Sexually abused by your own brother at a young age, and aware of your own proclivities to possibly abuse others younger than yourself, you wonder if seeking therapy to alleviate how you feel might get you in trouble if you ever sought security clearance for a government job. What should you do? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Will seeking therapy for your own issues related to being sexually abused as a child result in denial of security clearance for a government job? [Thanks to Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Confronting America’s Silent Epidemic author Brad Watts for helping us with this heavy one!]
- Multiple rounds of job interviews — with zero results — have taken their toll on your mental health. How can you remain rageless when the machine treats you like a soulless cog?
- Is it wrong to cut off your dying, constantly complaining BPD dad when his apologies for being a terrible parent are conditional upon accepting that your mother wasn’t a saint?
- You’ve booked a one-way ticket abroad in hopes of finding respite from your relationship dry spell. Is there a better way to get past your insecurities and put yourself out there?
- Is booking that childhood dream destination for your honeymoon worth the trouble, or should you just go somewhere safe and scenic?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- 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!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Nissan: Find out more at nissanusa.com or your local Nissan dealer
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- Hyundai: Find out how Hyundai can positively charge your life at hyundai.com
- Mea Culpa: Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts!
Resources from This Episode:
- Ouija Boards | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Forrest Galante | A Wild Life of Rediscovery | Jordan Harbinger
- Marina Nemat | Surviving Inside an Iranian Prison | Jordan Harbinger
- Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Confronting America’s Silent Epidemic by Brad Watts | Amazon
- Brad Watts | Website
- Confronting & Healing Sibling Sexual Trauma | 5 WAVES
- Real People. Real Pain. Real Hope. | Sibling Sexual Trauma
- Tragedy, Impact, and Intent | Sibling Sexual Trauma
- Seeking Reconciliation After Abusing a Relation | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Should I Relive the Drama of Childhood Trauma? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Already Dreading Your Abusive Brother’s Wedding | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Rachael Denhollander | What Is a Girl Worth? | Jordan Harbinger
- Level up Your Team’s Productivity | TextExpander
- Fella Fretting from Furtive Front Seat Fellatio | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- I Can’t Find a Job No Matter What I Try. What Can I Do to Get One? | Quora
- Narcissist’s Antics Make Parents Go Frantic | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Where on Earth Is Sibling Abducted at Birth? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Finding Work Fast with a Criminal Past | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Jane McGonigal | Gaming Your Way to Health and Happiness | Jordan Harbinger
- The Sunny Side of Life | Visit Maldives
800: Can Therapy Wreck a Background Check? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Nissan for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback. Friday producer, a guy I can only really describe as emotional ChatGPT, Gabriel Mizrahi — in a good way, of course, you know it's so lifelike.
[00:00:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:00:24] Jordan Harbinger: 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.
[00:00:49] 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 really incredible people, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week, we had Forrest Galante who travels across, well, the whole crazy world in some of the most dangerous places, looking for species that are extinct. He grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe and just really is a wild and crazy fun guy. That was a really fun episode. We're definitely going to do another one. And Marina Nemat, who escaped from Iran after being imprisoned as a teenager. Some pretty harrowing tales there, so definitely go back and check out those two episodes if you haven't had a chance to do so yet. So make sure you had a look and a listen to everything we created for you here this week.
[00:01:31] Gabe, just got to stop and acknowledge. This is episode 800 of The Jordan Harbinger Show, man.
[00:01:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Episode 800. It sure is. How cool is that?
[00:01:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I'm celebrating with a head cold, as you all can tell. It's funny because I don't really think about the total number of episodes when we're just doing our thing every week. But every now and again, I step back, someone will be like, "What episode?" "Oh, that was a thing back in episode 740." And I'm like, wow, that's a lot.
[00:01:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:01:56] Jordan Harbinger: We've done, we've been here for a minute.
[00:01:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, these episodes stack up, don't they? A thousand isn't that far away, which is crazy.
[00:02:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I know. That will be a big milestone. We'll celebrate that when the time comes. For now, I just wanted to recognize this pretty damn cool milestone. I think on the last show that I did, I was in the 500s or the 600s after literally a decade, and here we are at 800 after five years.
[00:02:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love it.
[00:02:20] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, proud of us, proud of the team. Thank you all for listening especially and making it possible for us to get to this point. We love you. We're excited to keep bringing you these interviews and life, life drams from perfect strangers on the Internet.
[00:02:33] Speaking of which, we got some fun ones, and guess what? We have some doozies. So Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: So just a heads up that the first question today is a little intense. It deals with sexual abuse and pornography, so just keep that in mind before you listen.
[00:02:47] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh. All right. I mean, ooh.
[00:02:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:02:50] Jordan Harbinger: All right.
[00:02:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a different ooh.
[00:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, yeah.
[00:02:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 23-year-old male, and at a young age, I was molested by my brother, who is three years older than me. I don't really remember what happened, and I can't remember whether I was forced to do anything. I hadn't really thought about it until a few years ago. The only person I've talked about it with besides my fiancée was my father, and he said that I should confront my brother. I keep making excuses for why I shouldn't talk to my brother about this. Mostly because he'll probably get very angry and deny it, and it's just scary to think about. I want to go to a therapist, but I'm afraid to because I'm sexually attracted to girls who are younger than me. I would never act on these urges because I know that they are wrong, but when I was younger, I did some Internet searches on the dark web that I am not proud of. I thought it was okay because I wasn't hurting anyone. But your podcast about human trafficking saved me. Still, I feel like a monster. I would never hurt anyone or make anyone go through what I had to. I just don't know who to turn to to fix myself. The other problem is I want to get a security clearance one day because I'm in the tech field, but I feel like I ruin my chances. I'm afraid that if I talk to someone, my brother or I will be put on a list and I don't want that to happen. What should I do? Signed, Unloading This Freight Car While Staying Off the Radar.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man. Well, first of all, I'm so sorry for what you've been through. You are not the first person to write in about experiencing sibling sexual abuse and stories like yours are very painful. They're very confusing, and my heart goes out to you. I can hear how much this experience has impacted you and how much it's showing up in your life now. I have to say though, I really admire your vulnerability and self-awareness in writing in. This is not easy to talk about as you know.
[00:04:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:04:42] Jordan Harbinger: And that can make it hard to get the support that you need. I also just want to say the fact that you have this attraction towards younger women, but you're not acting on it, that you feel like a monster, which I'm pretty sure you're not, that you'd never heard anyone or make them go through what you went through and that you want help. What I'm hearing in your letter is a great deal of empathy and humility, and that gives me a lot of hope for you.
[00:05:05] We wanted to run your story by an expert. So we reached out to Brad Watts, a licensed professional counselor, and Brad specializes in working with families where sibling sexual abuse has occurred. He's also the author of the book, Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Confronting America's Silent Epidemic, which is a terrifying title, and Brad had the same reaction we did that he really admired your courage, both in writing to us and in telling your father what happened to you. And he liked your father's response, believing you, suggesting that you confront your brother. Brad was also heartened that you told your fiancée as well. In Brad's words, it was really important that you told those closest to you instead of just carrying this burden all alone and in silence from the stories that we've heard, that really does make it so much harder to work through a wound like this.
[00:05:52] Brad also said that you're absolutely right. Confronting your brother must be extremely scary and difficult to think about. Because in many, many cases of sibling sexual abuse, the response that survivors get is denial. And many people who commit this kind of abuse, they often try to shame survivors into guilt, into silence. But as Brad explained to us, the research actually shows that for survivors, particularly adult survivors, when they confront their abusers, that can be an extremely liberating event. Not just because they're believed or supported, because like Brad said, many victims are sadly met with denial and anger, but because they don't have to carry the secret anymore, and that one shift is very, very powerful.
