When It’s Not a Date

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

What I’m about to share with you is nothing short of a dating-related horror story. That said, it’s an opportunity to draw from and grow, and in turn offer advice.

I thought it was a date.

I was a few years out of college at the time and we’d been unable to coordinate our schedules. I fully thought it felt like a date. Come to think of it, I should have consulted with my peers, who were (and still are) significantly more experienced at playing the field than I am. But when we arrived — separately — it didn’t take me long to realize that this meeting was not, in fact, a date.

My companion wasted no time in telling me that a relationship, in any form, was not on the horizon. I smiled and nodded and on the inside, I felt, for lack of better terminology, friend-zoned. More significantly, I felt embarrassed. I came into this “meetup” with high expectations — after all, we’d tried for months to get together, and it didn’t end up at all as I’d hoped.

I sat there and tried to enjoy the rest of the time. I refrained from asking any embarrassing questions, including “Are we on a date?” or “Why do you feel like you’re not ready for a relationship?” I drank my coffee and ate my cookie and felt my cheeks grow increasingly red. I couldn’t wait to leave and from what I remember of the rest of the “date” (because I honestly don’t remember much) I spent it making awful jokes at my own expense.

Now that we know what not to do, here’s how you can learn from my mistakes:

  • Try to save the evening, but don’t try too hard. Think of trying to save yourself from embarrassment. Don’t overcompensate with loud, obnoxious jokes, but don’t stay silent either.
  • Don’t get ruffled, and remember that we’ve all been there. Talk to this person as though you’re speaking to a casual friend because, after all, that’s whom you’re now talking to.
  • At this point, you can be yourself. The “first impression” portion of the evening has ended. Maybe you can gain a friend out of this experience. That’s a more likely outcome if you just act as naturally as possible.
  • Don’t get your hopes up. If it’s made obvious from early on that it is very much not a date, don’t try to make it into one. It won’t help anyone, including you.
  • Let it go. Leave when it feels natural to you to leave. If you did drive together, don’t try too hard to make idle conversation in the car. If it feels right to you, great. If not, don’t. You can put up with the awkward silence for a half hour car ride. If you do gain a friend, great, but if you don’t, now is not the time to beat yourself up. Chalk it up to experience and try again tomorrow.

Remember, don’t let this one experience dictate your entire dating life! You won’t encounter this embarrassing misfortune every time you make a date with someone. The experience is something you’ll laugh about one day — I know I do.

World Youth Day, Pope Emojis and… Inclusion of Millennials in the Catholic Faith

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

I always wanted to attend World Youth Day.

As a practicing Catholic, it gives me joy to see other millennials grow entrenched in the faith as a result of Pope Francis’ commitment to welcoming young people. While World Youth Day has been a staple of the Vatican since 1984, this year’s gathering in Krakow, Poland starting this upcoming week brings a new energy with Pope Francis at its helm.

I’ve watched year after year as pilgrims attended World Youth Day in the past, in Rio, in Madrid and even prior to 2011. I was one of the only young, churchgoing Catholics in my high school class and I regularly felt out there by myself. I loved the concept of partaking on a pilgrimage with other, like-minded young people. And I would have loved the chance as a teenager to live vicariously through other pilgrims.

Enter the Digital Street Team.

During the Pontiff’s visit to the United States in 2015, the Digital Street Team, led by Aleteia media, took to covering the visit on all forms of social media — echoing support for Pope Francis’ “inclusion of all faiths, non-believers and people who have sinned.” The team was made up of around 60 millennials who entered a social media-based contest with the prize of covering the visit on all social platforms. They plugged the hashtag #GoodIsWinning and even helped to launch Pope Emojis under the slogan “Pope is Hope.”

And they’re not done yet, either; they’re pouring their efforts into promoting World Youth Day with more Pope Emojis and social media. I spoke with Kathleen Hessert of Sports Media Challenge — who gave us a bigger picture of the media campaign and its impact on Catholic and non-Catholic millennials.

“It’s remarkable the reception that Pope Emoji has received around the world,” Hessert said. “Since September 2015 and with the backing of Aleteia, almost 1.3 million Pope Emoji have been sent, racking up 34.1 million impressions.”

We went on to specifically discuss the transfer of the Pope Emoji campaign over to World Youth Day. “With literally millions of young people converging on Krakow for World Youth Day 2016, Aleteia saw a tremendous opportunity to expose pilgrims from every corner of the earth to the experience of sharing a fun new visual language of Catholic Emoji,” Hessert continued.

