You invited a friend to rent one of your rooms for a year. Only five months in, she’s having delusional psychotic breaks in which she claims to be God, purports to read minds, and accuses your fiance and numerous others of raping her. Under the circumstances, your family doesn’t feel safe having her in your home anymore, and you’ve let her know she’s not welcome back. Now she’s calling you incessantly and making you feel guilty for not supporting her as a “friend.” Do you have a responsibility to help her, or — for the sake of your family’s safety — are you right for cutting her off? We’ll try to find an answer to this and more here on 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:
- Do you have a responsibility to keep renting a room to a friend who had a psychotic break, or does your family’s safety come first? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us field the legalities of this one!]
- The private school where you teach is rife with corrupt policies. Should you try to change the system from within, or find another job before an inevitable lawsuit brings the whole place down?
- Because you’re young and you want to be free to explore your romantic options, you may have been too hasty when you agreed to date your college girlfriend exclusively. Is there a way to back out of the arrangement without being a complete heel?
- A recent miscarriage seems to be just the tip of a cascading torrent of misfortune and tragedy that has you experiencing frequent anxiety attacks and a constant state of fight or flight. What can you do to turn things around? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- How can you make sure your good work is rewarded by the entrenched corporate hierarchy at your office when you have an incompetent manager taking credit for everything you and your team have done? [Thanks to executive coach and From Start-Up to Grown-Up author Alisa Cohn for helping us field this one!]
- 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.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
See Jordan (with Ryan Holiday) Live in L.A. June 13th!: Go to jordanharbinger.com/tickets for more info
- Nissan: Find out more at nissanusa.com or your local Nissan dealer
- House of Macadamias: Visit houseofmacadamia.com and use code JORDAN20 for $20 off your first order
- Apartments.com: Learn more at apartments.com
- Progressive: Get a free online quote at progressive.com
- Nissan: Find out more at nissanusa.com or your local Nissan dealer
Miss our interview with broadcast journalist, political commentator, and 18-time Emmy Award winner Anderson Cooper? Catch up with episode 584: Anderson Cooper | The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Toothpaste | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Ken Croke | Undercover in an Outlaw Biker Gang Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Ken Croke | Undercover in an Outlaw Biker Gang Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Tickets for The Jordan Harbinger Show Live | TicketWeb
- Family Members and Caregivers | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Neighbor Worries That Neighbor Has Mental Illness | Detroit Free Press
- Taking Care of Yourself | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
- What to Do With Threatening Neighbors Displaying Mental Illness? | Chicago Tribune
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- State Landlord-Tenant Laws | Nolo
- The Best Way to Ask for a Promotion — And Make Sure You Land It | Jordan Harbinger
- Deep Dive | How to Ask for a Promotion | Jordan Harbinger
- Brian Klaas | The Corruptible Influence of Power | Jordan Harbinger
- Uncommitting: How to Say No After You’ve Already Said Yes | Jordan Harbinger
- How to Deliver Bad News (And Not Be the Bad Guy) | Jordan Harbinger
- What to Expect from a D&C for Early Miscarriage | Verywell Family
- Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- Loss and Grief in Pregnancy and Postpartum | Postpartum Support International (PSI)
- Pregnancy Loss Support Organizations | Verywell Family
- 14 Best Books About Miscarriage to Read After Pregnancy Loss | Undefining Motherhood
- From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business by Alisa Cohn | Amazon
- From Start-up to Grown-Up Podcast with Alisa Cohn
- 5 Scripts for Delicate Conversations | Alisa Cohn
675: A Tenant, Psychotic, Makes Your Life Chaotic | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show is brought to you by Nissan. Why wait for tomorrow? Today is made for thrill.
[00:00:05] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the polarized lenses snapping this blurry world of self-help into focus, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and 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.
[00:00:45] Now, if you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and 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 Ken Croke who went undercover in the infamous and very dangerous Pagan's Motorcycle Club. If you've seen Sons of Anarchy, these guys are worse. It's just wild story about nearly getting killed several times, bringing down dozens of some of the slimiest, most dangerous people in the country. This is a two-parter, it's quite a crazy list. And this is one brave, undercover cop or former undercover cop. Make sure you've had to listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:01:24] All right. Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my fiance and I lead a busy and slightly chaotic life. We're raising two daughters, a 13-year-old, who's going through puberty, and a two-year-old with some medical issues while also working full-time jobs. Last year, we invited a friend of ours to rent one of our rooms for a year. She was a graveyard shift nurse and was saving up to purchase her first home. It seemed like a great plan. She would pay less for rent and pay off some extra debt before buying and my fiance and I would be able to boost our savings after taking a hit. We've known her for a couple of years. So this felt like a great fit. Then things started to get weird. For one thing, my fiance and I don't smoke, but we're 4/20 friendly and our friend has always been open about her smoking weed. I thought she only smoked before going to bed, but a few months in, I found out that she was smoking right after waking up, right before leaving for work, at work, and even before coming home. She was also combining that with a prescription benzo.
[00:02:19] Jordan Harbinger: For those who don't know benzo is benzodiazepine. So these are like anti-anxiety drugs, downers. And if you smoking weed and taking that, and then going to work as a nurse — is that right? Probably not a great mix for somebody who's taking care of people in a hospital.
[00:02:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not the woman you want treating you on the graveyard shift.
[00:02:36] All right. So she continues.
