by Borderstan.com May 31, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea,

I am trying to make business attire work for me. There are so many different opinions about what acceptable professional business attire is though. What makes sense for the modern young women? I know it can depend on your industry to an extent… But some basic guidelines would be nice — specifically for us women that do not like to wear pants everyday! I am tired of being told ‘a woman’s clothes shouldn’t be memorable! I want to wear dresses and skirts that I feel like myself in. Any advice?

Dress Me for Success 

Dear Dress Me for Success,

This definitely depends on your industry, and to a great extent, the city you live or work in. Business attire can definitely vary greatly across the board, especially considering the age group you work with, too. Since I wear a nose ring and pretty much start Casual Friday on Thursdays, I completely sympathize with the desire for comfort and individuality.

However, certain wardrobe staples must populate your closet for those moments that require a degree of professionalism, and particularly if you seek to impress a client or your boss. A neutral colored pencil skirt suit with tan hose for the summer can suffice, which I personally pair with a tan pointed heel for some femininity. Flats, generally, are acceptable too so long as they are not scuffed or wildly patterned (patent leather works well). A white blouse or perhaps something with vertical stripes on top — clean and classic is what you’re going for, the point being that your attire should not distract from your ideas or work.

Once you get a sense of who you’re working with, you can see how much you can play with this basic start. Perhaps in the right context, a more exotic blouse or some playful jewelry, or various pops of color (which seems to be the trend these days, but I’m no fashion expert). You will have an idea of what you can get away with and mix into your outfits after you have established yourself better among your colleagues and clients.

That being said, don’t ever show off too much leg or cleavage. When in doubt, don’t wear it.

Same goes for you too, boys: buy a suit that fits. Go to a tailor and get fitted for a suit. There is nothing worse than a man in a suit that does not fit him. Trust me.

Anyone out there have any other advice or suggestions? DC gets a lot of flak for dressing poorly–let’s prove them wrong?

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com May 17, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Dear Chelsea,

I recently met a guy visiting my hometown on vacation. The conditions upon which we met are somewhat complicated (he is the brother of my brother’s friend, the friend of my brother being someone I have only been acquainted with via some facebook interactions). Not sure if that info is relevant…Anyhow, met this guy, felt attraction right away, on my end at least. Saw him a few times during the week he was in town.

Conversation was easy, we laughed, chatted etc. and I felt myself wanting to know everything about him. Maybe he was just being a ‘nice guy’ as he certainly is, but now that he has returned home I am still thinking about him. How can I wisely (and should I) maintain contact with him? Should I just be grateful that the fates brought us together for some sweet moments and let it go? hmm?

Sincerely, still thinking about him.

Dear Still Thinking,

I completely sympathize with your story and I, too, have dedicated quite a bit of thought to this idea of chemistry. A rare but distinctive feeling that draws you when you least expect it — for me, it creates a craving to seek that moment again just to remember that these emotions and excitement exist! Particularly because dating itself and waiting for, or choosing, “the one” can become so tiring.

But all this is to say, I and many readers know exactly this kind of chemistry, and subsequently, the fear of coming on too strong. It is that desire to maintain contact mixed with concern for coming at your object of desire out of left field. Honestly, though, you’re more likely to send some kind of embarrassing drunk text or sociopathic email if you repress this instinct to keep contact with this person.

My advice is to go for it — ask your connection, even if bizarrely complicated or distant, for the guy’s contact information. You don’t really have all that much to lose other than rejection (which sounds bad, but makes moving on easier). If he felt the attraction on his end too, then your reaching out won’t seem so weird.

The unfortunate and more likely circumstance may be that the distance may mean that the timing just isn’t quite right for either of you right now. But who knows? You never know where your future may bring either of you and there’s nothing wrong with trying to establish some kind of connection — even if you forgo contacting him by phone directly and it’s as simple as a Facebook friend request. You never know where your paths may cross again and Newsfeed updates certainly facilitate those kind of meet-ups.

I hope, though, that, even if none of this works out, you can then resort to the ideas you express in your last question: appreciate it for what it was. Even if you take the risk and don’t succeed, you can at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried and knowing that you have the capacity for such feeling about a person.

You can still revel in the memory! In fact, I believe it’s important to do so even if things don’t work out, so that you can recognize those feelings again when the next instance of chemistry comes along…

Bold feelings require bold actions, and better to lead with your heart than with fear.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Dear Chelsea

I have been dating a girl for almost three months. Right off the bat she said she just wanted to date and wasn’t interested in a relationship. I understood where she was coming from, and it didn’t bother me since I wasn’t really looking for anything myself. Since then it’s starting to feel like a relationship, but she refuses to call it one. Why is she putting up such a barrier and what should I do about it?

Sincerely,  Non-boyfriend

Dear Non-boyfriend,

A number of reasons could exist as to why she does not want to call your “dating” a relationship. She could have had a serious relationship in the past that traumatized her, emotionally; she might believe that calling it a relationship would scare you away if you too have given the impression that you aren’t really looking for one; she might value her independence and feel that committing to you would give that up.

Have you tried asking her?

