Your Parents
Perhaps you and our loved ones could benefit from several years of intensive therapy. But Jeanne Darst, author of Fiction Ruined My Family—a tragicomic memoir about her frustrated writer father and alcoholic mother—recommends a faster (and cheaper) approach: Embrace the crazy. “Don’t just accept people for who they are. My mother became a shut-in toward the end of her life. She loved only two things: Jackie Kennedy biographies and speaking on the phone about what she’d seen on TV. Instead of letting her drive me insane, I realized that talking for hours about beauty pageant contestants could actually be enjoyable.”

Your Partner
We all say we know the key to great sex is speaking up—but when was the last time you did? A recent survey by condom-maker Durex revealed that while 84 percent of couples admit their sex life would improve if they told their partner what they really wanted in bed, 14 percent of women said they never talk about it. Enter, an online sex questionnaire for couples that make pillow talk a little more comfortable. Log on, select the fantasies that get your motor running (they range from PG to XXX), ask your partner to do the same, and wait to be notified about the fantasies you share. (Those you don’t will remain secret.) What comes next is up to the two of you.

Your Pals
While a good gab with a great friend is always a joy, the setting—a café, wine bar—is probably predictable. The next time a friend suggests a coffee date, say Rishi Mandal, cofounder of the popular concierge site, which curates local activities and events in cities across the U.S., try coffee “cupping,” the industry’s version of a tasting. San Francisco roaster Four Barrel, for instance, hosts cuppings for $15. Or skip coffee entirely, say Mandal, and bond while trying out a new class. From 3-D printing to DIY terrarium, more and more independent artisans and gardeners around the country are organizing low-cost workshops to teach their trade. If your girlfriends aren’t the craftiest, even better: Enjoy the hilarity of muddling through together.


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