Are Your Friends Fake?

These days I’m a bit of a loner. Not to say I have no friends anymore but I definitely have a better quality friends. It took me a while to figure out that having a lot of friends didn’t mean I had great friendships or that I was a great person to be friends with. During that time when I considered myself pretty popular, most of my friends ended up being fake.

It was a painful realization to know that a majority of my friends were just friends with me because of circumstances, not because they genuinely liked me as a person and valued me in their lives.

The first thing I needed to learn was the difference between friends of circumstance and friends of value.

Friends of circumstance gravitate to you because they enjoy your company AND because you have some shared activity together.

High school friends are a good example. These are people that you saw for maybe four years day in and day out, going to the same school, the same classes and the same activities. It’s easy to build close relationships when you see someone all the time. But they’re still friendships of circumstance. Everyone experiences this. It becomes painfully obvious after high school ends. When everyone goes to different colleges and you see the friendships begins to fade. You don’t get texts as much from them or calls. You start to notice that you’re not getting invited for birthdays or meet up’s. Maybe that friend joined a different group of people, many of which you’re not familiar with. The reality is that most high school friendships end because the circumstances that brought the friendship together is over and then maintaining those friendships start to require work.

This is the main cause for why people perceive certain friendships as fake, especially if you could’ve sworn that the person liked you for you. But they were just circumstantial.

And this is why you’ll see a lot of people stick around their hometown because they have the comfort of their circumstantial friendships. Subconsciously, they know that if they leave the circumstance that created the friendship there’s a chance the friendship will not continue. From what I’ve seen, circumstantial friendships tend to breed complacency, lack of growth and staleness.

Friendships of value are very, very rare. I would say that maybe 1-5% of everyone’s friendships are friendships of value. If you meet a friend like this, it’s good to keep nurturing that relationship because it’s a healthy, honest, no strings attached friendship.

A telltale way of knowing if you have a friendship of value is that no matter how far you go, how many years pass by or how many changes occur in your life, that person is always able to be there for you. Maybe not physically, maybe they live far away, but they make the effort to contact you and share their lives with you. Why would someone do that when they’re no longer in a situation that makes it easy for them to be friends with you? Because they value who you are as a person.

Another way to tell if someone is less than a good friend is if they treat you differently then they treat others.

Some people view their lives as a movie and see their friends as just supporting characters, supporting them. Someone to make them look good, someone to fill the silence in their lives. People who have poor character will NOT make good friends. These people are capable of being kind, friendly and fun but their lack of character will keep them from being good friends in the long term.

For example, you see your friend Emily talk down about another friend that’s going through a rough time-maybe that person is a little strange or shy. You see her talk badly about that other friend behind her back but in person she’s friendly with them. What does that tell you?

That Emily would easily just talk as badly about you as she would about that other person.

Sure, you might shrug it off as just gossip or small talk, but that kind of behavior is very toxic and is sure to rear its head as soon as Emily finds someone better so they can talk about YOU behind YOUR back.

I had a friend like this once. She was very two-faced and I kind of gave her the benefit of the doubt because she never treated me badly. But once she found a friend that she considered “better,” I was the new person gossiped about.

So it’s really important to look at a person’s character even if they don’t treat you badly, if they treat other people badly, to just avoid them and not even bother building a friendship that way. Because it’s only a matter of time before that friendship collapses and you find out that you wasted so much time with a toxic person.

I wish I had better advice to give other than avoiding someone who’s fake. I wish had advice for how to change a friend and make them better. But whether a person is a good friend or not, that’s a choice they need to make for themselves, it’s not something you can help them with.

The important thing for you is to determine if they’re fake or not. And if, after reading this, you find your friends to be circumstantial, self-centered or two-faced, it might be time to manage expectations on how loyal you expect those friends to be.

Why Integrity Matters

My Best Friend Ghosted Me

How To Make A Change in Your Life

Cut Back On These 6 Things To Save Hours of Time

There are a bajillion posts out there on saving money. The more money you save, the more money you have for things you want, like retiring early or that extra vacation.

But if time is money, what about time? How can we optimize our lives so we can be saving time, and as a result money?
Take it from me, there never seems to be enough time in the day. I have a full-time job, a husband and 2 kids that need my full attention. I would love to have more time to either spend with my kids, invest in my blogging or visit family.

