72-year-old Dad seems clueless that the young and comely third-wheel Jezebel who’s been stealing his attention away from Mom might be up to something less than seemly. How do you defuse the spell that’s been cast over him by this manipulative muse? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- Was Dark Jordan right in his episode 828 advice to the listener whose neighbors were eavesdropping on Zoom therapy sessions through a paper-thin wall?
- How do you get your 72-year-old dad to see that — much to the chagrin of your mom and the rest of the family — the comely young woman who’s been giving him attention might have ulterior motives?
- Does listening to this podcast potentially jeopardize your safety while traveling to Xi Jinping’s China? [Thanks to Laowhy86 for chiming in on this one!]
- Your tween son wants to slap a controversial sticker about a political leader on his binder that he takes to public school — in Washington, DC — every day. Considering how politically polarized our country is right now, is it prudent (or even safe) to let him?
- You’ve been looking to up the efficiency of your self-improvement game after pulling yourself out of a funk and getting fit. How might you optimize your routine without getting distracted by the minutiae of the tools you’re using?
- You were adopted in later childhood by a kind and loving teacher, but you’re finding it difficult to make the transition from calling her by her first name to “Mom.” How can you do it without making it weird?
- 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 and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
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!
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Miss our conversation with Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and New York Times bestselling author? Get caught up with episode 622: Ishmael Beah | Memoirs of a Boy Soldier here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Robert Kerbeck | From Struggling Actor to Corporate Spy | Jordan Harbinger
- Time to Retire and Chase Closeted Desire? | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- What Are Some Strategies for Dealing with Nosy Neighbors? | Quora
- Seven Engaging Facts About Goofus and Gallant | Mental Floss
- 12 Times Goofus from ‘Goofus & Gallant’ Was the Absolute Worst | MeTV
- How Can I Get Rid of My Dad’s Gold Digger Girlfriend? | Quora
- Recording Conversations in All 50 States Chart | MWL
- Laowhy86 | YouTube
- Laowhy86 | How the Chinese Social Credit Score System Works Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Laowhy86 | How the Chinese Social Credit Score System Works Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Are Political Bumper Stickers a Good Idea? | Quora
- ‘Classroom Should Be an Equalizer’: Wilson County School Board Member Calling for Removal of Ideological, Political, Religious Flags & Materials | WKRN
- How Ross Perot Changed Political Campaigns | Time
- ‘I’m Embarrassed’ — The Young Tories Who Regret Voting Conservative | Vice
- Have You Ever Regretted Your Political Views? | Quora
- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear | Amazon
- James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results | Jordan Harbinger
- The To-Do List to Organize Work & Life | Todoist
- When Were You Able to Call Them “Mom and Dad?” | r/Adoption
- Ask AF: Transitioning Children to Calling Us “Mom” and “Dad” | Adoptive Families
- Matilda | Prime Video
- The Professional | Prime Video
846: Dad’s Being Played and the Family’s Afraid | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to US Bank for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:04] And special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:26] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, a guy whose beanie today kind of makes me think he put straight vibing next to the om emoji under the special skills section of his resume, Gabriel Mizrahi.
[00:00:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that was such a good one. That was ornate. I love that one.
[00:00:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we tried.
[00:00:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's accurate. Very accurate.
[00:00:49] 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. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. And during the week we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from mafia enforcers to Fortune 500 CEOs to tech luminaries and extreme athletes. This week, we had Robert Kerbeck. This guy was so interesting. So he is an actor who, you know, like many actors needed a side job when they were auditioning instead of being a bartender or whatever, he became a corporate spy where he used acting skills to get confidential information out of people that he talked to on the phone. Really interesting, really interesting social engineering job. And he's got crazy Hollywood stories. Like he was in a workout video with OJ. Yeah, well, he's got a couple of stories about that too. Anyway, on Fridays, we share stories and take listener letters, offer advice, play obnoxious soundbites, and mercilessly roast Gabe for his appearance and/or life choices.
[00:01:48] Before we jump into the letters today though, we got a hilarious email from a listener after we took that question from the woman whose neighbors were listening in on her therapy sessions through the wall. That was episode 828 if you haven't caught it yet. And as you guys might remember, dark Jordan came out and I pitched the idea of telling her therapist made-up stories about the couple eavesdropping on her, like saying that she saw the guy kissing some random woman in an elevator or whatever. That way they'd start fighting, but then they couldn't confront the woman who wrote in because then they'd have to admit that they were listening in honor therapy sessions.
[00:02:20] So, Gabe, you want to read the letter we got about this?
[00:02:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. So the letter goes.
[00:02:24] Dear Jordan and Gabe, I had a similar situation with my neighbors when I lived in a thin-wall apartment building many years ago. It wasn't therapy sessions that my neighbors were listening in on, but my conversations with my then-girlfriend and some of my family members. After I figured out what they were doing, I started including some fake observations about my neighbors. I said that I saw a woman entering someone's apartment insinuated. It was a single guy's apartment and made other comments about seeing a few women leaving the apartment at times when only the guy was home. I kept the comments somewhat vague, but I included a little information to suggest that they could be about my neighbors. After doing this a few nights in a row, I heard my neighbors get into a fight that lasted most of the evening. The next day, the woman approached me and asked me about my comments and told me how she fought with her boyfriend after they heard what I said. I immediately turned the conversation around on her and her boyfriend and told them how rude it was to listen to my conversations. After that, I would turn the bathroom fan or the TV on while I spoke on the phone. I think my neighbors learned their lesson. Signed, A Dedicated Infantryman of the Dark Jordan Army.
[00:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: So this is amazing.
[00:03:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: So good.
[00:03:35] Jordan Harbinger: Let's say I was mostly kidding when I brought up this idea, I guess, but this letter makes me think I might have been onto something and I can't believe you did this, but kudos to you because, well, this is super petty in the best possible way, and I'm glad that these eavesdropping busy bodies learned their lesson. That must have taken real cojones. I also love that he didn't say, "Oh, I was just tricking you guys to teach you guys a lesson," but what he did instead was turned it around and just never cleared the air at all. And that's so much better because these two, they still don't necessarily know the truth. They might have even broken up over this which is just brutal.
[00:04:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, in one way it makes it so much tastier. And then in another way, I feel bad for them because it's like—
[00:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: Kind of, yeah.
[00:04:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's not the truth at all. And he could have really disrupted their lives.
[00:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:04:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it's pretty funny though.
[00:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You'd like to think it wasn't that great of a relationship if this is all it took to sort of blast everything wide open. But my big takeaway from this is that I should let dark Jordan out more often and maybe we're too reasonable sometimes, Gabe. Maybe we need to get mucky in there. Anyway, I love that this happened. I think it's hilarious and it serves them right whatever happened.
[00:04:42] As always, we got some fun ones and we got some doozies today. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:04:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, about five years ago, my 72-year-old father-in-law met a 30-year-old employee of his, let's call her Tina.
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: Because that's her name.
[00:04:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's like listening to the show right now.
[00:05:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:05:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: She got divorced shortly thereafter and started spending an excessive amount of time in my father-in-law's home erasing all boundaries. Over the last three years, she's gotten access to all of his passwords and accounts. She gets him to take her out and buy her expensive things, and he nominated her for a one percent stake in his company. He invites Tina everywhere. He spends more time with this woman than with his wife, and his excuse is that she's like an adoptive daughter and that she has no one else. He even brings her to his doctor's appointments, where my mother-in-law is present. She's a very sweet and kind lady, but she's very submissive.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: The mother-in-law?
