The Gabber’s semi-regular advice column, Dear Gabby, is here by reader demand. Have a question or a conundrum for Gabby? There’s no problem too small for our resident advisor. Send your questions – they can be anonymous – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social media has consumed my life. I was on social media a fair amount before – mostly Facebook and Instagram – but recently I got a job doing some social media for local businesses and now social media is my whole life. It’s depressing. It seems I’m always on it and I feel trapped. I don’t want to delete my personal accounts. Should I quit my job?
Social media is engineered to keep you on it as much as possible and it can quickly spill over into all parts of your life – so much so that even your pre-professional “fair amount” can become a great amount. Then, that great amount becomes the trap that ensnares you and you don’t even get a check for it! But seriously, this decision requires comparing the importance of your job versus the importance of your personal time on social media. If you’re finding that it needs to be one or the other, only you can determine if quitting your job is feasible for your life. If you want, or need, to keep your job, perhaps you can talk to your managers about ways to diversify your projects to avoid online burnout or use tools to automate posting to relieve some of the pressure. You can also explore how much personal time you spend online outside of work. You might find that some of your feelings have more to do with a low “doing stuff for real versus doing stuff online” ratio. Infusing your schedule with more actual activities and fewer virtual ones can help you find a balance.
This is kind of an embarrassing question to ask, but I’m feeling pretty clueless. How do I make new friends? I’m in my 20s, and I’ve never had a lot of friends. It’s just not something I’ve ever been good at. And it seems much harder now I’m out of school. I don’t understand how people meet – should I go to a bar? Join a club? How do people do it?
This isn’t embarrassing at all! It’s a timely and important question! Meeting friends is both more difficult and easier than ever before. On the difficult side, and I’m not even talking about our current pandemic, we’ve got the allure of streaming videos, online games and mobile apps. People will literally be at a bar with their face in a phone watching Netflix or playing Angry Birds 2. How you gonna lock eyes with your person or find a new bestie if you’re looking down scrolling and swiping? But, on the easier side, we’ve got apps and online groups that promote and plan in-person activities and meet-ups where friends you haven’t met yet abound! What do we do? We take the opportunities and leave the rest. Take a chance and find a bar, lounge, restaurant or gym that YOU enjoy and become a regular. You might meet other regulars and strike up friendships based on shared interests or shared appreciation for the same drink, dish or weight machine. You can absolutely join a club or even take an art, cooking, swimming or motorcycle riding class to meet people and learn a new skill. And where can you find out about the variety of options for places to go and people to meet? Online! Use platforms like MeetUp, Eventbrite and Thrillest to get information on the activities and places where people are out and about, having fun and making connections. Be open, be kind and be patient. Friendships can take time to develop and can come from the most unexpected places!
I’ve been dating a guy for about four months and I admit I’m pretty smitten. I’m sure he feels the same way – well, I hope he does. My question is simple: How long do I wait before I tell him I’m in love? And what do I do if he doesn’t say it back?
A quote from “Love Jones,” one of my favorite movies, goes something like, “Love is what you make and with whom you make it. Algebra it ain’t.” I’ve always taken that to mean that love has no formula and follows no timetable. What love creates, though, is vulnerability, which is part of what makes communicating love so scary. It’s a risk, it’s a wish and a hope, in terms of reciprocity. What if you were to take the pressure off by making it more a conversation and less a declaration? Talking about how you feel in a romantic relationship doesn’t always have to be some built-up, anxiety-laden “we need to talk about where this is going” conversation. Start small, letting him know what you appreciate about him and about your relationship. Then, encourage a conversation where you both talk about what you appreciate about each other, being honest about your feelings, all the while holding space for him to share his feelings, whatever they may be. Instead of being afraid he won’t reciprocate, remember that there is no timetable or magic formula, so even if he doesn’t feel exactly the way you do at the same time as you, it doesn’t mean he isn’t on his way.
A Milwaukee native, Sheree L. Greer is a local text-based artist, educator and taco lover. In 2014, she founded Kitchen Table Literary Arts to showcase and support the work of Black women and women of color writers and is the author of two novels, “Let the Lover Be” and “A Return to Arms.”