Happy New Year – 2021 – Part 1

2020…The Year That Was… Or Wasn’t!

 

I’ve been writing Phicklephilly for over 5 years now, and it’s been an incredible journey of dating, love, relationships, and discoveries.

I’d like to first express my incredible gratitude to everyone who’s chosen to read, like, comment, and most of all, follow my blog. I appreciate every one of you and will always try to respond to any of your comments on any of my stories.

This year’s been one of many challenges. I’m not here to talk about the number of cases or deaths from this virus. We all hear enough about that every day. We’ve all lost loved ones during this dark time. I hope we’ve all learned some things through this.

I’m just going to mention a few people here. I lost my childhood friend Michael back in March and that was a shock. To lose one from your generation at such a young age is jarring.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/michael-mitchell-obituary?pid=195833715

We also lost our former bass player Mark, from the band, Union Jacks this year. Another devastating loss.

https://ingersollgreenwoodfh.com/tribute/details/606/Mark-Piro/obituary.html?fbclid=IwAR1-G6x6IxivL2Bw7M3JVvoE7yn_Vneodj-It7uOC-Fu0FFfM_34OD2-OmU

Rest in power, gentlemen. You will be missed.

I’ve realized something very important during this pandemic. You really find out who your real friends are. I’ve reconnected with some wonderful people from my past and it’s been glorious. My current lineup of friends is going strong and I love every damn one of you! Also, I have to mention my three wonderful sisters. I love you all and I’m proud to be a part of this family!

But, I’ve also had to release some toxic people from my life. I realized through this I have nothing in common with any of them and simply acquired them through my jobs. I had to let them go. Some I wanted to cut off 2 years ago but didn’t have the heart. I knew they’d only stalk me at work. But in 2020 they made the decision simple. They just don’t fit into my life anymore. I’m not going to mention any names. I have no malice and hope they all find their way in life.

Anyway, let’s move on to brighter subjects.

Here’s where my life’s been in 2020.

I remember working 55 to 60 hours a week at my job earlier in the year. One day I came home feeling tired. I looked in the mirror and said, “I wish this would all just stop.”

And it did.

My daughter and I were both laid off from our jobs in March. We waited a week, and then both filed for unemployment.

The first week or so it was just strange. Then we sort of settled into the fact that we couldn’t go to our jobs anymore.

What would we do with this sudden, paid free time?

We had some ideas. I decided to make phicklephilly.wordpress.com into my own domain. I bought Phicklephilly.com four years ago and own it. So I called the nice folks over at GoDaddy and had that integrated into my site. Now it’s more searchable on Google and has brought so much more traffic to the site. If you google phicklephilly now, it’s the first thing that comes up.

With that came WordPress ads. They run ads on your site, and that generates revenue. You have to complete a bunch of forms for that and give them all of your tax info. Because it’s real income.

But here’s the thing… the revenue for the ads run is minimal. They’ll serve thousands of ads on your site. But the return is tiny. Phicklephilly’s been around for over five years and I have tons of content. (Over 2,000 posts)  I figured more content, more page views. It worked, but I’d probably need millions of page views to make any money from these free ads thrown to me by WordPress.

I’m not complaining, but I felt I needed to do more. So I signed up for Google Analytics. That opens up the world of Adsense. Once that processed it generated ads on my site which will equal more revenue. The site’s really coming into its own.  So, we’re growing.

I have all of this free time. I’ve never had this much paid time off in my whole life. What to do?

Write and publish some books!

They’re all right here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

(If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can borrow and read the digital versions of my books for free!) Everybody else has to pay.

Thanks to the amazing team at Amazon Kindle. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of technology. I can write the words, but you guys help me turn them into books.

Thanks to everyone at Amazon. I became a member over 20 years ago when you were just a giant bookstore. After crawling on my hands and knees to agents and publishing houses for years, Amazon finally gave me the biggest platform on Earth to bring my literary work to the world!

A special thanks to everyone at WordPress. Without you, I couldn’t publish Phicklephilly every day for the last five years! Now we’re a dot com and I’ve monetized the site with ads! You gave me a home to bring my work to everyone! Thank you!

