.  You can’t see the person you’re talking to, so you have no clue how they’re responding. I’m big on body language and facial expressions.  If I say something and I get dead air, I panic big time.  While I’m over here preparing a noose, it turns she might just be zoning out on The Bachelor, checking Facebook, or painting her nails.  The whole time, I’m thinking Did she get the joke? Is she rolling her eyes? WHEN ARE WE GETTING THE VIDEO PHONE?!

Yes, I know about Skype and Google Video chat – but…text messaging has been my communication of choice.  No matter how many times I read advice articles telling me girls want us to pick up the phone and talk, I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s actually hurt my dating life as much as it’s helped it.

But, there’s a really good reason why girls tell us to call instead of text, because their minds go into absolute OVERDRIVE when they receive a text message – especially ones without emoticons to help them understand your intention.  Do you think I like using emoticons?  No.  But, for a girl to NOT go crying into her 15 pillows at night or throwing her phone in the toilet, I have to use ‘em.  As much as guys struggle with interpreting phone calls, girls have five hour panel discussions about your texts.

So, I’m going to attempt to break down how both men and women should interpret the following text messages.


Guys Sends / Girl Receives: Guy’s cool with whatever you said, but doesn’t have the time or energy to put a pretty pink bow on it.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: She’s probably pissed. I always follow this up with “can’t talk now, call u later” unless of course her response is to “call u later” then CALL HER LATER (no matter how much that sucks)

“What’s up?”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: Most likely he’s bored, just wants to check in, or if it’s late night he wants some ass

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: She hasn’t heard from the guy in a while and is worried or if it’s late night she wants some ass

“What are you doing later?”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: He wants to go out with his buddies, but is hoping to secure booty with the girl BEFORE going out OR he might be meeting up with a girl and wants to make sure he A) doesn’t run into the girl or B) has a back up plan

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: She’s got plans with her girls, but it’s not girls night out. Things are looking good for you, my man.

“I wish you were here”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: … so he can hook up

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: … so she can hook up OR to save her from other dudes / show her friends her new catch

“I’m not feeling well”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: If this is the first text of the convo, he wants the girl to come over and nurse him back to the health (read: hook up). If it’s not the lead text, he just wants to end the convo for now.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: She just wants to end the convo

“It was nice seeing you last night”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: If he didn’t hook up with you, he wants to.  If he did hook up with you, he wants to do it again.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: Same as above.  There is a slight chance she felt bad for not hooking up with you and she doesn’t want you to think she’s a bitch.

“Whatever you want to do”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: Seriously, whatever you want to do. It’s your call. (this is when i throw that stupid smiley face on the end so she doesn’t cut her wrists)

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: Most likely, she’s pissed.  If it’s followed by an smiley face (god DAMN those emoticons) she’s perfectly happy with whatever you decide to do.  Wife that chick up.

“I’ll text you later”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: He can tell you’re antsy.  Yes, he’s dismissing you but it’s better than not getting any response, right?   Chill.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: It’s rare for a girl to ever send this.  If she does, a guy should know that’s a free pass to forget about her until she actually does text you.

“OK. (with the period)”

Guys Sends / Girl Receives: Unless this is an accident, he’s pissed.  Do NOT call or text for at least a day, maybe half a day.  Better off calling.  If he doesn’t pick up, just leave a message explaining.  If no response then adios, muchacho.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: Pissed. Gonna have to wait this out til her anger subsides then call and leave a voice mail if she doesn’t pick up.


Guys Sends / Girl Receives: Could be a dismissive laugh, but he wants to let you know it’s funny and he didn’t really have anything to respond with.  It’s filler.

Girls Sends / Guy Receives: To me, I think “lol” is the girls’ version of “haha”. Then again, if it’s followed by an exclamation point, she genuinely thinks it’s funny.  Same with extending the ha – as in ‘hahahahhahahahaha’ – that’s the honest to god laughing out loud.

That was Neil’s breakdown on text messages…here are my thoughts on why texting can cause people to over analyze.

I have found that texting seems to make a lot of people very anxious.  I see many people who over analyze everything they read in their text messages or in the status updates of their friends on Facebook.  If you read the interpretations above, you know that guys and girls can mean different things even when they say the same things.  It is hard to know what the intentions are behind certain texts because emotion doesn’t come across.  This drives most people crazy.

