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12 non-threatening leadership strategies for women

We mustn't hurt a man's feelings.

women at work, comedy, leadership
With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men and the feels.


Note: This an excerpt is from Sarah Cooper's book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings.

In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they're not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent.

One way to do that is to alter your leadership style to account for the fragile male ego.


Should men accept powerful women and not feel threatened by them? Yes. Is that asking too much?

IS IT?

Sorry, I didn't mean to get aggressive there. Anyhoo, here are twelve non-threatening leadership strategies for women.

women\u2019s communication, women in business, men

Encourage.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you're telling him what to do and more like you care about his opinions.

Sarah Cooper comedy, women, success

Sharing ideas.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When sharing your ideas, overconfidence is a killer. You don't want your male coworkers to think you're getting all uppity. Instead, downplay your ideas as just "thinking out loud," "throwing something out there," or sharing something "dumb," "random," or "crazy."

emails, comedy, gen

Email requests.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pepper your emails with exclamation marks and emojis so you don't come across as too clear or direct. Your lack of efficient communication will make you seem more approachable.

office politics, men, relationships

Idea sharing.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let's face it, no one might've ever heard it if he hadn't repeated it.

sexism, sexist comments, sexual harassment

Sexism.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside.

threats, non-threatening, mansplain

Mansplain.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men love explaining things. But when he's explaining something and you already know that, it might be tempting to say, "I already know that." Instead, have him explain it to you over and over again. It will make him feel useful and will give you some time to think about how to avoid him in the future.

leadership, work mistakes, hurt feelings

Mistakes.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pointing out a mistake is always risky so it's important to always apologize for noticing the mistake and then make sure that no one thinks you're too sure about it. People will appreciate your "hey what do I know?!" sensibilities.

promotions, management, coworkers

Promotions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Asking your manager for a promotion could make you seem power- hungry, opportunistic, and transparent. Instead, ask a male coworker to vouch for you. Have your coworker tell your manager you'd be great for the role even though you don't really want it. This will make you more likely to actually get that promotion.

rude behavior, ignored, self esteem

Rude.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Sometimes not everyone is properly introduced at the start of a meeting. Don't take it personally even if it happens to you all the time, and certainly don't stop the meeting from moving forward to introduce yourself. Sending a quick note afterward is the best way to introduce yourself without seeming too self-important.

interruptions, resilience,expression

Interruptions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you get interrupted, you might be tempted to just continue talking or even ask if you can finish what you were saying. This is treacherous territory. Instead, simply stop talking. The path of least resistance is silence.

typing, off-putting, work skills

Collaboration.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When collaborating with a man, type using only one finger. Skill and speed are very off-putting.

disagreements, solution, problem solving

Disagreements.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When all else fails, wear a mustache so everyone sees you as more man-like. This will cancel out any need to change your leadership style. In fact, you may even get a quick promotion!

strategies, power dynamics, team player

In conclusion...

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Many women have discovered the secret power of non-threatening leadership. We call it a "secret power" because no one else actually knows about it. We keep our power hidden within ourselves so that it doesn't frighten and intimidate others. That's what makes us the true unsung heroes of the corporate world.

About the Author: Sarah Cooper
Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian, and author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. Her new book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, is out now.

humor, satire, executives

The comedic book cover.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

A satirical take on what it's like to be a woman in the workplace, Cooper draws from her experience as a former executive in the world of tech (she's a former Googler and Yahooer). You can get the book here.


This article was originally published on 3.25.19

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)

True

At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.


“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

A nasty note gets a strong response.

We've all seen it while cruising for spots in a busy parking lot: A person parks their whip in a disabled spot, then they walk out of their car and look totally fine. It's enough to make you want to vomit out of anger, especially because you've been driving around for what feels like a million years trying to find a parking spot.

You're obviously not going to confront them about it because that's all sorts of uncomfortable, so you think of a better, way less ballsy approach: leaving a passive aggressive note on their car's windshield.

Satisfied, you walk back to your car feeling proud of yourself for telling that liar off and even more satisfied as you walk the additional 100 steps to get to the store from your lame parking spot all the way at the back of the lot. But did you ever stop and wonder if you told off the wrong person?



What if that person on the receiving end of the note had a perfectly good explanation for why they're driving car with a disabled sticker and tag?

