Posted by: CJ | December 6, 2011

User’s Guide

A blogger I was reading said every year she’d rewrite a “user’s guide” to her that potential friends and lovers could read. I kinda like the idea. Navel-gazing with a purpose! As an exercise to myself, I’ll try to make it bullet-points, clustered by similar attributes.

I suppose I already do this on a near yearly basis. But I also feel like I keep learning more important things about myself, so it’s not wasted. Even it was only an exercise for myself.


  • I am very cynical and very pessimistic. Also very idealistic but, like a black hole, you’ll never observe the idealism directly.


  • I make Hamlet look decisive. On a daily basis.
  • I ruminate over every decision I make. This is a normal part of the process.
  • That said, you’re better off derailing my ruminations if it’s getting out of hand, or merely annoying. It’s part of my personal process, but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to deal with it.
  • At heart, I believe there are right answers and wrong answers to everything. And I do not want to be wrong. This is intertwined with the indecision and rumination.
  • On the flip side, partially as a defense mechanism to the simple fact that I will make the wrong decisions all the time, I often slip into a character that embraces and cherishes making the wrong decisions. My own personal Steven Colbert-type character. This character is basically me, but more openly clueless and more openly misanthropic. Part of me interacting comfortably with close friends usually involves me slipping in and out of this character, and my friends reading correctly what is a joke, which is an outlandishly exaggerated minor annoyance, and what is an honest opinion that I’m well aware is totally insane.

  •  I have a deep seated attachment to fairness. I can’t stomach doing things in an unfair manner, and I despise unfair policies/institutions.
  • A simple and elementary consequence is that I dislike most notions of elitism.
  • At the same time, part of me wants to one of those elites. Not too much, but I’ll get pissy when it’s pointed out how far I am from it.


  • Whoever you are, there will be times you will be less interesting to me than the toy I playing with. Regardless whether that toy is a piece of foil or a giant computer cluster on the cloud. And regardless whether I’ve known and cared about you for many years or if I want you dead and buried in a shallow grave.
  • I can be rather passive in stating my desires. I will allow myself to be overruled, but I’ll be frustrated–perhaps even angry–if this happens too often. I try to avoid this behavior, but I don’t always succeed.
  • I am very shy, and will not spontaneously meet people. Though I might introduce myself after a great deal of inner hand-wringing.
  • I am very introverted, and cannot stand actively interacting with people for long stretches of time. After awhile my mind starts to wander, and I’ll increasingly wander to topics that interest me rather than who I’m speaking to.
  • I operate on plans and bullet points. I have a plan of what I want to be doing at a certain time, I have a hard time letting go of that. Spontaneous changes of plan can make me uncomfortable.
  • I easily suffer from sensory overload. Bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells bother me. Usually more than other people. Sudden changes in light, noise, or smells also bother me. (I hate people turning on lights without warning.)
  • When I’m upset, it’s best for me to be someplace with no people and little light/smell/sound. Though hopefully an internet connection and/or a good book.
  • If you want to convince me of something, appeal to my naked self-interest or to my sense of fairness. All other avenues of persuasion will only end in tears, though it’s hard to predict whose.


  • My life goals essentially boil down to living an a stress-free life where I get to pursue my hobbies without major impediments.
  • My interests are rather diffuse. This makes it hard for me to develop true expertise in any one field, which is unfortunate.
  • Historically, I am very bad at making goals in a longer than 1-2 year-ish year horizon. Part of that is I’m not good at making uninformed decisions, and I’ve always felt very uninformed about both my options and my preferences. (The latter partially due to indecision, but also simply lack of exposure to a wide variety of experiences to develop my preferences.)

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