Nov 19

I Married Myself

We are all much too familiar with the concept that “opposites attract”. This is widely used in Hollywood romcoms to show unlikely couples coming together. Giving hope to the audience of those movies that maybe, one day, George Clooney might show up at their front door as their knight in shining armor. However, as much as we want to believe that opposites attract, they don’t – at least not for a long time! The main concept of attraction is the fact that like attracts like. Ultimately, we are drawn towards people that look similar to us due to subconscious bias. This bias tells us that specific features that might be similar to ours are more familiar and therefore, more attractive (Ducharme, 2019).

I remember experiencing a similar concept to this with one of my previous relationships. My partner at the time started to slowly look more and more like me. She ended up changing her hair, the shape of her glasses, and the next thing I knew – she looked just like me! Or maybe me with a dash of Sue Perkins from the Great British Baking Show. The resemblance didn’t seem that intense to me until other people started to point out the obvious and joke about how they can’t tell us apart. I immediately had thoughts of narcissism where I thought that I was potentially too full of myself and wanted to date someone that looked just like me. But just like the Time’s article states, our nature to be drawn towards something that is familiar and similar is just a simple fact of attraction (Ducharme, 2019).


Ducharme, J. (2019, April 4). Why Do So Many Couples Look Alike? Here’s the Psychology Behind the Weird Phenomenon. Retrieved from https://time.com/5553817/couples-who-look-alike/.

Nov 19

Odd Girl Out …A Movie

To piggyback off this week’s lesson I have decided to reference a lifetime original movie. Please excuse the late post I was sick, then better, now sick again (thanks kids). With that being said I had a chance to rewatch the movie Odd Girl Out. It’s about a girl who is in with the popular group they are all around 14. Then one day she ends up liking and getting too much attention from the main popular girl’s boyfriend which results in lies, rumors, and online bullying. They tormented and bullied this once “in” girl until she chopped her hair off and became a recluse. Her mother at the time had noticed small changes but nothing major until she stumbled across the online messages and threats her daughter had been receiving. At this point, the daughter had tried to end her life by overdosing on pills. This is a reality that hits close to home. I have an 11-year-old daughter who up until 6 months ago was allowed to have social media. I noticed that she was the one being a bully to her so-called friends. She was forced to apologize and will most likely never get her social media back. We as parents have to adapt to a changing world that now makes it socially acceptable to judge others. The smallest put-downs can make it seem like the entire world is against you. Factor in social media and other external stresses, no wonder so many children suffer from depression. We should focus on building up our children’s self-esteem and communication so that they don’t have to try and put others down. Implementing coping techniques will also help then deal with stressful situations more effectively.

Nov 19

Love Languages, and the importance of understanding your partner’s language.

People feel most understood and loved when people use a love language you understand to express their love to you. If you don’t know what is your love language, your relationship may depend on you finding it.

Knowing each others love languages and acting upon them will greatly benefit your relationship. By understanding and acting upon your significant other’s love language you will expressing your love in a way that they understand best, and that leads to happy and healthy relationships. Understanding both yours and your partners love language will make you feel more understood and loved. Not knowing this could potentially lead to not fully understanding and communicating well with your partner.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman author of The 5 love Languages, there are five ways to speak and understand emotional love;

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Keeping the happiness and understanding in any relationship is beneficial and crucial to remaining healthy. My love language is quality time, what’s yours?

Nov 19

Online Communities

Online communities can be used as an extremely helpful tool. They can be a great way to learn new things, or to find others with similar traits. When I adopted a three legged dog several months back, I was told about a Facebook Page for “tripawds” with thousands of followers. They often post very helpful advice and tips on how to care for your dog properly as three legged dogs often develop serious mobility issues later on in their life due to missing the extra limb. Just this past weekend, I posted asking for advice on making your own dog food as that is something I am interested in starting. I got a ton of helpful feedback, but unfortunately several people disagreed with someone who originally commented on it offering her advice, which then turned into a back and forth swearing match. Several people quickly “ganged” up on this person, all because she said she puts rice in her dogs food. What was meant to be a post seeking information ended up having to have the comments turned off because of the nasty things being said back and forth. It was disappointing but at least I got the advice I was looking for.

Online communities can be a great resource and a lot of information I use daily for my job was learned through online communities. In my classroom, we often use projects and craft ideas that other teachers have shared which are then able to be used again in other classrooms.

Nov 19

Shifting Orientations: The Journey to Optimism

Throughout my life, I have experienced varying levels of optimism and pessimism. As an adolescent, I was primarily a pessimist.  Characteristic of pessimism, I would attribute my successes to external factors, and attribute my shortcomings to internal factors (Gruman, Schneider & Coutts, 2017).  By doing this, I labeled shortcomings as reflective of who I was, and successes as circumstantial.  It was difficult for me to believe any of my accomplishments had to do with my own actions.  Now, however, as an adult, I consider myself much more of an optimist.  I believe what goes well in my life is often due to my own actions (I attribute the good in my life to internal, stable, and global reasons), and believe what does to not be primarily my fault (I attribute the not-so-good results in my life to factors that are external, unstable, and specific).

