Internet Intermingling

So just recently, I joined one of the more popular internet dating websites, Match.com. After doing so, it became pretty clear to me why I haven’t had a lot of success with similar dating sites in the past – after reading through dozens of profiles, I seem to share virtually nothing in common with anyone, even the people the site seems to think are ideal matches with me.

See, I’m an introvert, and a geek, and those two things are huge parts of my personality. I tend to have a hard time getting to know people – I’ve talked about it extensively in the past. Even after being at my current job for almost a year and a half, it still feels difficult striking up a conversation with my co-workers, even the ones I know share similar interests. I’m kind of conversationally awkward, and I don’t really parse silences and breaks in the conversation very well. But once I get to know somebody, I’m extremely loyal, even if I haven’t talked to them in a long time, even years. And I have a lot of passion for the topics I find important – RPGs, things like comic-related properties, mental health, and a variety of generally kind of nerdy things. I could go on about them for a long time, and I can often have difficulty telling when someone is getting tired of listening.

And with a lot of the people I get paired up with presumptively on these dating websites, I see the same things keep popping up – enjoying long walks, romantic dinners, travel, looking for someone who makes them laugh, willing to try new things, is well-educated… I could go on, but – at least from where I’m sitting – all of these things are frustratingly vague. There are no specifics to help start a conversation – no favorite movies, specific travel destinations they’ve liked, what kinds of things make them laugh. And without something like that, I have no idea where to even begin, and so I hit the ‘Like’ button and hope maybe they’ll ask me something that can help start a conversation. I try to include some favorite movies and books and such in my own profile, to try to differentiate myself, but I know that letting my geek flag fly right off the bat might not be the best idea. So I’m stuck in kind of a weird area.

There are places that say that online dating is ideal for introverts, and I can see why – as this article in Psychology Today notes, it can be far easier to send out an IM or e-mail than try to communicate immediately via phone, or in person. And there are other sites, like this one, that try to help introverts create an attractive user profile for online dating. There are even some online niche dating sites, though I’ve never had any luck there – the user community tends to be exceptionally small, and they tend to be very heavily populated by other guys, and despite living in a pretty big city there never seem to be many viable matches within a reasonable distance.

I wonder sometimes if my lack of experience with relationships makes even something like online dating harder. While I’ve had strong feelings for two women before, neither ended particularly well for me, and I’ve only been on one date. Since I tend to overthink things – especially when I’m not sure what went wrong – I’m not quite sure if things going wrong was because of something I did, or because of where she was in her life, or we just didn’t match up as well as I thought we did, and not having the answers makes my thoughts on the matter go kinda wacky. I wish I could ask, but the questions I want answered are probably way too personal for someone who no longer wants to be a part of my life, or I’m no longer the same person that I used to be and so wouldn’t find the answers very helpful. It feels, in a lot of ways, that while I live on my own, have a job and am going to graduate school, that my prospective romantic life is still very much stuck in a teenage mindset. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, or to what extent other people feel that way, but it feels weird.

But I’m hopeful – even if I don’t find anyone who is interested in me romantically on a dating site like Match.com, I think I can at least find someone to talk to, hopefully about some of the things that really interest me, and about the things that interest her, as well.

I feel kinda weird being optimistic about something – guess I’m still not used to it yet.

 

Emotional Labor

This is something that just came in a conversation online, and reading and learning about it struck such a note with me that I felt a need to post something about it. It has nothing, thankfully, to do with childbirth, but rather a type of work that a lot of people are expected to do, but which a lot of people might not think of as work, and so don’t see as something worthy of compensation.

Emotional labor (here’s the Wikipedia article on it), essentially, is emotional expression (or suppression) that you have to perform as a part of your job, in the simplest definition. Those waiters at your favorite restaurant? The counter workers at the local fast food place? Virtually any retail worker you actually see wearing an ID in a store? That’s what they do. They aren’t naturally happy, perky, and helpful (well, most of them, anyway); it is a part of their job that they have to appear to be positive, even (perhaps especially) when they don’t feel like it. Even if they’re having the worst day of their lives, they have to look and act like they’re always happy, always willing to help you, all the time. And as someone who spent the first year or so working at a bookstore working at the cash register, it’s exhausting – more exhausting, on a lot of days, than the physical portion of the job. While it took a while to get used to being on my feet for 8 hours a day, I did get used to it – but I never got used to pretending to be happy all the time, and I think that, more than anything else, sucked the energy right out of me.

