Product Disclosure Statement For My Tinder Matches

In the spirit of Tinder marketing myself, and for the sake of our internet brains, included throughout this PDS are pictorial summaries of my lots of words via some visually grabbing plumage and reductive statements…

External package description, superficial features:

Likes include kind and quirky people, googling everything, talking about and exploring ideas, others’ inquisitive minds, learning, people watching. Not the gym. Life includes meaningful relationships with family, friends, exploring new things, a thought-expanding past working in the disability sector, back at uni studying cognitive and brain science.

The most lucrative dating strategy is to impress the pants off your target mate by inhibiting who you actually are… Successful until that strategy procures a relationship and kicks itself in the face with its own illusions. The more functional strategy for procuring a healthy relationship seems to be presenting yourself as you are at the expense of mass appeal.
The stuff that actually matters between people (according to me), but often remains unperceived as humanity confusedly fumbles along seeking other people to customise to their own specifications:

The most fulfilling relationships I have in my life are those in which myself and the other people seem to share values in:

  • Curiosity about and interest in other people;
  • Continually developing self-awareness;
  • Self-reflection;
  • Taking responsibility for the impact on others of our own emotions, thoughts and actions;
  • The importance of the experience of others;
  • Learning to like ourselves, accept ourselves and…
  • … Paying attention to opportunities for this in what we see in others,
  • A felt, motivating desire (not simply an intellectual, stated intention) to understand the differences between people.
What is this Matrix world of invisible people-happenings?

The ‘good’ in our relationships seems paradoxically dependent upon how we work together to learn and grow from and with each other’s imperfections rather than two ‘good’ people being perpetually ‘good’ and always pleasing to one another. To me, my role and responsibility in fostering these relationships is equal in priority to their responsibility, and these other people also hold this same balanced priority and act in attempt to live by it- as do I.

I’m very grateful to have these relationships, but the experience of this means I feel confident about what I need in my life, I trust myself and I won’t force or seek it where I notice it’s not naturally forthcoming (e.g. If this long, meaningful passage scares people off, or they’ve zoned out already, it possibly indicates we’d relate better to different people anyway and that is just neutral, useful information).

That is, my individual life has given me the skills to perceive, understand and communicate underlying dynamics between people. How I work and how human relationships work is not frequently confusing, or mysterious, or the product of cosmic stardust to me. This is an unusual strength, not one that can be expected from all people because its existence is explained by my unique life experience- also not some innate talent that the universe has magically infused me with. This is just a strength I recognise in myself, not a point of superiority.

Is this a Kanye-sized ego or some reasonable self-esteem???

In response to similar expressions of self-assurance regarding needs, I’ve noticed it can feel intimidating or confusing for people less knowing of or secure in their needs, or less practiced at talking about them. A very normal, understandable occurrence in this world in which we’re discouraged from exploring, expressing or validating our emotional needs. Someone talking frankly about their needs can feel weird and abnormal, socially unacceptable even.

The flip side of my felt self-assurance in my needs is that it enables me to behave consistently, predictably, in what other people experience as ‘kindness’, ‘caring’, ‘niceness’, ‘understanding’, ‘interest’ in others, ‘warmth’, ‘reasonableness’, ‘rationality’, ‘fairness’, ‘honesty’ etc and these qualities can make people feel safe, comfortable, accepted. Understandably. I also feel safe, comfortable and accepted in response to these qualities, even when I know a person may not directly like or approve of some things about me. 

The intimidation is very normal, a human response to normal human insecurity. I get it. I’m very familiar with these feelings myself.

However, I’ve realised that this intimidation is not a property of someone else’s self-assurance- as long as they’re doing the hard work to act kindly rather than impose superiority– it’s just a natural property of our own human feelings of insecurity which can begin to be resolved once we identify having the feelings and what the trigger is. Something I also work to take responsibility for when I’m feeling it, which I do at times, because I’m a very, very normal person.

Likewise, the personal feelings others experience of safety, comfort, acceptance do not automatically translate to a mutual feeling for me. The mutuality of those feelings for me are dependent upon another’s reciprocity in the kindness, understanding, niceness and warmth, interest, honesty etc as I perceive of it and experience it. The differing perceptions and experiences of these qualities is something I like to talk about with people, something important to talk about.

If this honest, pragmatic outline of what to expect from me scares the shit out of you and makes you wary of engaging- I approve of that decision. Human intimacy is vulnerable and scary and therefore requires courage. It’s important to recognise when something’s not right for us.

Whoops! I obviously didn’t heed these instructions! Sorry guys, I am just as complex and complicated as every other human being alive. No pretence here. The wacky, mind-boggling thing is that other people get their complexity respected too.

If you’re curious or confused or sceptical about anything I’ve written- feel free to ask me about it! I love questions and love open, exploratory conversations. I prefer to openly address difference or confusion for the sake of understanding rather than have it manifest insidiously as avoidance, withdrawal, dismissal, passive-aggressiveness etc… It feels hurtful and unpleasant to experience these things, and I’ve learnt for myself that they’re unnecessary reactions if I can learn to discuss the root of my own reactions. 

If you feel like sharing your own perspectives- tell me! I very much love hearing about how others see and experience the world.