[00:05:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's clearly stated that she hates Tina, but is willing to put up with her for her husband's happiness. And to end the bickering around this subject, my husband realizes that this situation is unhealthy and unfair to his mom. So after challenging his dad about all of this, a year ago, we told Tina to stop coming home every evening for dinner.
[00:06:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's so ridiculous.
[00:06:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Reasonable.
[00:06:02] Jordan Harbinger: This is so dumb.
[00:06:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: He explained the need for healthy boundaries and she said that she completely understood, but the moment we're not at my in-law's house, she swoops in again. There's also a pattern here. My father-in-law has always had some female acquaintance from work in his life who becomes a close friend and hangs out around the family. We got lucky when these female coworkers moved on, but this time Tina refuses to build a life of her own. What complicates matters further is that three years ago before he met me, my husband wanted to date Tina because she's a pretty face. Those were his words. But he realized within two weeks of knowing her that they did not click at all. I trust my husband, but I worry that after my father-in-law is gone, she might focus on him and history might repeat itself. She's also tried to drive a wedge between my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law when they were having marital conflicts, which is another concern my father-in-law just does not see through Tina's manipulation. His only argument is that, "She loves our family and why can't we all love her back?"
[00:07:08] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:07:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: How do we handle this woman? What should I do here? Signed, Fixing to Eliminate This Vixen.
[00:07:15] Jordan Harbinger: I might be doing the timeline wrong, but it sounds like the husband wanted to date Tina. They didn't click, then she met someone else, got married, got divorced, and this is all in the course of two or three years.
[00:07:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Five-ish years.
[00:07:27] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:07:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Or maybe five plus if they include the husband part.
[00:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: Not a long time to meet someone date and get married, but I guess it, it happens. All right, but either way, this is so weird.
[00:07:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Super weird.
[00:07:40] Jordan Harbinger: So Tina is a real operator, isn't she?
[00:07:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Seems like it.
[00:07:44] Jordan Harbinger: This just seems very predatory. She's wormed her way into your father-in-law's life. She's not moving on. She's not giving up very easily and it's seemingly not just about money or security. She's trying to exert this weird emotional influence in the family, which is somehow even more inappropriate and weird. There's definitely something wrong here and I'm afraid that Tina has a plan that the rest of you all just definitely are not going to like. But what is the plan? That's still unclear. Dot, dot, dot money, right? Get the guy's money. But I'm so sorry this is happening to your family. It's got to be super unsettling.
[00:08:16] Gabe, even after all the episodes we've done about scammers and grifters, it is still very hard for me to wrap my head around people like this.
[00:08:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:26] Jordan Harbinger: Like if you got involved with somebody, married someone no less, and you knew the whole family hated you, wanted you to go away, wouldn't you just feel super gross coming around the house all the time, every night for dinner? Like what the—?
[00:08:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Of course. Yeah. How can you even relax enough to enjoy yourself? And that's—
[00:08:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like I'm just picturing them all sitting around the dinner table multiple nights a week. It's so awkward. It's so stressful.
[00:08:49] Jordan Harbinger: The social pressure of knowing everyone wants you to die and choke on your food. And you're just like, "I'll see you tomorrow for your ophthalmology checkup," or whatever. It's so weird. This woman either can't read the cues at all or — and I'm leaning towards this — she knows she has more to gain by pushing the boundary and hanging around.
[00:09:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:09] Jordan Harbinger: And/or is just a low-key sociopath and immune to the pressure. And I would love to be completely immune to this level of social pressure, anxiety, awkwardness. But I'm not sure how that's possible if your wiring is healthy and okay.
[00:09:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: If you're a normal human being.
[00:09:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:09:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same here. And the scary thing is it seems to be working, but you know what's really interesting to me about this whole thing? This isn't just Tina's doing. It's also the father-in-law's obviously, and it's also his wife's.
[00:09:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's true. There's [enable-dge].
[00:09:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: There's [enable-dge] forsooth. This guy has a real pattern, right? He obviously wants to have these emotional slash financial slash, who knows if there's more going on here? What do you call them? Entanglements.
[00:09:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: But then his wife is going with him and his sidepiece to his doctor's appointments.
[00:09:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sorry.
[00:09:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's like, "Oh, yeah, Tina, I hate that lady, but I can put up with her if it makes Norm happy. I don't want to bicker about it anymore." Like what?
[00:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's weird.
[00:10:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Triangle.
[00:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Triangle's a good word for it. Mother-in-law is very passive, to say the least.
[00:10:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:13] Jordan Harbinger: She gives Norm all the control. She's doing everything she can to avoid a legitimate fight about the third woman in their marriage after a string of them in the past.
[00:10:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh.
[00:10:22] Jordan Harbinger: Like a pattern. By the way, how do you even do that? Can you imagine these three doing stuff together? Norm, just sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office, waiting for his colonoscopy, filling out his health form, sandwiched between his avoidant wife and his grifter half his age sidepiece. What a scene.
[00:10:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, totally. Just reading a Highlights magazine while Tina changes his Bank of America password.
[00:10:49] Jordan Harbinger: I know. By the way, that detail really worried me. Let's come back to that in a second.
[00:10:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Let's do that. Mm-hmm.
[00:10:53] Jordan Harbinger: First off, Highlights is the bomb. Hidden Pictures was basically pure unmitigated joy, and I would love every second of it.
[00:11:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was a Goofus and Gallant guy myself. I don't know if you remember that strip from that.
[00:11:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I used to love reading those at the dentist.
[00:11:07] Jordan Harbinger: That does explain a lot, both that that was your favorite comic and that you read it at the dentist's office. Isn't that like your favorite place on earth, by the way?
[00:11:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is. It is my fav. I love the dentist.
[00:11:18] Jordan Harbinger: Some things never change.
[00:11:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: And not just because of the Highlights.
[00:11:21] Jordan Harbinger: No, I don't. No, no. I mean, you love that fresh, clean feeling. I mean, it just scratches whatever itch you have to have your teeth professionally flossed with a metal object.
[00:11:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: If I could go every week, I would really.
[00:11:32] Jordan Harbinger: You can. It just, you know, I'm not going to give you a raise to cover those.
[00:11:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair. My question is, which one of these ladies is his emergency contact?
[00:11:41] Jordan Harbinger: Oh God.
[00:11:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Do you think?
[00:11:41] Jordan Harbinger: You know it's about to be Tina in like three to five months if she's not already. The thing is he might not even know that yet. She's like, "I just took the liberty because I have a cell phone that I check all the time."
[00:11:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's definitely angling to be that first call because it puts you in poll position, doesn't it?
[00:11:55] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[00:11:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: To make some big decisions. Anyway, my point is they're all colluding to make this Tina situation possible. The kids are the only ones going, "No, this isn't okay. Back off." But there's only so much they can do if Norm is determined apparently to keep this woman around and his wife keeps looking the other way.
[00:12:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: And Tina just insists on sticking around. They're really creating the perfect environment for an interloper like this.
[00:12:17] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. I think that's exactly right. So I feel very strongly that you guys need to protect your father-in-law slash entire family from Tina. Yeah, protect yourselves. The only way to do that is to stage some kind of intervention, and I think your husband has to lead here with his sister and any other close family members because it's their family, right? At the end of the day, and the thrust of the intervention is, "Dad, well, you understand you have a soft spot for Tina. None of us are trying to tell you who you can and can't be friends with. But the reality is the nature of your relationship with Tina, what you provide for her, the amount of contact you have, the way she behaves with the family, it's way beyond inappropriate. It's also hurtful to Mom, and it's actually potentially compromising you in a way that might be hard to see." And then I would calmly lay out all the facts you shared with us here, Tina's agenda, the way she's meddled in family affairs, the way she's disregarded the boundaries you set as a family, all of that.