If you are someone who also has a vivid imagination, you may be more prone to feeling like an anxious mess.  In counseling sessions, I address self-confidence all the time.   If you over analyze, confidence is going to be what helps you minimize the amount of time your imagination goes in a bad direction.  Confidence is also the key to avoiding a lot of  relationship stress.  This is why texting is the death of many relationships.  A lot of people feel like their boyfriend or girlfriend is going to break up with them because they aren’t good enough.   They aren’t confident enough in themselves or the relationship to keep their imagination from going down a dark path when they read certain texts or messages.

Communication is complicated enough because men and women do think differently.  When you add insecurity on top of that it can cause many more problems.  I liked Neil’s post about texting because it does point out that men and women have different intentions when they say or do certain things.  That is why a lot of people can get caught up in it.  Also learn to prioritize.  There are more important things to worry about then why your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t texting back right away.  Being confident and having trust in the relationship really will help you to keep your overactive imagination on the right track.  Gaining knowledge about how other people think, especially how your boyfriend or girlfriend thinks, also really helps.  If you are naturally a laid back person, you may not have this issue as much.  However, I’ve noticed that even the most laid back person can act like a crazy worrier when it comes to their relationship.  If confidence is the problem, then continue to address that.  No one can fix that but you.  If you feel you don’t know enough about what your own partner thinks, then pay attention and look for patterns.  Knowing the difference between the sexes is also helpful.  If you are an over analyzer, I’m here to tell you there is hope!  You can get better and feel more balanced.  Just take it one day at a time and put more energy into taking care of yourself rather than analyzing those crazy text messages!!

Puppy Love

There is a reason that a dog is a man’s best friend.  Puppies and even older dogs love people like no other.  I think it’s a good idea to analyze why puppies can be so therapeutic.  Maybe we can learn about love from analyzing how a puppy loves its owner.

1. Perseverance- a puppy doesn’t give up trying to win your love.  Even if you are trying to ignore it, a puppy will keep putting his nose in your hand to get your attention.  You can try to push him away, but he will continue to try to get you play with him.  Loving another  human being takes perseverance.  You need to really work at love to make it last.  A lot of people give up when a relationship becomes hard.  You aren’t always going to get along and your relationship may go through rough patches.  However, if you keep coming back to work things out, you find that most rough patches end.  Don’t give up too quickly and run to someone new because you think it will be easier.  Unless you have constant conflict, most of the time it is worth it to stay and work things out.

2.  Unconditional Love- a puppy loves you no matter what.  He doesn’t care whether your hair is messed up or you’ve gained a couple of pounds.  They love you for you.  They don’t judge you on how you look.  However, if you treat a dog badly, over time, they will withdraw from you.  It is possible to destroy their trust, although, they do still love you and want your love in return.  Dogs will also forgive you if you start treating them well again.  Loving humans should be more like this.  Love someone for who they are and try not to criticize or change them.  Although, be aware that it isn’t fair to take advantage of someone’s unconditional love.  If you are hurting someone or doing things to break trust, you can cause your boyfriend or girlfriend’s to pull away from you.   They do deserve better.  It would be wise for them to leave the relationship if they are being abused.  If a dog doesn’t deserve to be treated badly, your boyfriend or girlfriend certainly doesn’t.  Don’t think you can can do whatever you want to someone and expect them stay even if they do still love you.

3.  Loyalty-  a puppy is loyal to its owner.  It learns quickly who feeds and takes care of it.  A dog may learn to be nice and love other people they get to know well, but they will attack people who are out to harm their owners.  Loyalty is a huge virtue to find in someone because it builds trust and love in a relationship.  It is good to defend your partner when others are putting them down or attacking them in some way.  Stand up for the person you love and support them emotionally at all times.  A dog also isn’t going to leave its owner and go sleep on a neighbor’s porch.  Learn from dogs and know that cheating is never a good thing in a healthy relationship.

4.  Affection-  a puppy can be very affectionate.  It usually isn’t shy about showing it’s love to its owner.  Puppies will try to climb on you and lick your face constantly.  There is never any doubt they love you.  Not every human is so demonstrative with their affection.  You don’t have constantly be touching your partner to show them love, but every once in a while it is good to show signs of affection.  A 20 second hug will release feel good endorphins.  Sometimes holding hands or cuddling on the couch can be just what a person needs to feel how much you love them.  Also, dogs don’t show affection as a way to get sex.  Affection is not a tool to be used to get what you want out of the situation.  If you are only touching your partner as a prelude to sex, then try to find times to touch them just to show them you care, not because you’re trying to get something from them.

