Sunday, March 3, 2013

Über Analysis vs. Hyper Verbosity

Once upon a time, I had a friend who hyper-analyzed her relationships with boys.
My issue was not that she over-analyzed the next day, over lunch, with her friends. That is an unavoidable “girl thing.” No, it was that she super-analyzed in real time. 

I exaggerate here for effect, but imagine that the boy tried to hold her hand and she immediately started asking “Does this mean you like me? A lot? Do you like me? Are we dating?” and then would launch into a two-hour discussion about the definition of “dating” and where each of them would be in six months. (All while holding his hand, of course.)

I used to bang my head in frustration. “Flirt, or do not flirt,” I advised, “But don’t discuss it. And for pity’s sake, don’t start arguments about whether or not he was flirting and whether or not you were reciprocating. (‘Well, you started it…’) Enjoy the moment. Act mysterious. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘The essence of romance is uncertainty.’”

She ignored me. A few years later, she was flirting with a boy and started to hyper-analyze—then realized she simply didn’t know how to have a “define the relationship” talk in Spanish, so she refrained.

I rejoiced. “So that’s what it takes!” I said, and wondered if I could find a nice boy for her who had strong technical English skills but who lacked social vocabulary. In other words, an LDS German Aspie engineer.

Earlier this month, I spent a week writing very terse emails. My carpal tunnel was particularly bad and I avoided any unnecessary keystrokes.

Epiphany. “Oh!” I thought. “So that’s what it takes to keep my writing concise. Maybe I should play Minecraft more often…”


Carolyn said...

Because we all know that you were so excellent at flirting and NOT hyper-analyzing your relationship with Jon...

Gail said...

That was different! ;)

Well, actually, there were a few differences.

For one thing, I definitely did not come across as "too eager." Most of our "define the relationships" involved me hyperventilating about not getting serious.

Second, I let him take the lead. Or at least the appearance of it. I mean, mostly he would want to get more serious, and he would wait until I relaxed a little and dropped delicate hints that I might not run screaming into the swamp, then he broached the idea cautiously, and THEN we hyper-over-analyzed things.

Finally, I never said we were good at flirting. But there was lots of uncertainty!