That's exactly what happened to Emma Doherty, who was surprised to see someone pen such vitriolic words to her in this letter she found on her car.

The language in the note is pretty harsh:

"You lazy conning b-tch. You did not have a disabled person with you! These spaces are reserved for people who need them!!!"

I get that avoiding conflict is something that's been trained into us, but maybe if whoever wrote this note decided to say something to Emma, this entire thing could've been cleared up entirely.

Instead, she had to take to Facebook to pick apart the anonymous grouch and explain her situation to the rest of us. And hopefully whoever wrote the note (if they see her post) understands why they were terribly wrong.

Emma is the mother of a terminally ill child, Bobby. Her ruthless and powerful message sheds light on the misconceptions associated with disabilities and helps to break the stigma that all impairments are visible, because they're not.

"To the person who put this on my car, which I had put my disabled badge fully on, I'm not angry at your pure ignorance, I'm actually upset with it. How dare you ever accuse anyone of not needing a disabled badge without knowing. I wish you had the balls to say this to my face and I would have told you (even tho I don't need to explain myself to the likes of you) but I'd have happily said why I have a badge."

"I promise to get the stigma away from people with disabled badges who don't "look disabled." I hope this gets shared and back to you and you will see my son is terminally ill, he's had over 15 operations, 3 open hearts, 2 stomach, lung and diaphragm and countless artery stenting operations and spent half his life on intensive care."

respect, community, disabilities, visible disability

Emma Doherty and her son Bobby.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

In her post, she delineates the severity of Bobby's illness, which has put the young man through multiple surgeries and procedures that are no walks in the park.

"He's had 2 strokes and was paralyzed, brain damaged and has a spine and hip condition as well as a massive heart condition. The reason I didn't get his wheelchair out was because I was running late because my son, who had a MRI scan, CTSCAN and a dye for heart function yesterday, only got discharged late and was back in this morning so carried him in."

"But for your information not everyone who holds a blue badge needs to have a wheelchair! I've told ... security and broke down, I've sat through things nobody should see but why did your note break me? Because it's your pure ignorance towards others. I'm a single mom trying my best to hold it together for my son who's in and out if hospital. NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE and I hope you regret doing this and learn your lesson!”

Throughout her post, Emma simultaneously castigates the person and drives one important point home: Just because someone isn't in a wheelchair or crutches, doesn't mean they aren't disabled or in need of physical care or assistance.

I knew something would be said one day as every day I get looks and stares and see people whispering to each other about me and Bobby walking from the car. Everyone needs to stop and think before acting. I hardly ever let anything upset me but this did. How aggressive as well, and as for conning my son's disabled pass... [It] is not a con, he's actually seriously ill. I've added a picture of him to prove not everyone looks ill or disabled but can be seriously ill.

The mother clarifies at the end of the message that she's sure it wouldn't be a hospital staff member who wrote the message, because those who work in healthcare are well aware of the various reasons someone would have a disabled tag on their vehicle.

"I'd like to point out this has nothing to do with the hospital itself. They were lovely with me when I was upset and they treat us with every respect, always have [in our] 3 long years with them. They've saved my son's life many times. It [was] just somebody who was parked [there].”

Her post quickly went viral, with many people echoing her sentiments and thanking her for helping to clear up that tons of people suffer from different disabilities and that not all of them are so readily apparent.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

And as it turns out, Emma isn't the only parent who's dealt with judgmental individuals who gave them flack for having a disabled sticker on their car. As if having to deal with a sick child isn't enough, they also have to suffer through getting guff from randos on the street over a measly parking spot.

SOURCE: FACEBOOK

Bobby's condition has left him without pulmonary artery function, which means that blood will not pump throughout his body. As you can imagine, walking long distances — or performing many physical tasks otherwise healthy individuals take for granted — are out of the question for the 3-year-old.

As a result of her son's condition, Emma has to take him to the hospital for treatments throughout the week, and seeing the note on her car while having to deal with that ultimately set her off. Thankfully, she used her anger to send a positive message.

Floored by the positive response to her message, Emma went back online to thank people for being so receptive and helping to spread awareness that disabilities come in many forms.


"My inbox is full of people who have told me they have been stared at or even spat at. This is a serious problem and I just want it to change. I am hoping by sharing what I went through people will start to think before acting."



This article first appeared on 11.26.19.


Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Humor

Real estate agent asks his Gen Z employee to edit a work video and the result is pure comedy

"This 100% caught my attention far more than whatever you were going to say."

@pridemoreproperties/Instagram

“Gen Z in the workforce is my favorite thing about life."

Gotta hand it to Gen Z—their tech savviness and sarcastic humor is a potent combination for comedy. Add to that a blatant disregard for workplace decorum, and you’ve got a recipe for some grade A viral entertainment.

Mike Hege, a realtor at Pridemore Properties in North Carolina, recently learned this after asking the company's 27-year-old video marketing manager to make a video for his Instagram and TikTok pages.

The employee did as asked, but took on some, shall we say…creative touches that Hege certainly didn’t expect.

As the phrase “Asked my Gen Z employee to edit a video for me, and this is what I got!” appears on screen, viewers witness a compilation video made entirely of Hege taking various inhales, presumably before going into whatever spiel he had intended to be recorded.

Essentially, this employee showcased the infamous “millennial pause” in action. Over and over again. She even threw in some awkward hair zhuzhing for good measure.

Watch:

Clearly this employee was onto something, because the video has already racked up a little over 4 million likes on Instagram. Several viewers suggested a raise was called for.

“Give her a raise because this 100% caught my attention far more then whatever you were going to say,” one person wrote.

Another added, ““Her audacity is so respectable tho.”

Of course, just type in “Letting Gen Z Edit My Videos” on TikTok, and you’ll see that Hege isn’t the only one giving his videos the Gen Z treatment.

Check out this one from the Goodwill of North Georgia. Poor fella giving the presentation made the mistake of saying “it’s okay, he’ll edit that out” after making a flub. It was, of course, not edited out.

@goodwill_ng

We've definitely got things😊

♬ original sound - Goodwill of North Georgia

“Gen Z is so unserious I love us,” one person commented.

There’s also this delightfully quirky one from the Poe Museum, home of “a wide variety of chairs”…where you’ll learn that “you can never have too many flat Edgars.”

@poemuseum We’ve got chairs at the Poe Museum! #edgarallanpoe #Richmond #poe #PoeMuseum ♬ original sound - The Poe Museum

“Gen Z in the workforce is my favorite thing about life,” a viewer wrote.

As for Hege and his employee, he told TODAY that his company wanted their social media presence to reflect “authenticity” and “humanity,” and that the Gen Z employee completely succeeded in her task.

“This was the editor’s way of showcasing that we’re real people and that we can have fun and be on the lighter side,” he said, adding that she’s been “crushing it” since her employment began in February. So maybe that raise isn’t so far off after all.

via Rob Dance (used with permission).

CEO Rob Dance holds a list of things he's "sick" of hearing from his employees.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted workplaces worldwide, there has been a greater push for improved work-life balance and many companies are taking notice. The exciting thing is that when companies become more flexible, their employees become happier and more productive.

It’s a win-win for all involved.

Rob Dance, the CEO of ROCK, a technology consulting company in the UK, recently went viral for posting about his approach to work-life balance on Instagram. What, at first, appeared to be a CEO reprimanding his employees revealed a boss who knows how to get the best out of is team by treating them like adults.

The post was of Dance holding a whiteboard that reads:


Things I’m sick of hearing from my employees:

- Can I leave early today

- I’ll be late in the morning

- My child is sick, can I rush off

- I’ve got a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, is that okay

- I’m going to be late back from lunch, I’ve got some things to sort.

I don’t care.

I hired you for a job and I fully TRUST you to get it done.

I don’t need you to account for every single hour.

Times have changed, and the workplace is different these days.

People are sick of being treated like children.

All that should matter is that everyone is happy, and that the work gets done.


He also shared his advice for companies on how to treat their employees. “Treat your staff like adults. That’s it, that’s the big secret,” he wrote. “Give them autonomy. Respect that they have lives outside of work. Don’t gaslight them into being grateful for not being fired every day.” Because in the end, the only thing that matters is if they get the job done. “Output should always trump hours,” he concluded.

Upworthy contacted Dance, who explained why managers still hesitate to treat their employees like adults.