Thanks to all the folks over at GoDaddy. You made the transition from just another blogger to a dotcom look easy. Thanks for always being there when I needed you. You’re the best!

While writing my first work of fiction, Angel with a Broken Wing, there was something nagging at me. The itch I had to create was being satiated by writing the book, but I felt there was something more I could do for Phicklephilly. The little blog that started me on this journey shortly after the death of my father in 2016.

I started to think… I’m putting all of these pieces together, is there something else I could do?

While creating Angel with a Broken Wing I would listen to music on Youtube. I’ve been listening to everything! It’s been great, but sometimes between songs, they run these commercials. I don’t really mind it if it doesn’t go on too long. I grew up in a world where radio and TV were supported by commercials.

I worked in advertising for 10 years when I returned to Philadelphia from New York back in 2007. So I understand the importance of ad revenue to support these sites.

I remember as I was typing one day, this ad came on for a company called, Dr. Squatch. I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Normally, when people are enjoying a show or listening to music, all they want to do is skip the ads. But Dr. Squatch’s ads were so good, I was captivated by their brand. It was a brilliant, fun campaign to promote their male hygiene products. You know an ad is good when you WANT to watch it because it’s so engaging.

Here’s an example of a tremendous, creative ad. Its incredible imagery and music make it unforgettable. However… the ad was so fun and engaging most people didn’t realize that the ad was for the new Nissan Maxima.

It got me thinking… all I did for 10 years in Philly was sell advertising. Digital advertising for Philly.com. Then for a happy hour website, and later, Philly Weekly. I started with nothing at all three of those companies and made it work. Most people don’t like to sell, or can’t sell. Either you have it or you don’t. No one likes rejection, and that’s 95% of sales. You need mad game to sell. It’s a ruthless, thankless business. But perfect for me. An overachiever, and a track record of closing impossible deals. In banking, as a broker, I was a million-dollar producer every year. At Philly.com I was billing $40k a month. It all comes down to who will relentlessly make calls on clients, meet with them, close them, cross-sell them, and get referrals. Then repeat that over and over again. That’s sales. Just run down the game and kill it every day. Like a lion on the savanna, you hunt every day to feed your cubs. Most days you go hungry. But you keep at it. Most don’t have the will to keep at it. But if you do, like anything else, eventually you’ll make a kill.

So, here I am creating content for my dating and relationship blog here in Philly during the quarantine. How can I write a blog like this in quarantine? I feel like I’ve been grounded by my parents and I can’t go out and do what I do socially.

But, while I’m waiting for WordPress and google analytics and AdSense to all come together for me, I should maybe try to do what I’m good at.

Sell digital advertising while I’m waiting for them to get their act together. It’s what I’m good at. Selling stuff. Any job I’ve ever worked where I don’t get to create or sell stuff I usually fail. Because we have plenty of people that are built to take orders and work hard to build somebody else’s dream. Business leaders love cheap labor.

Don’t get me wrong… Phicklephilly and writing books isn’t my dream. The only dream I ever had died 40 years ago in Los Angeles as a failed rockstar. Now the only dreams I have come to me during slumber and that’s just my brain dumping thoughts, feelings, and images.

Phicklephilly’s been a glorious hobby. Yea, it’s a hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, you should think about maybe getting one. It’s a lovely release from all of the things you HAVE to do every day to survive. It’s a sweet little pleasure that you get to create.

It’s kind of cool to watch something that started as a passion or a hobby become something bigger. It’s like a garden. You tend the seeds and the plants and vegetables, with water, care, and sunlight. It starts to grow. Because you care about it. You like it. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s not a job to pay the bills. It’s your thing. It belongs to you. 

I don’t know why I never thought about this back in March, but I guess I was busy writing my book. But it started to work on me about six months ago. Back in May, I decided that part of my day would be dedicated to going through all of my leads and contacts. I have hundreds from New Jersey, New York, and obviously Philly.

I would spend only one hour a day for 60 days going through all of my contacts, corporate contacts, business cards, Linkedin, old sales files from the last 20 years, and see what that would yield. I called on every advertising agency in my old book of business. I knew if I dug into all of my New York contacts, I could mine some gold. Sometimes the one-hour goal would stretch beyond that, but I wanted to do it every day consistently. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, in case it never came to fruition.