5.  Fun- a puppy is fun to be with.  It will remind you to let go of your worries and just relax for a bit.  A puppy can be stressful at times to take care of, but most of the time they make you laugh at the funny things they do.  They are entertaining.  Human relationships can be stressful at times to maintain.  However, it is important to bring an element of fun to your relationship.  It isn’t your job to get your partner to relax, but you can set a good example by making time to do something fun together.  Finding the time to have fun will defuse the stress built up over school, work and never having any money.  The reason a lot of people cheat is because their relationship isn’t fun any more and they find someone else who makes them laugh.  Find ways to make your partner laugh and your relationship will be healthier.

Relationships with puppies, dogs or any pets are not perfect.  However, animals do have a special way of showing love.  I think all of us could learn a little more from them to improve our own relationships.

So…Are We Gonna Hook Up Or What?

Even though I listen to college students every day I still feel out of the loop when it comes to how students communicate with one another.  The terms students use to get someone to have sex with them are what confuse me the most.  Some students tell me that when someone asks them to hang out to watch movies it means the person wants them to come over and have sex.   Really?  Am I the only one who would assume you just want to hang out and watch a movie?  I guess I am getting old. So when I read this post by Isabel, a college student, I  had to reblog it because it makes me think about how with texting, the art of seduction has flown totally out the window.

“So…are we gonna hook-up or what?”

Ah, another poor soul lost to the epidemic I refer to as “The Death of Subtlety.” It was a fabulous time (read: three days) we spent together. He was good-looking, kinda funny, not too much of a d-bag…in other words, a total catch.  And then, as we lay in each other’s arms on the musty couch, he uttered that fateful question.  Sigh.  Is it too much to ask that an insignificant other be at least a little eloquent?

Apparently, the answer is yes, it is too much to ask.  And while I like to think I’m the only one that destiny thrusts into these terribly awkward situations, this is not the case.  Many of my peers, both guys and girls, have shared disaster stories involving their partners’ lack of tactfulness and vain attempts at trying to “get it in,” as the kids say nowadays.  (My personal favorite involves Paranormal Activity, a roommate gone for the weekend, and the statement, “You should give me a blowjob.”  Needless to say, nothing “got in” that night.)

So, in response to the fact that some people are not fluent in the language of subtlety, I’ve decided to compile a list of common phrases you might hear from these failed Don Juans…and how to respond.

1. “You should give me a blowjob/sleep with me/etc.”

I’m sorry, I don’t recall agreeing to an “awkward conversation for blowjobs” program. Why else should I do whatever you’re asking? By the way, definitely work on your conversational transitions.

Proper Response: You should retract that statement and try again.

2. “Hey…wanna make-out/hook-up/do something you’ll regret tomorrow?”

While better than the previous statement (they did give you the option to say no after all), this question ruins the moment and sends the awkward meter through the roof. Just touch my face or something and I’ll get the hint.

Proper Response: As charming as you are, I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. (Bonus: Pirates of the Caribbean reference! Dudes love that.)

3. “People tell me I’m really great at sex/going down/misc. other ‘activity’.’”

I’m glad you’re proud of your “skill.” But unless you provide a reference, I really don’t care about your previous experience. And let’s be honest, I like to delude myself into thinking that you’ve only ever hooked-up with me.

Proper Response: Were those people paid for their testimonials?

4. “You know, my roommate’s gone for the weekend and I’m feeling really lonely…”

Let me guess: there’s so much room for activities now! While that sounds like a riveting opportunity, your poor attempts at making me feel empathy for your loneliness are as laughable as Kim K.’s marriage (BAM! Pop culture smackdown).

Proper Response: Now we can make intense eye contact without your pesky roommate bothering us!

5. “What’s up?” or any variation of this phrase, sent in a text at 2 a.m.

We all know and tolerate those booty call texts that can range from a simple drunken “heeyyyy” to something like the one my roommate received last week: “Bang?” (She responded with “Sleep?” Conversation over.) I’m all for late-night hook-ups, but there has to be a better way of initiating them.

Proper Response: Depends if you’re into it or not. Answering with, “I wanna hold your hand so hard,” also works.

It is hard to shock me as a counselor.  I hear a lot of things.  So, I’m not shocked, but I do think texting has made trying to talk someone into having sex with you hit an all-time low.  It never ceases to amaze me what people will say to one another through a text.  Would you actually dial someone’s number and ask them these questions in person?  Maybe you are that bold.  However, if you are that bold, then I would suggest finding better ways to ask for what you want.  The sad thing is that some of these statements probably do work.

