London Attacks – The Aftermath

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Seven people have been killed in central London after three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and launched a knife attack on people enjoying a Saturday night out in pubs and restaurants around Borough Market.

Source: BBC News

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40147164

It’s a scary world we live in these days.

Last night I was snuggled up on my sofa watching a cheesy movie on Netflix when I started to see reports on Facebook about an attack at London Bridge.  What the police have now labelled a terrorist attack, and was quite similar to the on Westminster Bridge several months back.

I read what I could about it, which wasn’t much at the time, until suddenly there were reports of a second attack (by the same men) in Borough Market, which is right by London Bridge.  Reports of men running around stabbing innocent people as they enjoy a usual Saturday night out in the pubs.

By this time, the news-wires were ablaze of different reports and sightings, and Facebook seemed to be filling with statuses asking if people were ok.

And then about almost 2 hours after the initial attacks at London Bridge, there were reports of a possible third attack in Vauxhall (which isn’t anywhere near the first two) … but in the end this turned out to just be a false alarm as it was ‘just a stabbing’ (if there is such a thing..).

What I found scary is a lot of people I know go out in Vauxhall all the time, and many of them were at Royal Vauxhall Tavern for the usual Saturday night frivolities. Even though it was deemed to not be part of the attacks at London Bridge, there was still a bit of a lock-down at the time in the club to ensure everyone’s safety.

And of course, this does hit somewhat close to home for me as Vauxhall was my old neighbourhood.  I’d lived in the area for almost 5 years and loved (almost) every moment of it.  In fact, I only moved out of the area because I couldn’t afford it anymore.

Of course last night the emotions were flowing quite freely as I read the various news reports about the incidents .. and thought it somewhat sad that the Vauxhall situation was dropped from the news as soon as it was determined to not be part of the terrorist attack.  Regardless of whether it was or not, someone potentially lost their life and that should never be trivialised.

Anyway.. the whole point of these terrorist groups attacking cities like London, Manchester and any number of other cities around the world, is to incite fear and distrust amongst those who live there.  There have been tweets from a certain world ‘leader’ trying to use this latest attack to gain momentum for his travel bans… and that’s just sick.

But as scary as it seemed last night, today just feels like another day living in the big wide world.  And that is a damn GOOD thing.  We can’t allow these religious zealots to make us feel afraid to leave our homes, or to live our lives as we normally would.  We can’t allow them to make us feel bad because of where we live or how we live our lives.

Some may think that’s being callous and inconsiderate to those who did lose their lives or were injured in last night’s attacks, but it isn’t really.  Nobody is saying to forget what happened or act like it never did, because that would be foolish.  We’re not going to pretend it never existed.

Instead, we’re going to use this to bolster our resolve to not give into the terror.  To be more aware of our surroundings, and be alert to those who may want to do us harm.  To maintain our way of life without allowing the terrorists to install bigotry or racism against our fellow Britons, regardless of what faith they may maintain.

What it also does is puts certain things in our lives into a different perspective, and those worries or insecurities from yesterday just seem frivolous.  And last night’s knee-jerk reaction that maybe it was time to leave London now seems silly in the light of day.

I count myself quite lucky that I was nowhere near all of the insanity last night, and that nobody I’m aware of was directly affected by it.  But it doesn’t mean that I’m not peripherally affected by it, same as everyone else who lives in this city.

This is the world we live in, and no matter where you go, things like this will still happen.  So instead of running and hiding, it’s all about getting back out there and continuing to enjoy life as it happens.

Don’t give in to the terror.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40148737

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Fat Shamed at the Gym

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I recently had a chance to read the below article about a guy who’s a bit over-weight who was made to feel bad about himself because of his weight.  Have a read:

http://www.gaypopbuzz.com/i-was-fat-shamed-by-a-gay-man-at-my-gym/

Now of course I have several things wrong with this article.. not the least the reaction of the muscle-bound narciscist who’d fat-shamed the author when he’d invited him to going him for a baseball game.

Not a date. Not sex. Not a romantic dinner for two.  A freakin’ baseball game.

Obviously, the author probably was hoping for more than just two ‘bros’ hanging out at the game, but that’s not the way it came across in his invitation.  He just seemed to be trying to be friendly.

And in my opinion, the author had every right to feel bad after the muscle guy tried to ‘fat-shame’ him.  And kudos to him for being able to shed about 100 lbs, and looking to work off a bit more.  It’s never an easy thing to do, and the older you get the harder it is to lose the weight.

Trust me on that one…

One thing I did have an issue with in the article is how the author seemed to buy into society’s view of what is healthy or fit or ‘fat’.  And from a chubby guy’s point of view, it’s like he’s ‘fat-shaming’ himself and anyone else who doesn’t have a trim waist.

He said he was 5’10” and about 200 lbs.. now while that isn’t what society considers as fit or standardly healthy, it isn’t obese either.  Or maybe he’s just going on what he feels is own ideal weight.

When I’d first opened this article, I was hoping for something a bit more enlightening surrounding the experience of being a bigger guy going to a gym.. but instead of being encouraging, the author just allowed himself to buy into the usual sterepotypes of gays in the gym – that they’re only there to hook up.

I’m sure a gym can be a very social place and a great way to meet new people, but if you’re there to focus on exercising, cruising the other guys isn’t going to help you meet your goals in the end.

