I recently read on another dater’s blog (http://simplysolo.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/five-dates-with-chef-recap/ ) about the annoying tendency of people (men) to jump to conclusions. No one is exempt from this on occasion. In fact, I may have been playing hop-scotch with conclusions just yesterday myself. However, over the past few years I’ve been privy to become acutely aware that it’s a basic thought process for some… and more interesting even is that said “some” are perfectly okay with any conclusions they’ve formulated, no matter how “off” they might be from the actual picture.
In my experience with this, I’ve found the shorter the jump, the closer to possible accuracy. If we use a map of the U.S as our conclusion jumping mat, then let’s say if you jump from Nevada to California, you might not be completely off, but if your conclusions are more like jumping from New York straight to Arizona, you’ve most likely lost your way with your acrobatic and overzealous jumping.
I would love to list several rather amusing and/or frustrating examples I’ve faced with this over the past few years, but I fear that kind of detail might be just boring, so I’ll go with my most recent example.
Enter F… F and I had emailed a few (maybe 2? 3 at most?) times and it was going along the line of any average starter-emails. Nothing spectacular…nothing bedazzling, but still mildly worthy of a bit of my attention and polite responses. Until I jump on to read my email and see I have one from him which has gone CLEAR from casual brief email chatting (we hadn’t even exchanged numbers or discussed it yet!) CLEAR into F sending me a short email simply saying, “meet me at such-n-such tonight at 6.” WHAT??? Meet you?????? TONIGHT??? Wow..now that IS presumptuous! Please put down the crack pipe Eager Eddie…you’ve clearly had enough…
Ummm…if I’ve not freely shared my number with you yet, it is so very NOT safe to assume, presume, and FLY all the way to “meet me at…” Rome wasn’t built in a day pal, haven’t you heard? And unless you’ve access to being beamed up by Scotty, you’ve got a tad of travelling there to do just yet to get from point “E” for E-mail to point “M” for Meet-up….
I’m not exactly sure why I chose to even respond to this. Typically, I’d have thought it best at that point to just ignore this one completely….ceasing all communication instantaneously. However, I instead chose to write him a polite email saying I would not be able to meet him that evening and I offered up my phone number so we could discuss this and other get-to-know-you-E-to-M things prior to him making such further pompous and presumptuous invitations/demands with regard to me.
I received a call from Mr F. the next evening. Ahhhh Mr. F, Mr. F., Mr. F…tsk…tsk…tsk…
Mr. F is the kind who makes a mere conversation challenging, frustrating, and borderline dangerous by his half-listening skills which lead him to make a jump like, say, jumping from Indiana over to Russia in one fell swoop! These massive conclusions mean two things in a conversation: 1. You must watch everything you say very carefully in the conversation or you’ll spend over half the damned conversation explaining to dip-shit why and how he’s so off base that you don’t even really know how he came to that in the first place; which in itself is not only a ridiculously lengthy explanation, but just feels preposterous altogether because the dots do not even connect. And 2. Because of this, as well as the exhausting task of having to carefully analyze everything you even casually say within that lengthy and frustrating explanation itself, with this very explanation you’ve most likely only succeeded in providing Mr. Country-to-country conclusion-jumper onto yet another miscalculated and totally off-base conclusion, as you were focusing on explaining his miscalculation in the one area, he has gone off in an entirely different one… and is still totally lost in la-la land!
This, then carries the conversation back to step 1. ….And thus, this futile exercise in explaining what shouldn’t have to be explained anyway has become the very sole substance of the conversation itself. Not a very pleasant or coherent one, but it’s what you’ve got. After only a few moments of this, if you’re anything like me, it begins to feel like a ludicrous elementary school game. That piece of paper passed around in kindergarten which said, “How to keep a dummy busy” with an arrow instructing you to flip the paper over…and the same message on the other side…and on and on and so forth.
Far worse than the painfully grueling act of conversation itself here is when you add into the mix the person who stops listening as you’re explaining…because they’re so confident and practiced enough in their mass conclusion jumps that they really believe they’ve already got a good understanding of what you said, or meant to say, or were trying to say… Ugh…these people are exasperatingly impossible!
Mr. F. asks me what I do for work. Innocent enough so far that without much thought, I just tell him. I also throw in there that I’m hoping to get away from that field because it really felt unhealthy for me over time. (I happen to have worked in an area of social work which leads the industry in burn-out rate. I’ve been in it for 6 years, which is 2 years beyond the average rate for the typical “I hate my job” burn-out…) And I confess I’ve been fighting against said burn out and feel it’s time for a career switch.
F’s response to this is, “So you’re the pessimistic type”.
WHAT? This man clearly doesn’t even know the definition of job burn-out, as I’m not even sure how he got from A to W right there? I say, No, I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment, but I do think when the case load and your effectiveness feel like you’d be far more effective just to macramé plant hangers all day to give to your clients, then it’s probably time to do something else.
Well F has already made his assessment. And several times throughout our conversation, he alludes back to my “pessimistic” nature. Seriously, I wasn’t even having a bad day! My glass was two-thirds full during this conversation… a little spilled in the process perhaps, but I had my SHAM WOW! in close proximity and quietly and quickly wiped that right up as though it never happened. Hell, I had rainbows and unicorns jumping around me even as we spoke. WTF? I was done “explaining” after the first exercise in futility, but I did offer F one bonus attempt and after that, I had no interest in explaining any further. This guy clearly is either just not that bright, is hearing or attention deficit impaired, or over time has just become ignorant by proxy of his chronic conclusion jumping.
I don’t know why in spite of all of this mentally futile discourse, I still agreed to meet him for a drink on Wednesday night…maybe that’s merely yet another working example of my overly-optimistic nature? Maybe this guy just isn’t good at phone conversations? Had distractions running amok at the time? Maybe my thick Russian accent threw his ability to hear and comprehend the words coming out of my mouth off into another direction?
Wait. I don’t have a Russian accent. Okay, well maybe it was one of the other two possibilities then… At any rate, I optimistically agreed to meet up.
…So, I’d be out-n-out lying if I tried to convince myself or anyone that I wasn’t beyond delighted to get a message the following day from a dear friend back home telling me he was in town on the very night of my planned date with F. No. I was truly ecstatic. I not only was going to get to see my friend. Yay! But I had a legitimate and understandable excuse to cancel with F. Of course, I didn’t feel like telling this to F via an actual conversation. No, I opted to text it, with a brief explanation even! Damn, I AM a considerate soul!
You know what? Mr. “Optimistic” F. didn’t even bother responding! Not even an acknowledgement of my text itself. Well, well, well…this leads me to jump to two conclusions of my very own and I just don’t need any circumstantial conversation around to get to them either. Mr F. obviously is horribly pessimistic and was making all kinds of further assumptions, conclusions, and massive country-jumps by my cancellation text or there would be no reason not to at least respond with an “ok”. I get the distinct feeling he wasn’t “buying” my excuse, however coincidentally truthful and truly serendipitous it was…and it was both truthful AND serendipitous!
Perhaps the other possibility here is that F did not receive my text? We had not texted at all prior…I merely assumed he texts…everyone texts…right? Yeah, I admit I jumped from Rhode Island to Connecticut with that one. Ahem…
So bye-bye Mr. F… toodley-do pal…hasta la vista, bayybeee… Happy conclusion jumping and conversation-torturing with the rest of the online daters out there!
P.S. Meet me at the bull fight in Mexico tomorrow night at 6…would ya? I’ll be the one waving the SHAM WOW! at the bull… ‘k…thanks…xoxo 😉
Wait a minute….is it pessimistic that I even own a SHAM WOW! ?!