Stop putting them on trial!

In the last few weeks or so I’ve seen so many posts on Instagram and Twitter that say something along the lines of:

“If you haven’t bothered to check up me during this pandemic, I don’t class you as a friend”.

Or something of a similar flavour. Have seen them too? Gratefully all of these posts have been met with backlash which explains that at this time, EVERYONE is struggling and it is quite selfish to cast friends aside only because they haven’t put you above whatever they have going on. Times are tough, and it’s probably a nicer gesture for you to go out of your way to see if someone is okay rather than expecting it from them.

These posts has led me into thinking deeper about what true and honest friendship is. I’ve realised a lot of this generation are constantly putting people on trial. Their friends, their significant others and even their families. Always checking people’s behaviour to make sure that it always works out to be in their favour. I’m not saying to let people treat you like rubbish and walk all over you, of course not. But I feel like we should really examine ourselves, our patience and our tolerance with the people we love and who love us before criticising them for not treating you in a way that benefits you or for not acting the way you want them to act. Should we show more love and attention to the people we care about? Absolutely! Should we be putting our friends on trial and threaten to end the friendship if they don’t check up on us as much? No way! Pride and self-absorption is a killer to relationships, so aim to give more than you wish to receive.

Check up on a loved one that you haven’t heard from for a while today, believe me, you’ll feel better for it.

Stay safe!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

1 Day of Love?

February 14th. The best days for some, the worst for others. Some hate it… too much, some love it… again, too much. For the whole of my teenage years I hovered somewhere in between. Regardless of whether I was talking to a guy during that time or not I never really saw it as a big deal but I definitely wasn’t the grinch of romance.

I love romance, I love romantic novels, romantic movies and hearing about other people’s romantic dates but Valentine’s day was never a reality for me. I feel like love should be displayed every single day to family and friends as well as towards significant others’. Aside from the historical significance, I never understood, and still don’t understand why one day of the whole entire year is centred around romance. At the same time, the idea of a day dedicated to flowers, teddy bears, chocolates and restaurant dates really does entice me.

For the first time in my life I had a “real” Valentine’s day experience with someone really special to me. It was the most amazing day, something I had never had before and I will never forget it. However, the day itself was merely an expression and an enhancement on what we already were building between us. It didn’t necessarily change how I felt about him – not that it was meant to. He was amazing before and he is amazing now. I feel like what you have with another person, be it a friend, family member or a romantic interest overrides everything that is external e.g. fancy dates and gifts.

It may be so much different for you, your outlook on the day may be so much different to mine. What I took from it is that the concept and the whole season of Valentine’s day is lovely – at face value. What I also learnt is it has nothing do with what you do, what you receive and where you go but has EVERYTHING to do with who you do it with and how you feel.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Girl, those red flags…

I know first hand that it is so easy to ignore such explicit red flags when it comes to guys and dating. Sometimes it’s easy to not see red flags, but 9/10 times, we see a red flag…. and then ignore it. This is down to a number of reasons. We might reallyyyyyy want a guy to chat to, we might really like him, we might think we can ‘change’ him or we may just being ignorant.

I have been all four of those, many times over and it’s left me in the same position every time. Although people may say otherwise, I don’t think it’s bad to set high and strict standards when it comes to dating. I personally have a physical list, full of personal requirements that I would want a potential romantic interest to have. Some have a mental list, some just go with the flow.

However, there is a list of questions to ask yourself to notice red flags as early as possible.:

Do you trust him?

Do you feel safe with him?

Does he respect you?

Can you tell him the truth?

Obviously there are many, many more things you should look for in a relationship, but a lot of them are relative to each person. Don’t compromis your standards for anyone, date smart.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Choose your company

As the cliche goes, you are who your friends are. As much as we like to believe that nothing or no-one can influence us, this is simply not true. Who do you want to be? What are you aspiring to do? Where are you going? Ask yourself those questions when choosing your friends. Chances are, if the people you surround yourself are striving for the same thing as you, you are more likely to get to where you intend to get to.