[00:13:18] And then I would ask him point blank, "Dad, does this sound like a fair and healthy relationship to you? What do you think Tina wants here?" And maybe you even appeal to his ego a little bit. Like, "You're the head of a company, you're a smart guy. Do you think this is how a leader should behave? If the founder of another company told you he was doing all of this with an employee less than half his age, what would you think?" I think you got to be appropriately tough on him while also making it safe for him to acknowledge what is really going on here. And that's a tough line to walk. You want to be direct, but you also need to talk to him in a way that doesn't trigger his defenses because he's clearly attached to Tina. He probably feels he can do whatever he wants. I mean, look, the guy has done the same thing in the past, you said, and he is totally gotten away with it. So that tells you a lot.
[00:14:06] But bottom line, you need to get him to end this relationship with her, or at least redefine it dramatically. And if he needs help doing that, you can offer to do it as a family or on his behalf. But she'll probably need to hear it from him to know that this is real and that that's what he wants, not just his kids, his jealous kids.
[00:14:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Totally agree. But look, if Norm absolutely refuses to distance himself from Tina, which, ah, I hate to say this.
[00:14:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I have a feeling he might.
[00:14:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't think the outcome should change. I think you guys just need to shift to plan B. And Plan B in my view is for your husband's family to circle the wagons and push Tina out of your dad's affairs at a minimum. And to start that means taking control of his accounts again, resetting his passwords, putting in additional security. I mean, I'm talking like transaction alerts for you guys. Two-factor authentication, changing his password every couple of weeks in case she gets back in there and manages to get the passwords again. Change that.
[00:15:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Whatever it takes to protect his finances.
[00:15:04] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. Candidly, I would be surprised if she has not already been doing shady stuff with his money already.
[00:15:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: I know you're like, "Oh, we can see there's no transactions going out." I would check beneficiaries on the accounts transactions that look dodgy, but might look businessy, but are kind of like, wait, what was this for all that stuff because look, she's not doing this because she's lonely. There are apps. She can find guys to take her out to dinner or whatever the hell that she would want. She wants something else and it's probably not to hear more 72-year-old dad jokes in his house with his wife glaring over the table. She wants something else. She's got a plan for this. You just don't know what it is, so you better frigging find out.
[00:15:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: I would also keep a closer eye on his bank statements, his credit cards.
[00:15:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:15:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Check his cash levels, see how much he's taking out, how often he's taking it out, maybe where he is spending it. If you can track that and on the family front, I would encourage your mother-in-law to get in touch with how she feels about all this.
[00:16:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: And maybe step up and assert herself more. I know it's a tall order for a woman like this, you know, she's submissive and she's just letting her husband do whatever he wants, but if she could step up and assert herself more, that could change the conversation. And maybe Norm can hear this from his own wife, how having essentially a mistress, even if she's just an emotional or financial one or whatever he's calling her. Didn't he say she's like a daughter or like a—?
[00:16:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, adoptive daughter. It's creepy. That's some creepy stuff.
[00:16:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: How that is impacting his wife? It might be worth having some conversations with your mother-in-law privately to help her see how she's allowing this to continue and trying to empower her to tell her husband the truth. Once you guys are all on the same page about this, somebody has to go to Tina and tell her, you know, "Look, we know what's going on here. We find it gross. We find it borderline criminal, to be honest, and we're telling you one last time to back off, or we're going to have to intervene more strongly."
[00:16:52] Jordan Harbinger: You know which, by the way, might mean reporting this to the police if it turns out she's actually stealing money. That's going to be a tricky one.
[00:16:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:16:58] Jordan Harbinger: Because the police are going to be like, "Well, he gave it to her."
[00:17:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:17:01] Jordan Harbinger: I know that's going to seem heavy-handed. I just don't think you guys can afford to be overly delicate about this.
[00:17:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:08] Jordan Harbinger: Look what Tina has accomplished already. She's got his bank passwords. No one should have that. My wife doesn't have my bank password. She has her own account. What happens in another six months, a year when she's found a way to transfer funds to her own bank account? And she owns one percent of the company, and she's getting your father-in-law to give her a frigging down payment on a house because they talked about it in the hospital because she was the emergency contact. Like, I'm half kidding. I don't mean to catastrophize, but this stuff does happen.
[00:17:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: This has happened to a couple of friends of mine.
[00:17:38] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:17:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: I've seen it.
[00:17:40] Jordan Harbinger: I believe it. If this were my dad, I'd be all up in his business to shut this crap down right now.
[00:17:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right now. Yeah. 100 percent. But you know, this is a really hard line to walk. Mm-hmm. Because they also need to keep the line of communication open with Norm. I mean, if they rake him over the coals for this, he might retract and he might keep up the relationship with Tina with even more secrecy. Like you said, this is a guy who's used to being in charge. He feels like he's exempt from the rules, so I worry about how a guy like that would respond to an intervention.
[00:18:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That reminds me, record all of your conversations with Tina if it's legal in your jurisdiction, especially the ones you have in person where she doesn't think you're recording anything because you never know what you might catch. You know what if she's three wines in? And she's like, "You know what? I'm the one he loves the most and I'm going to get in his will and you can't do anything about it. You stupid bitch." And then you have that recorded and he's like, "Holy crap. Tina's insane," right?
[00:18:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. You just don't know. Something like that could be helpful because it would be harder to ignore, but—
[00:18:38] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: —my general thought here is just while you do all of this, keep signaling to your father-in-law and for your husband, for his dad, that you love him and that you're not judging him even though you kind of are and rightly so. And if you notice him, pull away, stay close. I would show an interest in his life. I would take his feelings seriously, even if they're reckless. And hey, maybe you even ask him directly about Tina. You know, "Hey, what's going on with Tina? How are you guys doing? Like, what's the deal there?" You have more to gain by staying close and tolerating your anger and your discomfort about her than by punishing your father-in-law and driving him away.
[00:19:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's such a hard dance to do, but I do think it's essential that you do it. Now about this other wrinkle to the story that your husband wanted to date Tina before he met you.
[00:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I forgot. We got to talk about that. That's a fascinating subplot here.
[00:19:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: It sounds to me like she probably has nothing to worry about, right? They didn't click. That was obvious.
[00:19:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Now, her husband has seen what Tina's done to her dad, so it sounds pretty unlikely that he would ever get involved with her himself, in my view.
[00:19:39] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know, Gabe, you just never know. Not that I don't get the same vibe that you do, but this lady is really driven and based on what we know. She just has no respect for boundaries. She wants what she wants, she's willing to lie. She'd probably steal to get it, so I wouldn't put it past her to give it the old college try, even if it's going to be horrifically unsuccessful.
[00:19:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, is it possible? Sure, it's possible, but I think her fear that Tina might seduce her husband speaks more maybe to her stuff than his stuff based on the facts.
[00:20:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay. That's fair. It does sound a little bit like that.
[00:20:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is it possible that our friend here is a little insecure about the marriage, in general, or has Tina just done a real number on her and made her paranoid about how powerful she is, which I could understand?
