You are not alone

It’s hard to be light and funny when your entire Facebook feed is congested with posts stating, unapologetically, “Me too.” Some posts just two words, and others…others full tales of Harassment. Abuse. Rape.

Girl hiding behind tress

For those of you who haven’t seen it, women have been sharing stories on social media in solidarity with one another to show just how many women have been sexually harassed or raped. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. We’re far from alone in these experiences. Which breaks my heart.

This is rape culture.

When girls and women know that what is happening is wrong, but it’s easier and sometimes safer to just brush it off or act as if it never happened. When we have to bring a guy friend with us to parties to make sure we’re safe. When we travel in groups to avoid confrontation. When we have to lie and say we have boyfriends to get men to leave us alone. And when that doesn’t even always work. When we break up with someone in a text or ghost them because we’re afraid of what they’ll try to do. When we let someone say inappropriate things to us and feel the need to smile and giggle even though we feel dirty and exposed.

It’s the little boys who chased me and looked up my skirt when I was just a child.

It’s the teen boy who directed a video camera into my bedroom window.

It’s the teen boy who exposed himself out his bedroom window.

It’s the guy at the teen dance club who kept coming up behind me, rubbing his junk against my backside, no matter how many times I moved out of his way.

It’s the bartender that always looked me up and down, appraising my curves and licking his lips as he told me how much he wanted my 18-year-old self.

It’s the man who blocked my car in a parking lot to ask me out and didn’t move until I made up a boyfriend who wouldn’t like it.

It’s the stranger who relentlessly offered to father my children because he liked my blue eyes.

It’s the man who, on the first date, asked if I had hangups about sex when I responded to his continuous begging and pleading with a broken record “no.”

It’s the man at the karaoke bar who belittled me when I told him I didn’t want to date him. Seven times.

It’s the man who flipped out on me in a restaurant parking lot when I wouldn’t go home with him after a first date.

It’s the man I was dating who took pictures of me while I was asleep, naked.

It’s the man who told me I owed him when he couldn’t finish because of his own drug addiction.

It’s the man I told no, who did it anyway.

I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for me. I tell you this so you can see how often women are put in situations that can damage or break them. How prevalent these situations have become. I know that I’m not the only one with a list, and these situations are not unique to me. But the more we see them, the more we can do to stop them.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Stop saying 2016 was the worst year ever

No, seriously. Get the fuck over it. That goes for any year. Every day, week, month, and year has its ups and downs. Every single one. Sure we may have elected well…you know. Sure you may have been sick. Or someone may have died. Maybe even a brilliant musical artist or actor. Or someone hurt your feelings, broke your heart. And it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to say, “man, this <fill in the blank with an event or something> sucked.”

But for the love of everyone else, stop saying “this year was the worst. This year was horrible. Can this fucking year be over yet?”

No. I’m calling your ass out. Because you know what? For as much shitty bullshit that went down, a lot of happy stuff happened too. And your crappy attitude is only bringing everyone around you down.

Think about people in your life, right now.

How many of them got healthier?

How many of them got married?

Found love?

Found long-lost family?

Got pregnant or had babies?

Got their first job?

Got a better job?

Won something?

Lost weight?

Achieved a goal?

 

The list keeps going. And all that negative, “this is the worst year ever” naysaying probably makes those people feel pretty shitty. At least that’s what I’m getting out of it.

As someone whose highlight of the year was marrying my own personal Prince Charming, I’ve had enough.

Brilliant, talented celebrities die every year. It sucks, but that does not the worst year ever make.

Shitty stuff happens to individuals, who may personally be experiencing their worst year, but a large percent of the people who are saying it are not among those individuals.

A narcissistic professional bullshitter was elected as president, but you know what? He’s not the president right now. Barack Obama is. And we have a few more weeks to revel in that.

None of that is part of the recipe for the worst year ever.

Our world has survived some pretty awful times. The Holocaust? World War I? World War II? The bubonic plague? The Great Depression? Come the fuck on, people.

Take a look at some of the good things that HAVE come out of this year. I promise it wasn’t all bad. And if it really was 100% terrible, think about how you can take charge of the last couple days of 2016, and find joy for the love of all things. Find joy. And continue that into next year.

Unemployment is down. People are working. People are getting married, making babies, taking control of their health and their lives. They’re finding love. They’re believing in magic. To quote one of my favorite holiday movies, “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

So open your eyes.

Volunteer your time to help people and organizations. Donate money to causes you believe in. Do something to improve your own life. Just stop bitching about this year, already.

