January 17th, 2006


It's easy - just follow the rules.

theferrett has been writing a lot recently about dealing with life as a geek.  I've empathised with bits of it, disagreed that it's necessary in other ways, and generally found the discussions from them interesting to follow.

One, in particular, has struck a chord.  It's the one starting:

Yesterday, I wrote an essay where I said that I didn’t understand how to interface with people who didn’t like strong arguments, because I came across as abrasive and overbearing. And some of the quiet, civilized people said to me, “Well, why not just tone down? It’s easier for you to dial it down than it is for us to learn to speak up.”

And the answer to that question is fascinating.  Particularly the conclusion (I advise you to stop now and read his post - come back here afterwards):

The lesson is, of course, is that it’s always easier for the other person to change the way they act, because you're not them. For the people who hate passionate arguments, it would be a trivial matter to tone down your speech…. But you understand the rules. And you should! They’re your rules. For me, I’ll be talking in just an excited tone of voice about something, and be told that I am yelling though my voice never changed in volume.

The rules when you don’t know them are not simple.

As I wander through, fairly convinced that there are _no_ rules, but everyone thinks their rules are the real ones, the ones that the world should run by, I occasionally feel the need to remind people of this.