Op/Ed By Cynthia Blake –
Dear Cynthia: I think my girlfriend may be cheating on me. She stays out all hours of the night, keeps her phone password-protected, and I don’t even have access to her Facebook page. Actually, she has me blocked. She doesn’t invite me to go out with her and her friends either. Also, she got permanent makeup done. Why is she trying to change her look when I like her the way she is? How can I find out if she is cheating?
I Think My Girlfriend Is Cheating on Me
Dear I Think My Girlfriend Is Cheating On Me: It would be appropriate for you to ask your girlfriend for information to help clear up the areas of the relationship which are problematic for you. Hopefully, it is a relationship that is full of mutual-respect and truth. When speaking with your girlfriend, remember your bond of friendship. Listen to her. Treat her like you would like to be treated. Remain calm, and be ready to accept her reasoning. And, although you do not need her to change; keep in mind that she must always be happy in her own skin. All of her actions seem to indicate that she is independent in her thinking, decision-making, and privacy.
Dear Cynthia: One of my friends has financial problems, and she just filed for bankruptcy. I know I should be sympathetic, but I think she has out-of-control spending habits.
She’s constantly calling me to complain about her money problems, but, instead of comforting her, I’d rather tell her to get her act together, and to start budgeting, at the very least.
How can I tell her what I really think without her getting upset, and possibly losing her friendship?
Tired of my friend’s complaining
Dear Tired: It’s often difficult to secure a true friendship.
And, one of the things required in a true friendship is to embrace life’s ups and downs, together.
It is important to know how to be supportive. If your mind and body is tired, it may therefore negatively affect your ability to be patient and kind.
Your friend’s financial problems are not yours to solve. However, your position as a friend is to understand that bankruptcy can be a positive action.
The process of bankruptcy will help your friend discover any poor financial decisions that have negatively affected her livelihood.
Now, as a friend, you can listen to her process with thankfulness and confidence that her spending habits will be much better in the future.
I will be getting married soon, and I work in a large office with a large number of employees. I’m not sure I will be able to invite everyone to my wedding because it will increase the cost, and I’d also prefer to invite only the co-workers I’m closest to anyway. However, I do not want to make anyone in the office upset. Do you think it wold be appropriate to invite only certain people from my office, or should I invite everyone to be fair?
Trying to Plan An Inexpensive Wedding
Dear Trying to Plan:
The “working poor’s” economic survival ability has always been due to a very strategic plan. The plan is to always live within one’s individual means. As a result, it would be detrimental not to be strategic in all your decisions. Nowadays, our family, friends, and co-workers are aware of the many economic challenges that we all have to consider when we are planning anything. Therefore, all those who love us and who are “well-wishers” should not be offended if they are not invited to a wedding, or any other events.
The future of your nuptials should be hopeful, so that the planning of that “joy” can be your “feeling,” even now! And, co-workers who are truly happy for your special day will honor it with a “gift” anyway!
Dear Cynthia: Every year, I make New Year’s resolutions, but I have trouble keeping them. Can you give me any advice to help me keep my resolutions this year?
Hoping for a Great New Year
Dear Hoping: The way we think about a goal can determine its outcome. And, we must truly know ourselves in order to reach any goal.
If our resolutions match our capabilities, we should have no problem completing them.
Have a happy new year!
I’ve invited several family members to my house for Thanksgiving this year, but, I guess like most families, not all of my relatives get along with each other. Do you have any tips that might help us have a more peaceful Thanksgiving?
Nervous About the Holidays
Dear Nervous About the Holidays:
Here is a tip that might help you all have a more peaceful Thanksgiving this year: The several family members who’ve accepted your invitation, and are planning to attend your event will more than likely be the ones who are “ready” to be festive, and who will also be “ready” to share with the other family members who attend their very own unique expressions of happiness, peace and love!
I’m confident that, as your guests arrive, and they see the big smile on your face, you will realize that “nervousness” about the holidays has a very simple solution. By all means, have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving this year!
One of my co-workers is having a birthday party soon, and I’ve been invited to attend. However, the problem is that I don’t know her that well, so I have no idea what to get her for her birthday. Please let me know if you have any ideas, or whether you think I should make an excuse so I don’t have to attend. Thanks in advance for your advice!
I’m Not Sure How to Buy the Right Gift
Dear Not Sure:
If you see your co-worker before the party, it can be helpful to make small talk with that person. I’ve noticed that people enjoy talking about themselves, so try engaging your co-worker with “soft” questions, such as: What are your favorite foods? What are some of the activities you like to do for fun? Do they enjoy reading, or journal-writing? While you are talking, glance around your co-worker’s work space for any personal items that may be displayed there. Your co-worker’s work space may contain clues about the things he or she likes. I believe we should make every effort to attend a co-worker’s birthday party. In my experience, team participation in the workplace should always be encouraged.
I just moved into a new office, and all of my things are still in boxes after a few weeks. I feel like I’m having trouble getting re-organized. Where do you think I should start first? Thanks in advance for your help!
Recently Moved and Unorganized
Dear Recently Moved and Unorganized:
Since a few weeks have passed, and all of your things are still in boxes, your task should be pretty easy going forward.
