Should you worry that a blackmailer tipped you off to the FBI 10 years ago and it’s been waiting to nab you at the border? Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- PSA: Listeners using Stitcher should be aware that the service is going the way of the dodo soon. Recommended alternatives: Podcast Addict (Android) or Overcast (iOS).
- Could a drunken chat room indiscretion with an allegedly underage blackmail scammer from 10 years ago lead to an arrest when you try to cross an international border for the first time since the incident? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us with yet another sticky situation!]
- A recent pregnancy scare illuminated your significant other’s dependence on their family’s advice over their own faculties for critical thinking, and it’s got you wondering if such a relationship could — or should — have much of a future.
- You recently discovered that your father has a second family — for which he provides a luxurious life while telling your disabled mother to support you and your siblings as a street vendor. Now you’re wondering if you can truly live peacefully with him until you’re old enough to leave home?
- Is merging accounts with your significant other — whose financial shortcomings always seem to fall in your lap — a prudent step in the right direction for easier money management?
- Some listener feedback is shared regarding the disheartened, defamed fellow from episode 840, and we get a bombshell of an update from the woman in episode 679 whose boyfriend didn’t want her to meet his mom because she’s allegedly a huge racist.
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
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If you want to hear more about how to debunk and dismantle conspiracy theories, make sure to listen to episode 363: Mick West | How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Fireworks | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Russia’s Wagner Group and Why Coups Fail | Out of the Loop | Jordan Harbinger
- Ian Urbina | Maritime Misdeeds on the Outlaw Ocean | Jordan Harbinger
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- Nathan Paul Southern and Lindsey Kennedy | Sourcing Cyber-Slavery | Jordan Harbinger
- Can I Protect Myself if Someone Has Blackmailed Me for Years and Takes Me to Court for Something That Happened Years Ago When I Don’t Comply With Their Demands? | Quora
- My GF Lets Her Parents Control Everything in Her Life, and It’s Putting Strain on Our Relationship | Reddit
- Pope Calls For Greater Understanding Between Catholics, Hellbound | The Onion
- To Those People Who Found Out Their Parent Had a Second Secret Family, How Did You Discover the Truth? What Happened Afterwards? | Reddit
- Should I Share a Joint Bank Account With My Girlfriend? We Have Been Dating for Four Months. | Quora
- The Real Reason You Shouldn’t Drink Instant Coffee | Mashed
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Ramit Sethi | Amazon
- Ramit Sethi | I Will Teach You to Be Rich | Jordan Harbinger
- Ramit Sethi | I Will Teach You to Find Your Dream Job | Jordan Harbinger
- Stalked and Defamed by Unstable Ex-Flame | Feedback Frida | Jordan Harbinger
- Mom’s Bigotry Makes Romantic Future Hard to See | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
857: Forever on the Lam from a Blackmailing Scam? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Starbucks' ready-to-drink coffee. Tune into moments that matter with the uplifting boost of Starbucks' mocha frappuccino chilled coffee drink, available now online or wherever you buy groceries.
[00:00:10] 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.
[00:00:31] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer Gabriel Mizrahi. What? A yoga tank top today? I'm betting it says something like spiritual gangster on it, doesn't it?
[00:00:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: It does, in fact, say that, so—
[00:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Well, I mean, it's not totally inaccurate.
[00:00:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, thank you. I appreciate that. I like to bring the spiritual gangster touch to Feedback Friday.
[00:00:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, somebody's got to do it.
[00:00:56] 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. During the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from arms dealer to rocket scientist to Emmy-nominated comedians.
[00:01:19] By the way, if you use the Stitcher app to listen to the show, they are getting rid of that app, August 29th. It will no longer be useful. So switch to a different app if you use the Stitcher app to listen to this podcast. If you're on Android, I suggest Podcast Addict. Uh, it might not be as pretty, but it works really well. If you're on iOS, Apple, you should use Overcast in my humble opinion, or Apple Podcasts, but definitely no longer Stitcher. It will not update anymore in the next couple of months. So if you're using the Stitcher app, now is a good time to switch to a new podcast app. And if you have any problems with this, you're kind of Boomer in terms of your tech, you don't know what to do, you can always email me email@example.com. I will try to point you in the right direction, but the Stitcher app will no longer work for this show.
[00:02:02] This week we had Ian Urbina, crime on the high sea. It's really interesting and crazy. I can't believe all the stuff that goes on in the open ocean. I mean, we'd done shows on shipping before and things like that, but human slavery, poaching, weapons trafficking. I mean this guy has seen some ish. Definitely check out that episode. We also did an Out of the Loop, one of the few that we've done in the Out of the Loop series, the new-ish series. We covered the coup in Russia and what Wagner is. What is this military group that tried to overthrow Putin or did they? Who knows? And what happens now? So that's what we did for you this week. We also had Skeptical Sunday on fireworks and what they do to the environment, what they do to veterans, what they do to animals, and what they can do to your hands and fingers, of course. So check out those episodes if you haven't done so yet.
[00:02:50] On Friday though, we share stories, take listener letters, offer advice, and mercilessly roast Gabe for his appearance, tank tops, psychological makeup, and general life choices. As always, we've got fun ones. We've got doozies. I can't wait to dive in. And Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:03:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Damn, Jordan. Laying it on thick at the top.
[00:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, sorry. Yeah, just coming in hot.
[00:03:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Geez. I'm expecting zero roasts for the rest of this episode.
[00:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, no promises.
[00:03:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, after a difficult childhood, I grew up to become an alcoholic sex addict. I would often end up very drunk in online sex chat rooms, and around 10 years ago, I did something really stupid that still haunts me. Someone who claimed to be a female from the US offered to do a live sex show for payment, and I agreed. She said she was 17, but I was so drunk that I just about remember thinking, well, that's above the age of consent, and then sending her the money via an online payment provider. Apart from this incident, I have never sought or knowingly looked at an image of an underage girl, and there were no actual images shown this time either. I was just dealing with text on a screen and was too drunk to properly think it through. It was a moment of drunken stupidity. I'm not a predator. As soon as she received it, she said I had committed a serious offense and she was going to send my name to the FBI if I didn't pay more. I'm Australian and I was in a third country at the time, so I just closed the chat, deleted the payment account, and after a few tense months went on with my life. Over the last decade, I've turned my life around. I've kicked the drinking and sex habits. My career is going well, and I'm in a great relationship with a wonderful woman. There's just one catch. She has family in the US and expects us to visit them someday. I have no idea if the Blackmailer really sent my name to the FBI or if I even committed a crime as no images existed. But I do know that these things are taken very seriously and rightly so. I'm now terrified that I'll be arrested and thrown in jail when I try to enter the US and I'm not sure what to do. Could I be sent to jail for what I did? Should I avoid the US forever? And if so, do I need to have a difficult conversation with my partner? Signed, Flee, Become a Detainee, or Risk This Barrier to Entry.
[00:05:10] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Yeah. That is scary stuff. And I can understand, of course, why this left you shaken up. First of all, that sounds like a scam and you're obviously being blackmailed and being blackmailed, like this is very violating and unsettling. It's designed to be. And I got to say though, I especially feel for you because like you said, you're not a predator. This wasn't your MO or whatever. We got to take you at your word there. You were an addict, you made some dodgy choices, you put yourself in a compromising position and another criminal cornered you there. And since, then you've turned your life around. You kicked the drinking, got on top of the sex addiction. You're functioning really well. That's all excellent news. So I can definitely appreciate why this trip to the US is also so nerve-wracking.
[00:05:53] We wanted to get a handle on the legal angle here. So we reached out to defense attorney and friend of the show, Corbin Payne, and before I share Corbin's take, I just want to be super clear, Corbin is not a licensed federal attorney. His experience is not in federal cases or in cases involving this type of crime. So you really need to talk to an expert in this field to get the full story. And for people outside the US, there's different lawyers for different states, but there's also federal attorneys which deal with the whole country's federal laws. It's a big old mess, but think EU lawyer versus lawyer just for Germany, if that even exists.
