"Entitlement, Nerds and Neanderthals"- today's Prime post etc.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:44 pm

What do you guys think of Arthur Chu's response to this whole debate? http://www.salon.com/2015/01/10/the_plight_of_the_bitter_nerd_why_so_many_awkward_shy_guys_end_up_hating_feminism/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

I really rather like it, but it has a similar message to Dr. Nerdlove's so I was curious if maybe The Wisp, NT and others who are finding difficulty with the doctor's response find anything more palatable in this article. Or if it's kind of the same feelings. To me reading this article feels more understanding of Aaronson's situation but still comes up with a similar conclusion to the doctor. So I was wondering what you guys thought.

This is, btw, a sincere question, not leading anywhere. I'm really sincerely working to understand your perspectives.

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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:59 pm

It's certainly more palatable, even if it's 'I've been there gaiz' thing can be taken as condescending (c'mon jerkbrain, don't do this to me).

It's pretty similar to me. I mean, he's not telling us to build a bridge and get the fuck over it but he is telling to construct a crossing over a river and use it to reach the bank on the other side.

Which, I should clarify, is not a bad thing. For me, the whole snippy, in your face bullshit that DNL sometimes jumps to doesn't work at all for me and didn't work for this article. This is going to make me sound like an ass but I don't need to be yelled at to be told I did something bad. It just pisses me off more than anything. While I need to work on getting over that, it doesn't change the fact it doesn't work right now.

Anywho, small tangent.

Now, Chu's article has essentially solidified my position in that no, I shouldn't be afraid of women or feminism (I wasn't of the latter, but there you go) but that feminism isn't going to help me getting over what I have. So, good. That's cleared up. And this isn't me being smart, he says he doesn't know what to do about guys like Aaronson. That's pretty fair, given the focus of feminism isn't men. It's women and the issues they face.

But it does remind me of what I said earlier: Collectively, feminism / feminists don't really know what to do with us. I have thought on that more since I said and it makes more sense. Feminism, as it's often said here, is huge. A very broad movement brings in very broad viewpoints outside core goals. Nerdy men that may need help are far from core goals but they are very similar to nerdy, entitled men that are dangerous. Dangerous men and the dangers of men are pretty close to core though in feminism. Well, dealing with them, that is. The distinction between the two, in my view, is so subtle sometimes that:

A) That is why it freaks men like me out to be so close to the image of these predators

B) There is very little agreement on feminist circles on what to do about the innocents mixed in with the predators.

I'm kind of pleased Chu says he doesn't know what to do. It's a damn sight better than saying "we'll get to it" or "fixing our problems will fix yours". I find the latter naive, even if it's coming from a helpful point of view. I'm sure remedying a lot of women's problems will help men in many ways, but without something dedicated to help men as well, I can't trust a movement created to help women as a focus to give us enough time too ('enough' not being defined as 'equal' here - I won't assume to know how much work is needed helping men but's arguably less than is needed for women) . Not because feminism is untrustworthy, but because they have bigger and more relevant fish to fry.

But, at the same time, a lot of men's movements around now? Eh, I'd rather not be associated with them. I'll let everyone take a guess why.

It leaves us at the point eselle raised: men need to take the initiative on making their own space. But that hasn't gone so well before, to say the least. And that's where I'm stuck. To quote Fish, where do we go from here?

Overall, better than DNL but the message is the same. The delivery at least mattered in so far as not making me frustrated. More pensive, definitely. That's pretty neat.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:10 am

OneTrueGuest wrote:What do you guys think of Arthur Chu's response to this whole debate?  http://www.salon.com/2015/01/10/the_plight_of_the_bitter_nerd_why_so_many_awkward_shy_guys_end_up_hating_feminism/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

I really rather like it, but it has a similar message to Dr. Nerdlove's so I was curious if maybe The Wisp, NT and others who are finding difficulty with the doctor's response find anything more palatable in this article.  Or if it's kind of the same feelings. To me reading this article feels more understanding of Aaronson's situation but still comes up with a similar conclusion to the doctor.  So I was wondering what you guys thought.

This is, btw, a sincere question, not leading anywhere. I'm really sincerely working to understand your perspectives.

Between the way you described it in your post and the fact that I generally do like Arthur Chu, I went in expecting to like the article. And mostly, I did. I agree that feminism-problems are more externally visible, more obviously created by external forces, more straightforwardly solve-able by external actions. But I do go back and forth between
Arthur Chu wrote:That’s why feminism is more focused on women’s issues than men’s, because women’s issues are the things happening out in the world where we can do something about them....with apologies to my fellow emotionally tortured guys, that really ought to be our priority.
and
reboot wrote:since the focus is on women, some men's issues will be ignored and that is fine with me. If men want to change things for men, they need to create their own movement and do it themselves.
It feels like there is a moral dilemma there, somewhere, that I'm having difficulty putting into words, even if I allow myself to use impolite words. There is also a problem of logistics in both directions, which I am closer to being able to describe but which does not have much of a place in this particular discussion.

Perhaps the best way to state my thoughts on this article is simply to quote:
MapWater wrote:I'm kind of pleased Chu says he doesn't know what to do.



I haven't said much thus far about the actual context of Aaronson's comment. Part of it is that I am perversely glad for any excuse to get people talking and thinking about these subjects, regardless of how they came about. Part of it is that I wanted time to think about how I was going to put it, so that I wouldn't "make it about me" or cause hurt feelings. I may still end up doing one or both of those things. I am trying to be as careful as I can, but at least some of what I have to say must be blunt.

I despise men like Aaronson. I mean, I don't like the derails, the cherry-picking, the No True Scotsman rhetoric, the "this happened to me so it happens to men" vibe emanating from the voice he chose to write with. But what I hate is that he has made so much noise, and in so doing nominated himself as a representative of this issue. Chu is correct: everything that sucked about Aaronson's situation came solely from his own thoughts. Nothing illustrates this point more clearly than the fact that the moment Aaronson began to feel more secure and took some fucking action on his own behalf, the problem he complained about was solved (lingering issues and resentments prompting him to write what he wrote aside). And he decides to come out and say these things anyway, and he draws attention for it, and now he's the Example against which the rest of us get to be compared. Not men like Chu, who can honestly and earnestly and straightforwardly and somewhat apologetically confess that, though they also worked hard for it, they owe much of their happiness to simple luck. Not men like me who have made copious concentrated efforts only to get nowhere. Aaronson has made himself the poster child for men the world has made lonely, and I cannot imagine a worse example.
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Post by username_6916 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:23 am

Arthur Chu wrote:But meanwhile, women are getting stalked and raped and killed. That’s something that men are doing and that men can stop other men from doing.

And, with apologies to my fellow emotionally tortured guys, that really ought to be our priority.
(emphasis added)

No. This is dangerously close to advocating for vigilantism in my view. Not to mention bringing up the whole "women are weak and need protection from men" set of ideas that I thought the feminists were opposed to.




Only if the people you're interacting with are bullies. I'd venture to say most people are not.


And I'd disagree with you.


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Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:36 am

Er, stepping in to say "dude not cool" is not vigilantism, and is a thing men can do, and does not take much effort, and I think that's the main thing Chu was advocating. Spreading the word on stuff like that is also not vigilantism, and is also a thing men can do, but that does take time and effort, so I'm a bit wary of that*, but I still think you're grossly simplifying the subjects you're talking about.

(*especially when it's framed as something only men can do, or something men are automatically more likely to be successful at, and therefore something men are obligated to do.)


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Post by username_6916 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:54 am

If you're ever in a situation that involves someone willing to commit a violent act like that, stepping in to say "dude, not cool" is putting your own personal safety at risk.



Chu is correct: everything that sucked about Aaronson's situation came solely from his own thoughts.

At the same time, we do have quite a bit of sympathy for women's fears that 'come solely from [their] own thoughts'. I mean, take a look Elevatorgate. Hotel elevator rape is less common as man bites dog, and yet we had legions of folks defending Rebecca Watson and attacking the hapless man who asked her out.

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Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:57 am

Well, just for context, my really negative reaction to DNL's post was made worse due to fact that is was posted at a terrible time. I've not been the cheeriest moods lately when it comes to the topics of dating and socializing, so I was primed to react badly. I also apologiize for the hurtful and offensive things I said. Also, I wasn't really aware of the other things Aaronson had said, nor was I focusing on the context in which he said, both of which I now believe are deeply problematic.

That said, I still reallydislike the post.

I liked Chu's better, but only somewhat. I do think his proximity to those feelings was to his benefit just in terms of tone. It seems like DNL is many years away from that place, while Chu is less than a year away. I think DNL's piece was unnecessarily mean and overly broad. I felt like he was talking about and to anybody who's ever felt extreme loneliness or social anxiety of various kinds, to men who feel intimidated by women and dating, to men who are frustrated sexually and socially and romantically. He wasn't just responding to Aaronson and Alexander.

Chu also avoided the brazen mocking like this bit:

Dr. Nerdlove wrote:Those poor nerds, put upon by the vicious feminists! Tricksy, tricksy feminists, making sex so damn scary and unattainable by nerds! Why, you might think they were jocks or something! Why can’t the feminists give nerds a break and recognize that nerds are innocent and harmless?

... and Chu's empathy felt more sincere to me. There was no "look, I get it, I really sincerely do, NOW BUILD A BRIDGE AND GET THE FUCK OVER IT YOU LAZY ENTITLED ASSHOLES". I felt attacked by that post personally, as if he had said "yes, Wisp, I'm talking about you". Now, I don't think he actually believes that, it was just a poorly written piece in the regard. Also, given that DNL is supposed to be advising, in part, people like me it felt like a betrayal that DNL took the tone he did.

Chu's fails in one aspect though, and hard, in a way that DNL did too. Chu was, while sympathetic to a point, ultimately dismissive of mental illness and other various psychological sufferings. He also fell into the trap of describing mental illness as something people "do to themselves" (I think DNL said something similar, too) and diminishing them because they're internal. Frankly, no, no it is not something I'm doing to myself just because it is internal. The way I feel dread when I have talk to people, the way I can't help but feel deeply upset to, at times, the point of literal trauma (I don't use that word lightly) after negative social experiences despite knowing at some level it is unreasonable, the way I freeze up and become really awkward when interacting with others even when I knew how I wanted to behave and to say before and after, the way chronic loneliness grinds you down (and it does so harder and harder the longer the loneliness persists) even if the rest of your life is going well, the way I could barely speak when I tried to approach my high school crush, the way I find certain feminist positions to be practically triggering at times, plus a myriad of other phenomena, are not things that I "do" to "myself" as if I deliberate each day on whether or not I will do these things. I never chose to feel those things. I may be a more extreme case, granted (though so was Aaronson), so this may be less true for others. There are lazy entitled guys who just don't want to push past a tiny bit of approach anxiety and then blame women, or who don't want to put any effort into social skills or appearance out of pure laziness. There are men who suffer from more manageable neuroses that just need a little (compassaionate) push and guidance. Those two groups may be a majority of the awkward men contingent. But, no, I and many others are not at all merely "choosing" to do these things. I've been in therapy since I was 14 with three different therapists plus two therapy groups (and meds, at times, though not currently). I wish I could just choose to stop being afraid of women and socializing, to stop being triggered by aspects of feminism and social justice writing, and to be less awkward and shy an anxious and sad.

I hope one day to overcome these things, and I continue to work at it, but no I don't have a choice in the sense that I can just flip a switch and be different. While I don't think the external struggles women have are in the same class as those faced by bitter shy nerds and to say otherwise would be an insult to both sides in my view. That doesn't mean society should just ignore those problems, though, as Chu suggested, or that these men should even put aside their own issues and focus purely on women's rights instead. That doesn't mean we should say, "welp, personal demons are hard, so the only solution is to ignore them and hope the individuals slay them eventually".

Anyway, rant over. I hope I was clear and not overly verbose and gave you some of the insight you were curious about Razz

EDIT: I also second everything NT and Mapwater said.

