Thinking ahead to my eventual retirement, I phoned Sallie Mae earlier this year, and spoke with a rep who was easy to chat with, and seemed well-informed and helpful. I asked her if there was any sort of discount or other concession made for student loan payments once the debtor retired and began drawing Social Security. Her answer was that, good news, once I provide Sallie Mae with documentary evidence that I am drawing Social Security, the balance of my loans would be waived. [more inside]
posted by mmiddle
on Sep 11, 2014 -
What is the proper response when you've just sent out an email invitation to a regular social group because it's your turn to host, and immediately one of the members replies-all to your email in order to publicly "correct" you. Only they're actually wrong. [more inside]
posted by hush
on Sep 9, 2014 -
Over the weekend we went to a party at my friend Ryan's apartment (not his real name) where he lives with his boyfriend Kevin (also not a real name), then we all went out to a bar. They've been dating for probably a year. My friends Anne and Steven, who are dating, came too -- they don't really know Ryan and Kevin but they came for the party. I ended up leaving fairly early and Anne and Steven were still there, as was my friend Amanda (none of these names are the actual names of participants).
I found out yesterday from Steven that Kevin "jokingly" groped Anne which is obviously profoundly not okay. I have a few questions about how to proceed from here. Don't know if this matters but I am a woman so it would be great if suggestions about specific steps I should take could please bear that in mind. [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Sep 8, 2014 -
I have some friends who don't have GCSEs or A-levels. I would like to help them study for these qualifications. How can they support their living costs? [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl
on Sep 3, 2014 -
I'm struggling with a social / political issue at work. I have been in my current job for about a year. I am a little overqualified for the position, but I really like most aspects of it and it's a small enough field that other similar jobs are hard to come by, so I'd vastly prefer it if the solution doesn't involve quitting. [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Aug 19, 2014 -
I'm currently traveling in a developing country (Ghana) and got the very common feeling that "I'm so privileged/lucky" compared to some of the underprivileged people here. I'd like to continue this train of thought, and read more books about privilege, dealing with privilege (do we have a responsibility to give back since we have privilege?), and generally how inequality comes about. What do you recommend? Some books I've found on this topic are inside. [more inside]
posted by markbao
on Aug 14, 2014 -
I'm a teacher who didn't introduce my boyfriend to my supervisor at an informal gathering and I'm wondering if I should apologize to to him [the supervisor]? Was this rude or perhaps OK for the circumstance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Aug 8, 2014 -
I've had a truly awful year, and in April my much beloved pet died suddenly leaving me completely devastated with guilt and grief. Among the things I no longer seem to be able to do is answer the innocuous "How are you?" question from acquaintances and colleagues. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by girl flaneur
on Jul 31, 2014 -
I'm going back to school for communications in the fall. I'd like to start gathering career ideas now so I know what to look for when I graduate and also so that I pick the right courses for my career path. When I went in to my undergrad in 2007, I had no idea of what I would do upon graduation. So, I'd like to gather some ideas now and tailor my course selection towards potential career options. [more inside]
posted by winterportage
on Jul 22, 2014 -
Does Twitter or Facebook provide any mapping like this, or is there an app that can, through access to a TW or FB account, create this kind of map?