 

In addition, Aleteia produced an infographic showing tips and tricks for attending and for covering World Youth Day via social media. For those of you lucky enough to attend, I’m going to directly quote a few.

  • Plan ahead and set reminders to capture the sights, sounds and meaning of what’s taking place.
  • Get official [social] accounts on all platforms (hint: Pope Francis is @Pontifex on Twitter).
  • Don’t be afraid to mix up content. Use video and photos.
  • Capture the date, location and significance of your post.
  • Combine Pope Emojis with your smartphone’s Emojis.
  • Hashtags being used: #Krakow2016, #WYD, #USAPilgrim, #ShowKnowMercy, #WYDUSA

Aleteia rounds out its campaign with two more features — a World Youth Day 2016 playlist, available via QR code cards which will be passed out to attending pilgrims and a photo contest, asking for photo entries with the hashtag #KrakowToRome. The goal of the contest is to “capture enthusiasm and hope of young Catholics in Krakow,” and, in keeping with the hashtag, the winner will be awarded a trip to Rome.

Putting my Catholic bias aside, it is exciting to see any public figure so focused on the inclusion of millennials.


Check out Aleteia’s full infographic here.

If you’d like to download the Pope Emojis, they are available on the App Store and Google Play.

World Youth Day, Pope Emojis and…Inclusion of Millennials in the Catholic Faith

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

Pope_WYD_S-01

I always wanted to attend World Youth Day.

As a practicing Catholic—it gives me joy to see other millennials grow entrenched in the faith as a result of Pope Francis’ commitment to welcoming young people. While World Youth Day has been a staple of the Vatican since 1984, this year’s gathering in Krakow, Poland starting this upcoming week brings a new energy with Pope Francis at its helm.

I’ve watched year after year as pilgrims attended World Youth Day in the past—in Rio, in Madrid and even prior to 2011. I was one of the only young, churchgoing Catholics in my high school class and I regularly felt out there by myself. I loved the concept of partaking on a pilgrimage with other, like-minded young people. And I would have loved the chance as a teenager to live vicariously through other pilgrims.

Enter the Digital Street Team.

During the Pontiff’s visit to the United States last year, the Digital Street Team, led by Aleteia media, took to covering the visit on all forms of social media—echoing support for Pope Francis’ “inclusion of all faiths, non-believers and people who have sinned.” The team was made up of around 60 millennials who entered a social media-based contest with the prize of covering the visit on all social platforms. They plugged the hashtag #GoodIsWinning and even helped to launch Pope Emojis under the slogan “Pope is Hope.”

And they’re not done yet, either—they’re pouring their efforts into promoting World Youth Day with more Pope Emojis and social media. I spoke with Kathleen Hessert of Sports Media Challenge—who gave us a bigger picture of the media campaign and its impact on Catholic and non-Catholic millennials.

“It’s remarkable the reception that Pope Emoji has received around the world,” Hessert said. “Since last September and with the backing of Aleteia, almost 1.3 million Pope Emoji have been sent, racking up 34.1 million impressions.”

We went on to specifically discuss the transfer of the Pope Emoji campaign over to World Youth Day. “With literally millions of young people converging on Krakow for World Youth Day 2016, Aleteia saw a tremendous opportunity to expose pilgrims from every corner of the earth to the experience of sharing a fun new visual language of Catholic Emoji,” Hessert continued.

In addition, Aleteia produced an infographic showing tips and tricks for attending and for covering World Youth Day via social media. For those of you lucky enough to attend, I’m going to directly quote a few (and be forwarned, I’ll be watching you too).

  • Plan ahead and set reminders to capture the sights, sounds and meaning of what’s taking place.
  • Get official [social] accounts on all platforms (hint: Pope Francis is @Pontifex on Twitter).
  • Don’t be afraid to mix up content. Use video and photos.
  • Capture the date, location and significance of your post.
  • Combine Pope Emojis with your smartphone’s Emojis.
  • Hashtags being used: #Krakow2016, #WYD, #USAPilgrim, #ShowKnowMercy, #WYDUSA

Aleteia rounds out its campaign with two more features—a World Youth Day 2016 playlist, available via QR code cards which will be passed out to attending pilgrims and a photo contest, asking for photo entries with the hashtag #KrakowToRome. The goal of the contest is to “capture enthusiasm and hope of young Catholics in Krakow,” and, in keeping with the hashtag, the winner will be awarded a trip to Rome.