Let’s drink from the glass that’s full, alright?

raising a glass at the head table at our wedding

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

OMG what is she wearing? She’s just asking for it.

When I was 17, I was privately and publicly shamed by an administrator in my school. A woman I respected and admired told me that I couldn’t dress like the other girls. Because I had a more voluptuous body, a body I was already ashamed of because it was bigger than most teen girls, a body that I’d kill to have back, but one that I didn’t understand apparently held power against horny teenage boys. (I’ll tell you a secret, though: it didn’t. My body was not what teenage boys were looking for. It was something adult men found attractive, though. And I suppose THAT’S why I was told that my outfit was unacceptable.)

Rape culture and dress codes

What was I wearing you ask?

In the peak of the new Millennium, I could have been wearing a tiny crop top and tight flared jeans. Short shorts and a skimpy tank. A two-piece prom dress that left nothing to the imagination.

But I was stylish in my short overalls with thick straps and a fully covered abdomen. The problem was in the strapless tube top that covered my breasts and stomach. It gasp showed my shoulders. But not any more than one of the very popular camisoles of the time. Not any more revealing than anything any of my cheerleading peers, who were much thinner than me, were wearing on that warm May afternoon.

And I was called out. By a female administrator whose name I still remember with crystal clarity. Who tried to mark me as her equal in womanhood.

“Women like us have to be conscientious of how we dress. We can’t wear the same clothes as the other girls.”

She was nothing like me. Tall, thin, in her mid to late 40’s. She didn’t understand me. She didn’t know me. And she certainly wasn’t like me.

But she did have the power to make me wear an old hoodie from the bottom of my locker over my overalls the rest of the day. The rest of that hot, spring day in an un-air-conditioned high school.

And I did. Because I was terrified of getting in trouble (save all those tardy detentions). Because I believed in authority. Because, at 17, I was already ashamed enough of my body.

This is what rape culture looks like. Rape culture shames a woman or a young girl into thinking she can’t dress a certain way, because boys and men can’t control themselves.

Rape culture lets men like Brock Turner out of jail after 3 short months, even though he ruined a woman’s life. He violated her body, and because of his “bright” future, he got off easy.

Brock Turner is out of jail. Do you remember him? You should. And you should probably stay away from him. Because he can’t control himself around women. And instead of the government keeping him away from and protecting us, we must do our best to stay away from him. We’re told to dress less provocatively and not to drink alcohol, instead of men like Brock being told not to fucking rape.

Well, I’m sick of this bullshit. For 16 years, I’ve held that memory of the school administrator telling me that “women like us need to be careful what we wear” for far too long. And school dress codes that favor boys, limit girls and promote rape culture need to disappear.

Let’s teach the right way to behave and stop worrying how people dress.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I’m Voting for Hillary. Period.

I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Illinois Primary.

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Illinois Primary.

I’m not a feminist. I’m a humanist.

I don’t love Hillary, but I intend to vote for her. I intend to share my beliefs. I intend to use my digital platform to support her.  I intend to dedicate whatever I can to helping our country elect her as president, not because she’s a woman, but because the other outcome is too scary to possibly imagine.

I will still share my life. You will still see pictures, videos, and mishaps as Brian and I walk down the aisle and continue our life together. You’ll still hear about me walking into poles, tripping over invisible wires, and stealing my best friend’s car. But if you follow me anywhere, you’re going to see a proud as fuck Hillary supporter. BECAUSE THE OTHER OUTCOME IS TOO SCARY TO POSSIBLY IMAGINE.

Hillary for President. Because the other outcome is too scary to possibly imagine. Click To Tweet

I understand that many of you are planning on voting for a third party candidate, which is your right as an American. But in this two-party system we’ve got going on (one that won’t be changing in the next 3 months), you’re wasting your vote. And if The Donald is elected? It will be partially your fault. You want to change the two party system? Great. CHANGE IT. Petition the men and women of congress. Petition your representatives. But don’t think for a second that Donald Trump isn’t using this two party system to his advantage.

If you can honestly say that you support the racist, sexist, egotistical, narcissistic bigot because you believe in his version of America…there’s the door, if you will. But if you’re more afraid of Hillary than of Trump…why don’t you do a little more research. Why don’t you listen to the horrifying words that come out of that orange-faced mouth every fucking day. He’s not a conservative and he’s not a Republican.

