What do you do when the very married pastor you’ve known your whole life as a pillar of the church and community propositions you on LGBTQ hookup app Grindr? You know his wife and kids would be devastated if they knew, but you also know he’s vindictive and would likely take any blowback out on your family and their standing in that very same church and community. And if you just do nothing, he’s free to prey on other young men without consequence. 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:
- Busy day with too many things on your to-do list? For each item, ask yourself: “What will happen if I don’t do this?” [Thanks to James Clear for clarifying this one!]
- What do you do when the very married pastor you’ve known your whole life as a pillar of the community propositions you on LGBTQ hookup app Grindr? [Thanks to Dr. Kevin Glenn for helping us with this one!]
- Is there a more constructive way to spend your commute time than reflecting back — and amplifying — the road rage others inflict on you?
- Should you consider getting breast enhancement surgery to feel better about your own body, or reject the idea because it would give the husband who’s made you feel inadequate about your natural size — for 20 years — satisfaction he doesn’t deserve?
- How do you frame the positive — but thoroughly platonic — relationship you have with your ex-wife and the kids you share as a win/win for your jealous fiancée?
- Even if there’s no hope or intention of rekindling friendships you abused and took for granted during your less-enlightened college days, is there value in apologizing to those you wronged so long ago?
- 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!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- HVMN: Go to HVMN.me/jordan for 20% off Ketone-IQ
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Miss one of our earlier shows with The 48 Laws of Power author Robert Greene? Catch up here with episode 117: What You Need to Know about the Laws of Human Nature!
Resources from This Episode:
- Ian Bremmer | The Power of Crisis to Change the World | Jordan Harbinger
- Winston Sterzel | Don’t Lose Your Bacon in a Pig-Butchering Scam | Jordan Harbinger
- 3-2-1: Mistakes, the Ideal Form of Work, and Mixing Suffering with Reflection | James Clear
- James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results | Jordan Harbinger
- The World’s Largest Social Networking App for LGBTQ People | Grindr
- Dr. Kevin D. Glenn | Website
- Twelve Signs of Abusive Leadership | Joseph Mattera
- FAE: The Big Mistake You’re Making about Other People (And How to Overcome It) | Jordan Harbinger
- FDA Wants Women to Understand the Risks and Benefits Related to Breast Implants | Harvard Health
- 7 Signs That It’s Healthy to Be Friends with Your Ex | Healthline
- How to Apologize for Something You Did a Long Time Ago | Mic
738: “Perfect” Pastor is a Predatory Disaster | 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 sprinkle of Lion's Mane, reducing the inflammation around these life conundra, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. 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.
[00:00:41] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice, we answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of absolutely amazing guests, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. This week, we had Ian Bremmer on how major global powers can come together to solve the world's challenges, namely the US and China. Talking a little bit about climate change among other things. We also had my friend Winston Sterzel, AKA SerpentZA on YouTube with an expose of something called the pig-butchering scam.
[00:01:12] You know those text messages you keep getting from people that say they know you or they met you at a party, or can they get their dog back or whatever, and then they go, "Oh, wrong number. It must be fate that we met," whatever. We'll expose that scam. Who is doing it? How it works? It's a really interesting scam. That is definitely not quite what you'd expect, and I'll leave the surprise for you when you listen to the episode.
[00:01:31] Make sure you've had a listen to everything that we created for you here this week.
[00:01:35] Now before we dive in, I know a lot of you send me emails asking how I get so much stuff done. Two episodes a week, two books a week, the advice episodes, sometimes Skeptical Sunday, raising two kids, et cetera. How you can prioritize your obligations and stuff like that. So I wanted to share something out that's helped me a lot and no, it's not marry an awesome wife. That actually is tip number one, but tip number two and three and four and five, before you jump into all the work you have to do, here's a simple question to ask yourself.
[00:02:04] What will happen if I don't do this? It is, it's remarkable, frankly, how many things you can eliminate from your to-do list when you ask yourself that question. Because often the answer is, nothing will happen or nothing important will happen, or nothing as important as these other things that I definitely have to do. And I know there's a whole productivity movement around maximizing the number of things you get done. There's all kinds of stuff like that. Some of that stuff is great. Putting things on your calendar, making sure that you are caffeinated, whatever it is. I kind of subscribe to the opposite philosophy in many ways.
[00:02:38] Don't get me wrong, I still optimize, but I also want to ask myself, what are the few things that I absolutely have to do that I also can do really well? That's usually the winning strategy. And I came up with this a long time ago, even in college after taking Econ 101, you know, Economics 101 — what is that concept, Gabriel, where it's like competitive advantage?
[00:02:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like I can do something really well, somebody else can't do.
[00:03:02] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And they can do something really well or fast or whatever cheaply that I can't do and—
[00:03:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: This is my dad who's now like 78 years old, he was cutting the lawn up until 60-something, 70-something. And I'm thinking you're spending three, four hours getting burnt to a crisp in the sun—
[00:03:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:19] Jordan Harbinger: —on every weekend. Why? "Well, the landscapers, they're — it's expensive." It's like 30 or 30 some odd dollars to have them come do it and it takes them nine minutes because they've got three dudes with riding mowers and there's, they're running from yard to yard. I mean, this is their game.
[00:03:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:03:35] Jordan Harbinger: And once he paid them, he's like, "Well, that was kind of 30 bucks well spent," whatever it was. So this is applying that whole principle to your whole life. If you're like me, you were raised to, you know, clean up your own crap and clean your kitchen, wash your own dishes, and do all these, apply that to your working life. That's really the winning strategy.
[00:03:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, that's a good one. I have a corollary to this that I've been trying, which is whenever I see an interesting article on the Internet or like a new podcast episode from a cool show, I ask myself—
[00:04:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: —what will happen if I don't read this or if I don't listen to this? And 99 percent of the time the answer is nothing. Nothing will happen. You'll just go about your life and you'll be fine, and you'll have more time to do stuff that actually matters.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that is a good one too. It's very clarifying, right? Everything in this world competes for our attention, especially in the world we live in now. It all seems equally urgent, but it's just, it's not.
[00:04:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's not. Yeah.
[00:04:24] Jordan Harbinger: So that's my little pro tip for the day. Interrogate your to-do list just a little bit more. Be a little bit more deliberate. Whittle your life down to the obligations you absolutely have to get done, and then do those really well, and I think you'll find some good results. That's how I'm able to read two books a week. I don't fart around on social media. I don't read articles that are like three things you must know or your life is going to end next week. I'm like, No it isn't. This is Business Insider. Who are we kidding? And also, just so you know, I realize what we're saying here, if you don't listen to this podcast, you're probably going to get chlamydia. So be safe and don't tempt fate.
[00:04:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Don't do it. Yeah. Stay healthy.
[00:04:59] Jordan Harbinger: Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mail back?
