Save Yourself: How to Deal with Highly Negative People

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Highly negative people prevent us from making positive changes in our life. Having to face negative people on a daily basis can be downright exhausting. They’ve trained themselves to close their minds off from possibilities and choosing to focus on the lack of them. Over time these self-constraints pile up to create personal enslavement, which affects everyone around them.

I’ve been there, we all have: those days where everything you do seems to be wrong and never ends up getting you where you want to go. But eventually, something happens that gives us a glimmer of hope. We hold onto that hope for dear life, hoping it will grow. Much to our surprise, it usually does—this is because we unconsciously had been relishing in positivity in spite of ourselves.
Hope is everything, and it is the balm for negativity. Life gives us sh*t and we can’t help; most of it is out of our control anyway. But hope is the thing that fuels our faith. Without it we might as well just give up, for what is there to live for?

In the gay community especially, negativity can run a muck with or without our permission. As men, we live off it. Everyone wants to be the pack leader so putting us in a room full of gay guys could be dangerous.
Negativity is a tool one might take advantage of eventually. When a man sees you down and out on yourself, it can be a solid reminder of his security: he’s not as bad as you, which gives him self-esteem; and self-esteem is so valuable these days that he won’t want to let it go, so he’ll find opportunities to make you feel even more negative. It becomes a power struggle.
But it can work the other way too. A negative friend reminds you of your own insecurities, day in and day out. Every time you’re in the same room, he or she will deflate you, turning your emotions into putty.

The only way to handle negativity in your life is to combat it with positive reinforcements. It’s easy to become comfortable with a regime of “putting up with it” just for the sake of maintaining peace, but that’s bullsh*t. If you value yourself at all, it’s time to limit the excuses and start widening your range of possibilities.
Here’s a piece of advice: the reason why you feel guilty or ashamed isn’t because people make you, but it’s because you’ve done something to another person (or to yourself). You aren’t judged by how people treat you, but by how you treat people. Chances are, you’ve fought negativity with negativity, henceforth jump-starting an evil pattern. You’ve stooped to their level—never again!

When a negative dart is thrown your way, dodge it. Nourish it with love. Never fight anger with anger, sadness with sadness, shame with shame. You will only create space for all those things to enter. Focus on what you’re delivering, not them.
Every emotion you feel inside exists because you’ve put it there. You can be treated like sh*t most of the time, but only if you let them get to you, let them convince you they’re right, will the darkness win.
You are all you need. Period. No one else matters. It doesn’t matter how much negativity your friend tries to wash over you so long as you stop inviting it in; instead, observe it. Allow yourself to step back, observe, and tell yourself, “Wow. That was really negative. I see it now.”

What others say about you doesn’t change anything. You are what you are, and you can change only when you want. You’re the master of your own universe. Everything you feel about yourself started as an idea implanted from another. It’s time to stop bowing down to negativity as if it were your ruler. Let it slide on by. Free yourself.

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Fursecution and Fat-Shaming in the Gay Community

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If there’s one thing that really gets my knickers in a twist, it’s people not being able to accept each other for who they are. Gay people still face so much prejudice and discrimination in the world, but there’s an issue that I view as being even more damaging; gays hating on other gays for not fitting an ‘acceptable’ aesthetic.
Over the years I have noticed a lot of fursecution and fat-shaming in the gay community, as I’m sure many of you have. I have even been a victim of it on more than one occasion. Whether you’re online and see profiles stating that potential guys must be slim and hairless or seeing fat shaming on the scene, I believe it to be an endemic problem.
Personally I’m a relatively big guy and particularly hairy. There was a time I hated the way I looked and wished I could be slim and smooth. Then I came to realise that I wanted to be like that to please others rather than to please myself. When it comes down to it, if I really hated the way I look I’d do something about it. I like my covering of fur and having a bit of meat on my bones. My partner likes it too, so that’s all that matters.
In the past I have come up against abuse and discrimination from other gay men, mainly on the scene and on apps such as Grindr. One guy told me that I looked disgusting and that the only way I was going to lose weight was if I became bulimic. Another guy on Grindr told me I was a “fat f**king twat” who had no chance. It bothered me at first, but actually it says more about them than it does about me.
In magazines we are fed images of so called hot guys and they are nearly always slim, smooth men, with toned bodies. Although I sometimes like seeing those images, I believe that the constant feed of these nearly naked men is damaging to people’s self-esteem and potentially feeds the fat shamers and fursecutors.

It’s not just in the gay world that this problem exists. If I venture into my local town on a Saturday night there will be lots of people mocking others for being overweight or wearing an outfit that’s perhaps a bit tight and unflattering. It’s the same in the summertime when someone chubby takes their top off or wears skimpy clothing. Personally I think it’s great if people feel confident enough to remove their top or wear an outfit they like, regardless of how it fits. If the way someone looks offends you, look the other way. Or perhaps address the reason why you are offended.
Scrolling through my Facebook news feed also shows up incidences of fat shaming and fursecution. Whether it’s a larger lady with little clothing on or a man covered in body hair, it is further perpetuating the thought that being overweight or hairy is unsexy and acceptable to be the subject of ridicule.
I don’t believe that bullying or the shaming of anyone is ever OK, and it concerns me that so many people focus on what others look like instead of concentrating on the bigger issues there are facing us as a community.
As for what the solution for eradicating this form of bullying is, I don’t have the answer. Perhaps there needs to be body image classes at school or maybe people just need to take a long, hard look at themselves to realize that fat shaming and fursecution need to stop. Either way, we should be supporting and celebrating each other, not continuing with this internal prejudice and discrimination.