[00:02:37] Then about five months ago, she had a full psychotic break with delusions. She was yelling about being God saying she could read my fiance's thoughts that he wanted to rape her soul.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:02:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: I had to pack our kids up and take them to relatives while we tried to help her. That evening, she kept saying she didn't feel safe with us and that she could feel our malicious intent. I talked her into going to the ER for an evaluation, but it was amazing how she switched to nurse mode and was released almost immediately. A few hours later, I found her lying in the bathtub at home convinced she had no blood in her head and was dying. I called 911, and she spent 45 days in a psychiatric hospital. In the two and a half months since, she's been rehospitalized three times and hasn't been out for more than a week. During her most recent hospitalization, she accused three exes, her dad, and my fiance of raping her. Her family has cut ties with her because all of this. And my fiance and I told her we can't take her back. My oldest won't even sleep alone. And my family of four sleeps together in our room when she's around. I've now told her that she can't come back, but she continues to call me saying she doesn't understand why. And that she thought I was supposed to be her friend. I don't know what to do anymore. Do I have a responsibility to help my friend? And how can I do that while maintaining my and my family's safety? Signed, Bury the Hatchet or Play Nurse Ratchet.
[00:03:54] Jordan Harbinger: Oh boy. Gabe, this is horrible. Another week, another psychotic tenant.
[00:03:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh, tell me about it. You know what we should do? We should start a Facebook group for these people and let them all live with one another. You know, like squirrel in the mailbox guy, golf club guy, the schizophrenia guy living in the top floor of that couple's house. Remember that guy?
[00:04:11] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah, the yeller.
[00:04:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep, the yeller. The roommate who fashioned a spear out of a broom handle the other week.
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe they could all like split a house together. They'd be perfect roommates.
[00:04:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, I'm pretty sure you just described a new season of American Horror Story, but yeah, it's a good idea. Has legs will certainly be an interesting place to live next door to. Honestly, Gabe, these stories, they do really freak me out, all jokes aside. This woman and her fiance let this friend into their house thinking she's one person. And then it just turns out she's a totally, totally different person.
[00:04:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:04:43] Jordan Harbinger: And suddenly they're stuck with her. This is nightmarish, truly, right? They can try to be a good person. Like, "Yeah, you can crash with us for a while." Like, "Oh my god, you're a total basket case and possibly dangerous."
[00:04:53] To answer your question — do you have a responsibility to help this woman? Yes, but only up to a point. And I think you hit that point a long time ago. You took her to the ER, when she had a psychotic break. You called 911 when she was at risk of hurting herself. You helped her get into a hospital, which is where she needs to be. Beyond that, I'm not sure what else you can do. In fact, by allowing her to stay with you, delaying treatment, tolerating her hallucinations and delusions, it's almost like you're enabling her. Right? You might actually be doing her a disservice because she's just kicking the can down the road in getting help. And in situations like this, sadly, things often have to get a lot worse before they get better.
[00:05:36] So when this woman calls you saying she doesn't understand why you won't allow her back, when she tries to pull the friend card, you are well within your rights to draw a hard line. And I get it. Like this goes against all your empathy. It goes against your instincts to help. It's so painful to watch, especially because you know, your friends, you care about this person, right? And you're also in a fellow human but you have a family, you have two kids at home. You're not a bachelor with a wild roommate. Okay. Or a bachelorette with a crazy roommate. This isn't healthy for the kids either. You don't want them growing up scared in their own house, living with somebody in the grip of florid psychosis. You have a responsibility to protect your home and your family, but also your sanity.
[00:06:22] And to trust that as heartbreaking as that is, that could put her on a path to getting the help she actually needs.
[00:06:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree completely Jordan, but you might have to do a little work connecting up the dots of the system. First off, I would call the department of mental health in your city or your county or whatever the equivalent of that is and file a report. Request that somebody come out and check on. And then I would call Adult Protective Services and do the same thing. And FYI, it's not totally clear whether APS can do something in a case like this, but it's worth a shot. Also some police departments have something called a crisis intervention team, which is basically kind of like a partnership between law enforcement, mental health professionals, advocates. So maybe ask your local PD about that if they can send out a CIT unit to the house.
[00:07:05] Also, I would probably try her parents one more time and see if you can make them understand just how serious the situation is. I know they're sick of her. They've cut her off. If they're willing to just come out one more time and take her to a facility, help her find a psychiatrist, affordable housing, maybe SSI, stuff like that, that would be great because there is a lot of work that goes into helping a person like this. You just can't do all of that on your own.
[00:07:29] We're also going to share some great articles on helping someone suffering from psychosis. Those will be linked in the show notes for you. Definitely check those out. Maybe send them to her parents as well, and just use every option at your disposal.
[00:07:40] If you do that, then you'll definitely have done your part here. And after that, it's really up to her and also the system to step up and hopefully help her get better. But the wrinkle here is that this woman could be considered your tenant and you might effectively be her landlord and that can make this whole thing a lot more complicated.
[00:07:59] We wanted to know more about how that works. So we consulted with the one and only Corbin Payne, defense attorney and friend of the show, and right away, Corbin confirmed that you telling this woman to leave that might essentially be an eviction. And he pointed out that a lot of states, especially right now, they have laws in place preventing landlords from evicting tenants, without clear grounds, without giving them enough time to find a new place, stuff like that.
[00:08:21] And these laws usually require several notices to the tenant opportunities for the tenant to respond, change the behavior in question, a specified amount of time for the tenant to find new housing, that kind of thing. So Corbin's view is that it would be worth retaining an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law in your area, or at least consulting with one, you know, getting on the phone for 10 or 15 minutes, running your story by them, and seeing what they think.