But perhaps that’s my own insecurities surounding going to a gym getting the better of me.  I haven’t stepped inside a gym in about 3 years, and it had been a good decade before then…

I keep telling myself I’m going to join a gym to help boost my weight loss – especially as it’s ground to a halt after returning from holidays.  I have been trying to keep up my daily walking, with goals to hit 40 minutes or 6000 steps a day, whichever one comes first.

But that’s been a bit hit and miss most days, and my diet hasn’t exactly been the best either… but it’s not bad like it used to be, though I do have my days.  I seem to be alright throughout the day, especially at work, but at night the desire to snack kicks in.

It’s not like I don’t know what I need to do to lose the weight, or what foods I should or shouldn’t eat.  I think at times it’s more about will-power and the feeling like whatever I’m doing it isn’t making much of a difference.

It’s hard when you’re sitting there munching on celery and counting every calorie when the skinny people around you are chowing down on crisps or McDonalds with a care in the world.. and they never seem to gain a single pound.

(yes… I know it’s all about metabalisms and activity levels.. just venting my frustrations and how stressed it makes me.)

Before my holidays I’d lost about 25 lbs, and have surprisingly kept it off a month later which is fantastic.  My goal is to lose another 40 – 50 lbs, which would bring me back to the weight I was abpout 5 years ago.

Just wish there was an easier way to do it.. I hate going to a gym.

Damn, I’m lazy LOL

I’m Feeling Stressed…

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I hate feeling stressed.  It’s an awful feeling and it makes me want to do things I know I shouldn’t – like go off my diet or start smoking again. Neither of which I want to do.

But somethings lately have just been bugging me, and I wish I could exorcise these feelings and get back to working towards a more positive and healthy ‘me’.

Part of all this could be the ‘post-holiday blues’.. since I returned from Gran Canaria a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling quite ‘blah’ and the typically grey UK weather hasn’t helped any either.

I swear my tan faded the moment I stepped off the plane.  LOL

Not to mention my diet seems to have stalled a bit since I returned.  I seem to eat fairly healthy throughout the day, but once I get home it’s like I have no will power.. and that’s with me rarely buying anything snack-like.

But it’s not like I don’t already have a weekend to Madrid planned in a couple week’s time.  Plus I’m considering going to Naples and Pompeii in early July as a late birthday trip… so I don’t think it’s that.

Perhaps it’s the impending visit from my landlord next weekend and that he’s staying at the flat for about a month – he lives in Belgium but occasionally has to come to London for work so he’s kept a bedroom for himself.

He’s not a bad guy but I don’t feel completely relaxed or comfortable having people over when he’s there.  He knows I’m gay and has said he doesn’t care if I have someone over, but it’s a comfort thing.

But to be honest, him visiting is more of an inconvenience than anything.. and just means I need to make sure I’m wearing clothes when I leave my bedroom.  LOL

Ok… Let’s just face the elephant in the room and address the true source of my current stress load – it’s work.  It was slightly stressful before my holidays and it’s just gotten worse since.

Basically, it was decided last year to bring in a new computer system for our division, and my colleague was jointly tasked with assisting the developers to build it so it was ‘fit for purpose’.  I wasn’t assigned the task at the time as I was expected to be on holidays during the original launch period (end of June 2016).

But since she’s not a technical person and isn’t that good with implementing processes, things kind of went to shit.  Especially as she spent most of her time flirting with the programmer when he’d visit our offices to work on the program together.

Anyway, things kept getting pushed farther and farther back until finally it was realised that what had been build was absolute crap, and it had to start almost from scratch again… so the project was reassigned to someone at the other office and she gotten things done.

And then suddenly things for our part of the division got dropped into my lap a few months back, and I had to get our part up and running via systems testing.  Despite not knowing anything about the program really.

So there I was just before my holidays having to teach myself a program that wasn’t working completely, and go back and forth with the developers to try to mold how things work somewhat.

But as with anything in life, I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to do this.  I was just expected to ‘fix it’ as I’m seen as the ‘computer guy’.  And they’ve now decided that I’ll be our new system’s ‘expert’, meaning any problems people have they’ll come to me for it instead of the developers.

Oh joy… lucky me.

Meanwhile, here we are several weeks after the program launched and my department is the only one who can’t even use it because the developers haven’t loaded our correct rates yet.  The rest of the department is fine for the most part, and they can get things done.  But we can’t.

Like I said to one of our supervisors this morning, it’s like our little department is the forgotten step-child.  And no matter how much I chase things up, it’s like I’m talking to a brick wall.

*Sigh*.. As much as I could say I don’t feel appreciated in my current job, I know that’s not completely correct.  I do get messages of thanks or notes of appreciation from the bosses, but it’s almost to the point where it’s expected that I’ll just get things done.  And quickly and efficiently as well.

I’ve been told that I’m getting another (very small) raise – the 2nd in the last 6 months or so – which is great, but I’ll believe it when I have the signed paperwork in front of me.

I do wonder why I’m still with this company after almost 3 years.  I’m pretty sure I could potentially get more money at other companies, but yet I haven’t been looking around at all.

It’s partly because this office is so convenient to where I’m living (I can literally walk home in just under 45 minutes), but also because I know if I leave this job right now I’ll have to pay them money..

They’re paying for my PRINCE2 certification, and part of the agreement is if I left within 2 years of starting the course then I’ll have to pay back a certain percentage of the costs (standard for most companies these days..).

But is that worth sticking around this place for another 2 years?  Of continuing to feeling used and pushed to do more and more?

