Marriage Again

I’m an intellectual, and therefore, insane in many respects. One way is that I like theories, and so construct them whenever I can. Often, I like to make theories about people and their personalities. What rankles them, what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry. How do they see themselves and what will they respond to?

One reason I do this is because I find it fun. Another is because I have very bad intuitive understandings of social situations, and so must make do with elaborate strategies and approximations for dealing with other people. The longer someone is forced to be around me, the more precise my theory will become, and in many cases, I can even have normal conversations with them. Some people are harder to read than others, but all in all, I think some of the theories about other people have been remarkably accurate over the years.

I have many data points that I like to look at when trying to figure out what makes someone tick, and lately, I’ve added another: wedding propositions. Almost always, the guy asks the girl to marry him, and the social obligation is that he pick something elaborate, special and romantic. A lot can be learned about someone’s personality from a simple story of “how he proposed to me.” Does he use the jumbotron at sports game? If he does, it probably means he’s down to earth, not too inventive and probably not that romantic. Does he propose at sunset in a national park? Well, then he probably finds nature to be a paradigmatic expression of beauty, and he may prize physical fitness and outdoorsy stuff. Does he buy a new ring or go with a family heirloom. Does he just give the stone and let her choose the ring or the stone set already in something? All these things matter. Does he propose in front of other people — does he need an audience — or does he prefer intimacy? Maybe he proposes in a way that he THINKS she will like, in which case it shows a lot about his capacity for empathy or HIS ability to read other people.

I’m at a point when I’ll find these things out about many of my friends and so enhance my understanding of who they are. This sentence can sound really creepy and calculating, even to my ear, but its really not. Understanding is a good goal to have. The more you understand someone, the more you can help them, learn from them, and draw out their most powerful and essential characteristics.


2 Responses to “Marriage Again”

  1. July 2, 2010 at 1:10 am

    I love your writing but this is incredible – you think like me! I’m delighted. I look at people the same way. Its the gathering information part that gets me into trouble but I’ve started leaving puzzles incomplete…people kept changing and I had to realize that the puzzle I was piecing together was changing as I tried to put the pieces in place.

    Fallen Depths

    • 2 questionbeggar
      July 2, 2010 at 3:29 am

      Glad some of the posts are resonating with you. I’m with you on the issue of change. When you meet an old friend, sometimes you have to start over with what you took to be salient information about his or her personality.

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