24 hours is just not enough.

And yet, I’ve been able to invest at least 5–10 hours a week towards my blog and 6 hours a week of tutoring towards my six year old daughter. How am I able to make the time?

The key is to cut out all the extras, the things that are being sold to you so you spend time on them.

Here Is How You Can Save Tons Of Hours Out Of Your Week:

Commuting

Commuting can be a huge time sucker. The average American spends over 100 hours a year just on their commute. What can you do in 100 hours?

I’ve always had a long commute. When you live in metro NYC area, all the jobs are in NYC so it’s impossible to avoid a commute. And living near work in prime NYC real estate is just outrageously expensive.
So right now I have a commute that’s about 15 hours a week. That’s right, I commute 3 hours a day and about 1.5 hours each way!

Cutting down my commute if I worked 20 minutes from home would save me 12+ hours a week.

Unfortunately I can’t just quit and find something more comparable in the suburbs so I make my commute efficient by writing posts while I’m on the bus to and from work. If you’re using public transit, it’s a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by commuting and working or studying at the same time.

Commuting is a necessary evil, but you can optimize it by cutting the time down or multi-tasking during your trip on public transit.

Social Media

We all know what a waste social media is. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. All the big tech companies are making you spend, not your money, but your time. They want to sell you content to consume.
Most people can look at their Screentime App and see that they’re spending hours a day just checking their Facebook or Instagram. Some are spending hours arguing with strangers on Twitter. And others are spending time watching puppies and babies on YouTube.

We’re talking about people out there spending 20+ hours on social media a week. Scrolling and swiping and liking, all damned day long.

And I guess it’s not my place to tell people how to spend their time, but wouldn’t you be able to do sooo much more without all that mindless chatter on your phone?

The only people who should be committing 10+ hours a week on social media are people building a brand and/or business from it.

By cutting back on the social media access, most people can easily save 10 hours a week.

Online Games

This kind of ties into social media but online games are a huge time sucker-for no reason. Games like Fortnite, Candy Crush, The Sims, Words With Friends, etc.

My favorite is Candy Crush, I’m on level 825. As you can see, I’ve spent TOO many hours on this.

What have I gained from making sure all the jellies and candies matched? Nothing.

It’s a huge, huge, huge time sucker and, again, these gaming companies are giving you free games in exchange for adspace and $1.99 power ups.

The only games I want to move up in life are the money games and power moves. Cut the games, and you’ll get your life back.

Emails

This one is stealthy. Everyone and their mother has an email. And we spend too much time checking, giving out, organizing and even writing emails.

This is a huge issue at work. I get literally 100 emails a day from various people asking about this and that.
I was able to organize my emails tab so that all the spam went directly in the trash. I don’t have to spend any time looking at them. I’ve also set up my email so there are rules; certain emails will go into certain folders, so it’s easier to follow up.

Making a simple phone call can easily save you time spent on a bunch of back and forth emails. Calling is so much clearer for sorting out details since the back and forth of the conversation happens instantaneously. Emailing complex details can take hours as you wait for the other person to get back to you, reading their response and writing back.

Learning how to use email effectively will cut back on the work you have.

Household Tasks

If only there was more time in the day, but chores are a majority of what adulthood consists of, unfortunately. Even with the high tech Roombas, washing machines and dishwashers, chores take up a lot of time.

Thankfully, there are services you can pay for to help save some time. Things like laundering, dry cleaning, housekeeping services, and gardeners can really make your life so much easier.
I know what your thinking, I don’t have money for that!

You can just choose one thing that you hate doing for chores and outsource it! Whether it’s to clean the bathrooms in the house or to have the gardeners mow two times a month or give 10 lbs. of laundry to the cleaners, you can definitely keep your spending under $50 and save an hour a week.

TV

The OG of time wasters. As I’m writing this I’m watching “America’s Got Talent” and as great as that show is, it’s still a waste of time since I haven’t been able to post this.

According to Wikipedia, the average person spends nearly 4 hours watching TV a day!

That’s too much time. That’s literally the time when you come home from work to the time you go to bed, you’re glued to the TV. You can literally spend that time playing with your kids or starting a business.