I suppose only time will tell.. until then, I need to get studying.  The certification isn’t going to complete itself.

Why Are You Single

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Life can be frustrating when you know what you want but never seem to find it.  Especially when it comes to romance and relationships.

It’s bad when someone asks ‘why are you still single’ while extolling how wonderful and ‘nice’ you are.  It’s almost like they start looking to find out what’s wrong with you.  Or start talking down to you about ‘needing to be patient’ or having just ‘not found the right guy yet’.  As if that is supposed to make you feel better.

The worst though is watching those around you seemingly jump from relationship to relationship without batting an eyelash.  They make it seem so easy that it can make you feel worse about yourself.

Perhaps there’s a reason you’re still single.. and maybe it’s one of the below.  Or maybe you just meet a lot of jerks.  LOL

Your friends take up too much of your time

Friends are the rock that can help you get out of a hard place, and be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on.  But if you have such a wide circle of friends that you’re spending all your time trying to maintain those friendship, when do you get room for your love life?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having lots of friends, as ultimately they do help you be a better you and perhaps mold who you are as a person.  And sometimes they even become our families so it’s important to nurture that connection.

But when it gets to the point where you’re spending all your time appeasing their happiness and your own gets left by the way-side, then you need to make a few minute changes.  Allow yourself some time for your and your own needs.  Allow yourself space to meet someone interesting.

Your confidence becomes cockiness

Let’s be honest – we’re all immensely attracted to a confident man who knows what he wants and how to get it.  But at what point does your confidence turn into something less attractive?  Or perhaps it makes you seem above the rest of us who aren’t as comfortable in our skins.

As artificial and plastic as the gay community can seem at times, there’s something to be said for coming across as a flawed, compassionate human who’s still working through whatever baggage they have.  And having baggage isn’t a bad thing, it just means you’ve lived life and have the battle scars to show for it.

All in all, leave your ego at the door and allow yourself to be open to new possibilities.  Nobody is perfect, not even you.  So why judge others as if it was true?

Always looking for something better

To be honest, sometimes the grass is greener right where you are but you just can’t see it.  Too often guys will spend all their time still looking for something better, even when they have something great already in front of them.  We’ve been brainwashed to think there’s got to a perfect guy out there for us, when in fact there’s no such thing.

You could be allowing something really great that has potential to grow into something amazing slip through your fingers.  Relationships are never easy and it’s even harder to find a meaningful one.  So why give up before you’ve even tried to see where things can go?

Stop throwing away the good guys just because they’re not what you think as ‘perfect’.

Are you ‘ready’?

Who hasn’t said at one point or another  they’re not ‘ready’ or ‘looking for something serious’ right now?  Do you really understand that’s just you giving an excuse why you’re not dating at the moment, and that really you just love being single so you can play the field?  And that’s ok to admit that.

Basically all you’re doing is allowing yourself to procrastinate about your love life.  You’d rather push perfectly great guys away so you can have some ‘fun’ instead of being willing to see where things may develop.

What a waste… especially when there’s an actual connection between you.

Hard to get is more than your mantra

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a strong, independent guy who marches to their own beat in life.  In fact, that’s insanely attractive in a guy because you just know they’ll always give you space in a relationship or not become overbearing because value their time alone.

But… if it gets to the point where you’ve become stubborn or can’t conceive of allowing anyone into your life because of your independent spirit, then potentially you’re missing out on something great.

It’s not a matter of whether someone special or new fits into your life plans, but instead how including them could move you closer to where you actually want to be.

Work work work

There’s something to be said about having a healthy work-life balance.  When you’re living to work instead of working to live, you’re risking burning yourself out and then not having anyone there to help you pick up the pieces.  Work is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing in your life.

Also, if you have no personal life who are you going to vent to when you’ve had a bad day?  The cat?  Even the strongest among us need someone they can turn to that isn’t part of their daily work life.  With the right balance, you canhave an amazingly successful career and someone special at home to help you decompress.

Leave your work at work.

You’re afraid to settle down

When you’re a free and independent spirit, you might think the idea of settling down means the end of your fun, carefree ways.  That having a relationship means you’ll stop trying to achieve something in life, or that the other person will stifle your joie de vivre.

Perhaps instead you’ll actually shine even brighter than ever by letting someone special in.  They will inspire you to become a better version of yourself.  Your life could be even more enriched by including them in your life, and vice versa.

So drop your ego at the door, and give them a chance to show how you can enhance each other’s lives.

You have intimacy issues

Being intimate with friends, family and some short-term loves can be easy.  It comes second nature as there’s no pressure or worry about where things may lead.  You’re just cool and comfortable around each other.

But when it comes to something more serious, your cool factor plummets to the point you’re terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing.  Or that you stop feeling like yourself around the other guy, and maybe even feel like you’re losing yourself somewhat.  And that’s all normal.

Love can knock you off-centre and gets you thinking about situations differently than you might with a friend. It can kick you ass, but once you’ve honed your ability to manage these new feelings, you’ll be flying.

Nobody is psychic

How the hell are you going to get the man of your dreams if you’re sitting back waiting for him to ready your mind?  If you’re not telling him what you want or need, then it’ll be a crap-shoot whether he gets it right and you’ll ultimately be disappointed when he doesn’t.

And the reverse is true too.  If you like a guy, then just tell him already!  Stop playing coy and unassuming, and let him know you want to get to know him more.

