A one-night stand with your girlfriend’s sister resulted in her pregnancy. You’ve agreed to keep quiet about it to avoid causing problems within the family, but you’re wondering how to break the news to your girlfriend — or if you ever should. Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- That one-night stand with your girlfriend’s sister resulted in her pregnancy. You’ve agreed to keep quiet about it to avoid causing problems within the family, but you’re wondering how to break the news to your girlfriend — or if you ever should.
- You love your job as a local news reporter, but struggle with low pay and lack of creative energy. You want to move out, travel, and pursue other interests, but you’re not sure how to find a more fitting career path. Where should you begin?
- You want to exit your relationship with a dishonest and uncooperative business partner who overcharges invoices and refuses to sell or buy out. Which of these four possible exit strategies seems to be your best bet: suing, starting a new business, paying dividends and leaving, or getting a job? [Thanks to attorney Neil Rombardo for giving us some direction with this one!]
- Your 14-year-old sister is dating her 23-year-old camp leader. In spite of your concerns over this grossly inappropriate “relationship,” you were shocked to discover that your parents like the guy and support their love as “pure.” You feel it’s your responsibility to put a stop to this, but you don’t know how. What can you do?
- As an elementary school teacher, you cut an imposing figure at 6’6″ and 270 pounds. You want to be the caring but blunt teacher you needed during your adolescence, but your size — in addition to an admittedly “resting bitch face” — seems to make you less approachable than you’d like. How can you demonstrate a more welcoming stance to your students?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
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Miss our conversation with reformed prisoner Justin Paperny, an ex-stockbroker who now helps people prepare for a stint in the big house? Catch up with episode 226: Justin Paperny | Lessons From Prison here!
Resources from This Episode:
- The Harrowing Hunt for a Housecat Houdini | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy | Sourcing Cyber-Slavery | Jordan Harbinger
- The Wedding Industry | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Should I Tell My Girlfriend It Was Me Who Got Her Sister Pregnant? | Reddit
- Six-Minute Networking
- Neil Rombardo | Twitter
- Jan Broberg | The True Crime Story of a Young Girl Abducted | Jordan Harbinger
- Rachael Denhollander | What Is a Girl Worth? | Jordan Harbinger
- Resting Bitch Face: How to Fix Your RBF Forever (With Science) | Science of People
- Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren | Instagram
834: A Night So Wild, GF’s Sister Carries Your Child | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the dawg, the bounty hunter of cats — and if that nickname makes no sense to you, go back and listen to last week's episode of Feedback Friday — Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people, and we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave, and our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker so you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:40] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you, we answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week we had Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy, good friends of mine. They are investigative journalists covering the pig butchering scam. You remember those texting scams where they get you to invest in cryptocurrency? We covered it several episodes ago, somewhere in the 600s. Turns out there's way, way more to that story. And Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy are investigative journalists on the front of that. I'm cooking up something with them. I think you're going to love this episode. We really enjoy it. It's a little creepy, a little sad, but I really liked this conversation and they are really interesting folks. We also released a Skeptical Sunday episode on the wedding industry and basically why everything you get for a wedding is completely overpriced and a total ripoff. And if you've gotten married, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But it will be interesting to you to hear it anyway. And a lot of you have given us some pretty fun wedding tales in my inbox as a result. So thank you for that. So definitely check out that interview and Skeptical Sunday if you have not done so yet.
[00:01:44] As always, we've got some fun ones and some doozies. I can't wait to dive in. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. A while back, I went to a family party with my girlfriend, but she ended up having to work and couldn't make it. I stayed at the party and ended up getting drunk with her sister, who's around my age.
[00:02:03] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, this is all right. You just know—
[00:02:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, oh, yeah.
[00:02:06] Jordan Harbinger: —this is going to be a dumpster fire. Holy smokes. Carry on.
[00:02:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Long story short, we had unprotected sex that night.
[00:02:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:02:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: And now, she's pregnant.
[00:02:15] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, there it is. There's a dumpster fire.
[00:02:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: That really went zero to a hundred, didn't it?
[00:02:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:02:21] Soundbite: Boy, that escalated quickly. [Anchorman]
[00:02:24] Jordan Harbinger: I appreciate the brevity of the email at least. It's like we got hammered, we had sex. She's pregnant. Help.
[00:02:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, it did make editing the letter a lot easier, but my God—
[00:02:35] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:02:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just wait though. I think it gets worse. He goes on.
[00:02:39] We both agreed to keep quiet about it to avoid causing any problems within our family.
[00:02:44] Her sister has been telling everyone that it was just a one-night stand when in fact, the baby is mine.
[00:02:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So now, you guys are going to live with this secret until you die. Let it corrode the whole relationship. Or until your girlfriend looks at her nephew and goes, "Huh, he looks a lot like my boyfriend/husband. Weird."
[00:03:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dude, this is not the letter. I'm telling you a story. I know this guy who recently told me that growing up, he just knew. He just had this feeling that his dad was not his dad. And he always had this weird gut instinct that this other guy—
[00:03:16] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:03:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: —who was this family friend of theirs who was always hanging around the house, that this other guy was his dad. And he had a really great relationship with this guy, like they were buds. And finally, when he was, I don't know, 16 or 17, he confronted his mom about it. He was like, "I want to know what's going on." And sure enough, it all came out. Turns out she had had an affair with him for years and got pregnant and that's how he arrived.
[00:03:37] Jordan Harbinger: So a buddy of mine, a good friend of mine, so his cousin and him look so much alike and I used to joke about it. I used to date his cousin, so I used to be like, "Gosh, you guys look like brother and sister. It's so funny." And like they were close. He's like, "Yeah, it's funny. But I also look a lot like my uncle." And then later on he's like, "I'm pretty sure my uncle is my dad."
[00:03:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: And then he confronted his mom about it separately. And separately, they got super angry about it and were like, "You never talk about that. You never say that."
[00:04:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: There it is.
[00:04:08] Jordan Harbinger: And he's like, "That's a weird reaction for something that just didn't happen apparently, according to them."
[00:04:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: You know, because if I was like, if so and so uncle, my dad, my mom would be like, "That's ridiculous." They wouldn't be like, "I'm going to yell at you for three hours about it."
[00:04:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Yeah. Why are you getting so defensive?
[00:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's what I want to know.
[00:04:24] Jordan Harbinger: So he's like, it's so clear that they've just lied about this the whole time. Oh, and during the time when he would've been conceived, the uncle just happened to be living in the house with them.
[00:04:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, wonderful.
[00:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: It's like so obvious that it's his dad. But yeah, this is some real-life issue right there. It's like a bad high school drama, but this stuff really happens.
[00:04:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a dicey gamble to keep something like this a secret though, because maybe it works or maybe you're just kicking the can down the road and it's going to be far worse when it finally comes out.
[00:04:49] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because then it's like, "Oh, great. So 14 years ago you did something terrible and then you lied to me about it, and now we're married and we have like, what, two other kids, and now this changes all of that. It's brutal. Oh, and I can't look my sister in the face ever again."
[00:05:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, man. Yeah, good point. The relationship with her sister is a whole — we'll get to all of that in a second, so he goes on.