I could make suppositions all day long to explain her reasons for acting as such — you will not get the true answer until you ask her. The key is not to phrase it in the form of an accusation, i.e. “why are you putting up such a barrier,” or “why don’t you want a relationship.” Rather, ask her this: “I get the sense that there’s a reason you don’t want a relationship, do you want to talk about it?” and “Is there anything I can do to make this more comfortable for you?”

Maybe understanding her past and, likewise, sharing yours can bring you two together in a way that breaks down that barrier. Show her that you understand and sympathize with her limitations, and that you’re willing to accommodate to them.

Oftentimes it can be easy to think that your behavior has influenced another’s treatment towards you. Most of the time, though, you have absolutely nothing to do with it. Everyone carries their own baggage through life that can be as complex as a difficult childhood experience or as simple as a tough day at work. Understanding this and listening to that person when they need you, especially when it comes to your significant other, will both increase your patience for a person and bring you two together.

Maybe it’s starting to feel like a relationship — well, then let it be what it is and enjoy it. Who cares about the definition? If you end up wanting more and become interested in having a relationship, it sounds like you’ll need to be the one to ask for it. And who knows? Maybe she says she doesn’t want a relationship because she’s waiting for you to make the first move.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea, My current living situation is a bit expensive for my taste, and I’d like to arrange a group housing situation in DC with some friends. However, I’m not sure how to broach moving out to my current roommate, and I’m not even sure how to collect the right group of friends for the group house. Do you have any advice for how to arrange a group house here in DC, and how to navigate my current roommate situation?

Thank you! – Moving-On Molly

Dear Moving-On – Molly housing in DC is a total catch-22. While the greatest selection comes available during popular moving seasons at the beginning and end of the summer, the increased demand manifests in a noticeably higher price tag for rent. How nobody has invented a tech company to expand outside craigslist and revolutionize the real estate industry is beyond me.

First, the most important thing is to sit down and have a conversation with your roommate, which you should do as soon as possible. For all we know, she may have similar thoughts about moving out and living with someone else. But should she not, out of fairness to her you should give her significant time to either find a roommate to replace you or to find a new home of her own.

I would suggest an open conversation that does not begin with “I want to move out and live with someone else,” but rather with “What are your plans? What have you been thinking?” You can move on to tell her that while you are unsure of your timeline, you would like to find less expensive housing, possibly in a group house. It may make both of you feel awkward, but it is honest.

Second, there are many routes to finding housing. The most comprehensive “database” (if you can even call it that) for openings is craigslist. Other means for finding housing that I have tried, and sometimes succeeded with, are as follows:

  • an email to the listserv or human resources at your office
  • calling local management companies in the area to ask of upcoming rentals for their properties
  • post to Facebook (or look out for friends’ posts)

As for finding the right group house dynamic, that is entirely personal. While some can fortuitously find an available group of friends who live in close quarters amicably, others prefer a cohort of relative strangers that can more individualistically coexist.

Consider these factors though: what do you value most in a living situation? What can you live with, what can you be flexible on, and what are your non-negotiables?

Most of all, I would caution against jumping into anything too quickly; the key is to remain patient even when you feel most desperate. Your dream team and house will surface, and casually begin to put the word out there to your friends. If it does not work out, the next step would include considering other options (joining an existing group house, downsizing to just a two-bedroom with the perfect roommate, etc.).

Readers with other suggestions, I invite you to comment below and contribute! What are your suggestions for finding housing in DC?

Good luck! Always, Chelsea

 •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Dear Chelsea,  Should I get Spotify Premium?

Dear Spotify Customer – After reading reviews, it seems much of that depends on how much you care. Do you care about the 160kb versus 320kb improvement in sound? Do you listen to a lot of music? Do you need to download or use the app to play it from a smartphone or tablet? And lastly, do you have a limited data plan.

If you answered yes these questions, then the investment seems well worth it. I cannot as an advice columnist promote one product over another, however, Spotify has pretty good reviews and appears to be a program catered to this kind of consumer.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com April 5, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Stop living by your fears and start living by your passions.

It’s the time of year that asks the questions: what am I doing, what is my next step and where am I headed? As the admissions letters arrive, the mid-year reviews roll around and another year earns a tick mark on the calendar, we are reminded of our goals and often wonder where our professional lives may be leading us.

Especially among my young friends (who may be too embarrassed to email these questions to Borderstan), I’d like to address this condition commonly faced by such driven individuals, particularly in a constantly striving city. So here it goes; my unsolicited advice:

“Happiness is not a destination but rather a manner of traveling.”

We spend so much time worrying about the end game and developing some kind of five-year plan for success that we blind ourselves from our current happiness and the opportunities that may arrive in the present.

"Chelsea"

Start your traveling. (Chelsea Rinnig)

From my experience, what I want to pursue changes constantly–instead of concerning yourself with what you think you might want in the future; think about what you want right now.

My advice is to stop living by your fears and start living by your passions. Now is the time. Not next year, not after the next promotion, not in ten years. If you do not commit yourself to that which you love wholly and totally, you will never succeed at it.