Which brings me to this.

The sight obviously looks different. Especially the sidebar. I wanted to fit them all in where I could.

At least for now.

What’s weird is… I remember being contacted years ago by acquaintances that had attached themselves to me like sea lampreys in the industry. They had their websites about Philly, or food, or music. They always wanted me to sell ads for them on their sites. I have no idea what their business plan was for their sites, but I can guess. Write a blog with some relevant content about something they were passionate about. But somewhere they thought they’d like to run ads on their site and make money. Sadly, they didn’t possess the ability to execute that part. So they approach some schlub to do it for them. They have no revenue to pay the individual. Sadly, all of those sites have failed, and hopefully, those folks found jobs somewhere. I get it. Great idea. Poorly executed.

But don’t be nice to me thinking I’m going to do your job for you. That’s just fiction, man.

Most writers can write, But there aren’t really any writers out there that can sell.

So, I’ve been digging in hard every day for the last few months to maybe monetize Phicklephilly. There’s no way I’d do this for free for someone else’s little dream, but for my little hobby…sure.

I haven’t sold advertising since 2018. But I still have all of my contacts from my corporate life. I haven’t had a platform worth selling anything on. But the cool thing is, Phicklephilly just sort of grew like a weed over the last 5 years. It grew because I gave it a lot of love. (Along with all of you reading this!)

So here we are.

Funny what you can accomplish when you don’t have a job to go to.

I know for the moment the site’s looking a bit cluttered, but I wanted to show everybody that decided to run on my site. I’ll clean it up, and WordPress and Google will help me out.

I’m blown away by the support that all of these brands have brought to Phicklephilly. 

I want to take a moment and thank everybody!

ALYAKA, AQUATALIA, BERETTA, BERRYLOOK, HARD TAIL, TRETORN, BUXTON, EVERLAST (You guy have been great! I appreciate all of the rapid responses!) FREDRICKS OF HOLLYWOOD (I have a story for you guys from my youth when I first saw your ads in a Hollywood gossip mag!) GRAND SLAM – NEW YORK, JACH’S – NEW YORK, KATY PERRY (Katy… your agency is a delight to work with!) LANCER, LIFELINE, LUVYLE   (I love you guys! Thanks for Berrylook!), MADDA FELLA, MADISON STYLE, PURLISSE, ROYAL DOULTON (Thank you guys in London for being first!), SLEEPSTAR, SMOKO (Beautiful ads, guys!), WATERFORD, WEDGWOOD, YOUNGBLOOD, and MINERAL COSMETICS.

You guys rock! You’ve all been so kind and patient with me. I can write, but I suck at all of the technical stuff. I just love that I was able to pitch you guys and you got it. I can’t run all of your stuff all of the time, but I’ll do my best to promote your brands on the site to the best of my ability.

Thank you!

My daughter’s had the opportunity and time to create new music! A lifelong singer and musician, (like her dad!) she’s started composing her own original songs! (And videos!)

I’m so proud of her! She wrote all the lyrics and music for these songs!

Check it out:

And on Sound Cloud:

I’m super proud and happy about what my daughter’s creating. We both agree that if you had something you always wanted to do, then this was your opportunity to do it!

She’s currently in the process of producing an EP of all NEW music due out in early 2021.

Even I got into the act and dug out some of my old recordings and got them online!

Check out this old rock ‘n roll geezer!

 

And… while visiting my sisters at Christmas, my little sister converted an old VHS recording of me attempting to do stand up comedy at Stockton State College back in 2003!

In reference to new beginnings, a dear friend of 20 years recently got married! After a few delays due to the pandemic, they finally got it done. My daughter and I had a great time, and it was nice to reconnect with some dear old friends. My daughter even did a reading at the reception.

Despite all of the bad things that are happening, we’ve managed to make a lot of good things happen! so, to us, 2020 has been a fantastic year!

More tomorrow!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

 

Zoolon Forever!

