Posted in Journal, Relationships and Dating

16 Clear Signs of a Toxic Relationship (part 1 of 2)

Relationships are tough. There will always be ups and downs, but how are you supposed to know what’s normal? How can you tell if your partner is just going through a rough time, or if they’re actually toxic? I’ve done a bit of dating in my time, and unfortunately, the majority of it wasn’t good. The thing is, when I was in a toxic relationship, I had NO IDEA. I thought the stuff I went through with my partner was normal. So, time after time, I dated people who were extremely toxic for me, because I thought that a person with the quality of toxicity was my “type”. It took years of defending my choice of boyfriend to everyone around me before I realized it was wrong. That toxic relationships exist, and that I had a bad habit of finding myself in them.

Don’t stay with someone because you’re scared of being alone.

**This will be separated into 2 posts because it is important and i’d like to be able to talk about each point a bit**

1. Trying to Isolate You

If your special someone in your life can’t handle you having any other friends, run away. This could easily be played off as a joke by saying things like, “I just want you all to myself”, but if it actually effects your relationship with your friends, it’s toxic.

Now, hear me say that your romantic relationship will always have an effect on your friendships. When you become involved with someone, your whole world will change. However, just because you spend less time with your friends to make room for the person you’re dating does not mean they are isolating you. Isolation looks like jealously, anger, and fits when you spend time with other people.

I broke up with my first real (and very toxic) boyfriend because every time I hung out with my best friend, he would go INSANE. Which, after 6 months, I finally realized was an issue.

2. They Don’t Respect You.

Respect Aretha GIF by moodman

Oh my goodness. The amount of relationships I see these days where the woman has no respect is unbelievable. This isn’t always based on gender though. If your person is always concerned about themselves (see narcissistic), and never about you, well that certainly is a problem.

I have a theory, that the single most important thing a relationship must have is mutual respect. Yes, more important than love. I know, it’s a crazy thought. You can’t always make things work because you love each other- though I did used to believe that love conquers all. However, mutual RESPECT will get you through anything. The key word being mutual.

3. You Are Not a Priority (But They are for You)

Not feeling prioritized is a huge red flag. Relationships are two-way streets. No, you cannot put in all the effort so that your partner doesn’t have to do anything. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s called parenthood. Ever heard the quote, “If a man wants to be with you, he will be”, or something along those lines? Same goes for women. If someone truly wants to be with you, you will know based on the effort they put into their relationship with you.

4. You Can’t Talk About Issues Without Fighting

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Actually, you can’t talk about anything without fighting. Seriously, if you feel the need to walk on eggshells around your partner to avoid conflict, that’s bad. If simple conversations like where you’re going to eat, what you did today, or what you liked about that movie turns into an argument, then what’s the point? You should be in a relationship with someone because you enjoy talking to them about things. Things that you can’t talk with other people. Having hard conversations is part of being in a relationship. If you can’t even talk about what restaurant you’re going to, how can you talk about important things: sharing finances, having kids, raising kids, job changes, family issues, marriage, etc.

5. Double Standards

YOU can’t go out on Friday nights, but he can. He needs his boy’s night. She needs to meet your friends, but you can’t meet hers. They always need to know what you’re doing, but always keep their whereabouts a secret. They can flirt with others and it’s harmless, when you do it its cheating. You can’t have friends of the opposite sex, but they can! My ex’s best friend was a girl, and got insanely jealous when I talked to another guy. He had sleepovers in the same bed as her (I lived with my strict christian parents so I couldn’t even do that with him). He also moved in with is ex-girlfriend. He made me feel insane to be jealous. Yet I couldn’t even look at another guy, or he had to know every detail.

6. They Make You Feel Like You Need Them

Oh my gosh. This is the worst. Don’t let people do things for you with the wrong intentions. Make sure you can take care of yourself. An example would be someone driving you everywhere, because you don’t have a car. Now, temporarily, this is okay. But if its consistent or if they hold it over your head, that’s a serious issue. If they say things implying that you need them, or threaten to not do something, like drive you, that’s manipulation. If one person overly depends on another in a relationship, it’s unhealthy. Relationships should be mutually beneficial.

