Ask Sophia: It’s our new advice column! Burning question? This is your monthly chance to have those nagging life and work queries answered by our founder, Sophia Amoruso.
This month, Sophia tackles the subject of losing friends, navigating life as an introvert and that age old dilemma — how to ask your boss for a raise.
Want to ask Sophia something? Hit us up. Now, on with the questions.
Q. Post-graduation, I’ve lost a large quantity of friends due to things like moving for jobs, marriage, working 90 hour weeks, etc. No one ever talks about how all of a sudden, you look around and realize that you have three good friends that you can call when you need help! How do you navigate this? — Friendless (less than college at least)
Oh man, I’ve experienced this quite a bit. I have had a wild ride by anyone’s standards, let alone someone in their 20s and early 30s. I’ve kept a small group of ride-or-die friends, but also have made new friends who are also entrepreneurs, marketers, and people that run in some of the business circles I do.
It’s important to keep old friends, but also to know when to move on. Sometimes you just outgrow a friendship, the same way you outgrow a relationship. Your 20s and early 30s are the time in your life when you have the most extreme changes, and it’s when everyone goes from being on the same path—college, or just binge-drinking full-time, or both — to moving in such a variety of directions.
I’ve found it helpful to take trips with friends, even if it’s just for a short weekend. It’s hard to catch up over a meal every few weeks, and it can end up feeling like just another obligation on your calendar. Taking a trip gives you time and space to have fun, reconnect, and relax back into your friendship. Trips like this often “up” a friendship that’s newer as well.
If you can’t do that, find some solid time to grab lunch, visit a museum, go on a group date, watch trash television together, or just lay in the sun. When you’re busy, putting it on your calendar makes it real. That can make things feel impersonal — but what’s more impersonal is only showing up for birthday parties.
Q. We are both introverts. I enjoy my own company but sometimes, I don’t know how to get out of my own way. Any tips on how an introvert like me could get out of her own way, to live her best life? — Jasmine
I never knew what an introvert was until recently. I thought I was just a weirdo who had a hard time socializing in groups larger than, well, one other person. The benefits of being an introvert are great: We have a rich inner dialogue, are thoughtful and considered (although I can be quite knee-jerk at times,) and can go narrow and deep with our friendships, rather than shallow and wide. That’s not to say that extroverts are shallow simpletons, rather there are just things they’re better at than we are.
Extroverts are highly rewarded in our culture; from the first day of school, all the way through college and beyond — the group mentality rules. Extroverts draw their energy from being around other people, while introverts draw our energy from being alone. I’ve had to learn how to be an extrovert, but still struggle with everything from public speaking to (get this) speaking to our tiny team of 10 here at Girlboss. It’s embarrassing! But I try to put my stomach flurries aside enough to speak from my heart.
But, I find that I’m fried after just 40 minutes onstage at a conference, and often don’t have the energy to meet attendees afterwards. And that’s okay! You have to know when to protect your energy. Set yourself up for sprints of socializing, but know when to retreat. Make no apologies; most people won’t notice you’re gone. We’re all far too busy thinking about ourselves, unfortunately.
A few tips:
- Set aside 20 minutes when you get home after school or work to unwind, before you socialize with roommates or your significant other.
- Plan the amount of time you intend to stay at an event or party. Don’t feel bad about being one of the first people who leave, after all, you’re busy and want people to know it!
- When you can, avoid energy vampires and people who drain you. That goes for both introverts and extroverts. They’re out there. Cover your neck!
- Write in a journal to creatively “exhale” your day or week. You’ll find yourself less overwhelmed and able to process the world around you.
Q. What do you think about an employee talking to you about money? I know I deserve more (and it was promised to me when I joined one and a half years ago.) Some days I decide I’m gonna talk to my boss, but when I look at him, I just can’t. — Ane
Hi Ane! This is a really common question. First off, congratulations. You know your worth. Now, it’s time to find your confidence. First, keep in mind one of my all-time mantras: “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” It’s sad but true. You’re going to have to get used to asking for the things — all the things — you get in this lifetime.
Consider this: What’s the worst thing that could happen? You don’t get the raise and know that your employer is full of shit? Awesome! You get to move on to a company with more integrity, and keep yours in the process. You’ll want to take some time to make a list of the contributions you’ve made. Your goal is to remind your boss of what you were told when you entered the organization, and tell them that you want to feel like your salary is in line with your contribution.
Make sure you list those contributions specifically as well. Next, practice. Practice, practice, practice. I’ve had to practice for every difficult conversation I’ve ever had. If you just wing it, it’s likely you’ll a) not articulate your message clearly and b) bring emotion into the conversation. This is about your performance, contribution and the promises made to you, period.
And what not to do? Don’t bring up your increasing expenses, health crisis, or anything personal. Keep it profesh and you’ll leave the room with more respect for yourself, and more respect from your boss, regardless of the outcome.