[00:06:29] Anyway, there are a lot of unknown details here as well. This other person's identity, their actual age, whether or not they were in the US for this conversation, plus the fact that this happened online, the time periods involved. All of that makes your story extremely fact specific. That said, the first thing Corbin said was, if this person you were chatting with was a US citizen, actually under the age of 18, and in the US at the time of the conversation, then your conversation likely broke the law at that time. But Corbin and I will say myself as well, doubt that this blackmailer is a US citizen or was on US soil, and I further doubt that they were actually an underage person. I think this is a professional scam operation run by adults in another continent. But again, that's speculation based on experience of knowing that this happens, not your particular case.
[00:07:21] In fact, based on what I've learned from the episodes we did about these scams in general, most of these scammers are overseas. Most of them are adults, sadly, many, if not most of them themselves, are also victims of criminal enterprises. Oftentimes, human trafficking organizations where they are forced to carry out these scams to make money or earn their freedom. That's a whole other conversation, but it's all incredibly dark and tragic. So I think the likelihood that you were chatting with an underage girl in the us really, really low. By the way, that episode was 833. So if you want to go check that out, go right ahead. We'll link it in the show notes.
[00:07:54] So in Corbin's view, all of that, coupled with the fact that you're not a US citizen and you weren't physically present for this conversation, it means the US probably does not have jurisdiction here. But another caveat, he has heard of federal law enforcement getting involved with the exchange or solicitation of child pornography or child sex abuse material occurred using a US company or over US servers. For example, someone using Facebook or PayPal for this kind of thing, even when the participants in the conversation were not on US soil, the theory there being the crime, quote-unquote, "took place on US soil" because it was digitally routed through the States.
[00:08:30] Also, Corbin said that generally speaking, the federal statute of limitations for non-capital cases, in other words, not murder, is five years. But he looked into it. He didn't see any statute of limitations for any of the solicitation or exploitation charges at issue. So Corbin did say there are things to maybe be concerned about, but here's the good news. In Corbin's experience, the feds tend to move quickly and publicly when they think they have a solid sex crime case. He said this is especially true where the defendant is in a friendly country with strong extradition agreements in place with the US. That definitely applies to Australia. So if this had been reported to the FBI 10 years ago and they had taken it seriously, they could have put you on their wanted list, requested your extradition, and had very few problems getting Australia to grant it.
[00:09:15] So look, you've gone 10-plus years without getting arrested. You're probably not on anybody's radar, and I think it's pretty likely that you'll be able to enter the US without a problem. So TLDR, the whole thing was probably a scam. It's probably not really an underage girl. You're probably not on a watch list and everything's probably fine.
[00:09:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that all makes sense. But here's the other thing. Let's say this blackmailer, who even if she were an underage girl, she's still a scammer, right?
[00:09:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: So if that person did report him to the FBI, it would be really hard to not also reveal that she drew this guy into a scam and blackmailed him for money, which meant she committed a crime herself.
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: That's also a good point. You know, look, I know a lot of ballsy kids, but it's pretty gutsy to entrap somebody and then be like, I'm actually going to go file a report. I just don't see it.
[00:10:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe there's a world where she just told the FBI a few of the facts and didn't hand over all of the screenshots or the payment records, but to get the FBI's attention, the scammer would almost have to incriminate themselves. And I imagine the last thing those people are going to want to do in the middle of their sophisticated blackmailing operation is pick up the phone and leave a message for some special agent in the DC field office. Like, "Hey, I was chatting with one of your citizens. He's a real perv side note. I totally blackmailed him for some money, but please ignore that part. Just like look into that and make sure he gets justice." That doesn't really add up.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: The whole thing doesn't add up. Look, what they want to do is drop the words FBI and then send me 500 bucks immediately for me to forget about this.
[00:10:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:10:42] Jordan Harbinger: And then, move on as quickly as possible. Actually, they're not going to move on. They're going to milk you until you stop paying. That's the scam. They're going to make you pay 500, then a thousand, then a thousand, then the next week and the next. It's the whole thing is a fear scam. So that's the scam. Obviously, we can't know for sure, but in all likelihood, this person wanted to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. To file a report like this, you got to go and sign paperwork. You don't just like email the FBI and be like, "This guy did this thing. Just take my word for it, bro," which is why ending the conversation and deleting the payment account was probably the smartest thing to do. Even if the scammer wanted to screw you over for that, it would require yet more time on their part-time that is not earning them money from their scam, which is all they care about.
[00:11:24] So I think there's a darn good chance you're going to be okay to travel to the US, but again, to feel really secure about this. And if I'm you, I would book a consultation with a licensed federal attorney. Ideally with experience in these crimes and run it by them. That might not even set you back that much. Hell, it might even be free just given the set of facts. You could say, "Yeah, this was 10 years ago," and they might be like, "Let me stop you right there. Statute of limitations is up. Don't even worry about it." Just book 15 minutes with somebody decent. Tell them your story. Get their take. Go from there.
[00:11:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: As for whether you should have a difficult conversation with your partner, I think all of this suggests you probably don't have to, but it's an interesting question whether there's value in you telling your partner about your past. I'm assuming she already knows about some of it, your recovery at least, but maybe not every detail. Anyway, I know you're not asking us about this part and it's totally up to you. But the legal stuff aside, it might be a relief to tell her. As you can see from our response, all your story does for us is confirm that you have done a ton of work on yourself and grown tremendously. You're not a monster. You're not a predator, according to you. So you don't have a track record of this and you're not doing it now. And I think your girlfriend might be very understanding about that.
[00:12:32] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. Also, look, maybe she can help you find an attorney to talk to or just put you at ease about traveling, or at least get out ahead of this for some reason if it does become an issue. But just on the level of honesty and intimacy with your partner, I think Gabe raises a good question. It's absolutely up to you, of course. You're not obligated to tell anyone anything if you don't want to, but I do get the sense that this is eating away at you a little bit. It sounds like you have a great relationship and opening up about this difficult chapter. It might be pretty healing. It might bring you guys closer together. I'll let you make that call for yourself.
[00:13:06] And again, I'm sorry this person targeted you. I'm sorry you were in a place like that in your life where you could be targeted. These scammers are bottom feeders. They can really ruin people's lives. They don't care if they're not just terrible predators themselves. They're victims to other bigger bottom feeders, and the whole enterprise is just super gross and sad. But it sounds like this was a bit of a wake-up call. Maybe one of the reasons you got your life back on track. So that's ultimately kind of terrific. So keep up the great work in your recovery. Find the answers you need. I hope you get to visit your girlfriend's family in the States. We're rooting for you.
[00:13:38] And I think it goes without saying Gabriel, but I'm going to say it anyway. If someone out there is soliciting minors for sex online or otherwise, you're gross and you should go to prison. This is not one of those cases. I just don't want to get 10 emails like, You're enabling sexual predators. I can't believe it. Unsubscribe." This is obviously a different set of circumstances. We obviously don't want people soliciting minors for sex online or otherwise. It's almost annoying that I have to clarify stuff like that. But here we are in 2023.
[00:14:05] All right. Now prepare to be seduced by the crazy good deals and the products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:14:15] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Life with all its chaos can often sweep us into a whirlpool of constantly tending to others, and we sometimes forget to hit the pause button to turn inward and attend to our own needs. Like a rubber band stretch to the max, we risk becoming frayed and strained, teetering on the brink of burnout. This is precisely where therapy can help. That's one of the reasons I went to therapy. I mean, there's always many reasons, right? But therapy, it equips you with the tools and techniques that strike a crucial balance in life or get rid of people that you just shouldn't even be around. Your therapist will tell you if you're the crazy one. That's one of the reasons I want as well. So you can support others while ensuring that you don't lose sight of your own wellbeing, which is so freaking easy to do, folks, especially if you run a business or a family, or you work with people who just suck the life out of you. Remember, self-care is not a luxury, it's a lifeline. I feel like us here in the States, we love looking at self-care like it's for rich people or people that have a bunch of extra time. You have to do this for yourself. So if you've been pondering therapy, the constraints of time and location have been a deterrent. Better Help is the key. Check it out all online, super convenient. I highly recommend it.
