How Do You Balance Love And Your Career When They Seem To Be Working Against Each Other?

You asked, and we answered. We’re proud to to present the first edition of “The Early 20s mailbag.” This week, we tackled everything from the juicy question above, to how to capitalize on the puzzling species that is #shybros.

Note: We received a lot more questions than we thought we’d get (thanks y’all). If you weren’t in this batch, don’t completely fret just yet –we’re gonna get to as many as we can. In the meantime, if you’d like to ask us questions about what YouTube videos to watch  at 4am instead of writing that paper, fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

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Garden State

Q: I go to a college with plenty of attractive boys. However, they always seem to go for the blonde sorority girl. Even the ones that aren’t in fraternities. What the heck am I supposed to do? Tinder is not an option.

Lance: The thing about boys is that while they are most definitely boys, they are also part girl. Out of every 10 men, 3 of them will have the complete package, other than possessing the ability to make the first move. I know this, because there have been instances where I have most certainly been that shy-guy Bro.

My advice: go to a party, find the guy who appears to be looking around the room and sipping on his cup like a 57 year-old woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Go up to him and say anything. Literally, anything. A good move is to drop the “you look really familiar, do I know you from somewhere?” line — it gives you an excuse to talk to him without making you look too weird, and given that you go to the same college, you’ll inevitably have something in common.

If you end up talking for more than 4 minutes, there’s a 35% chance you’ll end up dating for 6-11 months.

Steph: You might want to rethink Tinder. It’s an endless* source of entertainment. It’s also a fabulous means of having strangers stroke your ego in bursts throughout the day — except when you awkwardly hit your Intro to Media Studies’ TA’s profile.

Tinder aside, have no fear: not every guy in #lollege is into the “blonde, sorority girl” aesthetic. Amazingly, there are some who might even like you regardless of your hair color. Perhaps you aren’t looking hard enough or you aren’t combing through the right places. Watch out. True love could be waiting for you at this Friday’s party, in the line to the bathroom.

*This actually isn’t true. A friend recently told me that he had managed to swipe through all the people in his area. I shook my head — awed and disgusted at the same time.

Q: Just moved to a big city and started dating. How many is too many girls to be dating at once? I don’t want to settle down, I want to see what’s out there.

Steph: How many girls can you handle?

I don’t mean to sound like a Tucker Max apologist (I have strong feelings regarding Tucker Max), but I think you should meet, love, and get to know as many people as you possibly can while you’re young. If you meet someone you really click with (meaning: you can envision future vacations in Hilton Head and 2.5 children named Muffy and/or possibly Arthur), you might want to reevaluate your plays. For the most part, there will be plenty of time to find “wifey material” later in the game, but you’re only just in the first quarter.

FOR THE RECORD: this goes both for both guys and girls who are skirting around commitment.

Lance:  As long as nobody is bringing up the word “exclusivity,” you should explore to your heart’s content until you feel like a shithead for being too much of a player.

Q: I’ve been dating a guy for about two months now. I recently found out that he barely got out of a year and a half relationship 3 weeks before we met. We are doing really well and I really like him but I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my time. Should I still keep dating him even though he might not be ready for a relationship anytime soon?

Lance: Society generally says that this is a bad idea. However, society also needs to continue pumping out romantic comedies so that the movie studio can make a hefty profit off of lowest common denominator storylines. And in about 64% of these storylines, the “rebound chick,” the thing you are afraid of being, is simply a plot device to underscore the fact that your new man should be with his old girlfriend because LOVE, Drew Barrymore, and this movie needs to be wrapped up in 97 minutes.

Of course, the rebound is obviously a real thing, and the term exists for a reason. That said, I wouldn’t let some possibly applicable narrative hijack your relationship. If it seems to be working, there’s no need to go outside the frame of the relationship and insert a major problem that may never come up.

Steph: Most of the time, life is NOT like that mid-2000s Hinder song, “Lips of Angel.” Trust that he wants to be with you because 1) he’s, well, currently with you, 2) they broke up for a reason, and 3) his ex-girlfriend probably smells like broccoli.

He likes you. And you hopefully don’t smell like broccoli. Work it.

Q: Quick questions regarding that delicate balance that exists between our career and love life. I currently teach in small town USA and love every second of it, but I know that unless it is shared it’ll probably all be for naught. I’m not a BIG city guy in particular, but my big love (you know, the one with whom it’s almost too good for it to actually work out) lives in NYC with an awesome job of her own, one I know she’ll never leave. I also know chances of finding love in small town USA is nearly impossible, which makes a move to a mid sized city appealing. Question 1: Should I, as a 22 year old teacher/grad student, pursue possible love or my career at this point? Question 2: Is there a list of mid sized cities that you would recommend to a young teacher looking for love and an awesome job?

Steph: I love love. I know, right? Underneath this cold, unfeeling Fembot veneer (see answer to number two), there is a hopeless romantic who still cries at the end of films like Notting Hill and Lost in Translation — much to the amusement of everyone who has ever been my friend.

That being said, you shouldn’t base significant life decisions around someone else unless you are totally serious about your relationship. If you move to the city for her and it doesn’t work out, you’ll end up resenting him or her — listening to Toni Morrison while you cry into your break-up pizza. Even if it does work out, you might still feel a bit of resentment — who knows how your life would have turned out, otherwise?

Lance: I will always say career, but that’s because I was raised in an environment where my parents talked to other parents about how well Matthew is doing at Northwestern.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned from writing for Thought Catalog, it’s that your 20s, a decade that’s pretty huge around here, is the time in your life where you should be able to do whatever the fuck you want, very much in an uplifting montage set to Explosions In The Sky sort of way.

My advice then, would be to visualize said montage and see where it takes you. If you envision being with your girlfriend in New York, getting lost in each other’s eyes over Artichoke pizza, do that. But if you envision a bunch of third graders barely being able to suppress their joy because you are positively influencing their lives in a way previously thought unimaginable, go for that.

Either way you go, just make sure pizza is included. TC mark

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