[00:20:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, maybe watching this woman wrap herself around her father-in-law has made her worried that she could end up in the position of her mother-in-law and just watch her whole life get destroyed slash taken over by this interloper. I don't know. I could understand that she's freaked out. But given that she trusts her husband and he sounds like he has a decent head on his shoulders, I think it's worth exploring why this possibility feels so real to her.
[00:20:41] Jordan Harbinger: I'm with you, and hey, maybe she even talks this out with her husband.
[00:20:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:20:45] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe talking it out openly would give you both a chance to get on the same page about Tina and put this anxiety to bed. Speaking of husbands, another idea just occurred to me dark Jordan peeking his head out a little bit.
[00:20:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, can't wait.
[00:20:58] Jordan Harbinger: I would try to connect with Tina's ex-husband because—
[00:21:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[00:21:03] Jordan Harbinger: —why did they get divorced? He might be able to shed more light on this. You know, if they don't get along—
[00:21:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:21:06] Jordan Harbinger: —maybe they don't, since they just got divorced and she seems a little bit like a bunny boiler, psycho. Maybe he knows she's got some sort of creepy MO. Maybe that's why they got divorced. Maybe he'll tell you her plan. Maybe she was all wrapping himself around his father, like who the hell knows?
[00:21:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:21:24] Jordan Harbinger: Record the conversations with him as well. After you check your local wiretapping laws, of course, because we can't tell you to do anything illegal. That would be silly. So I hope that gives you a way forward here. If I wanted to go full-dark Jordan, I'd be putting something on Tina's little Android phone so I know who she's texting and calling, but again, not legal.
[00:21:41] Again, I am so sorry this is happening, but the situation here is very stark. Tina's got to go. You're at war with this woman. She's obviously got a stealth war plan with you. You've got to respond in kind. You need to protect your father-in-law from her immediately. I would just not wait on this. Get together with your husband, get him to link up with the rest of the family. Schedule this conversation, ASAP, like immediately yesterday. We're rooting for you guys. Good luck and keep us updated. I'm very interested how Tina reacts. She seems like she's probably not going to be a pushover. I think she might dig in her heels a little bit, get a little more covert. But yeah, I'm interested.
[00:22:17] You know who you'll definitely want to accompany you to your next proctology appointment? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:23:45] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is brought to you in part by US Bank. Seems like there's a credit card for everything these days, right? Food cards, cards for travel, cards for rare stamp collecting. For me, I don't know what I'm going to be spending money on from one minute to the next, but wouldn't you know it? US Bank has a card for people like me. Check out the US Bank Cash Plus Visa signature card. With this card, you get up to five percent cash back on two categories that you choose every quarter. The great thing is the earning doesn't stop there. Even after you choose your first two earning categories, you also earn two percent back on one every day category. You choose each quarter, like gas stations and EV charging stations, or grocery stores or restaurants, and you still earn one percent on everything else. Apply today at usbank.com/cashpluscard. All that already sounds good, but this card just keeps earning with a $200 rewards bonus after spending a thousand dollars in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. If you like choosing how your card earns, apply at usbank.com/cashpluscard. Limited time offer. The creditor and issuer of this card is US Bank National Association, pursuant to a license from Visas USA Inc. Some restrictions may apply.
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[00:25:01] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:25:05] All right, what's next?
[00:25:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I studied abroad in China over 15 years ago as a junior in high school. I arrived without knowing a word of Mandarin and left 10 months later fluent. I've been close with my host family ever since. Starting in 2011, I would make yearly trips back, bringing purses, shoes, and over-the-counter medicine to family and friends, just like a typical Chinese person. My last visit was in the fall of 2018 when I finally managed to get my Chinese driver's license. After Xi Jinping was elected, I noticed a shift in the political landscape and was careful not to say anything online or in texts that might be seen as anti-Chinese to ensure that I wouldn't have problems. But I've not been as cautious in the last couple of years. I don't post anything online, but I have talked about some of my opinions while my phone is on. And obviously, I've listened to your show. I know I might sound paranoid, but my host mother has been messaged to keep an eye on me when I was talking about going to Tibet.
[00:26:04] Jordan Harbinger: Whoa. I'm going to need clarity on that one, but keep going. Who messaged her—
[00:26:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:26:09] Jordan Harbinger: Like was the phone listening and then it was like, did the police tell your mother-in-law that, or was it like a friend said, "Hey, if she's talking about going to Tibet—" then it's a coincidence.
[00:26:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. I think it might be the latter, but because I don't know how transparent they are about the surveillance, but it could be either. Either way, it's nerve-wracking.
[00:26:26] Jordan Harbinger: Well, the police will knock on your door and tell your family, "Hey, your son is being politically active in college in the United States. Tell them to stop," but—
[00:26:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:26:35] Jordan Harbinger: —will they listen to a random exchange student who was, there's phone conversations overseas and then message the host family? That's a stretch. I guess we don't really know what's going on here, but if that happened, that's a whole bag of potatoes. Anyway, continue.
[00:26:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Let's see what happens.
[00:26:51] Unfortunately, my driver's license expires next year, and I'm really considering making the trip to renew it. It was such a hassle to obtain that. I wouldn't want to have to take the test again. But since hearing some of your stories from your China experts, I've become a bit concerned about going back to visit. I have no history of stirring up trouble in the country, but having a history of listening to your episodes might be enough to be seen as a threat. What are your thoughts on the safety of the average Jane going to China with the current political landscape? Signed, Fly In and Put My Time In to Get My License or Say Zai Jian to the Spying and Keep Surviving.
[00:27:27] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Zai Jian, by the way, but anyway, close enough.
[00:27:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sorry.
[00:27:30] Jordan Harbinger: Close enough. Don't worry. I'm still impressed.
[00:27:32] This is really amazing. Speaking of being impressed, I love that you went to China at like age 16, which is really cool. Had a connection to the country ever since. I find it incredibly sad that the country has changed so dramatically in the last, what is it, five or 10 years. You all know how I feel about that because of the China episodes of this show. But I love the people. I love the language. I admire anybody who can go there, come back 10, 12 months later, fluent in Mandarin. That is brilliant. And Mandarin's not easy. It's as hard as you think it is, even if you're immersed in it and you're gifted with languages. So kudos to you there as well. I wonder if she can read and write. I bet she can.
[00:28:09] So you're asking a fair question. Things are obviously dicey in China these days, but yeah, it's unclear how dangerous they really are for somebody like you. Instead of flying by the seat of my pants, I ran it by my buddy Matthew Tye, aka C-Milk, aka Laowhy86, YouTube vlogger, human rights advocate, lived in China for a decade, runs a great channel, all about China that will link in the show notes. And Laowhy's take was, he really wouldn't worry too much about going to China for a short stay if you're just a normal person with a small online presence. If you were going for a job, a long-term career, yeah, different story. The people Laowhy generally discourages from visiting China, it's going to be people who've made public statements or spoken about the Chinese government to a decent-sized audience online.
[00:28:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: So basically people like you.
[00:28:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, people like me, exactly. In some CCP party leaders' office, there's going to be a bullseye with my face on it, and I think, I'm kidding. Probably, I'm small potatoes, but I don't know. Maybe. Definitely not going to go back to China until regime changes. Not rolling those dice.
