Tagged With social gps

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Tis the season for acts of charity, and if you find yourself in a drive-thru line, you may get roped into a “pay it forward” chain. The person in front of you paid for your order, you’re told. And if you feel awkward or guilty — after all, you placed your order, so you know you have the money — you can just pay for the car behind you and now it’s their problem.

Fortunately, there’s a way to break the chain without being a jerk.

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I have a several very good friends who speak very loudly in public. I am also, to some people, a very good friend who speaks very loudly in public. Both these facts occasionally lend themselves to some awkward situations. I have been on several modes of public transportation with a friend who is screaming about her latest sexual conquest, and I have had to ask her to pipe down for the sake of the mothers shielding their children from us.

I have also been that friend, and I appreciate how embarrassing it is to be shushed in the midst of your passionate defence of The Last Jedi.

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Most communities, online or offline, come with some hard boundaries: No hate speech, no threats, no harassment. But a good community recognises some more borderline behaviour — stuff that isn’t as obviously terrible but can still slowly eat away at discussion, scaring away (or annoying away) good members until only jerks are left. And it can ruin any social group, from a book club or group text to, say, Reddit.

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Not all of us have an easy time getting to know the people who live above, below, or next to us. When you've only exchanged brief hellos, it can be tough to ask your neighbours for help or advice. Just like Facebook facilitates connecting with far flung friends and family, social network Nextdoor, which launched in Australia a few weeks ago, makes it easy to be connected to your community.

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Making plans with your friends, loved ones, and romantic partners should be a straightforward process, maybe even an enjoyable one. And yet, so many people are absolutely god awful it, muddying the waters with dithering, failure to grasp or account for basic details, poor communication skills, and sheer laziness.

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In work and in life, I love a script. If a repetitive type of interaction is part of your life — making a certain kind of small talk, having to send the same type of email with some frequency, making daily phone calls to clients or vendors or sources — why bother wasting mental energy coming up with fresh material every time, when you have a go-to line that you know does the trick to, say, get a long-winded person off the phone? Or effectively explain to people at a party exactly what it is that you do?

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In an ideal world, maybe you'd love to spend a large portion of your free time attending the weddings, birthdays and other life cycle events of your nearest and dearest. But life, work, and geographical boundaries often get in the way, making it a tricky a proposition to attend every single milestone event for every single close friend and family member.

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They don't really want to debate you, those randoms who crawl into the comments of your Facebook posts and your tweets and your blog posts (hi!) asking to "debate" you over crap we should all agree on by now. You can't debate them in any meaningful way, because they are mouths without ears. You can block them or take your account private, but maybe that leaves you feeling frustrated and powerless. How do you leave this situation feeling any type of satisfaction?

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For many people, your flatmate is the first person you’ve had to share such close quarters with who isn’t related to you. They might be less annoying than a sibling, but you won’t have parents there to mediate disputes. Here’s how to get off on the right foot with the person who will sleeping under the same roof as you.

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It isn’t hard. It feels hard! When you walk through a door right before someone else, you need to hold that door open for them, or else you’re rude. But if they’re a little too far behind you, they have to hurry to catch up, and then (as Redditor Voldetitty recently pointed out) you’re actually being annoying. At some nebulous distance there is a phase change from “don’t hold the door open” to “hold the door open”, and misjudging it will ruin your life for as much as five seconds.

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Getting diagnosed with a serious illness that requires a lot of medical intervention is an extremely stressful experience. There’s a lot to navigate, and as the friend, family member or even casual acquaintance of someone going through a difficult health scenario, you want to help ease the burden, not make it worse. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t say to someone who is ill.

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It’s good to recognise what’s good in your life (even, and especially, when it seems as though the rest is terrible). But if you express that in the form of gratitude journals, prayers or meditation, you’re sort of making that feeling a solitary one. What about the people in your life you’re truly thankful for? Couldn’t you tell them how you feel?

Well, no, a lot of us might say. That sounds super awkward.

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Taking someone’s photo without their consent and posting it on the internet is a crappy thing to do. It’s invasive, inappropriate, and can even put the other person in danger. In a world that made any sense, this wouldn’t require further explanation. This would be a commonly understood part of the social contract.

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Whether it's a hot new movie, a huge sports event, or a TV show that it feels like everyone is watching, it's no fun to be caught out of the loop during water cooler chats or party conversations. If you want to be a part of it all, let go of your pride and ask some dumb questions about it.

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Although concerts can be transcendental experiences that inspire collectivism unlike anything else on this earth, anyone who's been to a show has at least one story about another audience member tainting the experience with some form of disruptive behaviour.