As a gay man of faith, you’ve made the decision to remain closeted and celibate according to your personal beliefs. But attention from a younger, attractive colleague lured you down a temporary path of temptation from which you’ve mostly recovered — though a few lurid lapses leave doubts lingering that you can separate the friendship you value with this person from the physical urges you have when you’re around him. What should you do? We’ll tackle this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- As a gay man of faith who’s chosen to remain closeted and celibate, can you maintain a platonic friendship with the young man who’s tempted you toward physical intimacy on more than a few occasions?
- The founders of your company regularly write shoddy, misspelled, grammatically primitive emails to clients. How can you address this diplomatically before they drive all business away to your more competent competitors?
- You hoped that co-owning a cottage with your mother and sister would bring you closer together, but it seems to have only complicated your relationship with them. How can you exit the situation gracefully?
- Your significant other is addicted to online gambling, and uses your debit and credit cards to fund this addiction. Is it possible to put a stop to this — and maybe salvage the relationship — before you go completely broke? [Thanks to Haesue Jo, Head of Clinical Support at BetterHelp, for helping us with this one!]
- How do you handle public criticism on social media from a well-known person in your industry who dislikes you?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- TextExpander: Get 20% off your first year
- Scotts: Pick up a bag of Scotts Turf Builder today
- SimpliSafe: Learn more at simplisafe.com/jordan
- Grammarly: Get 20% off premium at grammarly.com/jordan
Miss our conversation with pain psychologist Dr. Rachel Zoffness in which we explored how to alleviate the root causes of pain instead of merely seeking short-term relief from it? Catch up with episode 661: Rachel Zoffness | Managing Pain In Your Body and Brain here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Acupuncture | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Matt Simon | How Microplastics Poison the Planet | Jordan Harbinger
- Fella Fretting from Furtive Front Seat Fellatio | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- You Can’t Pray the Gay Away | Skitso Music
- Grammarly (20% Off Here!)
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets About Negotiation Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets About Negotiation Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Alex Kouts | The Secrets About Negotiation Part Three | Jordan Harbinger
- Affordable, Private Therapy Anytime, Anywhere | BetterHelp
- Haesue Jo MA, LMFT, Head of Clinical Support | BetterHelp
- Beau’s Bad Bets Bust Beloved’s Bank | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Never Wrestle with a Pig. You Both Get Dirty and the Pig Likes It. | Quote Investigator
819: Faith over Flings: A Closeted Conundrum | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the meticulously applied plastic sheet, protecting this delicate screen of life advice, Gabriel Mizrahi. Not a single fingerprint under there, Gabe.
[00:00:17] 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.
[00:00:42] If you're new to the show, on Fridays, we give advice to you, we answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, performers. This week we had Matt Simon on microplastics in the environment. We know there's plastic out there, right? But it is crazy how much plastic there is, where it is, how it gets into our bodies. Yeah, you heard me. We're eating that stuff, breathing it in. The numbers will blow your mind. It's just a really interesting topic. It's not totally hopeless. It seems hopeless, but it's not Matt Simon, really interesting episode. Go ahead and check that one out yet if you haven't. There was no episode yesterday that was not an accident. We're giving people a little break ski. Make sure you've had a look and listen to everything we created for you here this week.
[00:01:27] As always, we've got fun ones. We've got doozies, and I can't wait to dive in. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:01:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just a heads up, the first question deals with some pretty intense material about adult sexual relationships, so just keep that in mind before you listen.
[00:01:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:01:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 37-year-old gay male who is choosing to set those desires aside for my relationship with Christ. I used to believe that changing my sexuality might be possible and even found myself in a marriage with an amazing woman, but it fell apart in spectacular fashion. Now, I'm content to live for God without a romantic relationship. I know how you feel about this, but I ask that you stick with me here.
[00:02:10] Jordan Harbinger: All right. Fair enough. I hear you.
[00:02:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Several years ago, I met a student, let's call him Shawn. During his freshman orientation at the university where I work, we became friends and bonded over shared interests, and I like to think I was a bit of a mentor because I successfully navigated being a first-generation black male at a small, rural, predominantly white institution. He's very attractive, but I never sought out a sexual relationship with him. Then one day, he made a move and I was weak and thus began a month-long sexual relationship. Shawn often left me feeling used because he was so selfish in bed, but I suffered through it because the attention from a handsome younger man was thrilling, and without the sex, we did still have a nice friendship. One day, I asked him what he liked about being with me, and all he could say was, "You feel good." Nothing was worth sacrificing my beliefs, especially that. So I broke it off. A few months later, he asked for a meeting in my office to get some advice on his studies and career. After a little while, he pulled his penis out and walked over to my desk. You can guess what happened next. He was satisfied, thanked me, and left. It was all so quick. I told him this could never happen again. A few months later, Shawn graduated. He got a summer job with the university and they put him up in a historic mansion that the university owns. He asked if I wanted to come over and see it. I actually did because I had been there once 20 years ago and I wanted to see the improvements they had made.
[00:03:42] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Uh-huh. I'm sure you wanted to see all the improvements. Surreal architecture, aficionado, aren't you? I want to see those beams. I want to grab a hold of a column or two.
[00:03:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Show me the pillars. Yeah.
[00:03:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:03:56] Soundbite: Come on, man.
[00:04:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. When I got there, things started innocently enough later. We were sitting on a futon in his room when he reached over and began to kiss me passionately. I told him I didn't want this, but he replied, "Yes, you do."
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:04:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: The thing is, I really didn't want it. I had worked 13 hours that day. I was tired and in desperate need of a shower. Things escalated and before I could come up with a convincing way to get him to stop, he was inside of me. It was painful and uncomfortable, and I didn't enjoy it at all. When he was finished, he made a snide remark about how I'm not as tight as when we first hooked up. He then let me use his bathroom to get cleaned up and he said, "See you," without walking me to the door. I felt violated, dirty, manipulated, and kind of ashamed that I let something happen that I really didn't want. I'm older, I'm more mature, eight inches taller, stronger. I could have given him one quick punch in the face, but I felt sort of resigned to just letting him have his way. After our last encounter, I stopped talking to Shawn and I asked him to stop calling and texting and DMing me, but now I miss our friendship. We had so much in common, and I don't currently have a close friend I can just call and chat with, which I desperately need if I'm going to live a single life. God and I have renewed our bond, and perhaps now that Shawn and I are separated by hundreds of miles, our friendship could stay a friendship. Is it worth salvaging a valuable friendship by working through all this other drama that burned the friendship to ashes? Signed, Missing My Friend, a Godsend until the Bitter End, Although I Can't Defend What He Did in the End.
[00:05:46] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, that one got long. Okay. Wow. Whew, this is quite a story, my man. I want to thank you for being so open with us. I am sure that this is not easy to talk about, and I really admire your willingness to explore all of. and to invite us into your life. I definitely appreciate that.
[00:06:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:06:04] Jordan Harbinger: So, whew, Gabe, my mind is racing. I want to go in like six different directions and I'm not even sure which one to start with.
[00:06:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm having the exact same feeling. There's just so much going on in this letter.