[00:05:11] My girlfriend is thrilled about her—
[00:05:14] Jordan Harbinger: For now.
[00:05:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's brutal.
[00:05:16] My girlfriend is thrilled about her sister's pregnancy and it's driving me crazy to keep the secret from her. The sister has decided to keep the baby, but she doesn't want me to be involved as a dad, and I'm fine with that. The family is well off so they can support the child without any issues. I haven't done a DNA test yet, but the sister claims that I'm the only person she's been sexually involved with during the period when she got pregnant. I'm not sure how to tell my girlfriend the truth or if I even should. What do you think? Signed, Looking For a Balm To Ease My Qualms About Dropping This Bomb.
[00:05:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man, I'm stressed out hearing this. This is one of the most stressful stories we've heard on the show.
[00:05:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:05:56] Jordan Harbinger: We've taken crazy ones, but this is one where I'm like, oh, god, I just feel—
[00:06:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's up there.
[00:06:01] Jordan Harbinger: I don't envy you having to tell somebody this. Just how many things are stacked here? Infidelity, deception, a sister doing this to another sister, an innocent child born into this mess, inheriting the unsavory backstory. I just find it very sad. It's very unsettling. Ugh.
[00:06:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: I just do not have a good feeling about this. I think it's going to end very badly.
[00:06:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: If it comes out, and I think there's a good chance that it will eventually, it's going to be a disaster.
[00:06:28] Jordan Harbinger: Even if it somehow never comes out, it's still a disaster.
[00:06:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:06:33] Jordan Harbinger: Because he's going to be walking around with the secret and so will the sister. There's going to be this weird, unspoken tension between them.
[00:06:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:40] Jordan Harbinger: And the guilt will probably just eat away at him and drive him insane.
[00:06:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's like if Dostoevsky wrote Riverdale.
[00:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Edgar Allen Poe Writing Days of Our Lives.
[00:06:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'd probably watch that, to be honest.
[00:06:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I probably would not going to lie, you'd lose me around season 67 or something, but I'm still there for the first two generations.
[00:07:00] So I'm not sure what to tell you here, man, this is a mess. And at this point, there are just different ways of responding to the mess.
[00:07:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:08] Jordan Harbinger: First of all, I would definitely do a DNA test just to be a hundred percent sure the baby is yours. Yeah, you had unprotected sex with the sister, but like, I don't know.
[00:07:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:16] Jordan Harbinger: Judgment is not her specialty, so who knows? Look, it sounds like it's your kid best to just be sure. Now, a negative result obviously won't make all of your problems go away, but it will confirm whether you're responsible for this child, how bad this mess really is, and what you need to tell people. I feel like I should say neither of them have great judgment here. Just so people aren't like, "Why are you blaming the woman?" No, they're both knuckleheads here.
[00:07:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Quite right.
[00:07:40] Jordan Harbinger: But I'm just saying she's the only one who could possibly have had someone else's kid. You can get a DNA test before the baby is born with a non-invasive prenatal paternity test, so hopefully your girlfriend's sister is open to that, or you can just do it when the baby comes. Personally, I would like to know immediately whether or not I have something to worry about that's going to destroy my life. As far as your girlfriend is concerned, I think you can tell that I think she deserves to know, and that the less bad option here is to come clean now rather than sitting on this secret and letting it fester with one little caveat if the kid's not yours, maybe you just don't say anything. I mean, I would want to come clean, but at least you have a shred of hope of keeping it a secret because there's no proof.
[00:08:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:08:21] Jordan Harbinger: This news either way is going to cause a serious rift in the family no matter what. But my hunch is that rift that's going to be much more painful in five, eight, 10 years than it would be now. And that's what it comes down to for me. Minimizing the pain that you've caused. There's no good way out here. I know you're gambling, you're praying, nobody finds out, and maybe you're thinking, "Hey, what she doesn't know is not going to hurt her," but there's a strong chance she will know, and it's definitely going to hurt much more than it would now.
[00:08:50] So, yeah, I think you got to bite the bullet here, dude. You got to man up and tell her. I just don't know if it's fair to anyone to continue this relationship while you're keeping a secret this big.
[00:09:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: I am with you completely, Jordan. I don't envy this guy right now either. But you know, he made his bed, now he's got to sleep in it.
[00:09:10] Jordan Harbinger: He did more than make it, but yeah, I agree.
[00:09:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: He made it, he messed it up. He did some terrible things in it. He did a lot of things and so—
[00:09:17] Jordan Harbinger: The bed is, the bed's a player.
[00:09:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: The bed's a mess.
[00:09:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. So what I'm wondering is does he give the sister a heads-up that he's going to tell his girlfriend?
[00:09:26] Jordan Harbinger: Good question. I guess so. She probably deserves a warning just as a human, so she doesn't get a phone call from her sister in the middle of the workday, cry-screaming into the phone at max volume.
[00:09:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:09:38] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, yeah.
[00:09:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: What's so rough about this is it's kind of their shared secret. So the sister might be like, "No, you can't tell her. You promised. We agreed, blah, blah, blah." And then he's torn between doing the right thing and honoring this agreement he made with the sister to not tell anyone.
[00:09:54] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I think the sister is a piece of work too, right? She's just as bad or worse than he is.
[00:09:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure.
[00:09:58] Jordan Harbinger: She slept with her sister's boyfriend.
[00:10:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:10:00] Jordan Harbinger: She was reckless. She's lying. Everything we're saying applies to her too.
[00:10:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure. So I guess I'm just getting clear, like he's not beholden to her because they had this prior agreement.
[00:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: Hell no. Look, he made a promise to her to lie to his girlfriend. That doesn't mean keeping up his end of that bargain is the right thing to do. That's like not telling somebody about a crime. Like, well, I promised. What are you talking about?
[00:10:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's just that he has to live with the fact that this revelation is now going to ruin his own relationship probably, and his girlfriend's relationship with her sister, and I'm guessing tear their whole family apart.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Whose fault is that?
[00:10:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, quite.
[00:10:38] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe don't raw dawg your future sister-in-law at the family barbecue. Just a thought.
[00:10:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just a thought. It's a good policy, in general.
[00:10:46] Jordan Harbinger: I think it's a good policy. This kind of thing is not hard to avoid.
[00:10:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. They were both idiots and then this happened. And by the way, I know it's a sensitive topic, but the fact that she's keeping the baby is a little crazy to me. I know we're going to get letters about this, but it seems deeply unfair. She chose to keep the baby, she made a huge mistake, even more permanent.
[00:11:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:11:04] Jordan Harbinger: And now she's bringing a child into an incredibly messed up situation. And the kid is definitely going to somewhere along the line, pay the price.
[00:11:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's actually the most upsetting part of this to me. This situation would still be incredibly messed up, but with a human being in the mix, ah, the stakes just get so much higher.
[00:11:21] Jordan Harbinger: I can't wrap my head around it, but I know other people have different values. You know, they don't believe in abortion. I get how they made this calculation, but it is still adding a hell of a lot of complexity to an already complex situation.
[00:11:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: The other thing I would consider putting aside the whole, "do I tell her, do I not tell her" piece is why this happened in the first place.