[00:06:36] As for being attracted to girls who are, as you said, younger than you, Brad's experience — this concerned me, concerned Gabriel, concerned everybody, concerns you. I mean, you wrote about it. Brad's experience is actually that the pathways to being attracted to minors or younger women, in general, that can be unique to the individual. In his view, that urge is probably tied to the stuff you viewed on the dark web, particularly if you were masturbating to that content, which probably creates a sort of associated conditioning. It's not necessarily informed by the abuse you experienced in case that was something you were worried about. So you're not necessarily a child predator because of abuse that you've experienced. I just want to underline that.
[00:07:18] So Brad's unequivocal recommendation in situations like yours, absolutely, go see a therapist who's trained in these issues. That's a must. He's seen amazing things happen with patients. There are therapies out there that can help you. You're not going to be judged or looked down on in some way anyway. This is exactly what this kind of therapy is for. There are tons of people out there who struggle with these urges, who will not act on them. And going to a therapist can really help you unpack them, explore them, resolve them with a professional because Brad had the same opinion as us. You're definitely not a monster. To quote him here, the human brain is amazing, particularly at your age, and he feels that if you find a therapist who's trained in these kinds of issues, that's kind of key here. You could see some great improvements. In fact, Brad has actually seen this kind of success in his own clinical work. So he knows it's possible. It's not just speculation.
[00:08:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: So encouraging and absolutely where he needs to be. And I know you're concerned about the possibility of being reported or being put on some kind of list. So we asked Brad about that and he said that there's nothing here that a therapist would be mandated to disclose. You are legal adult. So a therapist would really only report your brother's abuse according to him if you ask them to report. And all the details that you would share with this person would remain strictly confidential. And talking about this with a therapist, Brad said that would in no way jeopardize your ability to get a security clearance, which is great news. I hope that puts you at ease there. It should not be an obstacle to getting the help you need.
[00:08:46] And by the way, just to make you feel even better about this, I know several people with security clearances and look, they are not all angels or perfect pictures of mental health. They struggle with their own stuff. They go to therapy, they talk about their issues. Some are in recovery. I mean the tech world and Washington DC and you know, these fears where you need these clearances, not exactly bastions of mental wellness, you know what I mean? So I'm not saying that you might not get some questions or that they'll look at you closely and make sure that you're not like a terrorist or there's something else going on. But having issues in your personal life and working through them, that is not an obstacle to getting a security clearance.
[00:09:22] So trust me, if talking to a therapist who's required by law to keep things confidential unless you're actively hurting yourself or hurting somebody else, if that could compromise your ability to get a good job and look at classified material, the intelligence world would probably grind to a halt.
[00:09:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I can confirm. You do not need to be a complete angel to have a security clearance. Unfortunately, some of the rules around this are really dumb. A friend of mine growing up went to law school, blue blood, kind of American dude smoked pot like 10 times in college. And so his FBI application wasn't going well and he eventually pulled it and gave up.
[00:09:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:59] Jordan Harbinger: That said, I think they're a little bit more flexible on some of this stuff now, and frankly, they need people. So I would imagine it's even easier now. They might put you through the wringer a little bit in the interviews, but there's no way, no way that they have some kind of back channel with your therapist. And based on Brad's opinion, your shrink not going to report you criminally for this. You're not committing any crimes. They're only going to help you. That is the point.
[00:10:22] I hope that gives you a way forward here. I really admire your courage. Brad does too, and I love that you have the support of the people you're close to as you work through something this complicated. You've done so much of the hard part, telling your dad, telling your fiancée, writing to us. That's a big deal. Now, it's time to turn to somebody who can really help you work through all this and heal. So, don't let these fears get in the way. Find a good therapist, ideally, one with experience treating abuse, especially sibling sexual abuse, and start talking. I know that one decision will be a massive step forward for you and it'll probably change the course of your life.
[00:10:57] We're also going to link to a bunch of great resources for you, some articles for survivors of sibling sexual trauma, as well as a few Feedback Friday episodes and interviews that will give you some more perspective here. Those will be in the show notes. Highly recommend checking all of those out. And a big thank you to Brad Watts for his wisdom and insight here. Check out Brad's book, Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Confronting America's Silent Epidemic. Again, terrifying title. We're going to link to that in the show notes as well, along with his website and Twitter. I would just add that book to your reading list. That's going to be a great guide for you too. Sending you a big hug and our best thoughts.
[00:11:30] You know what else is on the web that's sure to get you aroused, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:11:40] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. If you're going through a tough time, you're not alone. In fact, join the club. I've been there. We've all been there. If you're feeling depressed, getting out of the house to see a therapist can feel downright impossible. You just feel heavy. Can't get out of bed. I get it. Therapy is one of the best things you can do for yourself, depressed or not, and Better Help is a great option. You can do chat, phone, video sessions. For me, I just have an easier time opening up when I'm in the comfort of my own home, maybe out for a walk. I don't want to be in some strange part of town, in some strange office on some strange couch. I don't like that. Therapy is vulnerable work. Better Help understands. You're not going to mesh with everyone. You can switch therapists whenever you want. I've done that as well. It doesn't cost any extra money to do that, and you don't even need to notify the therapist if you don't feel comfortable. Look, that's great news for all you conflict avoidant people. In fact, it might want to talk to your therapist about that too. Better Help even has group therapy sessions so you're among people experiencing similar issues. Check out Better Help's 94,000-plus reviews on the iPhone app if you're still skeptical. And if you're on the fence, take this as a sign to go and try it out.
[00:12:40] Jen Harbinger: If you want to live a more empowered life, therapy can get you there. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:12:51] Jordan Harbinger: This episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show is brought to you by Nissan. As a pioneer in the electric vehicle space, Nissan is always looking for ways to deliver new, meaningful technology to EV owners. After all, Nissan has been making EVs since 1947 and their EVs have now traveled eight billion miles by Nissan LEAF owners since 2010, eight billion miles. That's the equivalent of driving to Pluto and back. I guess it, I don't know, doesn't matter if it's a planet, maybe when we're doing this. Think that's electrifying? One of their EVs tracked all the way to the North Pole, and Nissan even tests their EV technology on the Formula E racetrack. But Nissan knows you can't get an EV just for the E. You get a Nissan EV because it makes you feel electric, because it sparks your imagination. It ignites something within you. It pins you to your seat, takes your breath away. At least that's what Nissan thinks about when they're designing their EVs, like the Nissan ARIYA and the Nissan LEAF. It's about creating a thrilling design that electrifies its customers. I like Nissan's focus on creating a thrilling drive and electrifying life. In today's world, it's so important to look around you, pay attention, look for all the tiny ways that life can electrify you. For me, that's reading an audiobook outside and preparing for this show. Nissan EVs that electrify.
[00:13:56] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps the lights on around here. All the deals, all the discount codes, all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also use the AI chatbot on the website to find any promo code on the show. Consider supporting those who support us.
[00:14:12] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:14:16] All right, what's next?
[00:14:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, I'm currently seeking a new job and have been actively interviewing for some exciting work. At the first company I interviewed with, I went through three rounds of interviews. At the end of the interview, I asked what the next steps were and I was told I would hear something by the end of the week. The week after having heard nothing, I sent a note to the recruiters, crickets. I tried to reach out to the recruiter one more time the following week, louder crickets. At the second company, I went through three rounds and was told I made it to the final round. One hour before that interview, I received a note that they had hired someone. It felt like a punch to the gut. The third company, I went through two rounds and was told that I would be contacted soon to schedule the next round. You guessed it, crickets. I emailed a few times, no response. I'm currently in talks with company number four having completed the final round. I am literally having panic attacks that this will happen again. It has been agonizing. I don't understand why recruiters can't just tell me the truth. Do they not care that I'm a human being who's invested hours in these interviews? How can this be standard operating procedure? I'm tempted to write them emails, blasting their behavior, but I'm worried about any backlash. Is this the new normal or am I doing something wrong? Signed, Haunted, Daunted, and Feeling Unwanted.