Through this shift, I have found I have been happier, more satisfied, and, interestingly, more successful in my endeavors.  I found I performed better academically and athletically and felt more satisfaction in my successes while more optimistic.  Further, when I did not achieve my goals I did not let the initial disappointment bleed into other areas of my life.  Rather, I let the disappointment go and continued on to the next activity, event, etc.  My experiences were further validated in our book.  As we learned, optimism is associated with happier relationships, better biomedical health, better mental health, better performance at work, and academic performance (Gruman, Schneider & Coutts, 2017).  Thus, my experience is not unique; overall, optimism leads to better outcomes and is thus has concretely positive effects.

While this shift seemed to occur organically for me–as I think much of my previous pessimism was due to the struggles of adolescence–one can work towards a more optimistic orientation.  This can be done via attribution retraining interventions (Gruman, Schneider & Coutts, 2017).  These activities involve replacing pessimistic attributions with optimistic ones.  For example, a more pessimistically-oriented person may attribute a good exam grade to the exam being easy (i.e. the good event is specific, external, and unstable).  With attribution retraining interventions, however, one would work on shifting the one belief is the cause of the positive outcome.  Rather than believe the above, the pessimistic person would attempt to replace such thoughts with those that attribute the success of the exam grade to internal, stable, and global factors.  For example, the pessimistically-oriented person may initially think “I only did well on this exam because it was easy,” but through attribution retraining interventions they can replace this thought with something along the lines of, “I did well on this exam because I worked hard and am a capable student.”

As described earlier, there are numerous benefits to optimism.  While it is not ideal to be blindly optimistic, having a more optimistically-oriented orientation can help one’s health and success.  Through the use of attribution retraining interventions, one can work towards shifting their thoughts towards optimism.  While such optimism may not initially feel natural, it is likely worth it to experience the various benefits listed.  While life may not always feel happy, reminding oneself of the benefits of being optimistic can help one avoid a pessimistic thought spiral.  This is similar to what I do; when I am having a difficult time, I remind myself that such pessimistic thoughts will likely lead to further unwanted events, and it would be far more productive to focus on optimistic ones.






Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2017). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Nov 19

Why Similarities Are Important

When you meet someone who is quite different compared to yourself it is pretty exciting. You begin discovering new ideas, you get to pick their brain, go on adventures you never even thought of, and the list goes on, but at some point, that excitement fades. Why? Well, the lack of common interests, thoughts, and attitudes finally caught up. This unfortunate reality did not often cross my mind until after I read about how strongly similarities impact the length and security of relationships, romantic or platonic. The similarity-attraction hypothesis states that attraction increases between those with similar characteristics and personality traits (Dryer & Horowitz, 1997). This hypothesis has been supported by numerous studies stating that friendships and romantic relationships have a greater success rate when they share common behaviors, characteristics, and/or attitudes (Dryer & Horowitz, 1997).

Looking back on my past friendships, the common factor that led to their downfall was the fact that there was an absence of similarities. For example, I am very introverted and enjoy doing things that do not involve a large group of people or having to socialize with people I have never met, for that matter. My old best friend, on the other hand, is extremely social and loves going out to parties and meeting new people. This critical difference in personalities eventually resulted in us falling out and forming our own group of friends in which we related to more. There are many more examples of past friendships and romantic relationships that reached their end quickly, but I want to provide another type of example. I only keep a handful of friends very close to me and noticed that we all share the same type of aspirations, views, and humor. My three closest friends are those who I am able to connect with on a different level compared to others, which strengthens our relationship.

While similarities are important, differences hold great significance as well. People who share similar personality types are able to understand and appreciate these traits and characteristics, while differences allow for a new experience (Lurtz, 1999). I believe friendships and romantic relationships should have a balance between similarities and differences that are compatible so there is a balance.


Dryer, D. C., & Horowitz, L. M. (1997). When do opposites attract? interpersonal complementarity versus similarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(3), 592-603. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1037/0022-3514.72.3.592

Lurtz, P. K. (1999). Partner similarity and relationship satisfaction among couples (Order No. 9926967). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. (304524781). Retrieved from http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/304524781?accountid=13158

Nov 19

Disadvantages to Being Optimistic?

Are there disadvantages to being optimistic? It’s hard to think that being an optimist would be a disadvantage. Typically pessimism is the side that is seen more like a disadvantage. Is it always a positive advantage to being optimistic? Optimists are positive and self-motivated with a confident outlook on life and tackle ambitions. They look for the good in everything. This is the opposite of pessimism, which a negative outlook and a discouraging attitude. Pessimists see the bad and worse in everything rather than the positive. There are always doubts about goals rather than confidence (Gruman et al, 2017).

With the understanding of optimism in comparison to pessimism, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an optimist?

The two main advantages I see with being an optimist is:

  • Positive Attitude—

This can be a great advantage to confidence and a positive attitude towards life in general.

  • Confidence—

Facing your goals and dreams with confidence is valuable and an advantage to approach with confidence rather than fear.


