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Thread: Geek Social Fallacies

  1. #1
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Geek Social Fallacies

    http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html

    Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil

    Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am

    Geek Social Fallacy #3: Friendship Before All

    Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive

    Geek Social Fallacy #5: Friends Do Everything Together

    Okay, so please do read the link. There's not much of a TL;DR version of this one.

    Basically, as geek types we've all had bad early social experiences that left an indelible impression on us even into adulthood. Many of us hate hate hate any situation that puts us on the other side of the social exclusion equation.

    What's your impression of this article? What's your experience been with this?
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    I don't think they are Geek Social Fallacies, I think they are Childhood Social Fallacies. They're playground ideology. You're average 8-year old believes them to be true. But, truly social people outgrow them faster because they make all the missteps that are described as the negative consequences of these fallacies, but they make them sooner and younger.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  3. #3
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Oh, friends.

    Wait, what?
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    These all seem to be based on a contrived morality, called "Everyone is equal and deserves..." The back end of that sentence can be filled in however.

    But whether everyone is equal in a statutory or ideal sense isn't relevant. In practice, people are not equally smart, equally attractive, equally wealthy, equally entertaining, equally friendly, equally appealing etc. Discrimination is a basic instinct of social beings. Principled people may strive not to discriminate along certain, specific lines, but almost everyone discriminates in some way.

    Some people get excluded, and that's a fact of life. An outsider's mentality might make someone more sensitive and empathetic to what it feels like, but by definition, most other people won't feel that way, in any given context.

    In summary, people are shit, but part of freedom is making choices, and sometimes those choices will lead to inequality. And it's naive to fall back on a socially constructed narrative of equality that simply isn't factually accurate.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

  5. #5
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    What's your experience been with this?
    Just that trying to bond with people over my more "geeky" interests often leads to un-fun social interactions due to the fact that the people I'm interacting with have poor social skills. Hence I mostly keep my geeky interests to myself as solitary pleasures and, when I'm trying to build a social life, generally do so around somewhat less intrinsically interesting but more conventional entertainments.

    I don't think I've ever watched an NFL game by myself (American football is a fairly stupid game, and the entertainment industry built around it at the pro level just cranks the dial up to "Full Retard"), but I'm definitely going to skip your Super Smash Bros. tournament for Chad's Super Bowl party if you each invite me. No offense, but Chad actually knows how to throw a party and entertain guests--he's good at telling jokes, and there will probably be hot chicks over there. He throws this party every year and has refined hosting it down to a practiced art. Sorry, dude. I just don't want to sit in your basement awkwardly munching pretzels in silence while you do impressions of characters from a TV show I've never watched, waiting for my turn to feel awkward seeing how anxious you get about the prospect of losing at a video game. "Nothing personal" wouldn't be quite accurate here, but really, it's just a question of what's going to be more fun for me. It's not a holistic judgment on your character. I do happen to like video games, like, a lot--but the thing about them is that I play them by myself and get the most enjoyment out of them that way. If I'm really craving the experience of a multiplayer fighting game session that much, well, I'll hook myself up to Xbox Live and lay around at home playing Tekken ladder matches in my underwear.

    I think this is why in college I never ended up really initiating myself into the Portland punk scene, despite how huge it is and how much I truly do enjoy "geeking out" on the music itself. Actual shows are fun, but Christ--punk rock house parties are the worst. A bunch of people with extremely stunted interpersonal skills stand around chainsmoking and trying to avoid eye contact with one another. At best you get regaled by some dude whose favorite band you've never heard of, who clearly understands you have no idea what he's talking about, but just keeps going on and on and on to hear himself talk. It's actually worse if you do happen to have a band interest in common, because then he wants to compete with you in a game of anecdotes about which of you has been to a cooler show by said band. You can't be openly hoping to get laid or anything, either, because patriarchy or something, so instead it's best to avoid being in the proximity of women lest some dude come up and ironically dry-hump you in an effort to prove to them that this party is a "safe space." God, fucking dorks.

    In retrospect it's probably why I rather quickly found myself drifting more toward the hip-hop people. (It helps that I like geeking out on hip-hop music too, of course.) Even--God help me--the fucking ravers, although that didn't last long. (Fucking dorks--look, I'll gladly smoke a joint with you or whatever, but I'm not interested in lying on a pile of pillows with you staring at your Winamp visuals afterwards.) The hip-hop kids threw fucking awesome parties.

    It should be noted I went to a college specialized for nerds, so we're really talking about a spectrum of punk rock nerds vs EDM nerds vs basketball nerds and whatever. Maybe I would have shied away from the hip-hop scene more if there were D1 football players and whatnot showing up, but even so it was a difference between social events organized by people familiar enough with other humans to realize you draw a larger and more entertaining crowd with a night of Chamillionaire on the stereo and guys doing keg stands than a marathon of your favorite Star Trek episodes. (People who like Star Trek can watch it at home, you see. Doing keg stands at home by yourself just doesn't work the same way.) You make an effort to invite people on the basis of how entertaining they'll be to you and others more so than how this fits your strategy to find as many other Star Trek fans as you can and get them in one place. You have more fun when your guests have more fun, even if you've selected activities that aren't your personal favorite ways to spend your own time. It's just how these things work.