[00:08:44] In his experience, giving proper notice shouldn't be too expensive because apparently it's not all that complicated, but you do need somebody to guide you. And this is especially important because you're dealing with somebody who, from the sound of it is pretty talented at working the system, right? She was able to work with the doctors. She can go into nurse mode really easily. She probably knows some of the laws. She might not leave without putting up a fight. Also as Corbin pointed out, this is somebody who is whip smart when she's lucid and who also seems to pinball back and forth between lucidity and psychosis, all of which calls for an increased level of care on the legal side of things.
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man, Gabe, I'm already just wincing at the potential legal headache ahead for them. If this woman puts up a fight about leaving.
[00:09:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:09:26] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, maybe she was just Venmo-ing them 700 bucks a month and there was no paperwork and she has no tenant rights that would make them lesee, sublessee, which could be an advantage, read your lease agreement and see, but depending on what state they live in this agreement could imply a landlord-tenant relationship. All the more reason to consult with an attorney here. Also, you might have grounds for a restraining order slash order of protection from this woman. Basically, it's a court order that says she can't go within a certain distance of you, your family, the house, because her behavior puts you guys in legitimate fear. Again, having a lawyer here would be very helpful, but Corbin did say that most courts have simplified the process for requesting a restraining order to make it easy for people who don't have lawyers to stay safe.
[00:10:13] I'm so sorry that you guys are dealing with this. This is it's just awful. You try to do something nice for someone, try to build your savings back up, and then it just blows up in your face. I'm sure it's terrifying for you and for her. Literally, everyone is suffering in this situation. Bottom line, connect the dots of the system. Then draw a hard boundary to protect yourself and your family. And while you do all that, please take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, because I know a situation like this can take a real toll. So we're wishing you the best and we're sending you and your family a hug from California.
[00:10:51] You know who you definitely should invite into your home? The amazing sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:10:59] This episode is sponsored in part by House of Macadamia. Macadamia, the king of all nuts in case you weren't aware. South Africa, by the way, the macadamia nut farming capital of the world, they hold the record in macadamia yields and quality is something you'd just learned today about South Africa. How's it macadamia sources directly from local farmers. So they're able to bring South African macadamias to the rest of the world at a more affordable price. House of Macadamia makes bars, butters, milks. They're all really good. Everything I've tried from them is really good. And macadamias are great because they have low allergy rates. They also require less water to produce than other nuts, which are like almonds — just sucking half of California's water down. Macadamia uses far less. Plus they're loaded with antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. I'm sure if you've read like any health headlines for the past decade, you know, the benefits of antioxidants and omega's. Plus the brother and sister team that runs it, they're good people. They're very cool. I love supporting folks like that. And last but not least these nuts are good. My kid, even he liked them. He won't eat anything. I ate a bunch. I have to say my tippy-top favorite was zesty salsa. So you can go and take that to the bank.
[00:12:01] Jen Harbinger: House of Macadamia ships their products worldwide. Visit houseofmacadamia.com and use code JORDAN20 for $20 off your first order. Again, houseofmacadamia.com and use code JORDAN20 for $20 off.
[00:12:14] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by apartments.com. Apartments.com has helped millions of renters and could help you find your perfect place. And yeah, I know perfect is a tall order, but if you're looking for an apartment or a townhome or a house even, apartments.com has all the right tools to help you find it. Use filters and save searches to narrow down rental listings and find exactly the place for you. You can even set up alerts to get notified as places become available. So fashionistas get your closet space or an in-unit washer/dryer, sun lover find as much natural light as you can handle. If you're working from home, you can have an area for your home office, an extra bathroom, a balcony, central heat and air, a dishwasher in the kitchen. Whatever happens, to be right for you, this is the place to find it. apartments.com, the place to find a place.
[00:12:55] Thank you so much for listening to the show, all the sponsor discount codes and URLs are all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor using the search box on the website at jordanharbinger.com. Please consider supporting those who support us.
[00:13:10] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:13:13] All right, what's next?
[00:13:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I've been working at a small private Christian school for the last year and a half. I love to teach and it's been impactful building relationships with students and seeing them grow. But there are some challenges to this place. For one thing, while I'm paid for 40 hours a week, I put in somewhere between 60 to 70 hours of grading and planning. Then there was an incident where 80 percent of my class cheated with wrong answers on an exam. I was told to keep the grades as is, and it was not documented. Kids regularly cheat on homework, and most of them have no idea what to do on tests and quizzes. More recently, the school was embroiled in a controversy where a TikTok filmed in a school bathroom went viral. While nothing explicit was involved, it did violate school guidelines. A blanket suspension was given out and the situation was even given media coverage. The school then decided to roll back the punishment, allowing students back at school and dealing out punishments individually. Since then, they've been cracking down on small things while letting bigger issues go. There have also been times where punishments for certain students have been decreased or dismissed if they or someone they know is a teacher's kid, goes to church, or gives substantially to the school or church. I don't think many other people involved with realize how bad it is, because this is the way it's always been. Now I'm conflicted. Should I stay risk my job and try to change the system from within or simply leave before it all eventually implodes? Signed, Resigned Myself to These Crimes to Shape Young Minds or Align Myself with a More High-minded Grind.
[00:14:43] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Slow clap for that sign-off there, Gabe. Nice one. All right.
[00:14:49] Well, this school sounds like a total dumpster fire.
[00:14:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:14:51] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like a school from Gossip Girl or something if people remember that show. Gabe, the place just sounds like super toxic. I mean, all schools have some degree of dysfunction, no matter what, but when you have parents making big donations and relationships driving a lot of the decision-making, there's always going to be some degree of corruption baked in, and that's what this is corruption. But in this case, it sounds like there's also a real culture issue at the school. That's an objectively tough problem to deal with as a teacher. So I really do feel for you here.