If you are going to ask me for my opinion, I would say you are worth more effort then what is written above.  You deserve to have someone work a little harder to have certain privileges with your body don’t you think?  Both men and women could work a little on their respect for themselves and one another.  I know in college there is a lot of pressure to have “the college experience” which means get drunk,  smoke weed and have sex.  You may also feel pretty lonely at times.  However, there is more to life and to college.  I still believe it should be a little bit harder for someone to get you naked.  Make them work a little bit to prove to you they are worth it.   You don’t have to settle for a hook up if you don’t want to.  From what I hear it is hardly ever worth the effort or even worth remembering.  Get some much needed sleep instead!  But hey, what do I know?

Don’t Drink & Text

Hooking Up

Back Up Your Birth Control- Grandma Video

I know I already sent out my New Year’s Resolutions last week and this was #1, but I saw this video in another blog by Smart, Safe and Sexy, and it was too funny to pass up!  Plus, it “back’s up” my point to always use birth control!

If you can accidentally text your Grandma on New Year’s Eve, what else can go wrong?  Condoms break.  Pills are forgotten, especially on holidays.  Remember to Back Up Your Birth Control!

If you have a birth control oops, emergency contraception can help.  That text to grandma?  I can’t do anything about that.  Stay safe in 2012!

Resolutions for 2012

Here are the resolutions I wish college students would make this year if I had a magic wand to make it happen:

1.  USE PROTECTION!  ALWAYS use protection when having sex.  Even oral sex!!  Reduce your risk of contracting an STI this year by being smart and safe!!

2.  GET TESTED!  This is another resolution that I think is a priority.  Know what you have so you can treat it, deal with it and keep others from getting infected.  If you are clean, don’t push your luck and continue to use protection EVERY TIME!

3.  BE LOYAL!  This seems to be a lost virtue in this day and age.  If you choose to be in a committed relationship, don’t cheat on your partner.  Do the right thing.  Break it off and be single if you want to mess around.

4.  BE CONFIDENT!  Believe in yourself.  Stop comparing yourself to others and instead focus on the things that are great about you already!  Take time this year to build up your self-esteem.

5.  TIME MANAGEMENT!  Learn how to prioritize your time.  In college you can have plenty of time for friends and fun, but don’t forget that college is expensive.  Losing your scholarships because you went to one too many parties is not a smart idea.  Put the time in to study.

6.  AVOID DRAMA!  If it isn’t your business, try to stay out of it.  Don’t put yourself in the middle of other people’s conflicts, even if you are trying to help.  It usually makes things worse, not better.  In your own relationships, learn to communicate openly to avoid drama.

7.  SELF CARE!  Are you always taking care of other people?  Try to focus on doing something nice for yourself.  Make sure you’re making time to exercise, eat and sleep.  Doing these things will reduce a lot of stress in your life.  Also, learn to ask for help when you need it!  You don’t have to take on everything by yourself!

8.  MAKE A NEW FRIEND!  Venture out and meet new people.  Don’t limit yourself to a small group of friends.  Be open to making new friends this year.  Go to lunch with someone outside your social circle a few times and see what happens.

9.  BE INDEPENDENT!  On the other hand, don’t become so dependent on your friends or significant other.  Try to go out and do some things on your own.  Even if you aren’t single, it can be good to know how to do things by yourself every once in awhile.

10.  STOP SMOKING WEED!  Okay, I know you may be laughing, however this is my wish list right?  I think it is smart to have balance in your life, and that isn’t possible when you’re smoking all the time.  Have fun, but know your limits.  Too much smoking and drinking can cause a lot of problems in college, not to mention all that money you’re wasting.  For those of you who don’t smoke weed, I hope you will continue that trend in 2012!

Life is all about choices, and I hope you’ll make good ones that will help you become smarter and stronger this year!


Social Life, Grades or Sleep?


I found this on MEMEBASE.com and I thought it was appropriate for this time in the semester.  It can be really hard to balance your social life with studying and still find time to sleep at college.  Sometimes it is hard to know which one to make a priority.  At this time in the semester hopefully most of you are making the choice to study and get your grades on track before finals.  However, after Thanksgiving Break a lot of students feel the urge to party with their friends before the longer Christmas Break.  Some of you may be so tired of studying you can’t stand it anymore and the cold weather also makes students go a little stir crazy as well.