    Being a geek/nerd tends to mean you have esoteric skills or knowledge most other people don't have. I found that recognizing this for what it was--a way of finding a niche in groups of people who lack this expertise but have other aptitudes you don't--led to pretty noteworthy improvements in the quality of my social life. Being a nerd who insists on hanging out exclusively with other nerds--in other words, ostracizing people for lacking your rarefied interests--is really not how you ensure you have a fun and rewarding relationships with other people. Nerds suck at social life--it's what makes them nerds. The sooner they realize that this is, for lack of a better word, their fault for being nerds--but a remediable fault--and not everyone else's fault for not being nerds, the sooner the angsty tribulations of nerdish love-hate loneliness start to dissipate and personal growth occurs.

    The phrase "nerd culture" makes me giggle. Nerds complaining about being treated rudely or whatnot by other nerds sometimes makes me laugh out loud--what these people need to do is figure out how to bring people who aren't nerds into their life. It's more or less that simple.

    In my case, anyway. YMMV.

  6. #6
    asl? ;] JollyBard's Avatar
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    Only the first one remotely applies to me, but it's not because I feel ostracisors are "evil"! I just feel bad for the people who get rejected, from empathy. This same feeling makes me dislike judging others... For some reason the people in my new social group at school really like laughing at absent people's awkwardness, like it's just benign fun. Sigh... It probably is, though. I'm the asshole who comes in saying "Oh come on, guys" and offers a psychanalytical explanation to the person's social misadjustment. Or I just leave.

  7. #7
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    my thoughts about making friends as a nerd-type (ok, i don't identify as a "geek" but maybe this is close enough)--

    stop wasting time on something that isn't your passion. if you wanna make friends, step out of your comfort zone and stop thinking your geekiness (largely a result of social isolation) is gonna get you any. what's great about it anyway? having friends takes so much time away from being a geek/nerd with esoteric knowledge about shit nobody else cares about. what do you really want?

    i'm a bit of an oldies music nerd and in college i experimented with trying to make friends around this interest, but they were all really fake friendships based around collecting and trading and it was ultimately unsatisfying, especially since i still felt i was way nerdier than them and i hated sharing with them the fruits of my isolation when i could tell they didn't care about why i was into this or that or why i loved it. i wouldn't pursue these types of "friendships" again. i'd rather be a fucking nerd around people who appreciate me... this sounds so stupid.

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    Oh wow, the shadow ESFJ stuff in this thread is amazing.

    I actually tried the "hanging around the different kinds of people to be a master of social skillz" thing in college. I went to the big parties, and tried to Get Involved in the Important Issues like everyone else.

    Here's what I learned:

    Nobody talks about anything of interest at those parties, they just want tail without icky relationship stuff, and talking about things of interest jeopardizes your chances of getting tail. (I'm not sure if it would have been better to have played along with that or not.) I don't know how to fix Important Issues, but making displays of how you are outraged you are doesn't really do anything to fix them.

    Here's why I like my current friends, whom I feel much more confident about calling my friends then whatever groups I was flitting around with in college:

    I find I can talk about some of the dorky things, like Adult Swim, Game of Thrones, and unusual birds in between conversations about fantasy football that I can't always follow. They are also secure in who they are. I like that they are competent, funny people who aren't image-obsessed and are open to talking about "unusual" stuff regardless of whether it serves some Important Purpose or not.

    That doesn't mean I have to hate talking about dorky things, or look down on people who want to talk about dorky things. Many people in my department at work (not the folks I eat lunch with.. they work in a different department) are also a bunch of nerds, and I like talking to most of them, too, and seem to be inching closer to being friends.

    Yes, social skills are kind of nice, but, and I know this sounds like a bunch of evil right-wing "individualist" nonsense, but your own interests should count for something, as well.

    I'm not sure why taking bong rips is considered a better way to spend one's time than watching Star Trek episodes. What evils of the world are being cured by bong rips? None! Meanwhile, I watched a Star Trek episode last night where they traveled to the 21st century... and, shades of Occupy Wall Street everywhere. I think people should be free to follow their interests, even if they are eccentric and not common. What the hell makes Chamillionaire a more worthwhile pursuit than tree identification?

    I just don't feel like pretending I'm not a nerd because it'll make it easier for to get laid or something. I'll take an interest in other people's feeling and points of view, sure, but I don't think it's a good idea for me to do it at the expense of my own. People skills are useful, but they aren't everything. I don't need to talk about Star Trek constantly, but it would be nice to be around people who I could mention it to without them thinking I am Jeffrey Dahmer. I'm really inclined to hold at arm's length anyone who does think like that.