[00:05:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a gay man in my mid-20s. I grew up very religious and when I was 14 we got a new pastor at my church. Our families were very close and his kids are like siblings to me. When I left for college, I stopped going to church for several reasons. Then when I was 19, I received a message from an anonymous profile on Grindr, the gay dating app. After a very adult conversation, he finally admitted that he was my pastor from my church back home in town for a conference. He invited me to his hotel room, which I declined. Feeling hurt and betrayed, I blocked him and deleted all the messages he had sent me. I consider this guy to be almost like another parent to me and think what he did was a disgusting abuse of power. The church has a lot of problems, but one thing I always respected is that they have a zero-tolerance policy for pastors sleeping with their church members and especially their kids. I saw pastors at other churches get fired for less. If I report him, it will be the end of his career. The problem is my parents are still extremely active in his church and think he hung the moon and the stars. They know I'm gay and they accept me, but their entire social life is this church. This pastor has also proven to be vindictive to people who wronged him in the past. There's nothing he could do to hurt me, but he could ruin my parents' social lives and reputation. It would also upend the lives of his wife and kids who, again, I'm very close with. I told myself that I would report him once he moved to a different church, but now his church is voting on whether to leave its current governing body, which enforces the zero-tolerance policy, and become independent. If the church leaves, I won't have any way to hold him accountable. Another challenge is that I don't have any evidence now, but if I don't report him, I'm afraid he might do this to someone else and that no one will hold him accountable. I am agonizing over this. What would you do? Signed, A Member of the Flock Trying to Decide Whether to Talk.
[00:07:03] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I definitely thought that rhyme was going to go in a different direction though, Gabe. I thought you were going to, I'm just going to say it. I thought you were going to rhyme flock with f*ck but then I realized—
[00:07:13] Yeah. It didn't go there. Yeah. Didn't do it with a sign-off.
[00:07:16] Yeah, no. I realize that when we take a question about a closeted gay pastor cheating on his wife and propositioning his parishioners on Grindr, that we're a family show, so we can't.
[00:07:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, we're a family-friendly show.
[00:07:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We can't be doing, we can't be doing that.
[00:07:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: No.
[00:07:28] Jordan Harbinger: So this is quite a story.
[00:07:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:07:29] Jordan Harbinger: And sadly, it's a fairly familiar story at this point, as we all know, but it is still very shocking.
[00:07:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Shocking.
[00:07:38] Jordan Harbinger: Man, I'm so sorry that this pastor approached you in this way. It's obviously very disturbing on a number of levels, and it's put you in the very difficult position of having to decide whether to speak up, what to do about this. This pastor — look, I'm not going to hold back here — he is a creep. He's a serious problem. This guy is living a double life. He's using his position to secure people's loyalty, and he's blatantly dishonoring his role in the church, not by being gay, but by keeping it a secret, by engaging in sexual relationships with people outside of his marriage, some of whom are in his congregation. So, no part of this is okay. When you hold that alongside the fact that this pastor has also been vindictive to people who wronged him in the past, it just paints a pretty dark picture.
[00:08:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Yikes. What happened to turning the other cheek?
[00:08:27] Jordan Harbinger: Well, that's what he's doing on Grindr, bro. Now, as you probably know, Gabe and I, we don't belong to a church. In fact, I think we established a few weeks ago that I may burst into flames upon entering one. So we wanted to run all of this by an actual expert, and we reached out to Dr. Kevin Glenn, pastor, author, and friend of the show, and Pastor Kevin's immediate response was that he was heartbroken over your story.
[00:08:53] He said that as a pastor, he's seen the church be both at its best and at its worst in response to issues of sexuality. Surprise, surprise. He pointed out that one of the hardest communities for a same-sex-attracted person to find acceptance in is the church, which ironically is called to be a community of love and hope. He also felt that you're displaying a deep sense of loyalty, compassion, and responsibility here, and that is admirable. But those qualities, they can also be exploited by manipulative people in ways that are quite damaging.
[00:09:24] Pastor Kevin did not mince words here, and I love this. He said it's important to recognize this pastor for what he truly is an abuser. This guy leveraged years of trust as a leader and a mentor to exploit a member of his congregation, and also arguably drew on the loyalty he's developed through you and your parents' relationship with him to get away with it.
[00:09:45] In pastor Kevin's view, this pastor is a predator, and in all likelihood, he will do it again. So Pastor Kevin's first recommendation is to decide who you are primarily responsible to here. Are you responsible to your parents? So that they can have the opportunity to learn about this incident, to know about the potential damage to you, to know the true character of their pastor. And I would add. Are you responsible for protecting the image of this pastor that they have in their mind? Are you responsible to the victims of this pastor's abuse, past, current, and future? Because again, this is almost certainly a pattern and he will not stop until he's stopped.
[00:10:27] Are you responsible to this pastor's wife and kids, who, by the way, probably don't know anything about this, but might be going through their own challenges with this guy? Because abuser's gone abuse, right? They're seldom just going to pick this one little isolated area to act like predators. Pastor Kevin told us that he's actually known dozens of pastors' spouses and kids over the years whose cries for help fell on deaf ears because their parishioners were so loyal. Just one of many reasons, they often get away with bad behavior. There's the cliche, absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you think you're going to get away with it, you have this whole community of people that are going to have your back, you're probably going to try some sh*t if you're a bad person, right? But if the truth did come out, could this potentially be a way out for them? A way to be maybe rescued from other bad behavior.
[00:11:14] And finally, to what extent are you responsible to the church and denomination? Pastor Kevin pointed out that this is a tough one because the church's reputation is already compromised in this world. But for the sake of those pastors and parishioners who really are trying to follow the way of Jesus, his take is that getting rid of a predatory leader, eh, that actually really helps.
[00:11:35] So I would encourage you to sit with these questions and decide what decision feels right. But in Pastor Kevin's view, you are not responsible for this pastor's family. You are not responsible for his career and congregation. You are not responsible for your parents' relationship with him or for what they ultimately choose to believe about his patterns.
[00:11:56] Bottom line, you are not responsible for the consequences to this guy after what he has done. The only thing you're responsible for in Pastor Kevin's view is whether or not to report this. You have to decide what you're able to live with. And I know that's a really heavy decision. There's a lot at stake. There are very real consequences either way.
[00:12:19] But for what it's worth, just speaking for myself now here, I get the sense that you feel a profound moral obligation to speak up about this. And I second that. What this guy has done, it is completely inappropriate. It violates crucial boundaries. It's dishonest, it's manipulative, it's toxic, it's damaging. And even though you got out of this encounter relatively unscathed, somebody else, maybe somebody younger, somebody more vulnerable, more trusting, more easily susceptible to his authority and manipulation, they could be seriously harmed by him.
[00:12:55] And to Pastor Kevin's point, it's very possible that somebody already has been possibly multiple people and they were too afraid to speak up or do anything about it. And the idea of a man who could do that or who has done that in a position of such authority, that's really disturbing.
[00:13:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is disturbing. I think the guy writing in knows deep down how important it is to speak up here and the costs of speaking up, that's almost a confirmation that this is the right move, but I know that that doesn't make it easy. So he's in a tough spot. To your point, Jordan, who else is going to be hurt by this guy? That's a heavy burden to live with.
[00:13:32] In terms of how to actually report this guy, Pastor Kevin's recommendation was to reach out to Grindr, explain the situation, see if maybe the messages can be recovered. Honestly, they might refuse to hand them over. It might violate their terms or just be technically impossible, but eh, worth a shot. So you have some evidence.