5 Coronavirus Questions To Ask Before Meeting Up With A Date In Person

Kaitlyn McQuin, a 28-year-old writer and actor living in New Orleans, said she’s been keeping her dating circle “very small” during the pandemic. She had one phone date in March and then went on her first in-person date (they hung out at a park where they could keep their distance) in early June. To feel safe meeting up with someone IRL these days, certain conversations need to happen that weren’t necessary in a pre-COVID-19 world.

“I’d like to know how many people they’ve been around, if they’ve been wearing masks when they’re out in public — pro tip: do this! — and if they’ve had symptoms or have been ill,” McQuin told Phicklephilly. “This is a freaking pandemic, so I don’t see anything wrong with declining a date if the person you’re talking to doesn’t respect your personal and health-related boundaries.”

“Also, wearing a mask and taking precautions means you care, and people who care are attractive,” she said. “If someone said they weren’t taking precautionary measures to protect the lives of other people, or that it wasn’t necessary, I’d bid them farewell real fast.”

So what sorts of health-related questions should you ask a suitor before you meet up in person? Experts offer their advice on what to inquire about and how.

Questions To Ask

When it comes to socializing IRL, there’s no such thing as a zero-risk interaction, said Jenna Macciochi, a UK-based immunologist and lecturer at the University of Sussex.

“Plus, if you don’t know the person, there is a risk that they won’t be truthful,” she said.

Still, you should do your due diligence by having these talks — preferably on video chat or a phone call — before you consider meeting up.

“It is a crucial conversation to have and if you aren’t comfortable doing so, you should not discuss plans to meet in person,” said Erin Sorrell, an assistant research professor in Georgetown University’s department of microbiology and immunology. “Your health and well-being need to be prioritized over your dating life right now.”

These conversations can, understandably, be intimidating or uncomfortable — especially when they’re with someone you’re just getting to know. Approach these discussions from a place of mindful curiosity so you can have an honest — but not hostile — dialogue with your date.

“Tactful conversations are about honesty,” said Janet Brito, a psychologist and sex therapist in Honolulu. “Being clear about your needs is not being mean. How you say it is key though. So be aware of your tone and body language to create a feeling of safety for your prospective date to be willing to be free with their thoughts and feelings on what seems to bring up divided feelings for some.”

How this person responds during the conversation may also shed light about your potential compatibility.

“I think it’s best to date someone who has similar views to you about how to manage this public health crisis,” Brito said.

Ask these questions to get a clearer picture of the risks involved:

1. What does a typical day look like for you during the pandemic?

“This will give you a good idea of what the person’s risk factors are — are they working at home? Or are they going to a space that puts them at risk for getting infected?” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious diseases physician and vice chair of the IDSA Global Health Committee. “You can also find out if you both have similar or different interests, which is important.”

If your date has a front-line job — like a health care worker, grocery clerk, law enforcement officer or delivery driver — this likely increases their exposure, Macciochi said.

2. Have you had any COVID-19 symptoms in the last few weeks?

Symptoms may include — but are not limited to — cough, fever, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell.

“If the prospective date has displayed symptoms, I’d recommend not going on the date in person until they have been tested and confirmed they do not have COVID-19,” said Dr. Vandana A. Patel, a pulmonologist and clinical advisor for the online pharmacy startup Cabinet. “Even then, it’s important to take normal precautions — like wearing a mask — when going on a date.”

3. Have you been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19?

That could be a friend, family member or co-worker who either tested positive for the virus or has a presumed case. You can also ask if they’ve been in any situations recently that may have elevated their risk, like traveling or protesting, Patel said.

“Even if the prospective date is not displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they may still have it and be asymptomatic,” she added.

4. Who do you live with?

You’d want to know if your date lives with parents or grandparents, who could be in a high-risk group because of their age or underlying health conditions. Or perhaps they have a roommate who’s an essential worker, which could also increase your date’s exposure to the virus.

“This will give you an idea if they have an elderly family member with a potential risk factor for developing COVID and give you an indication about if you need to be more careful around them,” Kuppalli said. “It will also let you know if you need to be more careful being around them because they are around a lot of people.”