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[00:15:28] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Starbucks. Life moves fast. Starbucks' ready-to-drink coffee delivers an uplifting boost that helps you tune into moments that matter wherever you are. As a dad of two kids under four, my life is a tornado of activity, preschool, poopy, diapers, swim class, gymnastics class, music class. My hands are perpetually full. And I mean that there's a load usually in one hand or another, add in the curve bottles that parenthood loves to throw our way. There's never like a quiet moment to just chill/re-caffeinate. But for all the chaotic beauty of dad life, it's the little conveniences that make all the difference. And one of those is my trusty bottled frappuccino chilled from Starbucks. It's not just about the caffeine kick, though. It is, uh, look, it is largely about the caffeine cake, but it also tastes pretty damn good. Toddler demands taste bitter. Diaper hands, don't want to taste those. Frappuccino, delicious. Starbucks coffee ready for right now. Shop the full lineup online or in-store wherever you buy groceries.
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[00:16:46] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:16:50] Okay, next up.
[00:16:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe, my girlfriend and I recently had a pregnancy scare. To our relief, the results came back negative. She's 20, I'm 22, and neither of us is prepared to take care of a child right now. Before we saw the results, we were discussing what could happen over text. I said that if we decided on an abortion, I would pay for it. Her response was, that's out of the question. My family would disown me. I want to be clear, I don't take issue with her or her family's beliefs. They are very strongly Christian and I'm an atheist, but I think people can believe what they want to believe. What I'm concerned about is the fact that her response was simply her family's response. She didn't bring up any moral or religious concern of her own. She didn't bring up any desire to have a child. She just deferred to her family's position. What I've gathered from this and some of her other traits is that she's very dependent on her family. She's never lived outside of her home or a college dorm, and all of her finances go through her mother because she doesn't have a local bank account where she can deposit cash. We also worked to keep the fact that we are having sex a secret from her mother. When all of this happened, she showed her mother the texts after my statement about paying for an abortion. Her mother responded by telling her to break up with me immediately. I want to be in a relationship with a strong, independent woman I met and who my girlfriend is 90 percent of the time, but now I feel like I'm dating her mother's puppet. I worry that this might inform our decisions in the future, like where we should move or which schools our future kids go to. Am I overreacting to this or reading into signs that aren't there? What would you do in this situation? Signed, Tested Negative, But Now Tentative About These Relatives.
[00:18:35] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not sure I approve of the rhyming on negative, tentative, and relative, but you did your best. This is an interesting question. The pregnancy scare obviously kicked up some really important information about you and your girlfriend, not just whether you guys are ready to be parents, and by the way, 20 and 22 years old, definitely not ready, almost no one is, but what your girlfriend's relationship with her parents is like, how developed her identity is, apart from them, et cetera. So no, I don't think you're overreacting or reading into signs that aren't there. This is all very meaningful data, but what to do with it, that's really the question, right?
[00:19:11] First of all, based on what you shared with us, it does sound like your girlfriend is very identified with her family in big ways and in small ways. Her response to the idea of terminating the pregnancy, It's very telling. She wasn't objecting to the abortion on philosophical grounds, which she would've disagreed with, but sounds like you could have at least wrapped her head around. She was just taking her family's position by default.
[00:19:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. That's what didn't so well with him. But you know, Jordan, it's hard to even know what that's about really. I can't quite tell if she's taking her family's position because she defers to them on everything or because this whole thing freaked her out and she was just very scared.
[00:19:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And there's a world in which she's like, "I don't want to tell him I believe something separate, because I don't want to fight about that right now. So I'm just going to like appeal to authority and say my family will do this. That way, he can't argue with me believing in Christianity when he's an atheist or whatever the situation is here.
[00:20:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:01] Jordan Harbinger: But right, she's probably terrified of what would happen if her family disowned her. All the philosophical religious stuff aside. And to be fair, that is terrifying, especially when you're this reliant on your family and you're 20 years old and you might be pregnant. I would rely on my family too.
[00:20:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which I think is part of his problem here. He suddenly realized that he's dating someone who isn't able to form opinions of her own or make choices that feel authentic to her because her family's beliefs come first slash she doesn't even know what she thinks.
[00:20:29] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Or maybe she agrees with the family's beliefs, although maybe it's not a considered position.
[00:20:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:20:33] Jordan Harbinger: It's more an inherited position.
[00:20:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: But either way, she's making this more of a problem by bringing her family, especially her mother into her personal life.
[00:20:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't know if I would've pulled that hole. "Let me show you what he suggested," move. That was a little bit much. I mean, she's 20 years old. Here she is showing her mom very personal texts with her boyfriend, which are not really, the whole thing wasn't necessary knowing how her mom feels about this stuff. Like she had to know the reaction that was going to come up.
[00:21:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:21:00] Soundbite: Come on, man. [Joe Biden]
[00:21:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm glad we got Joe Biden in here a little bit. Just that's the tone we needed.
[00:21:06] Jordan Harbinger: People who disagree with our answer on this question are going to love that we just sampled Biden, how rich. She's never lived outside of her family home or a college dorm, which, okay, not unreasonable or unusual by any means, but it is an interesting detail in context. And then there's this thing about routing all her paychecks through her mom's bank account, which I don't know how much to read into, but I also find that kind of telling.
[00:21:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think we're talking about a young person who hasn't fully separated from mom and dad, right? Logistically, financially, philosophically. I don't necessarily hold that against her entirely. I mean, look, it sounds like it's a pretty intense family, pretty close-knit. Let's also remember that she's a sophomore in college. If she's in college, I mean, she's 20 years old. She's still so young. But either way, she simply isn't her own person and that can become a huge issue when the other partner here is his own person or when her values are just very different from his.
[00:22:00] Jordan Harbinger: But you know, I can't help but feel that mom and dad are also feeding that identification. I mean, look—
[00:22:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:22:06] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sorry, but what kind of parent doesn't say to their grown-ass child with a job, "Honey, I think it's time for you to open your own Chase account."
[00:22:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's a small thing. But it represents a big thing.
[00:22:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:16] Jordan Harbinger: When mommy's keeping an eye on your deposits and withdrawing your own cash for you at 20-freaking years old, I think that might speak to some enforced dependency or probably some enmeshment. And I don't mean to be like, my life is the arbiter of all things normal, but I think I had a bank account when I was 11.
[00:22:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I think that is a meaningful thing. And also she didn't tell her mom that they were having sex.
[00:22:35] Jordan Harbinger: Of course not.
[00:22:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: But then to your point, she shows her mom the texts saying that he would pay for an abortion and her mom's response is break up with him immediately. Like, what did she think?
[00:22:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. None of her business, in my opinion.
[00:22:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Although parent's giving their kids advice, that happens all the time. So it's not totally crazy. But I guess what I'm confused about is what are the lines in her relationship with her mom.
[00:22:56] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Does she want some appropriate privacy from her parents so that she can carve out some space to make decisions of her own with her boyfriend? Or does she want her mom all up in her business like she is in every other respect it seems so she can tell her what to do?
[00:23:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a really interesting point. She did like a weird 180 there.
[00:23:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's saying, "I can't get an abortion because I don't want my parents to disown me." But the obvious answer to that is—
[00:23:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, maybe don't show your mom the texts saying you might get an abortion. I mean, that's—
[00:23:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Don't show your mom the texts. Exactly. It's puzzling. I just, I'm confused. I don't know what to make of that. So did she show her mom the texts because she's freaking out because she doesn't know what she believes? Or did she show her the text because the idea of not having her mom know every detail of her life suddenly became very scary? Maybe it's even threatening to her mom a little bit and she sensed that I'm reaching a little bit, but these are all interesting possibilities.
[00:23:48] Jordan Harbinger: All good questions. There's no way we can know for sure. I do see what you're getting at. Either way, we keep coming back to the enmeshment and also, ugh, I feel almost guilty saying this, but how did she never game out the consequences of this possibly happening? Then what was the solution that she was going to come to, right? Like, don't have sex if you're not going to think about what might happen as a result of having sex and then being okay with that, whether it means carrying the child because of your beliefs or having the abortion, it's almost like it never occurred to her or him for that matter, what might happen. And they never talked about it. And I think that's a bigger problem because he was like, "Oh, this is terrible. We should solve this in this way." And she's like, "Are you kidding me? That's not an option." And now he's like, "Wait, the other option is we just have a child?"
[00:24:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:24:32] Jordan Harbinger: "Holy crap, how did we never talk about this?" That's a sort of glaring issue in here as well. So look, you dodge a bullet here with the pregnancy. I'm glad you did because by your own admission, you guys are not ready to have a child, which seems like the only outcome that could have been allowable by your girlfriend. But my advice is to keep an eye on this quality in your girlfriend and start inviting her to talk about it with you. I'm not going to say, "Break up with her. Your values are incompatible." That's a choice you would make. But I would do this in a way that's not too judgmental, not too accusatory. I wouldn't say, "Look, you're obviously your mom's puppet, and that's a real problem for me." I would approach it more like, "Wow, this pregnancy thing was intense. I'm so glad we're okay. And I don't know about you, but this really taught me a lot about how we need to think about decisions like this." And then you can touch on a few of the ways that you notice your girlfriend referring to her parents' position on a lot of things, or maybe deferring to them and do it in a respectful patient way. Ask her what she thinks, how she's been squaring her parents' views with her own.
[00:25:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: And how much of this is her fear of losing their love or their support, and how much of this is just about agreeing with their position?
[00:25:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yep. And whether her exposure to her parents is partly enabled by her dependence on them, the living situation, the money stuff, all of that.
[00:25:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're going to have to move pretty slowly here though, because you'll be touching on something pretty delicate and pretty complicated with her parents.
[00:25:55] Jordan Harbinger: For sure. But man, this is so important.
[00:25:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is.
[00:25:57] Jordan Harbinger: Because, like you said, this aspect of your girlfriend's personality in this dynamic with her parents, They could easily shape major decisions in your life together, which means your life, right? I mean, you could have ended up with a child, with a girl that you met when she's 20 and you're 22. Holy crap. Then they're like, "Nope, we're raising this child with the same beliefs that we have because my way or the highway." And you're like, "Oh gosh," and suddenly you're in that. You're going to church every Sunday, which is look, not the end of the world. I think a lot of people would really enjoy that, could use a little guidance of a church in their life. But if you've already decided that's not for you, then you probably don't want to be forced into it by your in-laws. Anyway, that could cause major issues, not only in your relationship but like I said, in your life, especially when you guys are on different pages. To be clear though, I don't think it's her or her family's faith or beliefs that are causing the rift here. I think it's that their beliefs and values are just so different.
[00:26:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:26:48] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I did it a lot of actually religious girls and I mean like conservative religious girls. I don't know how this kind of happened to me in college. I did Orthodox Jewish women. I did Christian women that didn't believe in evolution.
[00:27:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:27:01] Jordan Harbinger: Just imagine that for me, first of all.
[00:27:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's hard to picture, I did not know this.
[00:27:05] Jordan Harbinger: Hard to picture.
[00:27:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:27:06] Jordan Harbinger: I broke up with a girl because she just could not let it go. That all people who don't belong to her specific branch of Lutheran whatever go to hell, and that I had to go to church or like I would constantly face belittling and annoying ass stuff—
[00:27:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:27:22] Jordan Harbinger: —from luckily not her or her parents as much, but certainly all of their friends. Like I had friends of their family pull me aside and be like, "What's the deal? Why don't you—" and I'm like, "None of your business," guy who I met five minutes ago in front of the punchbowl, in front of the jello mold at a church event that I'm attending with my girlfriend and her family, like, "F you, bro. Who are you? And get your halitosis out of my face." I just remember so many of those and I'm just thinking like, these are not people who are going to allow us to raise our kids the way we want, regardless of what that even means.
[00:27:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: See, this is where it really comes in handy to be a spiritual gangster. And then, you just don't—
[00:27:58] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[00:27:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Just don't subscribe to any one denomination.
[00:28:01] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. You get your Tostitos and you get the f*ck out. Like you don't have to sit there and deal with a lecture from some dude who's going to start quoting Bible proverbs because you played Xbox.
[00:28:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, Jordan, all of this is making me feel like I have to say, and I know it's not what he was writing in about, but I just feel like, look, I would really think about whether you want to be in a romantic relationship with someone who holds such different views on having a child at this age, or at least be very, very careful. I don't know how this pregnancy scare happened. Maybe you guys are super careful and it was a one-off thing, the condom broke, whatever, but at your age, with your beliefs, when both you and your girlfriend know you are not ready to have a child having sex with someone who will not terminate a pregnancy that neither of you is ready for, you don't need us to tell you that, that is a huge risk.
[00:28:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's very unfair to both of you, and it's also unfair to any child you guys might bring into the world. I mean, I think that is pretty straightforward. I don't mean to overstep here. I'm just saying, if this were me in your shoes, this is a moment where I go, "Okay, should I really be involved with this person if we have radically different beliefs about something so important, or if I can't trust her to at least arrive at a reasoned position on her own and not just fall back on what her parents believe because it's easier or because she never asked herself what she actually believes." On a practical level right now, this to me, is kind of the crucial issue.
[00:29:23] Jordan Harbinger: Amen. Gabe, I was getting a little sweaty throughout this segment for the same reason. He's worried about whether mom is going to make them send their kids to parochial school five minutes from their house. But the immediate issue here is, "Is mom going to make my girlfriend have kids two years out of high school because they just make her do whatever they believe," and she hasn't thought about that at all. So yeah, I'm with you. We'd be remiss if we didn't call that out. And obviously, Gabe and I, we have our biases here. I'm not going to pretend that we don't, but the real issue here isn't that we happen to agree with you, it's that you are in a relationship with somebody who believes in something that you don't agree with.
[00:29:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Slash someone who seems to be outsourcing crucial parts of herself to people with significant power over her.
[00:30:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Outsourcing crucial parts of herself is a good way to put it. It's like philosophical offshoring. There's a concept, eh?
[00:30:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I like that. Yeah.
[00:30:12] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, I hope that gives you a way forward here. Again, I'm not saying you should write off your girlfriend immediately. My hope is that you can help her develop these parts of herself and that she wants to. But if you get to a point where you realize that she can't or won't, or that she builds them up and her values are fundamentally incompatible with yours, I do think you need to reevaluate this relationship. Because then you got a different problem and one that you are 100 percent right to identify now. In the meantime, for the love of God, please use protection, birth control — I mean, come on, both of you, be responsible. Just a little over steppy advice from your Uncle Jordan over here and good luck.
[00:30:51] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep your emails concise, use descriptive subject lines. That makes our job a lot easier. If you're finding dead squirrels in the mailbox, your stepdad's got your nudes, or your sibling recovers memories of abuse, you're not sure even happened, 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.
[00:31:12] Okay, next up.
[00:31:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a young lady from Rwanda and my father has always had a big ego. Recently, I found out that he has a second family.
[00:31:22] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:31:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: And that that family lives a luxurious life.
[00:31:26] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Snapped. That is quite a discovery. Holy moly. So he is just been carrying on with another woman in secret, had kids with her.
[00:31:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:31:35] Jordan Harbinger: And just didn't tell you, guys. I mean, this is crazy. All right, continue.
[00:31:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Since then, he said a lot of hurtful things. He told us that my siblings and I have to suffer so that his other family survives.
[00:31:46] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:31:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: And when he couldn't give us money, he told my disabled mom to be a vendor in the streets.
[00:31:52] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, this is really sad. Your dad is just a real — I'm trying to be diplomatic here. You said he has a big ego, but this is more than just narcissism. He's a piece of crap, this guy, sorry. Just facts. He's a POS. "You guys have to suffer, so my other family survives." Like what on earth is wrong with this guy? Telling your disabled mom to sell stuff in the street when he can't support his literal family. It's so tragic.
[00:32:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: He is.