Apart from the words I’ve formulated, I’m sure you’ll be able to derive clues about me from what I’ve focused on, what I’ve omitted, my choice of words, my phrasing and my choice to present all of this from the perspective of my own values rather than directives for what others ‘should’ be or an objective ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. 

So true

5 thoughts on “Product Disclosure Statement For My Tinder Matches

  1. Love this! Reminds me a bit of what the writer Alain de Botton discusses in his novel – The Course of Love: that we should begin relationships by saying – and how good would it be if you could say actually this on a first date? – we should start by saying:

    This is how crazy I am.

    I.e.
    I’m likely to insert your name into songs and sing them all of the time.
    Or.
    When I brush my hair in the shower I sometimes leave the clump of hair on the sink and forget to throw it out, I’m sorry.
    Or.
    My father was a recovering alcoholic and I have a lot of regret in that we’re not closer and I didn’t help him through his recovery but I feel powerless to change it.
    Or.
    I’m a bit self-involved but don’t mean to be. I can’t help it.
    Or.
    I am always continuously quoting and referencing pop culture.
    Etc. etc.

    It’s interesting that in many ways we are all insecure when we meet someone or want to impress someone. We put on our best selves and – most of the time not even consciously – believe this “charade” isn’t really a big deal or that it is in a lot of ways who we really are, and that we can sustain it for the rest of our lives.

    But the problem I think, even from my own experience, is when things start to fail, we inevitably don’t look inward to take responsibility, but instead project onto the other person and begin a cycle of resentment.

    And in a lot of ways this is perpetuated by our society in reinforcing that in long-term relationships, we’re not supposed to really like each other that much – that “putting up” with the differences we don’t like in the other person and conversely the other person putting up with the things they don’t like about you – is the testament to / hallmark of a “deeper” relationship, instead of discussing the issues and working out what they really mean or in the worst case resolving where it is only going to deteriorate, to leave the relationship.

    I think as you said, we should accept more of ourselves and be more confident in opening this up to other people on dates, and “come what may.” Because it’s always better to have tried your best and been honest, than been someone other than who you are in order to manufacture a relationship. If that makes sense.

    In any case, i’m rambling now. It was awesome meeting you, and wicked post! Also good luck on “The Tind.” Hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Nathan! Thanks for the comment, it was good to meet you too, I really enjoyed the group. I’ll come back to it after Feb.

      I so agree with you. There’s a small movement in society to begin approaching life and relationships in this way, which I love. Obviously, this is still the opposite of the norm (and maybe always will be?). I think the work of Alain de Botton and other people exploring emotional intelligence has been influential in this.

      It feels quite liberating- and a bit empowering- to be developing acceptance and security with all my messiness and the good stuff co-existing. It helps me feel safe to present it and only go where the liking and acceptance of my peculiar humanity is naturally happening, rather than seek to be liked for a formulated patchwork that’s really just a projection of my ideal self that I’m not actually living, blended with my own perception of other people’s preferences…

      Yep, that cycle of resentment is a nasty thing when it’s not nipped in the bud. Yuck. Just the thought of it gives me the heeby-jeebies. I think as humans it’s easier to observe the actions of others, so we tend to seek blame externally which is reinforced by our blame-heavy culture. So the ability to look inwards is a skill that needs to be fostered actively, and it’s a really tricky, ongoing process. Life is SO much easier when people can do this together! And, so much freer because that sort of dynamic both ways generates a lot of acceptance, understanding and supportiveness- it becomes okay to make mistakes occasionally, to have human emotions, flaws, difficulties, to seek and receive support for our vulnerabilities.

      It doesn’t quite work so well, though, when it’s only one person recognising their role. Usually that person misses out on receiving the understanding and supportiveness and over time those unmet needs drive resentment and they become less able to give as they did in the beginning. Common story.

      Yeah, that does seem to be the case- that our culture reveres long term relationships merely for their long term-ness, and part of that seems to be ‘settling’ or ‘putting up with’ people we may not even like as people. People often seem compelled to stick together for the sake of keeping the appearance of the relationship, regardless of the fact that the quality and mutual benefits of the relationship are poor to outright damaging.

      Oh, I think I have some comment setting that’s anti-bots. I’ll look into it.

      Like

  2. OMG this is so great. Likes “googling everything”– HA.

    You seem to have a really good grasp on what your needs are and I think that’s not only impressive, but way ahead of a lot of the people I encounter in the dating pool. I love that you are putting yourself out there in an open and honest way, and giving people the opportunity (and yourself) to opt in or opt out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And thanks for reading! Yep, I suspect I do have a better grasp than average (but I’ve worked f*n hard to learn about myself and other people)- which is one of many motivations for the post. It’s contrary to normal interactions and typical expectations which is understandable. I don’t derive much enjoyment, fulfilment, safety, security, trust etc from ‘normal’ masquerading interactions, so It’s really important to me to be developing these conversations from the outset with people who already can and have a voluntary desire to as well. How people respond and what they focus on also provides a goldmine of information about their own priorities and whether or not either of us would work well for each other as we naturally are. It’s a verrrrrry unconventional approach, but I’m less concerned with convention and more concerned with doing something that might work better for developing healthy, growing relationships.

      Like

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