[00:11:41] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that's really the deeper question.
[00:11:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Something drew him to her sister and it wasn't just the alcohol.
[00:11:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah.
[00:11:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, you know, that helps, but there's obviously something more going on there.
[00:11:51] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say his penis, but anyway—
[00:11:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: That too, yeah. And she obviously played a big role here too. I know that. But I would consider what this reveals about you. Is it hard for you to resist certain opportunities to recognize boundaries? Is this showing you something about how you feel about your girlfriend? Is this the right relationship for you? I mean, I don't know. I'm speculating a little bit, but when you sleep with your girlfriend's sister, I mean, I don't know. It's easy to read something into that, but it makes me wonder if you were trying to blow up the relationship with your girlfriend or if you didn't take it very seriously in the first place. So an opportunity like this just seems like, "Yeah, why not? Might as well go for it." I don't know. These are the questions I would be asking because when you find yourself in a situation like this, I just, again, don't mean to speculate, but it makes me wonder what this reveals about you and other parts of your life.
[00:12:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. All good questions, Gabe. I'm sure this one choice speaks to so many aspects of this guy and how they interact with the girlfriend's personality—
[00:12:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:12:49] Jordan Harbinger: —and the sister's personality and everyone involved. He's probably a bit overwhelmed by the, do I tell her question to dig into this stuff, but this is obviously the introspection that he needs to do.
[00:12:58] So I am sorry that you're here, man. It's really a shame. I don't mean to pile on. I'm sure you already feel terrible. I just do have to keep it a little bit real here. You're welcome to continue keeping this secret if you like. I would just take a moment to really consider if you're okay with the consequences of that down the road. What that would do to your psyche, to your relationship, and just whether it's worth the risk? But if you come clean, I would also be prepared for all of the reactions that you're going to get. They're going to be intense and it makes sense that they will be, there's going to be a lot of work to do, either way, to pick up the pieces or to part ways. And you're going to have to go through that. And you got to consider, if you want to be in the child's life, which is a whole other decision, you are going to have to tap into a lot of courage, a lot of conviction, and a lot of empathy to make it through this. So good luck, man.
[00:13:48] You know what you might actually want to share with your sibling, willingly, in fact? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:15:55] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. It is super easy to get caught up in what everybody else needs from you. You never take a moment to think about what you need for yourself. It's that whole, put your mask on from the plane, whatever, you can't breathe, you got to help other people, no, whatever. I screwed that up. But you got to help yourself before you can help others, something, something, oxygen mask. It's key for your wellbeing, key for your healthy relationships and therapy will give you tools to find more balance in your life so you can keep supporting others without leaving yourself behind and you know who you are. You don't have to be a people pleaser to do that. And if you are a people pleaser, you're doing that because that's the definition. Anyway, I'm a huge proponent of seeking therapy. I've sought the help of a therapist during difficult times on multiple occasions. I've learned strategies to manage stress, manage anxiety. Jen and I sought a therapist before we moved in together way a gazillion years ago because we wanted to make sure that we weren't put in the cart before the horse, as it were. And therapy also provides a safe, confidential space to process difficult emotions, work through past traumas. Vent a little bit, but not to your friends who might, you know, tell someone else or take it personally. You can develop healthy coping mechanisms. So if you're thinking of starting therapy, give Better Help a try. It's all online slash the phone. It's designed to be convenient, flexible, suited to your schedule, and it does that with flying colors. Just fill out a brief questionnaire, get matched with a licensed professional therapist. And switch anytime you want if you got a dud, no additional charge, not that there are duds.
[00:17:18] Jen Harbinger: Find more balance with Better Help. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:17:28] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. All the deals, discount codes, and ways to support the show are all in one place. Jordan harbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[00:17:45] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:17:49] Okay, what's next?
[00:17:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 25 years old. I graduated from journalism school a few years ago, and I've been working as a local news reporter since this job has been very rewarding and the work I do feels important. I was there talking to business owners, doctors, nurses, and other everyday people during the pandemic. I've gone on so many adventures. I've even had the chance to go to concerts, fancy dinners, and other cool events for free. I love my coworkers. Management is fair and it's always something new every week, so things never get boring. The problem is I don't make nearly enough. I live at home because I couldn't even dream of making rent and my current hours make it difficult to pick up a second job. This economy is impossible, but I would like to put myself in a position to at least begin the process of moving out and taking care of myself. I want to start my life more than anything, but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get there when I'm in the same room I've been in since I was a baby. The worst part is I don't know if I can do journalism for much longer in this period of my life. It takes up so much creative energy that it barely leaves anything left for what I want to do personally. I don't see myself leaving the field behind forever, but I would like to take a break, learn more, and come back a more informed, knowledgeable writer. I'm considering working for the library now, which I love, and maybe even going to school to get my master's in library science, but even that's a risk. Also, I've applied to five libraries and I haven't heard back. I know I'm competing with hundreds of other people. I've applied to public relations jobs as well, but I'm also worried about that line of work because there are so many people who go to school specifically for communications. What is the best way to turn my personal life around and get to a point where I'm making enough to afford a place plus some money to travel? Are there any entry-level jobs or affordable certification programs I could take advantage of? What else should I be doing right now? Signed, Queuing Up in the Breadline While I Rack Up These Bylines.
[00:19:49] Jordan Harbinger: Phew. This is tough. This is something that so many journalists these days I think are struggling with. This field they love, it barely sustains them. I have friends who are local news reporters on TV in Detroit, and they're like, "I left. The pandemic crushed it." The juice ain't worth the squeeze a lot of the time, and they're caught between their passion and their desire to live bigger lives. I think it's incredibly sad that the business model for journalism has just collapsed in so many ways, especially for local journalism, which is so important. But here we are. This is the reality, and journalists have to be increasingly clever to succeed at all.
[00:20:24] So let's talk about you. First off, you sound like a really talented, very passionate, driven person. You've got real connection to this work. You have good relationships with your colleagues and managers. You sound awesome. Those are real assets and they're going to serve you well no matter what you do. Second, this mini-crisis you're going through, it's extremely normal. If you're 25, that's when most people go through their first big reset or quarter-life crisis. And if you want to change fields or you want to go back to school, or you want to explore a couple of side jobs, that's great. There's no failure in that. And this is a hundred percent the time when you should be doing that. Third, as important as it is to pursue work you find meaningful, money is, look, it's an important factor. If you want to move out of your mom's basement and travel a little, not stress about your bank balance, it's a hundred percent okay to pursue more lucrative work.
[00:21:16] So here's my very direct advice. First of all, the best thing you could be doing right now is reaching out to other people in your field and in these fields that you're exploring and building good relationships. Because the thing I'd be trying to figure out if I were you is how are other reporters making this work. What are they doing? What's the business model for successful journalists? For example, are they holding down their day job at a newspaper and then they publish on Substack once a week? My friend founded that, so it's top of mind. Maybe they're putting some stronger boundaries around their day job so they can write a book or they host a podcast on nights and weekends. And everybody knows the big money is in podcasting. Are they teaching on the side? Are they moving from smaller markets to larger markets where salaries might be higher? I know that's a thing for sure. Have any of them made the move you're considering? Are they dipping out and then dipping back in?
