Stop following stupid dating steps, get some advice

Ah Valentines day, the day when us singletons are meant to feel crap about the fact we are alone and unloved? Bollox, I feel great and to be honest it feels like any other day, except I imagine most restaurants will be overpriced and booked up? Brunch in Pimlico, London wasn’t… (I even said to a female friend I would love to meet up for brunch while I was down in London, forgetting it was valentines day, thats how much I care about the moneymaking day)

And its the whole, how you should be living you’re life which slightly winds me up, just like the follow my steps and this will work for you.

Just like a while ago somebody (sure it was Mancnewgirl) sent me this from the New York times. How to fall in love with anyone.

More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.

I already had enough problems with most of the 36 questions and the setup…  For example.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

What? Seriously when would you bring that up? Why would you bring that up? What would you ultimately learn from it which isn’t a binary state?

Now I admit some of them are pretty good and I have been known to ask at speed dating, of my own mind (I knew nothing of the 36 questions)

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

Which I ask as… Tell me the last time you cried?

The problem with most of these is the context and the answers will sometimes be almost useless. If it was more about picking and choosing from a few of these questions or a general guide it wouldn’t be so bad. Frankly besides the science (yeah I can’t believe I said that too, but bear with me) its not exactly much more than another buzzfeed list, which funny enough got the force of the community against it.

Just like the buzzfeedy list… there was always going to be trouble around the corner.

I had enough of this frankly bollox advice things… The problem seems to exist not because the science is wrong, although I could argue they are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. Nope its taking the science and then trying to boil it down to a easy to digest list for us common folk to follow. F-that! and F-them for doing the science a great injustice!

If you start the experiment with …

Let me acknowledge the ways our experiment already fails to line up with the study. First, we were in a bar, not a lab. Second, we weren’t strangers. Not only that, but I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.

Then whats the bloody point? You might as well just pick and choose the questions, modify some and do you’re own thing. Yes I understand it doesn’t sell adverts/papers but frankly I get sick of these pre-subscribed nonsense. Say this and you will get this, if this then that, because humans are well known for acting exactly the same to the same input.

Its worth saying I’m not against advice but there is a big difference between

4. Keep it fresh – Avoid the Yes/No game with light-hearted open questions. Chat matters know “who, what and how” yield greater results than “me, myself and I” But tread lightly, nobody wants a grilling.
– All bar one’s guide to flirting from Flirtology

and ask this question:

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

Generic pointers are far more useful when dealing with the unquantifiable. Directed or rather specific advice will get you specific results and only work in specific conditions. Unless you can recreate the whole experiment then why even bring it up? Plus if you go back to the start, don’t tell me exactly what to do! That is no way to live life, feel the joy and energy of life in the opportunities which arise out of mistakes and being adventurous.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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