[00:06:14] Jordan Harbinger: I know he doesn't want to talk about the fact that he's denying his sexuality or at least choosing not to own it. He's choosing to live for God, and that's fine. I can accept that. But this whole story, having this covert relationship with this guy, being really hurt by him in a number of ways, but then still wanting him in his life, we could talk about all of that in a vacuum.
[00:06:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:33] Jordan Harbinger: But I can't help but feel that that's connected to his relationship with his orientation, his relationship with himself.
[00:06:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, it is. Absolutely. There are two sides of the same coin in a way, right?
[00:06:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's decided to not live his life as a gay man for reasons that I'm sure are very meaningful to him. And yes, I can appreciate that, but he's still attracted to men, which by the way, let's just be clear, that means he is living as a gay man. He's not pretending otherwise. He's just doing it with what sounds like a lot of conflict and a lot of shame, and therefore all of the secrecy.
[00:07:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So I'm kind of back to how do we talk about this without talking about his beliefs?
[00:07:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: The fact is, despite the way Shawn treated our friend here, what he's done to him, Shawn still feels very important. But what our friend here is really saying is, "I'm alone. I'm isolated. I don't have a close friend I can just call and chat with. So on some level, I need this guy because who else do I have?"
[00:07:28] Jordan Harbinger: That's exactly right. I don't mean to minimize the importance of their friendship, although that friendship is, uh, it's complicated. But I hear him that Shawn means a lot to him.
[00:07:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: But he means a lot because Shawn offered him something that he simply cannot get anywhere else—
[00:07:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:07:43] Jordan Harbinger: —in large part because he's closed himself off from those very experiences.
[00:07:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's exactly right. Shawn's been a source of connection, camaraderie, comfort, validation, pleasure. He's also been a source of very real pain.
[00:07:56] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: But we'll get to that in a moment. And yeah, he misses that. And to be fair, I get it. If I were in his shoes, I think I would probably long for that connection wherever I could get it too.
[00:08:06] Jordan Harbinger: Even if it's from somebody who also hurts you, right?
[00:08:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes. That's the trade-off that he's accepting because on some level he feels he has no choice. He does have a choice, but given his beliefs, his values, his priorities, right now, he essentially doesn't.
[00:08:20] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. So given all that, let's talk about Shawn. You met somebody you were really drawn to, really attracted to at a time when you were obviously longing for a connection, and that's perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with that. You started a sexual relationship with this guy and in some ways, it was really gratifying and enlivening and in other ways, it was, well, not great. He was selfish in bed. He left you feeling used. He seems to have valued you for the pleasure more than the connection. And that sucks. That didn't leave you feeling very good about yourself or the relationship. And then comes the day at the house where you just wanted to see the improvements they've made over the years. But this is where your story gets really intense. All jokes aside, because what happened between the two of you? I don't want to keep using the word complicated, but it was complicated. A fair amount of ambiguity in this encounter.
[00:09:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:09:07] Jordan Harbinger: He didn't want to hook up with him. He didn't respect that. He pushed you to, you relented. Yeah. You could have resisted harder, but you didn't. And I want to come back to that in a second. It was painful physically clearly, but also emotionally. He treated you really poorly afterward by any standard. He said a hurtful thing. He dismissed you and then he left you with some very difficult feelings, sadness, regret, shame. What happened that day, that was not okay. And I am so sorry you went through that. I really am. And I think a lot of people are probably like, "Oh, what's the big deal," if we were talking about a man and a woman?
[00:09:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:09:41] Jordan Harbinger: Let's just highlight that this would be very different for everyone. So I want to highlight that it's not really that different, uh, at all.
[00:09:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:09:49] Jordan Harbinger: Now, we're in some new territory here.
[00:09:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:09:52] Jordan Harbinger: And I want to be very thoughtful about this. I'm not trying to tell you what this experience was or what it meant. This is your life. You're going to have to process this in your own way and decide what to take away from it. But I think it's fair to say that there was an aspect of this encounter that was not entirely consensual. Now, we don't know how clearly or explicitly you tried to say you didn't want to have sex with Shawn, but when Shawn said, "Yes, you do." I can't quite tell what the subtext of that was. I don't quite know how much he actually forced you to keep going. You say things escalated before you could come up with a convincing way to get him to stop, which might mean that Shawn didn't fully understand what you did and didn't want, or it might mean that you gave him the impression that deep down you really did want to hook up. Like I said, very ambiguous, and that's what makes encounters like this very confusing.
[00:10:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:10:44] Jordan Harbinger: And between men, like I sort of touched on earlier, I think it can get even more confusing because the power dynamics look different from the ones between men and women traditionally. It can be hard for a man to look at a difficult encounter and say, "Yeah, I was assaulted. That was traumatic, that was wrong." There's a lot of ego wrapped up in this experience for a lot of guys. And also, like you said, you're bigger, you should have done something. I mean, there's, this is all the same stuff that women sort of come about, but maybe the lines are more clear because it's more established. The shame you feel. You're older, taller, stronger, that you could have fought back more. I mean, it's just a very normal feeling to have.
[00:11:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm really glad you brought that up, Jordan, because that is almost verbatim what one of our other listeners said in a very similar story to this one. So you remember the hitchhiker who had been sexually assaulted by a man in a car?
[00:11:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: On that late night home. Yeah. And he couldn't bring himself to tell his wife about it for this exact reason.
[00:11:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's right. I did forget about that, but that's the same situation. Very similar.
[00:11:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: We can link to that episode in the show notes. I really encourage you to listen to that because we went into a lot of detail about why it can be so hard to fight back when you're attacked like this, and just how that psychology operates, especially in men.
[00:11:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point. Very different stories, but a lot of the feelings are the same. Yes. But look, in your heart, you knew you didn't want to have sex with this guy, and however, you did or did not communicate that, that is still a very meaningful fact. It's painful.
[00:12:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm sure it's also confusing because you walked away from that encounter feeling by your own description, violated, dirty, manipulated, ashamed, and yet you still want to be close with this guy.
[00:12:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. And that conflict, this feeling of being violated and mistreated by somebody, but then maybe overlooking some of that behavior and still longing to be in their life, there is so much going on in that experience. And I think that speaks, first of all to Shawn. Look, I'm sure he's a decent young man in a lot of ways, but he's clearly also wrestling with some difficult stuff himself and who knows what that is. Maybe he even has some of his own shame around his orientation, or, I don't know, complex feelings about the relationship with you. All I know is this, you don't treat someone like this if you are not in pain yourself, but also what he did, what he said, absolutely not okay. But this conflict of yours also speaks to why you were drawn to this guy, why you're still drawn to him.
[00:13:07] That's where your side of the equation does kick in because you were obviously getting something from this relationship. You sought this guy out or allowed him to seek you out for a reason, and your patterns interacted with his patterns to create all of these moments and these feelings. And listen, please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. What happened at the house that day was not your fault. Shawn absolutely should have listened to you. He should have respected your boundaries. And yes, it was ambiguous, but the fact is he was not very attuned to you and he definitely was not respectful of you. But that can be true, and we can appreciate why it was difficult for you to tell him what you really wanted because how you responded in that moment or didn't respond, that says a lot. It contains a lot of important information about your needs, about your boundaries, about your ability to hold them, about your neurobiology, which by the way, is largely out of your control. We talk about that on the hitchhiker episode too, and also information about all of the choices that led you to the house that day.