[00:13:51] Jordan Harbinger: Hard evidence, Gabriel.
[00:13:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, yeah, ideally limp evidence that never stands up in court, right?
[00:13:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right. True, true that.
[00:13:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: After that, Pastor Kevin said, book a meeting with a church elder. Tell them the story and also provide them with a written account of what happened. That way you are on record and then they can share it with the appropriate parties without, you know, the game of telephone corrupting the message.
[00:14:13] Beyond that, on a more personal level, I would make sure that you are finding the support you need right now — good friends, loving family, maybe a trusted counselor or a therapist. Pastor Kevin had the same thought. He hopes that you find a solid therapist and a group of supporters who can walk you through this decision and process the impact it's had on you. Maybe navigate the aftermath after you come out with a story. Those relationships will be crucial, especially if this whole thing blows up or drags out and becomes even more dramatic than it already is.
[00:14:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, solid advice. Again, I'm so sorry this happened to you. You didn't deserve it. It's an awful position to be in, and even for somebody who doesn't go to church anymore, this is a really daunting decision.
[00:14:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:14:58] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sure the hardest part is thinking about this guy's kids and your parents. That is really heartbreaking, but I think it's important to remember that whatever ramifications they experience, you didn't cause that, he did. This is on him, and long term, you have to weigh those costs against the good of protecting other people.
[00:15:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree completely, Jordan. I have to say though, I do on some weird level feel bad for this pastor. Am I crazy? Like I think this guy is living a double life because he obviously is stuck and he feels ashamed of his orientation and he's acting out in ways that are totally inappropriate. It doesn't excuse any of his behavior, but just imagine what it must be like to be that guy. Like he needs help, right? And he needs to figure out how to reconcile his identity with his role on some level. That shouldn't let him off the hook at all. I guess I'm just appreciating that this is a guy who's also probably in a lot of pain and who also desperately needs help.
[00:15:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You know, I have some empathy here. On the other hand, I've got a buddy who came out as an adult, was already married with kids, and what he did was he went to therapy, got his ish together, talked to his wife about it, went through that whole thing, and now I don't know what arrangements they have.
[00:16:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:11] Jordan Harbinger: I think there's some arrangement there so that they can like raise their kids and they have a loving relationship. He's probably bi and not just gay. I don't really know the deets.
[00:16:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:16:19] Jordan Harbinger: But you know, he didn't send inappropriate messages to people that he's not supposed to be dealing with.
[00:16:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:16:25] Jordan Harbinger: He didn't lie to his partner. He didn't lie to his family. He's not putting other people in awkward positions.
[00:16:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:16:30] Jordan Harbinger: He's not being a total POS about this thing. He's not a predator.
[00:16:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:16:33] Jordan Harbinger: So I have sympathy/empathy for this dude's situation that he has put himself into.
[00:16:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:16:39] Jordan Harbinger: But I have absolutely no sympathy for the fact that he's now acting—
[00:16:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:16:42] Jordan Harbinger: —like a complete predator as a result. Like it's really easy to go, "Look, I'm in a tough spot." Okay. So if you are hungry or you are poor, and you're in a tough spot and you go and you beg for money or you take loans from people and you're in a position like that or sometimes you maybe go and do things that you're not super proud of to make ends meet, great. But if you go and break into somebody else's house and steal their stuff, well, my sympathy for you there, it ends there.
[00:17:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:17:09] Jordan Harbinger: If you're mugging people violently or whatever and harming them—
[00:17:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: —to get what you need.
[00:17:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:17:14] Jordan Harbinger: I don't really care what your justification is and—
[00:17:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:17:16] Jordan Harbinger: —either doesn't go for that matter.
[00:17:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: And because now there's a victim and it's a different—
[00:17:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:17:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: —thing entirely. Yeah.
[00:17:20] Jordan Harbinger: So don't victimize other people because you put yourself in this situation. Again, yes, it's not a great situation. I'm sorry that you're in it, but it doesn't give you any moral license to hurt somebody else.
[00:17:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, Well said. I agree with that.
[00:17:31] Jordan Harbinger: So take care of yourself. Find the support you need, and I know you'll come to the right decision for yourself. We're sending you good thoughts.
[00:17:38] Gabe, is there any way to filter out corrupt men of the cloth on these apps? It's been a while since I've been in the game.
[00:17:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Weirdly, not a feature on any of the dating apps, but maybe we can pitch that to Grindr as an option. I don't know. It seems like it might come in handy after this letter.
[00:17:51] Jordan Harbinger: You know who won't send you dick picks from the pulpit? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:18:00] This episode is also sponsored by HVMN. I've been taking these exogenous ketones before my workout. I take HVMN's Ketone-IQ supplements. There's no sugar, there's no salt, there's no caffeine. And I am very skeptical of all supplements, but a lot of my elite athlete friends were like, "No, no, no. Try this one." I think it'll be a little different for you. Get rid of some of the appetite. Put you in a mood to crush a workout. It's not a jittery thing. They got a DOD, Department of Defense contract, worth a few million bucks for the Special Forces to be trying this stuff out. So if it's good enough for the Navy SEALs, hey, I think it's good enough for me working out in my garage. Again, I'm skeptical, but I really do think this does suppress appetite and work on the mood. And especially when you're up in the morning trying to push weights, it gives you that focus that's a little bit different than coffee. And you know it works because it tastes like rancid dog piss.
[00:18:49] Jen Harbinger: Oh no.
[00:18:51] Jordan Harbinger: I only speak the truth.
[00:18:53] Jen Harbinger: Oh my god. For 20 percent off your order of Ketone-IQ, go to hvmn.com promo code JORDAN. Again, that's hvmn.com promo code JORDAN for 20 percent off Ketone-IQ.
[00:19:06] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, come on. You're putting yourself through the pain of a workout. You're not going to take a shot of something no matter how it tastes. It's fine. I'm just keeping it real.
[00:19:12] This episode is also sponsored by Wrkout. This is my friend's company that I've been using for a couple of years. One thing I've noticed that successful people have in common is they are short on excuses. You know, billionaires, guys who create these amazing companies, they got the same 24 hours a day as everybody else. I've just always been a little bit of a chubby dude, little bit of a dad bod even when I was kind of a teenager. A couple of years ago, I decided to change all that. My friend Curtis started this online virtual training company, offered to give me a couple of free sessions, and it has just been a life-changing thing for me. You've heard me talk about it in episodes before as well. I wanted to be able to keep up with my three-year-old, and it is, it's not easy. I came up with reasons to cancel the first few sessions. I thought it was going to be puking it up all over the place, sore for weeks at a time. None of that was actually the case. I thought I'll stick with it for a month, three months. Here we are. It's been two years next month. My entire physique has changed. I'm in great shape now, at least according to my trainer, Chad, I'm always improving. I've got freaking abs now that I've never had in my entire life. Literally, at my peak fitness as a young guy, I never had that. Wrkout actually wrote a wonderful article about that. Not my abs, but the transformation. I'll link that up in the show notes as well. So if you want to see what highly vetted world-class personal training can do for you online, you don't have to go anywhere. Use your laptop, iPad, whatever, go to wrkout.com/jordan to try it out. That's W-R-K-O-U-T.com/jordan. So it's workout without the first O or hell, you can email me and I'll introduce you to them as well. Anything to get people off their butts.