5. Have you been dating, hooking up or spending time with people other than those in your household lately?

And if so, this is good opportunity to ask what precautions they’ve been taking when socializing with others. See if these dates or get-togethers took place indoors or outdoors, if they were large or small, if they happened once or twice or a bunch of times and if people were wearing masks and/or staying 6 feet apart.

“The more people they are around — in particular, intimate with — will increase their risk for getting COVID-19,” Kuppalli said. “And if you are around them this will increase your risk.”

Safer Date Ideas

If you talk through these questions and decide you want to meet up, make plans that minimize the risks for both of you. All of our experts agreed that outdoor dates are the way to go. Think walking, hiking, riding bikes or enjoying a coffee or picnic outside (you can each pack your own food and utensils) — all while avoiding close contact. Bring a facial covering with you for when you cannot maintain a safe social distance.

“You are at the highest risk of exposure and infection when you are in a closed environment indoors, in close contact and without a face mask,” Sorrell said.

Skip indoor restaurants and bars or any gathering or party where you’ll be around other people, Kuppalli recommended.

“If you do go on a date, avoid physical contact as much as possible and take precautions such as wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands often before, during and after the date and keep at least 6 feet apart from the date,” Patel said.

If someone said they weren’t taking precautionary measures to protect the lives of other people, or that it wasn’t necessary, I’d bid them farewell real fast. Kaitlyn McQuin,, writer and actor

After the date, if either of you starts exhibiting symptoms, it’s important that you let the other know ASAP. That way you can quarantine yourself, inform other people you’ve been interacting with and get tested.

“This is why it is important to have honest conversations with anyone you consider spending time with,” Sorrell said. “There also has to be trust that the person you are dating will tell you if they feel ill. If you start showing symptoms you need to call your doctor, get tested and tell your social circle so that they can get tested and/or home isolate. You would need to do this for anyone you’ve interacted with and then they would need to for their circles as well.”

Risky Business: Love And Sex In A Germaphobic World is a HuffPost series exploring the way that coronavirus is changing the way we date, have sex and enjoy intimacy.

A Phicklephilly Guide To Coronavirus

  • Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 7 essential pieces of relationship advice for couples in quarantine
  • What you need to know about face masks right now
  • How to tell if you need to start doing online therapy
  • Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
  • Parenting during the coronavirus crisis?
  • What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
  • Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a phicklephilly member today.

Experts are still learning about the novel coronavirus. The information in this story is what was known or available as of press time, but it’s possible guidance around COVID-19 could change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Dating Is Better During Quarantine, and It Doesn’t Have to Change

Before COVID-19, Vaneet’s dating life was “pretty much non-existent.”

“Asking people out IRL only led to rejection,” the 28-year-old says. “Apps were just a constant stream of being ghosted. It was exhausting, and I practically gave up dating.”

While most of us have been going through unbearable dry spells and deeply missing human touch, Vaneet and other singles have been reveling in the changes coronavirus has brought to the dating scene, including the curtailing of hookup culture for the sake of public health. (Even now, as parts of the country begin to reopen in various phases, we should still proceed with caution when meeting up with strangers.)

“Hookup culture has never been my thing, and while I don’t like one-night-stands, I’ve found it difficult to find anything beyond that,” Vaneet says.

Not anymore. At the beginning of quarantine, Vaneet met someone he liked on Grindr, the popular hookup app for queer men. Men typically use the app to meet up for sex, but now, a lot of guys are using it to chat with each other. Since Vaneet and his partner couldn’t meet up when they started messaging, they’ve had the pleasure of getting to know each other without the pressure of sex on the table—something that almost certainly wouldn’t have happened before COVID-19. Vaneet texts them every day, and they have date nights at least once a week on Zoom. They’ll make a plan to meet up whenever it feels safe; maybe then they’ll have sex, or maybe they’ll keep on getting to know each other.

Since the pandemic began, some people are happy they haven’t had to travel 40 minutes (or more) by train to a bad or mediocre date, and that they’ve saved a bunch of cash instead of spending it on dinner, drinks, and a movie. But the forging of deeper connections with the downfall of hookup culture is one of the biggest reasons people say they’ve appreciated the COVID-19 dating experience.

