Archive for the ‘Just An Observation’ Category

What makes a good eBay title these days?

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

This is a bit of a story as it was prompted by a question from a client and some information they were given. The way eBay search & ranking is changing as Cassini responds to buyer behavior. So naturally, clients are curious about improvements to be made.

A client emailed though some advice given from a “Global Consultant” working with a large company steeped in eBay ties who had offered advice on ‘How to improve’ their eBay operation. This client had been working domestically and internationally with superb consultants so their eBay operations, down to the last listing were pretty spot on.

The advice given was ‘Add your eBay Shop Name’ into your eBay listing title to aid in optimization & buyer recognition, he asked if this was good advice.

My gut feeling was no. This was sounding like strange advice from a consultant that maybe could NOT find fault with the clients eBay operation but felt the need to chime in. Be wary of this.

I consulted internally and we came up with the conclusion that:

1. Adding in your eBay Shop name takes up title characters for a word or words people on eBay aren’t searching for.

2. If it is Google you want to optimize for, why send them to eBay and not your own website?

3. It could be seen as keyword spamming by eBay.

But of course, this begs the question what IS a good title for eBay? Lets start with eBay’s own advice:

Here are some elements of an effective title:

  • Use descriptive keywords to clearly and accurately convey what you are selling. You can use up to 80 characters. You don’t have to use all 80 characters.
  • Include the item’s brand name, artist, or designer.
  • Include item-specifics. For example, include size, color and condition.
  • State exactly what your item is, even if your title repeats the category name.
  • Don’t use multiple synonyms or plurals. It’s not needed for search and may make your title less attractive to buyers.
  • Omit punctuation marks and asterisks
  • Don’t include ‘wow’ or ‘look’. Buyers don’t search for words like these.
  • Use correct spelling.
  • Don’t worry about creating a grammatically correct sentence.
  • Don’t overuse acronyms.
  • Don’t use all caps.

So, lets say I want to sell a mobile phone. I would use this formula:

CONDITION + BRAND + COLOR + ITEM NAME/MODEL + OTHER ATTRIBUTE = EBAY TITLE

In real terms:

Brand New White Samsung Galaxy S4 Android Mobile Phone 4G Ready – This is 63 Characters so you can pop in more if you NEED them. Maybe the phone is sim free!

So in conclusion, even though this advice came from a reputable company, their employees might not be eBay experts suited to give advice to already successful sellers. The seller thought it was really odd advice which is why they popped it through to us for a second opinion. If the client HAD taken this advice and it did go against eBay policy, a good seller could have easily turned into a suspended seller.

Not all advice is good advice :)


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Has Your Designer Ever Listed To eBay?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Oh, Twitter. Your public nature makes things like this so easy. About 2 weeks ago, a guy who works for a company who claims to compete against us tweeted something in his personal Twitter account. It’s fun what you can find when searching Twitter for “list* first eBay” to see who’s starting out.

In case the graphic isn’t coming up, he’s tweeting that he JUST listed his first item on eBay ever… which even he found “surprising” since he has been designing Stores for eBay for 4 years now.

Ugh.

It’s amazing what natural As Was selling points I stumble upon. I remember years ago when I was surprised that I had to actually tell potential clients that unlike other companies, we KNOW eBay rules. We follow them! You’re not going to end up in trouble with eBay, and watch your items suffer in Best Match, because we designed something that got you in trouble. I also try to explain to people that we’re consultants. We’re here to understand their whole business, and help where we can, especially in listing strategy. Giving you a design makes no sense if you’re not going to use the right eBay strategies to get it seen and found in search!

The next selling point was that our design and other work isn’t sent to Eastern Europe. Not sent to Asia. Not being done in Israel, India, China, or the Phillippines. And nobody on my staff is a “junior.” I didn’t think those were selling points until I found out what other companies were doing. And then, yes, we’re offering something better than that!

Then it was that we didn’t get cracked down on in January 2009 for breaking eBay Store design rules. While other companies had to take down or change hundreds and hundreds of eBay Stores, we had never designed eBay Stores outside of the rules. So our clients didn’t have anything to change. Selling point!