4 hours a day is equivalent to 28 hours a week, 120 hours in a month or 1460 hours a year!

That’s just crazy!

And with unlimited shows and channels with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and regular cable, the options are endless.
But at the end of the day, we need to realize that TV doesn’t really give much back.
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Our time is so precious, so it’s insane that we would spend hours upon hours on our commutes, phones for social media and online games, emails, TV and chores.

It’s all so mindless, and yet we engage in things that really bring no value to our lives.

Imagine if you were able to cut back 20 hours a week, or 3 hours a day to devote to a 2nd business? You could literally retire early 10 years!

By cutting out a majority of these time wasters, you can get so much of your life back. And in my opinion, time is worth so much more than money.

Check Out My Other Posts!
How To Stay Motivated And Keep Your Goals

Organize Your Mind: How To Be More Productive With Your Day

Work Smarter, Not Harder

What It’s Like To Disassociate

There is very little known about this mental health experience and issue. Everyone is familiar with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, but disassociation is a little lesser known aspect of mental health. It kinda links up with the other three problems but is it’s own issue.

Disassociation is defined as a state in which some integrated part of a person’s life becomes separated from the rest of the personality and functions independently.

I also like Mayo Clinic’s definition:

Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.

I have had some of the symptoms that Mayo Clinic describes including:

• A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
• A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
• Inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress
• Mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

It’s known to be more of a coping mechanism that’s used when someone goes through something traumatic, but if left to linger can have lasting effects on the personality.

I first disassociated when I had achalasia, a crippling esophageal disorder that took 4 years to diagnose. It was such a hard thing to go through as a child. I remember just separating that part of my life from who I was as a person. I’d hide it from other people, lie if someone asked about it. It was literally a part of my life that I never wanted to acknowledge. Being sick wasn’t who I was as a person, it was just something I was going through. So separating that aspect of my life from who I was as a person made sense.

It was the longest charade but I refused to let my disease define me. During my worst years, I truly believed that my life wasn’t really my life.

It was an escape mechanism; the ego is a frail thing and in some ways that’s good and bad. I’ll acknowledge that it did help me mentally to disassociate. I truly believe it helped me to keep my sanity and mental health together. But I learned how to disassociate so well, it kinda never left, even after I got better from my surgery for achalasia.
I continue having issues connecting with people. In my social interactions, I can’t just flow the way other people do. I can’t be spontaneous. There’s still a part of me that disassociates and looks at the interaction from a third party experience-from the outside looking in. I’ll subconsciously try to see how the other person feels or thinks about me, in order to try to “socialize better.” It causes me to seem distant. It’s like I stepped out of the situation and am trying to look at it from a third party perspective instead of just looking at it from my own perspective and socializing that way.

I know, it sounds crazy just trying to write about it.

Anxiety also triggers my disassociative behavior, it makes it 100x worst. I’ll just shut down, and try to pretend I’m not even there. That’s my coping mechanism.

I think a lot of people struggle with dissociative behavior and don’t even know it. Like the guy that pulls away every time he gets too close in a relationship or the soldier who came back from war and doesn’t connect with his family the way he used to or even the guy who plays video games all day and starts to find his online relationships more rewarding than the ones in real life.

Overall, it doesn’t effect my behavior too badly other than make me feel a bit distant. It hasn’t gotten to a point where I feel I need professional help but I am interested to find out what causes it.

Personally, I think it’s an ego thing. Something we do to protect our sense of self when we feel threatened. When I’m in a fight or flight triggered anxiety episode, I usually choose flight. I think a lot of people struggle with this kind of mental block and they don’t even know what it’s called.

So far, I’ve found that removing myself from the situation that caused my disassociative behavior helps. As well as calming camomile or valerian root teas. After I’ve managed to clear my head, I can return to the task that triggered me.
I also don’t kick myself over being a little more reserved or distant from other people. Disassociation is just part of who I am because of the things that have happened in my past, just like my anxiety.

But there are more serious versions of disassociative disorders that can cause amnesia or even a complete shift in personality. If this is happening to you or if you have thoughts of suicide, please contact your mental health professional immediately.

Though it’s lesser known, understanding how disassociative behavior affects your mental health is important to keeping it together, at least mentally.

Check Out My Recent Posts!

