Being Universally Liked is Impossibile

[Talking about future blog]
NAR: being universally liked is literally impossible.

NAR: that will be one of my first posts

NAR: no matter what you do, no matter how awesome you are, no matter how amazingly beautiful of handsome you look, no matter how generous and kind you are to others there will always be people bitching about you(edited)

Responder 1: I’ve heard “Real. Known. Free of haters. Pick two.”

 NAR: I think people try to sacrifice Real or Known to avoid it, but they’re never really free of the haters. they just have fewer vocal ones.

NAR: you can be Buddha or Jesus himself and people will still bitch about you

NAR: this plugs back into my earlier comment. people think “if I stop doing X, people will like me”  or “if I stop offending group Y, then they’ll be kinder to me” except it’s often the case that the people who don’t do X aren’t doing any better than the group doing X and the group not offending Y aren’t doing any better than the group offending Y.

Responder 1: this connects with the mentality of not saying anything in order to not be disliked

NAR: if you say nothing. they still hate you.

NAR: there are other good reasons for actions in these areas. there are good reasons to not offend groups or not speak out, but avoiding being disliked or trying to be liked are easily not very good ones.
not if your rationality check says that the people following these forced customs aren’t being rewarded for it, that is.

[Further conversation which gets into discussing juvenile insults in youtube comments]

 NAR: the steelmanning drive in me wants to steelman that as “I dislike you for reasons I don’t understand or don’t want to say”


NAR: maybe “don’t steelman criticism of yourself” should be a rationalist idea. that’s worth toying with, at least.

[Mention of how the external image of life is very different than reality. Kurt Cobain is mentioned]

NAR: you can try really hard to be kurt cobain, but then you’re going to get addicted to heroin and your head blasted through by a shotgun

[Mention of things looking different from different perspectives]


Responder 1: Young people want to be rockstars and think it’s so cool, and that in some strange way I even think killing yourself or dying makes you even cooler


Responder 1: But….. you need to think about… really…. what his the personal experience of it all really like when Cobain ended up literally shooting himself in the head?


NAR: Dave Chappelle has some really good commentary on the rockstar-type life.

Responder 1: Yes! a fantastic example

NAR: and what it took to escape it
NAR: throwing it all away from you as hard as possible and literally traveling to Africa where they can’t mess with you


Responder 1: that’s the sort of thing people (and by people I mean me) are blind to when young and imagine that being rich and well-known must be aweosme. when you get more perspective you actually don’t overlook that


Responder 1: I remember that when Harper Lee found out that To Kill A Mockingbird was becoming a massively selling book, she freaked and stopped answering her phone and reading her mail. at least something along those lines



Being Criticized

Do I actually want to be friends with this person?

Do I think that this person is sufficiently self aware to be describing the exact reason they actually dislike me and honest enough to express it?
Is this person telling me this information for my benefit or for theirs?
Many complaints and criticisms are methods of high status attempting to put down or silence low status people. Imagine an adult telling their child to “behave” and “go sit quietly”. The practice of teaching children obedience is the practice of high status people in power conditioning low status people without power to not inconvenience them.
Stop trying to please people who don’t like you and who you don’t want to be around. These people have no value to you. To you, they are worthless and not worth considering.

Rationality Check I Don’t Have A Name For Because I’m Not A Rationalist

Rationality check idea: If you think to yourself things along the lines of “X will make me happy”  or “if I had X, then I wouldn’t have to deal with Y”  or “People keep telling me to do X so I should do that”, then double check what people who are doing X or have X actually look like and whether they’re better off for it.
(note: if this sounds obvious to you as something you already do, keep attempting to apply it to new situations until you find one where it wasn’t activating already.)

Wandering in the Fog

NAR: I used to get very frustrated at relationships and different things. I had decided my model of people was making me miserable and that I needed to find a model that made me far less miserable. I started thinking about it more and more until I made one that probably isn’t any closer to reality than what everyone else is using (and everyone else is probably using shitty models) but made me feel a bit more comfortable and will probably hit lots of correct buttons for wrong reasons (but still hits those correct buttons!)

NAR: I imagine that I don’t want good friends and lovers, I want the best friends and lovers. But the criteria for “best” requires the practical side of those people actually showing up. So best becomes not wanting to date the prettiest, most interesting woman on OKC, it becomes wanting to date the prettiest, most interesting woman on OKC who will go on dates with me and really like me for who I am. I don’t want someone who doesn’t show up and doesn’t like me for who I am, that’d just be ridiculous.