I have had a lot of friends in my life and I have lost a lot of friends in my life. I like to think of my friendships as a circle within a circle. Who is on the inner circle? Who do you trust with your deepest and darkest secrets? For me, there may only be two or three people within that inner circle, and that’s okay, you can’t share your life with everyone. My middle circle is wider, these people sometimes are the biggest influences as they are usually your social group or close peers at school or work. Be careful with who you let in to this middle section of your life. There were some points where I had to leave these friends at the school gates (not literally, but metaphorically) because their behaviours and opinions would influence me so much due to spending countless hours with them. The outer cirlce, while still important, has more room for casual friendships. Your friends of friends, the guy or girl you pop up to on snap once a year on their birthday and perhaps even people in your class or on your university course are some of the people that might fall into this category.

It is inevitable that the amount of people decrease as you get deeper into the centre circle but that is also where the deeper, truer and more meaningful friendships lay. Choose wisely, because who you surround yourself with has a big impact on your mood and character. Friendships are so beautiful, so let’s make them worthwhile.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Relationship Advice: Let’s be real

I am only 19 years old and have my whole life ahead of me. Despite not being extremely experienced in the adult dating field, I still believe I am qualified to give advice based off of my own experiences. The idea of having a boyfriend or a girlfriend as a teenager can be thrilling, exciting, dreamy – but also anxiety-crippling, confidence-shattering and yes – heartbreaking. 12-17 year old me knows this first hand. Regardless of my parents advice to not have pointless, meaningless, teen relationships, I had my own ideas! Although they weren’t serious relationships, and I wasn’t actually heartbroken when they ended, there was probably a lot of stress that I could have saved myself. I don’t regret them at all though. Looking back in hindsight, I laugh at myself because at the time I probably thought they were the absolute love of my life, knowing full there was not a chance of it lasting more than a few weeks or a few months. However, there are some teen relationships that do go the distance, which is a rare and beautiful thing to find!

Having got out of such a childish cycle and mindset, I’ve began thinking more deeply about what relationships, in the romantic sense, actually mean and what I would want in the future. After talking with one of my good friends about this the other day I decided our conversation would be inspiration for my blog post today. This is all from my personal perspective, I believe everyone deals with things differently. And that’s okay. Our difference is what makes us beautiful as individuals!

Nowadays, I never see the point of setting myself up for heartbreak. If I know from the start that it won’t work e.g. if there are character traits that I can’t overlook or our intentions are not aligned, I don’t see the point in pursuing it. I’m ruthless in the sense that I will end something, whether it be a talking stage or anything else, as soon as I see signs that it isn’t going to work out. It’s harder when it’s an established thing, but I believe the quicker you are honest with yourself about a potential unresolvable problem, the less it’s going to hurt.

This generation is so driven by ‘the right timing’. It’s over generalised. “It’s too early to make it official”, “it’s too early to say ‘I love you'”, “it’s too early to catch feelings”. Now I’m not saying to marry a guy after talking to him for a day or so, that would just be a bit thoughtless, but at the same time stop being held down by societies perception of ‘the right timing’. Everything is relative. What is too early for one person is too late for another and vice versa. So long as it feels right for you, and whoever you’re engaging with, that’s all that matters. Stop worrying.

I also want to mention is the whole concept of being on the same page. This is so so so so so important. I cannot stress it enough. If the person I am talking to likes to get around a lot and doesn’t intend to stop, why would I, a person who is more inclined to settling, decide to take things forward with them. And vice versa. If you like to get around, explore a bit, I wouldn’t advise getting with someone who intends on getting into a serious relationship and settling down for the future.

Lastly, why are you getting into a relationship? Ask yourself this. If it’s because you are lonely or bored, it’s probably not a good idea. Using a relationship to fulfill your emotional needs can lead to disaster. Likewise if it’s just because you want someone next to you to make cute Instagram posts or to show physical affection to; these are not sustainable foundations for a relationship. Sure they can be bonuses within a relationship, but if it’s built solely on these things, it probably isn’t worth it. If you actually want to bulild something with a specific person and you can see them perhaps being in your future then you probably have a good thing going.

Romantic relationships are not the be all and end all. Ultimately, being young and single has so many pros. Get to know yourself first, make yourself into the person you want to be, and the right person will find their way to you.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Be the person you want to meet

Would you want to date or marry yourself?