[00:14:15] Jordan Harbinger: That's exactly right, Gabe. What happened that day wasn't his fault, but this entire relationship, what he decides to take away from it, that is his responsibility.
[00:14:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hmm.
[00:14:25] Jordan Harbinger: So here's how I would move through this. First of all, I would absolutely maintain this boundary that you've drawn with Shawn. It's extremely important that you do so. I know you miss your friendship with him, but the fact is, this is not a healthy relationship for you right now, especially. You deserve better. You need better, and even if you could somehow salvage your friendship, yeah, there's still be this injury between you and I just don't know how a true friendship can operate with that in the picture. Also, I feel very strongly that you need to talk about what happened to you with a professional. You have a lot to unpack and explore here the day at the house, of course, but also just the whole relationship with Shawn, your orientation, your history, your faith, your relationships in general. I think you could really use that support, and I feel that's even more important given how isolated you are right now. You said it the best. You don't currently have a close friend you can chat with, which you desperately need, and I agree with you completely. But that person that isn't Shawn, that person to start with, should be a therapist who can be there for you in the way that you really need right now.
[00:15:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Could not agree more. And listen, I know you've made up your mind about choosing God over your orientation, and we've tried hard to respect that. And obviously, that is absolutely your choice. But I do want to say this. When you get into therapy, please bring this up. Tell them what it's been like, come into terms with your orientation, that chapter when you were trying to change it, deciding to give it up for your religion. A good therapist is not going to try to change your mind. What they will do is invite you to get in touch with all of these different parts of yourself, and hopefully, bring more curiosity to them and more compassion to them help you figure out who you are. And yes, my hope, personally is that that leads you to a less shameful, more authentic life. But even if you stick with this path, your therapist can help you sort through all of the experiences again, that have brought you to this point, and that is so important.
[00:16:29] Also, last thing I'll say about this, I would really encourage you to seek out stories from people who are gay and belong to a religion and see if there's another lens on your orientation as a Christian. Again, really not trying to convince you of my point of view here, but to be totally candid, it makes me very sad that you feel like you can't be out and have a relationship with God. I'm not here to take your religion away from you. I'm not here to tell you what to believe at all. I just want to invite you to open up your aperture a little bit and to consider what this relationship to God might be doing for you and how it could be functioning as a way to avoid or cope with some difficult feelings about your identity. And that's all I'll say about that. And, yeah, thank you for staying open to that idea.
[00:17:13] Jordan Harbinger: Well said, Gabe. I obviously agree. This is his journey. He has to figure this out. But I'm always a big fan of listening to stories from people who have walked a similar path, and there are tons of them on Reddit, Twitter, podcasts. There's a whole world of people in your shoes, and their stories could be really comforting and helpful to you right now, especially.
[00:17:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Hey, look, I'm really sorry this happened to you, my man. What you've been through is extremely intense in so many ways, but it's brought you to a really important point where you can look at this relationship and the wonderful need that it laid bare, which is your desire for love and connection in your life. And you can ask yourself, what is this experience here to teach me? If you follow that question earnestly, openly, and with the right support, it's going to lead you to the right place, I promise you that. So that's my wish for you, man. We're sending you a big hug and we're wishing you all the best on this journey.
[00:18:08] You know what you won't have to give up for the Lord, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. In his name, we play the following ads.
[00:18:20] This episode is sponsored in part by TextExpander. Do you want to be more productive and save literal hours each month? We use a tool every single day. It's called TextExpander. I've been using it for years. It saves you time typing out repetitive things such as the current date, email addresses, phone numbers, commonly used phrases. By the way, how annoying is it to type in your email or your address every time? You do that a zillion times a day. TextExpander, it's like keyboard shortcuts, but it is way, way more powerful. You can create dropdown menus. You can fill in the blanks to customize the shortcuts. A few of you have had your whole team implement this, and your bosses were stoked. You're welcome. Our entire team uses it now. Like I said I use it all the time and it is especially handy if you need to send out mass messages that are customized, like you want to respond to LinkedIn or social media or other business. TextExpander is really smart. It'll even suggest snippets that you should create based on things that you type all the time. It'll be like, "Why do you keep typing that? Make it this shortcut. You want us to do that for you?" Yes and yes. Don't waste time typing out things you've already worded perfectly, whether it's a word, whether it's a whole email. Capture the important pieces of your emails, your directions, messages, and other data so you'll never have to retype them again. It works on desktop, it works on mobile. It is really, really incredible. I highly recommend it.
[00:19:31] Jen Harbinger: It's totally free to try TextExpander. Just go to textexpander.com/jordan and get 20 percent off when you're ready to sign up, textexpander.com/jordan.
[00:19:41] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Scotts Turf Builder. Grow grass fast with Scotts Turf Builder Rapid Grass. It's a revolutionary mix of seed and fertilizer that grows full green grass in just weeks. It helps you solve your lawn's large problem areas, and establishes new grass in no time. Seed and feed your lawn back to the top of its game fast so you can speed your way to enjoying it. Pick up a bag of Scotts Turf Builder Rapid Grass today. It's guaranteed or your money back. Feed your lawn, feed it.
[00:20:07] Thank you so much for listening and supporting the show. Your support of the advertisers is what keeps the lights on around here. All the deals, all the discount codes, all the ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor, any promo code using the AI chatbot on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[00:20:26] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:20:30] Okay, next up.
[00:20:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a registered nurse, and I recently started working as a client care coordinator for a very small company that provides recovery services to people struggling with substance abuse and mental health diagnoses. They offer sober coaching, case management, treatment placement, and intervention services. I only work closely with three coworkers. We work remotely, so all communication is via phone, text, and email. One of my coworkers is very competent, professional, helpful, but the other two who are also the founders of the company, they're a complete mess. They're both disorganized and scattered to say the least. Their work habits are inefficient and they're constantly bumping into each other. They're terrible communicators and have absolutely no concept of writing appropriately in a professional setting. Their emails are grammatically incorrect, have multiple spelling errors, and are so difficult to follow that I often have to read them multiple times. They do not write in complete sentences and send fragments of scattered thoughts that are clearly thrown together hastily. The most concerning part is that these emails are not only internal communications. Many are going out to clients, families, doctors, therapists, and referral sources. I feel it makes the whole company look disorganized and unprofessional, and it makes both of them look unintelligent. But they're my direct superiors, so I feel that I can't criticize them outright. Meanwhile, I take time to write professional emails, spell check, and use proper grammar.
[00:22:05] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:22:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel that it's important that our customers, who by the way, are spending tens of thousands of dollars on their treatment feel they're getting competent and diligent care. Is there any way to address this with my colleagues? Signed, Wincing in Dismay at These Disastrous Communiques.
[00:22:21] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, yeah. This is a tricky one. You're a hundred percent right. Communication is everything. And if these guys are sending out dumpster fire emails, it does reflect poorly on the brand. It does make it harder to work as well as possible with other people inside and outside of the company and it's not just optics. This is about how they relate to their patients and their colleagues and how they represent themselves to the outside world. But to your point, yeah, I mean it's delicate because these guys are the founders. They're your bosses. That's not going to change. There are probably some sensitive politics at play. So if you have any hopes of changing this, here's what I do.