[00:20:43] Thank you all so much for listening to and supporting the show. All the discount codes, all the deals from all the sponsors are all in one place, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can search for the sponsors there, and you can also search for any sponsor using the search box on the website as well. So please consider supporting those who support this show.
[00:21:02] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:21:06] All right, next up.
[00:21:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've been commuting over an hour each way to work for the past two years. I tend to enjoy the drives as I have company through podcasts. My favorite of which is you guys. Thank you. I'm a very chill guy, which is something I pride myself on. But dealing with drivers on these long commutes gets me really heated sometimes. I'm not talking about getting angry at slow drivers or even inconsiderate drivers, but drivers who truly threaten my safety on the road, the ones who weave in and out of traffic, distracted drivers, and excessive speeders. Retaliating against them is a hobby of mine. I'll go slower, remove space to merge in front of me, and honk my horn. Making them angrier is a way to inconvenience them and even the scales a little bit. Is there anything more constructive I can do to handle these dangerous drivers? Or do I just need to accept that some people are a-h*les and let them go on their way? Signed, Engage my Outrage or Assuage this Road Rage.
[00:22:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think a lot of people can relate to this one.
[00:22:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:22:09] Jordan Harbinger: Bad drivers, dangerous drivers. They're a real problem and they have a unique way of pushing your buttons, so I totally get your anger here, but I'm not sure that responding in this way is actually helpful because first of all, being aggressive with somebody who's already aggressive rarely makes them less aggressive. If anything, it's probably going to make them more aggressive. Slowing down, not letting someone in, honking your horn, that's the kind of behavior that makes aggro people want to drive even more like a-h*les. If you ever accidentally slow down or on purpose, I guess, and then they drive around you really fast than they gun it just to get to a red light.
[00:22:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:47] Jordan Harbinger: They're just more angry. And I know that can be satisfying if you're doing it on purpose, but I'm not sure this is really effective. So I understand why it feels like you're evening the scales a little bit, and I guess in a way you are, and that you feel a little better while they get frustrated. But in the bigger picture, you're really not evening any scales. You're probably just validating and then reinforcing their behavior. Don't get me wrong. I say this as a parent who always has two-second fantasies about wanting to see these terrible drivers get rolled by the police, hit the freaking median and scrape up their paint jobs, scrape the crap out of their car. I think that's a personality flaw in myself. Also, road rage kills, man. Some people are just needlessly violent psychopaths or they drive even more crazy and then they ram into somebody else. That's another topic, I suppose.
[00:23:36] So I'm actually more curious to know what's going on for you when you encounter these drivers. Because it's interesting, It's really hard to judge other people's intentions, especially on the road. Usually, we impose a narrative on the behavior we see, and that narrative is almost always something that serves our own biases, our own conditioning. So for example, you see someone cut you off or drive really fast and you think, "Wow, that person's a total dick. They need to be taught a lesson. Obviously, they don't give a crap about other people." And then you prevent them from merging or you slow down in front of them or whatever, and you get the satisfaction of being a traffic vigilante.
[00:24:15] But the truth is you don't know why this person is driving like that. They could be late for work at a job they really need. They could be trying to get home so they can have dinner with their kids before they work a second job. They could be, I don't know, racing to the hospital because their mom was in an accident, or they could just be bad drivers and they're weaving or drifting or whatever because they're just not great behind the wheel, not because they're actually trying to accomplish something.
[00:24:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:24:40] Jordan Harbinger: For example, in our area, we have a lot of immigrants who got their first driving license when they moved to America, whenever that was. Some of them are old as well. That means some of these folks maybe got behind the wheel for the first time at age 50, age 60. Not easy, even scarier in a foreign country. I mean, imagine moving here from Vietnam, you're 55 years old, you've never driven a car anywhere. In Vietnam, you know when other people drive, they just do whatever the hell they want. And you're here and you're like, "I got to follow all these rules. I don't really know what's going on. I can't totally read all the signs."
[00:25:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:15] Jordan Harbinger: "I drive once a week to get to the doctor." You know, they just, that happens a lot.
[00:25:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:18] Jordan Harbinger: And these alternative explanations, they rarely come to mind, right? Usually, the version of events we create, and this happens in an instant, it happens so quickly, we don't even realize it's happening, that version of events is, "That person was trying to put my life at risk. That person is obviously some kind of monster." And then you act accordingly. And there's actually a name for this phenomenon. It's called the fundamental attribution error.
[00:25:44] So the fundamental attribution error is basically the tendency to explain other people's behavior in terms of their character or their intent rather than external or circumstantial factors. It's a bias, It's a sort of cognitive quirk that tells us how to make sense of other people's behavior when we don't have access to all of the information. And this is why we go, "That person was trying to screw me over by cutting me off. They need to be taught a lesson," instead of going, "Mmm, that person cut me off. Maybe they're an a-h*le, or maybe they really have to go to the bathroom, they're trying to get home, or their kid is puking in the backseat, or maybe they didn't even see me at all," which is often just as likely. Sometimes, I think that's even more likely.
[00:26:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:26:28] Jordan Harbinger: So I bring this up to remind you that what you're seeing on the road, it is definitely happening. It's not all in your head, but it might not be happening for the reasons that you think. And if you take an extra couple of seconds to imagine some other plausible explanations for this poor behavior, I think you're going to find that your rage will automatically ratchet down a little bit. You might still have that gut reaction where your adrenaline goes. You might even find though, that you have some compassion for these other people, weirdly enough. You might even just forgive them. You know? Take a cue from question one here a little bit.
[00:27:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: What do you mean?
[00:27:03] Jordan Harbinger: You know, turn the other cheek.
[00:27:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: All right, Jordan, I think we just hit our limit on butt jokes in this episode. Nice. I appreciate that. Call back.
[00:27:10] Jordan Harbinger: We'll see.
[00:27:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: But yeah, I'm with you completely. Sometimes when I'm in my car and I see someone driving like this, just being a total maniac, I feel my blood pressure spike and then I think, "Wow, that person seems like they're out of their mind. Imagine living like that all the time. Like thank God I'm not them."
[00:27:25] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. That's another good way to deal with the anger, just to be grateful that you don't feel the need to drive like that too. I do the same thing with other issues, man. Petty crime, someone stole some cash from me once. Another time, somebody busted my car window and took a $5 iPhone cable and I realized these people that they're hopeless right now.
[00:27:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:46] Jordan Harbinger: These are desperate folks. Probably freaking junkies hunting for their next fix at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
[00:27:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:53] Jordan Harbinger: They're living an absolutely miserable life that will potentially kill them. And all I had to do was replace a window. Was it expensive? Yeah, as a pain. Okay. But nowhere near the pain that the other guy is dealing with every second of every day. And that's a stance that'll ease your mind pretty quickly. I kind of think like, "Well, I'm over here winning at life and this guy's breaking into steal bikes.