[00:15:23] So look about working 60, 70 hours a week, but only being paid for 40. Yes, that's an issue, but it might be something you just have to accept for now, or find a way to improve on your own. I'm guessing most teachers work longer hours than the traditional 40-hour-work week, as many professionals do, especially the good teachers who actually care like you. That said 60 to 70 hours is way more than a standard work week. And if you feel it's too much, then you have a couple of options.
[00:15:53] Option one is you find ways to be more efficient. You've only been in the job for a year and a half. You're still learning. Over time, I bet you'll get more confident. Your lesson plans will carry over from year to year. You'll learn how to grade papers faster. Some of this is just first/second year growing pains, and I've known several teachers in my life, including my own mom. And they all say grading was just one of the more tedious parts of the job aside from, of course, the people drama that you're dealing with, but maybe there are little systems and hacks you can adopt to get through it faster. I would ask some of your peers, how they manage it. If they have any tips, get some best practices. This hours thing might be something you have more control over than you think.
[00:16:35] Option two is after the school year, you ask for a raise. You tell them you spend 60 to 70 hours a week doing a job they said was 40. You're happy to do it, but you need to be compensated appropriately. If you do that though, I recommend going in with a slam-dunk case, you might want to check out an article I recently wrote about how to get promoted. That'll give you some great ideas about how to plan for that conversation starting now. We'll link to that in the show notes. We also did a deep dive on this very subject that's episode 666, coincidentally, over there at your Christian school. But I know your main question is whether you should stick around, so let's dig into that.
[00:17:13] Basically, you have to weigh the upsides to pushing for change against the downsides of staying in this obviously toxic environment. And a lot of it comes down to what you want to get out of this place. What goals you have for your career? Do you want to rise up, carve out a bigger role for yourself? Do you want to run a school of your own one day and would this be a way to prove that you can do that? If you were able to clean this place up, could it actually be an amazing place? If so, yeah, it might be worth sticking around, trying to change the system from within, but then you really have to be willing to put up with a whole bunch of really dysfunctional behavior in the meantime. Because the truth is you won't be able to change this place overnight, or even in a year or two.
[00:17:59] Transformation this big, it takes years. And it's the result of a ton of work at so many levels from admissions to rules to hiring to core values. This isn't just like, "You know, I'm going to book a couple of meetings with Principal Hoover and smooth out this whole cheating thing." This is you slowly acquiring more and more capital at this place, building relationships with other teachers who share your vision, finding champions at the highest levels to take a hard stance against cheating and filming creepy TikTok videos, and letting some students off easy because their dad paid for a new chapel or whatever.
[00:18:33] And I can almost guarantee that you're going to meet with pushback from people along the way, because change never happens without ruffling a few feathers. What you're describing here, it is corruption and corruption is very complex. In fact, if you want to learn more about corruption, why it develops, how to replace it with systems that are more fair, I highly recommend checking out my interview with Brian Klaas. That was episode 650. We'll link to that in the show notes as well. In any way, I don't say all of this to dissuade you, only to make sure you're going into this with eyes wide open.
[00:19:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a sound advice, Jordan. But the reality is even if he did everything right, this school might always be a little corrupt, especially because like you said, it's a private school. There's money in relationships driving the place. I honestly don't know if one teacher, especially a new teacher can fix that on their own, because it's not even clear that the higher-ups want to fix this problem because I'm guessing they know which side their bread is buttered on. And it sounds to me like they're part of the problem.
[00:19:34] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Anyway, any institution run by human beings will always be imperfect. The question is which imperfections can you tolerate as a teacher and which ones are so obviously problematic that you just have to move right out of there.
[00:19:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: And which ones could damage you personally? Like if the school became famous again, because a kid films a TikTok of something horrible happening. And then when you go to interview at other schools, they're like, "Ooh, you worked at that place. I don't know," you know, something like that. That could be a risk. Or if the school really does end up imploding and I don't know, there's no one left to give you a good reference or you always have that stain on your resume, that's a concern too.
[00:20:12] Jordan Harbinger: Good point. It really does come down to his values and goals and the potential rewards versus the risks. He has to get clear on what matters most to him long term. And look, if you decide not to take this on and get a job somewhere else, I think that's completely fair. I love your ambition. I really do. But sometimes the best move, when you're in a toxic environment, is to just get out of there. Find a place that values your hard work, fosters a good culture, doesn't always let money or politics win out over what's right, especially if you're going to be spending 70 hours a week for your students. If you're putting in that time, you want to put in that time at a place that you love. So do some soul searching, get clear on your priorities and make a plan. These kids are lucky to have a teacher like you, even if it doesn't seem like it right now. Good luck.
[00:20:59] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. That'll make things easier on us. If there's something you're going through any big decision you are wrestling with. Or you want a new perspective on life, love, work. What to do if your husband has been cheating on you and lying about it for years? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:21:25] All right. What's next?
[00:21:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I'm a college student in the UK. And about two months ago, I went on a date with a friendly girl on a dating app. I was quite nervous when I first met her and I didn't think she was a fan of my personality, so I didn't expect it to lead anywhere serious. But the first time we met, she told me that she, "has never had a real conversation like this before with a date," which surprised me. We've been seeing each other for about two months now. And we meet quite often. I enjoy my sexual relationship with her and I'd also say we're good friends. Then around three weeks ago, she asked me if I want it to be exclusive. I agreed, but I'm starting to regret that decision. She seems to have explored the world of casual relationships quite thoroughly and I haven't. I haven't had a relationship before and I've only had a very small number of casual interactions. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I believe I'm a quite good-looking young man. And I feel like I would like to explore more sexually now whilst I still have my hair and my confidence. When I was in grade school, I missed out on dating and sex. So I feel like I have a bit of catching up to do now. I don't feel pressured to catch up. I honestly just want to explore more, but I also don't want to let her know that I want to go through a casual phase because that's private. So how do I communicate this to her without upsetting her? Signed, Coping With my Mooping.