Putting my Catholic bias aside, it is exciting to see any public figure so focused on the inclusion of millennials. I know I can’t wait to watch social media for a series of unforgettable moments. If you’re heading to Krakow or have arrived already, we wish you a wonderful pilgrimage—and yes. I’m jealous!


Check out Aleteia’s full infographic here.

If you’d like to download the Pope Emojis, they are available on the App Store and Google Play.

Your Insurance Cheat Sheet, Part 1: Auto Insurance

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

fallen-tree-1088514_1920

You don’t want to talk about it. Or think about it. Or figure out how it works. Or deal with the paperwork. Most of all, you don’t want to pay for it.

But…for better or worse, if you want to drive, you need to have auto insurance (in most states).

In another life, I sold insurance. My favorite part of my job was educating millennials about how it works. Like finances, insurance—in any capacity—can seem daunting. There is a great deal of numbers, industry terminology and fine print involved in any one insurance policy. But I’m here to break it down for you as I did with my customers—in the first part of this two-part series.

Liability Coverage

Every auto insurance policy comes with liability coverage, or the portion of the policy that will pay damages to another party. On your auto insurance policy, liability coverage will be listed on a line looking similar to this one:

25/50/10

Keep in mind: all numbers are in thousands. So, ‘25’ is actually $25,000 and ‘50’ represents $50,000.

The ‘25’ is in the first position represents bodily injury damage per person. If the drivers suffers injuries that would cost $10,000 worth of treatment, your policy would front that $10,000. But—if that driver suffers injuries that would cost $35,000 worth of treatment…you’d be short about ten grand. Why? Because your policy limit only covers up to $25,000 worth of bodily injury payments per any one person.

The ’50’ in the second position represents bodily injury damages—wait, didn’t we just cover that? You’re right, we did, but now we’re moving into bodily injury per accident. Say you were once again in an accident, but this time, there were two people in the car—and each person suffered injuries that required treatment costing $15,000 each. Not to worry…you’d be covered. Why? Because $15,000 doesn’t exceed the per person limit of $25,000, and $30,000 ($15,000 x 2) doesn’t exceed the per accident limit of $50,000. However, if both people were injured to the tune of $30,000 each, you’d have to hold on to your wallet.

But wait—what about the big gash in the rear bumper of the car you just hit? What coverage is going to pay for that? The ‘10’ in the third position represents property damage—that is, any damage your at-fault accident caused to the car, or a pole on the side of the road, or a guard rail, to name a few possibilities. And if you’re thinking that in this case it will cover up to $10,000 worth of property damages, you’re correct.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) aka “No-Fault” Coverage

Personal Injury Protection requirements vary by state—but if it’s included in your policy, you are entitled to payment to treat your own injuries in the event of an accident, regardless of fault (hence the nickname no-fault coverage).

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Oh, no—you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance, or carries significantly low liability limits. To put it simply, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will help you out—it’s in place for those exact situations and is required by a number of states.

Collision Coverage

While it’s an optional coverage, you’re probably going to want collision coverage for a newer car—and if you’re engaged in a lease or loan contract, it’s going to be required as part of said contract. Sometimes accidents happen in which it’s difficult to decipher which party is truly at fault. In those cases, both parties will suffer property damage to their respective vehicles. Your car may have a gash in the front, or a smashed headlight. Since it could take a bit for one side to be ruled at fault, collision coverage is the best way to get the repair taken care of. It will usually come with a deductible—better known as the portion of the price of the repair that you are responsible for yourself—but the cost of any damages over and above the deductible are covered.

Comprehensive (aka Other Than Collision) Coverage

Sometimes damages to your vehicle are not the results of an accident between two vehicles. It’s possible…a tree fell on your windshield. Or maybe you hit a pole causing damage to the front grill. Whatever the cause, don’t worry—there’s an optional coverage for that (again required by most lease or loan contracts). Comprehensive coverage will cover any loss caused by something other than a collision less your deductible, and most companies don’t even include a deductible if it’s just for an auto glass repair.

Helpful Tips

  • There are many auto insurance companies out there in cyberspace—especially the big names that you’ve probably seen in commercials including State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Farmers and esurance (which is an Allstate affiliate). They will all promise the best prices. Get quotes from more than one company and be sure to speak with an agent about the particulars.
  • Read your policy when it comes in the mail. I know, it’s a drag and it’s long. But do your best to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.
  • If you have a lease or loan contract, know their auto insurance requirements. Not only will your financial institution most likely require the purchase of comprehensive and collision coverages but they will also ask for higher limits of liability.
  • Be sure to check your state’s required liability limits. In the above example, I used New York’s required limits of 25/50/10—but your state may require higher or lower minimum limits.
  • Educate yourself further. I’ve covered a lot here, but there is more to auto insurance than just coverages, limits and deductibles.

