Ask Nicole: Is my heart two sizes too small?

Dear Nicole,

With the holiday season fast approaching, I am torn when it comes to the idea of buying and then reselling hot toys for profit. Part of me feels like I should take advantage of this seasonal market because I am the one tracking down these elusive items. Lines, late nights, the risk of being trampled…that is worth a premium, right? But then part of me feels very Grinch-esque.

Don’t want to steal from kids

Savvy Shopper:

This is kind of like watching one of those gold mining reality shows (I think there are several) and getting mad when someone strikes it rich while you sit on your butt and watch from your couch.

If you aren’t doing anything about it, you can’t get mad when other people actually take action. So that’s for the parents out there reading this in indignation. If you think you can do better, by all means, become a savvy shopper too.

But if you can forecast the toy(s) that everyone will want for Christmas months ahead of time, I do a long slow clap for you, my friend. Kids are fickle. Trends are fleeting. That talent and hustle deserves some financial compensation, so don’t feel Grinch-ish for the extra work you are putting in.

Now do you charge $150 or $500 for the toy? And this is where your gut/conscience comes in. A French proverb states: “There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.” It’s something I think of when running my business. If something feels ‘wrong’ I don’t do it. So mark up those toys in a way that reflects your time and effort but mark them up fairly (you know what that is) and you too will sleep soundly… with a few well-earned dollars in your bank account.

Or, use an auction site. That way the market, not you, will set the price.

Dear Nicole,

I selected my bridesmaids months ago and told them I was going to pick a color (in my case, navy blue) and they could find a dress they liked in that color. This seemed fine to them, but now they are arguing over dress style, not liking dresses the others have selected, and (most annoying to me) complaining to me about it. I’m the bride and I don’t even care! How do I get everyone to chill out?

Laid Back Bride

This sounds like it’s not about the dresses. And it never is about the dresses, is it?

Remember, the only thing these people necessarily have in common is their love of you. In other words, they don’t need to get along and become best friends over this shared bridal experience.

Talk with all of them individually and validate their choice in dress. Also, let them know you have approved everyone’s dresses and there should be no more fighting about it. And if one person (or more) balks at this request, you might want to shift them to a less dressy role on your wedding day.

Dear Nicole,

I am terrible with women. I am somehow able to convey sweaty palms over online messaging. I just want to meet someone amazing and get married, but I haven’t been on a date in over two years, despite asking several people who I thought would be good matches. Why is this so hard?

Not A Player and Hating the Game

I don’t think it’s the nerves scaring people away, I think it’s your seeming desperation. If I went on a first date with someone and they told me they wanted to get married someday, I’d run screaming… not because I don’t want to get married (I just got married about five seconds ago), but because it is way too soon to be talking about it.

What invisible scripts are stopping you that don’t involve women? Think you’re clumsy? Take dance lessons. Get nervous conversing? Join Toastmasters. Wish you were more stylish? Have a stylish friend or stylist take you shopping. Address the root of the insecurities, rather than thinking women are causing them.

Additionally, for six months, I challenge you to take an intentional hiatus from dating. ‘I’m not dating right now’ feels much different than ‘I haven’t dated in forever.’ Get out and meet women in social situations as friends. Think volunteer opportunity, business networking group, (not dating websites). Building friendships with women will increase your comfort level around them. After your hiatus, look around at your options. I bet your results will be a lot different now that you’ve taken the edge off, on both the insecurities and the women relating fronts.

Not every woman you meet is the potential mother of your children (gulp). First and foremost, women are people, so start with that. It’s amazing how many grown men have not actually mastered this basic concept.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]