[00:22:40] Jordan Harbinger: All right. You handsome SOB. You can't be tied down because you want to get some strange before you need a monthly subscription of Rogaine. I see you. Seriously, I do understand the bind you're in, and it's an interesting question.
[00:22:51] So look, if you feel that this is your time to explore different relationships, that is a perfectly fair choice. And it's probably the right one. If you're just going to be anxious and thinking about dating other people the whole time. It's not fair to you. It's not fair to this girl. She's explored the casual dating thing already. You have some catching up to do. That's a legitimate thing to want at your age. And playing the field, it's not just about getting wild and having fun. I understand. That's also a way to learn about yourself, understand what kind of partner you really want, get to know different people. That's all important as well.
[00:23:26] But the tricky thing is going to be explaining this to her in a way that makes sense because you already agreed to be exclusive and now you have to backpedal. And I'm not sure you can do that without giving her some kind of explanation. So you have a couple of options here. You could keep it general and say something like, "Listen, I've been doing a lot of reflection lately and I'm just not ready for a serious relationship at this point in my life. I'd still like to spend time with you, but I can't be the committed boyfriend I thought I could," or something along those lines, but you have to be prepared for her to press you for details because that just kind of begs the question. Like, "Why can't you be the committed boyfriend that you said you could?"
[00:24:03] Your other option here is to be more forthright. I know that's scary and yes, it might hurt her feelings a little bit but it could also save her from being even more hurt. There's a kind way to say it though. And it's probably something like, "Look, I really like you. I like what we have. I value our connection, our friendship, but I'm 20 years old. I haven't had all the experiences you've had and something is telling me that it's important for me to date around a little bit, before I settle into an exclusive relationship. I know that might sound kind of selfish or superficial, but that's just where I am right now. It's not a reflection of you. It's just a reflection of where I am right now. I'm very sorry that I said yes to being a couple before I understood that. That wasn't fair to you. And I apologize, and I hope you understand."
[00:24:51] And, you know, Gabe, now that I've said it out loud, I actually think that's the best way to go.
[00:24:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:24:55] Jordan Harbinger: Because ironically, the truth is ultimately kinder than the generic version of whatever story he could tell her, which she's not going to buy anyway. She's going to be hurt by that in any case.
[00:25:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm with you a hundred percent. If he's kind to her, even while he's being pretty honest, that'll probably go over better than trying to treat her with kid gloves and keeping things vague, because then at least you won't be confused, which is where I think a lot of the resentment might come from. And you know, him learning how to deliver a tough message like this, that's part of growing up too, right? When you're 20 breaking up with somebody is terrifying. I remember that feeling. When you're a little older and you've been on both sides of that conversation a few times, it is a lot easier. And in a weird way, it's actually kind of refreshing for both of you, but you have to work up to those conversations. It takes a little practice. It sounds like this is your chance to do that.
[00:25:42] But Jordan, I do wonder what he's going to find out there. Like maybe he has a blast and realizes that doing the no-pants dance with half the girls in his dorm is exactly what he needed right now. But he might also do that for four or five months and then realize, you know, how rare it is to find a girl you're into and you want to be great friends with, and you have this deeper connection with — I mean, it's not like that comes along every day either.
[00:26:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That might be what. This girl does sound like a pretty good fit, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't get out there a little bit. He probably just needs to get some more data on the options if you know what I'm saying. Then if they get back together in six months or a year, he'll feel more secure because then he will already know what's out there.
[00:26:20] So I say drink from the proverbial fire hose here, man. Live it up. Listen to your instinct. But also do right by your girlfriend, by communicating with her fairly, thoughtfully. It'll be hard, but it doesn't have to be devastating. And also try to have a little faith in her ability to respect your needs too.
[00:26:39] Also, there are a couple of articles I wrote that I want you to check out. One of them is about how to say no, after you've already said, yes. That's really going to help you right now for obvious reasons. And the other one is about how to deliver bad news without being the bad guy. We'll link to both of those articles in the show notes for you.
[00:26:58] Good luck man, and yeah, make sure you wrap it.
[00:27:01] You know who will always take you back even after you get it in all over town? The amazing sponsors that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:27:12] This episode is sponsored in part by Progressive insurance. Let's face it. Sometimes multitasking can be overwhelming. Like when your favorite podcast is playing, the person next to you is talking, and your car fan is blasting, all while you're trying to find that perfect parking spot. But then again, sometimes multitasking is easy, like quoting with Progressive insurance. They do the hard work of comparing rates. So you can find a great rate that works for you, even if it's not with them, give their comparison tool a try. And you might find that getting the rate and coverage you deserve is easy. All you need to do is visit Progressive's website to get a quote with all the coverages you want, like comprehensive and collision coverage or personal injury protection. Then you'll see Progressive's direct rate and their tool will provide options from other companies all lined up and ready to compare. So it's simple to choose the rate and coverages you like, press play on comparing auto rates, quote at progressive.com to join the over 27 million drivers who trust Progressive.