[00:22:05] Those are some of the questions that I would be asking, frankly, right now. You need to be a student right now, a student of how to make this profession work or how to transition from this calling to another one that draws on similar skills or how to straddle both. But the other reason I want you to build these relationships is it'll completely change the way that you're playing the job-hunting game. When you said you've applied to five libraries and you haven't heard back and that you're competing with hundreds of other people, people who went to school specifically for these jobs. My Six-Minute Networking alarm bells start going off because what I'm hearing is that you're approaching this job hunt in, what I would call the obvious traditional way. You're firing off your resume. You're hoping for the best. You're finding yourself up against these very real hurdles. This is the old spray and pray. You send off a hundred resumes and you wait for callbacks. The problem is that's not how jobs work, especially beyond like entry-level stuff.
[00:23:02] You could be putting that energy into building new relationships, tapping into the awesome ones you already have to discover, possibly even generate these opportunities through your network because you are right. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of people going out for these jobs you're applying to. And those odds are terrible. They suck for you and they suck for everybody else applying. But I can almost guarantee that the person who gets that job, they worked for somebody that the hiring manager knows, or they met the hiring manager when they were a guest speaker at their library science program or whatever. Or they got referred by the person who just left that role and that's worth its weight in gold. Or they interviewed and they clinched the offer by bonding with the person interviewing them. But who knows how they got the interview in the first place, right? So for a whole bunch of reasons, the best thing you could be doing right now is spending your time getting to know people and investing generously in those relationships.
[00:23:56] And the beautiful thing is you're set up so well for this. I mean, you spent the last three years literally just talking to strangers about their lives. You've had amazing adventures. You probably have great stories to tell. Trust me, that stuff is gold when it comes to relationship development. And because you have a body of work, you're in a great position to reach out to people and say, "Hey, I'm a journalist. I'm really passionate about the work you've been doing. We've got such and such friend in common. Here are a couple of links to articles that might be up your alley. I'd love to get to know you and connect." You have so many great assets on the table already. And to be clear, this is not like a little life hack technique. This is a whole way of looking at the world of relationships or the world in general. I promise you. The best stuff that's going to happen in your life. You're not going to be able to plot it all out in advance. It's going to come through your relationships.
[00:24:48] So lean into this, put in the work. Be patient, be curious. And I know all of these seeds you planted, they're going to pay off in a great way. Hell, use the rent-free life you got right now to subsidize the next phase of your life. But whatever you do, don't wait. Jump in. The rest of your life is waiting for you, and now is just such a good time to go and attack it. I'm excited for you. I really am. I hope you can hear that, and good luck.
[00:25:12] You could reach us email@example.com. Keep your emails concise, use descriptive subject lines that makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, a big decision that you're wrestling with, maybe you need a new perspective on life, love, work. How to drill a missing cat out of your floorboards? Hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:25:35] All right, what's next?
[00:25:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm in a 50/50 partnership with my business partner of 11 years who was instrumental in setting up aspects of our business in its early days, but over the past six to seven years, my partner has been MIA, and about nine months ago I discovered that she's been overcharging invoices from her other company and paying them with funds from our company amounting to about $100,000. Although I was always focused on sales and customer support and marketing, I realize now that I failed to oversee what my partner was doing with the financials. This has been a big lesson for me Recently, someone offered to purchase the business, but my partner would only sell if she got paid 75 percent of the cash in the bank despite us both being 50 percent shareholders. I refused because we have a sizable amount of money in our company bank account. I then offered for her to buy me out at the price we were offered and 50 percent of the cash in the bank, but she refused. I told her I no longer want to be in business with her. She has said the same, but she still refuses to sell or buy me out, and she doesn't want to be involved in running the business. But then also, she doesn't want me to step away. I've been working on business exit strategies with my lawyer, but I would really value your opinion on the best way to proceed. Firstly, our company could pursue her company for the overcharges, but keep it under $100,000 to stay in the lower courts to keep costs down. Secondly, I could start a business in my sister's name and be employed, quote-unquote, in her company, which would probably allow me to circumvent a vague non-compete clause in our shareholder agreement. My wife's advice is to pay the money in the bank to the directors as dividends, hand in my notice, let all of our clients and staff know that I'm leaving. Let my partner recruit for my replacement, or sell the company step away, get some perspective, and let the business have a slow death. I've been going on job interviews and I've discovered that the work I do coupled with my business experience is unique. So getting a well-paying job for a while and not having to run a business is also an option. But what would you do? Signed, Looking For Agility and Hoping For Stability Amidst All This Liability.
[00:27:53] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, man, I am sorry this happened to you. This sucks. Your business partner sounds like a real piece of work. I feel like I hear about this kind of thing all the time. She did to your company what that guy from question one did to his relationship.
[00:28:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh wow. Except in this case, she's taking too much out. And in that story, he was putting too much in.
[00:28:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: So that's the big difference.
[00:28:14] Jordan Harbinger: That is the big difference. I don't have enough time to go off about how much I despise people like this. She's a liability. She's a nuisance. She's a bottleneck. She's a user. She's almost certainly kind of also a criminal. This is really unfortunate, but I'm glad you're getting as far away from this person as possible. So good riddance.
[00:28:33] We wanted to get an expert's opinion here. So we've reached out to attorney Neil Rombardo. Neil is the Chief General Counsel for the largest employer in Washoe County, Nevada with approximately 8,000 employees. So this guy knows what he's talking about. And Neil's take was actually very simple. His general lawyerly advice is that he thinks your attorney is offering pretty sound counsel. Both to pursue her company for the overcharging, but keep it under a hundred thousand dollars so that it stays in the lower courts. And also the idea of being employed in your sister's company so you can get around that vague non-compete. But putting aside the legal stuff, just reading between the lines of your letter from a human perspective, Neil also believes that your wife is spot on here. Your partner has proven that she's willing to take advantage of you and she's willing to take advantage of the company you built together for her own needs. In Neil's experience, she will not change. But more importantly, he feels you need some time and peace to rebuild your mental and emotional state. Plus, like you said, your experience is unique and you can land a well-paying job. As long as you can pay the bills and take care of yourself and your family, this definitely seemed like the happier solution to Neil.
[00:29:42] On a broader level, though, I think it's generally smart to avoid litigation as much as possible and to only go there when you absolutely have to. I've talked about this on the show a bunch. Litigation is ugly. It's time-consuming. It's expensive, especially if the damages aren't significant, and it can oftentimes consume your life for months or even years when you could be channeling that precious energy into rebuilding your career and enjoying your life. And Neil was of the same mind as he put it to us, litigation is very difficult even on the party who succeeds. In fact, the last time he consulted for us, he said the exact same thing. The stance he always shares with his client is anyone can sue for anything but just because you can doesn't mean you should.
[00:30:27] So there you have it, both a great lawyer and a pretty terrible lawyer, which is me, just to be clear, are telling you to focus as much of your energy as possible on moving on. And selfishly, I do hope this woman gets criminally investigated for the probable fraud/misappropriation of funds. But I'd also hate for that to have a blow back on you. So maybe it's best to just cut your losses on that one. Recover what you can. Make it as painless as possible and just don't get mired in this crap. This woman did some terrible things. She messed up your company. The greatest reward here is just getting away from her. Take whatever L this might be. Learn your lesson, turn the L into a win and do things differently next time, and good luck.