Weird question, I know but hopefully I got your attention. There was an episode of First Dates where the woman had on a wedding ring and told her date she was married to herself. Different right? Search it up if you don’t beleive me! Aside from that crazy idea, I think so many of us would avoid seeing singleness as such a terrible state if we asked ourself that question more often. There are so many amazing examples of single people I know who are so career or education driven that their desire for dating or marriage isn’t at the forefront of their minds. Of course you get the few indivuals, (well actually quite a chunk), girls, in particular who scream “I don’t need a man” on a daily and to them I say “Yes, I love you independant women!” You queens are killing it out there! But this is for you lovely ladies (and lads too) who feel so held down by your singleness. Perhaps you feel unattractive, boring, unloveable, or as if you’re too difficult or complex to find someone who a) understands you and b) wants to be with you regardless.

First things first, you are beautiful, you have purpose, you are interesting and you are loved beyond all measures. Second of all, do not be defined by your relationship status. I know it can be hard when all we see in the media is: “baecation”, “cuffing season”, the dreaded “#relationship goals” and whatever other cringe-worthy trends that have found their way into our lingo. The next day we’ll see non-stop quotes about how “men (or women) are trash” and how relationships are a waste of time. We need to stop succumbing to what is seen as approved of at any given time. I am 100% that some people have never had an issue with this and we need to honestly take a leaf out of their book because they are the ones who are winning, whether single, dating or married.

The point I’m trying to make ultimately is that instead of constantly seeking the next best thing, particularly when you’re unhappily single, is to start not only appreciating the time you have to nurture and develop as an individual, but also to work on becoming the person that you would want to meet. Look at it this way, would you be attracted to someone wallowing in a pit of sadness because of their relationship status? Waking up everyday complaining about their singleness? If you’re answer is yes to that, I mean – I guess everyone’s type is different…. But I am assuming that at least 97% of you wouldn’t be attracted to someone like that. Sometimes it’s hard to look at ourselves, reflect and critique parts of us that we could improve on. For me it’s my lack of patience, self-doubt and wavering self-esteem that I need to get a grip on before I can even start looking to spend and share my life with somone. But hey, that’s just me.

Lastly, be you, bright and beautiful you. Your skin is fine, your hair is fine, your height is fine, your body is fine. There’s nothing more attractive than a person who appreciates themself for who they are. Accept the things you cannot change and have the wisdom to change the things you can.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A matter of connection: A bit of friendship advice….

Friendships and human connection are a major part of the lives of the majority of people living amongst us. Humans are social creatures and thus desire to connect with others. Many people, more specifically teens, have the mentality of “group=safety” whereby they spend the majority of their teenage years thriving on the idea of “fitting in” rather than being an individual.

Now, there is no issue with wanting to fit in and there’s no problem with wanting to find friends that resemble oneself but the toxicity comes when the desire to fit in puts your happiness at stake. In essence, it becomes an issue when you go out of your way to change yourself in order to gain respect and admiration from those who you associate yourself with. This can be in the form of changing your passions or interests, compromising your personal morals and adapting your appearance. These are all toxic signs. I’m not generalising all circumstances and I’m not dictating that all people who experience this are in toxic friendship groups, but from personal experience and from the tales of those close to me who have also encountered these situations, it is a good sign that you may need to reassess your friendships.

Friendship should not be competitive regarding things that you cannot control; ie: looks, weight, popularity, intelligence, family life, but instead ones friendship should encourage you, support you, value you and of course help you to believe that you can reach your goals. We should be quicker to listen to others than we are to speak and I believe this is important, especially when one requires the care and attention of the other.

Everyone is an individual, so it’s by no means a 1-for-all topic. It’s not always a matter of acquiring meaningful friendships overnight. It does happen though, that people meet, unexpectedly, and become the best of friends but also note that friendship is a journey, not a destination. You’ll meet many amazing people as you go about your teenage years, and some will become lifelong friends. However, do not live in blatant ignorance. Although I value all people regardless of their past actions and do not believe that a person alone can be toxic, I do strongly understand that not all friendships you encounter will be sincere, so just be mindful. Ultimately, friendship and human connection is so important and I hope and pray that you all develop powerful friendships that will lessen the downsides of this beautiful life.

Love Always,

Shadz xo