Advice: "Am I Showing My Cards Too Much?"

Hey Kirstie,

I'm 28, single, living abroad, and feel like I’m in way over my head. I recently started hanging out with this girl— of whom I was introduced through a mutual friend— and I'm scared I'm fucking it up.

She's a great chick. We're the same age and that's pretty hard to find, given that we both live on a Caribbean island and the average age for foreigners here is 55.

We've been on several dates now. On one of them I went over to her place, which is her parent's house, and we saw some puppies her family was fostering. Her step-mom ended up coming home early and I stuck around for dinner. I met her whole family and it was a lot of fun.

But yesterday, I had her come over to my place so I could cook dinner. I bragged about my chef skills and opted to make a chicken piccata for her. Well, it ended up taking four hours and I had to resort to Plan B which was grilled cheeses. That sucked but for some reason, I just felt totally off my game. I am known with my friends to be goofy and clumsy. I know for a fact myself that I am indeed goofy and clumsy. And I could tell how incredibly goofy and clumsy I was being with her. And I can't help but think that she thinks I'm a weirdo.

She mentioned that she loved hanging out, that whenever it was silent with us, she always felt comfortable. She said she felt a connection, but I'll be honest that we were both stoned and tipsy at this point. It's hard to remember the convo word for word.

What I'm wondering is, does she actually like me as more than a friend? Does she think I'm trying too hard? And if I reach out to keep trying to hangout, am I showing my cards too soon?

I don't want her to think I like her too much and that I'm pushing for something too soon. But I feel so worried because I've only liked a girl this much once in my life, and she totally broke my heart. I guess I really like this girl and feel totally fucked.

What should I do?

Sincerely,

My Cards Are Showing


Dear My Cards Are Showing,

Hold up. Hold up. Hold up. You like a girl a lot and feel "fucked"?

Let's unpack that for a second here.

Why is it that you believe liking a girl a lot equates to something terrible? I assume you're feeling like maybe she won't reciprocate your feelings; perhaps she might one day break your heart.

I mean, I get it. When you like someone, it's scary to know that person has so much control over your feelings. But feeling totally "fucked"? Now that's another story.

Perhaps when you were a kid, you had something happen where you liked little Ashley and tried to hold her hand or always tried to be on her team for tag. Then one day, she suddenly began running away from you claiming your cooties would be her demise. Perhaps that created a notion for you that showing interest too early would scare people off.

You talked about your ex-girlfriend having broken your heart too; it's safe to say that's playing a part in your current predicament; though, you did get to the point of her being your girlfriend. So however you formed the relationship seemed to work pretty well.

It's traumas like these that form our ideas about dating. Emotions are a scary thing, indeed. We put them out there only to have them lovingly accepted or trampled on like the black blobs you see on the sidewalk that we are told was once bubblegum.

But then there are the beautiful moments where two people come together, and it's so romantic you almost want to puke your brains out a little. The couple that seems so content; so much each other's best friends; so Instagram worthy.

So let's get to why we're here: does this girl like you and what should your next move be?

What I won't do is sit here and tell you I know what this girl is thinking. I'm not a mind-reader; though if I were, my advice column would most likely be the most successful one out there (I'm looking at you Hello Polly and former Dear Sugar).

But what I will give you is some outside perspective. Because when you're the one that's in the thick of the emotions, it's hard to see things clearly. You're metaphorically treading water; I'm metaphorically watching you from a cozy lifeboat, sipping on my oat milk latte, observing your every desperate kick.

You're up in your head, My Cards Are Showing. You're thinking way too much about everything, and if you don't stop, you may just start to self-sabotage.

Nothing you told me in your story talks about the girl's actions indicating that she doesn't like you. But, everything you said was just what you were thinking/worrying about. You assumed her thoughts because of your own insecurities. And that's an annoying thing about the human condition, we project that shit onto people around us.

To say it's common for people to see their own worries in other people is an understatement. And I think that's what's happening here.

Now, we need to address the biggest elephant in the room. You're talking about the relationship between you and this girl like it's a game. Um, hello? We are in 2019. Have you read anything about modern dating? Games are old-school. Waiting to text is lame. Being scared to show your cards too soon is petty.

It sounds like you really, really, reallyyyyyy like this chick. So why in the world are you trying to hide that? What it sounds like is you're seeking advice on how to play it "cool" but, as you stated, "goofy" is in your character.

I'd suggest you stop trying to hide your emotions. Stop living up in your head. And start just being yourself and, when you think the time is right, let this girl know how you feel. Heck, I'd even say do it sooner than later. I'd prefer to know if someone thought I was simply a friend rather than wait months when I'm deeply invested, emotions are gnarled into it all, and then be flat out rejected. That would suck. A lot. I suggest you DON'T DO THAT.