[00:29:14] Now, Laowhy did say that this is changing a bit and actually not for the better. China is now checking phones at borders and entry points for any sort of dissent. But if you haven't done anything then he wouldn't worry. That said, he does feel the climate for foreigners in general right now is pretty sketch. You seem like you know your way around. You know how to avoid conflict. You speak Mandarin, you don't seem to be looking for trouble. So if/when you go back, Laowhy's advice is, one, stay away from drunk people. Getting into altercations with drunk people, it can lead to the cops showing up, they're going to side with the local person or it can lead to some anti-foreigner violence that could easily escalate and you just have no recourse. No one's going to help a woman getting beat up in the street in China. That's just not how it works there at all. There's a lot of videos that show this.
[00:30:02] And two, bring a burner phone that you don't use for your other social media. Keep all that stuff separate. You know, maybe no podcast subscriptions at all of any show on that phone. Don't log in on Instagram on that phone. Don't log into Twitter on that phone. Just keep it all separate off that phone, church and state. That way they can't browse through your phone and get something to stick on you that you said 18 months ago on Twitter in a DM to a friend if they bother to do that.
[00:30:28] Three, don't get into any political conversations at all. You already know this, but stay away from talking about Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong even if it's innocuous. You say you were planning to go to Tibet. Cool. Just don't mention that on that burner phone at all. And four, don't make a scene while you're over there. That's pretty straightforward. Same reasons as the drunk people issue we just mentioned.
[00:30:50] And if you do all that, you're most likely going to be fine. I think it's awesome you have such a deep connection to your host family in the country. As much as I despise the current government, I do like the place and the food and the culture. I just wish I could go back and I think it's really impressive that you basically operate as a local there. I got to say the image of you, an American weaving in and out of rush hour Beijing traffic with a local driver's license.
[00:31:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Pretty cool.
[00:31:14] Jordan Harbinger: It's astounding. Yeah, it's really cool.
[00:31:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:16] Jordan Harbinger: [Foreign Language]
[00:31:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: That was such a flex, dude. Wow. Okay. So what does that mean? Does that mean like, watch out for organ harvesters or—?
[00:31:30] Jordan Harbinger: Nah, you'll never see them coming, uh, those guys take you by surprise. I was just wishing her good luck, say safe. It was a little bit of a weird rhythm there because of the cadence.
[00:31:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Those tones, those tones are tricky, man. I don't know how you do that.
[00:31:42] Jordan Harbinger: I got to say, normally I don't even care. One of the reasons that was a little bit slower here is I was like, I got to get the tones right because so many people are going to hear this. But when I'm talking, I'm just like, screw the tones. If I know the tone and it comes out right, cool. If you're at the grocery store and you say strawberry, but you say it with the wrong tones—
[00:32:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:00] Jordan Harbinger: —it can mean something like, "Screw your little sister."
[00:32:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Right.
[00:32:03] Jordan Harbinger: Nobody is thinking that that's what you're going to say at the grocery store. They know what you mean, so you're going to get the strawberries.
[00:32:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:32:09] Jordan Harbinger: So anyway, big thanks to Laowhy for his wisdom here. If you want to learn more about his work, I do recommend the Laowhy86 channel on YouTube or The China Show. We'll link to those in the show notes. It's terrific content there. I would also check out my two-part interview with him on the Chinese social credit score system. That was episode 643 and 644 is one of my favorite episodes. And the second most popular video on his channel was about the Chinese credit score. And that was my idea for his channel. I should have been a YouTuber. Oh, well.
[00:32:38] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job easier. If you're finding dead squirrels in your mailbox, your stepdad's got your nudes, your neighbors are eves dropping on your therapy sessions through the wall, or you're just trying to decide whether to tell your uncle slash cousin that he's probably the product of incest, 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.
[00:33:06] All right, what fresh hell do we have next?
[00:33:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. My tween son wants to put a politically charged and controversial sticker about a political leader on his binder that he takes to public school every day, and the whole idea is making me uneasy. He thinks it would be fun, but when asked what kind of reaction he's hoping for, he says he doesn't know. I worry that it might be inappropriate for school or disrespectful to students, teachers, or other parents with opposing opinions. We live in the DC area and many of the other parents work for the government. I asked him if other kids at his school wear or bring politically controversial things to school, and he said no. But it's also possible that very few people will even notice the sticker. I tend to be an anxious person and I don't like drawing attention to myself. I don't even like wearing brand names on my clothes. I regret the times in the past when I've stood up for what I believe in loud and proud, mainly because I've evolved in some ways and I disagree with my previous beliefs and feel somewhat embarrassed about my old perspectives. Am I making way too big a deal out of this? Is this a risk to my son's safety or our family's safety, or is this a safe way to express himself? Should I be supporting his self-expression in this way? Signed, A Nervous Matriarch Wrestling With This Question Mark.
[00:34:31] Jordan Harbinger: It is an interesting question. It reminds me, my ex-girlfriend, way back in the day, one of her many jobs. She worked at a school that, it was a Japanese program and she was a white gal who spoke Japanese and they sent a girl home one day who was probably like six or seven because her shirt said, "How do you like my tits?" And her parents, they're Japanese. They had no idea what that meant. They probably never read it, right? They were just like, whatever, it has English on it. Imagine making a shirt for a child that age that says that, by the way.
[00:35:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I was about to say why does that shirt fit that kid? That's what I was wondering. Yeah.
[00:35:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's really funny though.
[00:35:06] Jordan Harbinger: There's something else going on there. Yeah. It's just very ridiculous in so many ways. Anyway, your 12-year-old son wants to put what a, like a sleepy Joe sticker on his binder or an F Ron DeSantis, Mickey Mouse sticker, or whatever. I don't know, whatever. I'm not sure which way your tween leans politically speaking, but either way, yeah, it's a little dicey given the school's culture. It's bringing up some stuff for you, which I find quite interesting about your letter. I do love how self-aware you're being about all this. You want to investigate your own biases and values here. I think that's terrific. I think that's a good idea.
[00:35:39] So right now, it sounds like you feel there are two main options. Shut it down because you don't want your son to piss anyone off or compromise himself or support his self-expression and let him risk rubbing people the wrong way and damaging his reputation. But I think there's a good conversation to be had with your son here. One that'll equip him to make the best decision for himself, and it'll allow you to make the best use of your own concerns.
[00:36:03] So basically, and I'm no parenting expert, but what I would do is this. Carve out some time with your son and I would say, "Hey, look, bud, I love that you're passionate about your views, that you have confidence to express them. I think that's awesome, and if you want to express yourself in this way, I could get behind it, I think. But before we do that, I just want to talk to you about the sticker and understand how you're thinking about this just a little bit better." And then I would ask him some open-ended questions. You kind of already started, you know, what reaction do he want? Maybe also ask him what he's hoping to accomplish with this sticker. "Do you want people to notice it and talk to you? Do you want people to get a little worked up about it? Because that might be fun. Have you thought about how your peers and your teachers might react to it? Have you thought about what would happen if somebody gets really angry or offended? Would you get into a fight with them? Would you have a calm discussion? Would you just laugh and let it go? Are you comfortable with the attention this might bring you? Have you thought about how this sticker will go down at your school, given the culture there that so many people's parents work for the government?"
[00:37:06] These are the kinds of questions I would ask, and I wouldn't ask them in a leading way or an accusatory way, or just bombard him with concerns, so he freaks out and drops the thing. I would really invite him to respond and listen and be a good partner to him in figuring out how he feels about all this, what upside he's going for, what risks he's willing to take. And then, I would be prepared for him to make his own call, and I would make peace with whatever decision he lands on. But just to put this in perspective a little bit, we're talking about a frigging seventh grader putting an edgy sticker on his trapper keeper, whatever they have now. Even if he pisses some kids off, it's not going to change the trajectory of his life, right? The stakes are low. Worst case scenario, it annoys some kids. A teacher tells him to take it off, whatever. It might actually be worth letting him express himself and find out what it's like to stir people up and maybe don't protect him from potential regret on this one.