7. Gaslighting

I put this one at the end because I’d like to spend a little time on it. If you want an entire post dedicated to gaslighting, let me know in the comments.

Gaslighting, by definition is, “manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”

Gaslighting is the worst kind of manipulation in my opinion, the guilty party makes the innocent one feel guilty and crazy for being right. 99% of the time if you feel like something is up, it is. If you can’t trust your partner, or if they make you feel insecure and unsure of yourself, get tf out. Relationships should add to your happiness and confidence, not take away from it. Always remember to put yourself first, your happiness should not be the cost of your partner’s happiness. Your well-being is not the price of your partner’s comfort. You are amazing and deserve someone who can both see that, and treat you like you are. You are a MFing queen (or king), and anyone who can’t see that isn’t worthy to date you.

The most obvious and common instance is cheating. If the man is cheating, and the woman questions him, he may call her crazy. If she asks about his relationship with another female, he’ll call her paranoid. If she asks where he was last night, he’ll tell her to stop stalking him. Other words are possessive, insane, clingy, insecure, jealous, etc.

Like I mentioned on #5, I once had a boyfriend who had a female best friend. They had been best. friends for years, he told me at the beginning he wouldn’t abandon her for a relationship (they had history of his toxic ex). That was fine with me. She was funny and very outgoing. The problem was, they would spend the night together all the time. They would drink and do drugs together, sleep in the same bed, when I was uncomfortable he would remind me that he wouldn’t abandon her. I never asked him to, I just wanted a little respect. Of course, all his friends were on his side. He called me clingy, crazy, manipulative, and made all of his friends hate me.

Then it got worse. His toxic ex, whom he told me he had blocked (not at my request), left her parents house. They started living together at their friend’s house (it was more of a crack house I guess..) And then I got really uncomfortable. I also found out that he had been the one to drive 30minutes to get her. And now they were sleeping in the same room. He also had told me he couldn’t resist her sexually. I was going insane over this, meanwhile he was hurling insults at me. Telling me she had nowhere to go, that nothing was going on, he was just helping her. After he dumped me, he brought her on a date into the coffee shop where I worked- and gave me a panic attack. This resulted in me getting fired because it was so bad I couldn’t work the rest of my shift. He did it on a dare, just to mess with me. He had that much power over me emotionally, and I never should have let him.

So if your partner often makes you feel small, crazy, insecure, or like you’re the reason you can’t trust them, that’s gaslighting. If there’s nothing to hide, they won’t mind showing you everything. I’m not saying go through your partner’s phone every day. But if you get to the point where you feel so uncomfortable that you need to, there should be no issue (if you ask. don’t do it behind their back).

Still Don’t Know?

If you’re still unsure, here’s a tip: make a list of the positive and negative things you are getting out of the relationship. Rate each thing on a scale of 1 to 5, and add up the points on each side. This is because if you simply count the things, you might stay with a guy who’s terrible because he buys you lunch sometimes. Don’t use one time events either! Ex: he bought me flowers that one time…

Come up with at least 5 on each side. If the score comes out even or negative… maybe look into why you’re together. Here’s an example.

4open with each otheralways busy-3
3good sexnever pays $$$-4
1foot massageshates my friends-5
2parents love themdoesn’t want kids-4
4makes me laughcan be stubborn-1
positive: 14; Negative:-17

In Conclusion…

I made this list of some of the most obvious things that are not okay in a relationship. It by all means doesn’t cover every single aspect of a toxic relationship. Let me tell you something: if you found yourself reading this list, either defending your partner or telling yourself “Yeah but…*insert defense here*”, then you’re probably in a toxic relationship. Although these things may seem obvious to some, when they actually take place in your relationship it can be hard to recognize. It may sound cliche, but some things are cliche because they’re right- given some time, things will get better.

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Posted in college, Uncategorized

How to Study to Ace Your Finals (10 Steps)

Studying is the literal worst. I am a HUGE procrastinator, so actually sitting down and studying is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, in college, studying is key to passing your classes. To make it even better, final exams are coming up. How are you planning on studying? If you can just go over your notes, or read from your textbook, well, good for you! I definitely lack the perseverance (and the attention span) to do that. If you’re more like me, keep reading because I’m about to give you some great tips to help you ace your exams.