[00:15:37] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yeah, you're angry. I get it. The job hunting process is so draining, so all consuming. And then to go through round after round of interviews and then just be ghosted, that's really frustrating.
[00:15:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:15:49] Jordan Harbinger: I would be just as annoyed and hurt by this if I were you.
[00:15:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:15:54] Jordan Harbinger: In my opinion, this is just not cool behavior. Recruiters should be much more thoughtful about how they communicate with candidates just as a matter of basic respect, but also it just doesn't reflect well on them in the market, and I can absolutely appreciate why this is messing with your head a little bit.
[00:16:08] So, all right, I have some thoughts. First of all, yes, you are 100 percent right. These recruiters should be keeping their word, communicating with you more openly, but this is apparently how the game works. And unfortunately, you are going to have to make peace with that. But look, just to put things in perspective a bit, I'm 95 percent sure, these recruiters are ghosting you because, well, they're super busy, they're moving quickly. Their departments are a mess, because they always are and they're frankly dodging the discomfort of telling candidates that they didn't get the job. This does not excuse their behavior whatsoever. My feeling is that sharing bad news with candidates is literally part of their freaking job. But my point is they're probably doing this to protect themselves, not to hurt you. And that doesn't really change anything in many ways because it's still hurtful. But it might take a little bit of the sting off to remember that these people, they're really just dealing with their own dysfunction—
[00:17:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:04] Jordan Harbinger: —their own limitations. And yes, you pay the price for that, but it's not necessarily aimed at you if that distinction makes any sense. So, no, I would definitely not write them an email blasting their behavior, although I completely understand the impulse. And we edited out my own rant in this show about my experience with HR that was inappropriate to share in public. But this is something you just have to accept and work through on your own. So that's my first thought. I think you need to let this roll off your back as much as you can because I think what's happening is you get ghosted by one of these recruiters, right? And then you're left not only with the rejection, but the not-knowing why you don't have closure. It's like getting dumped and you just don't understand.
[00:17:46] In the absence of more information, your mind starts telling a story, a story about why they rejected you. And maybe you start to ruminate about all the things you did wrong or where you kind of maybe came up short, or why they decided you weren't even worth a phone call or an email. And that story can take a real toll on your confidence. It can make you very paranoid and all of that, totally normal, but part of your job is catching that story as it develops. And when you do, telling yourself, "Okay, I'm spinning out here a little bit. I'm filling in gaps in a way that might not be totally accurate. I'm projecting myself into the future where this same thing happens again and again, even though I don't know for sure that that's going to happen. Let me hit pause. Let me stop that process before it tanks me," which is a form of meditation really, just noticing these thoughts and not investing them with too much meaning.
[00:18:38] Because the other thing is you have to decide where you want to spend your freaking energy man, especially as a candidate doing the job hunting. You can spend your energy getting angry and pissed off and obsessing about why these people ghost to do. Or you can spend that energy working on your skills, applying to new jobs, prepping for your next interview, allow yourself to get pissed for a second, but don't act on it and just move on. One of those things is going to move you closer to the job that's out there waiting for you. And the other is just going to keep you stuck in the past. And more importantly, it might make it harder to show up as your best self if you're going into the next interaction being like, "Oh, I hope this isn't one of those other stupid, lazy HR people, that sucks," right? You don't want to go—
[00:19:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Good point.
[00:19:17] Jordan Harbinger: —into any new interaction with that in the back of your head. So when you think about it like that, it's just a lot harder to let yourself obsess over these a-h*les who couldn't find 45 seconds to send you a dumb email from their Microsoft Word templates. They could have even used TextExpander over at textexpander.com/jordan and the program would've typed the damn email for them. But no, they just got to be selfish pricks and leave you twisted in the freaking wind. Not worth a second thought, in my opinion.
[00:19:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: The number of problems that would be solved by just using TextExpander—
[00:19:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: —is incredible. I love that software. So I love Jordan's take here. At the same time though, I think it's great that you're asking if you're doing something wrong here. I do think that's a very healthy mindset to have because ultimately if you're not getting the job, there must be some reason and maybe that reason is under your control, maybe it isn't, but it's absolutely worth considering. So what I want you to do is go back and listen to episode 765. It was question five on that episode where we talked to a young woman who was actually an aspiring recruiter, ironically enough, and wasn't getting any job offers. She's in a different boat from you, different life stage, different goals. But everything we talked about on that episode, especially around getting feedback from employers after an interview, that will apply to your situation as well. So we'll link to that in the show notes, I think that would be a great listen for you right now.
[00:20:36] And look, I know it can be hard to gather feedback from people who are literally ghosting you. This might take some doing, but there are lots of ways to figure out what you're doing well, what you could be doing better, where the disconnect might be if there is one. So make that a priority. Also, I think it's worth acknowledging that sometimes this is just a matter of luck. Right, Jordan? Like—
[00:20:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: —she could be crushing it in these interviews and it just so happens that there's somebody who has a little more experience or happens to know the hiring manager or just happen to have the right mix of skills for them at that moment. And she did nothing wrong. She just hasn't found her position yet. And that's just how it works.
[00:21:09] So if you do all of that, I have a feeling you're going to get a job offer pretty soon, because here's the great news. You are getting interviews and you're making it to the second, third, final round at a lot of these places. It's not like you've sent out 150 resumes and nobody's calling you back.
[00:21:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're obviously a strong candidate. You just need to figure out what's going on in that last 10 percent of the process. And that's not a bad thing. That's what every candidate needs to do. But let's not lose sight of the fact that this problem you have, it's a problem that only someone who's getting very close to achieving her goal can have. And if you're having it, it means that you're really close to cracking it. And with a few adjustments, I have a lot of confidence that you can.
[00:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Also, with job searches, a lot of the game is just pushing forward even when things really suck.
[00:21:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:21:54] Jordan Harbinger: Trusting that the right opportunity is going to come to you at the right time.
[00:21:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:21:58] Jordan Harbinger: You just never know when that is. You have to be patient and it's so annoying, but it's just part of the process. So keep showing up. I know you're going to be great, and one day when you're a high level executive at a company, maybe you can work with your HR department to implement policies that are kinder to candidates. And that'll be how you put this crappy ass chapter to good use. A benevolent use of your obscene corporate power, just one more thing to aspire to.
[00:22:22] Still really sucks how people do this, Gabriel. I think ghosting really shows a lack of character.
[00:22:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:22:28] Jordan Harbinger: It's not just a lack of conscientiousness. That's part of it for sure. It's like people who don't respond to your email, but open it because they're like, "Oh, I'd have to make a decision. Uh, delete." You know like I just want to punch those people directly in the face, but a lack of character because they're looking at that, they're like, "Oh, this guy came in twice for a job. Oh, he's going to feel really bad. You know what? I'm just going to delete this and go to brunch because I'm a piece of crap."
[00:22:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:22:51] Jordan Harbinger: How could you not be like, "Ugh, okay, he's sitting there. I know what this feeling is like. I'm just going to put him out of his misery because this poor guy, and it'll feel like a relief for me too." I am almost jealous of somebody who can just compartmentalize and be like, "Screw everyone else. Delete. You'll figure it out." Like how callous is that? And then they just go off to like prêt à manger and forget about it. Meanwhile, this guy is at home like reload, "Maybe my email server's not up — oh, nope, there's a note about my car warranty. Delete. No, all right, they're just ignoring me."