Don’t give up!  You can still have your social life, get sleep and still get good grades.  You just can’t have all three in equal measure.  You don’t have to sacrifice your whole social life, just remember to not go too crazy in the last couple weeks of the semester.  Make a plan to get back to your dorm or apartment to go to sleep by 2am instead of 4 or 5am.  That way you can get some sleep and have enough energy to study or go to class the next day.  You may have to leave the party early, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it all together.

Also, remember that if you study for four hours and go to sleep for at least 4 or 5 hours, you will do better on your tests and exams then if you stayed up for 8 hours studying and didn’t get any sleep.  Studies have proven that students who pull all night study sessions have lower GPA’s than students who get some sleep the night before their exams.

Set good boundaries with your time and with your friends so you can get the most out of your college experience.  Christmas Break can feel like a long time, but your friends will still be here when you get back.  Don’t feel like you have to be with them 24/7 because you are going miss them while you’re at home over the long holiday.   Remember that you want to do well enough in school that you are able to come back!  Otherwise, you won’t be back for spring semester or your sophomore year.  Having to drop out of school can definitely put a cramp into your social life!

Trust me, I know what I’m saying isn’t easy to do.  By this time in the semester it can feel like you’ve done nothing but study.  Or maybe you’ve been blowing school off and realize the next few weeks are going to be murder.  It can be very hard to keep your focus on school either way.  Everyone is tired of their classes and just want to be done for the semester.  It is natural to want to blow off steam with your friends.  However, this is the time in the semester where your social life may need to suffer a little bit.  You can have it all, but maybe have it in smaller pieces so you can fit everything in!!  When you’re done with finals, then you  can take more time for your social life while school takes a back seat for a few weeks.

You can do it, just keep your focus.  You will get through the semester.   Be smart, and remember balance is the key to success.  Good luck with the rest of your semester!!

The Evolution of “Love”

How we relate and express our feelings changes as we get older.  How you show someone you love them also evolves with time:             

1. “I’m mean to you because I like you”              

Elementary School…those were the good old days.  Back when boys would throw worms in your hair on the playground because they thought you were cute.  Girls would talk about you behind your back because they secretly wanted your attention.

2. “Do you want to go out with me?  Circle Yes or No”

Middle School and Junior High…good times!  When you shoved a note into the locker of the one you had a crush on.  Too embarrassed to ask them out in person.  Those first kisses, holding hands and having everyone stare at the two of you at school dances.  Knee deep in puberty and not really having a clue about what you were doing.

3.  “I want to break up with you”

Ah, high school…so close, yet so far away.  Jealousy and insecurity lead to tears, drama and break up texts.  The term “I hate you, don’t leave me” rings too true.  Hate is very close to love and usually relationships in high school can travel between those two emotions at the speed of light.  Throw sex into the mix and the drama only escalates.  Aren’t you glad those days are over???

4.  “Wanna hook up?”

College…here you are, all mature in the relationship realm, right?  Okay, there is a learning curve…You may break up in a more mature way, but then the drunk texts for sex with your ex just mess it all up.  Plus, college is supposed to be a time of fun.  Many students forgo the long-term relationship for the casual hook up.  No labels, except maybe “Friends With Benefits”.  So the sex and drama continues, but luckily at the end of the four years you may feel like you know yourself and what you want so much more.

5.  Want to move in together?

After college…in a financial bind it may be smart to move in with your significant other.  It is a bigger commitment and sharing adult responsibilities like paying rent and utilities can create a different kind of bond.  Some of you may have had more serious relationships in college, but some won’t experience a long-term commitment until after college.  Some us grow up sooner than others.  Having someone to come home to at the end of the day is just one of the perks of being in love.

6.  Will you marry me?

The future…hard to believe it may not be that far away.  Some get married young, some wait until after their career is off the ground.  Hopefully you’ve learned from the mistakes in the past.  Some of you may marry high school or college sweethearts and you will have grown up together.  Some of you won’t meet the one you marry until you’ve gone through a couple of nasty break ups first.  Whatever the road to get there, know that marriage is a big step.  The statistics these days don’t look too promising.  A couple who has been married over 60 years told me once that the key to a life time of love with one person is having common courtesy and humility.  The ability to be polite and respectful as well as being able to admit when you’re wrong go a very long way in keeping love alive.

The evolution of love can be a rocky road.  Hopefully no matter how love has evolved in your life, you will be able to continue to grow in positive ways.  Whether you are already in a great relationship, in a bad relationship, or currently single, know that you can make your own road when it comes to love.  You can still wish for “Happily Ever After” if you remember that it actually takes a lot of work to make love grow and evolve over time.