[00:31:08] You know what's a great use of the cash in the bank or embezzled funds for that matter, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:31:21] This episode is sponsored in part by FlyKitt. Have you ever gone on an international trip and then you just are annihilated by the jet lag either during or after the trip? That sucks. It ruins the trip/the time that you come home and you're like, "Why? I'm never traveling again." It takes me like two weeks to recover from bad jet lag until I started using FlyKitt and I thought, okay, a solution to jet lag. I don't believe it for one second. This is BS. You can't do anything about it. I discovered FlyKitt on my trip to Bhutan back in, I think it was 2019. The trip lead recommended everyone get one. And it came in this little organized packet with everything that you need. And I was so pissed off because it looked like vitamins. And I was like, "I can buy vitamins myself." So I demanded a refund and my friend who ran the company was like, "Dude, here's your refund." And then he said, "Follow the schedule. Take it anyway. Tell me what you think." And even though I thought it was a hundred percent BS, I did it. And I didn't have any freaking jet lag. So I had the opposite of placebo. Not no placebo, but something similar. And then I went to Bhutan. No jet lag, flew back, didn't have jet lag. And now I've been using FlyKitt on every international trip with a big time zone difference. And by the way, the people who didn't use it in Bhutan were destroyed the whole time. It took them like half a week to get even remotely functional and we were hiking and stuff. That's not a place you don't want to be in full form. It's not just placebo. It's worked every single time. There's a lot of studies to back it up again. My friend is the founder. We now laugh at how upset I was in the beginning because he's also a very scientific skeptic dude. And he's like, "No, I get it. Like it looks like BS." Trust me, folks, this is not. They do a ton of research. The Navy SEALs are using this stuff. Basically, flying causes inflammation, which contributes to brain fog, low energy, gut issues and all that stuff. FlyKitt leverages AI — I know, I know AI though — to precisely time light proprietary supplementation, eating, sleep, perfectly tuned to your physiology when you get up, the trip you're going on, what the flight looks like to solve the inflammation and circadian rhythm challenges. All the stuff you need is included in the FlyKitt pack. The FlyKitt app gives you the step-by-step instructions. It could not be easier. So go to FlyKitt with two T's, that's flykitt.com to get a FlyKitt for 15 percent off with code JORDAN. FlyKitt with two T's, flykitt.com promo code JORDAN. I've heard from a few of you already saying it's been a game changer. I know this is one of those things that sounds like BS. I agree with you, but it's not. Try it out in your next trip. Let me know how it's working for you.
[00:33:44] This episode is also sponsored by Wrkout. I am on, I think, year two, or maybe this is year three. I'm in year three since I started trying my buddy's virtual personal training called Wrkout. It's one of the best decisions I've made. I actually didn't really want to do it, but he gave it to me for free in the beginning because it was kind of my idea for him to pivot his gym business to Wrkout anyway. Now, I've tried a lot of things when it comes to my fitness, but nothing I've tried has the convenience and personal connection that Wrkout has, and now it's like my favorite. It's changed my whole life. It's helped me so much. I now do it four times a week. I've originally wanted to do it once a week because again, I didn't want to do it, but if you think you can't do it, just know that my 80-year-old mom also is hooked on Wrkout. She's actually more than 80 now. I just don't want to embarrass her. I look forward to my sessions. That has not always been the case. As you know, my trainers, Chad and Kareem, again, the most personal trainer names ever, they've gotten to know me. They know how to push me. They know when I'm not feeling it. It's so convenient because I do the workouts at home, but I also bring the laptops to the gym. Sometimes I bring it to the hotel gym. I'm stronger, more flexible, pain-free than I've ever been in my whole life. Entire physique has changed. It's really incredible to look at. I have abs for the first time since forever, literally probably forever. And there's a lot of tools and cool features. I cannot recommend this hard enough. You know, it'll help you live longer. You know, it'll help you lose weight. You know, it'll help your joint pain go away, et cetera. If you want to see what highly vetted world-class personal training can do for you. Check out wrkout.com/jordan. That's W-R-K-O-U-T.com/jordan, and I don't know, lose a little bit of weight, get a little bit more flexible, sweat a little bit. Can't go wrong with that.
[00:35:22] This episode is sponsored in part by Angi's List. Ang's List is now Angi, that's A-N-G-I. They've made it easier than ever to get all your home projects done right. My 80-year-old dad stubbornly refused to hire people to do the yard work, which is driving me nuts. He was getting sunburn every weekend, spending hours mowing the lawn, made absolutely no sense. I'm all about leaving these types of projects to professionals because you know, econ 101 hiring professionals ensures the project's going to be done correctly, safely, efficiently, little less sunburn-y, potentially saves more time and money in the long run. Thankfully, he finally came around when I presented the numbers. If you're in need of a plumber, electrician, HVAC, cleaning, home renovation, or more, get your next project done with the help of a pro from Angi. Angi has over 20 years of home service experience, and they've combined it with new tools to simplify the whole process. Just bring them your project online. Or with the Angi app, answer a few questions and Angi can handle the rest from start to finish. Or help you seed ratings and reviews, compare quotes from local pros and connect instantly, which means you can cross things off your to-do list in just a few taps. Because whether it's routine maintenance or a dream remodel, Angi makes it easy. Download the free Angi mobile app today or visit angi.com. That's A-N-G-I.com.
[00:36:33] If you like this episode of Feedback Friday and you found our advice valuable, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors. All the deals, discount codes and ways to support the show are in one place. Jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you can find them. The AI chatbot can surface it as well. It's right there on the website, the old search box. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[00:36:57] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:37:01] Okay, what's next?
[00:37:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, my 14-year-old sister is in a relationship with a 23-year-old man, and I am deeply concerned. They met two years ago at a summer camp where he was one of her group leaders.
[00:37:16] Jordan Harbinger: I'm just going to stop you right there. So I'm doing the math.
[00:37:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:37:19] Jordan Harbinger: This guy was 21.
[00:37:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:21] Jordan Harbinger: And your sister was 12 when they met.
[00:37:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:25] Jordan Harbinger: At summer camp where he was a counselor working with children. This is incredibly disturbing. Carry on.
[00:37:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Since then, they've become, quote-unquote, "friends," and recently started, quote-unquote, "dating," according to my sister. She proudly refers to him as her boyfriend, but I see him as nothing more than a creep.
[00:37:43] Jordan Harbinger: No sh*t. This guy is pretty brazen about this.
[00:37:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:46] Jordan Harbinger: Not even trying to hide it.
[00:37:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:37:48] Jordan Harbinger: Or maybe he is, but the sister's so cut up in whatever it is she's blabbing to everybody, that he's her boyfriend. Ugh.
[00:37:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Despite raising my concerns, my parents seem to have no problem with the situation.
[00:37:58] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Look, I'm sorry to keep interrupting you, Gabe, but every sentence of this letter is just more gross than the previous. So your parents are like, "Yeah, 23-year-old guy, our 14-year-old daughter, it's totally fine. Fair game. As long as she's happy, love is love."