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How to Be Happy: 15 Ways to Create Happiness in Your Life

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Life doesn’t need to be depressing. Come out and find your inner YES GAWD! Everywhere we look there is something to complain about, but the second we stop dwelling on all that crap is the moment we find ourselves.
It’s time to be more positive. There is a happy gene hidden somewhere inside of us waiting to get pulled out, but it never will unless we trigger it. Here’s how:

#1) Stop feeding into bullsh*t because you feel like you have to. No seriously, stop doing it. I know it can be hard saying “no” to people you’ve convinced yourself you need to suck up to, but there’s truly a reason why you feel an urge to do it—because your gut is telling you so. Listen to it and you’ll be so much more aligned in yourself.

#2) Stop doing what you did five years ago expecting the same result. The whole point of life is to evolve; meaning, take what we’ve learned and apply it so we’ll have more clarity and wiggle room to branch out towards new avenues. Start doing that.

#3) Rid yourself of the friends that keep you from doing #2 on this list. There are friends who refuse to grow up, but we hold onto them because of our history. Don’t be scared to peel yourself away. At this point, your investment of time is more valuable than anything else.

#4) Don’t hold back positive feedback because the person isn’t “popular.” When you have a chance to give a genuine compliment or positive enforcement, do it, regardless if the person is a trouble child or black sheep. Trust me, you can use the karma.

#5) If something doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it’s a red flag you shouldn’t be doing it. Whether it’s a job, boyfriend or circumstance, if it doesn’t feed your value and convinces you of your worth then it’s time to leave.

#6) Reflect on the things you’ve accomplished rather than the things you’ve failed in. Our failures hover over us, and the only way to warn it away is to combat it with flashbacks of our successes. Never let those memories lose grip—holding that award, the feeling you got when you made that deal, when he said “yes.” All the things you’ve WON are what matters.

#7) Once you’ve reflected on your successes, then play this song over and over on repeat:


#8) Do the things you love more than the things you hate. Stop forcing yourself to do the things you hate doing just to “get them done.” If you think about it, they don’t have to get done; you’re just obsessing over it and probably think you don’t deserve to have fun so this is a way of punishing yourself.

#9) Stop punishing yourself! We have a knack of punishing ourselves for the embarrassing things we did years ago. We replay it over and over again before we go to sleep. Let it go and stop punishing yourself. Say, “F*ck it” and move on. Everyone else has.

#10) Be prepared for what’s coming so you will have less embarrassing moments. Here’s the simplest cure to rid ourselves of embarrassment: be prepared, do your homework and enter all situations equipped. That way you have less wiggle room for disaster to ensue.

#11) Never be fake. It’s exhausting and everyone hates it. No one wants to be labeled pretentious or inauthentic, yet “pretending” is what we do. We think it encourages people and makes them feel supported to act like everything is okay, but the truth is it actually makes them feel pitied.

#12) It’s better to do what’s RIGHT over what’s NICE or POPULAR. Your life is always going to be rewarding the more you do the right thing rather than succumbing to what the nice thing is, or what everyone else is doing. Be the hero!

#13) Detox yourself of past regrets by apologizing and closing the door. Don’t let another second go by without apologizing for something that’s been eating away. Have a clean slate and move forward with your life anew.

#14) Dance alone in the kitchen while you’re cooking. A little Hip-Hop music doesn’t hurt, either. Blare it up like it’s your job and throw those spices in the bowl like the diva you are, baby.

#15) Always love, and I mean really love. Compassion, empathy, joy, and peace are all branches of love. It’s healing and rewarding in all aspects of life. Love yourself, be more positive, look at the best in situations, and allow others to feel the love too.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?



Join a gay dating site where you can meet single guys from any town or city. Rely instead on Gay Dating Solutions to do the work for you!


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Cut The Crackpot: Dealing with Crazy People

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Crazy folks – everybody got them! Not the mental illness but people who are rational most of the time but have one area of life where they just see cross eyed. How many crazy gay men does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The longer you try and make sense of a crazy person the more likely you are to go crazy yourself. It’s a rotten apple in the barrel type of situation. When you’re surrounded by illogical, inconsistent, hypocritical, narcissistic, selfish, and irrational behavior all day, you’re bound to get a little rubbed off on you. Traits like these are defense mechanisms and are used unconsciously to make a person feel better about his or her self. It’s their issue, not yours.
The first thing you need to do is take a step back to investigate their behavior from an outwards perspective. The beginning red flags of crazy behavior are: flipping out unexpectedly, blaming other people for things they did wrong, using people as punching bags, associating the behavior of others with behavior done by bullies in their past, and often being the first person to bring up something “wrong” in any situation. Sounds familiar right? That’s because we all have a little crazy within us; it’s called human behavior. One of the reasons why a crazy person drives us up the wall is because, in reality, we relate to them. We know why they’re flipping out because we’ve been there too – maybe not as drastic but we’ve been there nonetheless.
Life is meant to be progressive. If we’re staying stationary we have no chance of growing, therefore, the longer we refuse to investigate our bad qualities the longer we’ll continue to show them. We happened to notice bad qualities about ourselves that stunt our growth and we’ve managed to put it into practice; crazies haven’t yet.