I support Hillary. I’m with her. And I’m ready to use my voice and fight for her election. Because I have faith. And hope. And I believe in her, just like I believe in you. Be better.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Fucks Are Flying Today. Get it Together.

Let’s talk about gun control.

what is wrong with the republican party and why are they against gun control

I’m pissed. I’m sick with disgust. And fuck if I don’t need to let a dozen plus F-bombs fly right now.

The right to bear arms does not mean you have to give free reign to anyone in the country with a motherfucking heartbeat.

You need a license to drive a fucking car, and if you screw up, it takes a lot of work, and a lot of money, to get it back.

You need to jump through hoops of fire to adopt children whose parents didn’t want or couldn’t raise them.

Want to buy alcohol? You sure as fuck better have an ID on you, even if you could easily pass for the parent of a 12-year-old.

Need Claritin D at your doctor’s insistence because you are hella allergic to everything? Fuck you. You better sign your life away and hit up the pharmacy once a week to get your fix, because a couple of assholes used it and a shit load of other ingredients to make a drug that only harms THEMSELVES.

Want to travel to Canada? Better get a passport. Oh don’t forget, it takes months to acquire one of these documents.

If you’re planning on rescuing a dog, you better prove you’re going to be able to take care of it and keep it and other people safe.

Want to get on a plane to see your mother, father, aunt or uncle? You better not even think of bringing a bottle of water or a pair of fucking nail clippers with the sharp (and oh so dangerous) file inside it.

Teachers. Aids. Anyone who works with children is required to have a background check.

But guns? Ehhh, let’s just give that shit away. No big deal. What’s the worst that could happen?

  • 58 people dead and 515 people wounded at an outdoor Las Vegas concert.
  • 49 people dead and 53 people injured in one fell swoop at an LGBT nightclub.
  • 14 dead and 22 wounded in San Bernardino, CA.
  • 3 dead; 9 injured at Planned Parenthood.
  • 9 people killed in a CHURCH.
  • 20 children between 6 and 7 years old and 6 adults who dedicated their lives to children dead and two injured adults at an elementary school shooting.

Hate crimes. Terrorism. Mass Shootings. I don’t care what the everliving fuck you call it. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

What? You think it’s okay to throw away someone’s prescription shampoo before boarding a plane, but it’s not okay to make someone get a background check before buying a DEADLY WEAPON?

What the fuck is wrong with our system?

America needs to quit hiding behind laws written two hundred and thirty years ago before automatic weapons had the power to kill multiple fucking people with a single shot. More people died of disease in The Revolutionary War than from gunshot wounds. I doubt that would be the case today. Unless they needed Sudafed.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Hey World, I Have Faith in You

Humans. I have faith in you. Recently, you’ve made me so sad. My heart hurts for the things I’ve seen and read lately. I can’t watch the news  because it makes me cry. And I know I’m not alone.

But I believe in you. I know that deep down, you really don’t want to behave the way you’ve been behaving.

image

You don’t want to show the world that it’s okay to rape a drunk, unconscious woman just because you’re drunk too.

You don’t want there to be fewer consequences for crimes just because someone’s stupidity could have a profound impact on their elitist, athletic, wealthy future.

You don’t want to spend all that time and energy arguing about which is more important: the life of a gorilla or the life of a child, when you could be thinking about how to create real, protective sanctuaries for endangered animals.

You don’t want to blast a couple of parents who’ve done the same thing every other freaking parent on the planet has done at least once.

You don’t actually want a racist, sexist elitist president.

You don’t want to waste your votes in the fall and not vote because you hate both candidates.

I have faith in you. I know you can do good things in this world. You can change it. You can improve it.

Be better.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

5 Things to Avoid When You’re PMSing

The other day, I was bawling like a toddler at the top of my lungs after watching a commercial. A commercial. I thought to myself, Why am I crying like a lunatic? What is wrong with me?

As the second question looped in my head, I knew what was wrong. My period was coming. I don’t care what anyone says, Aunt Flo is a real twisted sister. She barges into your life, disrupting your emotional health, your physical well-being and the poor suckers that have to put up with your shit every month.

When you're PMSing, you want to steer clear of anything that might send you on attack. Avoid these 5 things, and you'll be golden.

In order to make everyone’s lives a little less painful (and give my family fewer reasons to murder me in my sleep), there are a few things I’m going to avoid when I’m PMSing until I can get my emotions in check.

1. Watching television or going to the movies. No TV shows. No commercials. No movies. No movie previews. No YouTube. Not even a funny cat video. Because that cat is going to be wearing a dress that reminds me of that time my grandma … oh crap. I’m going to start crying again.