[00:23:00] First off, I would try to find as many specific instances as possible where your boss's emails created a problem. Not just some like, "Hey, you can't spell there, there, and there. You got to figure this out." For example, you might find where a client failed to find the care they needed, or somebody didn't understand the update on their family member's recovery and got upset about it, or a doctor missed a referral or misdiagnosed someone. Or a therapist had to ask six times for clarification about a patient's history, which wasted a bunch of time, or the founders butt heads, and there were three unnecessary meetings to untangle the mess. Document these problems for yourself and try to capture what the impact was. Did they lose time? Did they incur additional expenses? Did they compromise patient care? Was there a hit to your company's brand? Maybe there was a hit to employee morale, whatever. If you can put a number on those impacts, even better, something quantifiable. Then, I would find time to sit down with these guys and share what you've learned with them.
[00:24:00] You might have to wait for just the right moment to catch them when they have time and patience to really listen and they're the most receptive to your ideas. Maybe you throw a whiskey or two in them at the company happy hour before you bring this up. Whatever's going to lubricate the situation, but regardless of when you do this, the message is basically this, "I really love working for this company. I feel very lucky to be a part of a practice that has such a big impact on people's lives. And if it's cool, I wanted to share an observation that I've had recently, an idea for how we can do what we do even better. And if this isn't something you're interested in, totally fine. You're the boss, you lead here, but if you see where I'm coming from, then I would love to work together to figure this out." And then you tell them about their emails.
[00:24:45] I would obviously do this very gently, very respectfully, so they don't feel attacked or belittled or criticized. I would come at this from a place of passion and love. So maybe you say, "Look, I know how hard it is to give every single email your all. We have so many patients, so many stakeholders, it's a lot to keep up with. So, hey, I completely understand why it's easier to just fire off a quick response. But what I'm noticing is that these email, they often end up causing us more work. They take up more time, and I worry that they're starting to hurt our amazing brand because our patients, they're spending tens of thousands of dollars on their treatment, as you know. And I'm sure you'd agree that they want to feel that they're getting competent and diligent care. And our emails to them, those are one of the main ways that they experience that care."
[00:25:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which by the way, I think that's so important because these guys might not even realize that. Like I get the sense that they don't think of their emails as part of their product.
[00:25:41] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And that's an easy sort of rut to fall into.
[00:25:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:44] Jordan Harbinger: They just don't get how important good communication is. It's not just a nice to have, it is their brand. There's obviously a little bit of a lack of self-awareness here where it's just like, "I'm going to type this random thing from the toilet," and it's like, well, okay, but 30 people have to read that and decipher your mindset in this moment. But anyway, that's when you hit them with the specific examples so they can see, "Oh, wow. Okay. When I respond to people like this, it's actually coming across this way. It's creating these ripple effects that I don't even know about, because again, I'm firing this off at a red light and not thinking about it." And that'll also make it a lot harder for them to be mad at you because you're not saying, "Hey, you guys are a disorganized mess." You're just presenting them with evidence that things could be better with, frankly, minimal input on their part. And you're doing it in the spirit of, "Hey, I care about you. I care about the company and I take you seriously enough to share this important feedback."
[00:26:37] So that is how I would approach this. You have to shift this from being a personal criticism to being a concrete business problem with a clear solution. And I would be prepared to teach them how to do this, which would be really awesome for all of you. And it'll make them see how valuable you are too, which frankly is a nice side effect. And if they don't respond well, or if they seem to get it, but then they don't want to change. Then, you'll have to decide whether to press the issue or just let it go. The ball's going to be in their court at that point. They're the bosses. But the more you encourage them, the more you empower them, the more you educate them about this, the more likely it is that they're going to take the feedback. And if they do, I would show them the result. Glowing patient reviews, relieved family members, helpful therapists, so they get some positive reinforcement too. And I love that you're onto this. They're lucky to have you. I think anyone would be. And good luck.
[00:27:29] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Use a descriptive subject line, unlike the bosses from question two, that makes our job a whole lot easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on life, love, work. What to do if your children are living in a house with a convicted sex offender, and the system won't intervene? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous and legible.
[00:27:59] Alright, what's next?
[00:28:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. A couple of years ago, I purchased a family cottage with my mother and sister while I set a clear boundary at the outset that I would not be spending my weekends renovating the place. I had just finished a year-long renovation at my own house and everyone agreed to it. There seems to be some resentment on their part that I'm not contributing as much time and work as they'd like me to, although I have done a lot more than I originally wanted. For example, I manage the entire kitchen renovation by myself. My sister's husband is a contractor, and they decided to take on a number of projects without consulting me. I'm fine with that, of course, but then doing all this work is creating an expectation that I will too. A few weeks ago, I raised the possibility of selling them my share in the cottage with the thought that our relationship was much more important to me. Then, we found some solutions and everything seemed to be going better. Then, a few days ago, my sister told me that she'd like to either buy my share or have me buy her out. The following day in a very confrontational conversation, my mother basically told me she would rather share the cottage with my sister than with me. This leads me to think that they've made a decision together and I'm out. Exacerbating this whole situation is the fact that my mother and sister have always been closer with each other than with me. I was always closer to my dad who's now in a care home with advanced dementia. This is making me miss him so much more as I know this wouldn't be happening if he were well. On top of all that, I don't think my sister is thinking clearly at the moment. She's a high school teacher and had a shooting scare at her school recently and says she has PTSD, but when I suggested putting this conversation on hold until she was feeling better, she got angry and insisted we deal with this now. My instinct is to just keep things businesslike, negotiate a fair price and lick my wounds, but I'm hurt and I'm afraid my relationship with them is irreparably damaged. How do I exit this situation gracefully? Signed, Sussing Out These Mechanics While I Renovate My Family Dynamics.
[00:30:04] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yeah. This is tough. I'm sorry the cottage played out this way. It's a good idea in theory, but this is why people say don't do business with family because the wires can get crossed and family dynamics creep in and a relatively manageable conflict can balloon into a family crisis, especially if communication isn't the best.
[00:30:24] That said, I'm sure you had good reasons for buying the cottage. You did set that boundary at the outset, and that's an absolutely fair way to say, "I want to be very clear about what the expectations are, so we don't run into problems. And if that's going to be an issue, I want you to know that now." That was very responsible of you, very smart. But it sounds like maybe your family didn't fully understand that boundary, nor did they respect it once you got into the cottage. Or to be fair, maybe you backing down from it by doing the kitchen renovation after you said you wouldn't, maybe that sent them some sort of signal that you were able to do more work. Not that that should change the entire terms of your agreement, in my opinion, but whatever. I mean, look, if there's any validity to that, that would be a good thing for you to look at because sometimes these small decisions can speak volumes and they contribute to these misunderstandings in ways that we just don't even. Or maybe your sister and brother-in-law doing all this work has made them feel resentful because they bit off more than they can chew and now it's a them problem, not a you problem, in which case you have to learn how to insulate yourself a little bit more from their feelings and your sister wanting to take it out on you for whatever reason.