Evidently now, I also need to tell potential customers that we’re better than other design companies they may be considering because my staff are former and current eBay sellers. They actually know eBay rather well! This is also an important point for people who are considering using Elance, oDesk, or other “find a random person” systems for eBay design. Have they ever listed on eBay? Do they know the rules? Will they fix their work if eBay finds it’s against the rules?

At this point, potential clients are coming to me having Googled these companies who you might call competitors, though I know we don’t really compete. I refuse to do what they do, how they do it, as it doesn’t match my standards. They don’t offer what we do, and certainly not how we do it. But sure, you could hire them instead of us. The real question would be… knowing the above, and Googling everybody to see the word on the street, why would you want to hire anybody else?! :)


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I Have Parallax and Stereopsis; Do You?

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I recently got glasses for pretty much the first time in my life. And they found something wrong with my eyes that NOBODY ever looked for before. I want you to know in case your vision might be like mine.

Everybody thought my vision was great. Things were in focus, and I could even read small things very far away. I could see the 3D thing in the test book, and my peripheral vision was good. So what could be wrong?

I noticed about a year ago that I was having trouble focusing, but it changed from day to day. I finally saw someone about it. My eyes are healthy. No disease. I’m pushing 40, so my eyes don’t focus as fast as they used to, and it takes a bit more effort for them to stay in focus. I have a very slight astigmatism.

The optometrist mocked up some glasses in those funky steampunk things they have. He asked me to try those, and make sure the floor wasn’t warped and the walls weren’t slanted. I put them on. And something amazing happened. I felt like I had put on 3D glasses.

Evidently, for many years, my left eye has been weak and terrible. My brain’s response to that was to mostly ignore what was coming through. My right eye is nearly perfect and in focus, so life was in focus… but life was fairly flat. I had decent depth perception. I could drive well. I played tennis. I didn’t bump into things, or try to put a drink down where the counter had ended. But everything looked like a flat photo. Things closer to me didn’t stand away from the background. They seemed part of the background.

Because my brain was mostly ignoring my left eye, I didn’t have a true stereo 3D view of life. I couldn’t describe this to people… how when I put on these glasses, they were like 3D glasses. My friend, Eli, an artist, understood. He said, “You have parallax.” Yes, that was it! I wiki’ed that, and found my way to stereopsis. People confuse stereopsis with depth perception, but according to the article, people without stereopsis can still have good depth perception since the brain gets plenty of depth and distance info from one eye. So that was me.

I have 3D glasses! My life is in 3D. I had no idea anything was wrong. So make sure that when you get your eyes checked, if you live in a flat world, if everything looks like a flat photo, make sure the doctor knows. It can be helped! These glasses help so much that the moment I put them on, my brain accepts a lot of what’s coming in from my left eye, and I get stereopsis. Amazing. Life-changing.


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A Great Lesson To Learn

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I didn't learn a lot from my father. Never really got to know him much. But there was one lesson he taught me that has stayed with me every day. I want to share it with everybody.

It happened many years ago. I was in an ugly divorce. My Dad was my attorney. My then-husband was making all kinds of weird threats and demands. No negotiations seemed to get anywhere. He wouldn't budge. I finally called for a sit-down meeting with him and his lawyer so we could figure out what the heck they wanted, and negotiate something that everybody could live with.

When we left that meeting, my Dad said to me in the parking lot, "I've been a lawyer nearly 40 years, and that was the worst meeting I've ever had." I said, "Why?" He said, "The other side was never open to negotiations. They never planned to even listen to us. They're not open to new information. It was a complete waste." Evidently, he had never been to a meeting/negotiation where the other side was prepared to budge 0% on their demands. We had assumed that a man and his lawyer agreeing to a meeting were open to listening, negotiating, and compromising. We were wrong.

And it makes me think.

It makes me think about how much we do things like that in everyday life. How much time we spend trying to convince people of something they're really not even listening to. How we assume that just because someone is in a conversation with us that they are really absorbing what we're saying, and COULD be swayed by our amazing information. Think about how frustrated you get when you are just trying to explain this to this person! And he's just not getting it! So you're going to explain it AGAIN! And maybe with more exclamation points, maybe nastier language… as your day ticks away.