NAR: So my actions turned from “trying to get someone to like me” and became “trying to figure out if this person actually meets my criteria” (which is something that can only be found out over a long while).

NAR: The visual metaphor inside my head is walking around in a thick thick fog where people are calling out to one another. You see a vague shape in the distance that looks like the person you’re looking for, so you walk closer to them. As you get closer and closer more details are revealed and you eventually discern whether they were the one you were looking for all along or whether you just mistook them for someone else. You’re bound to mistake people often because the fog is so thick and everyone knows this isn’t a big deal because we all do it while wandering in the fog.
PersonA: well yeah, people who don’t give a shit about you obviously aren’t good friends. It feels like it’s really hard to meet more than one or two real persons a year, though
PersonA: I’ve heard it explained before as “you might feel alone and like there are no people around you, and that might be true, but you still have to pretend that you are drowning in people anyway”

NAR: The drowning idea is partially about social proof since people are absurdly risk averse and partially about nonchalance.

NAR: My mindset obtains nonchalance since if someone constantly ignores my texts then the two of us were unlikely to be great friends anyway.


NAR: I just mistook them for someone else and that’s what happens in the fog. No big deal.


NAR: I think most people’s models of finding new relationships looks a lot like a Pokemon game. You’re wandering around and suddenly come across someone. You take a quick look and “oh my goodness! they’re definitely 100% what i’m looking for!” So you try your best to catch them and make them your friend. If you succeed, then you did a good job and you’re good at this. If you fail, then you did a bad job and you’re bad at this.

NAR: This model makes a lot of bad assumptions that aren’t obvious until you spell it out. First, you’re assuming based on a very quick glance that this person is 100% what you’re looking for. That’s completely absurd. You can’t find out if you have actual chemistry for a while, what this person is really like after a long while, and whether they’re actually good for you or not depends a lot of future circumstances outside of your control.

NAR: Even if you “Catch” the person, hang out for a while, and it doesn’t work out, then as long as you’re not doing very terribly that’s still only weakly correlated with causality, your actions, and your decisions.

NAR: Also, it assumes that your chance at “succeeding” is all based on your actions and is even possible. In most circumstances it was probably highly probably things would work out or highly improbable things would work out. Also, it’s likely often completely impossible before you even started! A person’s mood, the circumstances around them, the people and things going on in their life, and hundreds of other things outside of your control have massive sway on the results here. You didn’t “succeed” or “fail” as much as you gave a good effort at meeting the basic criteria for something that may or may not have even been possible at all.(edited)

NAR: The peanut gallery sits in the balcony judging you and tossing out weak comments about how you failed at X or should have done more of Y, but they’re just rationalizing and giving Just So stories for it all. Why didn’t you make a friend? They were tired that morning and not in the mood. Why didn’t the girl reply to your OKCupid message? She only likes guys above 6’2″ and didn’t mention it in her profile.


PersonB: but it doesn’t matter. the solution is the same either way: try to catch em all!

NAR: Catching them all might get you a pat on the back from Professor Oak, but what you really want is a small handful of friends who are really awesome and have a ton of rapport with you that you both benefit from. You can’t carry 150+ friends around with you. You only get a few. The glory is in having those few be the best as possible and becoming the champion!


PersonB: so the only way to get that is to meet as many people as possible and see what sticks

NAR: I agree that using a wider and wider net is very important. I think my fog model encourages lower emotional investment per person and using a wider net while the pokemon method gets far too focused on individual people who are estimated too highly while being unlikely to impossible in the first place.

NAR: You want a wide net, to avoid possible strong negative actions, and to put your best foot forward, but focusing too much on individuals just doesn’t make sense. If it didn’t work out, then it quite likely never would have and you just mistook them and the relationship for something they weren’t. *And that’s okay!!!*
NAR: The pursuit and point is exploration and discovery. It isn’t meeting a challenge and exercising the perfect equation and set actions to achieve a specific computational result.
NAR: Your ideal partner and friends should be ones that spend time with you, want to spend time with you, and love you for who you are. These are the ideal things. If someone fails to fit those three criteria, then they were never a good candidate as a friend or partner in the first place.