posted by CollectiveMind
on Jul 21, 2014 -
I’d like to get some outside opinions on managing the probable end of a friendship with a formerly very close friend, without (any more) melodrama or middle-school emotional antics. I will definitely see her at a mutual friend’s birthday in a couple of months, and I may see her infrequently (e.g. a few times a year) on an ongoing basis. [more inside]
posted by Kpele
on Jul 21, 2014 -
As someone who is socially anxious and has difficulty interpreting social interactions, what is an appropriate follow-up response to someone who appears to be being friendly but may actually just be following social niceties? [more inside]
posted by teselecta
on Jul 21, 2014 -
In the last year or so, my life has basically become work and errands, and my social life is barely there. As a result, I find myself becoming unable to be sociable around people. All I seem to do is be able to discuss my job. How can I get out of this rut? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Jul 18, 2014 -
Mefites with ADHD, how do you cope with the social and professional problems caused by this condition? [more inside]
posted by Sockrates
on Jun 29, 2014 -
Apart from some very special people, I avoid interaction as much as I can. I don't remember ever feeling like I enjoy interacting with people just for the sake of it unless I already have an established good relationship. You are not my therapist, but what is my deal? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Jun 2, 2014 -
A few weeks ago I saw this FPP
and found it to be very enlightening. Since then I was exposed to some similar but much lesser academic work and found questionable references in it. My issue - should I just drop it or do something more substantial? [more inside]
posted by vonstadler
on May 31, 2014 -
I am having some difficulties explaining/trying not to explain my spouse's chronic health condition in social and work situations. I need some stock answers I can give for various occasions. [more inside]
posted by JoannaC
on May 21, 2014 -
What lessons can the UK learn from the US education system in order to close the achievement gap? I am writing a report on the pivotal role education plays in increasing the ability of low-income Americans to move up the income ladder. Central to the American ethos is the notion that it is possible to start out poor and become prosperous - it is hard work and not circumstances you were born into that offers real prospects for success. The class system in the UK is deeply entrenched and a mindset that higher education is for "posh" people. Why does the US have much more social mobility? Or is the reality not so encouraging? I am looking at inner-city schools in New York City in particular but any opinions about the US in general would be very appreciated.
posted by ashawill
on May 17, 2014 -
Friend invited her ex-boyfriend to her bachelorette event. During the event, he revealed to a few of the attendees that he still has feelings for her. Bride became angry at each of us for indulging in this conversation. Was I out of line? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Apr 25, 2014 -
For the first time ever, I've opened an account in Facebook and started using it. Wow...it has to be the greatest social research tool ever! Attitudes and opinions can be gauged without the presence of a social / market researcher. Facebook must be changing the landscape of advertising / social research beyond recognition. Moreover, it must be a political electioneers / pollsters dream. No more contrived focus groups.... Can anybody recommend some books or websites the delve into this?
posted by jacobean
on Apr 22, 2014 -
I have a problem with remembering names, but the biggest aspect is remembering to remember names. When I meet someone, I'll often ask their name, but it'll go in one ear and out the other. I need to specifically think that this is something that I want to remember later. I've been trying to build up this habit for a while, but I'm finding it very hard. How can I get myself into the habit of remembering to remember names?
To be clear, I'm not asking for tricks and tips for remembering names per se, but on ways of building up the habit of thinking of names as things that are important.
posted by casebash
on Apr 19, 2014 -
So this will usually be in a family setting. I live quite far away from most members of my family (brothers, cousins etc).
I look forward to seeing them but when I do something happens.
For the first few hours everything is great, I'm happy to see them. We're getting on great.
Then slowly but surely I start to feel that my life is inadequate, and that I am inadequate.
Witty responses become sarcastic putdowns and insults. I feel like I'm taking things the wrong way.
My own capacity for conversation and fun becomes subdued and almost entirely non-existent. I overthink every word. I feel completely mentally drained. And I wish they would leave as soon as possible!
I know I was happy before the visit or stay. I know I never felt inadequate with any of my friends or work colleagues.
