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Don't be that guy: a better alternative to ghosting your way out of a relationship.

Show up with a whole heart, even in your text messages.

Don't be that guy: a better alternative to ghosting your way out of a relationship.

If you've been so lucky as to date while texting has existed, you might have met (or become) a GHOST.

Once upon a few dates, I became a ghost. We had fun, the dates were great, and I had no complaints. But I just wasn't feeling it. It feels weird to just not feel it for a perfectly nice, worthy human, but it happens. And so begins a modern ghost story.


Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (altered).

I did NOT know what to do, say, or think to this person ... so what I did next was turn into a ghost. I removed myself from the human world (of his text messages).

Ghosting, as defined in a New York Times article, is "ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out."

Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (altered).

When I turned into a ghost, I just stopped responding to every message this perfectly nice, worthy human sent to me. Eww. I feel icky talking about it now, and I felt icky doing it then. Eventually, I figured out a way to bring myself back to life and end my own ghost story. We'll get to that later.

First, there are two main types of ghosts:

1. The "short-term relationship I guess I don't owe you anything and I don't wanna be awkward" ghost

That was me. I hadn't had any major moments with this person. I just wanted to poetically fade away, like Patrick Swayze in the aptly named movie "Ghost."

Replace that caption with "You're a human and so am I" and me running away, and we're there. Not proud. GIF from "Ghost."

2. The "we could be on the verge of an actual relationship but I am suddenly not OK with it and —" ghost

You'll never know what could have happened because this ghost will ghost you and you'll never hear what happens after that "and."

Say you and a potential significant other share magical moments — so many moments that it seems like, to quote the great American cinematic masterpiece "High School Musical," "this could be the start of something new."

GIF from Disney's "High School Musical."

And then, just when Troy and Gabriella's karaoke duet almost made it to the key change, the plug was pulled. All contact? Gone. Ghosted. And then you realize that it was not the start of something new but rather the start of you wondering if the person who ghosted you is dead.

Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (altered).

They're not dead. (Usually.) Probably, they're a ghost. And you are probably sad. I prescribe hugs.

These are the two most common, and egregious, ghosts that could be haunting a romance near you, although I'm sure there are other versions too.

But we need to do something about this! Technology has invented a whole new way, and a few new mediums, for human beings to hurt each other.

Who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters.


Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (altered).

In my own personal ghost-busting journey, I chose Brené Brown — vulnerability researcher, awkwardness whisperer, and friend of Oprah — to guide me.

Brown is an actual professional who studies awkwardness, vulnerability, and how to be a wholehearted, kind person in a detached, technology-driven world that doesn't make real human kindness easy. Her TEDx Talk "The Power of Vulnerability" went viral.

In her book, "Daring Greatly," she wrote, "Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives." To me, this sounds like the beginning of a solution to both ghosting and being ghosted.

If connection is why we're here, it's counterintuitive to disconnect (literally and figuratively) from other humans so abruptly. Connection gives us purpose as humans.

Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr.

But, how to do we transition from ghosts to connected humans?

Brown's research uncovered a clue.

She says that to get some more of that sweet sweet purpose-giving connection, we have to cultivate "whole heartedness."

Wholeheartedness, Brown writes, "at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough."

What's a wholehearted way to stop ghosting? In the case of being ghosted, there's not much you can do. You can be proud you lived the full spectrum of human emotion, that you took a risk, and you can take care of your heart for a bit.

Image via Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (altered).

I'm more concerned with stopping ghosting where it starts though — with the person about to become a ghost.

And I'm not just gonna say "be kind, vulnerable, feel worthy, face uncertainty, expose yourself to stuff, and take a risk because you are enough" because that's a perfect example of "easier said than done."

Instead, using Brown's foundation, I'll suggest a few specifics.

If you're tempted to ghost:

1. Face uncertainty. Open your text.

2. Be truthful. Traveling? Being flaky? Say what you've been doing.

3. Be vulnerable. Say way you feel. Heartbroken? Weird? Say it.

4. Know you're enough.

5. Expose yourself to the truth and press send!

Here are some real-life examples:

Brown wrote, "Shame derives its power from being unspeakable."

Ghosting brings up shame for all parties — largely due to the whole not speaking thing. And, often, ghosting happens because we want to avoid awkward confrontation.

Imagine a slightly more awkward, but significantly less shame-filled, world. That's something I'd like to see.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

There's a weird thing that happens when we talk about people dying, no matter what the cause. The 2,977 souls who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack felt overwhelming. The dozens of children who are killed in school shootings are mourned across the country each time one happens. The four Americans who perished in Benghazi prompted months of investigations and emotional video montages at national political conventions.

But as the numbers of deaths we talk about get bigger, our sensitivity to them grows smaller. A singular story of loss often evokes more emotion than hearing that 10,000 or 100,000 people have died. Hearing a story of one individual feels personal and intimate, but if you try to listen to a thousand stories at once, it all blends together into white noise. It's just how our minds work. We simply can't hold that many individual stories—and the emotion that goes along with them—all at once.

But there are some ways we can help our brains out. An anonymous visual effects artist has created a visualization that can better help us see the massive number of Americans who have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The number alone is staggering, and seeing all of the individual lives at once is overwhelming.

In this video, each marble represents one American who has died of COVID-19, and each second represents six days. At the top, you can see the calendar fill in as time goes by. Unlike just seeing a grid of dots representing the visual, there's something about the movement and accumulation of the marbles that makes it easier to see the scope of the lives impacted.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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Usually when we share a story of a couple having been married for nearly five decades, it's a sweet story of lasting love. Usually when we share a story of a long-time married couple dying within minutes of each other, it's a touching story of not wanting to part from one another at the end of their lives.

The story of Patricia and Leslie "LD" McWaters dying together might have both of those elements, but it is also tragic because they died of a preventable disease in a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. The Michigan couple, who had been married for 47 years, both died of COVID-19 complications on November 24th. Since they died less than a minute apart, their deaths were recorded with the exact same time—4:23pm.

Patricia, who was 78 at her passing, had made her career as a nurse. LD, who would have turned 76 next month, had been a truck driver. Patricia was "no nonsense" while LD was "fun-loving," and the couple did almost everything together, according to their joint obituary.

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