Tag Archives: conflict

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VIII

5 Aug

Let’s do this…

Hey Grown Man,I went through a phase during my early–mid/late twenties (not my bi-curious phase. get your head out of the gutter grown man) where if I knew I was going to disappoint a person/friend/girlfriend with bad news (not bad news like my grandmother has diabetes, but bad news like I won’t be able to join you on Friday night at bar X, or, I won’t be able to join you in August to go to Europe) I just wouldn’t pick up the phone and call…or answer their phone calls to me. When I quit my job at Circuit City my freshman year in college, I’m ashamed to say I just stopped showing up.

As a “growing man” I’ve learned that upfront, honest communication works really well. “Grown Men” make an effort to communicate, they take initiative to communicate first, they communicate clearly and succinctly…and they do this especially when the news is bad. I’ve found that I respect this in people when I see it in my business or in my personal life.

I don’t know if you’ve already discussed this topic but I’d like to hear your thoughts Grown Man.

Forthcomingly yours,


What a fantastic question.  Really, the question was not only very well put, but also answered in a way that leaves me with little to say other than, you’re totally right.  However, because I’ve got a blog to write, I’m obligated to say you’re totally right in several hundred words with a few obscure pop-culture references and a barn-load of sarcasm and judgment.  Here I go…

Being a man means different things to different people.  Yet, with many male ideologies floating around, there are some nonnegotiables that all Grown Men should heed.  Here are a few of them:

-Start and end a conversation with a hand shake and eye-contact
-Be kind to people
-Always try to better yourself
-Quit wearing sweatpants

Grown Men, Jacob has added a tremendous one to the list that must be addressed – don’t shirk on communication.  In our lives, we all have difficult, unpleasant, or at least mildly uncomfortable conversations that confront us.  Even the most zen of men are going to find themselves with that familiar feeling of knowing that before them lies a choice: avoid and ignore or face it head on.

Grown Men face it head on.  We do this because ignoring a situation leaves others hurt, leaves questions unanswered, and puts you in a position of not being respected.  We do this “Not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard”. And when we have the hard conversations, we’re looked at as men that, right or wrong, can be trusted to do what is necessary.

One more thing: What is “it” that we have to face?  Well, look no further than Jacob’s question for that answer.  It is anything from simply disappointing a friend (“Sorry, I can’t go to lunch, I’m really portly and just started Fatkins.”) to quitting a job (I can’t blame you Jacob, Circuit City sucked).  These kinds of decisions require of you to step up and do precisely what you don’t want to do: “make an effort to communicate, take initiative to communicate first, and communicate clearly and succinctly.”  Well put, “Growing Man” (snicker).

Team Jacob, thank you for presenting a great question and answer.  We all need to be reminded of this every now and again.

Team Edward?,

Grown Man,

Is there anything my boyfriend (emphasis on boy) can do to make up for ruining my birthday?

Hurt Birthday Girl

Hurt Birthday Girl’s Almost Ex-boyfriend,

Sir, you’ve really screwed up this time.  And, while I’m sure you’ve messed up before (remember Tijuana?), “ruining a birthday” is literally, almost, unforgivable.  I don’t know what you did to ruin it, but it was bad enough that your almost ex-girlfriend emailed some dude’s blog, anonymously, and called you a “boy” – BURNED!

But, I believe that you’ve got it in you to redeem yourself.  Why do I think this?  Because she obviously thinks there’s something you can do to make up for it, or she wouldn’t have written me.  So, I’m going to help you out.

What you’ve got to do is find the inverse of whatever you did to “ruin” the birthday and do it, a lot.  For example, let’s say you gave her a Weight Loss Yoga DVD for her birthday.  Well,  the inverse of Weight Loss Yoga DVD is making her an awesome dinner every night for two months and spending that dinner telling her how freaking beautiful you think she is.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Let me try again.   Let’s say you decided that a great night for her would be watching you build your model trains and get super pissed because the “damn drawbridge won’t go up with the new servo!”  Oh boy, good one – nerd.  The inverse of this is probably getting an outdoor hobby and letting her go to find a dude that’s not so, well, like you.

In any event, you need to work very hard, every day, and with great forethought to find the appropriate inverse and make this right.  Hurt Birthday Girl is, I’m sure, a forgiving and kind woman who may eventually come around.  But fella, you’ve got to get to work.  Good luck, we’re rooting for you.