How many times have people said you were selfish? Aggressive? Paranoid? Stubborn? Crazy? To a crazy person, my guess is they’ve heard it all there lives. Sometimes it doesn’t register for years that their behavior is a sole reason they’ve pushed so many people out of their life. By the time it registers, it’s usually too late. The only way of making a crazy person realize they’re crazy is by not encouraging it. Just like you may appreciate someone giving you feedback on a novel you’ve been writing, it’s also helpful for someone to call you out when you’re overreacting about something. The reason why crazy continues to flourish in this person’s life is probably because they’ve had a healthy source of voices telling them they’re right, even honorable for staying true to “themselves” as if they were born selfish, narcissistic or paranoid. Trust me, no one is born this way.
This is why crazy people love hanging out with devotees. As soon as they get an inkling that someone sees through them, they’re quick to runaway. A crazy person hates to see his or her reflection from public opinion because it reminds them that they’re crazy. They’re so accustomed to acting the way they do that humoring the idea of changing or self-investigating is scary. Altering a lifelong habit is always going to be resisted.

It’s hard trying to get toxic people out of your life, but the good thing is once they’re gone you now know what to look for in people. Maya Angelou once said, “When a person shows you their true selves, believe them.” This was something you seriously neglected to do when you first met this person, but if you think back now, I’m sure there were plenty of signs – that one time he flipped out on you when he lost his phone; the time he treated you like shit because you made his crush laugh at a joke; the time he accused you of ignoring him when you didn’t even know he was in the room; the time he embarrassed you in front of everyone because he happened to have a bad day; the numerous times he withheld important information from you out of resentment or jealousy; the time he didn’t invite you to his party because he wanted revenge for something; the night he left you stranded at the club because no one was flirting with him; or the times he always felt the need to tell you “so and so” doesn’t like you.
Crazy people thrive on self-righteousness. That’s why their manic behavior affects other people rather than themselves. They don’t feel important so they try to make everyone around them bow at their feet; this makes them feel involved in their own lives. But if they looked behind them, they’ll be quick to see the trail of friends they’ve trampled over to gain a short-lived amount of self-esteem.

How do you deal with a crazy person? The same way you deal with anything else toxic: DETOX them out of your system. You might very well be the one who gives them a much-needed epiphany, but trust me, don’t hold your breath. The second you start feeding them, you’re accrediting their behavior. You’re saying it’s okay for you to act this way, it’s okay for you to release your self-loathing on me, it’s okay for you to use me as a punching bag, and you know what? When you apologize, I’ll forgive you as well… this is dangerous. When the behavior becomes repetitive, the best thing you can do is protect yourself. You are the most important person in this situation. He might realize the aftermath of their behavior, but you should never wait around to find out.
You’re much smarter than a crazy person gives you credit for. Whether you realize it or not, they’re insulting your intelligence by thinking you’re dumb enough to fall for their act. Stop living with them in fantasy-land and come back to the real world – the weather is much nicer here.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?



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Why Self-Compassion Trumps Self-Esteem

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Is self-compassion more important than self-esteem? It’s typical for human beings to become a replica of how we’re treated by the world and those closest to us. If we’re treated like a victim, it’s easy to make that the baseline of our self-worth. When we’re talked down upon, it’s easy to make ourselves become submissive to the world around us. Not until we find the courage to break free of these kinds of habits are we able to see our true value.

Most gay men today are too busy trying to find self-esteem they ignore the process of self-compassion. Without it we fall susceptible in comparing ourselves to others, relying on them to build our worth when really it should be defined by us. Self-esteem is an often misused term. Though it makes us feel good about ourselves, we forget where it all stems from: the world.
Self-esteem refers to the degree at which we evaluate ourselves positively, but rarely is it ever from our own analysis. It’s how we value ourselves based on comparisons with others and where we are in the food chain. Self-compassion, however, is not based on judgments or evaluations. It’s a way of relating to ourselves, focusing on interconnection rather than separateness. You no longer have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself.

There’s no such thing as perfect. As soon as that realization sets in, it opens a wide amount of space in our souls that allows us to forgive. Forgive ourselves for being overly critical and forgive the world for its judgmental habits. Above all, it teaches us to be present in the moment.
The human condition is notoriously imperfect. All it takes is being kind to ourselves when life doesn’t go our way instead of beating ourselves apart and becoming self-critical. To feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. Instead of suppressing our pain in an effort to maintain an image (which fuels our self-esteem), we ought to recognize and accept it as it arises.
It’s easy to become a reflection of what the world says we are because the focus is always from there-to-here, instead of from here-to-there or here-to-here. If it’s easy for us to become how the world treats us, imagine how easy it is to become how we view ourselves. When we’re consistently telling ourselves we’re not good enough, the question we ask ourselves should always be “Says who?” Chances are it will be stemmed from the outside world.