[00:38:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: What?
[00:38:12] Jordan Harbinger: What the hell?
[00:38:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[00:38:14] At first my dad shared my concerns, but my mother and the guy convinced him otherwise.
[00:38:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: My parents have now accused me of causing unnecessary tension in trying to ruin what they see as a pure relationship.
[00:38:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. So this guy had the audacity to come to the house and then he wins them over. And Gabe, I got to wonder what the pitch was. "I know your daughter and I are a little unconventional, but you know, if it were 300 years ago, this would be a hundred percent okay. They have child brides in Afghanistan. It seems to work for them."
[00:38:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh my God.
[00:38:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I'm so weirded out by this.
[00:38:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know.
[00:38:50] Jordan Harbinger: It reminds me of the recent episode we did with Jan Broberg, episode 811, where the predator who was raping her was a family friend and he had everyone fooled and ended up messing up the whole family.
[00:39:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is dark. I hope that's not what is happening in this story, but I mean, we're swimming in similar waters, I guess. Okay, so the parents have now turned on their son as if this tension around this relationship isn't completely legitimate.
[00:39:15] Jordan Harbinger: Also, what do they mean by a pure relationship? Do they mean that the daughter and the boyfriend are supposedly not having sex, or do they mean that their love for each other is somehow genuine? Ugh. What's going on with that?
[00:39:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm guessing the former like as in there's no way they're having sex. So what's the harm?
[00:39:30] Jordan Harbinger: Well, there's still harm because it's wildly inappropriate.
[00:39:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:39:33] Jordan Harbinger: It's super weird. A year ago she was in middle school with My Little Pony collection or something.
[00:39:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:39:39] Jordan Harbinger: Even if they're not actually doing anything sexual, this is still 100 percent predatory, right? This is grooming.
[00:39:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:39:45] Jordan Harbinger: This is actual grooming.
[00:39:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: For sure.
[00:39:47] Jordan Harbinger: And second, do we really believe they're not having sex? Come on, dude.
[00:39:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. Impossible to say, but it's hard to believe that this older guy is dating a high schooler for the intellectual companionship, right?
[00:39:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:39:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: If their relationship isn't already sexual, it's almost certainly heading in that direction, or he hopes it will, right?
[00:40:06] Jordan Harbinger: Look, I am gobsmacked. Obviously, I'm starting to get worried here. I'm already worried here.
[00:40:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: So the letter goes on.
[00:40:12] I've considered going to the police, but I have no evidence of legal wrongdoing and they are not having sex as far as I know.
[00:40:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: The man has promised to wait as long as possible to remain my sister's boyfriend and my parents believe him.
[00:40:25] Okay. I just have to pause again. He talked to her parents and said, "I'm going to wait as long as possible." He didn't even say until she's an adult.
[00:40:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What does that even mean?
[00:40:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Very weird.
[00:40:35] I want to believe that my parents are just seeing this as a phase, but I fear they genuinely believe that he's a good guy and possibly their future son-in-law, which, ugh, makes me Ill even to consider.
[00:40:47] Jordan Harbinger: Phase? That was that phase where she dated a guy twice our age and we totally allowed it even though he was a predator, yeah, kids.
[00:40:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: As her older brother, I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders to protect her from the sick individual. I feel lost, angry, and confused, and I don't know what to do. What are my options here? Signed, My Sister's Keeper, Livid At This Creeper, Trying Not To Send Him To The Grim Reaper.
[00:41:13] Jordan Harbinger: This is so unsettling. I don't even know how much I have to underline this or highlight that. Obviously, I completely understand your concern here. If this were my sister or my daughter, I would be beside myself with concern.
[00:41:25] Gabe, when we hear stories like this, I just got to wonder whether the parents are neglectful. Are they naive and gullible? Are they just dumb as a box of rocks?
[00:41:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, do they come from a background that doesn't see any issue with a teenager dating an adult, a young teenager dating an adult, maybe even encourages it? It's almost like something I expect at a Waco. What was that David Koresh compound?
[00:41:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:41:46] Jordan Harbinger: Since the guy did say the parents might view this guy as her future husband, I mean, it's just—
[00:41:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: As her future husband, as their future son — that is going to be one weird slideshow at the wedding. I'm just going to go on the record and say that.
[00:41:56] Jordan Harbinger: Because she'll be the one who's four feet tall in the photos, and he'll be the guy with a full beard who's twice her age. What?
[00:42:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: So disturbing.
[00:42:03] Jordan Harbinger: So creepy. I know it sounds like we're having a laugh, but this is really dark and bizarre.
[00:42:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I'm with you. I can't wrap my head around these parents. This is just an absolute betrayal of their role and it's a failure on multiple levels.
[00:42:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point. Straight to CPS. So look, the first thing I do, and I do this no matter what, I would stay as close as possible to your sister.
[00:42:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:42:23] Jordan Harbinger: You want your relationship with her to be strong. You want her to feel safe talking to you about her life and about this guy. I'm sure she's feeling heat from you these days, and that might make her reluctant to tell you what's going on in her life. But the more you can reassure her that you love her and you care about her, you just want to make sure she's okay, the better. And hopefully, that'll make her more willing to tell you about the nature of her relationship with this guy. I mean, look, this is not something most siblings talk about, especially a 14-year-old girl with her older brother, but they absolutely could. So I would reassure her that your only goal is to be a good friend and a good brother and make sure she's doing okay. And I would just move slowly here, you're going to have to build some real trust before you start interrogating her about this guy. And if you push for answers too quickly, she might shut down, especially because she probably feels that she has your parents' approval and you're the only opponent in the family left. So she doesn't need you to be okay with it, right?
[00:43:20] If you really send her the message that you know, you're not here to judge her, you're not here to punish her, you just want to be a good friend to her, she might open up to you. And if she does, and you get to a moment where you feel you can help her see things from a new angle, and it could take days, could take weeks to get to this point, but if you get there, maybe you tell her, "Look, I know you feel strongly about this guy. I understand how powerful those feelings can be, but I got to tell you, this age thing really worries me. It is not right. A guy that age should not be dating a girl your age. You didn't do anything wrong. I'm not here to make you feel bad or punish you. I'm here to help you see that this relationship isn't healthy, it's not appropriate. He's far too old to be dating you. You know it's illegal for a reason. It's also unethical, and I know that might make me feel like the enemy. And if you're mad at me, I get it. I can accept that. But I'm your brother and I love you, and I can't sit back and let you stay involved with this guy at your age. I want to protect you, and I need to help you see why this relationship isn't going anywhere good." Something like that.
[00:44:26] And if you can get through to her, then maybe you do what your parents won't do. You and your sister block this guy on her phone and unfriend him on her social media. And then you can call or pay him a visit in person and tell him to stay the hell away from her, or you're going to escalate. And after that, stay close with your sister and make sure the relationship is over and you comfort her as she works her way through what I can only imagine is going to be a very tumultuous and confusing breakup.