You sound like a genuinely good guy. I mean, you wrote into me for advice instead of texting some bro-y group chat where I could only imagine the response being something like:

You: "Hey guys, I really like this chick but Idk if she likes me back. What should I do?"

Bro 1: "Did you try fucking her yet?"

Bro 2: "Damn bro.. don't be such a pussy"

Bro 3: "Ignore her for a couple of weeks.. that always works"

Bro 1: "Down for some Fortnite?"

Bro 3: "Hopping on now"

Please use this emotional intelligence and awareness that you have for the better. Do not run from your feelings. Do not play games. Show your cards, even if just a bit.

I know it's scary, but what can come from being vulnerable is finding a deep connection with an amazing person. And that's pretty hard to find in this scary, chaotic, messy world. Even more so when you're living amongst retirees in the Caribbean.

With Love,

Kirstie


Write in and potentially be featured with my chaotic, well-intentioned advice to info@kirstietaylor.com

Weekly Words Roundup

Care about my opinions

Hello friends in my computer,

Since my last email talked about being more personable and active with you all, I thought a Weekly Words Roundup kind of email would be perfect with you all.


WTH will be in your Weekly Roundup?

A little known fact about me— unless you’ve spent more than 30 minutes with me IRL— I fucking LOVE books.

Begin rant: If you’re not reading books, you’re missing out on life. Books are a plethora of knowledge on whatever the hell you want to learn about, typed up into a tiny, floppy paper container. They often consist of decades of research, planning, experience, writing, all wrapped up into a book you can read in four hours. THIS BLOWS MY MIND.

So I choose to read, a lot. I prefer to have a non-fiction and fiction book always on hand. If I’m tired, I’ll sit back and be serenaded by a beautiful narrative while my mind does literally zero work. But if I’m feeling a bit more analytical, I can contemplate the complex nook and crannies of the human condition via the words of great philosophers.

End rant (point finally being made): I read at least a book every week or so. I figured, why not relay my favorite ones to you? A bit of a book review format, but MUCH less appropriately critical and much more random musings. And why not throw in the best articles I read that week?

Think of this roundup as me sussing through all the bullshit out there; letting you know what actually rocks. You’re oh so very welcome.

Since I basically committed a huge email faux-pas by writing that wall of text, I’ll leave you with this book review and a few articles are the bomb dot com.


Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

I hope none of you flinched while you read Aziz Ansari’s name. Aziz is a great guy, and if you read this book, any of your doubts will quickly vanish.

I listened to this book in its audio format. Aziz is a hilarious guy, obviously; He commits the same humor to the reading of his book. There’s just something about his voice that makes me feel like he’s my BFF that I hang with on the reg.

I chose this book simply because I heard about it, and then it came up on my Libby app. Since I write about relationships, I figured I should give this book a shot; if only for market research purposes.

But man was I PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. Aziz is not just some comedian that decided to write a book for a quick buck. He and his co-author Eric Klinenberg actually conducted on-the-field research, in multiple countries, and had every day people submit their experiences of modern dating via a subreddit.

The authors didn’t ramble on about their opinions of modern dating— though Aziz tosses them in lightly here and there— but they just state the plain old facts.

I always say, “dating in Los Angeles sucks nowadays,” but now I have firm understandings of why dating exists in the often times odd form it is today. And I’m not so sure that it sucks anymore, more so than everything has its own downfalls.

So whether you’re single, ready to mingle or just interested in how we all got hooked on these dating games (I mean apps) like Tinder, I’d suggest giving Modern Romance a read.


And I’ll leave you with a few articles that have rocked my world (or at least gave it a little friendly shoulder nudge):

How To Form New Habits That Matter

Why I will Always Love My Ex-Boyfriends

Burning Down The Mouse

Life Update & Comparing Pain

Hello friends and friends-in-the-making,

I realized I don’t ever talk personally on here about what’s going on in my life. That’s kind of a shame; I like to think I’m interesting. Yet, don’t we all like to think that?

Any who.. just wanted to come on here and say hey! If you’re reading this, shoot me an email back telling me a little more about yourself.

I’m sure most of you found me through Medium; thank you for being here! I’m a writer on all things psychology and relationships. I mostly write about advice I need to hear or advice my younger self needed to hear.

In fact, I’m even writing a book! It’s all about the uncertain, lost feeling we experience in life. Because, let’s be real, do any of us know what the fuck is going on?