[00:28:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:28:17] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, the guy's a loser, he's going to go to prison. He's probably been to prison before.
[00:28:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: So I just kind of, I'm able to rationalize it that way. So that's our take. I'm not saying your anger is unjustified. These people are driving badly. They are putting people's lives at risk. It's not okay. But you can't change them yourself. And the last thing you want to do is end up with a baseball bat to your windshield. Or worse because you tried to teach some dip wad in a BMW a lesson by going 45 in a 60. Your job isn't to be the traffic vigilante. Your job is to get home to your family alive and in one piece, and to enjoy your podcasts on the way, especially this one, and to tell all your friends about it. And to use our sponsor codes when you buy our products because that's how we keep you from going ape sh*t during these commutes. That is your job.
[00:29:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:29:04] Jordan Harbinger: And if you want to go a little deeper on the fundamental attribution error, I do recommend checking out an article that we wrote about it. There's some great stuff in there. We'll link to that in the show notes for you. We break that down quite. So stay safe and drive like you know each other.
[00:29:19] Self-driving cars cannot come soon enough, hey, Gabe.
[00:29:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Tell me about them.
[00:29:23] Jordan Harbinger: You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a lot easier. If there's something you're going through, a big decision that you're wrestling with, or if you need a new perspective on life, love work. What to do if you were wrongly imprisoned for assault and you don't know how to talk about it? Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:29:52] Okay, what's next?
[00:29:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, my husband of almost 20 years has teased me about the size of my small chest ever since we started dating even though he knows it hurts my feelings and makes me feel inadequate. I've asked him to stop doing this, but he always acts surprised and says it's just, quote-unquote, teasing. I recently learned that he watches a lot of porn where all the women involved have massive boobs. I'm now thinking of having a boob job to get rid of my anxiety as I felt so bad about the way I look pretty much all my adult life. But in the back of my mind, I also feel like I'm proving him right, as in, yes, my chest is too small, this is a problem, and now I'm solving it by changing my physical appearance for a man who may not deserve it. The thought of looking great in a bikini appeals greatly to me, but something is making me hesitate. Should I have this surgery? Signed, A Wife Going Under the Knife to Avoid the Strife.
[00:30:50] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. This story is making me pretty angry.
[00:30:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:30:53] Jordan Harbinger: It's also making me feel pretty sad.
[00:30:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Same.
[00:30:57] Jordan Harbinger: I am actually baffled that your partner of 20-plus years has been making fun of you for an aspect of your body, an aspect of your body that you have zero control over, really, by the way. When he knows that it hurts your feelings and it makes you feel inadequate. That is just not cool. That's an understatement, but it, that is not cool at all.
[00:31:15] So he's into women with big boobs. Okay. He's allowed to like what he likes, that's perfectly fine, but to mock you for looking a different way and then not to take you seriously when you try to talk to him about it. I just think that's really hurtful.
[00:31:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:28] Jordan Harbinger: And not just because the size of your chest is a sore spot for you, but because this is not how a healthy, respectful relationship works. So yeah, I would really take some time to think about why you want to get this surgery.
[00:31:43] Now, this is a bit complicated because as you said, you felt insecure about how you look pretty much all of your adult life. It's fun to think about looking great in a swimsuit. Maybe you really do want a bigger chest. It is possible that this procedure would in fact make you feel better in some ways. And you're obviously allowed to change your appearance if that's what you want. No shade there. Although I know more than a few women who have had health complications because of a foreign body being inserted into their body, and it's not necessarily going to solve whatever problem you have if it's psychological or, you know, be enough at that level.
[00:32:18] But I think you have to separate out your own reasons for getting this procedure from these really hurtful messages you've been getting from your husband and probably from society at large as well. If you're doing this to please him or to live up to some abstract standard, doing that more than you are doing it for yourself, I just, I feel like that's a cause for concern.
[00:32:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:39] Jordan Harbinger: I'm even more concerned because of the way he's handled this whole thing. It's not like he said, "Listen, honey, I know you wish you had bigger boobs. I think it would be fun if you did too. How do you feel about getting them done?" That's — okay, it's a little corny. It's a perfectly fine conversation to have. Although my advice would still be to make sure that this is something you really want, but that is not what he's doing. What he's doing is teasing you for two decades—
[00:33:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:03] Jordan Harbinger: —about your body and then refusing to stop when you tell him that it hurts your feelings. So I'm not surprised that you're hesitating right now. Deep down, you know, something is off here and I definitely think that it's worth listening to that voice.
[00:33:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm with you completely, Jordan. I really feel for this woman, and I am not anti-cosmetic surgery on principle, but it really does sound like she's doing it for reasons that are questionable. But my bigger concern is what this says about their relationship as a whole.
[00:33:31] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: She's about to radically change her body for a guy who, based on what she shared with us, is not taking her experience very seriously at all. A guy who won't even listen when she says, "Please stop making fun of how I look because that really hurts me."
[00:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: It's pretty upsetting. Just this idea that she's walking around feeling so inadequate, largely because of how her husband talks to her. And now she might go onto the knife to change that message instead of confronting the message itself.
[00:33:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally. I also feel like she might have internalized this message about her body from a guy who just happens to like big boobs. Like to your point—
[00:34:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:34:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: —it's totally fine that he's into that, but a different partner might appreciate her smaller chest. Tons of people prefer her physique.
[00:34:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: So I'm worried about her changing her appearance just because he's a boob guy who watches tons of porn with women who look a certain way. Whether he realizes it or not, he's imposing his preferences on her in a really weird and unhealthy way.
[00:34:27] Jordan Harbinger: I agree. I never got the boob thing myself as a guy. I'm just not wired that way. Lots of guys I know they don't care. They prefer a smaller physique. But you know what else jumped out at me about the porn thing that she only recently learned that he watches a lot of porn.
[00:34:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I thought that was interesting too. What do you think in there? Like there's some secrets in the marriage or—
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, maybe, I don't know. I just think it's interesting that they've been married for 20 years and she only recently found out about that.
[00:34:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:34:51] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I'm not saying he has a whole secret life or anything, but it does make me wonder if maybe they're not as open or communicative as they could be.
[00:35:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think you're onto something like maybe there's some connection between hiding your porn habits from your wife and then also not listening to her when she tells you how she feels.
[00:35:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Something like that. I don't know. Maybe I'm reaching here. I just find it interesting. Of course, guys are going to hide stuff that might be embarrassing.
[00:35:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:35:15] Jordan Harbinger: But he secretly watches women with big breasts and he tears down his wife for not looking that way. Is that being conditioned by pornography? Are there other things they're not talking about?
[00:35:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, because now I'm wondering if maybe he has some shame about this preference of his otherwise, why would he have hid it from her, and instead of talking about it with his wife, he's secretly fulfilling that interest through porn and then turning around and projecting that shame onto her by mocking her for not looking that way.
[00:35:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, maybe that's the connection. He's obsessed with big breasts, but he might have some complicated feelings about that. So he teases her for her body, kind of puts that icky feeling back on her. Makes her the inadequate one. I don't know. It could be just — It's a possibility.