In particular I want to highlight one point by each. I think NT is right on when he says that people like Aaronson and Chu present a false picture to the world and that that is frustrating.

I also strongly sympathize with what mapwater said about his ambivalence about a men's movement given how other attempts have gone so far.
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Post by Werel on Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:09 am

I really liked Chu's article. He was clearer about the internal-external harm division than other pieces I've read, and made that point very firmly without a big middle finger to people's personal suffering.

Reading the continuation of this thread, a lot more of the context of the original comment, and Chu's article have made me seriously reconsider my original take on this topic (which I admit seems myopic and kneejerk in hindsight). I wasn't taking context into account sufficiently, either. If alleviating suffering is indeed the priority, Chu's words ring very clear and I should have considered the relative actionability of different kinds of suffering sooner. So thank y'all for that, very much.



username_6916 wrote:
Arthur Chu wrote:But meanwhile, women are getting stalked and raped and killed. That’s something that men are doing and that men can stop other men from doing.

And, with apologies to my fellow emotionally tortured guys, that really ought to be our priority.
(emphasis added)

No. This is dangerously close to advocating for vigilantism in my view. Not to mention bringing up the whole "women are weak and need protection from men" set of ideas that I thought the feminists were opposed to.

I guess I can kind of see how "stop other men from doing" could lead you to think immediately of vigilantism, but when someone is witnessing harassment or assault in progress, are you saying they shouldn't intervene? Could "stop other men from doing" also mean talking to people about sexual harassment and assault and how to prevent them? I think (though I'm not Arthur Chu) that the latter two are more what he's advocating, and slippery-sloping that to "vigilantism" seems like a stretch. Is that really how you read it?

As for what "the feminists" might oppose (insert zillionth reminder that no movement is a monolith), I can't speak for anybody else on earth, but if I were being harmed, I would not give two shits about the gender of the person who stepped in to stop that harm*. Encouraging men to stop others from doing sexual violence is great. Encouraging women to stop others from doing sexual violence is great. They're not mutually exclusive, and they don't need to reinforce gender stereotypes. People should strive (edit: as takuan noted, I don't want to imply obligation) striving to stop people from doing sexual violence to other people is great. Right? Can we agree there? Smile


*Actually, I'll just speak from experience: I do not give two shits that a man was my primary defender when I was harassed. I'm just grateful that somebody intervened and stood by me.




Edit:
The Wisp wrote:Chu was, while sympathetic to a point, ultimately dismissive of mental illness and other various psychological sufferings. He also fell into the trap of describing mental illness as something people "do to themselves" (I think DNL said something similar, too) and diminishing them because they're internal. Frankly, no, no it is not something I'm doing to myself just because it is internal.

Huh, I didn't catch anything where he equated "internal" to "self-inflicted"-- was there a specific part you could point me to? I thought Chu was drawing a distinction between things which are done to people by someone (e.g. assault), vs. things which happen to people but aren't done by someone (e.g. mental illness).
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Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:00 am

Werel, I may be being too sensitive to this, and I may be have Chu's and DNL's pieces blurred in my head, but here's a quote from Chu that I noticed:

Arthur Chu wrote:To be blunt, Scott’s story is about Scott himself spending a lot of time by himself hating himself. When he eventually stops hating himself and, as an older, more mature nerd, asks women out, no women mace him, slap him or ritually humiliate him — instead he ends up with a girlfriend who ends up becoming a wife. So far, so typical.

It implied he was choosing to do that. EDIT: Also, using phrases like "it was in his head/brain", while literally true, have dismissive connotations.

But, upon rereading, I didn't see as much of that as I thought I did the first time. I do think maybe I was blurring his piece with DNL's in my mind.


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Post by Guest on Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:23 am

I feel like a lot of what I'm about to say should be known already, but is maybe just being overlooked.

username_6916 wrote:
(emphasis added)

No. This is dangerously close to advocating for vigilantism in my view. Not to mention bringing up the whole "women are weak and need protection from men" set of ideas that I thought the feminists were opposed to.


vigilante
[vij-uh-lan-tee]

noun
1. a member of a vigilance committee.
2. any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.

adjective
3. done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures:
vigilante justice.

[source]

Also, women don't need protecting, they need somebody watching their back. On New Years Day I went with a friend to Los Angeles because she wanted to go on her own. That shit, in my opinion is not safe (even my sister never went to LA by herself) and I told her, "I got your back."

username_6916 wrote:If you're ever in a situation that involves someone willing to commit a violent act like that, stepping in to say "dude, not cool" is putting your own personal safety at risk.

Even if it's the right thing to do?

username_6916 wrote:
At the same time, we do have quite a bit of sympathy for women's fears that 'come solely from [their] own thoughts'. I mean, take a look Elevatorgate. Hotel elevator rape is less common as man bites dog, and yet we had legions of folks defending Rebecca Watson and attacking the hapless man who asked her out.

I don't know, I think I'd be a little weirded out if somebody asked me out in an elevator at 4 fucking o'clock in the morning. The problem with "Elevatorgate" (eugh, I really hate any -gates that aren't actual gates or the Watergate Scandal) Rebecca Watson didn't know if this dude was gonna be cool with her turning him down, pull a Ray Rice & punch her lights out and rape her, or god knows what. Everything the Doc says about speaking to some one in an acceptable context is spot on.

Hell, I'm a 5' 11" 200 lb.+ dude and I was creeped out by a guy who asked me if I drank when I was going to get food at Taco Bell at 9pm, fucking TACO BELL. This ain't a gorram bar, if I was at a bar and I was asked that I'd laugh it off considering the place I'm at and how funny drunk people can be. Of course this guy seemed kinda intoxicated at Taco Bell and seemed to have some gambling problems, he was talking about it on the phone very loudly.

So, just please keep that in mind.