This post has been inspired by – You’re Awesome, But Here’s Why You’re Still Single: – GayGuys.com

First Date Tips for the Gay Man

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Even though it can seem that nobody goes on actual dates any more, there are still some guys out there that do want to spend time getting to know you before heading to the sheets.

Shocking, I know.  LOL

Sadly, especially with the advent of the smart phone apps, most of us don’t even bother following a few basic first date guidelines.  Sometimes we’ve spent so much time chatting online to each other, it’s like you’ve already had your first or second date, just without even meeting.

Bust is this a matter of getting too familiar too soon?

The whole point of a first date is to get to know someone new and see if there’s any connection between you.  It’s not to unload your entire life story, or to complain about your ex, prattle on about your newest gadget, or to extol the virtues of your new workout routine.

It’s all about see what you have in common and if there are any sparks between you.

Some of the below may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many guys forget about them.

Do something mutually fun and affordable

All too often guys will go along with their date’s ideas even if it’s something they don’t enjoy or maybe even can’t afford.  There’s no rule that says one of you needs to take charge and decide what you’ll do on your date, or that one of you should be submissive when it comes to making a decision.  It is, after all, your date too so you do have a say.

And let’s be honest – unless you’re a sugar daddy looking to snatch up some young money-grubbing twink, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing something on the cheap.. but perhaps not so cheap that you’re eating dry ramen sitting in a park.  LOL

Overall, a date should be fun and interesting.  And the most important part is spending time to get to know each other.  So if you both have an interest in the arts, why not tour a local art gallery (some of which may even be free..).  Or if you’re both foodies, why not sample the wares at some weekend market.

A first date doesn’t have to be some big lavish production.  Just go enjoy yourselves and each other’s company.

Casual is the best way to go

As clichéd as it may seem, too many gay men out there will spend hours picking out just the right outfit, or even go shopping for something new because they think that will impress their date.

But when you get right to it, is there really any point?  He’s going on a date with you, not your designer duds.

Now that’s not to say you should rock up in your paint-splattered (unfashionably) torn jeans and a dirty sweatshirt.  You still do need to look presentable when meeting someone new, but it’s also equally important to be comfortable in what you’re wearing.

Don’t go on a date wearing a button-up shirt and chinos when you’re really a jeans and t-shirt sort of guy.  Be yourself and dress accordingly.

Pick somewhere quiet and easy to get to.. for both of you

When you live in a big city, it can occasionally difficult to find a place that is mutually beneficial location-wise to both parties.  And all too often, guys will purposely try to choose a place to meet that’s closer to them than the other person.  But is that really fair?

On top of that, the whole point of a first date is to be able to talk to each other.  But if you’ve chosen to go to the movies on your date, you can’t exactly talk during the film (please don’t.. it’s annoying hahaha).

Instead pick somewhere that’s realistically reachable for both of you and isn’t too crowded or noisy.  For instance, if it’s a nice day then why not grab a couple of ice creams or gelato and go for a walk in the park.

And yes, the old stand by of meeting for a coffee is always a great option.

It’s a date, not a competition

As fun as meeting for a round of mini-golf or enjoying a few games of bowling might seem for a first date, it’s actually not that great an idea.  In fact, it’s leaving you (or your date) open to be humiliated.

Because let’s be honest – nobody likes to lose, and if you’re competing during a date, there’s always going to a loser.  And that may put a damper on the possibilities of a second date.

And yes, gay men do like to be competitive, even if they’re not into sports of any kind.  In the end it’s not about the game but about the results that will affect the outcome of the date.

To bar or not to bar

It’s all too easy to suggest meeting for a few drinks on your first date.  And sometimes that may be a great way for both of you to relax since you’ll both probably be nervous.  But the last thing you want to do is to get drunk.  Or for your date to think you’re a lush.  Or that you live on the gay scene and are a party animal.

As well, absolutely do NOT go to your local gay bar or the hottest place around.  You’ll be more likely to run into someone you know, and then will come the awkward questions about what you’re doing there.

Instead, why not go somewhere new that neither of you have been to.  Or hit up some out of the way cocktail bar for a more cosy atmosphere.  Or better yet, go for a nice quiet meal somewhere fun.  Just make sure it’s somewhere you can hear each other speak without having to yell at each other.

Be engaging and listen 

Who hasn’t been on a date and spent the entire time listening to the other person just talk about themselves without engaging you once?  Unfortunately, this is a lot more prevalent than you’d think.

We all love to talk about ourselves (even if we don’t like to actually admit it..) and whatever hobbies or activities we’ve been up to, but how is that a conversation?  It isn’t, so why not hush yourself and engage your date in an actual conversation.  Ask the other person what their interests are.. and then actually listen to what they have to say.

The more you engage and converse back and forth, the better the overall date will be.  It’ll be memorable for the right reasons, and not for being an ugly, self-centered car-wreck.

Date + Friends = Recipe for a non-date

It’s way too easy to just invite your potential date to join you and your friends to hang out.  It may seem like it’s a ingenious way to get to know your new beau while getting some friendly feedback at the same time.

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

Just think how uncomfortable that would be for the guy, to be forced to hang out and engage with people he doesn’t know, when all he wants is to get to know you.  And by doing this, you’re essentially sending him the message that you’re really not interested in him romantically, but more as a ‘pal’.

Save the meeting of your friends for somewhere down the line if it turns into something.

Time limit or no time limit?

There are loads of people who think you should set a time limit to how long a first date should last, generally no more than three hours.  But is this realistic or setting too much of a limitation on how much you allow yourself to enjoy the other guy’s company?