[00:35:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's just a theory. She has to decide if that actually fits.
[00:36:01] Jordan Harbinger: Well. That's why I keep coming back to this question of what does she want?
[00:36:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:36:05] Jordan Harbinger: What is she trying to accomplish?
[00:36:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, exactly. That's really the only question that matters here, in my view. And if she decides she wants this procedure and that aligns with what her husband is into, great. But if she doesn't want this procedure and she's only doing it to satisfy him after making her feel terrible about this for two decades, then I would say don't do it. Or at least hold off and talk to a few friends, maybe a therapist, get very clear on why you are doing this. But also if you do decide to go for it, I wouldn't pin all of your hopes for resolving your anxiety on this procedure because yes, it might give you a little boost of confidence, but body issues are complex, right? If you've been insecure about how you look your whole life, there's a lot to unpack there. And getting implants probably won't fix all of that, certainly not overnight, and it definitely won't solve this larger communication problem with your husband and this empathy gap with him. In fact, it might make you resent him more for caving to his preferences when you don't feel that he's really understood you.
[00:37:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, absolutely. because the reality is you might go up a couple of cup sizes, but he's still going to be a little dick.
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nice.
[00:37:14] Jordan Harbinger: If you're going to resolve this insecurity, it's going to largely be an inside job, not a boob job.
[00:37:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:37:21] Jordan Harbinger: And to your point, Gabe, this dynamic with her husband, I really do feel that's the main issue here. So that's what I'd work on first. I'd sit down with him and really make him understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of these comments. It sounds like you kind of already tried that, but you got to let him know how it's affecting your feelings and your decisions now and how you guys relate to each other. Otherwise, this whole procedure might fall flat, no pun intended. Your appearance, which to be clear, I'm not even convinced is a problem. That is entirely secondary. So I hope you get to do that. Take care of yourself. And sending you good thoughts.
[00:37:59] You know, Gabe, it just occurred to me that also, I think there's a part of this — and this is again, another theory — her husband is too chicken sh*t to tell her what he wants. And so he keeps jabbing at her, hoping that she will then make it her idea, because he doesn't want to say, "Hey, I've got this boob fetish, can you accommodate that?" He's like, "Oh, I don't feel like—" like you said, it makes him feel icky to do that.
[00:38:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:38:20] Jordan Harbinger: So he'd rather be like, "Ah, you're flat-chested, eh." And then she goes and gets the procedure and he is like, "Oh, great. Good."
[00:38:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great. Yeah.
[00:38:24] Jordan Harbinger: "I didn't have to actually communicate my wants.
[00:38:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Get what I want and we don't even have to talk about it.
[00:38:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:30] Jordan Harbinger: All right, you all, why don't you fill your cups with deals from the amazing sponsors who support this show? We'll be right back.
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[00:41:06] Now back to Feedback Friday.
[00:41:10] All right, what's next?
[00:41:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. My son's mother and I split up three years ago, and I pride myself on maintaining a healthy and friendly co-parenting relationship with her. Since then, I've gotten engaged to the love of my life and we're tying the knot next month, but we have some tension regarding my relationship with my ex. I'm completely over her and the way I see it if my ex and I had a contentious relationship, it would have a negative effect on my current relationship with my fiancée. Whether it's helping my ex find a safe and affordable place to live, or sending cute pictures of our son back and forth, that kind of thing bothers my fiancée. The health of our relationship makes her feel uncomfortable and jealous even if she won't admit to it. How do I put her mind at ease without telling her to just get over it? Signed, The Conflicted Co-parent.
[00:42:01] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting question. I got to say right off the bat, I'm with you. I love that you and your ex have such a positive relationship. To your point, that's the right thing to do. It's great for your son, it's great for you and your fiancée. You're completely over her. I'm assuming she's completely over you. As long as you guys are on the same page, I think it's very cool.
[00:42:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed.
[00:42:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think your fiance needs to look at these feelings, figure out where they're coming from. Seems like garden variety insecurity in a lot of ways. She accepted your proposal knowing that you had a son and an ex, and that you two have a close co-parenting relationship. It's not like you were estranged and then you suddenly started talking on the phone every night. Frankly, if I were in her shoes, I would be happy to have settled down with a partner who's capable of that kind of mature and productive relationship with an ex.
[00:42:50] So my advice is to help your fiancée explore what's going on for her these days. Is she feeling edged out? Is she insecure about you being close with other women? Does that jealousy show up in any other ways with other friends, with other people in her life or your life? Does your relationship with your ex bring up experiences or feelings that she's dealt with maybe in the past? I'd sit down with your fiancée and invite her to talk about all of that.
[00:43:16] Make it safe for her to tell you why she's uncomfortable. Listen to what she says. Understand this from her point of view. Try to appreciate when those feelings crop up, what assumptions she's making, how you respond in turn, and how all of that is creating this dynamic between you. Even if you haven't done anything wrong, there might be a way that you react to her feelings. Staying weirdly quiet or not addressing them directly, that's making them even harder to resolve. And hey, maybe your fiancée just needs to be reassured that you don't have feelings for your ex, or she needs to understand why you enjoy texting pictures of your son back and forth, or that there's no subtext to the messages. The more you guys can communicate openly about this, the more you guys can learn how to process these feelings and avoid any misunderstandings about what's going on here.
[00:44:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree completely, Jordan. I also love that this guy has this great relationship with his ex. This actually sounds a lot like the relationship my parents had after they got divorced. And it was really awesome for all of us. They just, they stayed great friends. They still are great friends. Like it was just kind of the dream scenario. But I got to say, I do wonder if maybe his fiancée has some reason to be a little bit uncomfortable.
[00:44:30] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Tell me about that.
[00:44:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: So, okay. It was one detail he mentioned how he helped his ex-wife find a safe and affordable place to live. So on one hand I could see that being a really kind thing to do, right? Moving is stressful, their friends, his son is going to be living with her. So it's also important to him that his ex-wife lived in a decent place. On the other hand, is he maybe kind of taking care of her a little bit too much? Is he taking her responsibilities on as his own, maybe at the expense of his responsibilities to his future wife? Even if he's not trying to get back together with her or anything, I could understand why his fiancée might look at that and go, "Uh, I don't know. I'm not like mad about it, but I'm not really sure how I feel about that."
[00:45:15] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that's a good point. We don't exactly know how much he does for his ex, but I think what you're getting at is, is he appropriately involved as a friend and a co-parent, or is he overly involved to the point where it's almost like there's still partners minus the living together thing?
[00:45:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Exactly.
[00:45:32] Jordan Harbinger: If he is and he loses sight of who takes priority, sometimes his a or his fiancée, that is a bit weird, and maybe he needs to look at that and—
[00:45:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right
[00:45:42] Jordan Harbinger: —figure that out.
[00:45:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, and if that's the case, I can imagine why his fiancée might be a little bit jealous.
[00:45:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:45:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not necessarily because she's, you know, crazy or possessive or anything, but because it's like, "Aren't you marrying me? And are you sort of—?"
[00:45:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: "—taking care of two women here? Is something else going on? I just, I don't know how to feel."