[00:32:15] Jordan Harbinger: I'm very sorry. And also I want to punch this guy straight in the face repeatedly. Terrible guy.
[00:32:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: My father tells me that I'm not allowed to be emotional about any of this, but the discovery of this other family broke my heart. I try to be an obedient child, but he always expects the worst for me. But it's complicated because I'm still financially dependent on him.
[00:32:37] That is a very interesting parallel with the previous question.
[00:32:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure is, man.
[00:32:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow. Two different parents, exerting control over their kids to some degree financially.
[00:32:46] Jordan Harbinger: Financial control and abuse is real, man.
[00:32:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: How do I continue living peacefully with him for the next few years? Signed, Looking to Cohabitate With This Heavyweight Without Taking the Bait, Having to Altercate or Opening the Floodgates.
[00:33:00] Jordan Harbinger: I would freaking kill this guy. That's just me. Not advice, obviously, but seriously, what a tale.
[00:33:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:33:06] Jordan Harbinger: What a father to have, if you can even call him that. I'm just speechless to be honest. Your dad is cartoonishly evil. He has a secret family. He's prioritizing them at your expense. He's cruel to your mom.
[00:33:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: And on top of it, he's like, you're not allowed to be emotional about any of this. That's — ugh.
[00:33:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like, excuse me, but screw you. Go fly a kite, man. Like he's being super callous about it.
[00:33:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:33:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, I agree. That's almost the worst part, just feeling invalidated and told, you need to suck it up when your dad is profoundly hurting you. Because why? He just doesn't want to deal with your emotions, because you're not even worth considering. It's just, 'I'll hurt you and you can't get mad about it because I'm not going to spend the time dealing with it." Your dad is just a messy, macho, self-absorbed assh*le. And you know this, and we could probably talk for hours about what it's like to have a dad like this. But to answer your question, how do you continue living peacefully with him for the next few years until you can separate?
[00:34:00] Well, first you need to find a way to protect yourself emotionally from him as much as possible. And that, in my opinion, means a few things. One, recognize that your dad is acting out his own dysfunction, his own pain, his own patterns. That, yes, his choices obviously impact you in very real ways, but that what he's done here, this is about him. This is not about you. And by that I mean this is a guy who's driven by his ego to the point of complete dysfunction, which I promise you is terrifying for him. Narcissism always develops to protect against extreme insecurity and vulnerability and you're a collateral damage in all this for sure. But none of what he's done is a reflection of you or what you are worth, despite what he is doing, his damnedest to try to communicate to you. It's a reflection of a very cruel, probably ignorant as man who frankly doesn't deserve to be called a father to a thoughtful, sensitive daughter like you in my opinion. And I know that that's not easy to do, but as much as you can remind yourself to separate those two things out.
[00:35:04] The other thing I would do is stay close to your mom and your siblings. Talk about all this with them. Create the love among yourselves that your father cannot give you. That might not make the pain go away, but it will bring you guys closer together and it might give you guys the strength to make it through this chapter. At the same time, I would keep your distance from your dad as long as he behaves like this, and I mean that physically if his presence in the house is difficult. But I mean that even more emotionally.
[00:35:32] I've talked about the idea of an emotional hazmat suit on the show before. That's what you got to put on with your dad. There will be times when he hurts you. There will be times when he gets to you, but as much as possible, try to put a little force field around yourself. When he does something cruel, maybe you tell yourself, "Okay, this is my narcissistic dad doing his thing to me again. I'm just not going to let him injure me." That might not work all the time. Hey, if it even works 30 percent of the time, that's progress. And part of that is also going, "I'm not going to engage. I'm not going to feed the conflict. I'm just going to sit here very calmly and let it roll off my back. Or leave the room and take some space and prioritize myself." I'm not saying you can't push back. Maybe that's appropriate sometimes, but given that your dad probably isn't going to change, I would focus more on ways you can spare yourself the turmoil and keep coming back to yourself.
[00:36:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: I totally agree, Jordan, although I also don't hate the idea of her calling him out a little bit because to your point, part of the tragedy here is that she doesn't get a lot of permission to express herself in this family. And even if that doesn't change anything with her dad, it might be helpful for her to get in touch with some of that anger and express it at times when her dad acts inappropriately or is cruel to her or her mom. The point might not be to change her dad, it might just be to like let it out a little bit, and I'm guessing there's a lot of it.
[00:36:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I hear you. It's hard. I want her to have that voice too, but I know it's just probably going to fall on deaf ears.
[00:36:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:00] Jordan Harbinger: And might even make things worse for her and her family. This is not a guy who strikes me as he's going to listen and go, "You know what? Maybe I shouldn't have had a second family that I prioritize over you and then lied about it for decades. This guy's a piece of crap.
[00:37:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's more like, "Guess who's paying for groceries on their own this month," and going across to his other family. It might make things worse, but hey, maybe she finds other venues for that anger. I just think it's important in general that she'll locate it. That's what I'm saying.
[00:37:23] Jordan Harbinger: Other people you mean?
[00:37:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Other safe people outside of the family. A friend or a colleague or a peer or maybe some kind of counselor or leader in her community. Anyone who could be a friendly ear to her. But the best thing you could be doing, and you're already onto this, is finding a way to be financially independent from your dad. Because as long as you need him to support you, you're going to be exposed to his behavior.
[00:37:45] Jordan Harbinger: Fascinating parallel with the girlfriend from the last question, like you said, but you know what? You know what I predict here? She's going to go to a counselor or leader in the community, tell them what's going on, and the dad's going to go, "You can't tell anyone about this. How dare you? You're ruining my life." This selfish prick is going to make her be quiet about this as much as he can. But you're right. When you have a parent like that, one of the best ways to protect yourself is to not rely on them financially anymore, and I get that. That's easier said than done, but that's the solution.
[00:38:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Then you're free to move out or move cities or go to school or form new relationships or just be able to say, look, I don't need to sit here and take this dad because I don't need to ask you to pay for my tuition, or whatever it is. It can be very empowering, but yes, that's a process. In your case, it sounds like it'll take maybe a few years, but all this rage you feel toward your dad, that might be amazing fuel to set your life up in the way you need. And that might also be a really smart way to channel the anger.
[00:38:41] Jordan Harbinger: I like that Gabe, instead of raging at the assh*le narcissist with a secret family, she focuses on school, on her career, on saving, knowing it's her ticket out of there.
[00:38:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:51] Jordan Harbinger: I think that's exactly right. So there you have it. Like I said, there's no silver bullet that'll make all of this easy or change your dad overnight. But as you get older, as you become independent, he'll be in a position to hurt you less and less and hopefully, one day not at all. So keep focusing on that.
[00:39:06] And also that is wild that you're writing to us from Rwanda. Amazing. Thank you so much for listening. We are happy that we can be a part of your life from so far away. I think I speak for Gabriel when I say that as well. That's a country I'd love to see. So if we head over your way, we'll take you out to dinner and get an update. Sending you a big hug and all of our confidence.
[00:39:25] Gabriel, I hope that that dad dies a miserable, lonely, isolated death.
[00:39:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. You are worked up about this guy.
[00:39:32] Jordan Harbinger: I'm worked up this guy's. He's one of the worst kinds of people that I've ever heard of.
[00:39:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:37] Jordan Harbinger: Just to have a second family is terrible and lie about is terrible. But then to be like, "I'm going to just favor this other family," is worse. And then, when the other family finds out that you're doing that to be like, "You're not allowed to get mad. I'm the only person that's allowed to have emotions or count for anything."
[00:39:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:39:53] Jordan Harbinger: It's like just go throw yourself in front of a garbage truck and make the world a better place, you piece of garbage.
[00:39:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is just like wound on top of wound there, you know? Feeling like you are the secondary family, that you're unwanted or unappreciated and then you know, you have your very normal response to that and the insult on top of injury is you're not allowed to even feel these things.
[00:40:14] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:40:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: I hope if she takes one thing away from this episode, I hope it's that she knows she can have those reactions because I think the biggest loss here is not a father like this, it's the legacy of feeling like you're not allowed to take up some emotional space when something bad happens.