The repercussions of feeling invaluable are more than just outward. It’s an internal hell. According to research, self-compassion has shown to offer the same benefits as self-esteem without its downsides. In a large survey of over 3,000 people, it found self-compassion was associated with much more stable feelings of self-worth than self-esteem. Self-compassion was found to be less contingent on things like physical attractiveness or successful performances, while self-esteem had a strong association with narcissism.
We’ve become emotional sharks hovering over the weak-esteemed and devouring their energy to boost our own self-worth. But until you start feeling compassion for yourself and others, the dog-eat-dog world of emotional satisfaction will continue to rise. Everyone in this world is worthy of love and appreciation, and that includes you.
Focus not on building self-esteem fueled by a judgmental society, but concentrate on self-compassion. Whether you’re on top of the world or at the end of your ropes, learning to embrace yourself with kindness will always act as a springboard towards greater feelings. It’s an emotional safety net which should never be underrated. Everyone deserves respect, so start by respecting yourself.

Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

Join a gay dating site where you can meet single guys from any town or city. Rely instead on Gay Dating Solutions to do the work for you!

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Overcoming Shyness: How to Feel More Confident

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If you’re shy, you know the discomfort such bashfulness can bring.  When you must step out of the shadows and speak up, you may experience a racing heart, dry mouth, and butterflies in the stomach.  What others seem to take for granted can become a miserable experience for you.

All sorts of social situations can trigger a bout of self-conscious shyness.  Some people find themselves not speaking up for themselves at work.  Others find it makes them anxious to introduce themselves to others at a bar or the gym.  Or they avoid social situations all together, becoming isolated at home.  And more people fear public speaking engagements than fear snakes or spiders.


All of us find ourselves a little shy at times, especially if we’re introverted by nature. But when the problem starts to really interfere with the enjoyment of day-to-day life, therapists talk about the problem as social anxiety. Well-meaning friends may tell us to get over it, buck up and “just do it” when faced with a situation that causes us embarrassment. Sometimes that works, but often it’s too simple an answer. If we’re not prepared, we may put ourselves in a situation where we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, only to find that all our self-doubts rise up like dragons and overwhelm us.



For shy people, the problem is often a high level of self-consciousness – particularly around negative thoughts. We act like everyone is looking at us. Or the chatter in our heads becomes a flood of negativity. “No one would be interested in what I have to say.” “If I introduce myself to him, I’ll probably forget his name right away.” “What’s the point of starting up a conversation with him when I’ll just look stupid?” These critical voices are like a Greek chorus of discouragement in our heads. The anxiety they provoke may be so great that we’ll even lie to friends to avoid accepting social invitations where we feel we’ll fail ourselves.


Another trap is over-scrutinizing our own words, thoughts and behaviors. If we fear embarrassment we may end up waiting until the perfect moment when we’ll know just what to do or say…then we watch opportunity after opportunity simply slip away as we sit in the background, analyzing. The right moment never comes. We’re paralyzed.
Some single people find themselves especially shy in social situations that are the opening gambits in the intimacy game. They long for a relationship but fear they are clueless about how to find a guy and start the process.


In the 21st century we’re finding that there’s a pill for just about everything, and shyness is no exception. It’s true that some social anxiety can be helped by the selective use of medication, especially if the anxiety has become debilitating. But many of those medications cause other troubles, including the host of problems that are dismissed as “possible sexual side effects” in the ads for them on television. For most people the answer to shyness isn’t an antidepressant. The answer is gaining greater self-knowledge and mastering new skills to become more comfortable in social situations.
For some single people, the rush to date might best be put on hold for a little while so they can master some of the social skills that make friendships and other intimate relationships more rewarding.
Remember, you’re more than your problem with shyness. When you learn to let your real self out you will find you can enjoy life in new ways.


Self-doubt and self-criticism are at the root of much shyness. We have mistaken beliefs (“Everyone’s looking at me!”) that hold is back.These beliefs keep us from having the sort of meaningful, intimate relationships we want. A good first step is to notice the self-talk going on all the time between your ears.  Recognize negative voices that give you critical, defeatist messages.  Once you start to recognize them you’re no longer on autopilot.  A thought is not the same thing as a reality….
 You can begin to assert some control.  A good place to start is simply by labeling the thought, perhaps saying to yourself, “That’s just a thought.”  Avoid arguing with the voice in your head.  And certainly don’t compound the problem by yelling at yourself!  “I’m an idiot for having such negative thoughts!” is really just another negative thought.


Try paying special attention to thoughts that include words like always, never, should, etc.  These are rarely true and often just cause us more anxiety.  And look for other ridiculous thoughts.  Everyone is not always looking at you, for instance. 
Changing patterns requires patience and practice.  Don’t criticize yourself.  See if you can work up some self-encouragement instead.


Improving your social skills may start with looking at how you physically present yourself.  We’re not talking “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” makeovers here; we’re talking about your posture, how you physically hold yourself.  Many shy people try to take up as little physical space as possible, almost as if trying to make themselves disappear.  Look at how you stand in front of a full-length mirror.  Look at your posture.  Like Mom said, stand up straight.  Lift your chin a bit.  Smile a little.  Can you look relaxed and alert at the same time?  Do you look approachable? 
Try speaking to an imaginary person – maybe someone you’d meet at the gym or at a party.  Role-play introducing yourself.  How’s the tone of your voice?  Do you naturally speak very softly?  Trying increasing your volume a bit, which will help you sound more confident.  As you look in the mirror, are you looking yourself in the eye?  An open, friendly gaze and a firm handshake create a positive impression.  If looking someone in the eye is uncomfortable for you, practice in front of a mirror or with a friend.