“Many bosses don't trust their employees and keep extremely close tabs on them because of past experiences and a desire for control. They might believe that micromanaging ensures productivity and prevents issues,” he told Upworthy. “Additionally, the pressure to meet business targets can drive bosses to monitor employees obsessively, thinking it will lead to better outcomes. This approach, however, only undermines trust and destroys morale in the workplace. It creates a toxic environment where employees feel undervalued and stressed, leading to higher turnover rates and decreased overall performance. Instead of fostering a culture of accountability and growth, this behavior only promotes fear and resentment.”



Dance says that technology has helped drive demand for improved work-life balance.

“Mobile technology definitely started to blur the lines between one’s professional and personal life, making it tough to switch off from work,” he told Upworthy. “As a millennial leader, I've always valued work-life harmony for my staff, helping them to achieve both flexibility and finding purpose in their work.”

The ROCK CEO also has advice for employees who’d like to gain their employer’s trust.

“Always deliver quality work and aim to meet or exceed expectations. Keep communication lines open by regularly updating your manager on your progress, challenges, and successes,” he told Upworthy. “Take the initiative to go beyond basic requirements, showing your willingness to contribute more. Act with integrity by always being honest and ethical. Seek honest feedback and make tangible improvements based on it, demonstrating your commitment to growth. Finally, a big one is building positive relationships with everyone you work with, as strong connections are what help to build real trust.”

A wife is asking her husband to help around the house.

Is there one person in your household who makes most of the domestic decisions and then delegates tasks to a support member? If so, then you’re probably familiar with the “nag paradox,” even if you’ve never heard it explained that way.

More often than not, in heterosexual relationships, wives carry the domestic mental load and the husband is a support member taking orders. Eventually, this dynamic can become toxic when the wife has to tell the husband repeatedly to do a task, or it isn’t accomplished to her liking.

This can leave the wife feeling rejected and vulnerable. It can also lead to the husband feeling criticized and calling his wife a “nag.”


Laura Danger, a mother of two in Chicago, Illinois, is a licensed educator, certified coach, and content creator who counsels couples on emotional labor. She recently released a video that perfectly explains this paradox and how it affects partners differently.

What is the Nag Paradox?youtu.be

"The nag paradox is that very tricky and very common household dynamic where one person manages more of the mental load and is making more of the decisions around the logistics of the household," Danger explains. "And the other person is playing a support role, or is in a position of taking directions, or only giving periodic feedback."

She continues to say that the nag paradox is a “trap” because the person in charge of the decision-making process is attempting to connect with their partner, who may get defensive from being told what to do or critiqued for their performance. “The idea of nagging is that somebody’s upset about something that doesn’t matter. Domestic labor matters. Connecting with your partner matters. You’re not a nag for wanting partnership,” she says in the video.

She adds that a big problem with the nag paradox is that it can easily lead to two dangerous behaviors, “criticism” and “defensiveness,” known by influential psychologist John Gottman as the 2 of the Four Horsemen, or behaviors that can lead to the end of a relationship.

“It’s a setup for both people because, after a while, you don’t want to be vulnerable,” Danger continues. “You don’t want to open yourself up to that feeling of ‘I can’t do anything right’ … and the other person is saying, ‘I feel like I’m constantly being rejected.’”



So, how do couples overcome the paradox? On her blog, Danger says it’s all about taking time to connect and both partners understanding that domestic labor is a serious issue.

“Meet weekly and use this time to set standards, trade tasks and take your household seriously,” Danger wrote. “The resentment of one person managing more of the mental load, making more decisions and being put into the position of delegating, making decisions and giving guidance can be solved by doing the opposite! Work together. Be open and curious! You’re partners! Clear communication and some preventative care.”

Smoothing over resentment and building a relationship where both partners work together can be challenging, but Danger tells Today.com that it’s worth the effort.

"If you're already emotionally or mentally exhausted, it can feel like too big a battle to wage,” she said. “But it is worth it! If you want to have a relationship that's better or more balanced in the long run, it's worth doing."

Pop Culture

How do you know someone is very smart? Here are 15 'subtle signs' people notice.

"You can understand both sides of an issue and still think one is wrong."

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference.

There is a big difference in how highly intelligent people communicate versus those with smaller IQs. A Redditor named Occyz wanted to know how people tell the difference by asking them to share the “subtle” signs that someone is very intelligent.

The question was a big hit on the forum, receiving over 3,700 responses.

A big takeaway is people think highly intelligent people are mentally flexible. They are always interested in learning more about a topic, open to changing their minds when they learn new information and acutely aware of what they don’t know.