2. Having any kind of conversation with my mother. I love her dearly, but when I’m about to start riding the cotton pony, everything is fighting words. Her disdain for country music sets me ablaze, even though I don’t particularly care for the genre. Her opinions of my wardrobe, makeup, and hairstyle are unwanted, especially when Aunt Flo is whispering in my ear, “Sic ’em!”

3. Asking for someone’s opinion. I know that I’m right, dammit. There is nothing anyone can do or say to change my mind, whether I’m asking about dressing for the weather, dinner options or what to watch on TV. Next month, I’m going to take charge and do what I want. All. Week. Long.

4. Consuming alcohol. Hear me out before you get your underoos in a knot. I love Margarita Mondays, Tipsy Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, etc. I’m all about the boozy fun, but during Shark Week, alcohol’s enjoyable traits (Dancing, Laughing, Singing) are replaced by their friends (Crying, Sleeping, Whining). Besides, I’d probably end up lying in bed, caressing a hot water bottle in the fetal position until the cramps subside.

5. Leaving the house. You know what? Might as well just give up before I start. When I feel as bloated as if I’ve eaten 15 hot dogs and three cupcakes and drunk a gallon of Coke, I know I don’t look too hot. I sure as hell don’t feel gorgeous. Why not spare everyone the trouble of telling me I look fine all four times I change my outfit before we go out? I’ll happily stay home with those hot dogs and cupcakes.

I guess that doesn’t leave a whole lot for me to do when I’m PMSing. I could spend that time cleaning, reading a laugh-out-loud book, or writing. But that sounds like too much productivity when I’m miserable. I suppose I’ll just have to use that time wisely … and spend it shopping with my tablet in bed.

What do you try to avoid when you’re PMSing or, for dudes, when your lady is PMSing?

©2015 Christine Wojdyla, as first published on Scary Mommy

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

What Can You Do With an English Degree?

Whilst shopping at Carson Pirie Scott, I observed (eavesdropped) a couple of ladies who had run into each other randomly. I listened as they played catch up and maintained a somewhat blah degree of small talk. I drew a little bit closer as they began discussing one of their children who, to her mother’s dismay, was getting a degree in English.

Her friend/acquaintance asked, “Well, is she going to teach?”

The mother of this English major expressed her disappointment and incredulity that her daughter was, in fact, not going to be a teacher and what in the world could she do with such an inferior degree.

If you major in English, there are a LOT of career paths you can take. These are just a few ideas.

It was, at this point, the time I felt it necessary to interject. Yes, I did jump from being a fly on a wall to joining their conversation. Because OMG people need to understand the relevance and brilliance of English majors everywhere.

I marched right up to those women and interrupted the fuck out of their conversation. “There’s actually a lot you can do with an English major.”

They looked at me only a little funny, because in the Chicagoland area, and probably by extension the Midwest, it is entirely normal for people to just jump into your conversations. We’re a pretty friendly people. Even if we do eavesdrop and take joy in overhearing people quitting their jobs out of the blue.

“I have a Bachelor of Arts in English.”

“Do you teach?”

“No, actually I don’t. I’m certified to teach English, but I have no desire to do so. On the contrary, there are many things that a degree in English can prepare college grads for that other degrees don’t.”

“Really?”

Well, duh, lady.

“I’ve actually had a couple of thriving careers with my English degree, and the beauty is that I’m not tied down to just one. I was a catering manager for a couple of years, and now I’m a senior copywriter for a Fortune 100 company.” (And now I’m an editor. Maybe one day I’ll own a restaurant or something. It’s the circle of life, bitches).

The ladies were impressed and maybe a little less judgeysaurus rexy about the whole English major thing. As I walked away, I was transported back to my senior year of college in which one of my favorite professors, Dr. Prescott, led our senior project class. The project? Write a research thesis discussing one career path you  can take with your English major.

Of course, not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, as I had JUST dropped my education minor (to teach English) the previous semester, I looked to what I knew. Dad was in wine sales for years before he took on ownership of the bar. Liquor sales seemed like a brilliant idea. Plus I could source dad and some of his cronies for my first-person sources. It was ingenious. I got an  A.

