Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for May, 2016

Quora Question: How can I make my boyfriend more classy and modern?

Her: My boyfriend of 6 mth. comes from a lower middle-class family, but for the past 2 years has been earning a huge package at a big firm. Still, he has some irritating habits: making small talk with rickshaw, taxiwallas and waiters; roadside chai; no knowledge of brands and being fine with any outfit.

My answer:

“He makes small talks with rickshaw, taxi wallers, even waiters, has roadside chai, has no knowledge of brands & is fine with any outfit”

Good grief woman, when I read your predicament with your boyfriend, within a fraction of a second there was only one conclusion I made:

He’s awesome, will he marry me!

You are a very lucky woman. He has it all, I would be proud to have such a grounded boyfriend. Good manners and respect for others is priceless, no amount of money can buy you that. He’s gold dust!

Being successful does not give you the right to degrade others you feel are ‘less worthy’ of his respect. These rickshaw drivers, taxi wallers, waiters are human beings who are hard-working, their success isn’t measured by how much money they earn.

One of my neighbours is worth £50 million, he doesn’t wear labels, and chats to everyone, I must feel privileged that he takes his time to talk to ‘poor neighbour’ me, and even God forbid the cleaner. Next time I see him, I will tell him not to talk to me, because otherwise that would mean he’s not classy. He suffers from the same ‘flaw’ as your boyfriend; both being genuinely authentic.

May I ask, what is it that you do? While he’s working his way up the ladder, one day, he may decide that he wants to ‘trade’ up to a more beautiful, successful, kinder woman, befitting to his ever burgeoning ‘classy’ status. How do you feel about that?

“he comes from a ‘lower’ middle class family”: this is another problem with your attitude right here. I think he’s a credit to his family. Unless you can appreciate him for the gem of a guy he is, then do him a favour, don’t turn him into a snob. He already exudes class. I can bet your bottom dollar, he won’t be single for long! 


Quora Question: Am I ready for marriage if I didn’t succumb to temptation?

Him: I’ve been in a year and a half relationship with my girlfriend. I’m 46. A few weeks ago I met a random girl, she invited me back to hers. We passionately kissed and played with each other, but didn’t get an erection. I think that must mean my mind was telling me I love my girlfriend? Is this true?

My answer:

Good grief Anonymous, you’re 46! When I saw the A2A, I expected this dilemma to be one of a young man in his teens/20’s. By the time you’re 30 and beyond, most people have had enough relationship/life experience to have been there/done that, to have not gotten themselves in this situation.

Ok, you asked for it:

If you were at the stage of marrying your girlfriend this is what would happen:

Hot girl flirts with you, obviously you’re flattered, but you respond, ‘thanks, but I’ve got a girlfriend.’ Finished.

By accepting her invitation, you are now crossing the boundaries of your monogamous relationship. There is clear intent on your part, no one is pointing a gun to your head.

– Scenario 1: you get to her door, but freak out, and call it off.

– Scenario 2: you enter her place, but get uncomfortable before you begin to ‘play’ with her. You leave.

Those two scenarios could at the very least salvage your relationship. You were tempted, but didn’t follow through.

How people define infidelity is subjective. Some men and women would say kissing is cheating, others would be less strict, and say only applies for intercourse.

What really struck me about your A2A?

You missed integral words out. Where is ‘guilt’, ‘shame’, ‘girlfriend’s feelings’ mentioned in your comment? I pay particular attention to the way someone writes. If they can’t authentically express their emotions, then to me that speaks volumes.

Perhaps, I’m being unfair, because you may simply not be that great at articulating your emotions.

However what you did include was the word ‘passionately’. I’m presuming, you were attracted to this woman, having ‘played’ with each other (let’s not be shy, this involved the genitals?) What you failed to mention was whether your erectile dysfunction was a consequence of performance anxiety (she was hot), or you suddenly came to your senses and realised you loved your girlfriend, and couldn’t follow through?

Moving forwards:

Your actions have eroded trust and security. Your girlfriend asks, “so did you have a good evening?” You: “not really, I was working late, then had a few drinks with friends.”

You need to work on intimacy in your relationship first, that’s lacking, before you even consider being in a position to consider marriage. Not for you, but most importantly for your girlfriend’s sake.

If failing to get an erection for another woman is how you define being ready for marriage, then you sure set the bench mark low. Quite frankly, she deserves better.

Quora Question: What makes a person adorable?

