I saw an incredible program about dogs today.  The program showed some of the many ways dogs can assist humans from opening doors to predicting a seizure hours before it happens and alerting family members.  It is really amazing that these creatures can bring so much comfort and relief to a human.

When raising dogs, just like raising children, it takes a disciplined, patient and loving master to nurture and guide the growth process to help the dog achieve its full potential.

It is easy to get the feeling there is a lack of love in this world.  The next time you feel that way, or are having a particularly difficult day, try doing something, however small, to change that.  The welfare state, WIC or Social Services simply cannot provide the discipline and love that a dedicated adult can.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have parents that loved you and cared enough about you to discipline you and set a good example, be thankful.

To read more about loving relationships, click here.

I am making a concerted effort to generate original, useful content for this blog. I don’t want to turn this website into a “what he said” website. Despite my intentions, I feel compelled to share the following article from a great thinker.

Steve Pavlina has a great new article about relationships on his site. I encourage you to read it.

When I was in college, I often struggled interacting with women. I used to despise parties, filthy bars and low-quality alcohol. I wasn’t able to connect well with people at the parties and something always seemed phony about the atmosphere. Why so crowded? Why so loud? Why so dark? I always found parties and clubs to be an assault on one’s senses.

At the time, I felt there was something wrong with me for not enjoying the bar/party scene. I never understood the appeal of waiting in line for 35 minutes to (literally) piss away money on alcohol with women that were totally incompatible with me and who I had no interest in. The more I tried to force myself to enjoy the scene, the less interested I became.

After the college scene, I moved on to a less bar/frat-party scene and went to parties with friends of friends. These were far better than the parties in college since my “crowd” tended to be young professionals who weren’t there to get smashed.

What I learned from these types of parties was that a more comfortable, open setting was more conducive to engaging in real conversation with a real woman.

To take it one step further, I found my highest level of comfort when I totally disengaged from the party atmosphere and just engaged a woman one on one in dialogue. This is how I met my current long-time girlfriend and best friend.

I was working/commuting about 11 hours a day and had little time/patience to try and meet a girl at a bar; I realized the best way to connect would be by phone. Since I knew that this particular lady (a friend of a friend) was well-educated and down to earth, I began to engage her in conversation, first over email and then over the phone. As we talked more and more, we both began to discover each others value systems, attitudes and habits. It was this critical stage which was key to really moving past friendship and becoming lovers. Conversely, in bars and parties these types of conversations were avoided at all costs.

As Steve writes in the article, this process of directly connecting with someone is so much more enjoyable, compelling and human than inflicting a line on a stranger in a bar and then trying to decipher what their real motives are (sex, love, friendship???).

Trying to figure out what someone is like on the inside when they’re intoxicated, poorly lit, and shouting is a recipe for disaster.

There is still a stigma about online dating or long-distance relationships. In my experience I didn’t find that to be the case. By directly connecting and quickly engaging in deep conversations, my girlfriend and I both avoided the “game” of dating and moved directly to determining whether or not we had sufficient compatibility.

I’m proud to say that my girlfriend and I have been together for two and half years and we’ve built a close, caring relationship. We’ve both made our relationship our #1 priority. As a result, it has paid better dividends than any investment or any other way I could have invested my time/energy/money.

My advice is: be yourself upfront and avoid “games” at all costs. Your geeky, honest self is the best thing you have to offer to anyone who has the privilege of connecting with you.

Thank you for reading.

To read more about building relationships, click here.

My birthdays haven’t been very special since I graduated college.  My last special birthday (with friends) was when I turned 21. Since then, I have spent nearly all birthdays alone and not really done much of anything.  I don’t really seem to mind since many of my closest friends are those that I speak to on the phone or connect with via e-mail.  Going out drinking in a loud bar is not my idea of a great evening.

Yesterday was my girlfriend’s birthday.  While I remembered to get her gifts and spend time with her, I didn’t realize how much her birthday meant to her.

I often find myself still operating in bachelor mode, where such things are no big deal.  However, when she told me that my birthday was a big deal to her since it is a day celebrating “the birth of me”, I laughed and realized I was pretty lucky to have someone think about it like that.

My girlfriend also helped me recognize the joy of Christmas.  Even though I am not Christian and do not celebrate the holiday with religious activities, to her it symbolizes love for family and appreciation for all that we have.

Her joy about birthdays and Christmas are great examples of her good spirit, and, rather than resisting her enthusiasm, I find it far more enjoyable to end my bah-humbug attitude about birthdays and join her in celebration.

Life is too short to not enjoy each possible day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

To read more about relationships, click here.