[00:46:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. That might be in the mix here for sure. So, in addition to talking to your fiancée, I would also take a look at your relationship with your ex. What the terms are, how you help her and why? And maybe you decide that you're helping her for all the right reasons and you're not overstepping and there's nothing wrong here. That could totally be the case.
[00:46:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:46:17] Jordan Harbinger: Or—
[00:46:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: It could, yeah.
[00:46:18] Jordan Harbinger: —you know, maybe you find that you're still caring for her in ways that aren't entirely necessary or appropriate, and it's time to pull back a little.
[00:46:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:46:26] Jordan Harbinger: But again, I would let your fiancée tell you why she's uneasy about all this. All you guys have to do is have an open dialogue and figure out how you're both contributing to this tension. If you can do that, I'm pretty confident all of this will resolve pretty easily.
[00:46:41] And hey, well done on being a good dad, a good ex, hopefully, soon a good husband. Your son is a lucky kid to have parents like these. And we're wishing all three of you the best.
[00:46:51] Gabe, you know, another thing that just occurred to me here is maybe — and this is going to help, when they talk when the fiancée gets a chance to really voice what's going on here, because it might not be something he's doing, right? Maybe he's like, "I don't understand. I'm over her. It's totally cool. I help her find a safe place to live. My ex sends me cute photos of my kid." It's like, okay, maybe add your fiancée to that text message group. So she just sees everything that goes in there and is like, can enjoy the photos too, doesn't feel left out. Also, we don't know that the ex is over him. Maybe the real reason the fiancée is mad is not because she doesn't believe he's over the ex. Maybe she's like, "Your ex still has a thing for you. Hello."
[00:47:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting.
[00:47:28] Jordan Harbinger: She's doing X, Y, and Z. And he's like, "No, it's cool. I'm totally over her. It's fine." She's like, "Dude," and just shaking him—
[00:47:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:47:35] Jordan Harbinger: —trying to get his attention and he's like, "Oh, it's fine. I'm over her." Because women are going to be much more perceptive with that. And I've dealt a lot with guys and dating issues, and we can be a little clueless—
[00:47:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:47:46] Jordan Harbinger: —when somebody is interested in us because maybe we don't reciprocate it. Or maybe we have our blinders on. And it's very possible that his fiancée is like, "I don't get why you're ignoring this." And he's like, maybe he doesn't even see it and maybe there is something going on here. Like maybe she's jealous for a good reason.
[00:48:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Her jealousy might be about the ex more than it is about her future husband, yeah. Interesting.
[00:48:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, again, we have no evidence for this.
[00:48:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:48:11] Jordan Harbinger: But it's definitely possible that that's what's going on and he just doesn't see it. So he is like, "I don't get it. It's her issue." And she's like, "No, your ex is being inappropriate and all these little ways that are just going completely under your radar.
[00:48:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: Could be. There are a lot of variables here.
[00:48:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: But I still feel at the end of the day that he's doing the right thing by having this great relationship with his ex. And as long as the boundaries are clear and the feelings are clear and everybody's on the same page, I think that's ultimately a net good. And she needs to find a way to either get clear with her current partner about what's actually going on here or process some of this envy and this jealousy on her own.
[00:48:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You'll find out when your ex has too many drinks and starts crying about you at the wedding, then you'll know.
[00:48:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:48:52] Jordan Harbinger: All right. What's next?
[00:48:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've been thinking a lot lately about all the friends and exes I treated terribly in my early 20s. While I wasn't always an awful person, I can think of several times I used people for sex, capitalized on a friend's feelings for me for a bit of fun, and wasn't the greatest friend to some of my guy friends. This pattern of behavior has negatively impacted my relationships and my reputation among my college friends as it should. It's been over five years since then, and I'd like to think I'm a better person now. I'm in a committed relationship with a girl I love. But even before we got together, I was much more intentional with people and less impulsive and less selfish. I know that the damage is done and too much time has passed to even think about rekindling past friendships, but I can't help but feel tremendously guilty. I type out long apologies to those I've wronged only to delete the message before sending. Even if there's no hope or intention of rekindling a friendship, how important is it to apologize for my past wrongs? Or do I need to make peace with my past on my own? What if reaching out to someone ends up digging up old wounds that have long since been buried? And if it is important that I reach out and apologize, do you have any advice on how to do that effectively? Signed, Making Amends With These Friends so I Can Cleanse These Unfortunate Ends.
[00:50:17] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Yeah. Great question. Well, first of all, I want to commend you on how much you've grown over the last five years. The fact that you want to reach out to some of these people you heard make things right, I just, I think that speaks to just how far you've come and also how seriously you're taking other people's experiences now. The husband from question three could learn a thing or two from you. I think this is all really great news, man. So I have to say I'm a big fan of apologies. Given them, receiving them, it's amazing how much a sincere apology can accomplish, even if it does come years later.
[00:50:51] So how important is it to formally apologize for the things that you did? Well, my take is if you have done something wrong, if you know you left a mark on somebody and it's eating away at you and you have a reasonable belief that an apology would at least be somewhat welcome, I say go for it. It sounds like these conversations would be important for you to take ownership of what you did, and it could be quite important for these old friends too, to hear you acknowledge those wounds, to know that you're sorry for what you did, that you've grown. That can be really impactful.
[00:51:25] So how do you actually do that? Obviously, every situation is different, but the best thing you can do is keep it sincere, meaningful, and brief. Whether you decide to text or email or call, and by the way, I'm a big fan of email or text in these cases because it's been so long. A written apology can be even more impactful. The person can read it a few times. They can sit with it for a while, and it can also help you express yourself in the best possible way without getting flustered or nervous or saying the wrong thing or getting roped into something in a conversation. But anyway, however, you do it, a good apology should include a few key things.
[00:52:03] First, an explicit apology for the things you did, and I would be specific. For example, maybe you say, "I didn't take your feelings very seriously when we were in college. I treated our relationship more casually than you deserved, and I'm very sorry about that." That kind of thing. Now, you might be tempted to explain why you did what you did, which can be appropriate. Just make sure that any explanation doesn't tip over into an excuse that is important. So for example, if you said, "I treated you that way because I was selfish back then and incapable of appreciating other people's feelings," that's fair. That could actually be an important part of the apology. But if you said, "I treated you that way because I was really stressed out with school and too busy to worry about other people, my mom wasn't very nice to me when I was a kid and there were certain things you said that kind of pissed me off." That's not helpful anymore. That's something else entirely. So keep the letter focused on the apology and only explain your behavior to the extent that it helps the apology land the right way.
[00:53:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:53:05] Jordan Harbinger: The other thing your apology should include is an explanation for why you're reaching out now. In your case, it could be something like, "I'm writing because I've done a lot of introspection and growth these last five years. I'm ashamed of the guy I was back then. I just want to acknowledge how that must have made you feel and tell you how sorry I am." Really could be as simple as that.