It doesn’t happen often, but when I do stumble upon such a gem, I’m always taken by them.

One such person was a colleague of mine that I worked with for a few years. He was my adopted little brother, and I nicknamed him big baby. He was placid, always smiling, pleasant demeanour, thoughtful (always running across the road to get me food when I was stressed, and had no time to go out), kind, showed a willingness to help others, never judgemental, could always see two sides to an argument, appeared confident on the outside but was shy on the inside/a little insecure, never in a bad mood, family orientated, disappointed in himself when he messed up.

Everyone knows that I have a soft spot for him, and out of all those I’ve worked with in a professional capacity, he’s in a league of his own.

The most adorable thing of all was at our joint office Xmas & his leaving do. A couple of weeks after the event, my boss told me that big baby had asked him to look after me, as he could no longer given he was leaving.

If I’m ever lucky enough to have a son, then I hope he’d turn out to be as adorable as him.

Thanks for the A2A, Pradeepta.

Kind regards,


Quora Question: What is the difference between the right guy and true love?My bf has everything that I ever wanted in a man, personality and looks. He respects me a lot yet I don’t feel comfortable enough around him. Why is that? I can’t speak to him openly though he does. Do I not love him even though I know he is the right guy?

Honestly. I think you’re lucky. You have what most of us would love in a partner. Personality, looks, respect and openness. That’s the holy grail 🙂

Why don’t you feel comfortable being yourself with him? Are you scared of true intimacy? Letting yourself go? Letting him get close enough to know your fears and insecurities?

How do you know if it’s true love?

Do you think about him when you’re apart?

How would you feel if he cheated on you?

How would you feel if you never saw him again?

Do you make an effort in the relationship?

Does he make you happy?

Do you make him happy?

Do you want to be with anyone else?

Physical intimacy: is there chemistry, or do you feel like you’re going through the motions?

I don’t know your age, but could you imagine spending the rest of your life with him, and having a family?

Do you want the samethings?

Do you share the same values?

Could you imagine anyone better than him?

Is he more than just a good friend?

Anyone that I let into my life, those are the questions I ask myself.

Benefit of years of being scared to be open, is that I’m now the opposite. If that person wants to ask me any question, I will happily give them a truthful answer. Whether it’s fear of letting him in, or not being in love with him, that’s really only a question you can answer, and not one I would wish to influence in anyway.

I hope you figure out what it is that you want. Think about it carefully though, guys like this, particularly ones that can openly communicate are rare. Give it time before making any rash decision.

I’ll leave you with something to ponder on. Anyone can be with the ‘right guy’, but true love is unconditional. If I met him, he would be someone, I would put before myself. I’d always want the best for him…



Quora Question: How do I visit my girlfriend in long distance relationship if her parents are against it?We’ve known each other for ages and since then we’ve been talking every day, we get along so well, it breaks our heart not to see eachother that often. I’ve first met her in March in Easter vacations as I saved up enough for the plane.

Him: Thing is, she lives in another country and her parents don’t know english, and they say this relationship is a mistake doing everything they can to make our lives a living hell. As she’s still 17, we’d have to wait till next April although I’d really love if I could make her a suprise this summer, I just don’t know what they might do. They even got her a job for the whole summer so she won’t have that much free time..Help would be much appreciated!

(I’m 19, we’ve been dating for little over 8 months now, we skype, call, text everyday)

My answer:

“I know in my heart that I’ll never find someone as perfect as her, and she knows it too, everything would be perfect without them”

I’m not going to put a dampener on your relationship. Deep down, I’m a sucker for romance.

Don’t be too hard on her parents. I know it’s incredibly frustrating, but like you said, they don’t speak English, and as far as they’re concerned you’re a stranger living in a different country. That’s their daughter. They’re just being protective parents. Oh s***, just realised I’m getting old talking like this 🙂

Seriously though, long distance is a challenge, particularly at your age. However, if you really do think she’s the best thing that’s happened to you, then be smart. Don’t antagonise her parents. Play the long game. Over time, they may come to realise that you’re serious. You can’t wish for her parents to not be a part of her life, that is unlikely to happen, and is not something someone who loves her would want.

There’s not much you can do until she’s independent, living her own life. In the meantime, just keep the momentum going, continue chatting everyday. Even if her parents got her a job, still go and see her. I’m sure she could spare sometime, however short that is. When you’re crazy about someone, every second with them counts.

Thanks for the A2A.

Good luck,


Quora Question: Do you believe in love at first sight?

