Scientists, whether telling stories or lecturing can learn a tremendous amount from Andy Christie’s famous opening line, “I’m about 5000 feet above Albany on this perfect, beautiful, cloudless day when the girl who just pushed me out of the airplane starts screaming, ‘Wait, wait, your chute!’”
That is my all-time favorite beginning of a story. He gives the absolutely barest minimum to create the right image, and then puts us directly into the most interesting part of the story. Now clearly not every story should begin in the middle of a dramatic action like that — that would get repetitive quite fast — but the principle is quite good. This rule* goes by a lot of names. At The Moth they like to say, “start in the action.” We tend to say, “don’t over-introduce” or “jump right into the story.”
There are actually two components to it. The first is to not spend too much time in the lead-up. Don’t tell us your whole life story, just the part we need to understand what follows. Our format is one that depends on the plot moving forward, and it can’t move forward until it’s started.
The second is what makes this the #2 most common note we give on Story Collider stories. There’s a piece of advice that used to be pervasive in advice about science communication:
“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them what you’re telling them, then tell them what you told them.”
I literally learned this at my dad’s knee. When I was going in middle and high school in the 90s he was an associate professor cutting his teeth on public lectures. He would repeat that refrain every time I needed to present something in class. At the time it was state-of-the-art, and I probably did quite well — and I know he did. But he’s moved past it, as (thankfully) has most of the field.**
The problem is that it’s completely antithetical to all the principles of narrative and drama. Those evolved, in part, to hold an audience’s attention and keep them interested, and more importantly to deliver an experience in a satisfying way. One of those principles is that a plot needs surprise, it needs the unexpected. “Predictable” is one of the strongest insult you throw at a movie. A really easy way to be predicable is to tell people at the top what the whole plot is.
Now, this isn’t just a problem for scientists. David Crabb, one of my favorite storytellers and also an excellent teacher, recently tweeted “Don’t tell me what you’re about to tell me. Just tell me.”
But it is a very common problem. Resist the urge to let us know where you’re going. Instead, let the story unfold. Jump into the action and let us experience it as you did. It’ll be stronger, and we’ll remember it.
*As always with writing advice, that’s “rule.” The point is that if you break it, know why.
**Super-fun fact: Googling that phrase brings up lots of results like, “How to Tell Someone You Won’t Go to Prom with Them: 5 Steps.” Step 1, “Make sure that you don’t want to go to prom with this person.”
For when the pressure is ON.
The magic of your high school prom starts long before the actual dance. Of course, there’s the excitement of obsessing over your oh-so-glam dress and putting together the perfect limo playlist of absolutely fire tracks, but before all that is the big ask, AKA the promposal.
What, you thought you could get away with a casual text message invite in the age of Instagram? Nawww, man. The pressure is on for whoever may be asking—whether it’s you or your date—to come up with a big, viral-moment-worthy idea.
Look, people are out here recreating scenes from Up or dressing up in costume. (Some people are even inviting celebrities to prom—successfully!—but that’s a whole other story.)
And sure, the most important thing to consider when it comes to your date is who you’ll have the most fun with, not who will manage to pull off the most over-the-top promposal. but isn’t it kinda fun to think about all the creative options out there?
Whether you are going with your SO, your best friend, or your squad, a promposal can set the tone for your entire experience. It’s such a great opportunity to make the person you’re asking feel really, really special. And let’s be honest, if there is one time in your high school career you can totally take it from extra to next-level Extra with a capital “E,” it’s prom.
Whether you decide to opt for a corny pun, a romantic gesture, or a friendly prank, we’ve got 35 promprosal ideas to ensure you lock in that “yes.”
- Inside a box of a dozen donuts, include a note that says, “I donut want to go to prom with anyone but you.”
- Get custom cookies made with your promposal (and their answer options!) spelled out in sweets.
- Use a Sharpie to write on a couple of bananas: “I’m bananas for you. Go to prom with me?”
- Grab a bag of chocolate kisses and scatter the chocolate on their floor. When they walk in, ask them, “Now that I’ve kissed the ground you walk on, will you go to Prom with me?”
- Chocolate covered strawberries are even more romantic with a card that says, “I’d be berry happy if you went to prom with me.”
- Set the stage at their favorite sushi spot with chopsticks spelling out: “Will you roll with me to prom?”
- Get the conversation started with some tacos and then request, “Lets taco ’bout prom.”
- For a first-timer, buy them some chicken wings and then confide, “I’ve never asked anyone to prom before, so I’m just going to wing it! Will you go with me?”
- West Coasters can complete the big ask with burgers. Buy some In-N-Out burgers and write on the napkin, “Are you ‘In’ to go ‘Out’ to prom with me?”
- Have a pizza delivered to them, and write inside the box, “I know this is cheesy, but will you go to prom with me?”
It’s not just about communication.
Dating someone from the same city can be hard. Dating someone from across the globe can be virtually impossible if you’re not careful. Long distance dating is not as difficult as many people think and while the official success numbers are a bit murky, we have full confidence you can make it work if you’re in this position. Communication is a big factor in any relationship, but it may not be the most important part of maintaining a successful long distance relationship.
We profiled three couples who have been or are currently involved in long distance relationships and asked them the dos and don’ts of long distance dating. We covered everything from communication, dates and what it really means to be transparent. Read their stories on love and dating long distance and our dos and don’ts on keeping the relationship alive and healthy.
Do: Make sure you’re in it for the long run
Thinking of how long your relationship is going to last can be daunting. While in normal relationships you can omit the topic from your mind, in long distance relationships it’s important to discuss this with your partner from the get go.
“Long term is the name of the game. Long distance relationships progress differently then normal ones. Long gaming is for a meaningful relationship with someone who will one day be your partner.” says Andrea Miranda (29) a New York entrepreneur who was in a long distance relationship with her partner Richie (30) from Sevilla, Spain.
Don’t: Over communicate
Jillian, an actor who resides in New York, New York while her partner Nina works as an educator living in Sarasota, Florida thinks over communication can become a big problem:
“You spend a lot of time connected, but then it becomes obsessive communication. The challenge can be finding a balance and ensuring the quality of conversations. It’s essential we make the space for dates because we need it to be different from a check-in call. We need romance.”
Do: Make sure you have the same communication style
Charles (31) and his boyfriend Zach (28) were dating long distance while one was in Orlando, Florida and the other in Brooklyn, New York. Charles and Zach discussed their communication styles before jumping into the relationship:
“Communication was very important. Him and I had almost the same communication style. I’ve always felt in long distance relationships, if you don’t have solid communication you don’t have anything.”
Don’t: Rely on social media
“Don’t be a social media stalker. We’ve all been there. but it will only drive you insane because either you won’t get any/enough information on them or you’ll create this whole problem in your head that is not a real problem. Don’t make them jealous by posting scandalous pics, stories etc. it might’ve worked when you were younger but now it just looks sad.” says Andrea.
“I think we have learned that transparency is vital for us. I think that the more transparent we are with one another, the more connected we feel. Communication is key. but to maintain the connection, you have to be vulnerable. You have to say ‘I am feeling sad right now and missing you.’ You have to be willing to say that verbally. When we’re transparent, we feel closer. The ability to support your partner’s autonomy and be confident enough to be okay with them being social. When you waiver on that, it falls apart.” says Nina and Jillian.
Do: Plan date nights
Planning date nights is one tool you can use to keep your relationship active. Instead of just communicating daily or weekly, try planning an end of the week date night where you both stream the same movie or play an online multiplayer game.
According to Nina and Jillian, date nights come in different shapes, “Dates consist of FaceTime and other various activities. We do puzzles, watch movies together, stream The Handmaid’s Tale, read to each other and do vocabulary training together. We also learned world geography together. We both downloaded Settlers of Catan to play. We love to read each other poetry and bedtime stories.
Don’t: Rush the endgame
“Don’t expect everything to happen on your timeline. Again, this is the person you may want to be with for the rest of your life, but take your time. It’s cheesy but the right person will make time and find a way to be in your life” explains Andrea.
According to Nina and Jillian, “The best things about our relationship is that there is no endgame. We have talked about marriage and cohabitation, but we’re so autonomous in our lives. We go back and forth on our endgame. like is it to have three places? We have most recently talked about Jillian teaching at the college level and us moving forward. There is no pressure. We want to let it happen organically. Our endgame is to be together. but we’re not in a rush.”
Do: Make plans to visit/vacation together
Charles and Zach knew from the beginning they would be together. Introduced by a mutual friend, they didn’t start dating until years after. According to Charles, they would visit each other often:
“We would talk literally all day long. There wasn’t a time that we weren’t talking. Luckily for me, I was working remotely and was able to go to New York whenever I could. We would see each other about every two weeks.”
Andrea and Richie met in Sevilla, Spain and stayed in contact when Andrea moved back to New York. Richie would visit Andrea, but it wasn’t until Andrea moved back to Sevilla that Richie finally made the move:
“You need to make plans to see each other. Since you’re not in each other’s daily physical lives, you need to make sure you see each other and spend time together. I like going somewhere new together – make new memories you can experience fresh together. This will also weed out if someone isn’t that interested in you because they won’t make plans with you, trust me. ” says Andrea.
Don’t: Forget to set healthy boundaries
Relationships can sometimes be very passionate, but its important for us to set healthy boundaries from the beginning. There’s nothing wrong with letting your partner know what’s okay and what’s not. Not everything has to be black and white, but communicating your limits is a healthy way of avoiding problems later on.
“Don’t drunk text and call repeatedly (well, at least not all the time and in a desperate way). You’ll know and feel if it’s too much. Let’s be real. ” says Andrea.
Most social networks allow you to set privacy settings that protect your safety and privacy. Instagram offers a range of privacy settings based on it’s features. For example, you can make your account private, accessible only to friends, however you can also block your stories from those who are already following you. If you’re no longer seeing your friends’ stories and want to know if they’ve hidden them from you, here is this article we’ll show you how to find out.
- How To Know If Instagram Stories Are Being Hidden from You
- View Instagram Stories and Stay Hidden
How To Know If Instagram Stories Are Being Hidden from You
Finding out if someone has hidden their Instagram stories from you is very simple. There are two ways you can check, from your own account and by creating a new Instagram account.
To check using your current account, log into Instagram, go to search bar, and search the name of the user you suspect has blocked you. If you are unable to find them via the search bar, you have most likely been blocked from their account. This means that you cannot follow them or see their stories and content. If you can still access their profile but you never see any stories, it’s possible that they have hidden their stories from you.
If you still have doubts about being hidden from their stories, you can also create a new Instagram account and search for the person you suspect has blocked you. If their account is private, you must wait for them to accept you to be sure if they are still active and publishing stories. If you can view their stories from your new Instagram account, you will know that this user has blocked your other account from viewing their stories.
View Instagram Stories and Stay Hidden
If you want to see your friends’ stories without them knowing (without appearing on their seen list), just open your Instagram account in airplane mode from your phone. This way you can browse stories and Instagram will not record that you have seen them.
I was looking through my blog stats this morning, and I discovered that many people are coming to my blog to find the perfect I hate you letter.
You want to write someone a letter to tell them how much you hate them? Personally, when I hate someone–I usually just stop talking to them. That seems to work for me, but if you really want the perfect I hate you letter, it would be wrong for me not to help out. I am after all, a writer.
Dear Friend, Foe, Frienemy, Ex-Boyfriend’s Cat, etc.,
When people ask me if there’s anything in my life I regret, my knee jerk reaction is to say no–because my mother taught me not to use that word. She said it was tacky and my face would stick like that–oh wait, that was crossing my eyes. Oh, you know what I mean. So, I may have promised I would never hate someone–but I was wrong. I really hate you.
I hate you the way a rat hates cheese. Wait, a rat really loves cheese. Maybe I hate you the way a rat hates a cat eating a piece of cheese right in front of his face. Yeah, that’s it.
In fact, I think I hate you more than my mom hated the word hate.
I hope this doesn’t make you too sad, because I think if you dig down deep–you’ll discover that you hate me too. So, now that our mutual disdain for one another is out there, we don’t have to talk anymore.
YOUR NAME HERE
We talked to a dating expert so you didn’t have to.
You can’t stop thinking about them, you blush every time they talk to you, you’re fantasizing about your future together. what you have here is a crush. Once you’ve admitted to that, your next step is to tell them how you feel. Telling someone you like them can sound like a daunting experience, and TBH, it is not easy.
That’s why Seventeen spoke with Maria Sullivan, dating expert and vice president of Dating.com, for advice on how to tell someone you like them in the least awkward way possible. Here are her best tips to make this confession as painless as possible. And hey, maybe the next time you’ll be back here will be for first date ideas!
Drop A Few Hints
If you’re feeling extra nervous about revealing your feelings, try hinting at your crush and see how they respond. Make eye contact, tease them playfully, or send a flirty text. “It can help diffuse any associated pressure and motivate your crush to consider a relationship with you,” says Sullivan.
Give Yourself a Deadline
Hold yourself accountable, Sullivan says. And setting a deadline for yourself to talk to your crush will do just that. Sometimes, your nerves can get the best of you and you might push it off for way too long. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to pick a date on your calendar and set that personal deadline. The longer you wait, the more time you give yourself to completely overthink the situation and make things even more awks!
This one is obviously easier said than done, but confidence and clarity will make a complete difference in your convo with your crush. “No one is born an expert at this,” Sullivan says. “Even the most seasoned daters have to brace themselves for the potential of rejection.”
Make It Easy for Them
Keep in mind that although you want to hope for the best, it’s possible that your crush might not reciprocate your feelings. TBH, rejection sucks, but it’s also a risk that comes with being vulnerable. So when you’re sharing your feelings, make sure that you don’t make them feel like they have to respond.
“Be mindful that the person you are telling has an obligation to their own feelings,” says Sullivan. “Set up the conversation in a way where he or she knows they have the choice to do what’s right for them as well.”
But Also Make Sure You’re Comfortable
You’re probably too busy thinking about how you don’t want to make them feel weird, but it’s super important that you’re comfortable, too. And if texting is comfortable for you, do that! You might think texting something so personal is thoughtless or weird, but Sullivan actually thinks sending a text is totally fine.
“Declaring your feelings via text can remove any immediate shock from the situation, making it easier for the recipient to provide a meaningful response,” she says. “There is no single right way to go about telling someone how you feel and nothing should be ruled out.”
Consider How You Would Feel If You Didn’t Tell Them
Sullivan refers to this tactic as testing the “do nothing” scenario to evaluate if you should even confess your crush. Consider how you’d feel if your crush moved away and never find out how you felt about them, Sullivan says. “Does the missed opportunity upset you? If so, you are likely already too invested not to find out what could be.” Remember that doing nothing could lead to even more regret!
Look At The Big Picture
The thought of your crush admitting they don’t feel the same way about you can feel AWFUL. But also remember that it is not the end of the world if you face rejection or indifference — life will go on. “Try to see the big picture and scale the problem down to actual size,” Sullivan says.
You have your BFFs, family, dog, cat. so many companions to love and be loved by. On to the next!
While it’s important to consider the realistic possibilities, you should also keep a positive outlook. Your crush could totally reciprocate and you could live happily ever after (OK, probably not, but it could happen!).
If you don’t feel super confident, fake it! Smile, stay calm, and say everything you need to say. “Whether you make the move online or offline, smiling can trick your brain into lowering your heart rate, reducing stress, and boosting your mood,” says Sullivan.
Extending a job offer to a candidate is always an exciting thing. Not only are you delivering great news to someone, but your business also benefits from hiring the right staff. But while you’re excited to tell the new hire the good news, chances are, you also face the dilemma of having to reject many candidates — and how you tell someone they didn’t get the job is more important than you might think. After all, most companies reject far more people than they hire, and in today’s increasingly interconnected world, people can share their positive or negative hiring experiences with just the click of a button.
This means that word about the type of candidate experience your company offers can quickly spread like wildfire. We know candidates are looking into this: 95% of job seekers consider insight into a company’s reputation somewhat or extremely important. The way your company handles rejecting candidates is part of the candidate experience, and can impact your company’s reputation.
If you are able to master the art of saying “no”, the rejected candidate could still put in a good word for you with other job seekers—which is even more important if you are doing high volume hiring. Or maybe they’ll come and work for you later on in a role that’s a better fit for them.
So just how can you increase the odds that even rejected candidates will become advocates for your company? Here are some tips on how to tell someone they didn’t get the job.
How to tell someone they didn’t get the job? Don’t ghost them
The term “ghosting“—disappearing from contact without explanation—may usually be reserved for dating, but there’s no doubt that it happens in the world of hiring, too.
We’ve likely all experienced ghosting at one point or another; applying for a job only to wait and wait for a response that never comes.
Of course, it’s not hard to understand why employers might just drop out of contact and let that serve as a “no” to the candidate. Time is valuable, and there are so many things to do! In high volume hiring situations especially, it can be tempting not to follow up with candidates.
However, a study by Indeed found that waiting to hear back from a potential employer is the number-one pain point for 48% of job seekers.
And if you’re ghosting candidates, or even thinking about it, then it could be bad for your employer brand. In fact, 72% of job seekers report sharing their negative candidate experiences online — and 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative online reviews.
Put simply: adopting a “no answer means no” rejection strategy isn’t a solution.
Know that every candidate deserves a response
To prevent negative candidate experiences, communicate outcomes clearly.
All applicants who apply for a job and aren’t successful should receive a clear indication that they did not get the job as soon as you know they are no longer being considered.
It can be done. Transportation giant Enterprise is dedicated to providing a positive recruitment experience to everyone who applies, and that includes a strict policy of always replying to applicants.
As Marie Artim, VP of Talent Acquisition at Enterprise, recently told us, “We make sure that people understand that they’re important to us, even if it doesn’t work out.”
So at the very minimum, make sure you have a polite email ready for those who didn’t make it past the resume stage or phone screen.
Regarding how to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job, you can send a simple message thanking them for taking the time to apply, making sure you wish them the best in their job hunt. And of course, leave the door open for them to apply to you again, if another suitable role appears.
Take it one step further by explaining why the candidate didn’t get the job
If you’re able to make the message personalized, thanking the candidate for their time and interest, all the better. Building empathy into your rejection process will benefit both parties.
Letting someone know why they didn’t get a job is news that they can use for future job searches.
If you were looking for more experience in a certain area, say so. Did the project you were hiring for fall through? Let them know. Were their deficits skill-related? Be clear about any certifications or experience that would have improved their chances.
If they appreciate your feedback, then they may share that within their circles or online, giving your reputation a boost.
Meanwhile, if you liked them and want to keep their resume on file for future openings, let them know that as well.
Handle combative candidates by turning up your emotional intelligence
Even after doing all you can to ease the rejection process, some candidates may still allow their emotions and disappointment to get the better of them and can become combative or difficult.
Rejection can be hard, so don’t take it personally when somebody “bites back.” Remember that the person is most likely frustrated with the situation, not you, and their emotions can have them directing that frustration outward.
When dealing with a hostile rejected candidate, put your emotional intelligence skills into practice by keeping things brief and staying calm. As always, be respectful and empathetic, but do not play into their combative behavior. This will only heighten the situation.
When that initial emotional response fades, you will have done the candidate a favor by not allowing the situation to spiral into one of the party’s saying something that could be regretted later.
When deciding how to tell someone they didn’t get the job, recognizing the rejected candidate’s time and effort will go a long way, and they’ll likely appreciate it.
And who knows where your next best candidate is coming from?
It could be a friend or colleague of someone you never hired, but who really appreciated the courtesy you treated them, with and so put in a good word for you.
We all want to be treated with respect, so put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and remember that everyone you deal with is a potential ambassador for your company!