[00:31:28] All that said though, I do think the real issue here is that this cottage is activating much older wounds. Your mom and sister have always been closer with each other than with you, which you mentioned, so when they ask you if they can buy you out, or when your mom says she'd rather share the cottage with your sister, which, yeah, that's a hurtful thing to hear. I'm not saying that it isn't. That's not just an injury now during the phone conversation. That's a wound that I'm sure goes all the way back to childhood. You're probably thinking, "And that's why Maryanne got dance lessons and I couldn't ride horses even though it was the same price and you said it was too—" Like who the hell knows, right?
[00:32:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:04] Jordan Harbinger: Meanwhile you are always closer with your dad. He's not involved in the house. He's fading away. You don't have the ally you used to have in moments like this. You're outnumbered. You're alone. You're grieving. I mean, that's very painful too, frankly. And speaking of your dad, I am so sorry to hear about the dementia. That is a really difficult thing to watch, and I'm sure it would be painful, even if this whole cottage thing were not happening. You're losing your dad, you miss your dad. That's really intense. And I am just on a personal level, very sorry that it's happening.
[00:32:33] All that to say this isn't ultimately about the cottage or the renovations or who owns what it's about what this cottage represents to you and how it's dredging up these very old feelings with this sort of subterranean conflict. I think it's actually kind of fascinating. Sorry, it's at your expense.
[00:32:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is very fascinating. The house isn't just the house, right? It's a metaphor. It's her house is her childhood, really. And in a way, it's not a metaphor, it's actually just—
[00:32:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is her childhood being recreated in a sense. So, you have a few options here. Option one, you buy them out of the cottage and then the cottage is yours, but then you own this very charged house and I don't know, you might have some feelings about that. I would ask yourself if you really want to own the cottage at this point, and hey, maybe you do, but also maybe you don't, but just get clear on that before you cave to that specific offer.
[00:33:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It would be hard for me to curl up in front of that fire knowing my mom would've rather enjoyed it with my sister.
[00:33:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Or who knows? Maybe she'll enjoy it more knowing she got to keep it and she doesn't have to share it with these two people who don't even want her there.
[00:33:38] Jordan Harbinger: True. True. Also, I can imagine her just sitting down in front, "Listen to the sound of that crackling fire, and what is that sound I hear? Is that the sound of absolutely nobody bitching about the countertops in the kitchen? Enjoy your dance lessons, Maryanne." Sips wine.
[00:33:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, sips in her hot tub in victory. I like it.
[00:33:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm. This is delicious. How's sitting at home watching Netflix?
[00:34:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, in the city, Maryanne. I love it. I mean, I could see that being very fun actually. So yeah, it's up to her, which is also interesting. Option two, you sell them your steak, you get out of this painful situation. The upside there is you make a little money, hopefully. It's not your problem anymore and the house will not be an ongoing source of pain for you. Also, totally fair and honestly, maybe the best outcome, but either way, your idea to keep things as businesslike as possible with your mom and sister right now, I do think that's right. Nothing wrong with getting a fair price, keeping your head, licking your wounds, and just kind of quietly and peacefully moving on.
[00:34:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Honestly, that's my favorite option because she went into this project with high hopes and good intentions and it turned out to be a lot more difficult than she thought. Not entirely her fault.
[00:34:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:34:47] Jordan Harbinger: It had to happen like this.
[00:34:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:34:49] Jordan Harbinger: But it's probably an unnecessary source of suffering at this point. So I mean, why hang onto it?
[00:34:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, exactly. But whatever you end up doing, I do hope you get to address some of these deeper wounds regardless, or at least make peace with them. To me, that's what your story is really about how this house has laid bare or some very difficult truths that might have been hidden or justified a way about you and your sister and the whole family's dynamic, and now you have to decide what to do with those.
[00:35:16] Jordan Harbinger: I agree completely. It's kind of a theme on today's episode, huh? Super interesting.
[00:35:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, sure is. That's right.
[00:35:22] Jordan Harbinger: So I'm sorry you might not get to enjoy your Taylor Swift cottage core fantasy in this house, but hey, maybe it got something better, a little return on your investment, a ton of personal growth. And the truth as hard as it is to accept, which incidentally also kind of sounds like a Taylor Swift album. We're sending you, your dad and your whole family, our best thoughts.
[00:35:43] And Gabe, I just thought of this, but what if she says, "You know? Maybe I will buy your share out," to the sister? And the sister comes up with a price and she goes, "Okay, you know, let me think about that." And then, like a few days later you're like, "Actually, why don't you buy me out at that price?" Because she's going to pick a higher price when it's you giving her money. But if you let her pick the price, let it settle in. And then you say, "Why don't you give me that amount?"
[00:36:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:05] Jordan Harbinger: She has to then argue against why that's fair or she has to pay you that amount.
[00:36:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Clever.
[00:36:10] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, look, she's not locked into it. I think she's probably going to be like, "Actually, it's too much."
[00:36:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:36:15] Jordan Harbinger: But you get to lock it all in, in writing and be like, "So who's being unreasonable? When I was going to give you money, it was a hundred grand. Now, that it's you giving me money, it's 60. Is that fair?" And then she has to argue against herself. So you know, go ahead and learn some negotiation tactics and maybe, like I said, get return on your investment after all, the kitchen's renovated and someone's husband, sure did a lot of work on this house. I think the value's gone up since you bought it.
[00:36:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also a very Taylor Swift approach to this problem.
[00:36:43] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah. Like, oh, you know, your husband did do a bunch of work on this, so therefore it's worth more. You're going to have to pay for that. Oh, man.
[00:36:50] You know what else you won't want to share with your family? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:37:01] This episode is sponsored in part by SimpliSafe. You all know I highly recommend SimpliSafe Home Security. I am not the only one. US News recently renamed SimpliSafe, the Best Home Security System of 2023. CNET recently awarded them their editor's choice for home security as well. Home burglaries are happening all the time. It's actually quite scary. Our neighbor had is van stolen right out of his driveway and they were home in the house. Unfortunately, they didn't have a security system in place. It is frightening to think about how brazen people are getting. There was a guy in my driveway looking under my Tesla for a catalytic converter to steel. I'm just going to leave that one. Junkies are not smart people a lot of the time. I can't think of a reason not to get SimpliSafe, peace of mind, security. It's priceless. We set our alarm every night. I've got panic buttons in every room that I can hit by accident. No, they're up high. My kids aren't going to play with them, at least not yet, but it is great to be able to sleep at night knowing that I've got 24/7 professional monitoring from SimpliSafe and the cops will be there if anything happens in theory. Get a customized security system developed to fit the needs of your home. They got glass break detectors, motion and contact sensors. By the way, glass break sensors, you think you put them on the glass and it knows on the glass breaks? No. It actually listens for the sound, very specific sound of glass breaking, which I think is pretty genius. That means you can put a glass break sensor on a regular wall, and if the window's in that room break, it knows. How cool is that? Anyway, SimpliSafe has that. We've also got tons of HD security cameras keeping an eye on our property, both indoors and outside.