But I feel really bad that I feel this way and I feel even worse in the actual situation. [more inside]
posted by razzman
on Apr 16, 2014 -
Tokers of Mefi! I'm hoping you can help me make the most educated and effective choice when I go to restock my herb tomorrow. I'm looking to replicate what for me, as someone dealing with cerebral palsy, (and because of it, a pronounced and profoundly isolating stutter), was a life-changing experience with MJ, one that came about a year after my first encounter with the herb. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77
on Apr 11, 2014 -
There's plenty of literature out there about creepy men, "nice guys" and other types of that sort. Where are all the resources for this regarding *women?* Google is only giving me examples like she put [something gross] in my food or she made inappropriate references to getting pregnant. I'm looking for something more subtle. Bonus points if it's aimed toward socially-awkward nerdy types. [more inside]
posted by Autumn
on Apr 9, 2014 -
My partner and I are hosting a housewarming party and we've invited more people that I think we can accommodate. What's the best way to make sure the party goes smoothly and what are some things we can do to help things along? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Apr 7, 2014 -
What are some great, accessible books that would allow me to learn more about social choice theory without having to become an economist? I am thinking something along the likes of James Gleick's "popular science" Information Theory book, but for social choice theory. [more inside]
posted by TheyCallItPeace
on Apr 3, 2014 -
Should my parents pursue this matter of civil rights, social justice, and mistreatment by police? [more inside]
posted by 1270AEH
on Mar 30, 2014 -
I've struggled with pretty severe social anxiety most of my life, and I've now finally started to get a grip on it. Over the past year, I've gone from laying in bed thinking of reasons not to kill myself to getting a job, having a very small social life with some coworkers, and gaining some optimism finally. But I just don't know where to meet people to practice interacting with, particualarly girls. I'm a 24 year old guy and live in Nassau County, NY. I need some recommendations of places to go or groups to join. And by that I mean I really need you to hold my hand and be specific. Like not "join a yoga class" but "here's xyz yoga, join this class."
If it helps, I'm interested in reading, writing, music, nature, history, art, religion, new foods. Thanks for any help or advice.
posted by theshire
on Mar 26, 2014 -
I'm in a work place environment, and lately some people have found out some personal details about my life, and are using these details to disparage me in the office environment. I know that they must be talking about these details openly together, but in front of me and to me, they merely make repeated allusions or oblique references, usually with a twinkle in their eye. How do you respond to an attack that is indirect? [more inside]
posted by tenlives
on Mar 24, 2014 -
I stumbled across a site a few weeks ago which would put up an image of some sort and ask you to write what question came to your mind. I think the point was just to collect the questions and look at them (but it asked you to make an account before you could see more than a few of the other peoples' questions, and I never did that). I've forgotten where I found it. Does anyone know what site this was? [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog
on Mar 6, 2014 -
I value my privacy, and knowing that people I don't really know can easily discover my current physical location makes me feel queasy inside. How can I use the internet/social without basically shouting to the rest of the internet "this is where my body is right NOW!"? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by Kamelot123
on Mar 4, 2014 -
In December I started working for a mill that manufactures flour, and although most employees there are excellent and fun to work with, I am discovering that many of my immediate co-workers appear to sabotage others for their own benefit. [more inside]
posted by 8LeggedFriend
on Mar 1, 2014 -
I am interested to read some commentary / discussion / critiques / first-person accounts about social climbing in our current society (preferably U. S. based). About both sides of the coin - people who are either successful or unsuccessful at navigating a change from lower-class to upper-middle-class, or beyond. [more inside]
posted by vignettist
on Feb 28, 2014 -
You and some friends (guys and gals) are hanging out chatting. It's all really casual and you guys are all good friends. One friend pulls out their knitting and starts working on it. (No charts, no pattern, just really simple stockinette stitch.)
Do you feel slighted? Like she's checked out of the conversation? Like she's bored with you and the group? Do you wish she'd just put it away and pay attention? [more inside]
posted by unlapsing
on Feb 28, 2014 -
In general, which elementary school grades cover prehistory? American colonial history?
posted by Elsie
on Feb 27, 2014 -
I'm a designer having trouble (a) getting work, (b) networking, (c) finding a peer group that I can hang out with. I live near Amsterdam.