1. Start Early

Getting an early start to studying can really help you retain information in the long run. I don’t mean a few hours- I mean a few DAYS. This will give you time to fully process all the information that you’ll want to remember. Start studying approximately a week before your exam.


2. Don’t Cram

I repeat: DO NOT CRAM!!! Cramming is one of the worst things you could possibly do for yourself. This goes along with starting early. Even if somehow your brain does process and remember all of the information you shoved in your brain, you’ll be mentally exhausted for your exam. Your brain needs time to remember things. Be kind to yourself.

3. Long Breaks

Don’t time yourself, it never works out. “5 more minutes” is easy to say, and can just as easily turn into an hour. Short breaks just don’t do it for me. They just add to my ability to get easily distracted. Give yourself 1 activity (ie. watching a single episode of a show- not a show you usually binge) and stick to it. If I’m watching a show, it’s much harder to say “30 more minutes” to watch another episode.

Keep in mind, this may not work for everyone. I like long breaks because it feels like an actual break and gives my mind some time to relax. Short breaks just give me enough time to realize how tired my brain is before getting back to work.

4. Remove ALL Distractions

Yes, including your phone. Make sure you house/roommates know that you’re studying and will be needing some quiet. Turn off the tv, and don’t listen to music with lyrics. I find video game soundtracks give studying a cool vibe. Be sure that the area that you are studying in is cleaned off and free of anything you don’t need to study. But seriously, turn off your phone and put it in a drawer.

5. Take Care of Your Needs Prior to Studying

Eat a snack. Drink some water. Pee. Get the AC to your liking. This way, you won’t keep interrupting your studying to get up to do things.

6. Organize Your Notes

Your notes matter a lot. Not only does writing something down help you remember it better, but it also gives you something to look over. They should be legible, organized, maybe even color coded. You can add a pop of color and highlight important information in your notes with different styles of sticky notes. I love this set because of all the different styles and uses it has. Also, I just love sticky notes. The best way to take good notes is to pretend like you are taking notes for someone else. You want them to be easy to read, and easy to get information from.

Tip: Long paragraphs/sentences are harder for your brain to focus on. Keep your words, sentences, and paragraphs short for easier reading.

7. Watch Videos

Watching videos on a topic or subject can really help you retain information. Youtube is a great platform, it has videos on everything. I personally like taking notes on videos because I can pause it to give me time to take nice notes. You can also rewatch things that don’t make sense.


8. Use the Review

Not the review. ANYTHING but the review. I get it. It’s long. Boring. You’re pretty sure the professor didn’t even teach you this stuff. But it is the easiest way to know what the test will be like. And if you’ll do well on it. Which is kinda the point. Plus, your poor professor put all that time and effort into writing all 500 pages of the review. Or was it 5? It felt like a lot more.

9. Tutoring

There, I said it. If you’re really struggling with a subject or certain material, most schools have some sort of free tutoring. It may be over Zoom at the moment because of the pandemic, but it’s better than nothing. I speak from experience when I tell you that it is actually helpful 90% of the time.

10. Set Achievable Goals

If you’re like me and have test anxiety, trying to remember every single little detail about a subject can be your downfall. Don’t try to remember everything. You’ll exhaust yourself and ultimately, waste time.

Now go, absorb knowledge so that you can forget it after you take your exam. Let me know in the comments if you have any studying hacks that I didn’t list on here. I believe in you, work hard and you will pass!

Posted in Finance and Budgeting

How to Make a Budget

College changes the way we live. You’re completely responsible for yourself, and even if you’re used to doing things on your own, not having help as an option is completely different. Every family situation is different. Every individual has different needs. So whether you’re paying for your own college, having your parents pay, or going on a scholarship, you’ll need to learn how to manage your finances. This is where budgeting comes in.


For the sake of this post, I’m going to do a monthly budget. You can alter the time period to weekly, bi-weekly, even yearly. To get started, think about what your monthly income is. Pick a number you know you will always make, to avoid falling behind financially. For instance, if you’re a waitress who gets paid hourly as well as tips, assume you have a bad month and don’t make a ton. Use that “bad” number as your budget. Let’s just use $200 as an example.