The Wisp wrote:Well, just for context, my really negative reaction to DNL's post was made worse due to fact that is was posted at a terrible time. I've not been the cheeriest moods lately when it comes to the topics of dating and socializing, so I was primed to react badly. I also apologiize for the hurtful and offensive things I said. Also, I wasn't really aware of the other things Aaronson had said, nor was I focusing on the context in which he said, both of which I now believe are deeply problematic.

I was feeling pretty shitty too, but what hurt me more in the article wasn't so much the Doc's words, but Aaronson's thoughts because maybe the first few points he made were almost spot on to my own. I have lamented in the past about not having being born XYZ or thought about chemical castration as well so I wouldn't have to worry about women either. But usually I've done so in more depressed episodes than anything else. I don't think that way every day, usually only when I really feel disappointed in myself seeing as I've been there as well. Unlike Aaronson, however, I accept responsibility for my own shortcomings, at least the ones I can control, I accept that I am not perfect nor will I ever. I accept my fear and I own it and I don't put the blame on anyone other than my fear.

Yes, it definitely is ego protection, fuck it, I'll freely admit it. I don't care.

Sure when I fail I mope, but I typically get out in a day or two. I'll seek out humor and get out of my slump and I'm back to being my kick-ass self.

The Wisp wrote:
That said, I still reallydislike the post.

I liked Chu's better, but only somewhat. I do think his proximity to those feelings was to his benefit just in terms of tone. It seems like DNL is many years away from that place, while Chu is less than a year away. I think DNL's piece was unnecessarily mean and overly broad. I felt like he was talking about and to anybody who's ever felt extreme loneliness or social anxiety of various kinds, to men who feel intimidated by women and dating, to men who are frustrated sexually and socially and romantically. He wasn't just responding to Aaronson and Alexander.

I am all those things you mentioned regarding the Doc's audience in his post. But don't frame it as being mean, frame it as being tough love coming from a place of frustration on his part too. Realize that he too is also human, realize that he also gets tired, realize that he can only give so much advice for it to not be followed by us that he grows frustrated by guys who refuse to accept responsibility of their feelings.

That's what I learned about this, I learned that while I have had the same issues and grievances as Aaronson, I actually have taken steps to improve my situation unlike he did during those formative years. Sure, I've had very little success, but it's still movement into the right direction. I also learned that I can be helped, but not necessarily fixed by anyone but me. I don't come with an instruction manual and even I don't know how I fully function yet. The only who comes close to knowing how I operate is my mother.

The Wisp wrote:
Chu also avoided the brazen mocking like this bit:

Dr. Nerdlove wrote:Those poor nerds, put upon by the vicious feminists! Tricksy, tricksy feminists, making sex so damn scary and unattainable by nerds! Why, you might think they were jocks or something! Why can’t the feminists give nerds a break and recognize that nerds are innocent and harmless?

... and Chu's empathy felt more sincere to me. There was no "look, I get it, I really sincerely do, NOW BUILD A BRIDGE AND GET THE FUCK OVER IT YOU LAZY ENTITLED ASSHOLES". I felt attacked by that post personally, as if he had said "yes, Wisp, I'm talking about you". Now, I don't think he actually believes that, it was just a poorly written piece in the regard. Also, given that DNL is supposed to be advising, in part, people like me it felt like a betrayal that DNL took the tone he did.

The latest article wasn't so much advising as it was an informative editorial. Don't take it personally, yes, his words hurt me too a little bit, but it was a mild sting in comparison to other things I've read before. Yeah, I'm aware of the different ways people can perceive and frame things, but you gotta understand that sometimes, it ain't all about you. That's a lesson I need review in a lot sometimes, because I have this innate sense of "go above & beyond" and if I have to, I will.

The Wisp wrote:
Chu's fails in one aspect though, and hard, in a way that DNL did too. Chu was, while sympathetic to a point, ultimately dismissive of mental illness and other various psychological sufferings. He also fell into the trap of describing mental illness as something people "do to themselves" (I think DNL said something similar, too) and diminishing them because they're internal.

Dismissive? Mental illness? Excuse me, but wtf are you talking about? I Ctrl+F'd both Chu and DNL's articles, neither mental nor illness brought back any hits. So I have no full idea of what you're talking about. I understand that you mean about social anxiety, but those with social anxiety -- I'm not sure if you do or don't, so forgive me if I generalize here, I'm going with what I've seen and people with SA have told me -- typically don't discriminate with who their anxious about/towards. This girl I know, she has a severe case of social anxiety that she takes meds to level out, well, she told me that she'd get real anxious around, well, everyone. Then a bro of mine who's in the Army and also has SA and although he has a few episodes here & there, he feels really shitty when it happens and he's around Army guys.

What you have is a real legitimate case of social anxiety just like my Army Bro. So, don't take what the Doc said personally, he's not referring to those with legitimate disorders. He's talking to those who're merely claiming that they have a disorder when in reality there isn't an ounce of a disorder to be found. He's talking about those who use "social anxiety" as excuse and blame women for their approach anxiety. At least that's what I understand.

So I don't believe DNL or Chu were being dismissive at all if they barely mentioned it. The anxiety they're talking about is approach anxiety, which I get pretty bad sometimes, but when I'm away from the cause of the anxiety, then I'm cool.

The Wisp wrote:
I also strongly sympathize with what mapwater said about his ambivalence about a men's movement given how other attempts have gone so far.

This I will definitely agree with you. Like I told OTG privately, we men have indeed tried to make a movement for ourselves, but we've failed ourselves and failed hard. Of course, I'm referring to the Red Pill/MRA bullshit which we're all very familiar with.

All in all, this is just another brick in the wall that's left me feeling like Marvin initially.Upon further introspection and talking about my own recent experiences left me realizing that I am not like Aaronson. A nerd sure, but one who doesn't play the fucking blame game.

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Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:36 am

Yeah, maybe I am taking it too personally. Still, it felt harsher than previous "tough love" posts, but maybe I was just in a worse mental state at the time. As I said, I haven't been in the best place when it comes to this stuff, lately.