If saying hello is a problem for many shy people, sometimes it can be just as hard to say “No.”  People who have a problem with assertiveness often acquiesce to requests and demands; they may avoid situations where people are likely to make such requests, and that just adds to the sense of social isolation.  (Ask yourself if you’ve ever given in to a telemarketer when you didn’t want to do so.  If the answer is yes, you could probably learn to be more assertive!)  You can learn to say “no” and mean it.  Be polite but firm; look the person in the eye if it’s a face-to-face encounter.  Repeat you’re no again with even greater firmness if necessary.  You may feel uncomfortable for a moment – many people do, because we’ve been taught to be “nice” – but you’ll feel more self-confidence after speaking forthrightly.

Introducing ourselves and speaking to people that we don’t know is difficult for shy people – mainly because they’ve learned to fear rejection. They are overwhelmed by a sense of awkwardness and don’t know what to do. That anxiety can be so paralyzing that these men and women avoid trying anything new or speaking to people they don’t already know.
Their fear of rejection makes their world smaller.  Rejection isn’t fatal, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem at the time. The problem is often what therapists call “catastrophic thinking” – a belief that it would be unbearably awful if rejection occurred. But is being turned down for a job or a date really lethal? Of course not. The consequences are far worse if you choose to take yourself out of the social game because you’re terrified of being turned down.


If you’re afraid of rejection – and most people are – why not practice getting really good at it? Realize that each rejection means that you’re succeeding in extending yourself and doing something challenging. Each time you experience it you’re actually getting closer to your goal of expanding your circle of friends, of getting that job that you want, of meeting your goals and succeeding in life. Tolerating a little rejection is a small price to pay for getting more of what you want in your life.
If you’re not doing well at meeting people in your current routine, try changing things. Too many people rely on the usual standbys – bars and the gym – for meeting people and striking up conversation. Try joining a club or organization, where you’ll find more things in common that can be conversation starters. Or get a cute dog and head to the park on a sunny afternoon!

When there’s an opening (you walk up to someone, or there’s a lull in the conversation near where you are, etc.) take a deep breath, introduce yourself, make eye contact, smile and shake hands. Repeating the person’s name back to them can help you remember it, especially if you’re slowing down and paying attention.
Shy people often start worrying about whether they will “do it right” when they are speaking with someone, rather than simply paying attention and being in the moment. One powerful way to move past your shyness is to keep focusing on stuff other than yourself. Concentrate when someone answers you. Remember what they say so you can ask a question about it later. Let yourself find the other person interesting, which will make you more interesting to them. (If you have trouble thinking on your feet, think of some possible questions to ask ahead of time.)

When you’re speaking, notice the pronouns you use. Self-conscious people often use the word “I” a lot, and that can stop or block conversation. Smiling and conveying interest in the other person (“So what did you think of…?”) keeps the conversation going and makes you seem less self-centered.
Offer an opinion if you want to deepen the conversation, or ask the other person for their opinion. Remember to really listen to the other person. Focusing helps to lessen the anxiety and the distraction of self-consciousness. It helps keep the conversation going and makes a good impression.

Do you enjoy the person’s company and feel that interest coming back at you? Great. Consider suggesting meeting some other time for coffee or lunch. Offer your phone number; if you get the other guy’s, use it. If he doesn’t offer his phone number, don’t despair. You’re doing what you need to do to meet the kind of people you want to meet. Evidently this just wasn’t the one. In training yourself to be more outgoing, you’re going to get what you want.
All this gets much easier with practice. Being successful in doing what you set out to do will make you more comfortable. You’ll find that socializing becomes easier and your shyness will no longer run your life.

 
 
Have you found the right one, or are you still searching?

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Finding Happiness: The Key to a Happy Gay Life

It’s hard to find a happy place in today’s world. Years of unhealthy messages from the media have tricked us into thinking we’ll never know what true contentment is. Though we try to seek it, we’re continuously pushed down by the world around us until it becomes a habit to stay submissive. The truth is, real value comes from inside – not from others.

So many gay men out there are desperate for balance. Despite what the world says about us, it’s a struggle to maintain any sort of contentment in our daily routine. The dog-eat-dog philosophy has turned us into sharks, but now is the time to find ourselves. Only we can define our happiness. Only we can decide what our value is. This is the essence of independence. Here are a few things that will get us there:

#1) Choose Friends Wisely
Surrounding yourself with people who have your best interests at heart can be difficult in this day and age, especially in the gay community. We’re all trying to prove ourselves so being able to share the spotlight at any time can be hard. Knowing the difference between friends and acquaintances plays a huge role in structuring your well-being. Don’t get too close to people you’ve heard are toxic or people you have a bad feeling about. The last thing you want to do is get stuck in a friendship that’s tied down by history and not love. When you surround yourself with good energy, good things will happen. Always.

#2) Turn Dreams Into Challenges
Instead of dreaming about the things you want to accomplish in life, turn them into challenges. This might make them seem more possible rather than keeping them towed away in the imagination. Everything in life comes from making an effort. By saying “I’m going to achieve this. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m still going to try” gives you the fuel you need to bring your dreams to earth instead of keeping them in the clouds. Inspire yourself by making it possible.

#3) Appreciate The Small Things
Gigantic rewards start small. The road to long-term happiness and contentment always begin with tiny pleasures blossoming into a wider world of gratitude. Acknowledging an extra scoop of ice-cream from the vendor, a smiling child on the subway, a cute puppy walking the crosswalk or even a small compliment from your next door neighbor has the potential of redirecting your state of mind towards a healthier direction as the day continues. And don’t just wait to seek them out. Create them yourself! Go buy something cheap from your favorite store, reward yourself to a hot fudge sundae or listen to your favorite song. Find excuses to jumpstart your happy fuel.