I've watched this recently with a friend who had a mini email battle with some guy he barely knew. Every time the guy emailed him, the guy was condescending and bully-ish. In my opinion, it's a mistake for my friend to even bother writing this guy back anything longer than one sentence. This guy is NOT going to wake up and see that he's condescending, bully-ish, unreasonable, disorganised, etc… Every second you spend writing him back, especially those LONG emails he doesn't care about, and every second you spend thinking about him is a waste.

I'd bet my friend even tried being condescending and bully-ish to the other guy, partially to see if the guy woke up, and partially to fight fire with fire. I'd bet my friend made threats to push the other guy, threats like choosing to not make his usual donation to an organisation they're both a part of. I think my friend will follow through on that threat. And guess what? The other guy didn't change his tone or opinion at all. The other guy acted like nobody needs my friend's money or involvement. So who is winning this?

And sometimes, I see people ramping this up by trying to embarrass the other person. Like he's not getting it, so where can I post this so that other people will see me schooling him in what I'm trying to get across. Another mistake, and just makes you look like a major bad guy for airing it on Twitter, Facebook, a discussion forum, wherever. When does something make sense as a tweet or Facebook post, and when does it make sense to privately email someone? If you're at a business event, when does it make sense to walk up to someone and make a suggestion, or get that suggestion to them privately, compared to tweeting to everybody with the event's hashtag… so everybody sees it?

Ask yourself what you're trying to accomplish. Can you accomplish it without embarrassing others, or looking like the bad guy? Should you bother dealing with that "worst meeting," or should you just not reply to that guy? Think about my lesson, and do unto others. If you wouldn't want someone doing that to you, especially in a public forum, don't do it to anyone else. I believe what goes around comes around, and you may not like when it comes around.

So the lesson is…

You can't "wake someone up." You can't make him or her more aware of his or her own behaviour. I was never going to make my ex-husband more reasonable in negotiations. My friend is never going to get the condescending guy who emails him to be friendly, reasonable, understanding.

And maybe I'm not going to get you to do anything differently! :) But I wish I could save everybody the time and frustration/anger, and give you the ability to see when you're walking into the "worst meeting," where the other party is not open to any information other than what they already think, know, or believe.


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When You See Your Friend Doing The Wrong Thing..

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Having just ended a truly bizarre and surreal legal battle with an ex-boyfriend, one thing really stood out to me. He must have no friends. No real friends. You know, the type of people who hear what you're doing, and suggest that you not do that.

I'm lucky to have loving and supportive friends who are also not afraid to tell me when they think I'm making a mistake… or taking the wrong path… or making a poor choice. I have wonderful friends who are comfy saying, "Hey, this doesn't look like the you I know. Think twice about this, and why you're doing it." I realise I am very lucky to have such friends.

Because clearly, my ex doesn't have such friends. I can't imagine there is an intelligent or compassionate human on the planet who would listen to his lies, hear what he did to me or planned to do to me (in our legal battle), and would support what he was doing. Having just received some of the legal documents he filed (before I ended the case), I saw that he was laying a huge trap for me. A trap of lies about me and our relationship.

For example, he used to work for me. He was always paid for his work. He worked for part of 2009 before we broke up. He was 1099'ed for this money, yet he filed with the court that he was never even paid. I asked to see his tax return from that year. He didn't claim the money I paid him.

This is stupid. Doesn't he have ANY friends looking at what he's doing, and saying, "Holy cats, this is a BAD idea. Don't mess with the IRS!" And if any friend were listening what he was trying to do to me, the groundwork of lies that he was laying, you'd think SOMEBODY might say, "Hey, man. What did this woman do to you that you're going through all this trouble to set all these traps for her?"

The paperwork I just saw was full of lies. Which is interesting since it would have been part of a court case, and there were MANY lies in there I would have easily been able to prove were lies. So what is he doing? And he has a lawyer. She's advising him that this is a good idea?! She's supposed to bring him a dose of reality. It's why they're called counsel. They're supposed to advise. I can only assume she's one of his Alcoholics Anonymous pals thinking she's doing him a favour.

