Saturday, April 19, 2014

So You Are Bringing Your Boy/Girl Friend Home

You and your significant other (SO) decided that you're at the point where you get to meet each other's parents. It is such a big step and sometimes it is not easy to pull off so I am giving you some do's and don't of bringing your boo home. 

Do: Prepare your parents.
Don’t: Just drop in on them announcing your new boo 
You don't have to give them the whole rundown of your relationship but give them a little background about him/her. Obviously you're serious enough about this person to take this step. Show them that you're serious by 

Do: Prepare your significant other.  Give him/her information about who s/he is meeting.
Don't: Make him/her nervous. 
My mom is a little intimidating. I didn't tell my husband that before they met because that would have made him more nervous. It is important for you SO to know that your mom has a different last name from you (because your SO should first address your 'rents as Mr. and Mrs LastName until otherwise directed by them). Give your boo tips, does your dad love talking about food? Did you mom just win an award at work? 

I don’t suggest you attempt the first meeting over dinner. Breaking bread with people is intimate and some people have weird food issues. But if you insist on dinner...

Do: Go to a restaurant- a restaurant that you frequent often. You want your SO to feel comfortable as possible and if they have those weird food issues they know this menu well.  Bonus points if your SO picks up the tab.
Don’t: Go over your mom’s house for Sunday dinner. It’s awkward going to someone’s house for the first time and then there is the food issues thing. If you have strong family tradition it could make someone feel like an outsider. 
Bonus Don't: Get drunk or let your SO get drunk. Whatever you do refrain from getting tipsy, lit, toasted or whatever. Nerves and alcohol are a very bad combination. Bad things happen. 

Do: Think outside the box for a first meeting
Don't: Go to a sporting event if your family is ride or die for their team.
Something really cool (and casual) for a first meeting is an trying an activity like miniature golf, bowling, AAA baseball game, carnival, or a museum. Somewhere where the pressure isn't so focused on getting-to-know each other. This is especially helpful if your family like to "grill" your suitors. 

Do: Let the conversation happen naturally
Don't: "Mom did you know that _____ graduated from your alma mater." 
Forced conversations are terrible. If the conversation is not flowing naturally, you do the talking and casually try to bring others in the conversation. 

Do: Pick a regular day to bring your SO home
Don't: Pick a holiday
Holiday's are already stressful enough without adding the pressure of meeting the family. 

Do: Dress Appropriately
Don't: Over Do It.
Make sure the both of you are dressed for the occasion. No club gear, going out make-up, saggy pants, gym clothes, or formal ballgowns. 

Don't Be late without a phone call. 
Actually this is a life lesson. You should always strive to be on time in every situation. 

Do: Have fun
Don't: Stress yourself out. 
Keep it light and casual. Most parents just want their kids to be happy. Show them that this person makes you happy. If is doesn't go well don't be discouraged. What tends to happen is people try to force their family to like their SO. It may take awhile to your family to warm up to them. 

Just like on Meet the Parents

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Golden Rule

As y'all know I've been substituting in hopes of finding a permanent teaching position. Substituting is humbling experience. Last school year I was a awesome talented teacher with my own classroom and this school year I am a lowly sub. I have accepted my lower position because I'm not 'bout this unemployed life. However I didn't expect to get treated like a flunky. 

Recently I was subbing for a teacher. She was in the classroom preparing to leave when I arrived. She gave me the instructions for her classes. As the teacher was leaving she said "you can sharpen these pencils and put it in this box." 


I wish I could replicate the tone in which she said it. I'm so proud that I just smiled and bit back the smart-ass response I had. I have a Master's Degree in Education. I am certified to teach in two states. I taught in one of the roughest school districts in the country. And clearly she didn't care about any of that...

I would never ask another adult to sharpen pencils especially in that rude ass way she said it. I always treated my substitutes with respect. I went out of my way to get to know them. I wanted them to feel included in the school atmosphere.  I left them completely detailed notes. Sometimes I even left them treats because I you need it when dealing with my students. 

I wonder how people treat administrative assistants? Or janitors? Or servers? The "helpers" of the world sometimes get treated poorly because of some perceived hierarchy. 

I use to hate going to carry outs because of how the customers treated the servers. I never understood how berating the person serving the food was a good idea. I got recognized at a Subway restaurant -not because I was there often, but because I was the nicest person they encountered. I am always polite and say please and thank you. 

One of the things you learn as a journalist is be nice to everyone especially admin assistants. They can make or break you. They can easily "forget" to pass along your message or they can get you valuable inside information. 

But beyond getting things from someone it is just plain good manners to treat people with respect. When I was a child my mom made sure I said please and thank you. It was drilled into my head to treat others as I would want to be treated. That meant always being polite even if I was in a shitty mood. It seems that as we get older we stop being polite. We can't be bothered to say please and thank you.  

Someone told me politeness doesn't work in the business world. People who are polite are not seen as powerful and tough. I don't think that is true. You can balance being tough and polite. You can reprimand an employee without being disrespectful. You can have you assistant get your coffee- actually never mind that's rude. Get your own coffee. 

The Golden Rule still works! If we all would try to remember it maybe the world would be a better place.