How To Deal With Crushing Disappointment & Other Negative Emotions

Why Multiple Streams Of Income Are Absolutely Necessary

How To Deal With Crushing Disappointment & Other Negative Emotions

I wish this was a happier post but how do you write about disappointment and make it sound happy? It’s kinda hard.
The reality is that disappointment is something that will happen to every human being at some point in life, most likely several times or many times in your life. It’s easy to feel disappointment if someone you loved let you down or if you failed a big test or if you didn’t get an apartment you loved. Actually, there are a million reasons you could be feeling down and negative.

Disappointment is a complex emotion. Not quite sadness, not quite anger but something in between. It happens when you genuinely believe something good will happen and it doesn’t or, even worst, something bad happens. It’s probably one of the more dreaded and hardest emotions to handle properly.

But running from or ignoring disappointment, it doesn’t really do much. Most likely, the negativity will manifest in other ways like arguing with your family or getting frustrated at smaller things. Neither are really great ways of handling your emotions.

So Here Is The Best And Mentally Most Healthy Way To Deal With Disappointment:

Allow Yourself To Feel Bad

A lot of people would tell you the opposite but I find this counterintuitive. If you feel bad, then you feel bad. Especially if you’ve just went through something traumatic or were really let down by someone you love. You don’t owe it to anybody to feel happy or to save others from feeling guilty because of how they disappointed you.

Sulk. Cry. Feel Bad.

It’s important that you to give yourself time to feel. Disappointment isn’t an easy emotion to deal with but allow yourself to feel it, then move on.

Drink Some Tea And Take Some Vitamins

I’m all about holistic solutions to problems. Alcohol and drugs are a big no-no for me. What they really do is create a dependence and a bandaid over the problem.

The reality is that with disappointment or any other negative emotion, your body reacts to the stress with a fight or flight physical response. Your body responds by producing hormones that put you on edge and mentally trick you that you’re about start a fight or need to run.

But there are herbal tricks you can use to help calm yourself if you’re feeling bad. I like taking teas that have valerian root and camomile to help me relax and boost my mood.

On occasion, if I’m really feeling like it’s hard to shake my bad mood, I’ll take a vitamin supplement that includes L-Theanine and Magnesium, which are known to have calming effects without sedation.

Take A Break

Whatever is on your mind and bothering you, it’s good to just take a break from it. Yes, you should allow yourself to feel but you also shouldn’t dwell on it either. It creates a cycle of negativity.

After you’ve allowed yourself to feel bad for a day or two, distraction is the best remedy to help you get back to your normal self. My husband likes to go see a movie after we’ve had an argument or if he has a lot on his mind. When he gets back, he’s cool and collected, and feeling much better than he did before the movie.

Distraction is not necessarily running from your emotions, it’s more like pressing a pause button and allowing yourself to deal with it later or at least lessen the pain. Obsessing over your disappointment or anger is not healthy and won’t help you move on in the long run.

Make A Plan

It’s hard but playing the victim forever just doesn’t work. You’ll need to find a way to make sure whatever disappointed you or upset you doesn’t happen again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
After you’ve cooled down, that’s a good time to chat with the person that put you in a bad mood. It’s always good to do it with a clear head.

If something just didn’t go your way, you can now start planning on what adjustments you need to make to get over your hurdle. Disappointment can be the catalyst for something big. Even though you’re upset things didn’t work out, you can use that frustration to push you towards solutions.

Put It Behind You

Last but not least, you have to let those negative feelings go. They can’t last forever and they shouldn’t. Putting whatever is bothering you in the rear view mirror is healthy. Sometimes it’s easier to hold a grudge or to put yourself in a bad place but I like to follow the 5/95 rule. You can spend 5% of your time feeling bad about yourself but then the rest of the 95% should be spent on getting better and growing.

No one likes to be around a negative nelly and I’ve been guilty of dwelling on things way too long.
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At the end of the day, we are beings built on emotions. We can’t always control what emotions come our way but we do have autonomy over how we react to them.

For so much of my life, I’ve been pushed around by the waves of my feelings. Happiness, sadness, embarrassment, anxiety, anger, and disappointment have dictated how I lived my life and what my next move was.
Getting control of your more intense emotions will help you live a better and more balanced life.