[00:40:28] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah. So yeah, leaning into the siblings and family that's not dysfunctional and disgusting.
[00:40:33] There's a part of me also, I wonder what his other family like do they know he has two families?
[00:40:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, I would love to know.
[00:40:38] Jordan Harbinger: Or are they also like, "Holy crap, you have two families. This is terrible." "Don't worry. I never buy them anything. You get all the money." Well, that doesn't really help, man. Because if he lied to them too, who cares if you have a sweet mountain bike when your dad has a secret family that he treats like crap? You know what I mean?
[00:40:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. Both of these families are going to inherit some very difficult stuff because of this arrangement.
[00:40:57] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely. That's why I'm like, okay, as soon as this guy retires, he's outlived his usefulness. I hope he chokes on a chicken bone.
[00:41:03] All right. You know what you won't have to share with your secret half-siblings, Gabriel? The amazing products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
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[00:42:48] Jordan Harbinger: 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 had 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, if 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.
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[00:45:54] All right, now back to Feedback Friday. Next up.
[00:46:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys. I work a decent-paying job that recently gave me a raise and I'm now making more money than I've ever made. When my girlfriend and I moved into our current place, she got a job as a scheduling assistant for a local doctor's office and took a significant pay cut. She's also only getting paid biweekly, which is making it hard for her to manage her money. This morning while we were getting ready for work, she told me that her bank account was in the red because there were a few bills that came out of her account that she forgot about. She ended up transferring $50 out of our shared savings account to cover it. She also jokingly added that she was going to transfer an additional $10 to grab a Red Bull on her way to work, which to be honest, rubbed me the wrong way. This is the way it's been for a couple of months now. She runs out of money a week before she gets paid, and I end up footing the bill for the stuff she can't afford. On Mother's Day, for example, I had to pay for three gifts, a trip to a city an hour and a half away, and two meals out, all on top of our regular bills. I've been thinking about this and I think it's time to merge our bank accounts. I'm not great at managing my money either, so I'm starting to believe if we do this, it will make it easier to keep track of everything we've talked about, having kids in the next couple of years after I start making enough to take care of us. I'm planning on proposing soon, so I want to get over these hurdles as soon as I can. Is merging our accounts a good idea? How do I bring this up to her? Signed, Trying to Combine Bread When My Gal's in the Red.
[00:47:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so I don't know if you heard my little snort grunt when he mentioned merging the bank accounts, but that is not the direction I thought this letter was going to take.
[00:47:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Neither did I.
[00:47:33] Jordan Harbinger: No. It's like, okay, no, this is not a good idea. This is objectively bad idea. You and your girlfriend are not financially stable by your own admission. You both struggle to manage your money responsibly. You guys need to figure out some cashflow stuff and more importantly, some values stuff before you even think about merging your finances.
[00:47:52] This story about your girlfriend running out of money because there were a few bills that came out of her account that she forgot about. That's the first red flag. Plus she's living paycheck to paycheck, which obviously a lot of people do. I'm not saying that's entirely her fault or whatever, but it does mean that she's at much greater risk, which is even more puzzling because it's like if you're broke, shouldn't you be even more on top of your bills? When I had less money, I paid attention to everything now.
[00:48:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:48:19] Jordan Harbinger: I don't have to in part, because my wife does, but also because I'm like, "Oh, I forgot I got charged for that. Or I didn't look at that restaurant bill. Oh, well." But when I was 20, I was like, I don't have this money. I cannot spend any money.
[00:48:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:48:29] Jordan Harbinger: So I just don't get how you can run out of money before you get paid and then not stay on top of these payments. I wonder if she's burying her head in the sand a little bit here. But the even bigger red flag in my view is borrowing money from you to cover these payments. And then, not paying you back or even discussing whether this arrangement still works for you.
[00:48:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: And then transferring another 10 bucks to grab a Red Bull on her way to work. Even if that was kind of a joke. I can't really tell if how much of a joke that really was, but let's not forget that little fact.
[00:49:01] Jordan Harbinger: I think she was probably trying to be like, let me break the awkwardness by saying that, but that rubbed him the wrong way. I get that. It rubs me the wrong way too. And it's like, "Dude, I have to cover your cell phone bill because you forgot you have to pay for your phone and that Mother's Day trip to your mom's and your morning caffeine. And dang, Red Bull's 10 bucks now. Thanks, Obama."
[00:49:19] Soundbite: Come on, man. [Barack Obama]
[00:49:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice. I'm also a little worried that she's chugging a Red Bull at 7:45 in the morning on her way to work at a doctor's office. Like—
[00:49:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know that's not really the point.
[00:49:31] Jordan Harbinger: Not the point, Gabe. Yeah, not the point.
[00:49:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I am wearing the spiritual gangster tank top, so I think that gives me license to comment on people's morning beverages.
[00:49:38] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, you look at your moral superiority over here after your Shavasana.
[00:49:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know. I'm so sanctimonious. I know.
[00:49:45] Jordan Harbinger: Good Lord.
[00:49:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: That post-Shavasana sanctimonious is hitting today.
[00:49:48] Jordan Harbinger: It's real.
[00:49:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: But something about that doesn't sit right given the facts.
[00:49:53] Jordan Harbinger: I know what you mean, Gabe. It's kind of like, is this the healthiest person?
[00:49:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:49:56] Jordan Harbinger: Is she kind of a hot mess in a few different departments? Has she not heard our skeptical Sunday on energy drinks? So many questions.
[00:50:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, look, we can debate whether downing a Red Bull in the morning is the healthiest option. I'm leaning toward it's not. But at a minimum, if you're really struggling financially, if you're essentially broke, should you really be spending five or $10 a day on a sh*tty drink from the Rotten Robbie? Like, can't you just make some Folgers at home? I don't understand.
[00:50:22] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, Folgers, man. Throwbacks so gross. I never realized what that even was until I made it, and the coffee crystals just vanished into the water. I was like, "How do I get the coffee part out?" And they're like, "You don't. It just vanishes in the water."
[00:50:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: It does, yeah.
[00:50:35] Jordan Harbinger: It's a genius idea. But you will not convince me that that's actual coffee in any form.
[00:50:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm not saying it's good coffee. I'm just saying if you're regularly going into overdraft, this feels like an easy place to cut back. Although, side note, I recently met a guy who loves Folgers, like travels with it wherever he goes, prefers it to fresh coffee, swears by this brand.
[00:50:55] Jordan Harbinger: That's a little weird, but I guess it makes sense because that product has been around for like a century and a half, right?
[00:51:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think so. Folgers and Maxwell House.
[00:51:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, Maxwell House.
[00:51:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Those are old AF. I don't really get the appeal. I guess maybe some people find it nostalgic or something.
[00:51:10] Jordan Harbinger: I guess so. I mean, look, if you're stuck in a trench in 1918 fighting the Jerry's and it's all you got, I can get behind it, I guess.
[00:51:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think that's pretty much the only case where it makes sense. Yeah. There were no Starbucks in Gallipoli. Like, I get it.
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: If you're living in, you know, 2023 brew a damn fresh cup of coffee. We have the technology. You deserve better.
[00:51:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Get your own coffee.
[00:51:30] Jordan Harbinger: What are we even talking about here? I'm lost again. Anyway, I think this is what rubbed our friend here the wrong way too, the cost thing. Not the Folgers thing.
[00:51:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not the Folgers thing. Yeah.
[00:51:40] Jordan Harbinger: It's like when you see someone who complains about being broke, just whip out a pack of cigarettes, it kind of paints a picture.
[00:51:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:51:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So look, I'm not saying any of this to make you or your girlfriend feel bad. I actually admire that you're able to recognize that you're not great with money because that is the first step to working on this stuff. But to be totally blunt with you, this is not someone I would merge bank accounts with right now. And it's not just the dollars and cents of it, it's also about how she manages her life as a whole. How she's talking about this whole thing with you.
