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Not abdicating choice in social situations

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LoBagola
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I really like the idea of changing one's sense of life for the better through consistently facing irrational fears; I've implemented big changes in my own personality with large success through somewhat unconventional methods. There is one thing I'd like to bring up in the hopes for some feedback and discussion on something I've recently thought about and picked up from Atlas Shrugged and a friend. I'm hoping to integrate it into the rest of my knowledge because right now it's kind of floating around.

 

I have a friend who I communicate with very openly and we always try to cut out the "maybe's" and "i guess" from our language. Obviously in some context it is necessary. I could refer to one specific example. Say someone asks you out instead of saying "maybe, we'll see" (which me and my friend both find extremely annoying) we say "I'll let you know by 5PM" or just "no, thank you". If your not sure, give yourself time to decide and make a definite decision. A lot of the time people seem to be happy getting pinched and pulled around in social situations without any direction of their own.

 

Then I read this. It's exactly what me and my friend were discussing (although she has never read Rand or knows anything about Objectivism).

This is the scene where Dagny talks to a vagrant she meets on her way to Ohio.

“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.” 
Then, almost as if he sensed that this could sound too much like an appeal for pity, he added, “I guess I just wanted to keep moving...”
This was his attempt to assume the responsibility of a purpose, rather than to throw the burden of his aimlessness upon her mercy…”

 

 

THIS is what I feel like we were getting at.But I can't connect what it is yet. I just have a series of patterns / images of certain interactions in my mind.

 

Here are some more of my own examples:

 

“What do you feeling like doing?” (1)
“I don’t know. I’m easy, man.”
 
“Where do you want to go for dinner?” (2)
“I’m okay with whatever, man.”
 
“God, this gig sucks!” (3)
“Yeah…” 
 

(1)

It's really frustrating when people just leave you to make all the decisions (I used to do this). They are just happy floating around letting someone make a decision which they will then perhaps criticize. I've thought that it's better to make a bold decision then just sit there waiting for someone to decide. This doesn't mean you won't negotiate if someone offers something else. It simply means your stepping up and taking responsibility and not floating around.

 

 

(2)

Same as above. Better make bold decisions.

 

(3)

Although it doesn't seem unrelated it's the same. It's like your throwing crap onto the other person - "do something!". It would be better if you said "this gig sucks LETS DO X" where x is another bar or some game you can play in the one you are already in.

 

 

 

 

I have also connected these patterns or specific interactions to the article "the psychology of psychological" where a key principle is not leaving others to untangle your neurosis through being clear in communication (which I think requires introspective skills).
 
Examples of leaving others to untangle your neurosis:
 
“If you can’t do that, what good are you?”
Say this instead: "I'm upset that you can't do *this*. I feel like it would be really useful if you had that skill because..."
 
“you ALWAYS do this!”
Say this instead: "It really frustrates me when you do *this*. You also did it *then* and *that* time (specify). It frustrates me because... I think it would better serve you (or me) if you did this instead or looked into it... I'm willing to help" 
 
 
“It’s okay, I guess”
Say this instead: "Give me more time to think about it"
 
 
I have achieved this kind of open and clear communication with one person in my life but I never got to explore it in depth as they had to leave to go overseas. I'm trying to integrate it all into one idea because I feel there are connections among a lot of these. There is much more but it's not clear enough in my mind to post yet.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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“What do you feeling like doing?” (1)

“I don’t know. I’m easy, man.”

Other than putting the onus on the other person, it does not make your own values clear to the other person. Also, it does not have to be a "bold decision": just play your part as a valuer. Of course, exceptions are fine too, particularly with good friends: asking them to choose at times, and insisting you really want XYZ at times, but as a norm each person ought to say what they value, and that makes for intelligent decisions where people do not think they're sacrificing their values.

 

“you ALWAYS do this!”

Say this instead: "It really frustrates me when you do *this*. You also did it *then* and *that* time (specify). It frustrates me because... I think it would better serve you (or me) if you did this instead or looked into it... I'm willing to help"

Adele Faber's books are along these lines. You might be interested.

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