[00:37:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:59] Jordan Harbinger: Since the stakes, again, are really low. My only caveat to all this, it depends what the sticker is, right? If he's putting a fricking Nazi flag on his binder, or some heavily charged meme that's like racist or as hateful associations, that's a different story. Yeah, then, put your foot down, because then the conversation needs to be more like, "I'm concerned about the spirit of this sticker. I want to talk to you about the ideas this represents. I'm not sure this is how you really feel, or how you should feel."
[00:38:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:22] Jordan Harbinger: But even then, I would still try to make it a conversation so he doesn't just feel that mom is censoring him, but that mom is engaging with his ideas and holding him to higher standards.
[00:38:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:38:33] Jordan Harbinger: I never put that much thought into this crap as a kid, right? I just wanted to piss people off.
[00:38:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally agree, Jordan. I think the process they go through is a lot more important than the outcome, especially at his age. Like you said, he's 12. His views will almost certainly change in his life, but the way she approaches this with him, that's going to set a tone for their whole relationship, and that is way more important than whether he has a "Let's Go Brandon" sticker on his physical science notebook, or whatever.
[00:38:57] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. My hope is that her son feels comfortable expressing himself, which is important, and that he can appreciate how other people will interpret his views.
[00:39:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: And that he can be confident and empathetic. Not to be cheesy, but that's how you create thoughtful human beings and good citizens, which is important.
[00:39:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well said. I'm just having one other thought, which is I find it so interesting that she regrets being loud and proud about her positions in the past, and that's actually what's making her really anxious about her son.
[00:39:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Look, I get what she means. I mean, I cringe when I think about some of the positions that I held when I was young too. I had no idea what I was talking about. I had a very simplistic view of the world. I was not very sensitive to other people, and I was super vocal about a lot of my opinions back then, which is—
[00:39:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: —you know, a little cringe.
[00:39:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm, wait, that's kind of hard to picture. What are we talking about here?
[00:39:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, I went through a period in high school, maybe early college too, where I was like very rigid and self-absorbed, and honestly pretty dismissive of other people's feelings.
[00:39:55] Jordan Harbinger: Really? You the kid who wrote emo poetry in his notebooks.
[00:39:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I know. It's a real contradiction, I know. But also, maybe this is why the poetry was so bad.
[00:40:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We're still waiting for you to post some of that to the Gram by the way you're holding out on us. But this is a real Game of Thrones-style character arc, right? It's a true 180. By the way, I remembered the other day that I actually won a poetry award in high school, but it wasn't emo nonsense.
[00:40:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[00:40:19] Jordan Harbinger: It was actually good. It's dece.
[00:40:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm going to need to read that stat.
[00:40:24] Jordan Harbinger: You first, bruh. Show me your awful verse and I'll show you mine.
[00:40:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: You got a deal. Anyway, you see more of the world. You meet different people, you read books. You know, you evolve just like this woman did.
[00:40:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: But that's what I'm getting at her regret seems to be more than just, you know, "Ugh, I really wish I didn't put a Ross Perot sticker in my locker in 10th grade." I don't know. She doesn't strike me as a Ross Perot person.
[00:40:44] Jordan Harbinger: No, free market kind of gal. Yeah.
[00:40:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: I get the sense that there is a little bit of shame here, and the shame she feels isn't so much about the ideas themselves. It might actually be more about having been so loud and proud about them, and then later changing her mind. And it sounds like that leaves her feeling kind of like silly, very exposed, maybe kind of compromised for expressing herself so confidently while she was still growing. She's worried maybe about what people still think of her now or what they thought of her back then, and all of that might be creating some of the anxiety and the fear that she described. That is something I would definitely keep an eye on because I wonder if she wants to protect her son, not just from embarrassing himself with a sticker, but from feeling a more generalized embarrassment about believing one thing at one point in time and being very vocal about it. And then changing his mind later. And what does that say about you as a person? The message she might inadvertently be sending her son is, don't express yourself when you're passionate about something because you are going to beat yourself up when you change your mind one day.
[00:41:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:41:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Whereas she could send him the message, "Look, you might change your mind down the road, and that's okay. You know, it's more than okay, that's how it should be. And you might regret the sticker a little bit in a few years, and I just want you to know that. And as long as you're okay with that, I think I can be okay with it too."
[00:42:03] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, that's a more helpful message, isn't it?
[00:42:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's a way to encourage him to be thoughtful without creating too much judgment or unnecessary shame that might make him shut down parts of himself because it just feels safer, right? That's how she can use her past and her feelings about all of this to help him without passing along her fear, which to her credit, she's already trying to do, which I love.
[00:42:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's exactly the lens that allows a parent to break these old patterns with their kids and I love that. So go have this chat, the sticker. It's like a footnote at this point. It's really an excuse to have a great moment with your son and teach him how to think, how to treat other people, and most importantly, how to grow. I think it's awesome and good luck.
[00:42:44] Speaking of loud and proud, how about a shamelessly shill on behalf of the products and services that support this show? We'll be right back.
[00:42:53] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. So we used to travel a lot for podcast interviews and conferences, and we love staying in Airbnbs because we often meet interesting people and the stays are just more unique and fun. One of our favorite places to stay at in LA is with a sweet older couple whose kids and moved out. They have a granny flat in their backyard. We used to stay there all the time. We were regulars, always booking their Airbnb when we flew down for interviews. And we loved it because they'd leave a basket of snacks, sometimes a bottle of wine, even a little note for us, and they would leave us freshly baked banana bread because they knew that I liked it. And they even became listeners of this podcast, which is how they knew about the banana bread. So after our house was built, we decided to become hosts ourselves, turning one of our spare bedrooms into an Airbnb. Maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Hey, this seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you get a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle, turn it into an Airbnb. Let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this, your little one isn't so little anymore. They're headed off to college this fall. The echo in their now empty bedroom might be a little too much to bear. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[00:44:17] This episode is also sponsored by Grammarly. Ever find yourself hitting a wall with writer's block? We've all been there tirelessly, juggling words and ideas throughout the day, but fear not even the most gifted among us sometimes need a helping hand. And if I do say so myself, enter Grammarly's revolutionary AI tool that will blow your freaking mind. GrammarlyGO, brace yourself for a communication assistance so powerful. It can navigate a million different situations with ease. Prepare to be amazed as GrammarlyGO becomes your trusted ally in enhancing your writing skills, making it more persuasive and sparking your creative genius. I'm often faced with a daunting task of composing a rejection letter to somebody who doesn't quite fit the guest profile for the show. With GrammarlyGO, crafting that friendly rejection becomes a breeze. All I have to do is simply hover over the GrammarlyGO icon and request a readymade draft. And in milliseconds, the tool presents me with a perfectly tailored letter emotionally detaching me from the awkwardness that is rejecting somebody for this podcast. But hold on, there's more. If you're a creator seeking captivating captions for your latest post, or even if you need a burst of inspiration for a backyard party, or even if you want a business plan drafted, just ask GrammarlyGO. The possibilities are limitless. As for the students among us, brace yourselves for a game changer that will revolutionize your academic journey. How's that? So fellow writers, creators, and knowledge seekers give GrammarlyGO a try and let this AI gem be your trusty sidekick empowering you to conquer the realms of written expression like never before. And can you tell, I wrote this ad copy with GrammarlyGO.