What meetups / conferences / places can I go to that will solve as many of these issues as possible?
posted by gonzo_ID
on Feb 26, 2014 -
I'm asking specifically for nostalgia for a time before you were born, i.e. the Blitz parties/40s tea dances that have big in the UK for the past decade, or the popularity of Speakeasy-themed bars in the US. I'm thinking of nights that require you to dress in theme specifically and celebrate that time. [more inside]
posted by everydayanewday
on Feb 13, 2014 -
How can I start, or join, a public action committee or collective action group focusing on the needs and rights of pedestrians? A social support group or listserv would be OK too. [more inside]
posted by bad grammar
on Jan 26, 2014 -
I am a mid 20's male and have been suffering from social anxiety for 8 years. I have recently come out of a deep depression due to the residual effects of SA (intense isolation, no job, minimal contact with friends) and I can't endure this anymore I need to go through an intense change and to start a fresh. [more inside]
posted by frenchfryfrenzy
on Jan 20, 2014 -
"Same Love" by Macklemore is the epitome of a conscious (social, environmental justice) pop music song that has been a hit over the past two years. I'm looking for others to create a playlist - pop music songs that have been hits with a socially environmentally conscious message, or at least are not misogynist or violent in any way - talk about love, relationships, etc in a respectful way.
Can you make any suggestions? Thx!
posted by franklen
on Jan 15, 2014 -
Please help me create a comprehensive list of songs that reference events in U.S. History! I teach high school U.S. History courses, and each day between classes I try to play a song that references what we'll be studying that day - students try to guess who the song is by and how it relates to what we're studying as they come into class. [more inside]
posted by leitmotif
on Jan 13, 2014 -
I'm looking to freshen up the assigned readings for an undergraduate writing class that I'm about to start teaching. The theme of the class is art (by which I mean not only visual art, but also music, film, and writing) and social change--that is, whether the former can actually help to achieve the latter. I have some readings on the topic but am looking for more. Help me, hive mind!
posted by chicainthecity
on Jan 12, 2014 -
I AM a woman. I don't generally like hanging out with women. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by skbw
on Dec 31, 2013 -
I need to sign up for a new credit card and am looking for one that is as socially/environmentally responsible as possible (i.e. not tied to big banks, corporations and/or oil companies who would be profiting off me as a consumer and doing bad things with that profit). Does such a card exist? I've searched online but am wary of bias.
posted by athousandtelephones
on Dec 29, 2013 -
Recently I discovered some great phrases that work much better than the standard response to a situation, and was wondering if anyone had any others. [more inside]
posted by Calicatt
on Dec 27, 2013 -
How would you put together a reading list that helps answer the question "how do Americans' present-day struggles for wellness, independence, and community compare to humans who've lived in other places and times in the ethnographic record?" [more inside]
posted by elephantsvanish
on Dec 26, 2013 -
I'm looking for original self-marketing ideas for a writer and/or a designer. Okay, social media is important: Design your own page, update it frequently and get your friends to like it and promote it to their friends. But I'm looking for those kinds of tips that you've read and thought to yourself "Well that's original!". Something on par with Nine Inch Nails'/H2DA/Radiohead's decision to give their music for free "lest they come to the unique live concert experience" marketing ploy. Have you ever come across a Seth Godin or a Malcolm Gladwell book (or anything else) and was struck by something interesting?
posted by omar.a
on Dec 24, 2013 -
After years of saving and planning, I've been able to realize my dream of traveling the world for a year. I'm 6 months into my trip and I've been posting photos or updates about where I am in the world on facebook about 2 or 3 times a week. While many people have expressed appreciation for the updates or interest in what I'm doing, I've noticed about 7-10 friends who used to interact with me all the time on FB and real life have totally stopped liking/commenting/sending messages although they're still very active on the site. I kind of suspect some of them have blocked me from their timelines. I know not everyone will have an opportunity like this and I try to be sensitive to that. I'm not preachy about "the importance of travel", or posting pics of 5 star hotel rooms and fancy restaurants (I'm doing this as cheaply as possible, mostly hostels in developing countries and couchsurfing.) At the same time I LOVE seeing others' travel pics and, well, want to share some of the exciting, amazing things I'm experiencing with people in my life. But some people seem put off by this, so I'm wondering - am I being a jerk? What's the etiquette here?
posted by horizons
on Dec 20, 2013 -