#4) Change Your Perception Of Time
If there’s one thing that makes most people depressed or anxious, it’s time. Never should you let it rule your life. There are so many things you can do throughout the day that will help you save time either for the next day or the next week. Never let yourself get neurotic. Organization is key.
Your time is important and it should be spent doing things you enjoy doing so you can get “lost in the moment,” allowing yourself to lose track of time. Time goes by so slowly when you’re at work or doing something labor full. This is because you aren’t enjoying the activity. Change up the routine and try to make it easier by altering the normalcy in everything. Trust me, you’ll notice the minute hand speeding up as the hours continue.

#5) Don’t Play The “Power” Game
Growing up, most of our dads taught us how to appear confident. Firm handshake, a drop in the vocal register, and square shoulders are often portrayed as a display of nonverbal self-confidence. Though it’s great to give this message across to the world in a business meeting, you shouldn’t let it define your entire impression. As humans, we like people who like us. The “power” game is usually meant to set the balance of importance, i.e. making the person you’re talking to feel submissive to your greatness. Relax and make sure your appreciation for them does ’t go unnoticed. It’s always going to be reciprocated. Drop the act. Be you. You’re enough.

#6) Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Wrong
Instead of wanting to be right all the time, focus your attention on being unafraid of being wrong. We all know the types of people who proudly display their need to be right while totally disregarding the opinions of others. Though they think they’re showing confidence, they’re actually being a bully.
One major ingredient of happiness is the ability to let it all go. Who cares about being right? If you’re wrong you’ll be corrected and move forward having learned something, but at least you weren’t afraid of saying your opinion. Finding out what is right is more important than being right. Start to put this into practice.

#7) Accept A Compliment
Don’t argue with a friend as soon as they tell you how great you look. Be gracious and appreciative. The more you throw away compliments, the less likely they’ll want to do it ever again. These kinds of things teach others how to treat you, which plays a huge role in how we feel about ourselves. It’s all about give and take in life, and the hardest thing is to learn how to take, but as soon as we do, trust me, the world opens up endless possibilities.

#8) See Setbacks As Opportunities
It’s easy to see setbacks as dead ends or potholes, but no one has ever gotten anything in life by accepting the fact it “may be” over. Instead of throwing your hands up in the air, go to the drawing board and devise a new strategy. All roads really do lead to Rome. It takes confidence to see setbacks as opportunities because it’s courageous. Failures are not a reflection on our value in life nor are they a reflection of our talent or drive. A more accurate depiction of that would be whether we give up… or not. Learn to be an opportunist. Learn to say “Why not me?”

#9) Seek Approval From Those Who Matter 
It’s hard to not want approval from strangers, especially when our lives are on constant 24-hour display on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But in the long run, what’s most important: trying to please 10K followers on Twitter whom you’ve never met or pleasing the few people in your life that you truly love? Knowing that we’ve gained our loved ones trust and respect is like setting our happy engines aflame. We march with confidence, we hold our head up high and we can’t stop smiling because we know the people who truly matter are behind us 100%. That’s priceless.

#10) Focus On What You Can Do For Others, Not What They Can Do For You
When you’re focusing on others, you’re not focusing on yourself. This can be freeing. There are too many people out there with hidden agendas who are always “lights-on” in an attempt to intellectually con the world. This is never going to lead to an authentic life. Instead of focusing on how the world will take care of you or how others can boost you up the ladder, redirect your attention on what you can do for them without expanding your limits. This makes people feel much more comfortable because they know your actions are from a genuine place. The likely result is them wanting to help you instead. Real generosity is contagious. 



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How to Stay Positive and Resilient Through Adversity

It’s difficult to remain positive despite the countless number of things pulling us down. Have you ever waken up in the morning happy and ready start your day, until the coffee maker breaks, traffic gets stalled and your friends change their lunch plans? Suddenly, a day so full of potential becomes yet another grueling experience.

It’s the little things that pile up into a mountain of misfortunes, leaving our spirits vulnerable to negativity. One chink in the armor is like a ripple in a wave. It takes a while to find our balance again, and in that time-frame, we’re defenseless. We’re exposed to reality in such a way that we begin to see more things that are wrong, which ultimately ruin our day – and eventually our lives.
Why do we get so upset over the little things? In our heightened state we tend to exaggerate things that, in the long run, have little value towards our happiness. We over think till it becomes an obsession. Once we do, we collect other negative thoughts. By the end of the day we’ve collected so many that it’s hard to remember any of the good. This isn’t a path anyone wants to tread.

Let’s say you show up to work – everything’s fine – when suddenly you realize the corner Starbucks is shut down (a rare occurrence, but it happens). You end up walking three blocks to the other Starbucks and risk being late for work. Before you know it, you’re too focused on this fact alone that you begin a thinking pattern which lasts throughout the day: the coffee was gross, my boss didn’t seem happy when I walked in ten seconds late, I might have lost valid work time, ugh I should have just drank the nasty coffee in the break room, etc. Before you know it, this one event becomes the seed towards an unhealthy pattern.