[00:23:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree. I do think it is an issue of character. I also wonder if maybe these people have zero idea what it's like to be on the other side of that table. I mean, they should know because they, obviously, had to interview to get the job that they got as a recruiter.
[00:23:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: So they shouldn't know, right? But I mean, if you are interviewing dozens or hundreds of people throughout the year, you're probably not thinking about it from their perspective. You're just sitting in your little position and it's like, "Ah, I'd rather not have to deal with this." But it's kind of like a breakdown of empathy and experience. It's like, dude—
[00:23:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: —when you are dealing with a candidate and you bring them in for more than one interview, you kind of form a relationship. It might not be the deepest relationship. You might not owe them a ton, but I do think you owe them some very basic respect and communication in virtue of the transaction that's happening.
[00:24:08] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. And I also think, yeah, oh, a breakdown in empathy. Cool. You're not a brain surgeon where that's an asset where you feel—
[00:24:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:24:15] Jordan Harbinger: —feeling bad for people, bad for business—
[00:24:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're literally in the people business.
[00:24:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right. You're literally in the people business and, oh, it's so unpleasant. Cool. Maybe you should be in a different line of work if you can't handle the basic requirements of this job, jag off.
[00:24:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed.
[00:24:28] Jordan Harbinger: Not that I'm still upset about Stephanie back from HR when I was a lawyer, not that I'm having flashbacks of this exact thing happening to me.
[00:24:37] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. 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 brother-in-law is blackmailing you for sexual favors? Still can't really believe some of the questions we get here. Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:25:05] All right, next up.
[00:25:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabriel. I'm a 27-year-old female who grew up with two older sisters and a younger brother. Now, that we're all older, we've all realized just how abusive and neglectful our parents were when we were growing up. We were also made to feel bad for causing our parents to be poor and unhappy throughout our childhood. So, I've always tried to be useful so as not to feel like an excessive burden on them. My therapist has helped me realize that I had a very co-dependent relationship with my parents. For example, they relied on me to do their finances and take care of the bills since I was 14 until last year when I finally set a boundary and stopped doing it. Also, two years ago, my parents separated and my sisters have understandably cut off contact with our parents entirely while my brother and I still speak to them. My mother is definitely a narcissist and I do not see a meaningful relationship with her moving forward, so I've begun to drastically limit my contact with her. Last year, my dad finally began therapy at age 50. He's been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. He's made some very positive and impactful changes in his life, which I applaud. He has somewhat acknowledged and apologized for being a crappy dad, although I feel like his apologies mostly put the blame on my mom and on how hard he had it managing his undiagnosed mental disorders while also working and raising children. Then, this past year, my dad was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that leaves him in quite a bit of pain and will likely lead to an early death in a few short years. All of this leaves him complaining constantly, and it weighs heavily on him that he isn't involved in the lives of my sisters and their children. I find myself being somewhat rude when he complains because I don't want to continue an unhealthy relationship without appropriate boundaries. It's really difficult for me to feel sympathy for him and to forgive him for his past actions. I feel like I'm coming across as a heartless jerk because I don't know how to respond in a way that respects my space and doesn't contribute to his victim mentality, which I find very draining. But then I also feel like it would put even more stress on my brother if I don't help him manage our parents, and I fear that he will be thrust into the caregiver role that I've been stuck in my whole life which I do not want for him. Is it wrong to cut off contact with my dad while he's having such a difficult time? Will I regret it when he dies in a few years? If I do want to be there for him, how do I go about it without stressing myself out and letting him take advantage of me? How would someone with a healthy relationship with their family handle this situation? Signed, Using All My Strength to Keep My Rants at Arm's Length.
[00:27:50] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, this is quite a family you have, quite a childhood to go through. There is so much going on here.
[00:27:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:27:56] Jordan Harbinger: I wish we had time to unpack every little nook and cranny, but suffice to say these are very difficult parents and growing up in this way obviously left a real mark on you and your siblings understandably so. I mean, two of them don't even talk to your parents anymore, which says a lot. And I can't really say that I blame them because, boy, your parents are complicated. That said, it sounds like you've done a ton of work to understand how your parents operated, what your relationship with them was all about, where to draw these crucial boundaries. The codependency/enmeshment, you're describing the detail about handling their finances from the time you were 14, that really stood out to me. That coupled with the one-two punch of being told from a young age that you were the reason they were poor and unhappy.
[00:28:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oof.
[00:28:40] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, man, that is a really just confusing message to receive.
[00:28:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Tell me about it. Way to make your child feel like both a problem and a solution.
[00:28:48] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, it's so sad. I mean, can you imagine telling your kid, "You are the reason we're broke and miserable, but also honey, can you pay the electric bill and balance the checkbook? Thank you. You're the best." I mean, geez, freaking—
[00:29:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:29:00] Jordan Harbinger: How you can do that to your own child is just beyond me.
[00:29:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:29:04] Jordan Harbinger: Sorry, I'm getting angry here because just, as a parent, I can't even wrap my head around that kind of parenting. I mean, Jayden's three and a half and I'm waiting until he's at least five before I make him manage the family finances.
[00:29:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Give him a couple more years to work up to that job. That's smart. Yeah. He's going to need to learn how to use an Abacus first.
[00:29:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's first grade stuff right there. I'm not a monster. Anyway, my point is I'm so impressed that our friend here has come this far. She sees these dynamics very clearly.
[00:29:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:29:33] Jordan Harbinger: She's drawn some excellent boundaries with her parents, which is so important. Very hard to do.
[00:29:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:29:37] Jordan Harbinger: She's still able to celebrate her dad's growth for what that's worth. She's doing a good job managing this narcissistic mother, and she's also looking out for her brother and what he needs. I mean, it's extraordinary. I don't mean to gas you up here, but you are killing the batsh*t crazy family game. This whole—
[00:29:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: —situation would be so much harder if you were not doing these things. And yet that doesn't change anything about what her parents have done to her and her siblings.
[00:30:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, it doesn't. And that's what's so sad to me about this story. We are talking about two people who have profound psychological issues, who really did a number on their kids from the sound of it. I mean, you look at people like that, Jordan, at least I can from the outside, this would obviously be harder if these were my parents, but you look at them and you go, "Well, sh*t, you didn't stand a chance. You guys are just kind of like out of your minds." And you know—
[00:30:27] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: —you can have some compassion for them on that level, but that doesn't change the fact that they should have done better and that you deserved better and that the next few years with your dad are, yeah, they're going to be pretty hard.
[00:30:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Exactly. Her parents get to grow older and eventually die. Not trying to be flippant, but her father's obviously declining. Okay. And all she's left with is her anger.
[00:30:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:48] Jordan Harbinger: That and the responsibility of caring for these people who essentially abused her.
[00:30:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, Jordan, this is a great example of what we talked about on our end-of-year episode a few years back, how some of the stories we hear are just not fixable, right? This woman can't go back and make her mom more empathic. She can't go back and make her dad go to therapy at 30 years old instead of 50 years old. She can't, you know, become 14 again and say, "Uh, no, I won't handle the bills because I'm a child and I have to be allowed to be a child. And you guys have to be the grownups."
[00:31:18] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Right. That's fixed, that's settled already.
[00:31:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: All she can do is figure out how to make sense of this anger now and move through the next few years in a way that feels as healthy and as fair as possible.
[00:31:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But what is healthy? What's fair? That's a hard question. I mean, fair to who?