EDIT: Just for the record, I have more issues than just social anxiety, including some related to dating and women, and I personally haven't found meds to be super useful with the social anxiety. I've never considered castration or anything, but I can sort of relate to the emotions enough to get riled up.
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Post by Guest on Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:01 am

The Wisp wrote:Yeah, maybe I am taking it too personally. Still, it felt harsher than previous "tough love" posts, but maybe I was just in a worse mental state at the time. As I said, I haven't been in the best place when it comes to this stuff, lately.

EDIT: Just for the record, I have more issues than just social anxiety, including some related to dating and women, and I personally haven't found meds to be super useful with the social anxiety. I've never considered castration or anything, but I can sort of relate to the emotions enough to get riled up.

Yeah, it happens and nor have I been in the best place either. And yeah, it was a little harsher than normal, but, hey, what can you do about it? I'll tell you, look inwards.

I'll be honest, I really haven't the slightest clue as to what kind of disorder could be related to dating & women other than social anxiety disorder. That doesn't discriminate. Razz

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Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:03 am

Well, I mean it's not a diagnosable disorder, just sort of unexplained demons and triggers.
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Post by username_6916 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:57 am

Werel wrote:I really liked Chu's article. He was clearer about the internal-external harm division than other pieces I've read, and made that point very firmly without a big middle finger to people's personal suffering.

I think his "it's all in your head" dismissal is a big middle finger to people's personal suffering.

Werel wrote:
As for what "the feminists" might oppose (insert zillionth reminder that no movement is a monolith), I can't speak for anybody else on earth, but if I were being harmed, I would not give two shits about the gender of the person who stepped in to stop that harm*. Encouraging men to stop others from doing sexual violence is great. Encouraging women to stop others from doing sexual violence is great. They're not mutually exclusive, and they don't need to reinforce gender stereotypes. People should strive (edit: as takuan noted, I don't want to imply obligation) striving to stop people from doing sexual violence to other people is great. Right? Can we agree there? Smile

The thing is, that does still imply some level of obligation. And it's that obligation simply doesn't exist going the other way.

And, yes, people can and do take advantage of these chivalrous ideas to justify all sorts of bad behavior:





The Mikey wrote:
Also, women don't need protecting, they need somebody watching their back. On New Years Day I went with a friend to Los Angeles because she wanted to go on her own. That shit, in my opinion is not safe (even my sister never went to LA by herself) and I told her, "I got your back."

This is a distinction without a difference in my view. In some ways, this is the same reasoning used in some cultures to forbid women from going out without a male relative.

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Post by Guest on Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:19 am

username_6916 wrote:
The Mikey wrote:
Also, women don't need protecting, they need somebody watching their back. On New Years Day I went with a friend to Los Angeles because she wanted to go on her own. That shit, in my opinion is not safe (even my sister never went to LA by herself) and I told her, "I got your back."

This is a distinction without a difference in my view. In some ways, this is the same reasoning used in some cultures to forbid women from going out without a male relative.

Sorry, I forgot to mention she wanted to go after dark.

During the day I wouldn't have cared (though I woulda gone anyway to get outta the house).

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Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:44 am

Some of the later posts bring to mind yet another of those trains of thought that's been jumbled together in my head about this thread... about tough love and the notion of pulling yourself together. Applying willpower to a problem can help – up to a point; deciding you want to change, committing to do the required work can help – up to a point. It can help if you have enough willpower (mental resources are limited and designed to be that way), and also the skill to perform the change (improved skill will reduce the need for willpower).

Before that point, tough love and pulling yourself together can be productive; the anticipation of failure becomes a poor excuse for not even making the attempt.

When you get past that point, however, you will only exhaust your supply of willpower, your decision to change may well turn into failure, and if you repeat this experience again and again, you'll start to believe that failure is the normal state of things (it isn't).

I think this is true whether mental illness is in the picture or not, and I think that too much misplaced tough love and motivational thinking and firm resove can itself contribute to mental illness, particularly to the belief that failure is the normal state of things.

I have a fairly strong suspicion that it was a contributing factor to mine.

So to summarize: Admonishing someone to drop the excuses and make a commitment to change right now can be effective, but it's a dose dependent remedy and has potential side effects. I can't really say if the amount of tough love on Paging is too high or just right... but when you (unspecific, generalized, you) read it, you may need to balance it out with some patience, self-compassion, and awareness about the complexity of the skills you are trying to build.

But an important addition at the end: All this has been assuming that the purpose of tough love is to help the recipient improve. It's quite different to tell someone that what they are doing is not ok. In that case, it's not primarily about helping the recipient improve. It is and should be primarily about making the behavior stop.
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Post by Mel on Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:06 am

MapWater wrote:
But it does remind me of what I said earlier: Collectively, feminism / feminists don't really know what to do with us. I have thought on that more since I said and it makes more sense. Feminism, as it's often said here, is huge. A very broad movement brings in very broad viewpoints outside core goals. Nerdy men that may need help are far from core goals but they are very similar to nerdy, entitled men that are dangerous. Dangerous men and the dangers of men are pretty close to core though in feminism. Well, dealing with them, that is. The distinction between the two, in my view, is so subtle sometimes that:

A) That is why it freaks men like me out to be so close to the image of these predators

I don't know if this helps at all, but as someone who's directly on the receiving end of the "these are the type of men to watch out for" messages, I have never gotten the impression that nerdy men are particularly dangerous or particularly likely to be predators compared to other men. In fact, really, the opposite--the caution I've internalized and the automatic "male predator" image I form is toward/of mainly confident, smooth, assertive men--players, the frat guy stereotype, that sort.  I would generally assume a nerdy appearing guy is less of a threat, and attribute concerning behavior on his part to shyness/awkwardness while being more inclined to think ill intent from the former guys.  That's been the attitude of most women I know too.

I think the recent increase in talk about nerds and entitlement is actually because of that tendency to assume nerdy men aren't predators--both to remind women that they aren't obliged to accept behavior that's making them uncomfortable just because they're not sure whether the guy intends it to or not, and to remind guys that being socially awkward or shy doesn't automatically mean all their attitudes about women are great or that they should be given amnesty from ever being considered a predator. I can understand how that could come across as saying "awkward nerdy men are so dangerous, beware!", but I really don't think that's the way most women are reading it or feeling.  (And as I noted before, there's still I think more talk about other "dangerous" types of men, like jocks and frat guys, than there is about nerds/awkward guys, if you look at feminist writing in general.)