Obviously, this is something that needs to be decided on an individual, date-by-date basis, as not all dates will be same.  Perhaps you’ll be getting along like gang-busters and want to spend the night together.

Or perhaps you just don’t gel that well, so it’ll only last a short while.

Some say if you spend too much time together on the first date, then you’re not giving them an opportunity to want to learn more about you.

But then again, if the spark is there right away, then that first date may turn into the second or third without either of you even trying, perhaps leading to something more.

And ultimately, isn’t that the end goal?

This post has been inspired by — 10 Gay First Date Tips That Should Be Obvious! – Gay Pop Buzz

Being an Awkward Flirt

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As someone who can be somewhat socially awkward at times, it can be absolutely terrifying to go out and interact with other people.  Just the idea of going to a pub or social gathering where you’re forced to chat or interact with other people can be almost debilitating.

But adding flirting on top of all that??  Hot damn, that can be scary as fuck!

But because of the fear of rejection, a lot of socially awkward people will be more comfortable flirting online.  And that anonymity allows them to show how amazingly flirty they really are, but they clam up once it moves into a public situation.

Obviously like anything in life, you need to make an effort to get a result.  If it feels like you’re making an absolutely massive effort but getting nowhere, then maybe you’re just coming across as a bit too subtle.  Your idea of being a flirt may not be the same as other guys.

Despite how tricky it may seem, this is something you truly need to be in it to win it.

Get out of your own head

Regardless of the situation, a socially awkward person can sometimes spend too much time over-thinking or over-analysing things.  Perhaps you’ll worry that you’ve said the wrong thing, or didn’t come across as interesting as you’d have liked.  Or you’ll worry that you’re coming on too strong.. or not strong enough as the case may be.

Instead you just need to stop thinking, calm the fuck down, and just listen to the other person.  Listen to the words coming out of their mouth and their inflection.  Watch their body language and whether they maintain eye contact or if they’re too busy looking around the room.  As you listen to the other person, both vocally and physically, you’ll find you’ll start reacting to them instinctively and naturally.

And he’ll definitely notice, as it’ll make him feel important.

Flash your assets

And no, that doesn’t mean getting your ass out for everyone to see… well, depending on the party you’re at I guess.  LOL

This is more about knowing what you’re good at and improving upon those skills as a way to increase your self-confidence or self-esteem.  It could something silly like a party trick, or being able to make the best G&T ever, or perhaps it could be a personal interest you could use as a talking point when meeting someone new.

Whatever it is, it’s obviously just the tip of the iceberg of who you are as a person, but it at least will allow someone new to get a glimpse inside.  And everybody knows that the more confident you are in yourself, the more this will shine through to others around you.  Your feeling of self-worth will improve as you go along, so why not improve upon it so it shines through.

It’s also about putting your best face forward.  If it’s clear that you’re not taking care of yourself, then that’ll be a massive turn off for the other guy.  It’s not necessarily just about your physical appearance (not all guys are into washboard abs.. just saying), but about taking care of your hygiene, knowing what looks good on your body shape, and allowing your amazing personality to shine through.

Own yourself

We’ve all been there – you’re at a party and some guy you just started chatting to is all over you.  They’re practically straddling your leg, breathing in your ear, with their hand down the front (or back) of your pants.  It’s one thing to be flirty, but when you’ve bypassed someone else’s boundaries, then you’re definitely getting into a no-go zone.

As adults, we need to be aware of our own and other’s personal space, and respect this at all times.  If you’ve draped yourself over someone and you can tell they’re feeling uncomfortable, then you really just need to back off.  Give them some room to breath and wait for them to invite you back into their space (if or) when they’re ready.

Make the first move

It seems these days that guys are totally afraid to show their interest in another person until that other person has shown their hand first.  It’s like we’re all afraid to be vulnerable and show emotions, even if it’s a solely physical manifestation of one.

There’s nothing wrong with flirting subtly (though not so subtle that it couldn’t be recognised with a microscope) and showing interest in the other person.  If you don’t show them you’re interested, then how are they going to know?  You can’t just keep waiting on someone else to make the first move, regardless of how scary that may seem.

Let down your defences

All too often, especially when you’re socially awkward, you’ll tend to approach social situations with hesitation and a pre-conceived idea of how other people will look at you.  That they’ll judge you for every word, action, or reaction you give.

Basically you put yourself on the defensive before you even walk into the room, let alone start talking to someone.  And what this means is, deep-down, you’re judging yourself and making yourself uncomfortable about a situation before it’s even happened.  You’ll start shaming yourself for actions you ‘may’ take, which will only make it worse.

Instead allow yourself to have a more open mind to whatever may come along, be it a new friend, a bit of fun, or even the possibility of a new boyfriend.

You just never know what might happen if you let someone in, so just go for it already!

This post was influenced by — How to Flirt When You’re Socially Awkward – GayGuys.com

Dating Tips: Appearing More Confident

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Regardless if you’re gay, straight, or somewhere in between, dating can be hard as hell.

Just the act of putting yourself out there in the hopes that someone might show an interest is a huge step forward, and sometimes working past that fear of rejection can eat away at your confidence.

Even if we don’t always admit it to ourselves, we all know that it’s natural to be somewhat nervous and excited at the same time about meeting someone new.  It’s all about stepping out into the unknown and not letting your nerves get the best of you.