[00:38:26] Jen Harbinger: Customize the perfect system for your home in just a few minutes at simplisafe.com/jordan. Go today and claim a free indoor security camera plus 20 percent off your order with interactive monitoring. That's simplisafe.com/jordan. There's no safe, like SimpliSafe.
[00:38:42] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Grammarly. There are a lot of tools, actually there are not a lot of tools. There's a few tools that I use every day and that I can't live without. Grammarly is one of them. I've used Grammarly for a long, long time. It's like having somebody over my shoulder gently, not in an annoying way, reminding me ways that I could improve my written communication to be more clear, concise, and professional. Actually, I'm one of those guys that I will type something out in a flurry and then I read it like the next day and I go, "Ooh, it sounded a little curt, a little rude. Maybe I should have paused and thought about how this is going to land." I've gotten in trouble for that here and there, and I don't even have a real job you all. So I can imagine how, what happens to other people when they do this. But one of Grammarly's awesome features is the tone detector, which gives you feedback on how your message comes across. I need the tone detector working in the background of my real life, but so far, Grammarly only works on the computer and phone. Uh, alas, I don't have it, actually, in my brain, which is where I really need it. But it's really easy to implement. It runs in the background in everything that I write online. Just install the plugin or browser extension, and you are good to go. Grammarly will underline incorrect words or grammar and show you what to replace it with, and it'll make you sound smarter. Can't hate that. The right tone can move any project forward when you get it right with Grammarly. Go to grammarly.com/tone to download and learn more about Grammarly Premiums advanced tone suggestions. That's G-R-A-M-M-A-R-L-Y.com/tone.
[00:40:04] If you like this episode of Feedback Friday and you found the advice valuable, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our sponsors. They're the ones who keep the lights on around here, all the discounts, all the ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any Feedback Friday question, answer or any promo code using the AI chatbot on the website as well, jordanharbinger.com/ai. You can't miss it. Thanks so much for supporting those who support us.
[00:40:32] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:40:36] This next segment is sponsored by Better Help. Big thanks to Haesue Jo, Head of Clinical Operations over at Better Help. All right, Gabe, take it away.
[00:40:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, my girlfriend who lives with me is a gambling addict. She's also an alcoholic and a narcissist prone to fits of rage. She uses an online gaming platform on her iPhone and plays constantly, literally. If she's awake, she's playing. She doesn't work other than doing small peer-to-peer jobs in the neighborhood. She uses my debit and credit cards to fund her addiction, and I'm now growing broke. Last week, I couldn't even pay the $60 annual fee for my Costco membership, so I couldn't pick up my vision prescription. I've tried canceling my cards, but she goes into my wallet while I'm sleeping and puts them into her Apple wallet. I closed my debit card, but she told me that when the bank issued a new card, it immediately appeared in her Apple wallet. I contacted my bank and my credit card company, but they told me they cannot prevent merchants from charging my account. All they can do is close my account, which also won't work since she'll get the new card eventually, or dispute the closure as some kind of fraud. I could contact the online gaming company, but I don't trust them either. I've also considered canceling our gym membership and every other privilege I've worked hard to provide. That would punish me as well, but it might send a message. I want to avoid reporting the gambling charges as fraud since that will get my girlfriend in trouble, and I really, really do not want the police to get involved. When I confront her about all this, she gaslights me and tells me that I'm the one taking her money. She complains about how I'm weak and don't negotiate high enough raises at work and says that that's why we're always broke.
[00:42:15] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:42:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel that talking to her is pointless. I've considered moving out to let her know that I'm serious, that she has to cut out the gambling. She can't stand being alone, so that might be an option. How can I get my girlfriend to stop gambling? How do I handle this financially and emotionally? Can this relationship still work? Signed, Circling the Drain and Trying to Make It Rain While My Girlfriend Keeps Playing.
[00:42:40] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, you rhymed rain with playing. I didn't think you were going to be able to do that. All right, well, this is quite the relationship in many ways. I'm very sorry that your girlfriend has fallen into what sounds like an extremely intense gambling addiction and that her addiction has affected you so profoundly. It actually sounds like you guys are caught in a super toxic and confusing cycle. Communication is really broken down and you're not sure how to get your girlfriend to change if she can change anyway, which is a very sad place to be.
[00:43:09] Gabe, I got to say, it's fascinating that things have gotten to a point where he can't even afford to pay for Costco to go get his glasses or his contacts or whatever. I mean, there's a metaphor in there somewhere, right? Like he literally can't see the situation clearly and neither can she.
[00:43:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. They're both kind of blind. It's weirdly poetic.
[00:43:28] Jordan Harbinger: We wanted to consult with an expert on your question. So we spoke with Haesue Jo Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Head of Clinical Operations at Better Help, the world's largest online therapy service. You've heard of them. They sponsor the show, and the first thing Haesue said was, as hard as this is to come to terms with, you cannot get your girlfriend to stop gambling, not by yourself anyway. If she's going to get better, she has to want to get better. She has to take the necessary steps to seek out the support that she needs. Meetings, treatment, therapy, whatever it is, she's got to do that on her own. You can guide, you can support, you can control or whatever, but she's got to drive here. Well, it's not going to be easy given how far your girlfriend's addiction has gone, and it might take even more pain and loss until she hits rock bottom and goes, "Oh wow, I'm in trouble. I need help." Because as Haesue put it to us, your girlfriend's addiction, any addiction, really, it's fulfilling some kind of function. And that function is almost certainly to cope with some form of unresolved trauma, whatever that might be for her.
[00:44:32] The gambling, well, first of all, is probably releasing a ton of dopamine. It's giving her some relief from her rage or anxiety. It's a way to ward off the pain. So she's numbing basically, and as long as she's fixated on Jackpot Land app or whatever, hearing the dings and getting the dopamine hits, she's not having to feel her feelings and deal with her stuff, and if that's what she needs to feel regulated to feel okay, then Haesue said that it's going to be pretty difficult to turn to her and say, "Okay, no more games. I'm taking that away from you." That probably wouldn't just be unpleasant to your girlfriend. It would probably be terrifying. It would be panic-inducing. It would be very painful, which actually explains a lot of her behavior because as strange as it sounds, this is how she's holding it all together.
[00:45:19] And on that side of the equation, I do have some compassion for her. I mean, she's an addict. That said, Haesue also pointed out something really important, which is that your way of helping so far, I know it comes from a good place, but you might also be enabling her addiction to some degree because you walking on eggshells around your girlfriend, you not taking a harder stance with your finances and the fact that you're sticking around while all of this continues, I know you're trying to keep things on an even keel, which is very common with the partners of addict by the way, but you're also, you're helping feed her addiction. You're doing that by co-creating the conditions for the addiction to continue and why you're doing that. That's actually a really good question for you to ask yourself.
[00:46:04] Because our sense here and Haesue's too is that you are terrified of drawing a harder boundary here. Whether that's telling your girlfriend that she needs to stop gambling and seek help, or just cutting her off financially or finally leaving this relationship, and I'm guessing that that's because you're afraid of how she's going to react. And like you said, she's prone to fits of rage and that is very intense. Or maybe you're afraid of losing the relationship such as it is, but this is the question that you need to ask because yes, your girlfriend's addiction is the primary problem here, but it just doesn't continue without your involvement and your financial support.
