Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Speed friending tonight, and it wasn't too, too bad. I credit my newly-discovered Love Tactics, which I've decided is too depressing to read but sort of amusing when you just skim it. It's really sleazier than I thought — the first half of the book is this collection of self-esteem boosting platitudes ("It's okay to be nervous!" "When given choices, be decisive!") and the second half of the book is basically an instruction guide for being a manipulative jackass. There's a chapter called "Cultivating Their Emotional Dependency" followed immediately by "Shaking Their Confidence," because nothing signals a happy relationship like emotional dependency.

I actually did some thinking... well, some therapy, since my last speed friending, in which I could've probably been replaced by a pre-recorded message for all the lack of emotion and personality I was showing. To be fair, my goal for the evening was to get in the habit of shaking people's hands while repeating their name back to them, and I succeeded! But it turns out that was a rather lame goal; I remembered everyone's name, and they remembered me as that banal guy sitting in between two much more worthwhile people. This is why I have a therapist; it took him like five minutes to tell me that I'm bullshitting my way through speed friending because my mother (who, by the way, hates my therapist) and the Love Tacticians of the world keep telling me that I'm not good enough and no one wants to hear about my dull, dull life. And it took fifteen years but it was such a relief to hear someone finally tell me, "What's wrong with saying you're a web designer but it's not what you want to do, and you want to be a playwright? There are probably plenty of Young Professionals who are in some kind of intermediary job that's not exactly what they want to be doing, and they'll relate to you."

Which I did, came up with a whole new, and surprisingly honest, line for that question: "I'm a web designer, but my life's goal is to be a writer." I also dumbed down my "Where do you live?/Where are you from?" answer to something I could remember under pressure. (It used to be, "I'm from Fanwood. It's about ten/twelve/fifteen miles south/west/southwest of Newark," depending on which words came out of my mouth.) And I reworked my "What do you do for fun?" answer, and I can't believe I went to two speed friending events stumbling for what I do for fun, because it's not like I haven't answered that question about a million times in the virtual networking world.

Now here's the thing: I keep making three-minute friends with dudes, maybe because I'm not following Love Tactic #7, "Be The First to Show Interest in The Other." This is in the non-disturbing part of the book.... No, sorry, I re-read the section, and there's nothing useful in it. On the other hand, at least I wasn't exercising Love Tactic #33: Use Silence.