Before the pandemic, Eden, 28, says she “didn’t like the speed at which dating progressed.” Usually, within minutes of messaging a guy on Hinge, he would ask to meet up.

“I just don’t like that,” she says. “Let me get to know you first.”

Now, she’s been getting to know men better. Their conversations are deeper. She talks about her childhood, her past romantic experiences, and what she’s looking for in a relationship.

These are important topics for potential partners to discuss, and quarantine naturally brings it out of us, according to Shadeen Francis, LMFT.

“Superficial conversations are likely not going to be enough for a ‘quarantine bae,’ as it is hard to build or maintain a long-distance connection without vulnerable communication,” she says. In other words, if you’re not having meaningful conversations with someone, you’re going to get bored or lose interest. And of course, building a relationship from personal and meaningful conversations leads to a personal and meaningful relationship.

Oscar Wong

For Gregory, 29, the universal challenge of the past few months has made it refreshingly easy to be vulnerable with people. For the first time in a long time, it’s socially acceptable to reply to “How are you doing?” with “Well, to be honest, not great.”

“Now that we have all gone through the collective trauma of COVID-19, and the more recent Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve been given the opportunity to really examine our biases, and that has made us more vulnerable and more likely to be done with putting up facades,” Gregory says.

Of course, dates can also be fun, he adds: “You can bond over the shared trauma of COVID-19, or scream about how insane the MollyIssa feud is on Insecure, or somewhere in between.”

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It’s unclear whether this slowed down process of getting to know another on a more personal and sincere level will continue when the world officially opens up. While we’re incredibly adaptive for our survival, we’re also creatures of habit, Francis says—which is why she predicts many of us will return to our old patterns of behavior.

“As effective as any coping or survival strategy might have been, if folks do not consider it a long-term lifestyle change they are wanting to invest their energy into, then they will return to their regularly scheduled programming,” she says.

Still, that doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. Vaneet is cautiously optimistic about transitioning into dating post-coronavirus, hoping people will be more willing to give him a chance and get to know him on a deeper level.

“I hope the pandemic has stressed the importance of human interaction,” he says. “Maybe people will be more willing to give others a chance and get to know someone more first. And maybe, just maybe, more people will be willing to shoot their shot and see what happens.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Breaking Up With Your Partner While Social Distancing Might Be Your Only Option

Adversity has a way of making or breaking relationships, highlighting problems, and pushing couples to their limits. Now, imagine adding the pressure of being unable to walk away from someone while your relationship is under duress, or taking the space you need to think through your conflict. If you’re considering breaking up with your partner while social distancing, isolation may have lead to the realization that you and your SO are not in it for the long-haul. And you’d rather end the relationship than spend one more second listening to each other chew, even if you’re currently stuck together.

Karla, 26, tells Bustle that social distancing took her relationship from casual to serious overnight, and it ended up being a dealbreaker. “Everything was great — we were going on day trips and playing board games and meeting each other’s friends,” she says. “Then, all of a sudden, coronavirus anxiety began, and we went from getting to know each other to date.”

After a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.

While self-isolating as a unit sounded like a good idea at first, Karla quickly realized she wasn’t ready for a live-in partner. Instead of enjoying their company, she felt overwhelmed and annoyed, craving privacy. “It was so much so fast,” she says, “and after a couple days of cohabitation, I couldn’t stand him.”

Eventually, she decided to call things off, and the two parted ways. “Had this not happened, we would’ve still been getting to know each other and having our distance while still enjoying each other’s company,” Karla says. “There’s a time and place for everything, and this just came far too soon for such a young relationship.”

Outside of a global pandemic, any number of drastic changes to your everyday routine has the potential to become a relationship stressor — starting a new job, moving to a new place, adjusting to a new schedule. When you’re already negotiating the chaos of an overwhelming shift in your day-to-day life, small problems can feel like big ones.

“As people #flattenthecurve, we may be forced to spend considerably more time with each other,” Danni Zhang, psychologist and managing director of New Vision Psychology, previously told Bustle. “It’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to start thinking of getting out of said relationship.” Zhang emphasizes the importance of weighing whether you’re experiencing a dead-end or weathering temporary stress.