In fact, according to the psychological principle known as the Dunning-Krueger effect, there is a big confidence chasm between highly intelligent people and those who are not. Low-IQ people often overestimate what they know about topics they need to familiarize themselves with. Conversely, people with high IQs underestimate their knowledge of subjects in which they are well-versed.


Here are 15 “subtle” signs that someone is highly intelligent.

1. They admit their mistakes

"When someone can admit a mistake and they know they don’t know everything."

2. Great problem-solvers

"They're very good at problem-solving. Even if it's something they have no experience with they always approach the problem from the right angle."

3. They appreciate nuance

"'I can hold two opposing ideas in my head at the same time.' Anyone who is willing to do that is intriguing to me. Especially with polarizing issues. They might actually be interesting to talk to."



4. They say 'I don't know'

"I like to call it being smart enough to know how stupid you are."

"100% this. I have a good friend who is a teaching professor at Cambridge. He is acutely aware of how ‘little’ he knows about areas outside his specialization."

5. They have self-doubt

"They struggle with imposter syndrome. Dumb people always think they’re [great]."

"It can happen but I’ve met plenty who don’t really doubt themselves. Instead, they take not knowing or not having any experience as an opportunity, just like people go down interesting internet rabbit holes. Really smart people can view mistakes as opportunities for growth and inexperience as an opportunity to gather new experiences."

The great American pet Charles Bukowski once wrote, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts and the stupid ones are full of confidence,” and according to science, he’s correct.

“Ignorance is associated with exaggerated confidence in one’s abilities, whereas experts are unduly tentative about their performance,” Stephan Lewandowsky Chair of Cognitive Psychology, University of Bristol, writes for the World Economic Forum. “This basic finding has been replicated numerous times in many different circumstances. There is very little doubt about its status as a fundamental aspect of human behavior.”

6. They ask questions

"They are ok with being perceived as 'stupid' by asking questions — if we hold back in fear, we'll never truly learn. Plus, it's a good way to show others it's ok to question things if you don't understand — better off if we're on the same page instead of hoping things work out without being informed."

7. They love a challenge

"They feel challenged rather than threatened by new things, problems, ideas..."

"'I don't know' is the beginning of a puzzle, not the conclusion."



8. They know their audience

"They can adapt their communication style — vocabulary, tone, content, etc — to fit the situation and people they’re talking to, and it seems completely natural."

"It's a bit past code-switching, though code-switching is a part of it. Being able to explain complex thoughts in simpler terms based on audience demonstrates your understanding. If the only people who can understand you are fellow people with the same educational exposure as you, you just have knowledge, not intelligence."

9. They can simplify big ideas

"I consider someone intelligent if they're able to explain something incredibly complicated in simpler and more readily understood terms."

"Fantastic teachers can make learning nearly effortless."

10. They listen to people they disagree with

"Someone who can understand someone’s opposing view without having to agree with it or get angry over it."

11. They're humble

"They don't continually need to tell people how intelligent they are."

"At a certain point, they realize they are smarter at certain things than other people, but they understand the importance of being humble."



12. They take a moment

"They pause to think about a novel question instead of instantly blurting out an answer. Sometimes people think it means they've been 'stumped' and claim victory. No, they're thinking, analyzing, and formulating a reply."

This idea is backed up by science. A study published by IFL Science found that people who score high on intelligence tests answer easy questions quickly. However, they spend more time on questions complex questions than their less intelligent peers. They have the intelligence to wait until their entire brain has grappled with a problem before answering.

"In more challenging tasks, you have to store previous progress in working memory while you explore other solution paths and then integrate these into each other,” said lead author Professor Michael Schirner. “This gathering of evidence for a particular solution may sometimes take longer, but it also leads to better results.”

13. They're well-spoken

"I usually find that creativity, humor, and verbal acuity are good signs of intelligence. I generally see lack of empathy, low openness, and seeing the world in absolutes as signs of low intelligence."

14. Dry sense of humor

"Pulling it off requires an observant, quick wit with a nonchalant delivery that almost downplays its own cleverness. Like it means their immediate passing thoughts are often profound enough to be very funny without any real effort."

15. They are great storytellers

"They craft narratives for themselves and for others that are compelling, that make the world make sense, that invigorate and install a goal, a mission."