Want more hiring tips? Take a look at our Recruiting Strategies section for more tips on how to hire quality candidates.
These are all the struggles girls who have super strict parents understand.
You’ve probably been annoyed at one point or another by your parents breathing down your neck about grades or SATs, or being totally unreasonable about something like curfew. But when you have a super strict parent, it’s an everyday struggle. While it may seem like you’re the only girl in the world whose parents are this strict, rest assured you are not alone in the parental oppression. Here are things only girls with super strict parents understand.
1. Anytime you go shopping with your friends, you have to hide any new clothes your mom wouldn’t approve of. Because if she sees the cute new mini-skirt you bought at the mall, she’ll never let you out of the house again.
2. But that’s never stopped you from wearing them. Whether it’s on the ride to school or in the bathroom before homeroom, you’ve taken changing clothes on the sly to ninja levels.
3. Your parents don’t understand sleepovers. You have a bed at home. Why do you have to go over a friend’s house to sleep (other than to rob, cheat, and steal behind their backs)? The only way you’re ever allowed to go to a sleepover is if your parents are going out of town, your grandparents aren’t available to “babysit,” and they know your friend’s parents. And even then, they still need to talk with them on the phone for 20 minutes to make sure they have an itinerary of the night’s events.
4. Your parents have to meet any boy you want to “hang out with”. even when it’s not a date (because you’re not allowed to date).
5. If you’re allowed to date (and that’s a big if) finally, your parents want your date’s phone number. And his parents’ numbers. And the address of the movie theater you’ll be going to. And the name and showtime of the movie you’re seeing. And the precise moment you’ll be home. And his zodiac sign (just in case).
6. You’re the only person you know who actually has to wait until you’re 17 to see an R-rated movie. Your mom wouldn’t even make an exception so you could see JLaw’s Oscar-winning performance in Silver Lining’s Playbook. And she’s your fave actress!
7. Your friends think you’re trying to get out of hanging with them. Your friends give you major side eye because no parent can really be that strict. But they’ve clearly never dealt with your parents.
8. You have to call your friends’ parents Mr. and Mrs. even if they insist that you call them by their first names: “Mr. and Mrs. makes us feel old.” Because
9. They stalk your Facebook and Insta. You laugh in your friends’ faces when they tell you to just unfriend your parents so they won’t be able to see your profile. What they don’t know is you won’t be able to use Facebook at all if you did that. because your parents would promptly take your computer and phone away.
10. You get in trouble if your phone ever dies. Because clearly, you let your phone die on purpose so that you would have an excuse not to tell your parents exactly where you were every hour on the hour and return their five billion texts and voicemails—not because your battery is just really crappy and dies after you post one selfie on Insta.
11. Your parents won’t let you stay home alone. Even if your parents are just going out for the night, they INSIST on calling your grandparents to “babysit.” Because only one of two things could possibly happen if you were given that much freedom: 1) You’ll throw a raging house party and burn the house down, or 2) Some big baddie will choose that weekend to come kidnap you (and all your siblings) in your sleep.
12. You know those teen girl rights of passage, like dying your hair, or getting your ears pierced? Nope. Totally out of the question—unless you want to try to do it yourself behind their backs (which never turns out well).
13. Your parents insist on driving you everywhere. Your friends think they’re super nice for driving you to the movies all the time, but you know it’s just so they can constantly keep tabs on you.
14. And getting your license doesn’t change anything. You’re not allowed to drive with friends in the car, after dark, if it’s raining, or on highways. Basically the only time you are allowed to drive is when they need you to run an errand.
15. There’s no way they’re letting you go far away for college. You’ve tried to bring it up as gently as possible, but if it were up to them they would homeschool you for college if they could. Even though they’re super not into it, you still might have to force their hand someday.
16. And staying in a dorm? OUT OF THE QUESTION. They always tell you that you’ll commute in to your dream school aka they will drive you everyday to the school closest to your house where they can see your classroom from their bedroom window.
17. But in the end, you know they only do it because they love you. And they’re right. sometimes.