“Coronavirus has run the gamut of emotions in our relationship over the last couple of weeks,” Danielle, 33, tells Bustle. She and her husband of five years made it halfway through the second week of social distancing together, before they needed to establish a few quarantine rules in order to keep the peace.

The two made an agreement that, at least once a week, they’d part ways and enjoy a little alone time — relaxing in separate rooms, going for solo walks, and cooking alone for a much-needed respite. “Communicating how we are feeling without judgment has also been very important,” Danielle says. “Even though we are together, having time and space of our own is necessary, and allows that time together to be more valued.”

For couples on edge, Zhang suggests listing out the reasons why you love your partner in order to shift attention away from their habits that have got you on edge. But not all couples feel the investment is worth digging in their heels. Once they got a glimpse into their future together, they were ready to jump ship — even if that only meant moving from the bedroom to the couch.

“I’m fairly certain living together too soon was what pushed us to break up,” Karla says.

 

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5 Changes To Expect In The Workplace After COVID-19

As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.

The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”—an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors. Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.”

However, what will the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work?

Winning organizations will be those that integrate and master digital work, community, and collaboration. To succeed, companies need to begin planning now for five key shifts:

1. Full digital transformation, supported by a truly virtual workforce

Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there’s no going back. From telemedicine in hospitals to remote learning for public schools and streaming fitness classes, every industry has accelerated its own digital transformation. As a result, the demand for highly skilled remote workers will continue to increase.

With a surge of candidates in the market, organizations should be preparing to recruit and integrate these key individuals into the organization quickly and seamlessly, so they can capitalize on the cost savings and broader access to rockstar talent.

2. Focus on outputs versus face time

Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave is no longer a measure of commitment and performance. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be measured on what gets done and the value of their work rather than on the individual tasks and the time it takes to get the work done.

Leaders must provide crisp, outcome-driven expectations so that their people can deliver on goals successfully. Motivating employees to perform will require modeling and measurement of their outputs and being clear on those metrics. Companies must level-set expectations for what drives organizational priorities and goals, rather than discrete tasks.

3. Respect for work-life blend

More than ever before, companies are recognizing that working “nine to five” is unsuited to the demands of a modern workforce. If leaders can place greater emphasis on flexibility for people to accomplish their best work—when and how it meets their personal needs (as well as the needs of the company)—they can reinforce the cultural shift of measuring staff based on performance, which can result in exponential benefits for the organization.

Organizations must remove stigma and support employees’ needs to make time for self-care–including exercise, meals, and family time. Policies and procedures need to reflect these shifts, and leaders must model a true work-life blend so that it becomes part of the company culture.

4. Stronger communications

Now that companies have gone fully virtual, individuals are communicating more efficiently and more frequently across a networked environment. To do this well, everyone, at every level, must make opportunities for dialogue by employing numerous channels.

Leaders can make communication easier for their people. They can remove roadblocks, create a governance structure that pushes decision-making out and down, and provide employees with the tools and training they need to empower them for ongoing communication and local decision-making. With traditional hierarchies gone, true leaders must step up to facilitate information flow across the organization.

5. Increased trust, transparency, and empathy

We are witnessing a revolution in leadership. In a recent leadership study of Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs, respondents cited behaviors such as humility and listening skills as essential qualities of great change leaders. And leadership experts such as Kim Scott and Brené Brown have long proselytized about the importance of candor and vulnerability. Now, leaders and employees must understand and support each other like never before. People are sharing more about their personal situations with colleagues, and as a result, they are creating an expectation of humanity, active listening, support, and connection.

Leaders that demonstrate these qualities and publicly recognize excellence in their people will earn greater trust and loyalty from their employees. Leaders who seize this mindset now will be better prepared to engage employees for the long term, regardless of the external environment.

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that COVID-19 is driving change in our behaviors, and the workplace is no exception. To begin shifting our idea of what’s possible in the workforce after the curve flattens, leaders must take hold of what’s working today and integrate it quickly into the everyday. Rather than waiting for reentry and being reactive, leaders need to prepare, setting expectations for the ways of working that will benefit the organization down the road, so employees can focus on the strategic business priorities of the future.

 

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