[00:46:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, without your tacit approval of her behavior. Yeah, that's exactly right, which brings us to another important piece of your story here, which is how you and your girlfriend are communicating, or rather not communicating. You feel like talking to your girlfriend is pointless as you put it, which look, maybe it is. But if that's true, then the relationship is pretty much over, right? I mean, if communication will get you nowhere with her, then how do you guys move forward? But listen, if you're saying that because you don't want to talk to her or because you haven't figured out how to talk to her, then that might be another way that you're avoiding some difficult conversations, which again, that means that you are co-authoring this dysfunction.
[00:47:23] You considered moving out to let her know that you're serious about cutting out the gambling. You thought about canceling her gym membership to send a message. Pretty classic avoidant moves, I would say. It sounds to me like you're finding all of these covert ways of signaling how you really feel, all these kind of passive-aggressive ways to express your anger and to get her to change. When you could just sit down with her and say, "Listen, here's the deal. You have an addiction. I'm not going to participate in it. If you're ready to get help, I will support you. If you're not, then, I'm sorry, but I have to reassess our relationship." That is probably terrifying to think about saying, and I get it. But the fact that it's so terrifying that partly speaks to your stuff, not just hers.
[00:48:07] Jordan Harbinger: On a more practical level, the other piece you really do have control over here, you should have control over here is your finances. And that's a bit outside Haesue's scope as a therapist, but I'm happy to take that one as Jordan and say, dude, get your house in order. You cancel your cards. She goes in your wallet while you're sleeping and adds them to her Apple wallet. Hide your wallet, man. Put it in a safe. Maybe ask yourself if you should really be in a relationship with somebody who is literally stealing from you. You can't close your account because she'll call the credit card company and say the closure was fraud. Then, get new cards. Only put your name on them. Set a passcode with the company, call them and explain your partner is fraudulently posing as you. Ask them what they can do to protect you. There are options here. You don't want to report the gambling charges as fraud. Okay, fine, that's your call. But you have to recognize that this is yet another way that you are protecting her and exposing yourself to more financial abuse.
[00:49:06] So I want to just give a bit of a reality check here. You need to see how all these half-measures, they're part of the enabling. Again, they're part of your pattern, interacting with hers, as Gabe mentioned before. And so, Gabe, the $64,000 question, and I know everyone loves that very relevant phrase, can this relationship still work?
[00:49:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, well, I think the more accurate question is, is this relationship working at all? I don't think it is. I think it's persisting. It's not really working, not well anyway. I think this is pretty obvious, but it might be hard for you to see clearly. So I'll just say it, you deserve better than the way you're being treated right now. You are paying the price for your partner's addiction and also the manipulation and financial destruction that come with it. It's negatively impacting your well-being, your sense of self. Something needs to change here, but Haesue had a slightly different take, which was no one can answer this question ultimately for you. Instead, she would encourage you to think about all of the things that would need to change in order for this relationship to work, and then decide if those changes are realistic and doable given you and your girlfriend's current state. I think you know where Jordan and I stand on this, but this really is something you do have to answer for yourself.
[00:50:22] Jordan Harbinger: Agreed. So here's the path forward if things are going to change. First, your girlfriend needs to admit that she has an addiction and she has to seek help. As Haesue put it to us, you've described somebody who's classically in need of mental health support. Therapy would be the obvious treatment. She has a lot to work through, and it would be great if she had that space, but she might also need more specific support for the gambling, namely support groups like Gamblers Anonymous, the help of a recovery community. And if you share that with her and she's like, "Uh, no, I don't have an addiction. This is just how I relax and you need to get a raise and a second job so we don't fight anymore," then that'll tell you all you need to know. There's no way forward from that, in my view. Not right now anyway. But if you talk and she says, "Yeah, okay, I'm in trouble. I need help," then that's great and there might be a way forward here. Still, I would be very thoughtful about how you proceed, and I would still encourage you to think about whether you should stay together while she addresses her addiction.
[00:51:25] But to quote Haesue here, nobody can force another person to do something if they don't want to do it. She has to want this. She has to do the work in recovery. You can support her up to a point, but a lot of that work will bind necessity, not involve you. But look, I think you need to talk to somebody too. You need to process everything that's come up in the relationship. You need to figure out what drew you to this partner, and most importantly, why you've stuck around for so long. And also start talking about how you operate in relationships, in general. Why conflict and boundaries are so challenging for you and what you really want out of a relationship? Because that's kind of the one big gift this relationship has served up, the opportunity to address a very interesting part of your personality, this avoidance theme. So my advice, run toward that weakness. Dig into it with a professional, figure out where it comes from. Build that muscle. Because if you throw yourself into that work, this relationship might just turn out to be the experience you needed to grow in a really important way, and frankly, to avoid this dangerous dynamic in the future. So good luck. We're sending you our best thoughts. You can do this. And we're wishing your girlfriend the clarity and strength that she needs to get better because it might not be an easy road.
[00:52:44] This segment was sponsored by Better Help. Big thanks to Haesue Jo, Head of Clinical Operations at Better Help. Go to betterhelp.com/jordan to help support the show and get started. Haesue Jo's 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. Haesue's feedback is in response to a written question and therefore, there are likely other unknown considerations given the limited context, any personal opinions about a writer's life choices, as well as any action-oriented device come solely from the show. Also, just because you might hear something on the show that sounds similar to what you're experiencing, beware of self-diagnosis. Diagnosis is not required to find relief, and you'll want to find a qualified professional to assess and explore diagnoses if that's important to you. If you or your partner are in crisis and uncertain about whether you can maintain safety, reach out for support, crisis hotlines, local authorities, have a safety plan. That can be done with a therapist too.
[00:53:34] Next up.
[00:53:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, years ago, I started a blog, a podcast, and a YouTube channel about my career field. Over time, I managed to grow my audience, and now I guess you can call me an influencer in my small field. For the most part, our community is filled with incredibly kind and welcoming people. But there are five or so well-known influencers in this space, and they all seem to hate one another. They'll talk negatively about one another without necessarily calling people out by name. But anyone can tell with a bit of research whom they're referring to. I've managed to stay out of their crosshairs, but sure enough, one day I awoke to someone with a hundred thousand followers, the biggest name in my field, blasting me on Twitter. I had a phone call with this person to learn more about why they were so upset with me. They made it seem like it was a misunderstanding, and I thought everything was fine until I saw more tweets from them spreading negativity about my content and character. I've always struggled with taking in negative anonymous comments, but I've made quite a bit of progress in that area. Thanks in part to your show and episode 312 with John Tierney, Harnessing the Power of Bad, but I'm definitely struggling with having a leader in my field despise me. I'm attending a conference soon and he's going to be there. How do you handle public criticism from a well-known person? Signed, Look into Last After I've Been Put on Blast.