But what steps have you taken to move past that in order to show that truly amazing person you know is lurking deep down?  How do you get past those nerves and give a strong first impression?  How do you act or react?

Like anything in life, if you can come across as confident in yourself and carry yourself well, then that’ll go a long way to attracting a potential mate.

And hopefully make that date you’re on go really well.  As well as any other area of your life.

Posture Matters

Body language is probably the biggest thing that can make or break a first date.  If you’re sitting there slumped over with your chin drooping towards your chest, then you’re making it look like you’re not interested or couldn’t care if this new person even likes you.

Instead, use your posture to show you’re interested in the other person.  Standing up straight says to the world that you’re present, and that you’re approaching the situation with strength and purpose.

Let your face communicate for you

Part of the way your date will determine if you’re interested or willing to engage with them is by watching your facial reactions during your conversation.  You want your face to project openness, honestly, friendliness, positive and an aura of being approachable. You want them to think of you as emotionally present and cute.

But if you don’t even smile at your date or be engaging, then it’s extremely unlikely the date will end well.  This isn’t a ‘fake it until you make it’ situation either, as that’ll come across as false and possibly make your date want to run to the hills.

Eyes wide open

Along with giving good face per above, you also need to learn how to establish good eye contact.  You can be as smiley as you want to be, but if you’re avoiding eye contact or if that gorgeous smile isn’t reaching your eyes, then your date will know something is up.

At the same time though, don’t take it to the other extreme and end up staring at them the entire night, as that’s just darn creepy!

Instead, learn how to gaze at the other person, and ensure you’re looking directly at them (preferably in the eye) to show you’re actually listening to and interested in what they’re talking about.  And when he cracks some cheesy joke that makes you laugh anyway, make sure you smile with your eyes as well.

Lean into them

Now, this isn’t to say you should drape yourself all over your date – well, unless it’s one of those dates *wink, wink* – but you should still use your body language to show your interest in the other person.  Be willing to lean forward slightly as they speak to you, nodding as they speak.

But be careful not to get too familiar too soon and invading your date’s person space.  It’s one thing to be flirty, but another to be leaping into their lap when they’ve just said hello.

Handshake, kiss on the cheek or a hug

On top of everything above, when you’re first meeting someone new, you also need to decide how you’re going to greet them.  Would a handshake seem too impersonal and send the wrong, unromantic signals?  Or is a kiss on the cheek or a brief hug too intimate?

Perhaps it also matters where you’re meeting on this date.  If you’re just meeting at a random cafe or pub, then perhaps a handshake would be more appropriate than a friendly hug or kiss.  But then again, it would also depend on your own comfort levels in showing affection in public.

(Clearly wouldn’t suggest a full on make-out session.. unless the date goes really well of course.  Haha)

In the end, a date of whatever sort is supposed to be fun and interesting, so why not put your best face forward to get things off to a brilliant start.  Use your nerves and that exciting feeling to your advantage, and just enjoy yourself.

This post was inspired by – Gay Dating: 5 Tips For Appearing More Confident – Gay Pop Buzz

Embracing Your Solitude

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It’s an age old scenario – you’re sitting alone in a restaurant, enjoying a quiet meal for one.  Perhaps you’re reading a book, or checking something on your mobile.  Perhaps this meal is a treat for yourself, and you’re having a lovely time.

But then you notice a glance from someone at a neighbouring table.  Without knowing your situation, they’re looking at you with pity. As if eating a meal solo means you must be lonely, anti-social, or socially unwanted.  That there is something inherently wrong with being alone in a public setting.

And they’re wrong, because it’s actually empowering to do things like having a dinner out alone, and that uninformed person is allowing their own insecurities colour their opinions.  They can’t even fathom actually spending time alone.

In fact, they’re probably afraid of being alone and are missing out on the best company they could ever find – themselves.

Spending time along doesn’t mean you’re being anti-social or ‘disappearing’ from action.  It just means you’re focusing on yourself.

And those who do enjoy their free time, they understand how a bit of solitude can be beneficial to them.

Recharging your batteries

It can be mentally exhausting to constantly having to be ‘on’ in social settings.  Keeping up engaging conversations, making people laugh, showing empathy when someone’s feeling emotional, generally trying to make those around you happy, and so forth…

It’s absolutely draining to say the least.

But by taking some time away from the social scene, you’re allowing yourself time to recharge.  To turn your brain off.  To focus your energies on your own happiness.

Reflecting isn’t just in the mirror

When you’re constantly on the go, you really don’t get much time to reflect on your life or think on where you want your life to go.  Instead, you’re constantly surrounded by others that take up your time and energy, leaving very little (if anything) for yourself.

By taking some time out for yourself, it allows you time to improve your own self-confidence, work through issues in the past, and start planning for your future.

It’s a golden opportunity that really shouldn’t be missed because it’s your life, and you’re the only one that can propel it forward in the future.

Getting in touch with yourself

Along with being mentally draining, being in constant social settings can also be draining emotionally.  Because if you’re constantly catering to other people’s emotions or being their ‘cheerleader’, that leaves no opportunities to keep in touch with your own emotions.

Time alone can allow you time to gain a better perspective about your own happiness, while learning about what upsets or saddens you.  No emotion is a bad emotion because the more you know how negative emotions can affect you, the better prepared you’ll be in the future to handle them.

And a true strength of character comes from being able to overcome the hard times in your life.

