Dear Sangita: Everyone is getting engaged and I’m feeling the pressure

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Sangita Patel is Streets of Toronto’s new advice columnist and is an entertainment reporter with ET Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two daughters. 


Dear Sangita: Everyone around me is getting engaged, and I’m feeling pressure like I should be too. My partner and I are happy where we are though. How do I stop comparing myself to other people?  — Cracking under peer pressure

Dear Cracking: I would encourage you to forget about the peer pressure and do what you want to do on your own schedule. But I completely understand that when you’re experiencing people around you getting engaged, you feel that pressure. I get the feeling that you’re probably already thinking about it, and you might actually be wondering, “When am I going to be the one to get engaged?” So I don’t think it’s necessarily the pressure of the people around you. Is it possible that you’re questioning yourself and thinking, “When is this going to happen for me?” In your mind, you might need to think about whether you do want to get engaged and that you feel like you need to bring it up with your partner. 

For me, for example, when I was with my boyfriend at the time (my now-husband), for four or five years, and it just naturally came about to say, “Hey, this is the time we should get engaged and this is the time we should get married.” Sometimes it just happens naturally. I think you may be at a point where you want to talk about it — and perhaps you’ve already talked to your partner about it in the past.

If that’s the case, I don’t think you need to bring it up. The challenge is the question you asked — how to stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s something that I deal with as well, where I sometimes care too much about what people think about me. In my 40s, I’m starting to learn to let that go. One of my friends said to me, “They don’t pay your bills. It doesn’t matter what their opinions are.” Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business! So I strive live that life now. Comparing yourself to others, it’s going to happen — people say to stop comparing, but it’s going to happen. So instead it’s about how you deal with that and turn it into a positive for yourself.

Dear Sangita: I’ve started at a new job and my boss has terrible body odour. She has said she doesn’t use deodorant. At this point, it’s very difficult to work in the office when she comes in. It’s a small company, so there’s no HR team to speak to about this. Can I do anything about it? — Barely bearing the B.O.

Dear Barely: No! You’ll need to figure it out for yourself. You can’t bring up that conversation with your boss. That’s the way your boss wants to live. She doesn’t want to use deodorant. So no, you really can’t say anything. Unless you are friends and you can bring up the conversation in a friendly way, but it doesn’t sound like you are. Unfortunately, that’s your boss and you have to find a way to deal with it. Maybe that means wearing a mask! I have a feeling she’s aware of the smell, and she’s fine with it, especially if she’s comfortably brought up the fact that she doesn’t wear deodorant with you before. 

Dear Sangita: How do you “do it all”? — Hoping for guidance

Dear Hoping: To me, the word “balance” doesn’t really exist in my life. Sometimes you’re focusing on your career, and that means that your family has to adjust with that side of it. Or sometimes it’s the other way around — your family is your major priority, and sometimes that means your career has to take a little bit of a hold. It’s OK to do that. It’s about figuring out how much you can handle. It’s OK not to always be there for everything, and also it’s important to let yourself know that it’s OK to let certain things go at a certain time.

One of my friends, Farah Nasser, she said to me, “People see you and they see you as this perfect person.” And I told her it’s because I show joy. I just try to bring a positive attitude to everything. 

When my dad was sick and I thought I was going to lose him, I was sitting next to him in the hospital. And he said, “Let’s talk about all the amazing experiences we had together. You’ve got to look at what we’ve had, right?” I think that’s true for everything. 

So I think that’s what it is. I take a moment. If I need to cry, I will cry. But I take a moment and then I say, “OK, get over it. Let’s move on. What’s the next step?” So I don’t live a perfect life. But I live a very joyful life.

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