16 candles,

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VII (Wedding Edition)

29 Jul

I’m shocked that I actually got guys to ask wedding questions!  Nice job, gentlemen.  Let’s do this…

Dear Non Man-child,

I am a grown man of 30 and so is my fiancée to be (30 yrs old, not a man), and we are wondering what the most appropriate way of telling future wedding guest, we would rather have cash instead of gifts?  We both have more than enough toasters, pans, plates etc and would rather take the money and run (due to age and stage).  Is there a nice and easy way to accomplish this without pissing people off and making me look like a D-bag?  Or am I going to have to spend the first six months of marriage making Target returns?

Love and hugs,

Cash Money Millionaire,

Oh Lord, you’re so ungrateful!  “I’m Luke, I don’t want my grandma to get me a punch bowl – my 40-year-old (male) fiance and I already have 50 zillion punch bowls! We don’t have time to return this stuff – we’re upwardly mobile 30-somethings that simply must be at every indie movie premier!”

Just messing with you, Mr. Skywalker. You’ve asked a solid question that I bet a lot of couples are afraid to ask, and I’m happy to answer it.

Cash as a wedding gift is likely the most logical present.  Really, it’s a win-win for both parties involved.  You and the Mr. can use it to buy whatever you may need, and you don’t have to fuss with non-registry duds, duplicates, or as you said, “six-months of Target returns.”  Additionally, the giver can simply stuff an envelope and save an exhausting trip to commerce hell.  Everybody wins, right? Well, kinda.

Giving a gift at a wedding is really for the giver.  People want to know that they’re supporting you and your spouse in your new endeavor.  While you could clearly accomplish the same means with cash, people get a vibe that maybe they’re just chipping in on that month’s rent – which lacks the sentimentality.  I fully understand why you and your husband-to-be don’t want another toaster, as it’s quite difficult to get Sandals Jamaica to accept a Cuisinart for your couples massage.  However, you may have to meet in the middle. Here are some options:

a) Register at a place that’s fantastic at returning merchandise (like Bed Bath & Beyond, not like Target – they’re literally the worst).  Then, when people inevitably don’t get excited about giving you money and insist on buying dip trays, at least you’ll be guaranteed cash for the return.

b) Spread the word among your family and wedding party that cash would be rad-tastic.  They’ll understand and, in turn, tell others. At the end of the day, the cash discussion is probably best served (and the least tacky) by having face-to-face discussions.  I really don’t think it’s good manners to put it in the invitation.

c) Register at a bank.

d) All of the above.

Luke, you’re in a hard spot that I bet a ton of people find themselves in.  You’ve got everything you need (“toasters, pans, plates, etc.”) but wouldn’t mind some start-up funding on your new enterprise.  And while I wish it was totally acceptable to go all cash, especially for folks like you and your groom (I’m not dropping this joke) who are well established enough as individuals that you don’t require most of what’s considered a wedding gift, we’re just not there as a society and I think you’re going to have to make some returns. Hopefully though, getting the cash conversation out there and registering with generous businesses will alleviate some of the burden.

Good luck to you and your lovely fiance! I’m sure she’s wonderful.

All about the Benjamin’s,

I’ve got a question for you, GM.

I asked my best friend to be the best man in my wedding – because he’s been my best friend.  Now that the wedding is approaching, he seems unsupportive and I don’t think he likes my fiancée.  How would you handle the situation in a classy way?  Is this something I should have asked him about before asking him, or should he have declined to be my best man?  I just feel that the person who is my best man should also be supportive of the wedding itself.

Kind sir,

This is one crappy situation.  I can’t imagine struggling with your friend and trying to honor your fiancée at the same time – I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with this junk during a time that should be anything but dramatic.

That being said, your friend must be politely taken to the woodshed.  I don’t know the back story of why he could possibly dislike your fiancée, but in the final analysis, you owe it to her to take care of this.  The final sentence of your question was spot-on.  The best man should indeed be supportive and have your back completely as you stand there with your bride – no exceptions.

Grown Fiancé, the classy way to handle the situation is do what, I presume, you already know you have to do – have “the talk” with your best man.  There’s nothing harder than taking a situation like this head on, but there’s also nothing more effective.  He needs to know how you feel, he needs to be given the opportunity to share his side, and at the end of the day, you need to both move forward in honoring your bride-to-be by making sure that this guy is 100% on board.  If you can’t see eye-to-eye and get him to a place where he’s supportive, then he’s effectively voided his best man contract and needs to be uninvited. You simply can’t allow that tension to be a part of your wedding.

I know you’ve got it in you to do the right thing. I’m sorry you have to do it but appreciate you making the first of many bold moves to fiercely defend and respect your wife.

Good luck,

That is all, Grown Men.  Until next Thursday, keep asking those great questions…

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