Doing things for yourself

Who hasn’t been out with a friend or a group of people and had to give into someone else’s desire while setting aside your own desires or needs?  Whether you realise it or not, we all compromise to an extent when looking for a common solution.

But when you’re enjoying your alone time, it’s all about what you want to do because you have the freedom to decide for yourself.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but if you’re continually giving in to someone else’s needs, yours will never be fulfilled.  It’s all about the freedom to do what you want to do.

This also means focusing on your own happiness, although it doesn’t mean you’ll completely ignore other people’s needs as well.  You should know what makes you happy, because ultimately you shouldn’t be relying on someone else to ‘make’ you happy.

Be more productive

We all have things we need to get done in our personal lives – laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and so forth.  And while there are some things that would be fun to do with another person, sometimes you just can’t be truly productive when you’re constantly in someone else’s company.

Their presence will become distracting and your ‘to-do’ list will just keep growing and growing.

When you’re alone and getting things done, you’ll find you’re more focused and able to get some work done.  And the only one that’ll be able to distract you is you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder..

How are you going to miss someone’s company if they’re constantly by your side?  And do you really want to spend so much time together that you run the risk of getting on each other’s nerves or possibly even getting sick of each other?

A routine is one thing, but being together 24/7 means you literally get no space for yourself or to take care of your own needs as per the above.  But when you’re spending some time apart – even if it’s just an hour a week – that time together becomes more important and you’ll appreciate it more.

Independence Day

The independence that comes from doing certain activities alone – like going on holiday by yourself – can be absolutely electrifying.  And not only will it help reduce any anxiety about being alone, but it’ll also boost your confidence.

And feeling independent can be truly empowering.

Stop apologising

Spending time alone means you don’t have to apologise to anyone for what you’ve done or about to do.  You can allow yourself the freedom to stop second-guessing your actions or worrying if you’re upsetting someone else by doing what you want when you want it.

Trust your own instincts

All too often we’ll stop ourselves from making a decision or taking a particular action because we haven’t run it by a friend or loved one first.  We’ll look to them for validation that we’re taking the right course of action, or perhaps for some advise on what to do next.

And sometimes that is the right thing to do.

But honestly there are plenty of times where we’re completely capable of making a decision without someone else’s input, or need someone else to validate our choices.  And when you’re spending more time alone, you’ll trust yourself more, and be more confident in making decisions without someone else’s two-cents.

This post was inspired by — When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone, These 10 Things Will Happen.

Friendship can be Fleeting

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Some friends come, some friends go.  And some friends are there for the long haul.  But sometimes, no matter what you do, the friendship may end.  It could be due to some toxic behaviour from one of you, or it could be a change in one of your lives.

It’s not a matter of loving each other any less, but being willing to understand when a friendship is at it’s end.  Or even recognising when it’s already over and not worth your time to try and save.

Regardless of how a friendship ends, it can sometimes really hurt and be confusing.  So here are a few things to look out for when that fleeting friendship is actually dying a slow death…

It’s exhausting

Spending time with your friends should be fun, exciting, and make you look forward to seeing them again, even when things aren’t going so well.  But if you find you’re coming away from seeing a friend constantly drained, emotionally and physically, it could be that they’re sucking the life right out of you.

Some friends are just emotional vampires, and any time spent together is all about them or their problems.  These people are needy and will latch onto anyone who’ll give them any attention.

Jealous of your happy

Whenever something good is happening in your life, one of the first things anyone wants to do is to share it with their friends.  We all enjoy sharing our happy moments alongside all the rest of it, and a true friend should be happy when something goes well for you, regardless of what is going on in their life.

But if that friend is continually trying to bring you down or is expressing jealousy because their life isn’t going as well as yours, then that’s not someone you want in your corner.  A solid friend should be a cheerleader for your accomplishments (and vice versa) without any thought about their own issues.

Always one-sided

Best_FriendsTruly good friends will always be there for each other through the thick and thin.  They’ll be their cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, someone they can vent to, and ultimately, their rock.  We all go through tough periods and it’s important to have the right support when you’re going through a bad patch.

But if you find that you’re always listening to your friend’s issues and they aren’t letting you get a word in about what’s going on with you, then perhaps you need to let that selfish friend go.  Same goes if they never ask what’s going on with you (because they’re too busy talking about themselves), or don’t seem to even register what you do say (cause they’re not really listening).

Friendships may teeter back and forth, but ultimately it needs to truly be two-sided.

They put you down

All friends tend to roast each other to an extent.  It’s playful and always meant in good humour, never anything malicious or to purposely put someone down.  But sadly there are those out there who’ll always have something negative to say about you to bring you down.  Perhaps it makes them feel better about themselves, but regardless of why they do it, it’s toxic and they’re a friend you shouldn’t want to keep.

True friends always have your best interest at heart.

Mooches will always mooch

truly caresWe all have that friend who never seems to have any money on them to pay for drinks or dinner, or they say they’ll pay you back for those concert tickets but you never hear another word about it.  It’s one thing if it happens on occasion, but when it’s all the time it can become quite annoying to be chasing after them.

These people may not mean anything bad by it, and sometimes they don’t even realise they’ve done it.  But in the end you can only take so much of these flighty, forgetful friends.  And unfortunately, good luck getting your money back.

They’re overly demanding

It’s one thing to be a bit needy on occasion during a rough patch, but it’s completely different when you try to fully monopolise a friend’s time to the point where they can’t maintain other friendships or relationships.