You make $200 on a bad month, so your monthly budget is $200.

Secondly, make a list of everything you’ll need to pay for every month. This could be a rather long list, so try to keep it vague. Getting too specific will just stretch you and your money.


Overall, there’s 5 things that should always be on your list.

  1. Food/groceries
  2. Toiletries
  3. Medical needs
  4. Transportation/gas
  5. Spending/miscellaneous

Make sure you include insurance (medical, vehicle, etc). Some additional costs might include:

  1. Rent
  2. Utilities
  3. Pets
  4. Tithe
  5. Monthly subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, etc)

Next, subtract set monthly expenses- things that you will always need to pay for that will always be the same price (rent, insurance, subscriptions, etc.). It’s good to get this out of the way first, since you can’t cut back here. What you’re left with is your actual budget.


You have a $200 monthly budget. You pay $10 in subscriptions each month. So you really have $190 to budget.

After you’ve subtracted your fixed payments, order your remaining items by importance (most to least).


  1. Medication
  2. Groceries
  3. Toiletries
  4. Transportation
  5. Spending

If you have prescription medication, this is obviously the most important item on your list. Groceries are also important- humans need to eat. No, you’re not an alien. Next, we have toiletries. Although you CAN live without deodorant, I prefer you use it. So does your neighbor. I checked. Fourth on the list is transportation. This is easier to work around sometimes. Walking or biking are great alternatives to save money. If you go to school or work too far away, carpooling is another great way to keep your bank account positive. Plus, you can use the HOV lane and it’s good for the environment. win-win. Lastly, we have spending money. This is for clothes, haircuts, make-up, etc.


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We’re almost done, I promise. After you have your list, assign the amount you’d like to spend each month to each item on the list. As much as you’d like to spend $500 on marvel movies and t-shirts, try to keep your budget in mind. You don’t have to stick to the exact number.


  1. Medication- $20
  2. Groceries- $100
  3. Toiletries- $20
  4. Transportation- $50
  5. Spending- $20

Now remember, you only actually have $190 to budget. Add up your costs and see what you get.


$20+$20+$20+$50+$100 = $210

Don’t worry that it’s over your budget (not yet anyways). This is why we ordered them by importance. So, to get to $190, we have to subtract $20 from the lowest items on the list. There are two obvious options here:

  1. Subtract all of your spending money. It’s not a necessity, so it goes.
  2. Subtract $10 from your spending money, and $10 from your transportation money. You can make this up by walking, biking, carpooling, or even working from home.

Personally, I think that it’s important to be able to spoil yourself. Even if it’s only with $10. How many chocolate bars can you buy with that? Or you could rent a movie. Get yourself a coffee. $10 can be a lot.


  1. Medication- $20
  2. Groceries- $100
  3. Toiletries- $20
  4. Transportation- $40 ($50-$10)
  5. Spending- $10 ($20-$10)

Don’t worry, I did the math for you.

$10+$20+$20+$40+$100 = $190


Well, there you go! Making a budget is easy- sticking to it is hard. Here are some tips to help you save money.

  1. Pay with cash. You know exactly how much you can spend and are a lot less likely to go over.
  2. Factor in tax. Whip out your phone and calculate your total before you check out.
  3. Pay with exact change. If your total is $1.08, and you pay with two $1 bills, you’ll get 92 cents back. That’s almost a dollar. Soon enough, you’ll have $7 in change that you’ll never use.
  4. Make a list of what you need. This will help you from throwing things you don’t need in the basket.
  5. Cut back wherever you can. This is an easy way to save money. Bike or carpool instead of paying for gas. Rent a movie instead of going to see one. Eat in or use your meal plan if you have one instead of eating out. If you do go out, get one meal and water. Don’t splurge on appetizers and deserts, you’re poor.

Tip: Use a monthly budget planner, like the one here, to help you keep tabs on your spending.

I hope this helped you get started on saving money. Living on what you make in college is hard, but it is doable. If you have any more money-saving ideas, leave it in the comments! Please like, and subscribe for more content!