Whether you’re just meeting or have lived next door for years

A woman holding a bouquet and a wine bottle in their neighbor’s doorway.
A woman holding a bouquet and a wine bottle in their neighbor’s doorway.
Photo: Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision/Getty

I was thrilled when new neighbors moved in across the hall a few months ago. In all the years I’d spent living in my building, I’d never really gotten to know any of the other residents, and I’d always regretted never making the effort. Here was a perfect opportunity to start fresh.

In an effort to be welcoming, I wrapped three fancy chocolate bars in yellow ribbon and enclosed a note introducing myself — and then promptly lost my nerve, worried that I would come off more overzealous than friendly. The chocolate bars sat on my kitchen table for one…


Kick/Start

Even if you don’t see yourself as a journaler, the habit comes with powerful benefits

An illustration of a messy desk with an empty lined journal.
An illustration of a messy desk with an empty lined journal.
Illustration: Kyle Griggs

Writing down your thoughts is a simple act with powerful effects.

Over the years, a wealth of scientific research has extolled the benefits of “expressive writing.” It has been shown to play a role in lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and immune function, speeding up healing, strengthening memory, easing symptoms of depression, and helping with test anxiety.

Those aren’t the reasons that Dee C. Marshall, CEO of the consulting firm Diverse and Engaged LLC, has kept a journal for over a decade. Her journal, she says, is a place to capture what she calls the “juice and gems” of…


Eight people who took the plunge share the biggest challenges and surprises of starting over

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When Cat Jones left her job at a large health care company to join a small nonprofit, the first moment of culture shock happened before her training even started — because, as the organization’s sole employee, she wouldn’t be having any.

Without any formal process in place for her onboarding (or anyone to implement it), Jones, 30, was left to teach herself everything she needed to know, from donor engagement to graphic design. “I wish I’d done research first, instead of assuming I could do everything from day one,” she says. …


Going out with other couples can strengthen your relationship. Here’s how to make sure it does.

Credit: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When I tied the knot in 2017, I received an abundance of well-meaning platitudes from friends about how to maintain a happy marriage. Never go to bed angry. Don’t take each other for granted. Say you love each other every day. No one, though, suggested the thing that’s made the biggest difference to my relationship: Go on double dates.

After a few hundred dates with my husband, we’ve both come to know what to expect from a night out together. We eat at the same few restaurants and talk about the same few subjects — work anecdotes, family updates. …


Tips for getting the urge to buy under control

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I knew things were spiraling out of control when I had to create a spreadsheet to keep track of all the packages arriving at my doorstep.

I’d fallen prey to a few online sales over the holidays. I’ve usually been able to keep my mindless consumerism in check, so I wasn’t worried by each new urge to hit “buy” — I just did it. And then, a few weeks later, I found myself tallying up hundreds of dollars in purchases and fighting off a mounting sense of shame. The kicker? …


Advice from 10 people on stepping into a brand-new leadership role

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Your first management position will probably come with some growing pains. Sure, it’s exciting to land a larger office, new title, and pay bump, but all those things come with new expectations. You’re held to a different standard now: In addition to doing your job, you’re also supposed to be a leader, coach, and mentor to your subordinates — and you probably shouldn’t be letting off steam with them in the break room or participating in office gossip sessions.

The transition can be especially tricky if your employees don’t respect you, if there’s any kind of personality clash, or if…


Navigating the fine line between blowing off steam and stressing out everyone around you

Photo: Martin Barraud/Getty Images

It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say that unloading your frustrations on trusted ears can feel great. As anyone who’s ever railed about their crappy day at happy hour can attest, venting about a problem can sometimes be a solution in itself, leaving you calmer and more clear-eyed about the situation at hand.

But sometimes a well-intended rant can create new problems. When you vent to someone, you’re using a third person — a spouse, friend, family member, or co-worker — to help alleviate the anxiety generated by someone else, explains therapist Kathleen Smith, author of a forthcoming book on anxiety…


Advice from 10 professionals on what they wish they’d known about going back to an office

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

When you’ve gotten used to working from home, office life can be a shock to the system. Gone are the days of shuffling to your desk in pajamas and taking work calls in underwear. Instead of knocking out loads of laundry and walking the dog in between emails, you’re now slogging through a stressful commute (and spending way too much cash on coffee and lunch).

Of course, there are upsides. What you lose in freedom — setting your schedule, running midday errands, keeping the thermostat set to your preferred temperature — you might be gaining in financial security. And while…


Whether your goal is to reconcile, maintain permanent distance, or something in the middle

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If you’re not estranged from a family member, the odds are decent that you know someone who is. Robust data is hard to come by, but according to one estimate, as many as 12 percent of mothers are estranged from at least one of their children, with the number even higher for fathers. A 2015 study published in The Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science called familial estrangements “widespread,” noting that it’s “perhaps nearly as common as divorce in some segments of society.”

While the numbers may still be fuzzy, these kinds of familial disruptions can be devastating for anyone…


Go from heartbroken to high-fiving in no time

Most people say, “Let’s still be friends” during a breakup because it sounds better than, “I can’t stand smelling your coffee-breath for one more minute and I’d appreciate it if you and your untrimmed nose hairs skedaddled out of my life.”

Maybe you grew apart. Maybe he was tired of hearing your True Detectivetheories. Maybe he was sick of the way you lectured everyone about the evils of the dairy industry every time someone suggested ordering pizza. Hell, maybe he didn’t want to share his bed with you anymore because your snores sound like a walrus giving birth to a…

Anna Goldfarb

Writes about relationships and pop psychology for The New York Times, Vice, and more. Author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through.” Lives in Philly.

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