[00:28:00] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. Comparison rates, not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[00:28:07] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Nissan. The future will be great, but today is just as incredible. Meet Nissan's most advanced lineup. If you can't get enough adrenaline, there's the all-new 400 HP Nissan Z, or for your off-road adventures, check out the all-terrain Nissan Frontier. If you're a more of a spontaneous road trip type of person hop in the Nissan Pathfinder. So let's enjoy the ride.
[00:28:26] Jen Harbinger: 2023 Ariya and Z, not yet available for purchase. Expected availability this spring for 2023 Z and this fall for 2023 Ariya.
[00:28:34] Jordan Harbinger: Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:28:37] All right, what's next?
[00:28:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, about six weeks ago, I went to a routine prenatal appointment and found out that my baby didn't have a heartbeat and it stopped growing a few weeks before. I chose to get a D&C instead of miscarrying naturally.
[00:28:51] Jordan Harbinger: Just to jump in here, for anybody who doesn't know what a D&C is, it's basically a procedure to remove tissue from the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion. So I just wanted to clear that up for anyone not familiar with the term.
[00:29:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Since then, I've been in the ER three times due to the rare complications from the procedure. The complications are still happening and my doctor doesn't know why. Also something bad has happened every week since then. My kids and husband were extremely sick. I developed bronchitis, my dog nearly died and had to have surgery. And my five-year-old son had a seizure for the first time. I'm now having frequent anxiety attacks and once had a full-blown panic attack. Every time something happens, I think that life is going to turn around, but then something else happens. I feel like I can't let my guard down and it's starting to affect my work. I own a couple of businesses and I've been slow to get back to clients. I'm afraid I'm going to start losing them and ruined my reputation. I've also been told that I need to grieve my baby, but I don't know how. I come from a family that buries things deep down and just moves on. So how do I grieve? What does that even mean? And how do I get out of my constant state of fight or flight? Signed, The Muddled Mourner.
[00:30:02] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man. I'm so sorry that you had a miscarriage. I understand how heartbreaking that can be, but then to have complications afterward, not getting any real answers from your doctor, and then to also be dealing with all of these other health challenges in your family, almost losing your dog, developing anxiety, feeling like it's affecting your business — you've just been through a lot here, my friend. There's no simple answer to any of these. What you are going through is very difficult and extremely scary. I'm sure. And I'm just very sorry that all of this is happening at once life, man.
[00:30:37] We wanted to talk to an expert about your situation. So we reached out to Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist and friend of the show. And the first thing that Dr. Margolis said was that there's actually no right or wrong way to grieve. The morning process, it's unique to every person. I'm getting the sense that you want a sort of manual for feeling your feelings. Like, "Follow these 10 steps to having an emotion, and then you'll be done," which makes sense if you come from a family that buries everything deep down and just moves on, like you said, but unfortunately that is not how emotions work. This is a process and it is very personal. It depends on your upbringing, what you've been through in your life, what else is going on now. I know that's probably a bummer to hear, but the key you are looking for, it's just not a paint by numbers thing.
[00:31:26] So Dr. Margolis' question was, are you able to feel your feelings in the first place? Can you recognize them when they come up? Can you acknowledge and observe them even a little bit? Or do you find yourself going, "Oh no. I'm feeling a wave of something unpleasant, better push that away or distract myself with work before it gets to be too much." If you can feel those things, sadness, anger, fear, whatever it is, then the best thing you can do is get out of your own way and let them run their course. If you can't feel those feelings, then that is your main obstacle to grieving right there. And your best bet is to get more in touch with them.
[00:32:04] And Dr. Margolis has shared a few good practices to do just that. One of them is just noticing your body in a difficult moment. Like when you feel a wave of sadness or anger creep up, do you clench your jaw? Do your shoulders tense? Does your stomach hurt? That's an important first step, just feeling the sensation in your body. Or maybe you notice that there are certain behaviors you engage in when an emotion creeps up. For example, in a lot of people, when they even get a hint of an unpleasant feeling, they immediately distract themselves. Like I said, work, maybe it's cleaning. Some folks, that's alcohol, television, social media. It could be anything.
[00:32:42] So if you notice that you're, I don't know, filling every minute of your calendar every single day. See if that might be a way to avoid being with yourself. Also journaling is another great practice. I know it's kind of cheesy, but it really does help bring things to light. And it might also give you a measure of insight and control. Meditation, mindfulness, those are great too, but ultimately these are all getting at the same thing, which is feel the feels.
[00:33:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Feel the feels, the only way out is through. The more you put this off, I do think the harder it's going to be to process all of these very intense life events. But as Dr. Margolis pointed out, not giving your feelings more airtime, that could also be part of the anxiety attacks that you're experiencing too. It's possible that the anxiety is just one more symptom — if that's the right word — of this not feeling the feelings stay. As Dr. Margolis explained to us, if you don't allow yourself to move through these emotions — or maybe another way of thinking about it is letting them move through you — they will find a way on their own.
[00:33:41] And yes, there's a lot going on in your life right now. You have been through some objectively traumatic stuff, and that can obviously contribute to anxiety, but if you suppress the feelings around these losses or these injuries, they could be finding expression through these anxiety attacks. We talk about this a lot on Feedback Friday, how feelings have to go somewhere. It's like the metaphor of the air being pushed around the balloon — we talked about that before. That could be what's happening here.
[00:34:06] There are also a ton of resources out there that would be so great for you right now. One of them is support groups for pregnancy loss. So many people go through this. Support groups can be an instrumental way of dealing with a loss like this. A grief hotline if you ever feel like you need to do. Books about mourning, I think those will make you feel much less alone right now. We're going to link to all of those for you in the show notes, including a list of books about miscarriage specifically. This is something that doesn't get talked about as much as it should, given how frequently it happens and these books, they really do sound wonderful. I think there'll be super helpful for you right now.