So what's my point. My point is that if you have a friend, and you think he or she is doing the wrong thing, say something. If the battle doesn't match the problem, say something. I am amazed at the war my ex created over something quite small. The case I had pending against him would not have appeared on his permanent record. Even if I had completely won, he'd never have to tell anybody, never have to report it on a job application. It wasn't a criminal case. He and his lawyer treated this like they had to fight a capital murder case by dragging me over broken glass.

It was incredibly bizarre to read the paperwork he filed. Disturbing that a lawyer was OK with those lies, and the refusal to answer questions they knew were pivotal to my case. But this is what losers do. Losers distract and set fires off to the side, hoping that good people like me will rush to put out those fires, and not be able to address the original issue because I'm too busy putting out side fires. Losers refuse to answer the questions they know will make my case, and instead, try to keep me spinning and distracted.

When I heard he was contacting my friends to try to trick them into testifying against me, I ended the case. I couldn't stand the idea that good people were being dragged into more of his games and manipulations. And I'm glad I ended the case since now I see all the lies and traps being set for me. Funny since the whole case was about lies and fraud… and here he is, full of lies and fraud to fight my fraud claim. Genius! Jeez, he would have lost this case so gloriously, but I just decided it wasn't worth my time, money, or the continued interference in my life. Just before I dropped the case, his lawyer got it moved to a date in June when I will be out of the country on vacation with my boyfriend. But the case is over, and I'll be laying in the Central American sun while he continues living a life based on lies and fake personae he takes on.

This is who he is. And someday, more of the people around him will realise this, and they will distance themselves from him. He will end up very much alone. Even if he's surrounded by people like him, he's still alone. Because eventually, everybody sees the boy who cries wolf for who he is. A scared little kid, acting out, manipulating for attention and what he perceives as his own gain. My ex is a sick little kid, a guy who doesn't realise how much he is drowning in his own struggles with sobriety, a guy who doesn't understand how much his depression and illness affect others. A guy who clearly has no morals. And obviously a guy who doesn't believe that what goes around comes around otherwise he'd be more careful about what he puts out there.

I am the real winner here. I am done with him. It cost me time, it cost me frustration, but it cost very little money. I'm living in a new city, and I have an amazing boyfriend. We just got back from a week in Disney, and we have a vacation planned just about every month this year. When my boyfriend and I are looking in each other's eyes, and the rest of the world doesn't exist, I know I'm the real winner here. Right now, I'm truly blessed.


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What Does Your Biz Need To Grow?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

This is an audience participation blog post. :) What would you like to learn more about in order to grow?

I am planning another RocketPlace event that will take place in March or April. February is now too soon. It will be 2 days of webinars with experts. So to line up the experts and topics, I need to hear from you… for 2011 and beyond, with what do you need help? Where are your pain points? How would you like to expand?

I've already received requests for topics on more efficient shipping as well as the "reality" of what you can expect from using social media. As always, we'll cover eBay strategies, listing and Store design, how to create your own eCommerce store, SEO, and even SEO on eBay.We'll also look at shopping from mobile devices.

I want to hear from new and veteran sellers so that I can cover the topics you are wondering about. Please respond here, post your request to our Facebook page, or send in our form at http://www.aswas.com if you want to keep your suggestion private.

Thanks!


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Could You Have Stopped Saturday’s Shooting?

Monday, January 10th, 2011

As the information surfaced this weekend about the kid who shot up the Safeway near where I've lived in Tucson since early 2005, one thing occurred to me.

This didn't have to happen.

Every piece of info they found about this guy told me that someone should have connected the dots. His "friends" said over the last few years, he was crazy, nonsensical, and radical. He wrote his own manifesto. I don't know anybody who has showed me his own manifesto. If anyone ever does, I will probably go straight to police with it.

We also found out that his local community college threw him out, suggesting that he not return until he can bring documents proving he is sane. The army rejected him, and I'm thinking that it was NOT because he had high blood pressure.

I want to know if a gun store sold him a gun. I want to know why there isn't some sort of database that would tell a gun shop that this guy was rejected by the army for non-physical reasons, and he was thrown out of college for mental case reasons. This may be someone we don't want to have a gun. And if a "friend" bought him the gun, that friend should be held responsible.