Your Insurance Cheat Sheet: Auto Insurance

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

You don’t want to talk about it. Or think about it. Or figure out how it works. Or deal with the paperwork. Most of all, you don’t want to pay for it.

But… for better or worse, if you want to drive, you need to have auto insurance (in most states).

In another life, I sold insurance. My favorite part of my job was educating millennials about how it works. Like finances, insurance, in any capacity, can seem daunting. There is a great deal of numbers, industry terminology and fine print involved in any one insurance policy. But I’m here to break it down for you as I did with my customers.

Liability Coverage
Every auto insurance policy comes with liability coverage, or the portion of the policy that will pay damages to another party. On your auto insurance policy, liability coverage will be listed on a line looking similar to this one:

25/50/10

Keep in mind: all numbers are in thousands. So, ‘25’ is actually $25,000 and ‘50’ represents $50,000.

The ‘25’ is in the first position represents bodily injury damage per person. If the drivers suffers injuries that would cost $10,000 worth of treatment, your policy would front that $10,000. But — if that driver suffers injuries that would cost $35,000 worth of treatment… you’d be short about ten grand. Why? Because your policy limit only covers up to $25,000 worth of bodily injury payments per any one person.

The ’50’ in the second position represents bodily injury damages — wait, didn’t we just cover that? You’re right, we did, but now we’re moving into bodily injury per accident. Say you were once again in an accident, but this time, there were two people in the car — and each person suffered injuries that required treatment costing $15,000 each. Not to worry…you’d be covered. Why? Because $15,000 doesn’t exceed the per person limit of $25,000, and $30,000 ($15,000 x 2) doesn’t exceed the per accident limit of $50,000. However, if both people were injured to the tune of $30,000 each, you’d have to hold on to your wallet.

But wait — what about the big gash in the rear bumper of the car you just hit? What coverage is going to pay for that? The ‘10’ in the third position represents property damage — that is, any damage your at-fault accident caused to the car, or a pole on the side of the road, or a guard rail, to name a few possibilities. And if you’re thinking that in this case it will cover up to $10,000 worth of property damages, you’re correct.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) aka “No-Fault” Coverage
Personal Injury Protection requirements vary by state — but if it’s included in your policy, you are entitled to payment to treat your own injuries in the event of an accident, regardless of fault (hence the nickname no-fault coverage).

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Oh, no — you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance, or carries significantly low liability limits. To put it simply, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will help you out — it’s in place for those exact situations and is required by a number of states.

Collision Coverage
While it’s an optional coverage, you’re probably going to want collision coverage for a newer car — and if you’re engaged in a lease or loan contract, it’s going to be required as part of said contract. Sometimes accidents happen in which it’s difficult to decipher which party is truly at fault. In those cases, both parties will suffer property damage to their respective vehicles. Your car may have a gash in the front, or a smashed headlight. Since it could take a bit for one side to be ruled at fault, collision coverage is the best way to get the repair taken care of. It will usually come with a deductible — better known as the portion of the price of the repair that you are responsible for yourself — but the cost of any damages over and above the deductible are covered.

Comprehensive (aka Other Than Collision) Coverage
Sometimes damages to your vehicle are not the results of an accident between two vehicles. It’s possible… a tree fell on your windshield. Or maybe you hit a pole causing damage to the front grill. Whatever the cause, don’t worry — there’s an optional coverage for that (again required by most lease or loan contracts). Comprehensive coverage will cover any loss caused by something other than a collision less your deductible, and most companies don’t even include a deductible if it’s just for an auto glass repair.

Helpful Tips

  • There are many auto insurance companies out there in cyberspace—especially the big names that you’ve probably seen in commercials including State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Farmers and esurance (which is an Allstate affiliate). They will all promise the best prices. Get quotes from more than one company and be sure to speak with an agent about the particulars.
  • Read your policy when it comes in the mail. I know, it’s a drag and it’s long. But do your best to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.
  • If you have a lease or loan contract, know their auto insurance requirements. Not only will your financial institution most likely require the purchase of comprehensive and collision coverages but they will also ask for higher limits of liability.
  • Be sure to check your state’s required liability limits. In the above example, I used New York’s required limits of 25/50/10—but your state may require higher or lower minimum limits.
  • Educate yourself further. I’ve covered a lot here, but there is more to auto insurance than just coverages, limits and deductibles.