[00:52:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: And also to be fair, how he relates to her when it comes to this kind of stuff. Because when he said that this rubbed him the wrong way, I got the sense that he's kind of just sitting on this and stewing, they're not really discussing it openly. And that's not helpful either.
[00:52:22] Jordan Harbinger: No. Yeah. He's just serving her vicious side eye while she pounds a monster energy she bought with money, she doesn't have gone. "Well, hope this works itself out before we have kids."
[00:52:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:52:32] Jordan Harbinger: But it won't, man. It won't.
[00:52:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not it will not.
[00:52:34] Jordan Harbinger: You guys have to work on this individually and together. Or it will become a huge issue when you have children, which as you may know, are pretty damn expensive. Trust me, firsthand experience. Kids are not cheap. You said you want to propose soon. Congratulations, by the way. So you want to get over these hurdles as soon as you can. But the hurdle here ist that your finances are separate. The hurdle here is that you guys need to become more financially fluent and more communicative inside the relationship.
[00:53:02] And the way I would frame that to her is, "Hey honey, I want to talk about our finances. I know you're struggling to cover your expenses. I don't think I'm particularly good at managing money. This is something I want us both to work on as we move forward with our relationship." And then you guys got to talk about how you spend money and where you can save, and how you manage your cash flow and how you manage your bills. If it doesn't feel fair for your girlfriend to borrow money from you willy-nilly, or to expect you to cover certain things you can't cover or you don't feel comfortable covering, then, it's absolutely fair to talk about all of that.
[00:53:38] And please, please do this before you propose. This is not going to get easier. It's only going to get harder, and the stakes are only going to get higher, and the cost to you, financial and otherwise is only going to get steeper. So good luck, congrats in advance. It's going to be a hard conversation, but it's not going to be the end of the world. You're going to be better off and a stronger couple for it. So just rip off that Band-Aid, man.
[00:54:02] I also recommend checking out the book I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. He's been a guest on the show a zillion times. We've been friends with him for a million years. He teaches a lot of good financial habits. It's a book that you can't go wrong reading, having her read, and then read it every freaking six months until it sinks in. It's only going to become more important, especially because you're making more money now than you ever have, which is amazing, and you want to hang onto that and make that money work for you.
[00:54:29] All right, before we wrap up here, we wanted to touch on the story from a few weeks back about the guy who went on a couple of dates with that unstable woman who was a severe hoarder, and he ended things with her after a couple of dates, they never slept together. Then, she started writing him aggressive messages, nonstop. Then she started stalking him, and when he pulled back even more, she finally wrote him up in that Facebook group called "Are We Dating The Same Guy?" Accusing him of abuse and assault, which basically ruined his dating life and could potentially threaten his career. We unsurprisingly got a ton of emails from you guys and gals with similar stories and really good advice, which we passed along to the guy who wrote in. So thank you so much for that. We don't have enough time to read all those, but Gabe, do you want to fill everyone in on the gist here?
[00:55:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. So yes, we got several emails from people who knew, guys like the guy who wrote in, you know, people who broke up with somebody who then posted about them in these private Facebook groups. And there are tons of them. There seem to be Facebook groups like this in multiple cities and in other countries, and they're very common and very popular, and sometimes the people who post them do it to get revenge when the guy in question didn't actually do anything.
[00:55:35] One of those stories was really disturbing and it's way too long for us to read in its entirety right now. But the gist of the story is this listener who wrote us, made a new friend a few years ago, and this new friend was very eager, like a little too eager to jump into their friendship. And the way the listener described it, she was like very dramatic and very volatile and kind of oversharing. And basically, she was kind of a hot mess, right? And then, she starts dating this guy and he seems promising, but he's a little bit wishy-washy. He's kind of inconsistent. He's not the greatest communicator. So maybe this guy has some issues, but according to the listener, wrote us nothing overtly abusive. Finally, this guy eventually just ghosts this woman, and now she is enraged and she can't let it go.
[00:56:19] So she goes on this closed Facebook group called "Guys Not to Date," and she writes him up for love bombing and ghosting, which it's not entirely clear if that's what this guy did, but that's what she says he did. And another woman in the group knows this guy. She went on a few dates with him too, and she slept with him and she had a similar experience. So these two women meet up for coffee to talk, and suddenly these two are best friends. But the listener who wrote to us, she's watching this happen from afar and she's thinking like, I don't think you guys understand the gravity of this post. You might have like harmed this guy's livelihood and his job opportunities and his dating prospects. This is actually a quote from her email.
[00:57:01] So she tells this woman, the original woman who posted that she finds this whole thing dehumanizing, is the word she used, and she finds it hard to be friends with her now. And the woman who posted about this guy. Just bales on their whole friend group. She's like, "You guys don't understand me. We can't be friends anymore." And to quote the listener who wrote indirectly now, she said, "Ultimately, I hope by sharing this, groups like these get more regulation as they seem harmful. I have sexual trauma from my youth, and anyone who has been through it deserves to be heard and the perpetrators held accountable. But another friend of mine became curious about this group and joined, and the threads she showed me are frightening. There's a woman claiming rape and abuse of all kinds with full names and pictures in the thread. Obviously, our system is flawed, but I hope we can keep pushing to make it better, not worse," unquote.
[00:57:54] Jordan Harbinger: Which is more or less what the guy who wrote into us went through.
[00:57:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:57:57] Jordan Harbinger: He didn't do any of the things that woman accused him of in his dating life, and possibly his career took a huge hit.
[00:58:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:58:03] Jordan Harbinger: So I just find this fascinating because it's like, yes, groups like this serve an important function in a system that routinely lets victims down. But then, they can clearly be weaponized sometimes by unscrupulous and or seriously compromised people. And honestly, I had no idea that this was happening with such frequency.
[00:58:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's exactly right. But then we got another letter from another listener with a crazy update on her story that she shared with us a long time ago. So way back when we took a question from a white woman who was dating a black man.
[00:58:36] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:58:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know if you guys remember this. And her boyfriend didn't want to introduce her to his family because he said his elderly mom who lived with him, didn't approve of her because of her race. In fact, he said that she would probably attack her verbally if he ever brought her around the house. And that had become a huge obstacle in their relationship. And it made the listener who wrote us feel like they couldn't have a future together.
[00:58:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So she was asking us, "Do I push him to push her to be more accepting? Do I push him to move out? Do I break up with him?" And if I remember correctly, our advice was basically, talk to your boyfriend about all this. Tell him how it's affecting the relationship. Help him work through this conflict with his mom and get clear on what's more important to him, protecting mom's feelings or moving forward in this relationship with you—
[00:59:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:59:19] Jordan Harbinger: —while also appreciating just how complex racial bias in other biases really are.
[00:59:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, that's right. By the way, that was episode 679, if you guys want to check it out. So that was the story, and then she wrote us this.
[00:59:32] Hey guys, boy do I have an update for you?
[00:59:35] Whenever somebody starts a letter like that, I like get really excited. I'm like, oh sh*t. Okay. Let's hear it.
[00:59:42] It turns out that my boyfriend had much more sinister reasons for keeping me out of his life and for meeting his mom, who may or may not be racist. It turns out he's been living with another woman the entire time we've been together about four years.
[00:59:57] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. That is cold. So this guy was living a double life, speaking of secret families.
[01:00:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not just double. So listen to this. She goes on.
[01:00:07] I was one of many other women. He would tell us all the same lie about his elderly mom living with him. He would sneak various women into the house. He shared with his girlfriend at night after she was asleep and tell us that his mom was sleeping. So we'd be quiet. He was having unprotected sex with everyone involved.
[01:00:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god. Hold up. Wow. So his mom didn't even live with him?
[01:00:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[01:00:30] Jordan Harbinger: He was just making that sh*t up—
[01:00:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[01:00:31] Jordan Harbinger: —to carry on with these other women. Wow.
[01:00:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Apparently. Yes. I think that's it.
[01:00:35] Jordan Harbinger: So brazen.
[01:00:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[01:00:36] Jordan Harbinger: So brazen and so gross. Clever but disgusting. Okay. So did he tell all these women that his fake mom is racist? Or did you just say that to our friend here?