If you know someone who is not OK, and especially someone who is not interested in getting help because he's sure he's right and just fine, start a paperwork trail. Report something to SOMEBODY. It's amazing how nearly every time we go through these tragedies, enough info is released that makes it clear that if someone's "friends" had reported what they knew and saw, this could have been avoided.

I couldn't have stopped Saturday's shooting, and I'm glad I wasn't there. I was having tea with a friend, and then pizza with a guy I met on a dating website. :) But somebody could have stopped Saturday's shooting. Where are this kid's parents? Did nobody notice the things he was posting on the internet?


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The Difference Between Awareness And Action

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I continue to be surprised by efforts focusing on the "awareness" of a disease or issue. I often hear something saying it's about "breast cancer awareness." Raise your hand if reading this blog is the first time you heard about breast cancer. We're all aware of it, but what is any of us DOING about it?

All the pink ribbons on Facebook profiles make little difference if people aren't doing anything about it. The main thing you can do is donate money to causes that will promote research, treatments, and cures. Causes that help the loved ones who survive when the patient does not. Volunteering your time with patients and families. There is SO much you can do. Wearing a ribbon just isn't enough.

My car has a ribbon magnet on it. It's for donating your organs. I hope you will see it, and decide to donate your organs. Other than that, you have probably heard about organ donation. It's not about "awareness."

This week, they are saying that you should change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood for child abuse awareness. I'm not bothering because the sad truth is that all the cartoon Facebook profile pictures out there are not helping ONE child UNLESS you are ALSO doing something else. The profile picture does NOTHING. Where is the ACTION that will really help a child?

When these Facebook memes come around, think about action. Posting something to your profile once about "special needs children" or changing your profile picture helped zero children. You want to help children? Do it. Make a donation. Volunteer. Talk to a child you think is being hurt. Get them help. Get them to safety.

I take this rather personally because there is a sentence a relative said to me once about my childhood, and it will stick with me forever. She said, "We saw some things we couldn't make sense of, but we didn't think it was our place to say anything." So let me just assure you that all the changed Facebook profile pictures in the world wouldn't have made a day of my childhood different. You know what would have? Someone who saw something saying and doing something.

Go DO something.


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I’m Thankful For…

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

It's Thanksgiving. I'd like to take a moment to give thanks.

First, thanks to my nuclear (biological) family: Grandma Lee, Uncle Jay, and Aunt Linda. You don't read my blog, but I love you guys. :)

Thanks to my "adopted" family: Terry and Mark, Linda N., and Eli and Margery.

Thanks to my closest, bestest friends on the planet: Mike, Katie, Jeff, Ana, Bryan, Joe, Seth, Mickey the Cat, and Eve the Cat. They evidently don't read my blog either. Special thanks to Bryan for embarking on another secret project with me. :)

Thanks to two who are no longer on this plane of existence, but are with me all the time: Rita the dog and Grandpa Abe.

Thanks to all of my Facebook friends. I only friend people who I trust and am friends with. Facebook is a personal world for me, and thanks to everybody there for being wonderful. I greatly appreciate the support!

Thanks to the great clients I love working with. Thanks to my AMAZING staff, who make our clients super happy.

Thanks to all my blog readers, lurkers, and non-spam commenters… even if you disagreed with me.

Thanks to the companies who think they compete with me for making me look even better, in comparison. :)

Thanks to La Botana in Tucson for being the most delicious place to eat.

Thanks to The Eco Chic Boutique for having amazing products.

My life is amazing, and it's like it's just starting again.


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Signs Your Relationship Isn’t What You Think It Is

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

So yes, I realise I need to break my relationship blog posts into a new blog. Working on that. For now, they're here since people seem to like them. :)

I read another great blog post over at Baggage Reclaim. She's looking at 12 boundaries to live by. I read them, and thought about how they are also great ways to assess a relationship you may already be in. Here are my takes on some of her points.