[00:44:52] Another option is you reach out to this guy on your own without talking to your sister. And you tell him, "Dude, I see you. You're a predator. And this relationship is wrong on every conceivable level. And by the way, it's illegal if you have sexual contact. So you stop talking to my sister or things are going to get really ugly." Maybe you see if you can get him to back off yourself. It's very bizarre. This guy's such a freaking creep dude.
[00:45:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh man. I know. Sound advice, by the way, I agree with everything you just said. But listen, as you and your sister talk, if she ever reveals that she and this guy are in fact engaging in anything remotely sexual, which again, this relationship is bad news, even if they're not, but it's unequivocally problematic if they are, then you have a reason to intervene in a much bigger way.
[00:45:35] So first off, you can definitely report this to the police. You can tell them what you know about the relationship, how it started, when it started. That should get their attention. Whether they follow up and actually do something about it, that's another question. They really should. I hope they do. But you don't need to be the detective here. It's up to them to investigate.
[00:45:54] The other option here is, it's very concerning to me, obviously, that your parents are signing off on this relationship. We did a little bit of homework. It seems that it is also possible for you to report this to Child Protective Services or the equivalent agency in your state because this might be considered child neglect, given that your parents are essentially failing to protect their child from very real harm. So look, this is obviously a very intense call to make. I don't know exactly what would happen if CPS ever showed up at your parents' door and wanted to have a chat with them. They might just ask some questions and kind of spook your parents into taking this more seriously. Or the consequences might be more severe, possibly referring this to the police, leading maybe to your parents being investigated, maybe even charged in some way. Look, I'm speculating. These are the more extreme outcomes, but either way, it's a very big step for you.
[00:46:47] But these reports to police and/or to CPS, they might be your only option. And if you can't get your parents to intervene and you can't get your sister to break it off and you can't scare this guy off yourself, I think you have to consider it. And yes, going this route might really piss off your family. It could be very, very uncomfortable. But if there's a 20-something man going after your 14-year-old sister and nobody in this situation is doing anything about it, you might have to tolerate everybody in your family being pissed off at you basically in order to do the right thing. In my opinion, clearly in Jordan's opinion, that's worth it, but this is totally your call to make and it's something you'll really have to sit with and consider and decide for yourself.
[00:47:30] Jordan Harbinger: Also, keep in mind that you could probably report this anonymously, at least to CPS.
[00:47:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good point.
[00:47:36] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe that gives you a little more cover here. They show up. Nobody really knows it was you who called them. Also, I have a slightly dark Jordan strategy here. Just going to—
[00:47:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, great.
[00:47:45] Jordan Harbinger: —I'm just going to throw it out there.
[00:47:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:47:47] Jordan Harbinger: I have a couple. One, I guess, is too much for the show, I think. But call her school. Talk to the guidance counselor or the principal, or whomever you can get on the phone.
[00:47:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:56] Jordan Harbinger: Tell them what's happening. You might not even need to disclose who you are. I'm pretty sure those people are required by law to report this kind of thing. It's called mandatory reporting. And bam, that could be the way to get the police involved without your family turning on you.
[00:48:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great idea.
[00:48:12] Jordan Harbinger: I'm so sorry this is happening. This is so disturbing on several levels, and I feel terrible about the predicament that it puts you in. It's got to be sobering to wake up and realize you're the only not crazy person—
[00:48:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:48:23] Jordan Harbinger: —in the family. You're just like, "Am I wrong here?" And it's like, no, you're not wrong. Everybody else is wrong. This is insane. I think it's important that you listen to your gut here. So far so good. Someone's got to protect your sister or this could become very damaging. It already is damaging, but it's a huge decision to make.
[00:48:40] So maybe the question you ask yourself right now is — would you be mad at yourself if you didn't intervene? Is it better to have your family be mad at you now for a little while than to regret not intervening sooner down the road? The answers to those questions will tell you what to do. So we're wishing you and your sister the best. Good luck.
[00:49:00] Okay, what's next?
[00:49:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm 31 years old and on the surface I feel like I have it going on. I'm an elementary school teacher whose why, my purpose is to be the caring and blunt teacher I feel I needed during my adolescence. I also exercise regularly and am 12 years into my fitness journey and building a body I am truly proud of. One of my biggest struggles, though recently, has been my imposing size. And now, there seems to be a disconnect with people. When I'm looking to build new relationships. My resting bitch face certainly doesn't help when I'm a former bouncer-turned-kindergarten cop. I seem to have developed a "don't speak unless spoken to" attitude and am finally coming to grips with where this might come from and how destructive it can potentially be. How can I reframe the way I see myself to facilitate better friendships and better relationships? Signed, A Gentle Giant, Putting Down The Defiance to Create More Alliance.
[00:50:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's always interesting when someone's appearance doesn't match their personality.
[00:50:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:06] Jordan Harbinger: Or their interstate.
[00:50:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:50:07] Jordan Harbinger: And I think that describes a lot of people. Of course, I also happen to find those people quite interesting.
[00:50:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:11] Jordan Harbinger: It's these kinds of contradictions like being a beast, but also being super gentle and empathetic. These are the contradictions that I think make people pretty fascinating and they can really create a fun surprise for people when they really get to know you. So I don't think that this disconnect is all bad. If anything, it creates some really cool contours to your personality. Where it seems to hold you back is when it prevents people from getting to know you, either because they are too intimidated or because they think you're not open or you're not available, and that is a bit of a problem.
[00:50:46] So my first thought, which you're already onto, is where this whole resting bitchface slash "don't speak unless spoken to" vibe comes from. And it sounds like you've been doing some forensics on that. I'm assuming it's pointed to something in the past. Maybe certain messages or influences from your childhood, the way you were raised. I don't need to tell you how these experiences really inform how we show up in the world, and I'm really glad to hear you're digging into that stuff. I think that's great. I'm also really glad to hear that you understand how destructive that attitude can be. Oftentimes, that's a point we need to get to in order to go, "Oh, okay, wow, this whole tough guy thing, the body, the resting bitch face. It's really turning people off. It's scaring them away. I got to work on that." That's a huge breakthrough, and now you got to act on it.
[00:51:32] Gabe, where my mind goes, and maybe I'm reaching a little here, but this guy, he sounds like, he's like this ripped dude. He's really proud of the body he's building, and he should be. I mean, it's hard work. I know firsthand. He probably looks great. It's awesome. But another part of me is wondering is being in crazy good shape, serving some other purpose.
[00:51:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ooh.
[00:51:50] Jordan Harbinger: Is he maybe protecting something inside? Is he warding off some feelings? Is the intimidating facade designed to keep people at bay or make him feel more secure or more powerful?
[00:52:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:52:02] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. I'm not trying to pathologize being swell. I'm obviously a big fan of working out, but something tells me there's more to the story and he knows it.
[00:52:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think you're onto something for sure. What I find interesting is that this guy got into teaching to be caring but blunt teacher that he feels he needed during his adolescence, right?
[00:52:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That kind of jumped out at me too, like, "I'm going into this and here's the character I'm going to play."
[00:52:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, it's also an incredibly touching reason to get into teaching. I mean, he obviously has a very big heart. He has a strong sense of purpose. It's beautiful. And the fact that he's so worried about how his appearance comes across to other people, I think that also speaks to this very thoughtful, very sensitive part of him that is also probably his superpower. But to your point, it does make me wonder what did happen during his adolescence. What kind of caring figures did he need in his life whom he didn't get, and how did that shape him?