[00:31:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:34] Jordan Harbinger: To herself, to her dying dad, to her brother, who might bear the brunt of the responsibility if she steps back.
[00:31:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:31:40] Jordan Harbinger: It's really confusing.
[00:31:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is very confusing. And so the first thing I want to say is tolerating that confusion and being willing to explore it and feel your way through this, that might be the biggest part of this process because I'm not sure that there is a right answer about how to care for a dying parent who mistreated you.
[00:31:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: This is an inherently ambiguous situation. And there's also no way to handle this chapter in a way that won't create some kind of problem somewhere else, whether it's with her mom, who might expect her to, you know, "Step up and do more because that's what I deserve," or whatever she would say. Or with her brother who might resent her for stepping back sometimes, or even a problem with herself, you know, for failing to live up to the role of the, quote-unquote, "perfect daughter" that her parents created for her from a very young age.
[00:32:27] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:32:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: This is life. No one in this situation is going to be entirely happy or satisfied 100 percent of the time, and she'll probably have to negotiate her involvement in her dad's affairs over and over again as she figures out what he needs and what she can realistically handle. So I think the North Star in this situation is, am I losing myself here? Am I propping up my dad at my own expense? Are my parents relying on me, which is appropriate to some degree, or are they taking advantage of me? When the answer to those questions is yes, then I think it's time to step back and reassess.
[00:33:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's a good point, but also I don't think caring for her father entirely falls to her.
[00:33:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: That is also a good point. Yes.
[00:33:08] Jordan Harbinger: There's all family here, right? I know mom and dad are divorced, but my feeling is that at least some of the responsibility for taking care of her father falls to her mother.
[00:33:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:33:17] Jordan Harbinger: And yes, she and her siblings or her brother, anyway, they can and maybe should support as needed, but mom can also be a key support here.
[00:33:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:25] Jordan Harbinger: Now, the burden that you're describing, it's really interesting. It's not logistical, it's emotional. Your dad is turning to you to complain about his relationship with your sisters. He's feeding this victim mentality as you call it. He's bringing things to you that are not really your responsibility. It's the whole handling the finances, codependency thing all over again.
[00:33:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:45] Jordan Harbinger: And it's really tough.
[00:33:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:33:46] Jordan Harbinger: Because the bind you're in, between protecting yourself and still being respectful to your dad, that is at the heart of drawing boundaries. We talk about this all the time. You draw a line, but sometimes the hardest part is bearing the feelings that get activated as a result of drawing that line. And in your case, those feelings are primarily guilt and anger, which is not uncommon. Again, guilt at, quote-unquote, "letting down your parents," even feeling like a bit of a monster which is so interesting because you are obviously not a monster. In fact, you're quite the opposite. You're a kind-feeling person who's saying, "Hey, this is my stuff and this is your stuff, and this is where I stop identifying with you."
[00:34:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:25] Jordan Harbinger: You're worried about being a heartless jerk. But I'm guessing that's because it was unthinkable to not cater to your parents every freaking need when you were younger, because that's a role they put you in, and then there's the anger about what they did to you and what they are still doing to you.
[00:34:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Absolutely. And I also wonder if there's another thing she's wrestling with here, which is much subtler, and it's this feeling of not being needed by them, which is kind of a paradox because I think on some level, all she wants is to not be needed by her parents in this way, right? But when you're raised to be so essential to your parents, when you derive a certain gratification from being so helpful and so effective, even when that role comes at a huge cost to you, like she said, she always tried to be useful so as not to feel like an excessive burden on them, which I just have to pause and say, that really breaks my heart.
[00:35:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, mine too. That really jumped out at me.
[00:35:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not the way it's supposed to work as a child, right? Quite the opposite.
[00:35:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You're not supposed to have to sing for your supper as a kid.
[00:35:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Definitely not. And feeling like you have to do that in order to secure your parents' love, or in her case, to reduce the feeling that she was a problem, which is man, even more tragic. That is a very difficult template to rewrite. And so what I'm getting at is the conflict. She feels about continuing to draw this boundary with dad. Yes, there's guilt, yes, there's anger, but also there might be a part of her, even if it's a very small part, that still wants to not feel like that burden and maybe almost wishes that she could still be there for him, even if it's in these inappropriate ways. Because that role might give her the gratification that comes from being essential. So by drawing this line with dad, she's freeing herself of that unjust responsibility, which is great. And she's also giving up that source of gratification and of security.
[00:36:17] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah. I think you hit on something really crucial here, and I bet that that's not just a source of gratification, it's a whole identity, right?
[00:36:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This identity, as the good daughter who saves and props up her parents, I'm sure that made up a lot of her sense of self, just given how she was raised. And that's a very big thing to sacrifice.
[00:36:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a huge thing to sacrifice, which is why it's all the more impressive that she has done it.
[00:36:41] But anyway, let's get a little more practical here. Are you a heartless jerk for not indulging your dad and for protecting yourself? No, you are not. In fact, like Jordan said, it's quite the opposite. I think it's important in situations like this to remember that you can be firm and loving. You can be disciplined, and you can be compassionate. You know, you don't need to turn off your empathy in order to protect yourself. So when your dad starts to dump on you about how hard his life has been and why your sisters won't talk to him, you could say something like, "Dad, I hear that this is really painful for you, and I'm sorry about that. I don't know if this is something I can help you with but maybe you could talk to mom about it or maybe you could talk to your therapist about it. Or if it's really weighing on you, maybe you could write a letter to my sister and try to work on your relationship or whatever response you feel is best." Or maybe you do talk to your dad here and there, but you know, you keep an eye on the time. You keep an eye on your feelings. You don't sit there for two, three hours while your dad just rants at you. You sit with him for 20 minutes, 30 minutes. You listen. You offer some thoughts and then you can say, "Okay dad, I got to go for today. But I hope you do some of the things we talked about. I hope that helped." And then, you can go home knowing that you kept a foot in both worlds, your dad's world and your world, and that ultimately you prioritized yours.
[00:37:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right. She doesn't need to cut herself off from her feelings in order to protect herself.
[00:38:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. Which is very easy to forget because it kind of feels like a binary thing sometimes.
[00:38:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Now, as for your brother, I love that you're being so thoughtful about him. You're worried that he is going to be thrust into this caregiver role that you occupied if you step back. And so my thought there is, well, first I would talk to your brother about all of this as much as you can. It sounds like you guys are pretty close, and I'm sure that he'll be a really good partner to you in figuring out how to help your parents through this chapter. And if you want, you could always say to him, "Listen, bro, I'm really struggling with how much to help dad. I'm worried that if I limit my contact with him, he's going to start bringing all of this stuff to you. And I really don't want that to happen. So I just want to talk about that. Do you feel that way too? If he does do that, how are you going to handle it? How can I help make sure you don't get sucked in the way I was?" And you guys can just collaborate on that and you can be good friends to each other through that process.
[00:38:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I love that idea, Gabe. But I would also add that her brother needs to learn how to handle their parents for himself. If she can help them there, great. But she also doesn't need to manage her brother's experience on top of everything else.
[00:39:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's a very fair point because right, it's her extreme concern for her brother yet another manifestation of the caretaking thing that we were just talking about.
[00:39:12] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. I do love her for that but just look at how much she's worrying about everyone. She's worried about who else will have to worry if she doesn't worry.
[00:39:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:39:20] Jordan Harbinger: Come on.
[00:39:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: This is the model, right? This is part of the role that her parents created for her.