[00:34:38] Jordan Harbinger: You know, when we talked to Dr. Margolis, she shared something really insightful, which is, she often thinks of grief as having three parts. There's grief for the past — what you lost, what you used to have like this pregnancy, certain aspects of your health. There's grief for the present, which is what you're feeling right now, how that's impacting your life today. And then there's grief weirdly enough for the future, so the ideas and plans you had for life that are just not turning out the way that you thought they would. And so giving these feelings more airtime, that's also about acknowledging all of these different forms of grief too. And it's possible that the grief won't go away completely and that's okay. That's normal.
[00:35:18] If you have a day where the sadness or the anger are especially intense, that doesn't mean you've done something wrong. It doesn't mean you're back to square one. It just means that this is a particularly painful moment and this moment will pass if you let the grief move through you. Over time, the idea is to find a new relationship with that grief, a new lens on it, and hopefully finding that the grief makes you more grateful, present, alive.
[00:35:45] Also, I just have to say, try and give yourself a little grace here. This miscarriage just happened six weeks ago. This is still very new. Also Dr. Margolis reminded us that pregnancy can do a number on your hormones, not sure if you noticed, right? Which might make everything you're going through right now, even more intense. So give yourself a bit of a break here too. And some patients that's part of the process too.
[00:36:08] So bottom line, feel the feelings that's your job right now, get the support you need. Those resources we shared are a really good starting point and I highly recommend going to therapy if you're not already there. And a good therapist will help you determine what your patterns are around emotions, slow that process down so you can realize when you're feeling a feeling, and then dig into them with you so that you can work through these challenges together. And also they'll help you build a tool kit for yourself to handle challenges like these in the future. Because as we all know, life will always throw us another curveball. That is just how it works.
[00:36:45] So hang in there, you've got this sending you a really big hug and all of our confidence for making it through to the other side.
[00:36:52] All right. Next up.
[00:36:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe, I started a new job this year, helping run a large project. For the first six months, it was hard, but things went well. My manager was collaborative and I got great feedback and visibility. Unfortunately, he resigned unexpectedly and was replaced with someone who had little previous experience. This new manager's lack of experience makes my job 10 times harder as I try to cover both his job and mine. While I'm working nights and weekends to keep things from falling apart, he does all the reporting to leadership about how well things are going and what we are doing, but he never gives credit to anyone else. He's actually taken credit for other people's ideas. And he swept negative feedback about his work under the rug. Because his bosses are not deeply involved in the project and he's been at the company a long time, he's managed to maintain a great reputation. I've tried giving my manager feedback directly, but he's not been receptive. I've also tried networking to get more influence in the company, but it's mostly an old boys club of people who have been there for decades. I'm new and I'm the only female person of color at my level, and my perspective tends to challenge their traditional way of doing. I now have a meeting with this manager's managers soon because the project has started going sideways. What can I do to help my career and this project without killing myself with more work? Should I be honest about my assessment or will that make me look like a complainer? Should I just keep my issues with this guy to myself and highlight my work, knowing that he'll quickly overwrite that message? And assuming I stick it out, what would you advise? Signed, Eclipsed Losing My Grip, But Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip on This Sinking Ship.
[00:38:28] Jordan Harbinger: Well, this is certainly frustrating. Typical corporate BS getting in the way of a project and the recognition that you deserve — I got to say, I really admire that you tried to give this guy feedback directly. That takes courage and was definitely the right thing to do. It really does suck that he wasn't receptive, not surprising, I would say, but the one upside is that you tried to do this the right way and now you can consider other options.
[00:38:52] Once again, we wanted an expert's opinion on your question. So we reached out to the awesome Alisa Cohn. Alisa is a startup coach and investor and author of the book, From Start-Up to Grown-Up. And she confirmed it, yes, it sounds like you have a legit toxic manager and that's a real challenge.
[00:39:08] So the first thing Alisa wanted to do was dig a little deeper into this problem that you're having, she wanted to know is the issue with your new manager, his lack of experience, or simply that he's a political manager, the kind who kicks down and kisses up. Also given that you're new and the only woman of color at your level, Alisa wondered if this is an issue your manager has with you specifically, or if he's just like this with everyone? Alisa's advice, get some more insight there, schedule a few coffee chats, either virtually or in person and connect with some of your peers.
[00:39:41] These conversations. They're not just opportunities to complain about your manager, as tempting as that might be. There's a chance to get your colleagues' take on this guy. Alisa's approach would be to start off by catching up. You know, small talk, ask them how they're doing, how they think they're part of the project is going, stuff like that, feeling them out of it. Then ask them how they're doing with this manager. And if they're like, "Ugh, Roger, he's the worst. He ignores all my good ideas. He took credit for my entire pitch deck." Then you'll know it's not just you. But if they say, "Oh, actually Roger's all right. I kind of like working with that guy." Then Alisa said to probe for more details.
[00:40:15] For example, how do they communicate with them? How do they get help from him when it's needed? How do they make sure their contributions get showcased? If you feel comfortable, you could even ask your peers. If they have advice for you about how to navigate this guy, you know, crowdsource some new ideas about how to deal with him, that'll work better for you. If you find out that Roger's this way with everyone, then Alisa said, maybe you and your teammates can put your heads together, come up with some ways to manage him better, get more exposure to leadership, get more resources. You're relatively new at this place, but maybe some of your colleagues who've been there longer have some ideas on how to work the system a little bit better.