But what’s great about this realization is that WE ALL FEEL IT! And my book, I hope, will be a guiding hand (voice) through these moments in our lives.

I’ll keep you guys updated throughout the process. It’s been quite the whirlwind. Would it be redundant to say I feel lost about writing my book where I talk about feeling lost?

Thanks again for subscribing to my newsletter, though. I’ll make sure to get a little more personal on here.

If you know someone else that would like this newsletter, feel free to share this link with them:

https://kirstietaylor.substack.com

And, without further ramblings, here is my article for this week, originally posted on Medium.



I’ll Show You My Pain If You Show Me Yours

It was a Saturday evening in Culver City, and I laid out a blanket on a grassy field in a park. The sun was setting, and a giant inflatable screen was propped up in front of me.

A friend and I sat down to enjoy a screening of The Breakfast Club. I already saw the movie once before; my friend was about to see it for the first time.

As I watched the movie, of course comparing what high school was like back then to what it must be like now, one scene stood out to me.

The main characters gathered in a circle; sharing what their life at home was like, mainly in relation to their parents. Claire described the dynamics of her recently divorced mom and dad; Andrew related the extreme pressure he felt at home to maintain his wrestling performance.

On the other hand, Bender and Allison described how their parents didn’t give two shits about them; something they desperately wished was different. Bender even went as far as revealing that his father occasionally beat him; though lightly commented on because who knows if people can trust Bender.

But what everyone had in common was this: their pain ran deep, and it consumed them. From the outside, some of their struggles may have seemed more severe than others. But for them as individuals, that pain was all they knew.


When you think about the idea of comparing your struggles to someone else’s, it seems kind of self-centered. Sure, it would really hurt to divulge your pain and be met with an “I understand how you feel,” follows by a story about how their dog died that one time.

But to share a hard time in your life with another person and assume you’re more damaged shouldn’t be what you’re after. Sharing this kind of stuff isn’t a comparison game, it’s a chance to form deeper human connections and be heard.

And the truth of the matter is, you just can’t know what another person is physically feeling — ever.

Think of emotional pain as a sort of a threshold. That threshold is determined by the traumas you’ve been through in the past and the pain that ensued. You may feel like your friend has had a cushy life, but for them, the pain of never feeling good enough for their parents is enough to send them into a deep spiral of depression.

Because humans experience everything differently. No two people have lived the same lives; no two people have felt the same suffering.

That’s why we need to stop comparing our pains. For the sake of other people’s feelings and the sake of your relationships.

Share your pain for a place of wanting to feel understood; not a place of ego.

There’s one thing to want to share a hard time you went through; there’s another to share it to seem broken, and like you’ve been through the wringer.

Struggles aren’t a badge of honor. And if you share them like they are, you may be sorely disappointed when you’re not met with the reaction from others that you’re expecting.

Listen from a place of understanding; not a place of comparing to your own life

When someone opens up to you, that’s a beautiful moment of vulnerability. That’s not a moment to take lightly.

It’s a chance to really understand the person; an opportunity to get to know what hurt them or what is currently causing them pain.

What it’s not is a moment for you to decide if you’ve been through worse. It’s not an opportunity to determine whether or not they’re overreacting.

So listen from a place of understanding the person. And if you don’t, ask questions. Clear the air rather than creating assumptions.

It sucks to feel like your struggles were belittled. And the same goes for your friends when they share their stories.


Vulnerability isn’t a place for comparison. It’s not a time to let your ego run free.

Sure, the Breakfast Club parted without overcoming the social divides that kept each other from talking in the hallways at school. But at least the left with a bit more understanding.

Comparison has no room in showing your wounds to others.

No matter if you’re a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal.

10 Things I Wish Men Knew About Women

I recently spent a good two hours helping a friend navigate his way through an argument with his girlfriend. I tried to leave any bias aside and use the bit of psychology I know to help him effectively communicate what he wanted to say.

But like many relationships, my friend lacked a basic understanding of women. For me, it was clear as day what she wanted from this argument. For him, not so much.

I am totally for equality, but men and women are different. And in more ways then what’s underneath our clothes. The genders think differently, feel differently, and their needs are, most often, different.

So while I don’t blame my friend for what I saw as obviously clear, I do think it could better help the male species to understand a bit about the female psyche.

Because though you think you may have it all figured out in the bed (but please know, you probably don’t), it will better help yourself if you figure out what’s going on in her head too.

1. Women Operate From A More Emotional Place

And that’s not a bad thing. Women are often portrayed as overly emotional on TV and in movies, and to be frank, that’s kind of complete bullshit.

First off, most of that is over-exaggerated. But even so, believing that women are these emotional creatures, at times too unruly to understand isn’t doing you or them any good.