Her first point is that nobody should date someone who is married, in a relationship, or newly separated. I've mentioned before that I've been on all sides of this one, and ya know what? It's never good. It never works. I started dating someone just before I left my husband in 2002. That means that new boyfriend was dating me while I was married AND newly separated. And he was pining over an ex-girlfriend. We were both emotionally unavailable, but didn't realise it. Yes, I'm glad he was the catalyst for me getting out of that bad marriage that was never going to be the right marriage, but we were doomed for so many reasons. My main tip: don't date the emotionally unavailable no matter what their relationship status is.

Her second point was that nobody should wait for someone to become the person you think they should be. I hear that SO MUCH from my married friends… things like, "Well, he'd be right if he were this and this, and like this." Or, "I'd want to stay with her if she did this, and felt this way about this, and treated me this way." Well, heads up: they're not that person. Why are you waiting for someone to be someone they're not? Would you want someone else waiting and holding out expectations about you magically becoming someone you're not? When my friends read me the list of what they want their husband or wife to be, I tell them to just leave them. Don't expect someone to twist into a pretzel to become what you want. That's not who they are at their core. Evidently, who they truly are is someone you don't really want. So just go!

Her third point is about not being in a relationship where you're not treated with love, trust, and respect. I know from past relationships that once you feel the love has died, or once the trust is broken, there is NEVER any going back. NEVER. You can smooth it over, you can play nice, you can get counselling, you can "try," but you will second guess each other forever. Like when will he break trust again, or when will she make me feel unloved again.

I have a friend who kissed another woman, and eventually admitted it to his wife. He is now on the shortest leash known to man, and even though it's years later and he hasn't done anything like it again, she doesn't totally trust him. I do NOT suggest staying in relationships where love once felt dead or trust has been broken. I've never seen or heard of any of those 100% truly being fixed.

Her fourth point is about not dating someone who mostly talks glowingly about the future. How good a relationship is is how good it is today. Right now. Not when his dreamy future scenarios happen, if they happen. You can't stick around waiting for what might come down the road. You only have this moment, and when you look at him or her, what does your heart say RIGHT NOW? Greatest love of your life? Most amazing guy who treats you like freaking gold? Beautiful woman who is everything you ever wanted?

Her fifth point is about dating someone who wants to control things, or wants the relationship on his terms. Like the guy with the list you have to match up to… whether or not that list is actually written down. The "right" relationship will be right. Nobody else will have a to-do list for you. Nobody else will need you to change. There is a right person for you who won't need you to change for him, or live up to his list of needs.

Her eighth point is about not dating someone who lies to you or distorts the truth. That seems obvious, yet so many of us stick around with people who have lied to us in big ways. I know I have! And it doesn't make sense to stick around once you KNOW about the lies. I deserve better. I deserve someone who can be completely honest with me. That will make me feel respected, and it will match the complete honesty I give him.

Her ninth point is about not pursuing someone who has rejected you. I think this is still my Achilles Heel. I call it "campaigning," where someone pulls away from you (or rejects you), and you ramp up your fantasticness in ways you know he would want… more sex, more sex his way, more cooking, more cleaning, more whatever it is. Why are we doing that? Why try to keep around someone who has made it clear that he doesn't want us or that he wanted someone else? I wouldn't even want a guy who's dating me, but fantasising about other women since that would make me think he's not present with me and fully wanting ME. The right person will choose you and only you, and I'm getting better at disconnecting from the guys who are not choosing me.

Her tenth point is about not playing nurse to "the walking wounded," including people with substance problems. Another Achilles Heel for me. As a "rescuer" type of personality, I tend to attract the "victim," who wants my help. My last serious boyfriend was an alcoholic and addict, who asked for my help what felt like daily. When I gave him the help he asked for, I was an enabler. When I told him I didn't cause his problems and don't have the power to fix them, I enabled the "not getting his fix" side. Whether the addiction is food, sex, alcohol, drugs, or something else, we can't help these people. We just can't, and we need to stop losing ourselves in a dizzying maze of trying to help them with their own psychological issues.

Besides, the right guy for me is on the same page as I am, and I'm not a current, former, or future addict.

Her blog posts are excellent, and I suggest that everybody read the Baggage Reclaim blog. While it's written towards women dating crappy men, the advice is absolutely helpful for any gender dating any gender.


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