Edit: I want to add, on the subject of targeting nerdy men at all, that Aaronson does a pretty good job of demonstrating exactly why that's necessary--he honestly believes that he and other socially anxious men could not be harmful to the women around them because they're scared of women. I really hate that addressing the issue pushes some guys too far in the opposite direction--thinking their anxiety/awkwardness/nerdiness makes them worse or seen as worse--but there was and still is an actual problem of a significant number of other guys like this using it as an excuse not to examine or correct when necessary their attitudes and behavior. It's a difficult balance.


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Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:22 am

And to go to yet another "now for something completely different", adressed personally to username_6916, who should feel free to dismiss it if it does not appear to be helpful:

There are people in the world who don't see a display of weakness as something to be exploited. I'm one, and I know more than a few others. I can't say for certain how representative they are, that would require rigorous statistical analysis. What I can say for certain is that the number is larger than 0.

I can also say for certain that you shouldn't take my word for it. That is: It's not enough for person X to say "oh, I would never take advantage of someone like that", the statement would have to proved, a number of times, with actions that carried some cost to person X themselves.

In just the same way as the person that says "tell me if I'm doing something wrong" needs to actually change their behavior when they are told.

Openness, intimacy and vulnerability require (or ought to require) trust, and trust should have to be earned on both sides.

And if you've someone whose weakness have been taken advantage of in the past (I don't really know you and don't know if you are?) it's reasonable to take some extra time before you trust and ask someone to trust you.

But there's one thing I'm curious about (if you trust me and other readers enough to answer): How do you, yourself, feel about weakness in others? What do you feel when you see someone you think of as weak? How would you feel if such a person acted submissively towards you? If they tried to assert themselves over you? If they were to treat you as an equal, offering you their trust?

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Post by Guest on Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:36 am

Mel wrote:
MapWater wrote:
But it does remind me of what I said earlier: Collectively, feminism / feminists don't really know what to do with us. I have thought on that more since I said and it makes more sense. Feminism, as it's often said here, is huge. A very broad movement brings in very broad viewpoints outside core goals. Nerdy men that may need help are far from core goals but they are very similar to nerdy, entitled men that are dangerous. Dangerous men and the dangers of men are pretty close to core though in feminism. Well, dealing with them, that is. The distinction between the two, in my view, is so subtle sometimes that:

A) That is why it freaks men like me out to be so close to the image of these predators

I don't know if this helps at all, but as someone who's directly on the receiving end of the "these are the type of men to watch out for" messages, I have never gotten the impression that nerdy men are particularly dangerous or particularly likely to be predators compared to other men. In fact, really, the opposite--the caution I've internalized and the automatic "male predator" image I form is toward/of mainly confident, smooth, assertive men--players, the frat guy stereotype, that sort.  I would generally assume a nerdy appearing guy is less of a threat, and attribute concerning behavior on his part to shyness/awkwardness while being more inclined to think ill intent from the former guys.  That's been the attitude of most women I know too.

I think the recent increase in talk about nerds and entitlement is actually because of that tendency to assume nerdy men aren't predators--both to remind women that they aren't obliged to accept behavior that's making them uncomfortable just because they're not sure whether the guy intends it to or not, and to remind guys that being socially awkward or shy doesn't automatically mean all their attitudes about women are great or that they should be given amnesty from ever being considered a predator. I can understand how that could come across as saying "awkward nerdy men are so dangerous, beware!", but I really don't think that's the way most women are reading it or feeling.  (And as I noted before, there's still I think more talk about other "dangerous" types of men, like jocks and frat guys, than there is about nerds/awkward guys, if you look at feminist writing in general.)

I think I didn't explain myself well enough in my original post - essentially, your second paragraph sums up what I meant to say for the latter half of that post and didn't do a good job of: nerdy guys have had an innocent rep typically, but now that's being revealed as nowhere near a certainty. In fact nerd culture has tons of issues with women and these issues are more openly being discussed in feminist circles because too many people had it in their head the demographic was free of filth. As such, the talk of nerds and the possible problems men falling into the awkward, shy, nerdy stereotype demographic can have with women is far more common than it was.

There's definitely way more talk of the 'typical' dangerous man, that's a fact. I try and keep myself away from too so I read up on them - no one needs them around. Most women I know would consider nerdy men ' just men' or 'kinda sad' max as well, save for one or two with less glowing thoughts on them. But I think the distinction between an awkward, shy, nerdy guy VS the same but with ill intent or very bad ideas is harder to tell than your typical 'frat' type guy who has his own terrible ideas about women. I would imagine it makes a wee bit easier to lump someone like myself in with them (I've made the bold claim here I'm one of the good guys, oh shit  Razz ).

To be fair, I don't deal much with the 'frat' types day-to-day. Maybe it is harder to tell than I think if a guy like that has ill intent than I think it is. But most who I have had to deal with that have had nasty ideas made them very clear with their behaviour. Nerdier sorts I know with nasty ideas seem to not be quite as open with them... But I'll let women on the receiving end make the call on that rather than myself so I take you at your word, Mel.  

But, it does make me feel better to hear that the more poignant dangers aren't the random nerdy dude who may just have some social miscalibration. Sure, he doesn't get to get away with trampling other peoples feelings or worse (no one should) but he isn't the new type of person to simply avoid for default fear of predatory nature.

On a side note, my pessimistic / 'realist' nature is probably a culprit for me jumping to the thought of getting quickly lumped in with these guys. Like I've said, I've never even been accused of being creepy - but the borderline irrational fear is still there.

