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Enhance Your Life–10 Ways if You’re Coupled, 7 if You’re Single November 2, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!.
Tags: , , , ,

Here are 10 things you can do to enhance your life–if you’re coupled. If you’re single, you can only enhance your life 70 percent as much as a coupled person. This is according to a life-enhancement-activity list on Barton Goldsmith’s “Emotional Fitness” blog on Psychology Today,  where three of the ten items require a conventional romantic  partner.

In order to take the life-enhancing step of watching a sunset, you have to do it with a “mate” (and not the Australian kind). God forbid you should watch it by yourself or with a friend, ewwwww:

2.    Spend a little while watching the sunset with your mate. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural  beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with the one you love.

And if you want to write a thank-you note, it has to be to a mate. So your coworker Heimliched you at lunch when you were choking on that brussels sprout? First, thank your mate for picking his underwear out of the ficus this morning:

4.    Write a thank you note to your mate. When was the last time you thanked your partner for just being who he or she is and being with you? Doing this in writing will give your partner something to cherish for the rest of his or her life.

And if you want to go to bed ten minutes early, you have to do it with a mate:

8.    Go to bed with the one you love ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding each other. Let the feeling of warmth from your mate move through you.

(And enough with the word “mate”. What are we, lab rats? Walruses?)

Yes, Goldsmith appears astoundingly sloppy for a PhD psychotherapist who wrote a book about–get ready for it–100 Ways To Boost Your Self-Confidence. (Let me take a guess–Number 23: Get a Mate?)

But four out of ten commenters don’t need his silly book. They came right out and told him that they liked to watch sunsets by themselves just fine, thank you. And here’s the thing–they were actually nice about it. Way nicer than I’m being. Here’s an example:

Well pleased to see that I regularly do seven out of ten of ten and until I meet that special someone (and I’m looking), I’m quiet happy to watch sunsets as one, write me little thank you notes and go to bed ten minutes early for a bit of cuddling heheh. Get yourself into a bit of trouble too – live a little. Look at life from the wolf’s perspective now and again. Good luck. -happychappy

I am a little concerned that other commenters (six of them) *didn’t* seem to notice the shortsightedness of items 2, 4, and 8. That just shows how deeply imbedded the mate-as-life-enhancement-tool trope is. So in yet another effort to offset that trope, Onely has rewritten Goldsmith’s problematic suggestions so that single people can get just as much Life Enhancement as couples (you’re welcome, singlies!):

Spend a little while watching the sunset. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with yourself or with whomever you f&cking please.

Write a thank you note. When was the last time you thanked someone for just being who he or she is? Doing this in writing will give that person something to cherish for the rest of his or her life. And if you want, go ahead and write a letter to yourself. Mail it, too. (And stick a twenty in there while you’re at it.)

Go to bed ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding your ferret/watching the headlights on the ceiling/reading graphic novels/eating toast/breathing/planning your next novel. Let the feeling of warmth from doing what you enjoy move through you.


Photo credit: eir@si


1. Nicole - November 2, 2010

I enjoyed reading this post by myself! Can that be #8?

Onely - November 3, 2010

HAHAHA fantastic. = )

2. Singlutionary - November 3, 2010

Ahhhhhhh. Doing these things alone is wonderfly grounding. I don’t have any problems with writing a thank you note to one’s self. We support ourselves in many ways and often times we think of what we’re lacking.

But doing these things with a friend are also wonderful activities. How about going to bed 10 minutes early and chatting on the phone with a best friend or relative? I know that most of my phone convos are rushed or scattered or non-existent.

Here is MY #4:
Dear Singlutionary Self:
Thank you for cleaning the house. It feels so good to live here. You are a great homemaker. People who come here, feel at ease as soon as the walk through the door. You did a lot today. Thank you.

Onely - November 3, 2010

Can you come clean my house?? = )

3. Bella DePaulo - November 3, 2010

This is awesome, Christina!

Onely - November 3, 2010

Thanks Bella! I almost feel that his post was written right before deadline or something which is why those three items were so sloppy.

Bella DePaulo - November 5, 2010

There are no deadlines on Psych Today, so no excuses for the author! Anyway, hope you posted a link to this in the comments section of his post.

Onely - November 5, 2010

Hi Bella,

I did actually comment on the 10-Things post back on the day I wrote this post. I didn’t specifically include a link, though. I wrote a comment that I tried hard to make more on the professional side and less on the snarky side (always a struggle for me).

But something wierd is going on. I just went back to the 10-Things post to put a link to this post, and all of the comments that addressed the “mate” issue are missing (except for the one I originally quoted here in this post, from the excellently named happychappy).

There were originally ten comments (plus the one comment from Onely), and now there are only seven. I know there were originally ten comments because here in my post I said “four out of ten commenters” took issue with the repeated mention of mates.

But if you go to the post now, you can see only seven comments, all of which are laudatory (except for the one from happychappy, which could be taken either way). Onely’s comment is gone too (sniff).

I feel as if I must be missing something–but I scrolled all over the page and I just keep counting seven. I went back to the main 10-Things post to see if maybe it was edited to take away the “mate” references, thereby rendering those comments irrelevant, but the “mate” references remain.

I’m confused. . . I feel I *must* be missing something because bloggers (especially on Psych today) don’t just remove comments that challenge their writings, unless the comments are overtly and purposefully offensive.

Onely has gotten its fair share of comments that disagree with our writings, and although often we think they are idiots–and we will sometimes say as much–we don’t delete their comments, even though sometimes people are very abrasive (waaay more abrasive than any of the negative commenters on the 10-Things post were). I think in over two years of blogging, we’ve deleted maybe four comments, one of which was from a blatant misogynist and a couple others that were obviously spam.

Am I missing something?


4. eleanore - November 5, 2010

Astounding how short-sighted a PhD psychotherapist can be. It just reinforces that personal biases can shape almost any findings. I’m afraid to try his “100 Ways…”; most probably require the help of my mate. Geez


5. Psych Today Post Deletes Comments from Progressive Singles « Onely: Single and Happy - November 7, 2010

[…] 30-percent-offensive post “10 Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Life”  I wrote about recently is one of the five most popular posts on Psychology Today. It was fifth this morning and now […]

6. Bella DePaulo - November 9, 2010
7. John Boy - November 14, 2010

Heh heh. Walruses. Very good.

8. KB - November 17, 2010

Enhance Your Life–10 Ways if You’re Coupled, 7 if You’re Single

and 6 if you are single AND don’t have any children in your life…

@DepressionForum also tweeted their re-publication of this article (with the same formatting error as the original).

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