[00:40:53] As for the whole boys club thing, trying to gain influence when you're different from people at the top, well, we asked Alisa about that too, and her idea was to pursue your networking in a very different way, at least as a starting point. Alisa recommends meeting your fellow employees at all levels and cross-functionally one-on-one or in small groups, kind of like the coffee chats that we just mentioned. Get to know them personally, find out who their families are at home with them, their hobbies, personal goals, professional goals, brainstorm how you can help them. Show them that you can.
[00:41:25] Alisa's opinion— and I totally agree with her — is that that is the best networking — getting to know the human being in front of you, showing that you want to help, showcasing your own humanity. Just for a moment, hit pause on challenging the status quo. And instead get curious about how your colleagues do things, the history of why they do it that way. In Alisa's experience, that'll help you build relationships and context, both of which you need to address the situation that you're in. Kind of like the teacher at the crazy TikTok school, right? Build up some capital and perspective before you try to change things.
[00:42:02] Now, I know you have this meeting coming up with your manager's manager and you'll obviously want to handle this conversation with care. So Alisa's advice, first of all, find common ground with this guy personally. As Alisa put it to us, everyone wants to be treated as a human being. Then talk with him about his goals for the project and connect the work you're doing with those goals. If nothing else, Alisa said, that'll give you more insight about him and subtly showcase your work. That's a much more elegant way of saying, "Here's what I have personally done to make this project successful," without actually having to say that. Then ask him for the best way to stay connected during the project and not have all the communication go through your manager. Maybe you have a one-on-one with him personally every month. Maybe you send him a status update on your own once a week, where you highlight your contributions, your goals, your wins, whatever it is.
[00:42:55] And finally, Alisa said, you can raise the topic of your manager, but you got to be very thoughtful about how you do that. If you feel like you've built some rapport with this guy, you could say, "You know, Roger might not be aware of how much time I'm putting in," or, "I'm not sure he always knows the best way to support me in my work. Do you have any ideas for me?" And Alisa pointed out that if you frame your complaints as requests for advice, you might make more progress, which is actually a brilliant principle for handling conflict at work, in general.
[00:43:27] So look, this situation, you find yourself in it's nuanced for sure, but in Alisa's view, the best way to be happy at a job is to have freedom. And the best way to build freedom is to have options. So her advice, save up some money, create financial independence, and keep building your network. And this way, if you ever find yourself just at the end of your rope, you can make one phone call and find a better job. No shame in that. Sometimes that is the best move. Again, just like the teacher from the earlier question, but also having another job offer or two on deck that is always a smart insurance policy, a great bargaining chip. And it'll give you a little psychic freedom knowing that you're not stuck.
[00:44:09] We're also going to link to Alisa's book and her podcast, From Start-Up to Grown-Up. That'll be in the show notes along with her five scripts for delicate conversations PDF. I highly recommend that stuff. Good luck, my friend. I know you're going to crack this.
[00:44:21] Hope y'all enjoyed the show. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week. And of course, everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Ken Croke, two-parter undercover with the Pagans' Motorcycle Club if you haven't yet. It is a bonkers couple of episodes.
[00:44:35] If you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing folks on the show, it's always about my network and I'm teaching you how to build your network, usually for use in your professional field and less so to network with undercover cops who have infiltrated biker gangs. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. It's over on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't kick the can down the road, do it right now. You got to dig that well before you get thirsty, just as I recommended there in the previous answer. You got to build those relationships before you need them, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:45:08] A link to the show notes for the episode is at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:45:22] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions, those are our own, and yeah, I'm a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Corbin Payne.
[00:45:41] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It is intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate and establish a clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance.
[00:45:54] Big thanks to Alisa Cohn for her wisdom and experience.
[00:45:56] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that 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.
[00:46:14] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with one of the most recognizable names in journalism.
[00:46:19] Anderson Cooper: My great, great, great grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made two fortunes, one based on steamships, one on railroads — you know, he died with a hundred million dollars, which in 1877 meant that he controlled one out of every $20 in circulation. Nobody could believe it. My mom was Gloria Vanderbilt and she inherited a couple of million dollars in 1941.
[00:46:42] My mom drank and my brother ended up jumping off our balcony in front of my mom when he was 23 and I was 21. The next day, my mom and I went to the funeral home to view his body. And there were reporters waiting outside the funeral home to get video of us going in. And I remember in that moment, sort of hating the camera people who were doing that. I do know what it's like to be on the other end of the lens. And I don't want to make somebody else feel it.
[00:47:07] I couldn't get a job at ABC or CBS. I thought my very nascent career in broadcasting was never going to get started. The director kindly made me a laminated press card, which was totally made up. And I borrowed one of their cameras, a small little camera, ended up just spending the next two or three years, going to a war zones and disasters.
[00:47:27] You never know exactly how people are going to react to something. You know, we all think, "Oh, well, you know, if I was there, this is what I would do." You can intellectually think, you know who you are, but I'm telling you when the lights go out and there's no air condition and it's really freaking hot and you don't have food and there's crazy stuff going on around you, you become a different person very, very quickly.
[00:47:50] Sometimes you become the person that you never thought you'd be. You become a superhero and you risk your own life to help other people. Some of the people who thought they would be the heroes and up punching women in the face in order to scale a wall to get to safety. You don't know who you are until everything is at jeopardy.
[00:48:10] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more from Anderson Cooper about traveling through war zones and how he got his start in broadcast journalism without relying on family connections, check out episode 584 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.