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An Interview for the Friend Zone

I rarely write about dating. This has been a conscious choice for a few reasons, foremost of which is that I don’t consider myself a subject matter expert on the topic of romance, dating, or courtship; quite the opposite, in fact.

Not Pictured: dating, parallel parking
Not Pictured: dating, parallel parking

However, today I’m going to deviate from that editorial practice in order to tackle a very specific, frequently controversial, and much-derided element of dating: the friend zone

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Why I Love My Job Part 1: The Work Itself

Five years ago, if you told me I’d be lucky to work for Vivint someday, I’d probably have taken it as an insult.

It physically pains me how unfunny this post is. Also it’s in the third person. The retrospective cringe is real.

Like many in Utah Valley, I was too busy making low-effort jokes at the expense of door-to-door sales reps to recognize the opportunity next door.

So when I was first contacted by a Vivint recruiter to work in a marketing role at their office in Lehi, I was skeptical. A day later, I was sold. A week later I was hired. Three months later?

I absolutely love it. It’s completely changed my definition of what a “great job” is.

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3 Ways to Stop Worrying About Your Student Loans

Three quarters of 2015 college graduates will leave school with debt, owing an average of $35,000 in student loans and, based on my highly scientific gut instinct, like 90% of these graduates are flipping out and need to calm right down.

I don’t care how many news stories you see about recent grads defaulting or becoming delinquent on their student loans like, a year after graduating or dropping out, that’s not going to happen to you because of what I’m going to briefly cover in this post – stuff that should have been covered in financial aid counseling, but is apparently easy to miss or forget, otherwise people wouldn’t be defaulting so quickly. If you read this post and do as I suggest, I promise you will never become delinquent or default on your student loans.

Or tweet (admittedly hilarious) things like:

If you’re a recent graduate that’s freaking out about how much you owe in student loans and have no idea where to start, this post is for you.

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Taxes, Tablets, and Rewards

Earlier this evening, I was finishing up my taxes and looking forward to processing my $2,200 federal refund when Turbotax threw a complete curve ball—I could get my refund deposited right into my bank account or I could use it to purchase an Amazon Gift card and get an extra 10% back.

In other words, instead of getting $2,200 in my bank account, I could get an Amazon gift card for $2,420—an extra $220 bucks!

And by curve ball I mean horrible temptation to overspend.
With all that money, I could buy several hundred different books about how to get out of debt!

I mean sure, I technically had that money earmarked to pay off the rest of my credit card debt and bolster my cash reserves, but the materialist in me was whispering sweet nothings to my better judgment.

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Learning to Punt with a Broken Hand

“Once I finish paying off this last credit card, I’m going to save up some more cash before I tackle my student loans.”
My father nodded from across the table as we ate our regular Saturday afternoon lunch.
“I mean, I have a thousand dollar emergency fund, but it’s going to take me years to pay back my student loans… what if some really big, expensive emergency comes up between now and then?

Within three hours of having that conversation, I fractured two bones in my hand during a stupid sledding accident. Realigning the bones would require plates, screws, and surgery costing $9,100.
Yeah. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself.

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My Black Friday Prison Riot

It was Black Friday. And thanks to November’s unexpected third paycheck, I had an extra $753 to spend.

I’d been debating what to do with it for three hours

I’ve already paid off a ton of debt this month, and I could really use some more clothes and a new tablet… I should get them today, that way I’ll save a lot of money, right? It’s not like I’d be going into debt for this stuff, I have the money. Plus, I’ve been working hard, right? I deserve this. Who could possibly judge me for treating myself a little?

Of all the days in the year, why did the extra money have to come in on Black Friday?

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This is War: Taking Down the Debt Monster

Count Your Blessings: The Value of Gratitude

“You’re a great guy, Greg, but…”

Here we go.

Let’s just say that with an opening like that, I knew what was coming and tuned her out.

More often than not, what typically follows that kind of statement is some empty praise of how amazing you are; it doesn’t do anything to make you feel better, but that’s not the point—it makes her feel less guilty about turning you down.

“… I really do think you’re awesome, though!”

Understood, you don’t like awesome guys; got it. Would it help if I were more mediocre? Based on the overall caliber of your ex-boyfriends, I’m thinking ‘Yes’.

I smiled, nodded, and wisely kept my thoughts to myself.

Don’t be a jerk to her, Greg. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.

“… so, can we still be friends?”

No. I actually prefer my friendships without the suffocating emotional weight of unrequited love.

“Yes, of course we can still be friends!”

Shoot me now.

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Classy Dating on a Dime (Part 2): 7 Tips for Planning Easy, Affordable First Dates

In last week’s post, we talked about first dates—why I hate planning them, why you shouldn’t spend too much on them, how much an average first date costs, and my basic criteria for a good first date (time-bound, interesting, and minimal prep).

This week, we’re going to talk about some tools and principles for coming up with quick, relatively inexpensive first dates that don’t make you look like a cheapskate. Before we delve in though, an important disclaimer:

Important: These Tips are More Pragmatic than Romantic

These concepts are not intended to result in the most amazing, romantic, inexpensive, or memorable first date ideas. They are to help you quickly create an above-average, “one size fits all” date for virtually any girl so you can determine if there’s any chemistry before pursuing her further.

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Bachelor on a Budget: Classy Dating on a Dime (Part 1)

“Would you like a receipt?”

She probably gets hit on every day.

I replied nonchalantly, “That depends, would you like to ride a hot air balloon with me?”

I bet none of them have tried that.

“I… are you serious?” She couldn’t decide whether to be flattered or flustered.

I grinned.

That got her attention.

And that’s how I asked a girl out on a $400 first date. Read more