[00:54:57] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh. Yeah. This online drama is so petty, it's so shortsighted, and frankly, it's just a huge waste of time for everyone involved. I'm sorry that this guy attacked you in this way, although that probably speaks to the fact that you've developed such a great following, that he obviously sees you as a threat. That's my first instinct, so that's one bright spot in all of this. But I mean, I know it's very exposing and scary to be attacked online, especially by somebody who's a leader. There's a big difference between a tweet from some random person who looks fake and somebody who actually has a credible voice and then just decides to point the cannon at you. I put leader in big air quotes, by the way, but whatever, any big voice in your field.
[00:55:36] So first of all, you need to draw a distinction here between legitimate criticism and baseless negativity. If this guy had attacked you for legitimate reasons, if he had a reasonable criticism of your product or he disagreed with the decision you made, or you guys had some kind of philosophical dispute, it would still be hurtful and kind of immature to put you on blast but he might be making a fair point. Okay? In that case, I would say separate the message from the messenger. See if there's anything to learn from this person, and if there's even an iota of truth to what he's saying, stay open to that and decide what you want to do with it. But that is not what this guy was doing.
[00:56:17] This isn't public criticism. It's not an open letter to you. It's just trolling you. He's creating drama for engagement and it is pure internet currency clout chasing BS, and it just means nothing outside of social media. He's probably just projecting his own insecurities about your success and trying to knock you down a few pegs to build himself up. Tale as old as time, and also because he knows that this generates tribalism and loyalty with his followers and makes them pick sides. It's just is literally the definition of toxic. So in my view, this just is not worth much of your energy. You'd be much better off channeling your time and effort into continuing to put out great content, which you're clearly already doing, and avoiding the temptation to do what these blow hards do, which is jump into the fray and fight back and contribute to this dysfunctional mess. Also, if you don't do that, I think people in your field will notice that you are the one influencer not acting like an a-hole, and they're going to respect you for that.
[00:57:16] But look, If you need to address this publicly, either because you need to defend yourself or because it would help your brand a little, there is a classy way to do it. You could say something like, "So look, as you guys probably saw a big name in our field drag me recently, which really wasn't fun. He and I had a call. We've seemed to resolve the misunderstanding and then he did it again and it's brought up an interesting question for me about how to respond to stuff like this. And because I've thought about it a lot, I've decided not to respond to it because I find it petty and unproductive and I think we'd all be better served by focusing on this field that we love and not tearing one another down. That's what I'm choosing to do and that's what I want this channel to be about." Now, if you say whatever version of that, that feels authentic to you, there's just no way you don't come out looking good/better than the other.
[00:58:06] Also, you can always have a little bit of a laugh about this. That's another way to capitalize on the drama without feeding it. It's just really clear to me that this guy's not acting in good faith. If you reached out to him and you were like, "Hey, you're pissed at me. What's up?" And he's like, "No, we're cool, bro." And then the next tweet is like, "You can't believe it—" it's just nonsense. You can even turn this into your tagline, you know, "for eco-friendly artisanal product reviews and no sh*t talking, follow me," whatever it is, as opposed to "for eco-friendly, artisanal product reviews, follow me. And also Randy Shaw as a prick," which like some of your audience might tolerate, but deep down they're probably just going to think it's dumb. I guarantee you many elements of these other people's audience think it's dumb and they're just biting their tongue because that's what do they have to gain by telling somebody that they're acting like a piece of crap.
[00:58:50] So that's my take. Stay above the fray. What's that? Probably fake Mark Twain quote, Gabriel. It's like when you roll around and crap with the pigs, you both get dirty, but the pig enjoys it. It's that kind of thing.
[00:59:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:59:01] Jordan Harbinger: Am I getting that right?
[00:59:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. I don't remember, and I don't know who said that, but it's absolutely correct.
[00:59:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Here's the thing. High quality people, they're always going to respond to the more evolved personality, the people you want in your audience are going to do that. So, keep that in mind. And also keep in mind, this is not going to be the last time that this happens. It is a sign of success.
[00:59:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:59:24] Jordan Harbinger: Especially on social media. Podcasters, we seem to sort of be outside this probably because it's so damn hard to respond to somebody having a beef in podcasting would just take forever. Like, "Oh, wait until I get my next episode out in a month, I'm going to show you." You know, it doesn't play out—
[00:59:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's the equivalent of firing at each other with muskets.
[00:59:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It just doesn't play out in real time in a way that's entertaining enough. And that's how you know that this is all nonsense because it's playing out on Instagram. And as soon as you call and you're like, "Hey, what's the deal?" It's like, "Uh, nothing man," because he doesn't have a real argument. It's just pure clout chasing. So be prepared for it. Keep reading between the lines of these dumb PR stunts. Take what's useful. Leave the rest, double down in your content, forget the rest. That's the only reliable strategy that's not going to tank your brand and/or drive you absolutely insane. So good luck.
[01:00:08] 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 the Matt Simon episode on microplastics if you haven't done so yet. And again, there was no episode yesterday. That's Thursday, so if you didn't see one, it's not your podcast app. Just took a little bit of a pause over here. We'll be back with a full roster of episodes next week.
[01:00:26] If you want to know how I managed to find and book all these amazing folks for the show, it's about systems, it's about software, it's about tiny habits. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course. That course, by the way, is free over on the ThinkIfic platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't kick the can down the road. Don't think you can postpone it. It's all about digging the well before you get thirsty. The drills take just a few minutes a day. Nobody's going to ask you to drive to the YMCA in park and have stale cookies with a bunch of nobodies. It's all about short baby steps that are reproducible. It's helped me a lot in my business and personal life. jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can find it.
[01:01:02] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discounts, ways to support this show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. And if you want to search for anything including promo codes or any question from Feedback Friday that's ever been on the show, uh, including the answer of course, check out our AI chatbot at jordanharbinger.com/ai. 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.
[01:01:35] 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, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, share it with somebody else who could use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:02:08] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with a pain psychologist that helps people manage chronic pain when all else has failed.
[01:02:16] Dr. Rachel Zoffness: None of us are going to escape pain. Pain is part of being human. All of us, at some point, if we haven't already, are going to experience pain. Seems about time we understood it, knew how it worked, and knew what to do about it. So I am what's called a pain psychologist, which no one has ever heard of. People say, "Oh, well, you must treat emotional pain." The answer to that is no. Pain is always both physical and emotional. That's what neuroscience says. And in fact, what we know is that negative emotions like stress and anxiety or depression or anger or frustration, turn up pain volume in the brain.
[01:02:55] We think and are trained that pain lives in the body like in your back or in your knee. It is of course, true that things may be going wrong in your back or in your knee. But that isn't where pain lives. Pain lives in the brain. Pain does not always indicate danger. When you have chronic pain and your brain has become sensitive, small bits of non-dangerous input from the body are being interpreted incorrectly as dangerous.
[01:03:26] You've seen that car alarm. You're looking out your window and that car, the lights are flashing and the horn is beeping, and you're like, bruh, no one's breaking in. You're safe. The glass isn't even broken. That's a brain on chronic pain. So it's just so important for people with pain to know that part of what's happening for them is that their brain has become extra sensitive and it is alarming when it doesn't need to and it can be hacked. Guess what you and I are doing today?
[01:03:57] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more from Dr. Rachel Zoffness about how pain works in the body and brain, check out episode 661 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.