[00:52:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. Look, again, I might be speculating, but the fact that he mentioned that, it makes me think there's some line between that childhood and being absolutely jacked and intimidating now.
[00:53:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: It could be. I think it's awesome that he followed that need into a career in education. I mean, what a great way to put a deficiency like that to great use, right? But yes, that's the kind of wound that could make you want to protect yourself or avoid situations where you might feel vulnerable or kind of keep people at bay because you don't want people up in your space and suddenly it feels very dicey to be closer or any number of things being available to other people being open, including to his students who might put him in touch with some of those same childhood experiences all over again, that is vulnerable. And so maybe that's what this body and this resting bitch face perhaps are unconsciously trying to do for him.
[00:53:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think you're probably onto something here, Gabe. It's up to him to see if that fits.
[00:53:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:53:50] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Maybe we're half right. That's the kind of thing I was getting at.
[00:53:55] So to answer your question, how can you reframe the way you see yourself to facilitate better relationships? Let's rewind the tape just a little more. And before you try to reframe the way you see yourself, I would just try to welcome and appreciate all these parts of yourself. The part that deeply wants to be open and connect with people, the part that also wants to defend and protect itself, the part that wants to be the teacher you didn't have, and that part that might feel a little uneasy or a little exposed playing that role, the part that feels really inspired and motivated to be available to people, and the part that doesn't want people to come up to you unless you want them to. All of those qualities are you right now, and that can change absolutely. But let's just appreciate that they're all in there. From there, you can start to decide which ones to work on, which ones to lean into, which ones to calibrate. So for example, maybe you catch yourself scowling as you walk across campus and you go, "Oh, there's my tough guy face again." And then, you try to catch a few of your fellow teacher's eyes, say, "What's up? How you doing?" Nod to your students as you pass them. Tell them you'll see them in fifth period or whatever. You know, open the door just a little bit more. Make an effort to be slightly less intimidating and see how that feels.
[00:55:04] Or you take a cue from my playbook from a few weeks ago, we took a letter from that woman asking how to be more authentic. And I talked about how sometimes it's just about calling out these qualities and not trying too hard to compensate for them. So for example, you're sitting alone in the teacher's break room. Maybe you go to a, join a few of your colleagues, you crack a joke about how nobody wants to sit with the 6'6" guy with the biceps or whatever. Say you're sorry for your face. It's just the way it looks sometimes. Have a laugh about it, whatever. I know that's kind of cheesy, but I think those little cracks go a long way in changing people's perception of you. Because suddenly you're in on the joke, you're acknowledging that the exterior doesn't quite match the interior and that has a way of really disarming people. And the same with your students. Maybe you make an extra effort to be kind and playful with them. See how that feels, especially because you teach elementary schools. So the kids, they're probably even more intimidated by you than say high schoolers would be. Maybe you keep the resting bitch face, but you do more high-fives when they get something right. More gold stars on the project, that kind of thing. These little gestures go a really long way. And I think that they'll also teach you how to communicate your warmth in ways that feel organic and helpful.
[00:56:14] And like I said, I don't think this disconnect is all bad. I love that you want to work on it and you should, but I also wouldn't be afraid of being an interesting individual. And to me, what's interesting about you is that you're this absolutely jack dude with a heart of gold. I mean, that is such a wonderful contradiction in a human being, especially in a guy. Because you're in touch with lots of different qualities — warmth, strength, kindness, power, humility, and pride. That's what makes you dimensional or three-dimensional, and that's also what's going to make people interested in you beyond your initial impression.
[00:56:46] So I say start showing off these different sides of you, or when you struggle to call it out and make that your way of undercutting the intimidation. And, hey, I love that you want to work on this. I think it's going to change your relationships in a big way. You remind me of my buddy Justin Wren. He's an MMA fighter who's a big dude, huge. He looks like a Viking. And he's into anti-bullying and he builds wells for Pygmy people in the Congo.
[00:57:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:57:12] Jordan Harbinger: And that's his whole thing because they're being bullied off their land. It's like his whole thing.
[00:57:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, wow.
[00:57:17] Jordan Harbinger: And again, those contradictions are just great. And when you talk to him, it's, you're like, dude, this guy looks really scary. And he's like, "I just want to say Jordan, I have so much love in my heart for you." And you're like, wow, this guy's like a real, you know, not afraid to wear his heart on a sleeve guy who probably could slice you in half with an ax with one hand.
[00:57:33] So I hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everybody who wrote in this week, and everybody who listened, thank you so much. Don't forget to check out our expose on the pig butchering scam, our follow-up expose with Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy. Also Skeptical Sunday on the wedding industry. If you haven't heard those episodes yet, make sure you check that out as well.
[00:57:51] If you want to know how I managed to book all the amazing people for the show, it's about systems, it's about software, and about tiny habits that I do in little pieces every single day. And it's our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free teaching you how to do all that over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I want to teach you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. Build relationships before you need them, maintain them with very little effort, not the gross stuff that you all hate doing. The drills take just a few minutes a day. Again, it's free. Jordaharbinger.com/course is where you can find it.
[00:58:22] And a link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discounts, ways to support this show are all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also mine any answer from any Feedback Friday or any interview over at our AI chatbot. Jordanharbinger.com/ai is where you can find it. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you can connect with me on LinkedIn and you can find Gabe on Instagram, @GabrielMizrahi, or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[00:58:53] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty. Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer, so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Neil Rombardo. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please do share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:59:26] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer for another episode that I think you might enjoy.
[00:59:33] Howie Mandel: So what happened was we were doing, not unlike we're doing now, we were doing an interview.
[00:59:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:59:37] Howie Mandel: And he says, "Thank you, and we'll probably go to a commercial and thank you, Howie." And I got up and I started walking to the door and I thought he was like wrapping it up and going to commercial. And then, I just said to somebody really quietly, "Can you grab the door?" And he's going, "What are you afraid of the door?" And then he goes, "Just open the door." And I go, "I can't open the door." He goes, "Just open the door." And then what happened is I started getting a panic attack and I started breathing heavy and I just turned to him and thinking that he had already thrown the commercial because he was just talking to me. "Howard, please, this is really serious. I go to therapy for this. I have something called obsessive-compulsive disorder. I'm about to pass out. If you don't open the door for me now, you'll be calling 911 and taking me to the hospital." This whole thing was on the national radio.
[01:00:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[01:00:22] Howie Mandel: I thought, oh my God, that was probably the darkest space I've ever been. And I'm walking through the lobby toward the door out into the teeming streets of Manhattan. I might as well just continue walking and walk right into traffic. And I stopped just outside the door and you know, millions of people are on the street but I felt very alone. And some guy came into my periphery and said to me, "Are you Howie Mandel?" And you know, I just nodded affirmatively. And he said, "I just heard you on Stern." And my heart dropped in my stomach and right before I could take off in the traffic, he said two words, which means something very different today but they changed my life and he went, "Me too."
[01:01:00] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Howie Mandel, including some pretty awkward moments of my own making, check out episode 210 here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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