Monday, August 17, 2015

Stuff People Get Wrong: I could care less

The latest in the Stuff People Get Wrong series.

When you say you "could care less" you're saying that you care. The phrase broken down into it's literal meaning is saying that you could care less than you already do. Which means that you care some non-zero amount. They aren't saying how much they care (could be the maximum, could be a small amount) but having the ability to care less than they currently care means that they could care less. People say this phrase when they want to say they don't care about something... but the phrase means the actual opposite.

The correct term for the feeling they are trying to convey is "I couldn't care less." This is saying it is not possible to care any less than you already do. If you truly don't care about the thing that you're talking about this is phrase you want to go with.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fall in love when you're ready not when you're lonely

Let me first start by expanding on an entry I had a long time ago about being "real." I was on one of my cog-sci related adventures (created a new tag for these) and I discovered a phenomenon called New Relationship Energy. Simply put, NRE is a state of mind that involves having heightened emotional and sexual receptivity and excitement. Have you ever felt the wave of heat from your body when your crush touches you on your arm or shoulder? The butterflies or giddiness when you have a date coming up? That's NRE.

NRE exists in both long term and short term relationships alike (as every relationship is new at some point). An interesting aside: the polyamorous community covets NRE as something that is sought in new partners while maintaining long term relationships with others.

So far I've given an unbiased and factual representation of what NRE is and how it exists in society. However, it goes by many other names depending on how you want to paint it: Infatuation (connotes fake or unrealistic), Puppy Love (connotes immaturity), The Honeymoon Phase (connotes that it's subsequent to marriage). While NRE generally implies something fun and positive, there are downsides to NRE which can involve lapses in judgement or seeing something for what you want it to be instead of what it actually is.

Alright that was a lot of preamble for what I really wanted to talk about which is having relationships when you're actually ready for them.

Anyone in my current social circle knows I've been thrusting myself back into Single Life. I've been having a lot of fun dating around and I think it has effected my life in a positive way. NRE is a very powerful emotion that can effect your mood even outside of relationships. I'm not sure if it's coincidence (I'm going to guess that it's not) but I have just recently been identified as a high performer at work (candidate to move into management), I've been more emotionally available to my friends, and I have been more willing to take risks in my personal life (which I view as positive).

While NRE has had an overall positive effect on me, I do want to be extra self-aware that I'm not "chasing" NRE. In the past, my enjoyment of Single Life and NRE trumped that of cultivating meaningful long-term relationships. I used to push people away once they started getting close. This leads me to the title of my entry. The concept of "rebounding" is usually thought of as having sex with someone to fill the void of your ex or as a confidence booster to get back into the dating game. My worry is that my "rebound" is instead of feeling lonely I'd much rather enjoy experiencing NRE. How sustainable is NRE? How meaningful is NRE? Can I possibly love a person more than I love NRE? Is this fair to the women I'm dating?

The feeling that I have now is similar to how I felt in the past about Improving over the O.K. Plateau and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone for self-improvement. On one hand is my fear of being alone and fear of making bad decisions. On the other hand is my thirst for NRE and self-improvement. With NRE and falling in love it's important to be doing things for the right reasons. Right now I'm excited and optimistic that what I'm doing can lead to good results in my life and in cultivating meaningful relationships.