I watched a few episodes of the TV drama “Never say goodbye 说好不分手” these days in Hong Kong. It’s astonishingly touching. I remember one comparison pretty clearly when one of the lead guys commented on his relationship with two distinctive girls in a very interesting way:
- The relationship I had with A is like playing video games. There’s always another challenge waiting for me. It’s fun and engaging, it keeps me going. The best part is, you have multiple chances with one challenge, and you can even restart if it’s “game over”.
- The relationship I had with B is like doing a surgery. I have to be extra careful every second. The more I care about the patient the more nervous and intense it becomes. It gets tiring to be honest, because as a surgeon you have but one shot. If you screw this up you don’t have another chance.
This simple but very insightful comparison and analogy made me reflect deeply on how human beings interact and leave impressions on each other. Then I started thinking about relationships in general, and all the wonderful girlfriends of mine who are still single, and all the charming guy friends of mine who are still confused about what the hell all the girls are thinking. But the fact is: the girls are not less confused, and probably only more.
I am in no position to categorize myself as a relationship expert because I am simply not, but I know one thing that I am actually good at: to state the obvious but in a unique way that would make sense to all of you no matter where you are coming from. I used to tell myself: the first step to achieve anything in life is to decide what you want. So what I am trying to do here is really just to share some observations and understandings on how to make a smarter decision on what you should be looking for in a long term relationship.
Okay, hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I had a great dinner at Koi with M the birthday girl and one of the guys was gentleman enough to bring a rose to each of the girls, very nice gesture I have to say! And then we went out to drinks at Stone Rose at the Time Warner Building. Again another cool spot in NY, you have to check it out next time you want a romantic yet low-key spot, with a lot of space, unique drinks and a great view!
Anyway, I have to admit that originally I plan to write on “What has Yale taught me about sex”! But I realized I am yet to be that aggressive and I don’t want to scare away some of my younger readers and I am pretty sure I’m not an expert on that subject anyway! But if that’s something you’re interested in reading please give me a shout in the comment or something.
So let me get back to what I actually want to talk about today: What I learned about relationships at Yale and in the US?
1. Be an independent person first
It took me a long time to realize how much truth lies in this simple idea: If you are not a happy person single, you will not be a happy person in a relationship. I’m not sure about you but I was raised up in an environment with this whole idea of “we are born to be incomplete and we spend our whole life trying to find someone to complete and to heal us”. After I came to Yale and the US, I realized it was a lie. Why? Because this idea leads us to the trap of being too demanding.
Let me take a break and write something fun about myself.
So I did this a long time ago when the 25 Things About Me idea first came out on facebook and I got tagged by someone else. Now I realized there are so many precious things about me I didn’t get to mention and so many new experiences I didn’t get to illustrate. So I rewrote this in memory of the first 25 years of my life, and I want to dedicate this to everyone who has been a part of my life, who has challenged me, inspired me, encouraged me, showed up for me, stayed with me when I felt frustrated, confused, and anxious, and finally, who has embraced my character wholeheartedly.
Btw, in case you are wondering, the pictures are taken by professional camera so you know how misleading they can be.
1. I introduce myself as Kanye with a D = Danye, and people love it. Well everyone knows Kanye West, but very few are aware that “Dan Ye” means “red leaf” in Chinese.
2. I am BIGGGGGGGGGG on sleep; I am BIGGGGGGGGGG on efficiency too.
3. I like abs. I think just abs is good enough.
4. I have visited all 8 Ivy League universities + MIT + Stanford + UChicago.
5. The only flower I wish to receive is lily: it has to be lily and it has to be white.
I had the opportunity to be involved in a couple of women initiatives recently, and I realized how frustrating and confusing the whole experience of networking may be to some women. Today I’d like to write about how to effectively network as a woman, and as a young professional, especially in industries most likely still dominated by men.