    Having friends is nice, sure, and I'd like to hang out with mine more if it were geographically feasible for my lazy ass, but it's not that quantity that counts. I know life isn't worth sneering at people just because they are passionate about something you aren't, whether it's Star Trek, anarcho-fruitarianism or football. I don't really have that much figured out, but one thing I have figured out is that being passionate about things, if they don't really hurt other people, is actually a good thing. The jaded hipster act of taking an apathetic condescending drag on a cigarette in response to someone acting interested or enthusiastic about something has worn extremely thin for me. I'd rather not be dead inside.

    Regarding the original article, I agree with it.
    Last edited by msg_v2; 01-23-2014 at 05:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    What the hell makes Chamillionaire a more worthwhile pursuit than tree identification?
    Nothing at all. I enjoy identifying trees. I'm simply content to enjoy doing it by myself and don't hold out on an expectation that it will ever be the basis of relationships or bonds I develop with other people. Rather, I've found that I have more success at having enjoyable interactions with other people by cultivating interests (or at least indulging them) that greater numbers of people are more likely to share. Ultimately, it's really not the interests I share with my friends/acquaintances/whatever that matter, but the more basic personal qualities we each have and how these relate to each other. Any interests or hobbies we might share are mainly just vehicles for allowing those interpersonal dynamics a chance to develop, so I expand my pool of potentially compatible candidates by choosing a wider range of pretexts for interaction, and ones that have a wider appeal.

    I'm only limiting myself, unproductively IMO, if I try to insist on my pet preoccupations being the basis for any and all interaction. I only bring it up because it's something I observe a lot of self-identified "geeky/nerdy" people stumbling over or failing to understand when they complain about having difficulty forming relationships with others. Their framework for understanding what brings people happiness has developed in excessive isolation and become overly dependent on their own preferences and perspective. If you want to bond or otherwise build rapport with others, you usually have to meet them halfway over things that won't necessarily be something which ranks as either person's absolute favorite interest or avocation. The "geek" is heavily invested in esoteric pursuits and so isn't used to doing this, so they find it strange and threatening and just withdraw in the hopes that eventually they'll meet people they don't have to make this compromise with. However, this tends to just compound the problem.

    Another way to express it is that geeks/nerds are often essentially self-ostracizing more than they realize, especially when they insist that their esoteric interests define who they are and therefore must define their relationships with others. "Normal" people have an easier time making friends essentially because they don't do this--they don't insist on the paradoxical idea that what makes them feel unique must also be what they expect to bond with others over.

    My ex was a big Miley Cyrus fan. I'm definitely not. I honestly tend to categorically despise anything with a Disney logo on it, but I'd occasionally sit down and watch Hannah Montana with her, and even find things to appreciate about it (e.g. I didn't know Billy Ray Cyrus also stars in the show as "Hannah's" father--this is rather funny to me), because I enjoyed the opportunity to see the person I cared about who liked it display the elements of her personality that were involved in liking it.

    Presently there's this guy I work with who insists on DJ'ing at all the work parties and has what I find to be godawful taste in music. I still go to these somewhat regularly, and, hell, I even get up and try to dance sometimes, not because he's winning me over to the tripe he likes to play, but because doing this makes me a participant in a joint recreational endeavor with people I have an interest in being friends with for other reasons.

    I think I wrote about this once over at Central--how I used to go these poker nights with a bunch of married men, and they would occasionally turn into a kind of drunken confessional/support group for airing out anxieties or frustrations that these guys didn't feel like discussing with their wives. People's need for things like that--or at least tendency to benefit from things like that--is a dimension of interpersonal interaction that often goes unspoken. (Especially among men, but in general just think of how people tend to sneer at the idea of gatherings where more or less the same thing happens but they are explicitly labeled as, e.g. "support group meetings"--the little open secret there is that this is really a major function played by things like holidays, parties, book clubs, church services and whatnot in most people's lives, namely a pretext for the affirmation and input you get any time you're in the company of people who know you and have any personal interest in you.)

  10. #10
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    Similar to Roger Mexico I've never really felt like I belong in groups of nerds. I love lots of geeky things but tend not to love the other people who like them.

    As a kid my parents embarked upon a project of forced socialization for me, making me take up all sorts of activities and hobbies that were not in the least bit geeky. Any time I encountered geeky types I just didn't fit in, despite sometimes sharing the same interests. Our collective lack of social skills was the issue.

    I don't think the geek social fallacies are necessarily true in all cases but I've definitely encountered people who hold onto these and I do have issues relating to them because they're not all that fun to be around.

    Thankfully I don't need to be around other people to really enjoy a lot of the geeky stuff that I like. I realized a long time ago that sometimes it's way better to just hang out with normal people who do normal things that I'm less interested in for the sake of sharing the company of other humans.

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