[01:00:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. I guess it would depend on their ethnicities, right?
[01:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: True. You can't really pull the "my mom is racist" card with people of the same race.
[01:00:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: That would be pretty funny though if he did that.
[01:00:53] Jordan Harbinger: I suppose like, "Sorry, babe, you can't come to Sunday dinner. My mom's racist." "But I'm black too." "Yeah, she's racist against black people too."
[01:01:01] Jordan and Gabriel: She's even racist against me.
[01:01:04] Jordan Harbinger: Well, at least she's consistent. It's so absurd. This sounds like a Dave Chappelle sketch.
[01:01:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: It does, yeah. What an elaborate lie though. I don't even know how you can enjoy having sex with someone when your live-in girlfriend is sleeping on the other side of the wall. I don't get it. That's so stressful.
[01:01:18] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I'm going to just go out on a limb and say that's part of what he enjoyed. The dude's got some serious issues.
[01:01:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fair. Yeah, that's true, clearly. I feel like the blackmailed guy from question one could give this guy some advice on how to get his life in order.
[01:01:30] Jordan Harbinger: No kidding. Sex addiction forsooth among other issues.
[01:01:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Something in that neighborhood, I'm guessing. Yeah. So, okay. She goes on.
[01:01:38] This has truly been horrific in ways I can't describe. I'm just starting to process the trauma this man inflicted upon me.
[01:01:45] Yeah, I can understand that. We're joking around. We're not having a laugh at your expense. It's just an absurd situation.
[01:01:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding.
[01:01:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: She continues.
[01:01:51] I learned most of this through a Facebook group aimed at helping women protect themselves from harmful men in the dating world.
[01:01:58] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:01:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Other women learned too and came forward with disturbing accounts of similar behavior from him. He did not take, being exposed well quickly blamed me and began playing the victim.
[01:02:08] Jordan Harbinger: Of course. So this guy's a textbook manipulator, a dumpster fire. You're lucky you found out now. This guy's a piece of crap too. I'm sorry it happened this way, but good freaking riddance to this guy. Ugh.
[01:02:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Three days after I found all of this out, I heard your Feedback Friday episode with the man who was having his own dating woes from a similar type of Facebook group. I heard that story, shut it off, and threw my phone to the side and screamed.
[01:02:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:02:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: The group I used provided me with valuable information. It provided information necessary for multiple women to get away from him. I hear what you're saying and I understand the need for moderated communities, but the very first thing this man did when exposed was try to discredit me and paint me as an angry jolted lover. His live-in girlfriend was completely uninterested in anything I had to say.
[01:02:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[01:02:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which was so invalidating. I know there are women who do terrible things to men, but usually we are the victims.
[01:03:03] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:03:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: As a devoted listener, I felt compelled to say something. Thank you both so much for caring about people, including me and my little life.
[01:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Well, listen, I appreciate this update and I can definitely understand why that letter landed with you in a very specific way given what you've been through. This Facebook group saved you from a toxic relationship, which is exactly what it's designed to do, and I'm glad about that. And then in this other part of the world, a similar Facebook group, seriously compromised this guy's life in a deeply scary and unfair way. And that, to me speaks to the need for groups like this in a world where bad people can do serious harm, and to the need for these groups to be fairly moderated so that people just can't weaponize them because they're insane, which in addition to being grossly unjust, is also an insult, well, to true victims like you.
[01:03:52] Anyway, we just wanted to share these updates because these " are we dating the same guy" type Facebook groups, they're a fascinating sub-world we're learning more about, and I think they raised some really thorny questions about the right way to hold people accountable. I don't mean to gloss over how complicated this stuff is, but I find myself coming back to a common theme here on the show, which is it's rarely either or. It's almost always both, and, right?
[01:04:15] Women, human beings, in general, of course, but unfortunately, most commonly women, they deserve protection from people like this and people, yes, oftentimes, men, but this happens to all kinds of people deserve protection from people who weaponize these tools because they're angry, they're hurt. Or in the case of the guy who wrote in recently, because they're literally insane and unstable. I don't think that's controversial to say. I also don't think those two values need to be in such tension. If what we are all after here is the truth. It's not crazy to me to expect that to cut both ways. That's the least we can do when people's lives on both sides of this equation are at stake.
[01:04:56] Hope y'all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Don't forget to check out Out of the Loop on Wagner and the coup in Russia. Our episode with Ian Urbina on crime on the high seas, and of course, our Skeptical Sunday on fireworks.
[01:05:10] Once again, a reminder that the Stitcher app will no longer work for any podcasts as of August 29th, 2023. So if you're using the Stitcher app, time to switch. If you're on Android, Podcast Addict is a good one, Castbox, and if you're on iOS, I suggest Overcast or Apple Podcasts. The Stitcher app is going away, folks.
[01:05:28] By the way, the greatest things that have happened in my life in 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, it's not schmoozy, and it's not awkward. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty, build relationships before you need them in just a few minutes per day, all free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:05:54] Show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discounts, ways to support the show all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Go try the chatbot at jordanharbinger.com/ai 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 if you want to roast him for his spiritual gangster tank tops. I'm guessing there are three or four of those bad boys in his closet. Let him have it.
[01:06:23] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, the spiritual gangster himself, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. And Gabe is a spiritual gangster, but not your spiritual gangster. All right, that's enough throwbacks to that one. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[01:06:46] Ditto Corbin Payne. He's a lawyer too, but not your lawyer. Today's story was not in his area of expertise. He is not providing specific legal advice. He recommends getting personalized legal advice before making any decisions, and that is sound advice in itself.
[01:07:00] 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.
[01:07:16] You are about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show about why people believe and want to believe conspiracy theories.
[01:07:23] Mick West: Pretty much anybody can fall for these theories. Pretty much anybody can start watching a YouTube video and because a lot of these YouTube videos are very, very compelling, then they get sucked into it and they start believing one thing, and then they start believing another thing. It becomes very understandable that they would believe these things. It's just regular people who have just kind of got sucked down a rabbit hole. It may seem ridiculous to everybody else, but from their perspective, it makes perfect sense. They're doing it because they think they're on the side of good. So that's one of the reasons why I debunk. I want people to focus on real issues and not on the fake issues.
[01:07:59] When people start to make significant life decisions based on their conspiracy theories is where it becomes a problem. Getting out of the rabbit hole isn't just like casting away all these false beliefs. It's kind of climbing up into a world that's composed of all these new real beliefs into the light, the actual real things that are going on, and you can see more clearly what's going on in these other areas because you've got the light of reality helping you there. There's harm done to the world. I think if a significant number of people are making decisions based on things that are entirely false, things that are anti-science.
[01:08:35] My whole reason for doing this is based around increasing the amount of truth in the world, increasing the amount of facts and science in the world. But if things are left unchecked and if conspiracy theories continue to rise, there is this growing division within the country. Uh, so that could be a dangerous thing.
[01:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: To learn how to help our friends and family escape the conspiracy theory rabbit hole, check out episode 363 with Mick West on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:09:04] This episode is sponsored in part by BackBeat Media. Introducing the BackBeat Media Podcast Network, where a wide variety of captivating shows are brought to life. For Apple enthusiasts, The CultCast provides — great name — provides the latest tech news while Bookworm serves avid readers with discussions on applying lessons from literature. BroadwayRadio caters to those who love all things theater. While Mac Geek Gab and Maccast offer insights for Mac users of all skill levels. Late Night Linux uncovers the world of free and open-source software. And Jughead's Basement takes listeners on a journey through the vibrant punk scene. Dinosaur enthusiasts can delve into prehistoric times with I Know Dino. The network shows are diverse, they're entertaining. Christina Warren and Brett Terpstra chat about everything from tech news to pop culture. While Fig and Repete share hilarious aviation tales. Make aviation fun again, I guess. Small business owners can benefit from real world advice shared weekly by Dave Hamilton and Shannon Jean. With quality content that caters to a broad range of interests, BackBeat Media keeps listeners returning week after week. Visit backbeatmedia.com to explore their shows today.
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