[00:39:25] Jordan Harbinger: I don't mean to take away from your concern for your brother because it's very touching, it's appropriate, but it is something to keep an eye on. And look, if you notice him getting sucked in, you can take him to dinner, you can talk to him, ask him how he's holding up, whether your parents are getting overwhelming, if he's still taking care of himself, and you can be a friend to him as he learns what you're learning about how to keep a foot in both worlds.
[00:39:47] So, Gabe, the $64,000 question, does she cut off her dad? And yes, I realize that everybody under the age of 40 is probably like, "Why $64,000?" And to them, I say, congrats on not being raised by a television in a house that didn't have cable.
[00:40:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's crazy to me that some people might not get that reference.
[00:40:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:40:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Man, that is wild.
[00:40:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Okay. You can Google that later if you don't know what we're talking about. Well, the answer to that is I think she needs to decide that for herself. But I will say this, I don't know if you need to cut off your dad in order to find the balance you're looking for. I think you're in the process of finding it right now as you explore all of the contours of this very interesting boundary with your parents. My hunch is that on the more difficult days, your anger is so overwhelming that it probably makes you want to just cut him off entirely and be done with all of this BS. And dude, I get it. But what we've been talking about is how to be in touch with all of these feelings, the anger, the sadness, the guilt, the confusion, the longing, all of it. And still be in relationship to your father. I'm not saying you have to, I'm saying it's an option. Sometimes the urge to cut somebody off completely that isn't just because they did something unforgivable. It's because you haven't figured out how to relate to them in the right way yet.
[00:41:03] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah, good point. Which is precisely what she's figuring out right now.
[00:41:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's in the middle of it. So at a minimum I say, give this new boundary a real shot. You might find that it allows you to be there for your dad without compromising yourself, or you'll try it and you'll find that your father really is impossible and cutting him off is the answer. But I think you'll feel a lot better about that decision if you try it this way first, because then there won't be that additional guilt, maybe even the sense of regret that you didn't give it a fair shot.
[00:41:31] Jordan Harbinger: I hear you, Gabe. That's so hard to do, but that's the work.
[00:41:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:41:34] Jordan Harbinger: So there you have it. The next few years not going to be easy. I think that's a given, but they can be more or less painful, and that is partly up to you. You don't deserve any of this. My heart really does go out to you and your siblings for what you've been through, but also your parents, they're like emotional grad school. You're getting a PhD in recovering from a toxic family right now. And if you process all this—
[00:41:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:41:57] Jordan Harbinger: —in the right way and keep learning, this experience will contribute to all of this incredible growth that you've done over the years and that's the really weird gift of an experience like this. I'm sorry about your dad. I'm sorry about all of it, but here you are, life, man. We're sending you a huge hug and all of our confidence and of course, we're wishing you the best.
[00:42:17] And if your brother needs a little, pick me up, maybe he can lift his spirits with a little something, something from one of our sponsors. We'll be right back.
[00:42:25] This episode is sponsored in part by Hyundai. Welcome to Hyundai's Essential Skills series. I've done a couple of these in the past. Today, I want to talk about how to make a lasting impression, or at least how to make people remember you. And this is one of the most common questions that I received from listeners to the show, especially in years past, men and women, all over the world, from salespeople on the road to authors in pitch meetings, young people on first dates to veterans returning to the workforce, they want to understand how to make a lasting impression. No matter who we are or what we do, we all want to be able to enter a room and make ourselves unforgettable. But we've all heard the standard advice by now. Be engaging, say something interesting, dress uniquely. Maybe an old timey hat or a novelty pin that's his certified weirdo. When you follow up by email, mention that interesting thing you said. Refer to yourself as the person with the certified weirdo pin. Also be attractive and funny and interesting, but not weird interesting, cool interesting. And care about other people, but don't care too much and ingratiate yourself with strangers, but be true to yourself and be sure to offer value, but not too much value and be generous, but not needy and yeah, okay. It doesn't work, not by itself anyway. Appearance and technique definitely do play some role in being memorable. I mean, you'll probably remember the guy in the old timey hat with the funny pin more than the guy in the cotton Dockers and the white shirts. But if there isn't real substance behind that appearance or that technique, then the impression will only last so long. The truth is, if that superficial stuff actually worked, we wouldn't be sitting here wondering how to be unforgettable. We'd just go out and buy the hat and the pin, and life would be one long parade of flawless impressions. But we know there's more to being memorable than that. So what does make us unforgettable? The answer is a handful of core principles that tap into what we really are and who we really are in a way that creates a lasting impression with other people. It took me years to discover that these foundational ideas more than looks, more than assets, more than techniques are the qualities that make you unforgettable. And we have a whole article about it. I'm going to go through just one small part of that right now here in the Hyundai series. We do a deep dive in the article. I'm going to link to that in the show notes, but here we go.
[00:44:20] I want to start off with the first foundational principle. Which is authenticity, the one competitive advantage we all have, paradoxically, is the ability to be truly ourselves. Skills, expertise, talent and opinions can all be possessed by multiple people, but the ability to be authentically you, that is a singular gift, which is precisely what makes it so powerful. And I know it sounds corny, but when we meet a truly authentic person, in other words, somebody who isn't trying to be anything other than what they are, we instinctively respond. We find ourselves confronting a simple honesty that's increasingly rare these days. A person who's committed to owning and sharing the truest version of themselves, and because it's so rare, our response is even stronger. We know we're in the presence of a uniquely secure, confident person. Interestingly, an authentic person doesn't have to be definitionally attractive or sexy or cool or correct to make an impression. In fact, it's usually the opposite. When somebody authentically owns the less than perfect parts of themselves, the parts that make them seem uneasy or self-conscious or bizarre, those qualities tend to transform if by magic into their opposite. They become endearing. They become impressive, not because those qualities automatically attract other people, but because the authenticity governing those qualities is so compelling. It's also infectious. When we meet somebody who's being the truest version of themselves, we tend to feel we can be the truest version of ourselves. Their authenticity invites and gives permission to our authenticity. Our artifice falls away, our social personas begin to drop, and our real selves unconditioned by expectation or protocol or mention of what we think is appropriate, that all begins to come out, which of course, is one of the greatest feelings in life. We all want nothing more than to simply be ourselves. And authenticity, plain and simple, is inherently attractive. It's also refreshing. It's grounded. It's often funny, which is what makes it so memorable. When we encounter it, we notice a quality that we all aspire to and we don't get to see very often. That alone makes a profound impression, especially in settings that don't usually reward authenticity like the workplace or first dates. But in fact, authenticity is often more memorable in those contexts. We're not used to keeping it real at work. So authentic colleagues often come across as brave, secure, valuable. We're not supposed to be completely honest about our insecurities on first dates, so an authentic partner often comes across as self-aware, honest human. Authentic people tend to stick out and stick around in our memory, but what we remember isn't just the person. We also remember ourselves. And there's a lot more to this. Authenticity is just one pillar of this as well. There's a handful of others that we work with in concert here. It's also a crucial layer to all of the other concepts. Again, we did a deep dive on this subject on the blog. We'll link to the full article in the show notes of this episode as well.
[00:47:02] The Hyundai Essential Skills Series is brought to you by Hyundai. For more information, go to hyundai.com. Hyundai, it's your journey.
[00:47:09] 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 special URLs are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor using the search box or the AI chatbot on the website as well. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[00:47:31] All right, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:47:35] Next up.