Forget about emotional connection for a second
One of the most important difference between how men and women network which I recently discovered is that men connect with each other instantly from a networking perspective, while women tend to connect first from an emotional angle, which could be a powerful thing in a longer-term oriented relationship, but not necessarily effective in a social setting. Many times after a conference or gathering event, men will walk away with business cards, and a list of names he can contact for his new business idea or who will help to advance his career or to land his next job; while women might walk away only to discover she spent most of her time talking about food, clothes, recent movies, or even kids, and she still doesn’t know too much about the other person she just spent 20 minutes with!
There’s a recent article on BNET on the right mindset of networking: to perceive networking as a skill not a task, which means you should develop your networking skills quite consciously. Given that mindset, it will be easier to talk to a total stranger in a more efficient and effective way (and not feeling awkward) when you start asking questions about his/her career, ambitions, recent development, long-term plans, suggestions, how to get there, etc. Most importantly, try to walk away with “how you can help them do better in what they do” as well as “how they can help you do better in what you do.”
IT WAS QUIET IN THE OFFICE for the past two weeks, so I took the opportunity to strategize my plan for the next year and I took the initiative to talk to a few senior managers to understand opportunities, direction of the business and the team, and to ask for advice on where I should be headed with my career going forward. In the mean time, I spent a great deal of time contemplating on the bygone year, and here are a few thoughts I’d like to share with you.
1. The best conversations happen in the ladies’ room
Well I am not sure what’s going on in the men’s room I don’t typically spend a lot of time there, but I would imagine talking in the men’s room to be quite awkward and embarrassing. It’s surprisingly not the case in the ladies’ room. In fact, many of the most important conversations I ever had throughout the year all happened in this seemingly constraint space, including how to get onto the women network events committee, who to talk to for international travel visa arrangement, which MD is going to be out for how long so I should schedule my meetings early, and etc.
I guess one of the reasons is some of the days people are honestly that busy so the only time they have slightly some freedom to take a breeze is when they go to the bathroom. And I’m not sure if it happened to you too, but a lot of times I feel I keep bumping into the same person once I run into her once in the bathroom. At actually the line I’ve used the most was: “hey I’ve seen you around on the floor, but my name is D, which group are you in again?”
I watched the Confession of a Go Go Girl last night. It is a story about this girl who started go-go dancing in order to make ends meet, but most lost herself in the “easy money” job and jeopardized her relationship with her family, boyfriend, her acting career, and most importantly, her true self. She managed to get back to her acting classes toward the end of the movie and I want to share this simple but astonishing monologue she did on stage:
I lied to everyone about everything, expect me.
I say I’m not tired when I am, I say I’m hungry when I’m not, I tell people what they want to hear and never say what I am actually feeling.
I let the lies pile up, like bricks on a wall until I can’t see out and no one else can see in.
I make a plan to escape, I become someone else; Put on a disguise and I climb over the wall and no one recognizes me.
I feel powerful. I can get people to do what I want them to do.
But I go to far. I get lost and I don’t recognize myself.
Take off the disguise, I give away the power.
I give up the control, I retrace my steps, go back to the wall and I take it down brick by brick, I bury them to mark the place.
I strip away all the lies, until there are none left.
I remember the girl I left behind. I claim the confidence i was missing.
I envision the women I want to be, tell everyone the truth about everything, especially you.
I have been reading Penelope Trunk’s blog for a while and I have recommended her articles to many of my friends. She is insanely honest and extremely sharing with her insightful and practical advices on networking, job hunting, career and life in general.
There are a lot of single men in New York. Good looking, well-educated, capable, fun, and single. You know what we have more in New York? Good looking, well-educated, capable, fun and single WOMEN.
There are many reasons and even theories developed surrounding why it is the case as it is today. But it all comes down to this question: what do you want to get out of your dating life and/or your relationship?
If you consider these factors separately, it is obviously not that hard to find someone who is 25-32, who went to a top 20 university (just think about how many Ivy leaguers there are in the city), who has a 100+ paying job, who is at least 5’9, who knows how to play an instrument, whose parents are not separated, etc…
The hard part is: you want a combination of everything above, and there are 48 other items on your extended list.