I’m a deep thinker and follow my head rather than heart, so my personal answer to this question is a resounding NO!

How on earth can anyone seriously say that after just looking at someone for the first time, they knew it was love?

However, I do believe in attraction/lust at first sight. I’ve only ever experienced this with two guys in my life. What was it like? When our eyes first met, the intense feeling of attraction struck me like a flash of lightening, followed by butterflies in the tummy whenever I thought about them. Did it work out. No. I didn’t love either of them, because they were missing having the sort of personality I was attracted to.

If a guy tells me that he fell in love the first time he saw me, I’d think he needs to get himself out of the time warp that is his fickle teenage mind and grow up 🙂

True love must be grown from the heart, from trust, admiration and kindness. It takes time to cultivate not mere seconds.

Don’t get me wrong. I love romance. If you experience that electric feeling “lust at first sight”, and it develops into a long-term relationship, that relationship has a greater chance of achieving better quality.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m not concerned about whether I will experience “lust at first sight” again. Positive first impressions are great, but that sort of feeling is not profound enough yet for me to know if he’s the one. For me, love is gradual, it’s all about falling in love with personality first, because that’s harder to find. I’ve only ever been in love once. That was with a guy that had severe facial disfigurement. He really got deep inside my heart. Even when you do find it, love alone won’t be enough. At the end of the day, looks/personality/love means absolutely nothing without shared values & outlook (that’s the bit that takes time to figure out); it’s all about long-term compatibility, that is the truth…



Quora Question: How can I learn to be more kind?

The first act of kindness was bestowed upon me when I was a small child. It was my first day at primary school. I vividly remember my mum holding my hand, passing these tall gates, then suddenly letting go and waving goodbye. I entered the playground, there was lots of noise from the children playing. All the good toys had been taken, there was nothing for me. I hid away in the corner feeling alone. A single tear drop falls down my face. Then from a distance I see a girl coming towards me, she smiles and pushes a pram with a doll inside to me, then she just walks away. That girl was called Jody and she became my childhood friend.

Then one day I got angry from one of my friends stealing my Barbie clothes from me. I ran to my dad who gets me to sit with him on the sofa and watch Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. I see tears in his eyes. “Dad, why are you crying,” I said. He said, “Abida, I was a young child during the partition. I remember walking for days without food, seeing dead bodies along the way, and I had lost my parents. I didn’t know whether they were dead or alive. We went from having a good standard of living in India to having to start all over again in the newly formed Pakistan. I learnt the importance of education, I studied hard, swimming across the river each morning to get to my school. I gained the highest marks in Mathematics in the country, a scholarship to study in the UK, and became successful in my chosen field. I never forgot where I came from though. When you see someone that hasn’t got much, please help them, learn to share.” I later learnt after his death that my dad gave money to poor people in his childhood village (they’d contracted Hepatitis and needed money for medication).

Two years ago, I met a nurse. I was paralysed with fear, I couldn’t face watching my dad die. She tightly grabbed my hand and led the way into his room. I watched her chat to him (despite him being in a coma), massage his body with moisturiser, and shave his face. I was humbled by her kindness.

Then it was my turn. One Winter, on my morning walk to Pret, I happened to pass a homeless girl who was sitting on the floor begging for money. Some guy in a suit accidently kicked the hat which housed her change but he was too busy talking on his phone to notice. It was really cold, and the young homeless girl (she must have been in her mid-late teens) had no coat and was shivering and frantically trying to collect the tossed change together. As I walked into Pret, my heart sank (I remembered Jody, and what my dad told me); I got my usual hot chocolate and croissant and also got the girl the same. I stood in front of her and kneeled down and gave her my coat and food. The smile on her face was priceless, she looked up at me and mouthed ‘thank you’. I had such a warm feeling inside.

Whenever someone compliments me on being kind and grounded, I tell them that the real credit goes to people that have inspired me throughout my life. From Jody, my dad to the intensive care nurse. I’m sure there will be more to add to that list in time.

Kindness anyone can cultivate through choice. You can start by graciously acknowledging when someone has helped you, open doors, give up your seat to the elderly, taking flowers or wine when your friend invites you to dinner, help fellow colleagues out, keep in regular contact with friends, be there for people when they hit a rough patch, involve yourself in charity work. The list is endless!

I’ll always remember the times in my life when I’ve needed help. Kindness is an act of genuinely caring and wanting to help others, I never ask for anything in return…