English majors, and really anyone with a degree in the liberal arts, often get a bad rap for being lazy and stupid (LAS – Liberal Arts and Sciences). None of which is actually true. Lazy? Fuck no. We’re intuitive. We’re clever. We believe in working smarter not harder. If we can write a paper in 3 hours when we’re given 3 weeks, why in the world would we waste time writing it early? If we work better at 2 am than at noon, we’re going to write the shit out of a final paper in the middle of the night. Because we can. We understand our strengths and weaknesses. We know where and how to thrive.

-Literature is unbelievably helpful, because no matter what business you are in, you are dealing with interpersonal relationships,It gives you an appreciation of what makes people tick.-

As an English major, I learned more life skills than most of my friends in other more direct degree programs. Sure, a business major is going to learn how to land a deal or make a sale, but I learned how to talk to and more importantly, write to people. To engage my audience in a way that makes a sale feel natural and authentic. I learned how to negotiate a big fancy contract without ever discussing contract negotiations in a class, because I know people. I know words. I know the intrinsic value of human interaction in every aspect of business. Someone who went straight from their B.S. to an MBA program without working a day in their life doesn’t necessarily have that luxury (this also doesn’t mean that that don’t).

So what can you do with an English major?

Whatever the fuck you want.

Did you go to college? What did you major in? Did your major lead you down an expected career path? 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Grocery Shopping: Because Being Lazy and Proactive About My Eating Habits Are Better Than Saving Money

I read something on Pinterest the other day about things you should NEVER  buy at the grocery store. Among the items included many of our weekly (okay whenever-we-make-it-to-the-grocery-store-ly, which averages about 2-3 times a month) purchases. And so I said to myself, “Self, someone has to speak out against this insanity. Someone needs to tell these Pinterest Looney Toons to get a hold of themselves and drop the homemade spice mix. Self, that someone should probably be you.”

Okay fine, I didn’t actually say those things to myself. I was busy muttering under my breath about not wanting to put pants on and needing to eat more cheese, but whatever. I thought them. In fact, I’ve thought about this often enough I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to shit I’m never going to do. And about 60 other Pinterest boards dedicated to shit I’m probably never going to do.

Anyways, I’ve come up with a very important list of things you should buy at the grocery store because the cost outweighs the amount of time spent doing whatever it takes to make those things happen.

Whether you're trying to save money or just be the ultimate Pinterest mom, some of these "money savers" are actually not worth your time or energy.

Things you shouldn’t bother Pinteresting or forgoing because the grocery store makes it So. Much. Easier.

Spice mixes: Let’s start with this one (and ignore the fact that I do, actually, make my own taco and fajita seasoning but to be fair, I don’t really measure any of it). Sure, you can mix and match your seasonings easy enough. But ain’t nobody got time for experimentation. When you’re in a hurry, isn’t it reassuring to know that your X,Y,Z isn’t going to be fucked up because you were smart enough to use a spice mix which had the perfect blend of crushed red pepper, dried pineapple flavor and bacon bits (patent pending)? I thought so too. Also, no one makes ranch like Hidden Valley. There. I said it.

Miracle cleaning solution: Let’s talk about this “Blue Dawn and vinegar” bullshit I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I tried it when we first moved into the house. I was thinking to myself, “Self, this is going to make a great post one day. You’ll be all ‘Blue Dawn and vinegar’ was really a miracle in my stained bathtub!” And you know what? I was wrong. Because all that shit did was smell nasty. I understand cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is also supposed to help – I used it dozens of times to try cleaning my garbage disposal. It masked the odor alright…with vinegar smell. Give me Scrubbing Bubbles and a Plink drop any day.

Vinegar: We rarely use most of the vinegar in our cabinets. Brian uses the balsamic for his salad dressing (along with a pre-packaged spice mix) and I use the white vinegar when I dye eggs on Easter. And yet, there are people who make their own fermented vinegar. Dudes. You guys. This stuff is cheap. Who wants to stink up their house for a product you use a couple times a year or whatever.

Dryer sheets: I LOVE the smell of clean laundry. I hate doing laundry, but the smell of fresh from the dryer laundry makes my heart go pitter patter. On Pinterest, I ran across a pin for homemade dryer sheets which looked super cute, but sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. One of the comments on it, though, was priceless – “I tried this and my laundry smelled like vinegar!” Bring on the store-bought dryer sheets so my laundry can smell delicious.