[00:47:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi Jordan and Gabe. I'm 28 years old and I've never been in anything close to a relationship. This has always sort of bothered me, but recently it's become a real sticking point and a bit of a crisis as so many of my friends are unhappy long-term relationships, getting married and having kids. While marriage and kids are not high on my priority list right now, it makes me feel like I'm missing out on an important part of life, having never had my person or even been able to bond with friends over a breakup. I'm notoriously bad at putting myself out there, but I recently did and got rejected. Luckily, it was a nice rejection, but it just makes me feel like there's something wrong with me. Since no one has ever expressed romantic interest in me. I've booked a one-way ticket to Europe in a few months in the hopes of a change and a challenge, but I sort of feel like I'm running away. Am I making a good decision leaving home? And do you have any tips on how I can move past my insecurities and get better at putting myself out there? Signed, Giving the Continent a Scout as the Odd Woman Out.
[00:48:40] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yeah, such a great question. Well, first of all, I just want to say that I really love how open you're being, how much you want to work on this. I also want to say, because it is so easy to forget that everyone's on their own timeline in life, no matter what TV and social media and the advertising industry tell you. There is no right age by which you are supposed to have certain experiences.
[00:49:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:49:01] Jordan Harbinger: There's only the path you're on and how you're navigating it, and that is ultimately all that matters. Everything else is just noise, truly. So look, if you want love in your life, wonderful. And if you aren't finding it, I think it's great to make it more of a priority. And that's what you did. You put yourself out there recently, as terrifying as that is, and you got rejected, which is never fun. It brings up all sorts of feelings, including this feeling that there's something wrong with you, which by the way, also worth remembering, all humans share that belief to some degree. It's rarely true, but it's somehow always there and it's something we all have to resolve in our own ways. But anyway, you went after something you wanted and that's great.
[00:49:38] So look, I love this Europe trip that you've booked. Go out there, get a little strange. Now, is it running away from your life? Eh, it could be, but it doesn't have to be. My hunch is that it'll actually be a pretty decent way of coming back to yourself, getting more in touch with what you really want. So my advice is this, try to meet as many people as you can on this trip. Put yourself out there, dating apps, real life, going out with friends. Get on the apps and change your location before you even leave. Go out with new friends, all that stuff, and have as many experiences as possible. Treat Europe like your own little dating sandbox.
[00:50:11] I don't know about you, but when I was younger and bumming around different countries, I felt a lot freer than I did back home. I felt like I had a free pass. There wasn't nearly as much at stake if I chatted up a random person at the supermarket or took a girl on a date to some weird place, or invited five random friends to hang out together. I was a lot more playful and I wasn't as worried about what would happen if I made a mistake or something just didn't go the way that I hoped. And that freedom, that's a gift, and that might be what you find in Europe, which is why I don't think it's running away so much as stepping outside. And stepping outside, it can be very powerful, but to make the most of it, I would shift your thinking here just a little bit.
[00:50:50] First, as much as you can let go of any expectations for how this trip should go. I've made this mistake myself many times. I wouldn't go to Europe and be like, I'm going to find my husband before I come home, or I'm finally going to catch feelings and find out what it's like to get my heart broken. Don't worry about the results, just put in the time to meet people and be as present and curious as possible, and the experiences will take care of themselves.
[00:51:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:14] Jordan Harbinger: The other mindset I would adopt is that you're here to learn — learn about what you want, learn about other people, learn about how you behave in romantic situations. You don't need to get any of these experiences right. There is no right. You're just in the sandbox playing and trying new things.
[00:51:32] So, for example, you might want to go on a date with a guy and realize you said something awkward at a weird moment. And when you go home, you call up a friend, you talk about it, you journal about it, whatever, and next time you just don't do that thing. Or maybe you go on a date with a guy and it goes great, but he's not really for you and that's not a failure. You just realize that you're not looking for that kind of person and now you're that much better at telling somebody how you really feel and getting closer to what you really want. Or maybe you go out one night with friends and you see a guy across the room that you fancy and you want to go up to him and say hi. And you keep trying to work up the courage to do that, but you can't. And you go home kicking yourself for not shooting your shot. I mean, that's the story of my entire 20s. And then, the next time you're in that situation, you do the exact same thing. And that happens like a dozen times until finally one night you're out and you see a guy that you fancy and you're finally so bored by your own fear, you just go up and say, "Hey, I'm so-and-so. I'm from the States. I'm new in the country, I'm trying to meet some local friends. Do you guys mind if I join you?" And I don't know what happens after that, because this hasn't happened yet. But when it does, write us another email and let us know. And yes, I may be projecting my own experience there a little bit, but you know, I think we can all relate to that scenario. Am I right?
[00:52:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Phew, I definitely can. Yeah.
[00:52:43] Jordan Harbinger: We've all done that and we all wanted to talk to the person across the room and just been too chicken sh*t to go do it.
[00:52:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: And then hated ourselves for three to five business days after that.
[00:52:51] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yes, exactly. It's a universal experience — except on Sundays because nobody works on Sundays. But here's my point, you're playing, you're learning and what you need to learn that is unique to you. I'll let you figure out what that is. But the more contact you can have with people, the more you can put yourself in situations where you're at the edge of your experience and you have something on the line, your comfort, your pride, your certainty, the more you're going to grow. And who knows? Maybe that leads you to a great guy or six over in Europe. Or maybe it just means you get a ton of reps in the old world and you take all of that experience back with you to the new world. And one day, you're at Trader Joe's and you see a guy that you fancy, checking out some gyoza and you're like, "Oh, I've done this 14 times in Europe. I can do it here in the frozen food aisle." Then, you say hi, and bam, that's the guy you settled down with, at least for a little while. But really, who knows? Because we're not attached to results, right? We're just playing.
[00:53:43] So that's my advice. Lean into your insecurities, not away from them, no matter what continent you are on, and it takes practice. You can't go wrong that way. It's not going to be pleasant always, but it will be valuable. And over time, as you grow and you see your outcomes change, you're going to be really proud of yourself for how far you've come.
[00:54:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:02] Jordan Harbinger: So good luck, my friend. I can tell just from your letter that you're ready for something new to happen in your life, which is when it usually happens. We're wishing you the best of luck. Yeah, definitely, send us some super awkward first-date selfies. That will go over well, right, Gabe? "Hold up. I got to snap a quick pick for these two random dudes on a podcast who told me to chat up every dude I see at the Louvre." They'll get it happens all the time.
[00:54:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: I would love to see that in the inbox. That would be incredible.
[00:54:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. And it's also, honestly, we're joking but we're also not joking because if you can find an excuse to approach people, that's a cheat as well.
[00:54:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:33] Jordan Harbinger: Back when I used to teach these workshops to dudes, one of the things we'd have them do is a scavenger hunt around Hollywood. And it was an excuse to be like, "Oh, do you guys know where this might be?" And of course, that idea is it leads to conversations, but you have an excuse. "Hey, can you take a photo of us?" There was all kinds of stuff built in there and then people realized, oh, if your agenda is to get the photo, not to be like, "Ooh, let's get these people's contact information and date them." It's so much easier. So if you're just out there making friends and approaching random people because you're new in town, that's different than, "Ooh, I hope I get laid."
[00:55:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:55:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right? That's way, way, way, way different.
[00:55:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: I like it.
[00:55:09] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Next up.
[00:55:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm recently engaged and I've already started all of the planning. My fiance and I travel as often as work allows, but the locations are generally pretty safe, places like Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and lots of trips here in Michigan to the upper peninsula in our airstream. We'd both like to experience more of the world and different cultures as we don't have children yet, and it'll be harder once we do. One of my dreams since I was a little girl, was to go on an African safari and I am dead set on this for our honeymoon. You guys talk a lot about the crazy places you've been. Do you have any advice on traveling to Africa? Do you think it's a good idea? Should we just stick with some boring cliche honeymoon trip to somewhere like the Maldives, or should we go for it? Signed, A Tremulous Trekker Dreaming of Something Better.