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Post by celette482 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:58 am

MapWater wrote:

There's definitely way more talk of the 'typical' dangerous man, that's a fact. I try and keep myself away from too so I read up on them - no one needs them around. Most women I know would consider nerdy men ' just men' or 'kinda sad' max as well, save for one or two with less glowing thoughts on them. But I think the distinction between an awkward, shy, nerdy guy VS the same but with ill intent or very bad ideas is harder to tell than your typical 'frat' type guy who has his own terrible ideas about women. I would imagine it makes a wee bit easier to lump someone like myself in with them (I've made the bold claim here I'm one of the good guys, oh shit  Razz ).

To be fair, I don't deal much with the 'frat' types day-to-day. Maybe it is harder to tell than I think if a guy like that has ill intent than I think it is. But most who I have had to deal with that have had nasty ideas made them very clear with their behaviour. Nerdier sorts I know with nasty ideas seem to not be quite as open with them... But I'll let women on the receiving end make the call on that rather than myself so I take you at your word, Mel.  

But, it does make me feel better to hear that the more poignant dangers aren't the random nerdy dude who may just have some social miscalibration. Sure, he doesn't get to get away with trampling other peoples feelings or worse (no one should) but he isn't the new type of person to simply avoid for default fear of predatory nature.

On a side note, my pessimistic / 'realist' nature is probably a culprit for me jumping to the thought of getting quickly lumped in with these guys. Like I've said, I've never even been accused of being creepy - but the borderline irrational fear is still there.

The only thing "more" dangerous (scare quotes) about the socially miscalibrated guy is that he's like a sheep. and sometimes wolves wear sheepskin. I actually don't hear that much about FratDudesBeRapey (maybe because it seems like common knowledge). What I hear a lot about is the predators who disguise themselves, whether as guys who claim to be feminists or guys who claim to be your friend or guys who claim to just be socially miscalibrated. the wolves in sheep's clothing. Makes it hard to spot the difference until it's too late. That's what all of this fear really comes down to: other people are using you as a cover to do horrible things and we can't tell which you are. They (the predators) are INTENTIONALLY lumping themselves with you. "Hey look, I'm just a nerd and I don't get social cues and I self-diagnosed myself with Asperger's using a Buzzfeed quiz so you should totally let me grope you and I'm just a nice guy so don't make a scene." You (non-predators) are camouflage.
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Post by Mel on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:06 pm

On two other subjects that have come up...

Telling people what to expect from you vs. starting with a blank slate: I actually agree that there are some circumstances in which it is detrimental to announce a weakness like social awkwardness. e.g., my largest social circle is based on a shared professional endeavor and announcing to people who are likely to have some influence over your career based on how competent you appear to them that you believe you have a particular flaw is not something I'd necessarily recommend. For example, it's probably in my better interest, if I occasionally show some awkwardness in that setting, for people to chalk it up to arrogance/mild obliviousness/some other more assertive trait than to my being nervous talking to people, if I'm hoping some of those people might hire or recommend me to do workshops and school visits and so on that require confidence in one's ability to interact with others. (Sharing concerns about how you come across with a smaller group of particularly trusted folks within that larger circle is a different thing, of course.)

In general social circumstances, though, I think it's worth remembering that people are going to make judgements about your character and behavior that may be inaccurate even if you don't tell them a thing about yourself. If you feel you can effectively hide your social anxiety and not appear overly awkward, then yeah, it doesn't really make sense to alert people to something they may never even notice otherwise. But I think we were specifically talking about people who know they come across as awkward sometimes and are worried about people taking it badly?  In that case, people are going to see you as having a weakness regardless of what you tell them. So the question isn't, should I tell them I have this weakness and risk being judged for it or not tell them and not be judged?, it's, should I tell them this behavior they are going to see is because of social awkwardness or not tell them and have them potentially judge it to be maliciousness, lack of concern for others, or the many other negative ways awkward behavior could come across? If you can't control whether people notice a weakness, I think it's reasonable to suggest it may be worth doing your best to control how they perceive that weakness.

Mental illness and personal responsibility: I believe I've said this before but to reiterate, I think the responses to Aaronson's post need to be read in the context of that particular post, and I think he's getting called out for not taking personal responsibility not so much because those doing so believe that mental illness is completely under the sufferer's control but because of who he was placing blame on instead of himself. If he had written a post talking about his struggle with anxiety and taking the health care and/or education system to task for not having better supports in place, I don't think the average feminist would have any issue with that (unless he implied it was only anxious men who needed those services, not anxious women as well). But that's not what he did. He specifically pointed the finger at feminism and sexual harassment seminars as something that should change to accommodate the mental states of people who aren't even covered by feminism's primary mandate (which, as others have said and I agree, is supporting women). And I really don't think that's fair.

As I've said repeatedly, I'm coming at this from being part of that group--I've been diagnosed with clinical depression, I suffer from a lot of non-diagnosed but significant anxiety, I've been on medication, I've been in therapy. I don't think I or others with similar issues are fully in control of how our minds or that we can just think ourselves out of it, especially without proper assistance, just as you wouldn't expect someone with a physical illness to be able to cure themselves without assistance. But I also don't think it's reasonable to expect people who are not working in a field that's supposed to be helping people with illnesses to shape their lives and discourse around my difficulties, because they have their own needs and difficulties and just as I have a right to address mine as seems best to me, they have a right to address theirs as seems best to them. If thinking about parties makes me anxious, it's reasonable for me to say to a friend, "Hey, can you avoid talking about parties to me?" It's not reasonable for me to suggest that people on the internet, or publishing books, or holding public discussions--who don't know me personally and who may feel just as bad about having to restrict their topics of conversation as I do hearing about those topics--should stop talking about parties altogether or be careful how they talk about parties in public because they never know whether there might be someone around who finds thinking and hearing about parties anxiety-provoking.

That's where I draw the line of responsibility. If particular talk--that isn't, y'know, outright illegal, like hate speech or direct threats--provokes my depression or anxiety, I feel it is my responsibility to set my own boundaries around that. And that means, when it's coming from people I don't know and isn't directed specifically at me as an individual, it's my responsibility not to expose myself to those conversations, to remove myself if I see one occurring, and/or to manage my own anxious responses if I choose to (or have to, in a case like work-required seminars*) engage with the topic.

So I think that's the place the harsh responses are coming from. It's not really about lack of sympathy for mental illness/social anxiety in general but about being angered by someone blaming other parties unfairly. Unfortunately I think that anger is resulting in broader wording that makes it sound as if the writers are being unsympathetic to mental health issues in general, and I think it would be better if that were not the case. But again, I don't think those people would be saying the same things to a guy who simply wanted better health care and social support from the people whose jobs it is to supply those things, and it may be helpful to remember that.

(Which is not to say no one is unsympathetic to mental health issues in general--I've met plenty of those!--but that seems to me to be a separate issue in this case.)

*BTW, I also think that if Aaronson or someone else had a concrete suggestion that would definitely significantly reduce anxiety for men attending those seminars, while being no less effective in ensuring harassing behavior didn't occur, and being reasonably achieved, it would be totally fine for them to bring that up--though, without using an actual case of sexual harassment as a jumping off point.  Razz  But he didn't actually do that either--his primary complaint about the seminars was that they didn't give a list of examples of what wasn't harassment, which as I pointed out earlier is not something that can reasonably be achieved (at least not in a way that wouldn't quite likely provoke just as much anxiety and/or make it easier for harassers to find ways to keep harassing without facing repercussions).
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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:18 pm

Wondering wrote:

Applejack is orange and had apples on her rear. Twilight Sparkle is purple and a unicorn. Wink


In my defense, he's not so good with "L"s and "R"s. Twilight Sparkle sounds like "Twahh Spaagh" to me.

Don't even get me started on the Rarity conversation.

ME: Is this one Pinky Pie?
HIM: ACTUALLY, her name is [unintelligble]
ME: Did you say...? Is it...Melody?
HIM: No. It's [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. (seeing my confusion, thinks and comes up with a new tack) ACTUALLY, It starts with the letter AWWH.
ME: Awwh? You mean "O?" Her name is...Oddity?
HIM: No. Awwh. As in, ACTUALLY, Uncle, you AWWH a f****ing idiot. Also, you're holding the baby upside down.

Okay, the last couple sentences didn't happen.

In some ways though, it does remind me of the conversation around the whole Aaronson situation.

My heart breaks for my nephew, because I can see how hard he's trying to be understood, and how frustrating it is for him that he can't make perfectly obvious things clear, and his confusion at how his Uncle seems to speak English while still not understanding someone speaking English right back.

Part of me wants to tell him it will get better, and part of me wants to go, "You think it's tough now, kid, wait until you get on the internet.

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Post by Mel on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:53 pm

MapWater wrote:I think the distinction between an awkward, shy, nerdy guy VS the same but with ill intent or very bad ideas is harder to tell than your typical 'frat' type guy who has his own terrible ideas about women. I would imagine it makes a wee bit easier to lump someone like myself in with them (I've made the bold claim here I'm one of the good guys, oh shit  Razz ).

To be fair, I don't deal much with the 'frat' types day-to-day. Maybe it is harder to tell than I think if a guy like that has ill intent than I think it is. But most who I have had to deal with that have had nasty ideas made them very clear with their behaviour. Nerdier sorts I know with nasty ideas seem to not be quite as open with them... But I'll let women on the receiving end make the call on that rather than myself so I take you at your word, Mel.

Yeah, thinking about it... I'd say that there are different qualities in each situation that kind of balance things out. If a guy is doing something clearly boundary-crossing, I'm generally going to feel more uncertain about whether he means it intentionally or if it's just an accident if he presents as nerdy/socially awkward than if he presents as confident and assured. But I think socially awkward folks, due to their being socially awkward, have a harder time hiding malicious intent when it's there, whereas socially confident guys can manipulate the situation more easily. So if a nerdy/socially awkward presenting guy isn't doing anything red flaggy, I'm generally pretty confident he's okay, whereas I'm more cautious with a socially confident guy who isn't doing anything red flaggy because I see more possibility that he could simply have the skill and awareness to hide ill intent.

Which actually makes socially awkward guys easier to interact with, for me at least, because it's easier to point to problematic behavior and say, "Erm, this is not cool" and then judge from their response whether they intended it or not, than it is to determine whether someone's being honest or manipulative with you, without any "bad" behavior to call out--especially early on when you're just starting to get to know the person. Also, if a confident manipulator does make a misstep and get called out, he's more likely to be able to pretend dismay and repentance while not really feeling it, so even that is harder to trust and to distinguish between good guy and predator.

(Not that I'm saying I assume all confident guys are predators or some such, but I'm definitely more wary of--or perhaps more accurately, less quick to trust--good behavior from them.)

Does that make sense?
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Post by reboot on Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:16 pm

Even in professional circumstances, sometimes it is advisable to admit to weaknesses/conditions if you believe they could be detrimental to the team or interfere with the work. For example, the logistician [edit- thanks Wisp] on my teams in Peshawar and Quetta told us he was autistic (his word) and to let him know if he was doing something inappropriate and asked us to develop a safe phrase for when we were interacting with the local population because he struggled to manage his own social norms (German) and was afraid he would not be able to manage the local ones well since they were new. We appreciated him letting us know and set up the safe phrase (Do you have the time?) and it saved a lot of bumps and headaches and ransom money (violations of social norms were taken seriously in the local population). He was my logistician every time I was team leader and he was available.

Obviously in a normal professional setting admissions of this sort might not be advisable. Purely social groups I could see it going either way, depending on the group. Personally, I would hold back on saying it until I saw how members treated each other and keep aloof for the first few meetings, but maybe that is also part of deciding whether or not to be part of the group? If you think that this group would react badly or cruelly to you saying you have a weakness/social anxiety/awkwardness, perhaps this is a group you do not want to be a part of?


Last edited by reboot on Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by The Wisp on Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:49 pm

Mel, I think you're right about what the charitable interpretation of them WRT mental illness is, and that it is the correct interpretation. I wish DNL specifically could have been better all the same.

Also, this is off-topic, but you had a logician on your team, reboot? For what purpose? I've never heard of logicians being used outside of computer science.
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