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Why Multiple Streams Of Income Are Absolutely Necessary

My job had threatened to add a third agent almost 2 years ago. Since then my colleague and I have been sitting at the edge of our seats, pushing our limits, and trying to show that we didn’t need a third agent. Adding a third agent would significantly change my compensation.

All this talk about adding another person and there was no discussion about compensation or how three agents will be able to make the same commissions as two when we only have so much product to sell in a year. If you do the math, it just doesn’t add up. When I pointed this out, upper management dodged this question and accused me of being not a team player, as a way of ignoring an essential aspect of my job: compensation.

This story isn’t even all that uncommon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, employers only care about the bottom line. Even if it’s at the expense of the employees.

So I decided to start a blog and start writing as a side hustle because besides real estate what did I really have as talent? I really searched my brain for the answer and the only thing that could come up with was that I was well written and creative.

That idea was the start of something amazing.

I realized my job was only earned income and I needed other forms of income to balance and make my financial wellbeing less prone to risk and volatility.

The changes that my company made is a prime example of volatility in the workforce. People make the false assumption that having a job will bring them stability. But there are always changes at work; they’re always trying to maximize earnings, profits and results. What happened to me wasn’t abnormal but it was unfair.

So one way of making some additional money is to make passive income. This sounds like the Holy Grail of earning. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make money from doing nothing and having a business running in the background? (Raises Hand).

But the notion that passive money is easy is a myth. Usually when people collect money on their business with little effort, they’ve already done the bulk of the work in the beginning. The beginning is the hardest, where you’re working and slaving and getting nothing in return for months or even years on end. The only instance where I’d say passive money is easy is when you randomly hit the lottery or an inheritance and you can dump that money into stocks or real estate and just earn that way.

But if you’re waiting for the lottery or a windfall of inheritance to happen to you, then you’re going to be poor for a really really long time.

I would consider things like blogging or re-investing your earned income into the stock market or real estate as passive income. Because first you’re doing all this work to get a little bit now but over time that investment will grow on itself and make tons more money than what you started with.

But passive income is anything but easy.

Another stream of income that you can pursue is profit income.

Profit income is when you take an item, you buy it and then you’re able to market it and sell it for more than what you bought it for.

So many businesses are built on the profit income model of buying cheap, selling high and marketing in between to create that value. Any brand that you buy from, whether it’s clothes, make up or household goods, is built on the profit income model.

The surprising thing is that anybody, I repeat, anybody can make money from profit income.

In today’s day and age, websites like Etsy, Poshmark, eBay, and Amazon make it insanely easy to make a profit. Whether you’re making $10 a month or $10,000 a month that’s money that you just pulled out of thin air, out of nowhere. It is much easier to make a profit in today’s digital age than it was it when we only had brick-and-mortar stores.

Back before Internet and all that, mom and pops would take out a loan, then rent a commercial space, buy all these products to fill their brick and mortar store and then try to build a profit from yearly sales.
People still do that, but that’s incredibly more risky than opening up an Esty store spending a couple hundred dollars on products to resell at a higher price and then snowballing each sale to create a bigger company down the line.

Even Uber is a profit model type of income. Drivers want to make sure they’re making more in rides than they spend on the mileage of their car, depreciating value, gas and insurance.

The reality is that my job is just one piece of the pie, earned income is subject to change and I shouldn’t be surprised about how ruthless my manager is or the owners are to squeeze every dollar out of their employees. But if I’m not pursuing the other avenues of income available to me, then I’m just leaving money on the table and leaving myself vulnerable to the changes of the corporate environment.

Working on getting those other forms of income are essential to financial well being. God forbid, I lose my job, then half of our total household income (between me and my husband) is wiped out.

If my job is only 1/2 of my income and I’m able to supplement with passive income and profit, then I’ll be able to survive during economic downturns and avoid debt.

You’ll never realize how risky relying on your job is, until you lose it. I’m all about preparedness and protecting my family from what messed up business practices my employer may enact on me.

So don’t leave money on the table. Take what you can out of this life and make sure you’re capitalizing on all the income opportunities available to you.

Check out my other posts!

Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

The Rent vs Buy Argument

How To Stay Motivated And Keep Your Goals

How To Make A Change in Your Life