However, with confidence and a positive attitude, optimists can take on goals and challenges that are not attainable. Too much confidence can put us in risky situations with relationships, money, work, etc. While pessimists have more of a negative or “realistic” outlook, they do tend to play it more safe. Is that a bad thing, though, to play it safe instead of taking risks? There needs to be a balance of the two, so we can tackle our dreams, but not risk any big for our goals. How we obtain our achievements is up to you, whether it be through a more optimist or pessimist attitude.


Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2017). Applied Social Psychology:Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage. ISBN 9781483369730

Nov 19

I Was A Theatre Weirdo

During high school, despite being 6’6”, built like a linebacker and constantly asked “Do you play football?” I was a theatre kid.  One of my drama teachers referred to us as “Theatre weirds” and we wore that term with a sense of pride and honor.  Theatre and drama weren’t something that was held in high esteem in a rural southern town high school.  Because of this, it seemed as if the drama students were teased and “picked on” (we didn’t use the term “bullying” back then) more than most other kids.  It was no surprise that during my research for this unit I came across and article online titled “Music and theater students are bullied more than other students”.  The article detailed a study in which over 26,000 middle and high school students were surveyed.  Of this group, 7,400 were music and theater programs.  The results of the study came as a surprise to the authors of the article that the study found that performing arts students had a much higher chance of being bullied than non-arts students. In response to those findings the authors of the article concluded that it was possible that arts students are just more willing to accurately report their bullying victimization when asked about it.  If those students exhibited the same love for the stage as I did, I hope they reported it with histrionic flair and dramatically exited stage left with exaggerated hand gestures and audible sigh.  Theatre weird forever!

Elpus, K. (2016, August 11). Music and theater students are bullied more than other students. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@kennethelpus/music-and-theater-students-are-bullied-more-than-other-students-ec18d8cf4305.

Elpus, K., & Carter, B. A. (2016). Bullying victimization among music ensemble and theatre students in the united states. Journal of Research in Music Education, 64(3), 322-343. doi:10.1177/0022429416658642



Nov 19

Citizen participation in communities

“It takes a village to raise a child” was a quote I would hear a lot while I was growing up. I did not grow up in the best, or the worst neighborhood in Philadelphia. However I did grow up in a strong community, a neighborhood where we all knew and supported each other. I remember when my grandfather passed, and somehow the community came together to bring us dinner every night for two weeks while my grandmother brought herself together.

Although I did not live in the best community, there was no crime for about a 3 block radius all around. That may not seem much, but it gave us a comfortable setting to play outside, for families to be able to sit on their front steps and not have to worry.

I believe my community created this type of environment because of the citizen participation.

Citizen participation is defined as a process in which individuals take part in decision making in the institutions, programs, and environments that affect them (K. Heller et al., 1984, p. 339)

Our community did this, they held meetings, dinner parties, social media groups, and so much more to make sure we all were on the same page with everything that was going on and we stood strong on our community rules. This is an important quality that many communities are lacking.

The support and “community” that our children and next generation are lacking. This could also be in my opinion, the reason for crime rates going up. Our communities are not as strong as they should be.

I believe people need to begin getting more involved in their communities, get to know their neighbors, build relationships and community rules and respect each other.


Heller, K., & Mansbach, W. E. (1984). The Multifaceted Nature of Social Support in a Community Sample of Elderly Women. Journal of Social Issues40(4), 99–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1984.tb01109.x

Nov 19

The Fine Line Between Pessimism and Optimism

Nobody has the ability to predict how the future will play out, however, you have the ability to control how you pursue your endeavors. According to Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, “optimism is a type of thinking that requires a person to be mindful about his or her future goals” (p.457). As students, we are in complete control of our college education. In the beginning of a semester, the first thing handed out is the course syllabus. I am often not alone to say, when looking through the schedule you often become overwhelmed with how much classwork is awaiting your future. At this moment you have a decision to make. Will you approach this feat with optimism or pessimism? This lingering question will arise with any difficult task assigned, but how it is managed will contribute heavily to the outcome.

A pessimist is the complete opposite of an optimist. The pessimist thought process is more likely to expect poor outcomes. Initially, this can be viewed as negative. Yet, in some occasions this outlook is needed. So, how does one find balance between the two? “Research has strongly suggested optimism contributes to better adjustment in occupational settings” (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 463). Nobody likes a coworker with a negative outlook and personality. This will affect the performance of everyone associated with them. But pessimist still hold a place within a company. Foreseeing the potential negative outcomes, can help better prepare everyone for the worst-case scenarios.

Personally, I tend to use both types of thinking. An example of this is when I entered boot camp. From the moment I signed my name on the dotted line, I expected the worst. However, I knew upon completion I would be satisfied with the result. This thought process worked in my favor. In hindsight, the overall experience was nowhere near what I actually expected. Drill instructors are there to keep you motivated, and they do a great job in doing so. My advice for anyone considering joining would be to enter bootcamp prepared to embrace the suck, but also know as long as you don’t quit you will get to the finish line.

Schneider, F.W., Gruman J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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