But that’s not where emotional labor ends, and it’s something I wish I had known, or been able to get around my privileged position on, a long time ago. Because you can also end up doing emotional labor on behalf of those around you in your personal life, and in a lot of circumstances, it’s never something that is seen as labor, even though it can be just as exhausting emotionally as helping someone move. I can think of at least one friendship that I might have been able to save if I hadn’t been asking for, and expecting, such a great deal of emotional labor from someone who should not have felt obligated to give it. It’s one of those things I never really thought about before it was brought to my attention, but asking (or expecting) emotional support from a friend constantly can be just as tiring to them as asking them to help you constantly move around all your heavy furniture. I think women are probably hardest-hit by this one, because it seems to have become an expected part of what women do, but I’m not sure I Can explain that without being terribly insulting, so instead I’ll just point you to this article – “Where’s My Cut?”: On Unpaid Emotional Labor.

I know that, having gone through some pretty serious psychological treatment, that there are times when I will need a lot of emotional support. I just wasn’t really aware of how draining it could be for those being asked for it, especially if they’re getting nothing in return. So that’s my big, heavy topic for the weekend.

Also, for completely unrelated reasons, I’ve had a song running through my head for about a week now, and while I generally try not to inflict my musical preferences on others, I thought I’d share this one with you:

What Your Tastes Say About You

I was finishing up a paper for my Human Behaviors class yesterday, and while I was on a break between sections, I stumbled across this article: ‘Your 10 favorite movies may just say something about the real you‘. It seemed like an interesting idea, but after reading it, I thought about it for a minute before getting back to my paper. But now I’m wondering – can things like your favorite movies, or music, or books, tell you, or other people, something about you that isn’t generally obvious?

In thinking about this, I was considering the movies I consider my top ten, and for convenience’s sake, I’ll share that list here; I’m cheating a bit because I condense a couple trilogies into a single place on the list, but it’s my blog and I can do that if I want, right? In no particular order, my top ten movies are:

The Crow

Lord of the Rings trilogy

Star Wars original trilogy

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Princess Bride

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Avengers

Unbreakable

The Usual Suspects

The Dark Knight

This list has actually had several changes over the past couple of years.  28 Days Later, The Prestige, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves have dropped off the list, replaced by Captain America, The Avengers, and Mad Max. Not to say that I don’t still love all three of those movies – yes, even the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie, I’m not ashamed to like it – but the three that have moved up have just grabbed me in a way I find much more satisfying to watch; I try to watch each of these movies at least once a year, if not more, and if I happen upon the movie playing, I’ll almost always sit down and watch one of these ten.

If I were to take a stab at what these movies say about me, I think I’d probably notice a few things. First, a number of these movies are very dark in tone; this fits, because in general I’m a pretty cynical person. Second, only one of these movies could conceivably be set in the ‘real’ world, that being The Usual Suspects – I am a big fantasy, science fiction, and comics fan, so that’s not terribly surprising. And despite being dark, a lot of these movies turn out rather well, or at least have a lot of hope attached to them. Eric Draven gets his revenge, and is welcomed back to the afterlife by his love. Frodo destroys the ring. Luke defeats the Emperor and helps redeem his father. Captain America saves, and is saved by, his childhood friend. Wesley and Buttercup get together. Furiosa takes over from Immortan Joe. The Avengers stop Loki. Bruce Willis stops his Samuel L. Jackson supervillain. Only the last two don’t end on hopeful notes.

So, what do these movies say about me? That I have a healthy imagination, and I feel more comfortable in unreal worlds than in the real one? That I’m generally cynical, but largely because I have a lot of hope and yet keep seeing it dashed?  I’m not sure, but these answers sound plausible. But I’m curious – what do other people think these movies say about me, if anything? And what do your favorite movies, or music, or books, say about you? I’m curious to find out, so please share your thoughts.

 

How the Brain Feels the Hurt of Heartbreak | SciTech Connect

How does your brain “feel” heartbreak? We examine the neurobiological overlap between social and physical pain.

Source: How the Brain Feels the Hurt of Heartbreak | SciTech Connect

This article goes over some of the things that were discussed in my Human Behavior class yesterday. We also went over some ideas on attachment (which I’ve covered in the past, in Attachment and Attachment, Part 2). It’s fascinating stuff to read; I never would have really considered that relationships can be addictive, in a sense, and losing a meaningful one can harm the body and mind in the same way as withdrawal.