Yes, we’ve been raised being told it’s ok to show our emotions. Yes, we want to express them more than males do. And yes, there is even scientific evidence that we experience negative emotions more than men do.

But our emotional intelligence makes us better lovers, partners, mothers, sisters, friends, etc. It’s understandable that men have a harder time seeing emotions as a good thing, but know that is slowly changing; not just for us, but for you as well.

So take the time to realize that we may be the ones in the argument to cry; perhaps even drag it out a bit longer than need be.

But also know that it’s because we are taught that it’s ok to express those emotions and we feel negative emotions at a higher level than men do.

2. Women Have A Long History Of Feeling Wronged By Men

Half of the population will never know a few things. Those things include:

- Being catcalled while walking to the grocery store
- Being stalked in public 
- Having a friend express romantic interest in you then become angry when you don’t reciprocate their feelings
- Having someone rationalize their erratic behavior by calling you crazy 
- Unwanted sexual advances that aren’t stopped with a “no.”

And that’s not even taking into account romantic partners.

Women have a long history of being wronged by men due to the patriarchal society we grew up in. No, this is not me being a “feminist” or whatever. It’s simply the facts.

Being a female in this world meant we went through experiences that made us untrustworthy and scared of men. It’s a really shitty reality, to be honest. We don’t want to feel this way, but it wasn’t like we just decided to be fearful of men.

Understanding that women feel this way can help you be a better partner and an overall better person. Communicate with your partner about how comfortable she feels in the relationship. Listen to her experiences that she has been through in the past.

Or if you’re just out in the world, maybe give the woman walking by a little extra room on the sidewalk. Perhaps even skip out on revving your engine and absurdities through your window. Just a thought.

3. Women Want To Feel Understood

I hope by now that everyone knows the importance of listening. Not just for the sake of your relationship, but any interaction with a human being that you somewhat care about.

But a step beyond listening is understanding. And while the first step to understanding is listening, women want a bit more than that.

Understanding means that you can say back to the person what they told you. It’s asking questions about how they felt, what they thought and if there is any way you can help them.

We don’t need you to fix things; we don’t need you to be our mother; we just want you to understand.

4. Women Are Not Crazy

There is a term for undermining someone’s experience and making them question their sanity. It’s called gaslighting.

Usually, the term is used when the person consciously manipulates the situation to their advantage. And while I’m not saying that all people who call a woman “crazy” is gaslighting them, I am saying that it’s how it feels to us.

Because the word “crazy” isn’t just crazy anymore. There is so much stigma held behind calling a woman crazy. It’s a pretty loaded term, and generally, women aren’t going to react well to hearing it.

And I’m not sure there is ever a justified moment to call someone crazy. Each person’s feelings are valid: you can’t deny what someone is feeling.

Whether you agree that their feelings are well-founded is a different question. But I would advise you have that conversation once you both have cooled down.

5. Women Endure A Lot Of Pain

A friend of mine — gay, male, maybe as objective as one can get in this matter — once had a conversation with me when I said that I prefer men picking up the tab and buying me gifts, but I don’t want them to feel like they own me.

My friend explained how women go through a lot of pain. Literal, physical pain. We ovulate every month — a pain man will never understand no matter how hard they try. When the time comes, we are the ones bearing a human-alien fetus inside our wombs for 9 months.

Then we’re congratulated on the feat by having said human-alien baby pushed out of our bodies that in a way that is said to be one of the most painful experiences in our lives.

That is a burden we must endure. You’ll never come close to knowing these kinds of pain.

My friend concluded that, since females on our own experience so much pain, we deserve to be treated like queens.

And I whole-heartedly agree.

6. Women Want Equality, But We Also Want Nurture

Now I can’t speak for all women on this matter. But I can speak for the majority of the women I have talked to about this.

We want to feel respected; with our opinions, our careers, and what we think about the relationship. We want to feel like your equal, not like your sidekick.

With that being said, we still appreciate you holding the door open for us. We love romantic gestures like flowers. We still want you to pick up the tab more often than not. We still want to be held like we are the most precious thing in the world.

And because of what we’ve put up with as women, and the pain we have to endure, those things should not be mutually exclusive.

7. Women Will Always Want Romance

There is never a point in the relationship where we want the romance to stop. Not six months into the relationship, not 6 years into it.

This is perhaps a relationship-saving piece of advice. Complacency isn’t great in life and it’s especially not great in a relationship. Women want to feel appreciated and loved no matter how long you’ve been together.

So if you feel like she’s been distant or things aren’t what they used to be, so consider upping the ante. Take her to the spot you went on the first date. Write her a card explaining all the reasons you still love her.

Just don’t forget to make her feel appreciated.

8. Women Are All Different, Understand Us As An Individual

Please don’t ever feel like you totally understand part of our personality, decision-making, feelings, or situation simply because we are “women.”

Just like you, we are an individual. We are human. We aren’t the same as your ex. So please stop assuming we think, feel, and act the same way they did.

Ask your partner about her specific love needs. I’d suggest having the 5 Love Languages conversation because that seems to be a real relationship-saver for a lot of people. Plus, it’s a great way to create more intimacy.

But see and speak to a woman like she is an individual. Not merely part of some massive cluster of people known as “women.”

9. Women Are Fragile and Strong

Yes, we may “crack” at any moment and start crying. But if anything, that’s a healthy trait for us and one that’s been suppressed for you.

Women have been raised to feel like it’s ok to express our emotions. We’ve been taught that showing them isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a normal part of life. Couple that with being the more emotional gender and we have what could be seen as a fragile person.

But also know we are resilient and strong. We endure 5–7 days a month where our body sheds itself, bleeds, and we don’t die. We run companies and households. We fight for change, mercilessly, until we see it come to fruition. We put up with a lot of unfair systems that make it harder for us to succeed.

We may be fragile sometimes, but we are always strong.

10. Women Need Time To Feel Comfortable

It’s safe to assume that all women have experienced some kind of trauma with men. And yes, that most likely affects you. Whether that’s emotionally or sexually, those feelings make it so we require a bit of time to build up trust.

I hope by now that it goes without saying that pressuring a woman into anything is entirely unacceptable. But having an open conversation about where her head is at will quickly clear the air of any misunderstandings.

Maybe it’ll take a few days, or perhaps a few months. If the person means a lot to you, you’ll know that it’s worth the wait.

Because her feeling uncomfortable isn’t about you, it has to do with what she’s been through. It’s the father that abandoned her, it’s the boyfriend that emotionally abused her, it’s the men that catcalled her on the streets throughout her life.

I promise it’s not about you, but with time, she will open up.

How I Learned To Fall Down With Compassion

I’m rounding out the end of a week from hell. Somehow, I contracted a mysterious gastrointestinal illness that quite literally knocked me on my ass, down on my couch, curled up in pain all throughout the day.

And though I prefer to write at least one piece or part to my book a day, that number has been a whopping zero since this illness came on. I’ve been too distracted by a stabbing pain in my upper abdomen to be able to put my ideas into words.

For someone who is trying to build her career in writing, this has been a devastating blow. I was sad for the first few days. I beat myself up; dismissed my pain in exchange for accusing myself of laziness. Pain? Ha. Writers can write no matter what. You’re just choosing not to.

But it hit me that I’m only making my situation worse by beating myself up. I know stuff like this, the parts of life known as the “lows,” is out of my control. By telling myself these things, I was choosing to make myself feel worse.

I accepted I was in a low and not going anywhere. I decided, instead, to take this fall down with compassion; for the situation and most importantly for myself.

Because this time it was my stomach, but next time it could be a job loss, a breakup (although I’d need a boyfriend for that one), or another sickness. Regardless of the fall, how we choose to handle them is up to us.

But here’s how I did it:

Accept that falling is part of life

If you walk around high and mighty, thinking you’ll never fail, you’re setting yourself up for double the disappointment because falling is inevitable. There’s no way around it.

The lows are where the lessons happen. It’s where we learn to pick ourselves back up and grow. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the highs when they came around fully.

So now that we’ve established they’re a natural part of life, what’s next?

Love Yourself Through It

Resenting yourself for something inevitable won’t help the situation. Neither will thinking that you’re a screw-up or that you could’ve done something differently. You’re in the position you’re in: choose to love yourself through it or make your circumstances worse.

And how exactly do you love yourself? Like you would anyone else in your position. How would you treat your friend? Your mom? A child? With undying compassion. Because you know their fall does not make them a bad person. And neither are you.

Allow Yourself The Time You Need

If you’re being taken down by a mysterious stomach virus, stressing yourself out that you’re not writing is only making things worse. I more so needed to type that out for myself to read.

But try applying this concept to any situation. If you’re going through a breakup, allow yourself the time you need to heal. A job loss? Accept that finding a new job takes time.

You’re not expected to pick yourself back up right away.


My sickness is what it is; it’s not going away. But I had a choice: love myself through the healing process or ultimately make myself miserable. I did the smart thing and chose the former.

And I suggest you do the same. Because life is hard enough, we don’t need to beat ourselves up along the way.

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