Bottled water: Oh hell yes, I’m going here. I know this one isn’t a Pinterest thing, but I’ve seen it on the money-saving lists. Sure, I’ve got reusable bottles and travel cups and mugs galore (I usually get them free with brand names on them when I go to fancy blog conferences). We even bought fancy pants Brita water bottles (okay – these are great for traveling). But you know what I hate? When I wake up with enough time to brush my teeth, throw pants on, and MAYBE brush my hair before I race to the train…and have to spend more time filling a bottle with water than I did doing all of the getting ready part of my morning. Instead, I can grab a bottle on my way out the door and satiate my thirst while I commute into the city. Besides, when you buy them at Sam’s Club, they’re so cheap per bottle. And water is never truly free, y’all. Need I remind you about your water bill which is payment for water that comes out of your faucet?


Pre-packaged snacks: I love snack packs. A lot. And you know what? Those pre-packaged little goodies keep me from killing my poor boyfriend. Because I’m high maintenance like a freakin’ gremlin. Also, they keep me from eating the whole fucking econo bag of Doritos that I would otherwise buy at Sam’s Club in one sitting. It’s been known to happen.

So the thing is, you guys…I get it. If you’re on a money-saving kick, this might make sense to you. If you’re on an all-natural ingredient thing? I totally get that too. But before you go out to buy the necessary equipment and ingredients to pull these tricks off, don’t forget to add the math for the time it takes you to do this shit. Your hourly rate counts as money spent, doesn’t it?

What crazy DIY shit have you seen recently on Pinterest, or the Internet, or anywhere really, that would be much easier to purchase? Have you tried any of the DIY options I mentioned? Are you a die-hard DIY maven? Are you a bottled water drinker?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Compliment Sandwich, Bitch.

In which we talk about the jerks who don’t know how to give constructive criticism.

The compliment sandwich

I really love the way you offer suggestions for improvement, but…

When you’re dealing with people, I don’t give a damn whether you’ve got an MBA or a GED. You know what matters to me?

How you TREAT people. Yes, how you treat me is a significant factor, but I also look at how you treat others. How you talk about others. What you write in e-mail. Everything you say to or about people shows me the kind of person that you are. And if you’re being a douche nozzle, you should probably take this to heart.

I didn’t attend a fancy business school, but I did learn that the best way to deliver criticism is with a spoonful of sugar.

Mary Poppins is my homie.

If you’re going to tell a writer that their work could use a little cleaning up, I recommend the compliment sandwich.

How to dish out a compliment sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • Examples of excellent work, planning, organization, strategy or anything else that could warrant a proverbial pat on the back
  • The problem, issue, criticism that needs to be discussed
  • Proof and/or examples of the problem
  • A solution to the problem (if there is one)
  • The right words to eloquently phrase the problem, the solution, and the pat on the back so that you don’t come off as a dick
  • Someone to check your grammar and spelling (this is optional but highly recommended if you’re sending criticism via e-mail).

Step 1: Whether you’re writing an e-mail or confronting the offender in person, it’s best to ensure that you know exactly what you’re going to say. Words are powerful. If you’re not sure of your phrasing, consult with other people. This is essential.

Step 2: Deliver compliment #1. This is one of the easiest parts. “You’re doing a great job here (Elaborate. Get them on Team You).” or “I really appreciated how you handled project A, B, or C.” or my favorite, “I know you’re working really hard on this…”

Step 3: Transition into the constructive criticism. This should be seamless from compliment to “here’s something I’ve/we’ve noticed.”

Step 4: Deliver criticism. Make sure that you use NICE language. The words, “suck,” “shit,” “crap,” “awful,” “terrible,” “worst,” and any other derivative of these offensive words should be avoided at all costs. Stick with words like: “improve,” “adjust,” “modify,” “change,” and “expectations.”

Step 5: Offer that solution. If you genuinely don’t have a solution, give them TIME to come up with a solution. If you couldn’t think of one in the time it took you to plan this, they certainly aren’t going to have a solution on the spot, especially if they’re feeling attacked.

Step 6: Bring it right back to another compliment. Positive reinforcement works wonders. The whip? Not so much. “Thank you.” “I know you can do this.” “You’ve got a lot of great ideas, let’s implement them.” If you can’t think of 2 compliments, you’ve got a whole different problem on your hands, and I can’t help you. But if you can, then be nice to your people. Duh?

You have so much potential, so I know that you CAN make this compliment sandwich thing work.

See what I did there?

someecards.com - Your grammatically incorrect e-mail was much appreciated. For reference, though,

Have you experienced a peer or someone in your place of employment who didn’t have a nice thing to say, ever? How did you handle it? Do you believe in the compliment sandwich? How do you deliver constructive criticism?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!