Small adversities like this should be a springboard towards the bigger picture. Instead of focusing on whatever is changing your routine, interpret it as a new experience. You’re not going to die, but rather have a minor skip in your plan. Here’s a tip. One of the greatest sayings to have in your back pocket is “Oh well, at least…”
The coffee maker breaks? Oh well, at least there’s a café downstairs. You accidentally drop your phone? Oh well, at least it’s not broken. Your man forgets to bring you something when he meets you for lunch? Oh well, at least he’s here.

There’s tremendous power in brushing things off your shoulder. “Oh well, at least…” is more than just letting things go. Psychologically you’re training yourself to embrace the positive sides of things. Sooner or later you’ll be able to do it unconsciously. Everyone deals with small adversities in life and the beautiful part about it is that no matter how old we are, it’s never too late to embrace a new form of combat against it.
When something good happens because of a negative incident, we tend to call it “fate.” Let’s say because you chose to walk the three blocks to the other Starbucks, you ended up meeting the love of your life. That’s fate. Yet for most people who are stuck in a negative state of mind, they’re never going to see the opportunity fate brings when it reveals itself.
When bad things happen, never let it define the dynamic of your attitude. Positivity is contagious and it starts with you. Let’s learn to embrace it. Just because there’s a thorn on a rose doesn’t mean it’s not as beautiful. There’s positivity hidden deep within every negative thing, but until we search for it we’re always going to see the outer layer.









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What Makes a Man Sexy?

Our culture values sexiness very highly. But what is sexiness? A visitor from another planet who looked at our advertising might think it was something you get from purchasing products like cars, colognes or cognac. Everyone wants it, but it is hard to define.

What makes a man sexy?  The sexiness we’re talking about here is more than a matter of firm pecs and washboard abs. Physical characteristics are part of the equation, but far from the whole answer.
We find some men sexy even though they are far from conventionally handsome. Different people find different things sexually attractive, of course; sexy is a matter of personal taste.

And what’s sexy to you when you are out dancing and looking for Mr. Right? Now may be very different from what you would find sexy in Mr. Right. A bad boy with broad shoulders and a cute butt may get your attention at a club when you’re looking for a hookup. If you’re serious about dating, sexy eyes may be less arousing than clues that the guy in question might make a decent husband.

So what’s sexy?  Here are some key ingredients:


Self-acceptance is fundamentally sexy in just about anyone. For gay men, that includes being comfortable with your sexual orientation. It means being able to be yourself; after all, who is better qualified for the job?

Self-confidence that allows you to take the initiative is something most people think of as masculine and appealing. Lots of people feel shy about approaching a stranger in a bar or starting up a conversation in a public place. They are relieved when someone else does that chore for them. And being able to look someone in the eye when you are speaking with them communicates a lot of positive things in our culture.

Similarly, a bit of sexual aggressiveness can be very appealing. That’s primarily true if you’ve picked up on signals that the other person is receptive to an advance and if you make your move with some subtlety and style.

Being able to truly listen to the other person and carry on a conversation communicates an ability to create emotional safety. If someone can share that kind of intimacy with you, it’s much easier for them to imagine being physically intimate as well. That’s also why paying attention to the other person’s needs and desires is so sexy. Candlelight helps!

Taking care of your physical self is an important part of sexiness, but not as much as you might imagine. Grooming is important, but physical perfection is far less crucial than being at home in your body. (It’s that self-acceptance thing again.) If you seem alive, relaxed and free, your body is going to have some appeal.


So what’s not sexy?  The list could be long, but the sexy list gives us some clues:

Narcissism – always talking about yourself, for instance – is different from self-confidence; it’s boring and irritating.
Being so aggressive that you don’t know when to back off or take “No” for an answer makes you a jerk, not a sexy man.
Sexiness can’t be bought in a bottle or a shirt. It can, however, be cultivated.








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Dealing With Gay Bullying

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For anyone who is being bullied, you are not alone.
Nearly 77% of the population has said that they have been bullied in their lives. The sad part is that most of these people have taken that mindset of victimization with them their entire lives. Bullying is a problem in this country. We see it in suicide cases that make headline news, yet we fail to understand that there are many more stories – hundreds – every year that don’t reach the editing room of CNN.

It’s happening in our own backyards. They are our children, our nephews, our nieces, and us. If you’re being bullied, we know how you feel. We went through it ourselves. Did you know that 46% of guys have been in physical fights as a victim of bullying? Not only that:
  • Gay people are 4 times as likely to get bullied than other kids.
  • Gay people are 5 times more likely to skip school due to constant bullying.
  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students report bullying to authorities (Half are physically assaulted).
  • In 1 out of 3 reported cases, the school staff did NOTHING to resolve it.
  • 28% of all young students drop out of school because of bullying.

In today’s world, there are many kinds of bullying.
Emotional bullying – This is what happens when rumors begin about us, whether on purpose or accidental, and the result is used in an intentional way to hurt our feelings. This can be one of the most devastating because as young teenagers, we build our individuality. To have that seemingly rejected by the world can make us think that we are not good enough to be in it. It can happen face to face, behind our backs or worst of all, on the internet….
Cyber bullying – This has the potential to be the most aggravated, since it can happen anonymously. Usually when it happens, other people feel comfortable in joining in because they are safe behind their computer or smart phone. No one has to know who they are or how they actually feel, and the event can be made public in an instant.
  • 42% of ALL kids have been bullied online
  • 1 in 4 kids have been verbally attacked online.
  • 35% have been threatened.
  • 58% of ALL kids have reported that something mean had happened to them online.
Physical Bullying – It’s been happening since the beginning of time. Pushing, punching, shoving, and any other physical harm. Even if it’s not done to our bodies, the bully can damage your property and still be a physical bully.