[00:53:27] And the last thing you should include, and this is always a nice way to end an apology, is a positive intention for the person or the relationship going forward. You might end the letter by saying something like, "And if you can't forgive my behavior or don't feel like responding, I completely understand. Regardless, I hope you're happy and doing well, and if we ever cross paths again, I promise to be a very different kind of friend to you or person to you," or whatever it is, whatever version of that, that feels right to you.
[00:53:55] If you can hit those three elements, you're going to be in good. And if the person wants to talk more, eh, you can keep corresponding or hop on the phone or have a more in-depth discussion, but this is a solid place to start.
[00:54:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: I love that approach, Jordan. I think that's exactly right, and if these conversations do end up possibly digging up some old wounds, then I would just be respectful of that. If the other person is like, "Ugh, you know, it really pisses me off to hear from you. After all this time. I'm still really angry at you. Now, you're bringing up all this old stuff," which is possible. I think probably in all likelihood people will be pretty receptive to a meaningful apology, but some people might not be. And if that happens, then I would just say, "I hear you. Again, I'm very sorry about that. I completely understand. Thank you for being open to hearing from me," something like that.
[00:54:41] But also it's interesting, digging up old wounds that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it might be the reason you need to reach out in the first place. So if you get that kind of response from somebody, I would consider hanging in the tension of that for a few moments. Maybe you say, "Wow. Yeah, I can hear how angry you are. That makes perfect sense. Given how I behaved, and I hope I'm not being pushy, but do you want to talk about it? I would really like to understand what's going on for you. I'm here to listen." And maybe the other person gets kind of mad at you for 10 or 15 minutes and you take it in and you validate them and then you guys can talk it out and hopefully put it to bed.
[00:55:21] My point is, digging up old wounds isn't always an obstacle to the conversation. Sometimes it is the conversation and sometimes navigating those old wounds is what heals the relationship even more than the literal words, "I'm sorry."
[00:55:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a really important point. Part of his job here is to tolerate the tension of these conversations.
[00:55:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:55:41] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good tension if it gives him and these old friends a chance to really hash out these old injuries. Now—
[00:55:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:55:47] Jordan Harbinger: —if the other person just doesn't respond well to your apology, or they're not open to talking to you or they're unreachable, then yeah, you're going to have to make peace with your past on your own. And the key to living with old mistakes is, well, first of all, to accept that the things you did back then, they were a reflection of who you were at the time. If you had known better, you would've acted differently. Now, you do know better and you are acting differently, and that's what's important. You had to be the guy you were in the past to become this more evolved guy that you are today.
[00:56:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:56:17] Jordan Harbinger: After that, I would keep using these memories to continue being the best person you can be. If you look back at that time, you were a little callous with someone's feelings and that nosed at you, maybe you can tell yourself, "Okay, I know how bad it feels to be that guy, so let me treat my girlfriend better now. Let me approach my current friends with kindness. Let me reach out to somebody who could use some help," whatever it is, put that wound into action.
[00:56:43] Another thing you can do is share your story with other people who are going through a similar phase. Maybe you have a friend or a cousin who's in their early 20s, and you can help them grow in ways that you didn't, or maybe you know somebody who's also looking to make amends and you can talk about your experiences.
[00:56:57] When we talk on the show about making meaning out of difficult experiences, this is what we're talking about, channeling the guilt into something productive, using a painful memory to create some good, using your past to connect with other people or to understand yourself better. And then, the guilt of the shame or the sadness or whatever feelings you're wrestling with, they take on a new quality. They might not go away completely, but that's okay. Because they're in service of something better than constantly beating yourself up. They mean something different now. And in a weird way, you might actually be grateful that they linger a little bit.
[00:57:35] So I hope that gives you a game plan for these conversations, and I hope you get a chance to repair these relationships if that's an option. You might even find a lot of relief in just trying to apologize. Owning this stuff is at least half the equation. After that, it's really about what you do with these experiences, how you use these feelings, especially the guilt to keep getting better, which you're already starting to do, and that's great.
[00:58:03] All that said, one side note here. If you think you need to apologize for something that might incur specific legal liability, then yeah, ask an attorney about this or keep the wording vague. I know we said specific, but this doesn't have to defeat the purpose of the apology if done correctly. For example, if you did some serious property damage and then you refuse to pay, I wouldn't write that down and send it, but I'd say something like, "I didn't respect you or your property in the way that I should have, and I'm deeply sorry for that." Don't say, "Sorry for getting really drunk, crashing your new car into a Starbucks, and then lying about it to everybody including the police." You know, that's an admission of guilt that you probably don't need to have that in writing. Also, if you did that, you are a real scumbag, dude. You should definitely cut a check to everyone, including Starbucks for that matter.
[00:58:51] Drive safely, you all.
[00:58:52] And good luck, man. Proud of you for taking ownership of this stuff and stepping up. Wishing you and all of your old friends the best.
[00:59:00] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week. Of course, everyone who listened, thank you so much. Go back and check out Ian Bremmer and Winston Sterzel if you haven't yet.
[00:59:09] Check out our Six-Minute Networking course. The one I'm bumping all the time. Networking, but not smarmy, not gross. Teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. It's over on the Thinkific platform and it's free, jordanharbinger.com/course. The drills, they take a couple of minutes a day. It's the type of habit that really you ignore it at your own peril. I wish I knew this stuff in my 20s. It's not fluff. Jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can find it.
[00:59:33] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, those are all at @jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:59:55] 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 opinion, those 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.
[01:00:12] Ditto, Dr. Kevin Glenn. Big thank you again to Pastor Kevin for his wisdom and perspective.
[01:00:17] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice 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.
[01:00:33] We've got a trailer for our interview with Robert Greene, one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. Robert's insight into human nature is second to none, and there's a reason that his books are banned in prisons, yet widely read by both scholars and leaders alike. That's at the end of the show coming right up.
[01:00:50] If we just sit in our inner tube with our hands behind our head and crack open a six pack of beer, the river of dark nature takes us towards that waterfall of the shadow.
[01:00:59] Robert Greene: Yeah. So when we're children, if we weren't educated, if we didn't have teachers or parents telling us to study, we'd be these monsters. We're all flawed. I believe we humans naturally feel envy. It's the chimpanzee in us. It's been shown that primates are very attuned to other animals in their clan and they're constantly comparing themselves.
[01:01:24] Your dislike of that fellow artist or that other podcaster, 99 percent sure that it comes from a place of envy.
[01:01:31] Jordan Harbinger: For sure.
[01:01:32] Robert Greene: You are not a rational being. Rationality is something you earn. It's a struggle. It takes effort. It takes awareness. You have to go through steps. You have to see your biases. When you think you're being rational, you're not being rational at all. You go around, everything is personal. "Oh, why did he say that? Why is my mom telling me this?" And I'm telling you, it's not personal. That's the liberating fact.
[01:01:55] People are wrapped up in their own emotions, their own traumas. So you need to be aware that people have their own inner reality. People are not nearly as happy and successful as you think they are. Acknowledging that you have a dark side, that you have a shadow, that you're not such a great person as you think can actually be a very liberating feeling. And there are ways to take that shadow on that darkness and kind of turn it into something else.
[01:02:24] Jordan Harbinger: If you want to learn more about how to read others and even yourself, be sure to check out episode 117 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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