When a friend is overly possessive, it generally means they’re insecure about your friendship and they’ll allow their jealousy to show.  Some may get so attached that they’ll freak out at the thought of you having other friends (let alone a relationship), and they could even try to sabotage things.

Best thing to do – run away.  Now.

Life moves on

Sometimes a friendship will end solely because life has changed for one or both of you.  People will change and grow over time, or perhaps one of your interests have changed.  It may suck when it happens, but it’s not like there’s a particular thing you can blame it on, as it just happens.  Some people just drift apart.

A lot of the time when this happens, one or both of you will be singing the hymn “We need to catch up soon!”, but it never really happens.  It could be that one of you has found a new social circle, or there’s a new relationship that’s occupying their time, or you no longer live near each other.  It’s just life really.

bad-friends-pic-3It’s ok to feel sad or confused when a friendship ends, but allow yourself the time to get past it.  Understand what changed and then move on.  There is no point dwelling on something that has already happened and can’t be changed.

This post has been influenced by – http://www.thelist.com/17938/tell-friendship/

Be Happy – How to Stress Less

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Life can be stressful and chaotic, but generally only if you allow it to be.  Sometimes you need to just slow down and take things one at a time.

They say that people’s lives can become happier once they’ve decided to be happy.  That may be simplistic, but perhaps it’s a matter of facing life with a more positive outlook.

Give yourself a clear direction

All too often, life can get muddled and a lack of direction can cause stress in our lives.  Who hasn’t complained there wasn’t enough time in a day or how the week has flown by.  Your week was the same length as anyone else’s, but the difference is how focused you’ve been during it.

We all have things we’d like to achieve, but sadly most don’t take the time to set a clear plan to reach that target.  It’s time to get focused, clear your conscious, and really understand what you want to achieve and why.  Otherwise, you’ll continue to flounder and not get anywhere.

Focus your productivity

If-you-do-not-change-directionIt’s all too easy to get bogged down in the minute, unimportant things that clutter our ‘to-do’ lists, which means we just end up leaving the important stuff to the end.

This will leave you constantly feeling like you’re not getting anywhere because the big items continually get moved to the next list.

Instead, focus on the big things first.  If something is truly important, urgent or difficult to complete, then prioritise it.  Because generally when you complete the big stuff, the smaller, less important things can sometimes fall to the wayside.

Perfection doesn’t exist

Everybody is way too obsessed with getting things in life absolutely perfect all the time, which in turn may hinder the progress you’re trying to make.  And way too many of us focus on the destination or end result without enjoying the journey along the way.

When working towards a goal or target, there’s never a guarantee of progression or even success at achieving a specific outcome.  If life was truly set out as a check-list of how to get ahead in life, we’d all be super successful and presumably ‘happy’.

But the reality of it is that there are no rules on how to succeed or to be happy, and no two people’s ideal of ‘perfect’ will be exactly the same.  Just enjoy the journey itself, and allow yourself to learn from the progress as it happens.

Forgive and forget

NEGATIVEWe all do it – continually replay the day’s events or some unpleasant conversation over and over in our heads to analyse each detail.  But other than dealing with immediate issues, what’s the point in reinforcing the negative aspects of your day, letting them to lay heavy on your heart.

It may sound easier than it is, but you’ve just to just let it go.  All of it – the regrets, the snubs, the rude or disparaging remarks, the distractions – and allow yourself to end each day cleansed of the negativity.

And this includes your own untrue or negative thoughts towards yourself.  It’s all the same in the end.  When you change your thoughts, you change your life.

Same goes for stress

Life is a challenge, and it can get really hard along the journey.  And that’s okay, as it’s the stresses we face daily that build us up and make us stronger to better face the even harder challenges up ahead.

The point is not to let the stress take you over and ruin your day.  Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Think about stress as if you’ve reached a room with 2 exits – one that relives the stress of the day, and the other where you move on with your life.  Why wouldn’t you take the second door?

One step at a time

Some say one of the steps to happiness is having a fit, healthy body, but is that just enforcing society’s ideals on how you should live your life and look?  We all know that a good workout is great for your peace of mind (as well as your body, obviously), and the endorphin release can help sharpen your mind’s focus.

CarrotBut is that it?  Is that the answer to all of our problems and the key to happiness?  Hardly, but it is important to take care of yourself – both inside and out, mentally and physically – and regular exercise of some sort can only be a positive thing.

Just don’t get so wrapped up in ‘being fit and healthy’ that you become oblivious to other factors that contribute to your happiness.

Treat yourself

It’s endearing to do something special for our loved ones, but when was the last time you did something special for yourself?  It doesn’t have to be anything big but something simple like taking a walk, doing something you truly enjoy, reading a book, making your favourite meal, and so forth.

All too often we spend our energies putting other people’s needs ahead of our own, almost to the point where we forget to take care of our own happiness.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but you do need to put your own needs first on occasion.

K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple…

Way too many people will over-book their lives to the point where they literally have zero wiggle room when things pop up.  They’ll organise their diaries to the point where they have to book time in with friends or loved ones weeks or months in advance.

There’s no spontaneity, no last minute plans, no spur of the moment day trips, and literally no room for yourself.

How is that really any fun?

Obviously you don’t want to go so far as to under-plan your life, but do allow yourself a bit of regular breathing space and time each week to focus on you.  It gives you more flexibility in your own life, and when those surprise invites pop up you might actually be able to accept them.

This post was influenced by – 9 Things Happy People Do to Stress Less.

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