So What Do We Do When We Are Being Bullied?
The thing you should do is be smart about it. Everyone can relate to the stomach-turning fear of the consequences. Are they going to find out? Is it going to get worse? If I don’t report it, will they end up doing something even more awful? Will the teachers do anything if I report it? We all understand. Keep in mind, adults were kids too and nothing breaks our hearts more than to see a victim of bullying.
What you need to do is NOT think of the consequences. Instead focus on the things that are in YOUR CONTROL:
  • Know The Bully – You know their tactics more than anyone. Understand what kind of bully they are – Physical, Emotional, or Cyber – and try to understand your situation. You can’t get out of a situation if you don’t know what kind you’re in. If it’s physical, there is no excuse to NOT report it. You should never feel like you are in physical danger. 
  • Avoid Them – The whole tactic your parents say about “just ignoring them” will only work for so long. Take it a step further. If you know what route they take in the hallways or streets, take another way to get wherever you need to go. This might seem like you are being a coward, but you’re not! There’s nothing wrong with avoiding confrontation. Keep in mind that the only reason they bully is to feel like they have power – don’t make them feel like they succeeded. Take your friend’s route next time, this way it doesn’t look like you are doing it on purpose.
  • Keep Your Cool – Try not to loose it in front of your bully. This is exactly what they want. It can be scary and unnerving, but all bullying is temporaryREMEMBER THIS. Soon they will find another victim, because eventually they will see that you are not feeding them anymore. Stand up for yourself, and let them know that what they’re trying to do is not working.
  • Find Their Weakness – Everyone has a weakness. Why? Because we’re human. The most important thing to understand is to NOT BECOME the bully. Instead, give them a taste of what they’re dishing to you. When you verbally insult them (typically in a funny way), you are acting as the antidote to their sickness. They will be “dethroned” in a sense, and understand finally that if they keep picking on you, they will risk another humiliating confrontation. Be ready for all kinds of reactions. It could be bad or good, but either way it will give the point across that you aren’t being bothered by them. 
  • Help And Defend Other Victims – Not only does this prevent other people from their own bullies, but you will also realize that you are not alone. When you stand up for other people, you will slowly develop courage. Courage that you will eventually gain enough of to stand up to your own bully. It’s like a boomerang. Help others to help yourself.

The next is my favorite, and also the most tactful…
  • Show Them Love – Some bullies pick on people and don’t care how the victim reacts at all. It’s just a way to unleash their frustration with their own lives. If this is your bully, then look at it as just that – a pathetic cry for help. Sometimes when we give our concern to the bully and offer love to them by saying things like “Are you okay with yourself?” or “Do you need someone to talk to?” or “Is everything alright, I’m concerned for you,” they will be completely thrown off balance. They’ll realize that perhaps you can see through their transparency and know that it’s all an act, and will be scared for what else you can see. This will make them stop using you as a punching bag. On the other hand, they could just think that you’re a total weirdo – either way, they will most likely lessen the bullying tremendously. See what I mean when I said tactful? 

The power of reporting your bully is crucial. Not only can it stop the bullying, but can also prevent the bully from targeting future students. You MUST REPORT the bullying if it gets to a bad place. No one should ever live in fear. Like I said before, adults used to be children – I know it’s hard to realize that, but it’s true.
If you know anyone that is gay, particularly an adult, try and reach out to them. Gay people know the struggles of being picked on for being gay and the aftermath it can have on us. Reach out to other gay people for support. If your school has a gay support group, join it and try to be involved as much as you can. If you are in the closet, reach out to the Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project talks to 30,000 teenagers over the phone every year who are being bullied, contemplating suicide, or knows other people who are being bullied and needs advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Call The TREVOR PROJECT at 1-866-488-7386.

Don’t take these burdens all on your own. There are people that can help you talk through it. When you allow it to build and build and build with no opportunity to release, it is going to eventually reach a point of no return. Talk to people. Venting to people about your issues can be the most beneficial thing you can do for your mental health. That’s why we adults spend hundreds of dollars on therapists. (It works)
Most people have been bullied at one point or another. We know what it’s like to walk in fear and feel helpless and small, but if there’s one thing that you must learn out of this situation, it’s to NOT LET ANYONE TAKE AWAY YOUR SPIRIT.
When you are targeted in school by a bully, most of the time it’s because you have something special that sticks out from the rest of the crowd. Above all, this should be what you hold on to. The things that make you different are the things that make you unique.

Being picked on is a selfish act. The bully is attempting to show how “powerful” they can be, but in retrospect it is only showing how pathetic they are. They cannot prove themselves any other way because they don’t have the ability to. They can’t rely on their personality to prove their self worth. They don’t have it. Feel sorry for them, because it’s pitiful.
Whatever they say to you is not worth your tears. It isn’t about you. It’s about them! All of their actions are a result of their insecurities. Insecurities that you shouldn’t let them transfer to you. You are better than that.

THIS IS NOT HOW IT WILL ALWAYS BE! 
IT DOES GET BETTER!