[00:45:43] Jen Harbinger: You'll be amazed at what you can do with GrammarlyGO. Go to grammarly.com/go to download and learn more about GrammarlyGO. That's G-R-A-M- M-A-R-L-Y.com/go.
[00:45:55] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by the Daily Boost podcast. The Daily Boost is a daily motivation and coaching podcast that gives you practical, tactical, and real-world advice that you can use right away to get what you want out of life. Hosted by Scott Smith. The Daily Boost is unlike any other personal development show. It's a rollercoaster of positivity, injecting a healthy dose of fun, candor, and unfiltered honesty into every episode. Topics include increasing work productivity, how to communicate better, stopping burnout, and much more. The driving force behind the Daily Boost is simple yet profound to equip you with the tools and motivation needed to chase down your goals, ignite a fire within you, and keep you fueled on the journey to achieve whatever you desire. Just search for it, listen to it, and follow the Daily Boost podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:46:36] 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 check out slash support our amazing sponsors. All of the deals, discount codes and ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also always search for a sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[00:46:59] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:47:03] Okay, next up.
[00:47:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 31-year-old high school teacher, and last summer I got dumped and pretty much moped around and smoked pot. I was in a bad place, but I ended up joining a gym and have been going to 5:00 a.m. workouts for almost an entire year. I've lost 50 pounds and gotten off of my antidepressants. I didn't really have a goal there other than to just show up and become a gym goer like James Clear says to do in his book Atomic Habits. I'm now off the summer without a lot of responsibilities, and I want to set more fitness and personal development goals for myself. But my lack of organization or clear vision has me concerned. I've never been one to write personal to-do lists or write out goals for myself. I just do them, or I don't do them with varying degrees of success. I'm looking into fitness and productivity apps, but I'm getting frustrated because there are so many features. I also find that I spend more time formatting things and managing the app than working on my actual tasks and goals. How do you guys design your personal and professional objectives? How can I organize myself with a productivity app as efficiently as possible? Signed, An Overcomer, Clearing the Mental Clutter After a Bummer of a Last Summer.
[00:48:19] And shout out to the listener who wrote in for coming up with that one. Nicely done, my dude.
[00:48:23] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, it's a great story. I'm sorry you went through the breakup, but man, the way you responded. Joining a gym, sticking with the early workouts for a long time, losing 50 pounds, dramatically improving your mental health, I mean, that's all remarkable, to say the least.
[00:48:37] So look, you turned your life around the whole thing, you should be super proud. So I really appreciate this question because, obviously, you know, look, I'm into the productivity and the self-improvement and the goals and all that stuff. And hey, if setting goals and using apps like this helps you, awesome. I'm all for it. But yeah, you're absolutely right. Oftentimes managing these systems and tools we put in place to improve our lives, that can overshadow the actual, you know, improving our lives part. And I think once you're caught up in the infrastructure over the process, I think that's a sign. That's something it just isn't working.
[00:49:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:11] Jordan Harbinger: I can't remember where I read this, but it was basically, you know, you're in it a little bit too much for the apps when you're adding things to your to-do list that you already did and then checking them off, and we've all kind of done that, right? You're like, "Oh, but I just did a workout. I should add workout, and then click the little thing. So I get the firework icon next to it." The gamification is now taking over—
[00:49:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:49:31] Jordan Harbinger: —the actual results. So my advice here, keep the systems you create for yourself, simple, practical, and minimal, and don't feel like you need to over-engineer things to get better. It's really easy to start getting into the engineering instead of the actual development. Everyone has their own style. If writing out your goals on a piece of paper every morning and looking at them every night works, great. If you want to use an app like Todoist that breaks the goals into 12 sub goals and rewards you for checking them off your list, wonderful. If having a ritual or a commitment is all you need, like hitting the gym at five o'clock in the morning every day, brilliant.
[00:50:04] The only thing that matters is if this stuff keeps you in a consistent relationship with your activity, your goals, and with yourself. These productivity apps, they might be super useful and again, you know, I use some and if they work for you, go for it, but I just don't know if you need all the features. I definitely would not beat yourself up for spending more time on the formatting and all that. To me, that's probably a waste of time.
[00:50:28] Honestly, my bias is always towards routines and rituals over goals and gamification. Look at you at the workouts, you wanted to get in shape. You started going to the gym every day at 5:00 a.m. You decided to be the kind of person who goes to the gym at 5:00 a.m. and then you became that person, which is a lot of what James Clear talks about. He's been on the show talking about it many times. I fully endorse that stuff. You don't need an app punishing you or rewarding you. You created a ritual, you created a rhythm, and the rhythm worked. To me, that's the point of goal setting to be engaged with your own life.
[00:51:00] So when you say that you've never been the sort of person to write out to-do lists or goals, you just do them or you don't do them. I don't think that's entirely a bad thing. That said, if you're struggling to accomplish new goals, maybe then it's worth being a little more formal at first. But once you're in the swing of things, you don't need an app to tell you that you need to stay 15 extra minutes at the gym to get your cardio up or whatever. You're just going to be doing it, and the rewards are going to be your results. Not smashing the complete button on an app that sends you 14 fricking push notifications a day to get your gains up, bruh.
[00:51:35] And hey, one last thought here. If you feel like it's hard to accomplish certain things, then it might be worth checking in with yourself about why those goals are meaningful to you in the first place. Maybe you're chasing results without knowing exactly why it's easy to get carried away with this stuff, whether it's fitness or money. Maybe you're just struggling with some inertia because these goals are new. Maybe you're looking for a vision to motivate you when the real motivation could just be the joy of the process itself.
[00:52:05] Either way, I would take a moment to consider what you hope these new goals will do for you, and at the same time, take some pressure off yourself to have too many concepts in your mind about why you're doing what you're doing, and make sure you're staying present and enjoying what you're doing every moment that you can. The more you can be in a relationship with that, and the more you can find the gratification of doing, rather than thinking too much about the doing all the better. Everything else is just scaffolding. At some point, the scaffolding comes down and the building stands up on its own, which it's already doing pretty brilliantly.
[00:52:40] You know, 50 pounds is a big deal. Keep up the great work. Try to put as few layers between you and your life as you can, and if you do that, I know you're going to find the results that you're looking for, so good luck. And you don't even need luck. You're already on the train moving along.
[00:52:56] All right, next up.
[00:52:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I'm 17 years old and I never really had a family. I was adopted by my former teacher, Gabby, after spending my childhood in foster homes. Gabby has been an incredible mom to me, and I truly appreciate her love and kindness, but I've been struggling with the fact that I still refer to her by her first name instead of mom. I really want to start calling her mom, but I'm not sure how to bring it up or make the transition without feeling awkward. Can you offer any advice or suggestions on how I can approach this situation? Signed, Having Some Qualms About Dropping This Bomb, And Finally Calling Her Mom.
[00:53:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oof.
[00:53:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: All right. Okay, Jordan, let's see if we can answer this question without bursting into tears. You start.
[00:53:45] Jordan Harbinger: Seriously. Somebody cutting onions in here.
[00:53:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know.
[00:53:48] Jordan Harbinger: I am not an easy cry and I am like just barely holding it together. Yeah.