[00:55:56] Jordan Harbinger: Did you say Le Maldive?
[00:55:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: I said the [Maldive].
[00:56:01] Jordan Harbinger: Did you just drop the S because you are fancy pants today?
[00:56:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm not fancy pants. I thought that's how you say it, isn't it [Maldive]?
[00:56:08] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know anybody that says anything but the Maldives.
[00:56:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maldives. Okay, sorry.
[00:56:13] Jordan Harbinger: The Maldives. Yeah.
[00:56:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Whatever.
[00:56:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was saying it like that.
[00:56:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm. I said it the French way. Sorry, Jordan.
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, that's well, look at you. Smell you. How funny. All right, so I just officiated a wedding. Slate it, by the way. And they did their honeymoon in Le Maldive and loved it.
[00:56:29] Anyway, hello my fellow Michiganer and congrats on getting engaged. That is super exciting. You all sound like a fun couple. I love that you want to broaden your horizons. So my take super simple. If going on a safari in Africa has been a dream since you were a kid and you feel like going to Le Maldive or whatever would be boring and cliche, which is also a fancy French word, then there's not much to think about. Book that trip to Africa.
[00:56:52] Everyone I know who's gone to a safari and done it in a decent way has said it's absolutely stunning. It's inspiring. It's all around awesome. And if you guys want a little more adventure and surprise in your life, I think that's the move. I mean, yeah, the Maldives are gorgeous. I definitely wouldn't hate spending 10 days in one of those floating ocean bungalows. It really just looks epic. But that is a pretty stable cookie-cutter experience. You're there to feel comfortable. You're there to feel catered to and relaxed, which is all great, but it's probably not going to be a story that you tell for the next 50 years. The story you tell for the next 50 years is how you went to Tanzania and saw these insane animals and talked to locals you'd never otherwise meet, and tried weird ass food and hiked some crazy mountain halfway around the world and kicked off your marriage by creating an amazing memory together. That's the experience that I'd want anyway if I were in your shoes.
[00:57:42] Now, could something go wrong? Of course, you could, I don't know, get a little sick one day, get mugged at a train station, lose your phone in the back of the cab to a hotel and have to navigate on your own. But that could happen anywhere. And Gabe and I have talked about this on the show before, but those little accidents, they often end up being some of the best moments of the trip in retrospect. That uncertainty, that's the price you pay for the adventure. That is the adventure.
[00:58:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:58:06] Jordan Harbinger: And I only bring that up because I sense a tiny bit of travel anxiety in your letter, which is perfectly normal. And I just want to give you permission to lean into your fear a little bit and book an amazing trip to a faraway place without knowing exactly how it's going to play out. I mean, yeah, do your homework. Book a legitimate safari guide. Get your shots. Don't climb into an unmarked cab in freaking Dār al-Islām. I'm not saying you need to be reckless to have a good time, you shouldn't be. I'm just saying you can be responsible and be adventurous. All you need to do is be willing to try something new.
[00:58:39] We're also going to link to some episodes we did about overcoming travel anxiety and how to plan an awesome trip, two Feedback Friday episodes, and my interview with Game designer Jane McGonigal. Those would be great to listen to as you gear up for this adventure. We'll drop those in the show notes for you, and so I think you guys are going to have an amazing time together. I'm sure it's going to be incredible.
[00:58:57] And later, when you do your 37th camping trip to the upper peninsula with the kids, that's going to be super meaningful too. It's all about having a full range of experience, right? Like you said, once you have kids, it gets harder. Trust me, I get it. I know it well, so make the most of it now. Have a blast and send us some pictures of the safari. Also, a couple of good headshot of you guys, just in case you get abducted by pirates. And we have to tell CNN. Just kidding. Just kidding. That's not going to happen. Pirates are more Somalia. No safaris in Somalia. Congrats on the wedding.
[00:59:28] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Don't forget to check out the episodes with Forrest Galante and Marina Nemat if you haven't had a chance yet. Both good listens this week.
[00:59:39] If you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing folks for the show, it's about software systems and tiny habits, not necessarily in that order. Our Six-Minute Networking course is teaching you how to do it. The course is free over on the Thinkific platform, jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't kick the can down the road. You got to build relationships before you need them. I hear this objection a lot. "Oh, I don't need anybody now. Let me start this in two years when I have to get a job." That's not how this works. You got to dig the well before you're thirsty. The drills take a few minutes a day. Do not ignore this. I ignored it for a while. I really wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. It's been crucial for my success as well in business and in my personal life. Again, free jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:00:18] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, and discounts, ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and apparently not on LinkedIn. We don't connect with Gabriel on LinkedIn.
[01:00:42] 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 are our own. I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer, so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[01:00:59] Brad Watts' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance. In other words, he's a therapist, but he ain't your therapist.
[01:01:14] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who could 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.
[01:01:30] I wanted to give you a preview of one of my favorite stories from an earlier episode of the show with Jonna Mendez. She was the chief of disguise for the CIA in Moscow during the latter part of the Cold War. We'd really get into the weeds on how they hid people and hid spy gear in one of the most hostile espionage environments anywhere in the world.
[01:01:48] Jonna Mendez: We invented technology that didn't even exist yet. The small batteries, for instance, they're in our watches and our phones and all of that stuff today.
[01:01:57] Jordan Harbinger: You're kind of like Q from James Bond, but it's the CIA.
[01:02:01] Jonna Mendez: We could create any kind of character over your face, masks that came out of Hollywood and we'd say, "Great. Go down to the cafeteria and have lunch." This is at CIA headquarters where everybody knows everybody in the cafeteria, and they would go and discover that no one paid any attention to them. You go, "Wow, I'm hiding in plain sight."
[01:02:21] They were following us just every minute. The case officer would step out of the car, the driver would hit a button. This dummy would pop up wearing the same clothes as the guy that had just left. Trailing surveillance would come around the corner and they'd follow that car all night. They never knew. And if they could get to those people, they would execute them. They were feeding people into these crematoriums, feet first, alive.
[01:02:45] Jordan Harbinger: Unbelievable.
[01:02:46] Jonna Mendez: A really valuable agent said, "I'll work for you on one condition, and that is that you give me the ability to take my own life." Eventually, everybody got arrested, so they arrested him and we had put that L pill we gave him in the cap of the Montblanc pen that was cyanide, and he knew where it was. And they said, we want you to write your confession. So they brought him his Montblanc pen.
[01:03:10] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Jonna Mendez, including some incredible spy stories that will really perk your ears, check out episode 344 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:03:20] This episode is sponsored in part by the Mea Culpa podcast. Mea Culpa is hosted by Michael Cohen, who is Donald Trump's fixer, lawyer, right hand for over a decade. He, of course, went to prison because he defied his former boss. The Mea Culpa podcast is his redemption tour of sorts. Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen delivers political news, raw and unfiltered. Plus, Michael, well, let's just say he's an opinionated guy. Twice weekly, Mea Culpa features the most important people in politics, offering listeners rare insight into what's happening that they can get no place else. His guests are who's who of politics, media, and beyond, especially on the left, as you might guess — James Carville, Joe Trippy, John Dean, Laurence Tribe, Ari Melber, Joy Reid, Kathy Griffin — oh, she's a fan favorite isn't she? Congressman Steve Cohen, Elie Honig, Neal Katyal, Norm Eisen, Molly Jong-Fast, Sam Donaldson, Ben Stiller. That's probably a fun one. You never know who's going to show up and what they will say. And if you're on the right, you're probably going to hate this podcast. Don't shoot the messenge here. But hey, if you lean left, do yourself a favor, check out Mea Culpa wherever you get your podcasts. Find it in your favorite podcast app.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.