This doesn’t mean living irresponsibly — we’re not all cut out for the MLB or the White House. But if you’re questioning where you are at right now, consider taking some time to distance yourself from the throes of the workplace through a retreat or vacation of sorts and really evaluate what sort of daily work gives you happiness.

You may fail. If this is the worst that can happen, then you are bound to grow and become better as a result of failure. So follow what pleases you and start living by that standard — not some other standard of success by which we perceive the world judges us.

The path will unfold before you so long as you keep yourself grounded in what exists in the present and what you love right now.

Always, Chelsea.

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only. 

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by Borderstan.com March 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea,

I have a close friend who has had a drinking problem for a decade. She has lately moved into full alcoholic mode. I am not sure her family understands the severity — she is hiding certain aspects of her drinking, not surprisingly. It has gotten very serious.

Do I talk to her directly? Do I go directly to her significant other? Do we do an intervention? Have you ever dealt with this situation?

Thanks, Moving On

Dear Moving On,

This situation understandably presents multiple issues — the most difficult is that, in order for your friend to change, she must seek help of her own volition. But, this doesn’t mean that as your friend you must passively watch her continue down a negative path.

Let me remind you readers that I am by no means a professional on this subject and there are people who do specialize in alcoholism. I, personally, have encountered this situation indirectly to a variety of degrees — alcoholism presents itself in a range of forms and, as DC culture includes so much drinking, is probably more common than many of us are willing to admit.

It can be as simple as getting carried away more frequently than one should, straddling the line that separates social and compulsive drinking, or as complex as missing opportunities to grow socially or professionally because of an alcohol problem — even leading to violence.

“Full alcoholic mode” and hiding her drinking seems to suggest to me that she cannot control her drinking but also indicates that a part of her understands that she has a problem.

As I haven’t dealt with this issue as much post-college (where both alcohol and resources for helping your friends are equally plentiful), I read up on both Alcoholics Anonymous as well as the National Institutes of Health and their opinions on intervention. While AA suggests that an alcoholic is in denial and will often refuse help until they hit rock bottom, your friend’s case to me sounds similar to what the NIH cites as recognition of her problem with alcohol coupled with the fear of social stigma and unwillingness to abstain.

Your job as her friend — and yes, perhaps with the help of her significant other and other friends and family — is to make an alcohol-free environment and lifestyle one that is more rewarding, satisfying, and positive. Promote activities together that steer totally clear of drinking. And perhaps when the time is right, suggest in the gentlest way possible that she seek outside help.

I would suggest looking up different resources for friends and family of alcoholics, for example the CRAFT program, which stands for Community Reinforcement and Family Training. The program seeks to not only help your friend, but to help you, too, by encouraging positive communication strategies and suggestions of treatment. As the model states, it follows studies that have illustrated that motivation works better than confrontation. And it sounds like you’re looking to move on as well after ten years of watching your friend’s devolution.

Much of what you decide to do depends on how far gone you think your friend is.  My advice is to keep your lines of communication open, and if you do decide to conduct an intervention, steer clear of accusatory and demeaning statements.  Stay positive and supportive and hope that your friend will decide to seek change on her own with your efforts and love backing her up.

Always, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

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by Borderstan.com February 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan’s writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Hi Chelsea:

I recently started dating a (much) younger guy. I am comfortable with the age difference and it’s a lot of fun. But he expects me to initiate every time we go out or get together. I find it a little strange, and it makes me wonder how much he’s really into me. But I also wonder if this is more normal among couples in their 20s these days? I hate the “rules” and all that other crap, but I am also used to guys pursuing if they are interested. I asked him about it and he eye-rolled me, I couldn’t really get a useful answer.

Thanks! Cougarstan

Dear Cougarstan,

It’s true — this sort of behavior definitely pervades the twenty-something dating scene these days. Men and women view themselves more equitably now and, therefore, believe that both have not only the responsibility, but also the ability to pursue a potential love-interest.

First you have to ask yourself this question, though: is he actually expecting anything of you? Regardless of shifting gender norms, roles or duties, a man who desires you wants to spend time with you. And so you’re absolutely right in that respect — a guy will come after you if he is serious and if he wants you.

My advice? Put the phone down. Resist the urge to call, text or what have you and see if he initiates. It’s not obeying any kind of rule or playing games, it’s allowing yourself the opportunity for him to give you what you want. If what you want is for him to initiate something, then you have to back off and let him come to you.

That being said, do you really want to develop a relationship based off of eye rolling and unfinished, vague conversations? If you can’t have a constructive discussion with this dude, then he is clearly still a boy and not a man you want to depend on emotionally.  While every little thing you’re feeling every time he doesn’t text you back does not merit a serious, heart-to-heart discussion of what it means, you DO want him to respect you and your concerns and to listen to you, too.

And last, if none of this really matters to you at all and you want to keep it casual, then all the better!  Maybe you just want someone who you can call to “hang out” with every so often.  Relax and just call him when you want. This is fantastic as long as you understand that you can’t expect anything more of him if he’s not already willing to give you that on his own.  You say it’s fun the way it is now — so enjoy that! But you must ask yourself what you want and go from there.  If you want more, you can’t demand that of him.

Don’t expect from others that with which you cannot provide yourself, first.

Always, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

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