If you have been continuing to operate efficiently for the past few weeks without the contents of those boxes; it is obvious that you may no longer need the majority of the items that may have been useful to you in your daily operations at one time.
Here are four things you can do, in order to get organized: 1) Take one “large” box, and empty its contents. 2) Proceed to the next box, and empty the contents you no longer need into the large empty box. 3) Repeat step 2 with the contents of each box.
Finally, take the full “large” box, and set it and its contents aside as a “charitable gift” for an organization that needs it.
Each time I have a disagreement with my significant other, I feel like he simply talks over me, instead of listening to what I am saying. We get along great in all other areas of our relationship, however, if we have different points of view, it seems like he would rather be the one who is right, instead of compromising, or listening to my point of view. Please help me figure out how to have more healthy disagreements with my partner, in a way that we can both feel our voices are being heard.
Thank you in advance for your advice,
Feeling Frustrated and Unheard
Dear Frustrated and Unheard:
I feel that, in every relationship, we should always ask ourselves the question: Do I want to be happy, or do I have to be right? I think that, when we concentrate on personal happiness, we will be more concerned with finding a resolution. No one can speak and listen at the same time. We have to do one or the other. If we wait, and stop talking, we will know when it is our turn to speak. It’s all about respect for ourselves, and respect for others.
I’m worried about my school-aged kids, who rarely go outside to play lately. It seems like all they do is play video games, or text on their cell phones. This concerns me because I think one of my sons is becoming overweight, which may be unhealthy. How can I get my kids to focus on playing outdoors more, instead of on the technology that’s making them lazy? Please help!
A Concerned Parent
Dear Concerned Parent:
I believe, as parents, our lifestyle choices are being indelibly imprinted in the minds of our children. I also believe that children mimic the examples that are set by the adults in their environments. There is a good chance that most parents are spending a lot of time with technology – and their children are watching them. If we’d like to encourage more outdoor playing time for our children, it may be a good idea to play with them, in activities like bouncing a ball with them, catching a ball with them, or bicycling alongside of them. Maybe the concerns we have for our kids should be the same concerns we have for ourselves. I believe that by engaging in outdoor activities with our children, everyone can experience a healthier lifestyle by making healthier choices.
I work with a group of six women, and they have been leaving me out of a group lunch that seems to be by “memo invitation” within the office.
I have only been invited to one lunch, which was a verbal ask by one of the group members who thought I was invited, such as “Are you coming?”
This seems to be unfair, because our company tasks are discussed during those lunches. When our group is called into meetings, everyone else has updates that I don’t have, and I look like I am not on the same page.
What should I do?
Didn’t Get the Lunch Memo
Dear Didn’t Get the Lunch Memo:
When you are invited to the next group lunch, it should be acceptable to ask how members are informed of the upcoming lunches. Hopefully, at that point, you will be given the updates that everyone else has. Then, going forward, you will be on the same page as everyone else. Remember, the only bad questions are the ones we do not ask. When we ask and receive clarity, we have a resolve.
I am having trouble finding balance between a busy schedule and a happy life. After all the daily tasks and regular stress of the day-to-day, I find myself exhausted most days, and unable to find a moment of peace. My responsibilities and tasks aren’t going anywhere, so how do I find a way to enjoy more of my life?
Signed Busy and Unhappy
Dear Busy and Unhappy:
It’s important for us to leave home at home when we leave home, and to leave work at work when we leave work. One of the ways to reduce stress from our day-to-day chores and responsibilities is to find an hour in the evening to sit and relax. What that hour can do is bring you some peaceable moments, and balance. Spending that hour being thankful and counting your blessings may result in your enjoyment.
I think I have developed a fear of traveling. I used to be much more adventurous. But now, it seems as if every time you turn around, all you hear about are more terrorist attacks, either at home or abroad. I’ve always wanted to travel outside the country, but now I’m not so sure it’s a good idea. What do you think I should do? Do you think I should remain cautious, and not take the risk? Or do you think I should throw caution to the wind, and see the world?
Thanks for your response.
Afraid to Travel Outside the US
Have you heard that you only live once? The former President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, and I quote, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Are you familiar with the acronym F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real)? How about this one, “If you don’t risk anything, you’re not truly living.” So, with heartfelt concern, I’d like to say to you, “It is better to live a life full of hope, than to live in fear.”
My dad never calls me. I try to call him several times per year, and go visit him at least once per year, but every time I visit, by the time I leave, his wife (the new, younger one)-my step mom, changes the phone number. Should I keep calling him, and trying to maintain a relationship? I’m 40 years old and this has been going on for the past 20+ years.
Out of respect for your dad and your stepmother, I would wait, and give them an opportunity to call you. Since this has been going on for the past 20 years, there’s no reason to be perplexed. If they are unwilling to contact you, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.
Editor’s Note: One of the Minority Reporter’s newest staff members, with a knack for giving great advice, will be offering her response to any reader questions, inquiries, or troubles in her new “Dear Cynthia” column, which will be published regularly in the Minority Reporter. With an honest and open approach, upheld by a wealth of life experiences, she’s here to lend a listening ear to any reader dilemmas, problems, or difficulties our readers may face, and share the life lessons she’s learned from facing her own life challenges.
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