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Category Archive: unsolicited advice

Nov 12 2013

Miri’s Survival Guide to Moving Across the Country Alone in a State of Terror and Panic

I have known I was going to write this post ever since I first stood in my stifling Chicago apartment looking at a bunch of empty boxes and thinking, “Wow, moving is going to be difficult! I’d better take good care of myself and give myself time to be a little sad and process things.” …

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Oct 06 2013

Stop Telling Harassment and Assault Survivors To Go To the Police

Note: Yes, this is prompted by something that happened to me this weekend. But I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it applies to many events and situations, so I’d rather the comments section didn’t dissolve into a discussion of me and my specific (frankly rather mild) situation. I’m doing fine. However, the …

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Aug 21 2013

Flirting and Sexual Harassment: Not Actually the Same Thing

I could do a whole series on harmful and irrational responses to sexual harassment claims. First we had the “but it’s a learning opportunity!” defense, and now there’s this sort of thing: ”But people are going to flirt. We’re all sexual beings*. We’re all adults here and should be able to deal with some harmless flirting. …

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Aug 10 2013

How to Be a Responsible Devil’s Advocate

Devil’s advocate is a tricky rhetorical strategy. On the one hand, it can be extremely useful for exposing the flaws in an argument, helping others clarify and strengthen their positions, and practice your own argumentation. Using devil’s advocate when the topic under discussion is, say, whether or not we should pursue immortality or how best …

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Jul 31 2013

“How Do I Get My Partner To Try Polyamory?”

The title of this post is one of the most common questions I’ve seen people ask, online and off, about polyamory. “I really want to try an open relationship but my partner doesn’t. How do I get them to change their mind?” “I’ve started seeing a wonderful new person, but there’s a catch: they’re not …

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Jun 25 2013

Touching People Without Their Consent: Still A Problem Even If It’s Not Sexual

Since I’m always blathering on about consent, including consent in non-sexual situations, I’ve noticed a common belief that a lot of people have. It can basically be summed up like so: If you’re interacting with someone sexually, you need their consent. (Duh.) If you’re interacting with someone of the gender to which you’re generally attracted …

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Jun 16 2013

[guest post] Undigging the Hole: FOFISSAMO

While I continue to recover from what I did to myself to celebrate finishing college, CaitieCat is back with some advice about apologizing. So you’re in a mess. You said something in public that might have used a bit more thought, a bit more empathy, and now you’re in a hole. And people being what …

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Jun 15 2013

“I’m the REAL Skeptic”: On Begging the Question

Things you need to stop doing in debates: framing your position as “rational/skeptical” and the opposing position as not “rational/skeptical.” What I’m talking about specifically are rhetorical moves like these: “Some hysterical people think sexual harassment is a huge problem, but I’m going to be rational about this.” or “I’m an actual skeptic, so I’m …

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Jun 06 2013

Guy Leaves Internet For A Year, Finds That That Doesn’t Solve All His Problems

A writer named Paul Miller has done what most people could probably only dream of–he completely unplugged from the Internet for an entire year, hoping to find out “what else there was to life.” A year later, he returned, only to tell us this: I was wrong. One year ago I left the internet. I …

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May 26 2013

Small Things You Can Do To Improve Mental Health In Your Community

[Content note: suicide, mental illness] A few weeks ago Northwestern lost yet another student to suicide. There’s been pressure building all year for improved mental health services on campus, and I think that pressure will soon culminate in real, helpful changes on campus. At the same time, some have been saying that what we need …

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