[00:53:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:53:54] Jordan Harbinger: Better than most Pixar aren't movies these days. Let me round up here. First of all, what an amazing story. Of course. I'm sorry that you had the childhood that you did.
[00:54:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:03] Jordan Harbinger: And that you feel like you never really had a family, and that's horrible. I can only imagine how difficult that must be for any child. Being a kid is hard with a supportive family. So to grow up without that, it's just such a massive challenge. But what an incredible thing to have happened to go to school, meet a teacher like this, and she ends up adopting you. Wow, it's really extraordinary. Gabby, man, what a blessing. She sounds like a really special woman, and I'm very touched by the relationship that you two have. It's just, it's beyond words.
[00:54:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is, yeah.
[00:54:32] Jordan Harbinger: But you know what? She's not the only one who's special here. I'm getting the sense that you are too, and I'm sure Gabby formed a bond with you for a reason. She saw something valuable and lovable and deserving in you, and she changed the course of both your lives by adopting you. So I am not surprised that you want to call her mom. And what a thing, at 17 years old, you found a woman who truly feels like your mom, who is your mom. Wow. Very touching to say the least.
[00:55:00] So honestly, I'd say just go for it. Don't second guess yourself here for a single minute. If you feel the impulse to call Gabby mom after all the love she's given you, I promise you, she thinks of you as her son. I have a strong feeling that this is just going to be a huge moment in your relationship and it's going to be really special for both of you. So just do it. Even if it feels awkward, even if it feels risky, lean into that. Say it anyway. Say it awkwardly if you have to. It just doesn't matter. It's going to be wonderful. Oh man, after you say it once, it's going to get easier and easier and in a week you're going to be yelling like, "Mom, bring me a snack," from your bedroom eight times a day. And it's going to make both of your hearts grow three sizes.
[00:55:42] And damn it, I'm tearing up again. Man, Gabe, I'm just picturing this woman's face when he says it for the first time. Like, "Can I believe my ears? Is that what just happened? I've dreamed of this moment."
[00:55:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:55:53] Jordan Harbinger: "Was it ever going to happen?" Oh my gosh.
[00:55:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's going to be amazing. Just know that you're probably going to make her cry.
[00:55:59] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely.
[00:55:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, you're making two grown-ass men on a podcast who didn't adopt you cry.
[00:56:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:56:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: So yeah, just be ready for that.
[00:56:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's going to be waterworks. Don't do it at a fricking Nordstrom rack or like Panera Bread, right? For the first time.
[00:56:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: You don't like crying in Panera, Jordan.
[00:56:13] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:56:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Such a great place to burst into tears when you're just chowing down on a BLT.
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh gosh. Maybe you do it one Saturday morning over breakfast at home, so she doesn't have to worry about all the people staring at her at both of you. And she has time to process it all. I just think, yeah. Oh gosh.
[00:56:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sound advice. Let her cry into the Cap'n Crunch for a little while before you take the mom thing out in public. It's a probably a good idea.
[00:56:35] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know about Gabby eating Cap'n Crunch and crying. I'm getting strong Kashi vibes from this woman.
[00:56:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Kashi vibes. Yeah, you're probably right. She's loving. She's responsible. Yeah. That sounds like a Kashi.
[00:56:44] Jordan Harbinger: It's a Kashi gal right there. Yeah. I'm just wrapping my head around the fact that she adopted her student. It's something out of a movie. Are one of those shows like This Is Us? Except the story actually made me cry and doesn't make me feel like I'm just supposed to cry because everyone's overacting and the music is swelling.
[00:57:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Isn't this the plot of Matilda?
[00:57:05] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. It's also sort of the plot of Léon, The Professional, where a sniper hitman adopts a little girl.
[00:57:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's true.
[00:57:13] Jordan Harbinger: That movie's more my speed, honestly.
[00:57:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interestingly, our friend here is Matilda, either Matilda from the movie Matilda. Or Mathilda, Natalie Portman's character from Léon, who coincidentally, also named Matilda with an H.
[00:57:23] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:57:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: And Gabby is, uh, what's her name? Miss Honey. Do you remember that?
[00:57:28] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:57:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Miss Honey who saves her from Danny DeVito? Ah, shit. I'm getting emotional, just thinking about it.
[00:57:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, nothing like a Danny DeVito reference to get you to cry, I guess over there.
[00:57:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: That movie is so good though.
[00:57:38] Jordan Harbinger: Whatever. That's a tangent and we don't need to go down with Danny DeVito. Let's wrap this up before it gets too embarrassing. got to preserve my dignity here a little bit.
[00:57:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair enough.
[00:57:46] Jordan Harbinger: Listen, I'm so happy that you and Gabby found each other. My faith in humanity restored just one tiny little bit, especially after that whole Tina story today. And I am so pumped for this amazing moment you guys are going to have soon. Trust your gut. Hit her with the mom. Give her a huge hug. I promise you, you guys are going to carry this moment for the rest of your lives and I'm so happy for you. Shout out to Gabby Gabs and shout out to you for sending everyone into the weekend with their makeup just ruined now.
[00:58:14] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everybody who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Robert Kerbeck if you haven't yet.
[00:58:22] The best things that have happened to me in my life and business have come through my network and I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for yourself in our Six-Minute Networking course. It's a hundred percent free. It's not gross. I don't need your credit card. It's not schmoozy. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. They take a few minutes a day, the drills. It's stuff I wish I knew two decades ago. Dig the well before you get thirsty, folks. You can find it all at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:58:48] Transcripts in the show notes. The show notes are at jordanharbinger.com. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, ways to support the show all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Go try the chatbot at jordanharbinger.com/ai if you want to route something out of Feedback Friday or anything else on the show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and you can find Gabe on Instagram @GabrielMizrahi, or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[00:59:15] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty. Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. And I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Ditto Laowhy86. 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 can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[00:59:48] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Ishmael Beah, who at the age of 13 was forced to become a child soldier.
[00:59:55] Ishmael Beah: I started when I was 13, the first day that we went to war. I think it was the most terrifying thing that ever happened to me, just on the way there, knowing what we were going to do but it hasn't yet happened. Having this feeling that I was descending into some kind of darkness into some place that was going to chip away from who I had been, that I would no longer get back, truly. And then there was an ambush, and then we started exchanging fire and people who looked like us were shooting at us. And there was a kid that when we were training, had looked up to me. He was next to me and there was an explosion, and his body flew and he was a kid. There was blood all over my face and everything, and I just lost it.
[01:00:36] I realized at that moment, now, listen, if I don't shoot, I'm going to end up like everybody else who's being killed next to me. And I started shooting, shooting to kill, and whatever could get you as high as possible. So you feel like you are kind of in a long nightmare. You took it, that becomes a new reason to fight. You didn't want to come down from the high, but there's also, because you're on the high, you also get addicted to the violence itself. So you constantly keep yourself moving, being high, engaging in more violence until you remove from it which is why sometimes people are shocked when soldiers come back from fighting and they're traumatized sometimes they shoot themselves, they become violent when you go and take out another life and dehumanize it. In reverse, it dehumanized yourself, your own spirit, your own being, and it takes a lot of undoing.
[01:01:23] I was once the kid who loved hip-hop, Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, learned Shakespeare, wanted to be an economist. And then I became a soldier and I started doing things that I didn't think I would ever be able to be in the position to do but I did them.
[01:01:37] Jordan Harbinger: To hear about life in a war zone where he fought for three years before being rescued by UNICEF, check out episode 622 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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