Failing Faster in Communication

Thursday, December 07, 2017

I recently ran across an article that might have been much more useful to me about twenty years ago -- It's specifically dating advice -- but which has applications outside dating, as its author briefly acknowledges. Its title, "Fuck Yes or No," plays on a common problem I found particularly annoying about the whole process, namely wishy-washy answers:

You need to "fail faster," and not dwell on this.
Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. This is where you get rules about making men pay for this many dates before you can become intimate. Or how men need to transition from attraction phase to comfort phase by qualifying three times before they're allowed to commence an escalation ladder.

These things may seem clever and exciting to some people who are stuck or frustrated. But this dating advice misses the point. If you're in the grey area to begin with, you've already lost.

Let me ask again: Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they're not happy with you now, what makes you think they'll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you? [bold in original]
This advice is brilliant, because it uses the value judgements of both people in a proposed interaction to cut through the fog generated by common practices (like not giving a direct rejection), uncertainty about social mores, uncertainty about one's level of attraction (or attractiveness) to the another, and just plain indecision (about which Mark Manson has interesting things to say later on). The gist, and why this has broader applications than dating, is that one should ideally be genuinely interested in making an offer, and should really only be interested in dealing with others who show an enthusiastic response. Everything else is a waste of time. If two people really are interested in the same thing, they will find a way to at least try to get it.

This isn't to say this advice can be applied to just any interpersonal transaction, but, carefully applied, it can save lots of time and energy.

-- CAV

No comments: