Confidence vs risk taking n dating

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Post by Enail on Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:53 pm

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Post by Perlandra on Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:31 am

rj3 while I agree that OLD feels a bit less risky than in-person dating emotionally, rejection still stings for me. I don't understand the attitude that nobody should ever react emotionally to anything just because it's in writing.

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Post by rj3 on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:16 pm

Perlandra wrote:rj3 while I agree that OLD feels a bit less risky than in-person dating emotionally, rejection still stings for me.  I don't understand the attitude that nobody should ever react emotionally to anything just because it's in writing.

It's not so much about never reacting emotionally, but it's about listing out the risks (in my case, fear of humiliation) and moving my activities to a venue where it was less of an issue. Yeah, rejection sucks, whether it's from a job or a potential romantic interest. But I for one would rather be rejected by 3 pictures and 4 paragraphs than someone I'll have to see again.

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Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:34 pm

Interesting post with interesting ideas. The link didn't loud for me for some reason, but the concept of risk seeking sparks some associations in my Psychology-ridden mind.

First, I seem to remember that risk-seeking is related somehow to the more general individual difference variable of sensation-seeking? Which in turn has something to do with sensory tresholds, how much input does it take to hit the sweet spot... with whether they experience the rush certain activities give as pleasant or just overwhelming. The kind of difference that's been discussed here already.

I also seem to remember that the variable is related to extraversion/introversion somehow, but I’m not absolutely sure. And it would be on a statistical rather than personal level anyway.

That sweet spot in turn reminds me of stress, and cognitive functioning. For one thing, stress tends to make simple or familiar tasks easier to perform, while complex or unfamiliar tasks become harder. We rely, in other words, more on automated responses. For another, stress seems to improve cognitive function up to a certain point, and then it starts to have the opposite effect... and that certain point, that sweet spot, is different for different people.

On how to use all this to become less risk-averse? These aren't new ideas around here, I think... But if stressed brains rely more on automation, the answer would be to get lots and lots of practice... until you can ask someone out, or go through a date, without needing much conscious thought. Like, say, how we learn to ride a bike...

As for sensory tresholds, my own tolerance for sensation seems to have been raised somehow thanks to systematic exposure and desensitization (which is a fancy word for ”getting more used to it”). In fact, that's something I've been discussing with Perlandra here Which again would be an argument for getting lots and lots of practice.

And a good thing with exposure, desensitization, and practice is you don't have to start with the scariest things right away. Again, like learning to ride a bike. It’s enough to find some activity that resembles approaching or dating enough that the skills you learn from doing it can be transferred... preferably something that scares you just a little, so there's something there to overcome... but not so much that it just becomes too much, and you back away.

And then, when you have mastered that activity – so it becomes thrilling rather rather than scary – it's time to level up, only a little, taking small steps all the way.
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Post by kath on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:38 pm

Oh oh! Learning how to take smart risks is something we've been talking a lot about at work, in a child-development context, and I'm wondering if it's relevant here!

Basically, we all need to learn how to take risks effectively. If we don't, we'll either be very risk averse, or we will have never had a risk go south and not think any risk is an unwise one.

That's why playgrounds on which it is impossible to get hurt are a problem - they do not allow you to experiment with different levels of risk at all. So you can neither overcome your fear, get a bit hurt, but be OK (and learn to deal with risk aversion) nor thrill-seek, get hurt a bit more than you want, and learn when a risk is just not worth it. Those are [some of the] the kids going 200k on the highway and wrapping themselves around poles.

We also sometimes do this socially, where parents and teachers step in to moderate kids' behavior all the time, so they don't get to have disagreements that they just have to sort out on their own very much. That takes away an avenue for learning social skills and risk taking.

Here is a scottish pamphlet about it that explains the child development components ( http://www.playscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/Risky-Play-Leaflet_web.pdf ).

Argh, I did the test and ... it didn't tell me my answer! But I think I'm risk-averse in general. I usually don't have the good feeling when I'm just ABOUT to do something, but when something is happening and just - going, not going perfectly, but going - I feel that adrenaline rush and then it's great. I don't experience the before-thing anxiety as an adrenaline rush. Maybe more as a cortisol spike? I guess risk-taking people probably still experience as it as before-anxiety and then during-rush, but are more tuned to the rush.

The interesting thing for me is I think I learned to take some risks better than others. I am fine with speaking up in classes, giving speeches, and performing - and I have certainly screwed up badly while performing in particular. And I think I do get the nice adrenaline rush after I take a social risk, but sometimes I find that anxiety spike a bit more difficult to overcome.

OH! Maybe it's BECAUSE I've had more failure with the performance side of it. I have messed up solos and performances at competitions and auditions and had to deal with the consequences and had the world actually not end. I've had stuff like that mess up because of mistakes other people make, and I look silly ... and the world still doesn't end, even if I am very upset and cry.

But in general, my social interactions have not had as many abject failures, and some of the ones that have happened were like, WAY MORE AWFUL than the "I couldn't do that" failures.

So maybe I just need to deal with more small failures socially, count them as that, and enjoy the adrenaline rush when I can ...

I do think working at a science centre is helping with that. On Thursday, a colleague and I led a teacher PD session, and we were leading them through our program development process, which involves testing out a program on the floor. We had them brainstorm, and then we picked 2 of the program ideas and went and tried them right them. Both of us Do Not Like piloting - it's just scary, you have no idea if it will work, it's a lot of effort, it feels like your ideas is being judged (because it is, it's just not about it being your idea). Both of us like to have prep time and psych-up time before piloting, and we just didn't this time. And after the session, both of us were riding adrenaline highs for hours.

It's also made me a lot more ... willing to do stuff that is just weird and see if people will do it with me / with us.

I do think practice (practice feelign the cortisol spike, taking the risk, and then feeling the adrenaline) can help - maybe unless your body is reacting very badly to your stress reaction. Then maybe you should just work on generally managing stress (which I need to work on myself), and then you could move on to working on risk-averse behavior, if you have it.

Oh another thing might be getting a partner in crime to take risks with, where you are both at similar levels of risk-aversion, and you both pledge to push each other to take risks. You would each be more objective about the actual consequences of a risk, and you could share the adrenaline high afterward. Sort of like going out with a wingperson where you are both trying to just approach / have conversations with strangers, and you can meet up at the end to just - make grunting noises and say "YEAAAH".

One day at work we got them to play Cadillac Ranch on the PA, went outside, and started line dancing to see if anyone would join in. No one did, but there were four of us, so looking stupid didn't seem like the worst. But I would NOT have done that alone.

One category of risks where I actually do kinda seek the adrenaline high is Doing Things I Don't Know How To Do. I am only TOO happy to take on tasks I have no idea how to execute, and I have started a few new jobs with no or scant prior experience in the area. I LOVE how I feel when I can make it through something I had no idea how to tackle.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:48 pm

[quote="Enail". . . the consequences for failure are not high for me or I know I can come up with backup plans as needed. So the only ways I've really found to increase my ability/willingness to take risks are by lowering the risk (or my perception of it) and increasing my skill at winging things. . .[/quote]

I'd argue that lowering the perceived risk and/or perceived consequences of risk is confidence.

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Post by Enail on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:54 pm

Well, I did say I'm fairly confident Razz
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Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:01 am

Ugh. Tangent: shortly after I started, my elementary school ruled (with no particular cause) that its playground was unsafe, and removed almost all of its facilities (chain swings, tire swings, monkey bars, see-saw, and a huge tire we liked to climb on) leaving basically a barren plot of almost-grass. Didn't have enough funding to build anything else there until after my class moved up to middle school. But they did leave one thing: a "balance beam" that consisted of an ugly old splintered plank with support posts buried in the ground. Guess what I hurt myself on, once before this brilliant decision and once again after. For me it was just awkward clumsiness and lack of coordination. Other kids played "chicken fight" on it though: the rules (as I remember them) involved hopping one-legged toward each other on the plank and trying to intimidate or gently shove the other person off. Nobody wanted to actually get in trouble for hurting people, so.

Anyway. Playgrounds. "Safe" playgrounds totally suck.
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Post by reboot on Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:11 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:Ugh. Tangent: shortly after I started, my elementary school ruled (with no particular cause) that its playground was unsafe, and removed almost all of its facilities (chain swings, tire swings, monkey bars, see-saw, and a huge tire we liked to climb on) leaving basically a barren plot of almost-grass. Didn't have enough funding to build anything else there until after my class moved up to middle school. But they did leave one thing: a "balance beam" that consisted of an ugly old splintered plank with support posts buried in the ground. Guess what I hurt myself on, once before this brilliant decision and once again after. For me it was just awkward clumsiness and lack of coordination. Other kids played "chicken fight" on it though: the rules (as I remember them) involved hopping one-legged toward each other on the plank and trying to intimidate or gently shove the other person off. Nobody wanted to actually get in trouble for hurting people, so.

Anyway. Playgrounds. "Safe" playgrounds totally suck.

So with you on safe playgrounds! I am so glad I grew up in the 70s-80s when it was kind of expected that kids would get banged up on the playground or while running around being kids.

For those that took the test, it does not give you your score, but how to calculate it is in the article.

Back to kath's comment, I think learning how to manage risk and failure are such critical skills. I wish I had had someone try to moderate my risk taking when I was a kid because I did some seriously dangerous and occasionally illegal things (e.g. stealing cars and joy riding, breaking into buildings to explore, climbing around construction sites, lots of drinking/drugging), but since I never got caught and never got really hurt/harmed, I did not learn to moderate risk taking until I was into my late 20s-early 30s. My poor self esteem coupled with my risk taking had a lot to do with me marrying my ex.

Kath, your description of learning to take risks is interesting, especially how it relates to improving social skills. One of my friends who is introverted and risk adverse got into improv to push herself on the risk taking front and to get past feeling stupid/embarrassed in social situations and said it was really useful.
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Post by Perlandra on Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:53 am

rj3, I just had a bad experience with someone e-mailing me nasty things after we met in person (initial contact and the insult were both on an OLD site). So, I'm probably a bit more sensitive than usual about it. I just never understood the "it's online, so you can't get offended or hurt by it" thing.

Hirundo, that was very introspective, and I think some of the things you shared might be helpful to the other folks on this topic.

Kath, I like trying new things too, though I tend to feel awkward and klutzy at first. I'm a risk-taker in some areas, risk-averse in others, and the rest depends on my mood and general confidence level.

NT and Reboot, I agree that "safe" playgrounds tend to be pretty boring, and kids can hurt themselves on anything.

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