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How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre

(b) A woman sends signals of romantic interest, either accidentally, or whimsically. I mistakenly assume that she's carefully deliberating over the possibility of dating me, as I would be in her position. I decide to express interest in her.

She hasn't been thinking about whether or not she'd like to date me at all, she was instead engaging in casual preliminary flirting and/or wasn't carefully guarding against accidentally sending signals of romantic interest. So from her point of view it looks like "This guy expressed romantic interest in me without paying attention to how I'm feeling." She reactively reprimands me, or cuts contact with me, usually with connotations (even if slight) that I might not respect her boundaries.

I mistakenly think that she had carefully deliberated on how to respond to my expression of romantic interest. So I mistakenly perceive the false dichotomy:

 I'm a delusional potential rapist, and she sees this.
I'm not a delusional potential rapist, she knows that she's made me feel like I might be one. The woman who I loved has turned out to have so little empathy that she doesn't mind the fact that she's done this.

Both of these possibilities are extremely upsetting, and I fall into severe depression, totally oblivious to the fact that she was behaving in a reactive way and that her reaction is neither evidence that I'm a potential rapist, nor evidence that she doesn't mind me feeling like a potential rapist.

I am not a "Social Justice Warrior" (more a social justice wizard/rogue) but I am considering responding to this as someone who has tried to multiclass in both rationality and social justice.

My previous forays in this direction on LW (admittedly not very skilled or persuasive) were not well received. Is there interest in discussing social justice fails as a subset of social skill fails and thus as rationality fails?

2012 Survey Results

Heh, in fact I started but then deleted as a derail some discussion of problems in activist and academic discussions of sexual orientation - what are we to make of someone whose claimed orientation (identification) does not match their current and past behaviour, which might in turn be different again to their stated actual preferences.

I'm not current in my academic reading of sexuality, but when I was, anyone researching from a public health perspective went with behaviour, while psychologists and sociologists were split between identification and preference.

Queer activism seems to have generally gone with identification as primary, although I'm not as current there as I used to be. The trumping argument there was actually precisely your situation, where to accept behaviour as primary meant that no virgins had any orientation, and that does not agree with our intuitions or most peoples' personal experiences.

There's also a bi-activism point which says that position means the only "true" bisexuals are people engaged in mixed-gender group sex. (This is intended as reductio ad absurdem but I've heard people use it seriously.)

Poly seems to be more complicated still, q.v. distinctions between swinging, "monogamish", open relationships, polyfidelity and polyamory. I know multiple examples of dyadic couples who regularly have sex with other people but identify as monogamous, and of couples who aren't currently involved with anyone else, aren't looking, but are firm in their poly identification.

I guess my TL;DR is that I'm entirely untroubled by an apparent difference between preference and practice, and if the survey had asked similar questions about sexual orientation preference & practice, we would have seen "discrepancies" there too.

2012 Survey Results

TL;DR - I think it's not that simple.

Opinion is divided as to whether poly is an orientation or a lifestyle (something one is vs. something one does).

i.e. saying someone with no partners is practising neither mono nor poly is like saying someone with no partners is not currently engaged in homo-/bi-/hetero-sexuality. (However I would accept a claim that they were engaged in asexuality.)

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

Ah, thank you, you've just crystalised some thoughts for me.

I think my definition of intersectional social justice now includes explicit precommitment to bypassing & minimising defensiveness. It's as valued, encouraged and sought after as bypassing & minimising irrational biases are here.

Your comment prompted this when I realised that for me, external calls for me to get past my defensiveness cause very similar frustration to when I feel like I'm being told to be more patient/tolerant/self-effacing than I think is reasonable. It may be that it works similarly for you and others, too.

More specifically, no, no-one is supposed to show unlimited patience; minorities do not automatically "win" (qv. situational & relative privilege, plus lack of privilege does not confer a magical anti-jerk field). However we are all asked to do the work in acknowledging any defensiveness and its downstream reactions & responses.

I have other early ideas about defensiveness as a cognitive bias, too. :)

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

I wish I'd graduated from the Cooperative Conspiracy before attempting these arguments. :)

Yes, I see what you say and agree. Updating.

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

Oh my, I hadn't read that Wiki page, that's not very useful no.

The answer from bogus doesn't seem incorrect to me, but it seems incomplete. It's not just a call for cooperation but for rejecting single-issue reductionism, which fails to address (sufficiently or at all) matters such as relative privilege (e.g. women of colour face additional issues that white women do not) or situational privilege (localised exceptions to more global privilege divisions, such as some public health policies discriminating against men.

The claim is engaging in any one issue of social justice without considering the others alienates allies due to hypocrisy (e.g. where relative privilege recapitulates inequalities in wider society). First-wave feminism has been heavily criticised for being a feminism of middle-class educated white women, for instance, just as 1970s sexuality movements have been criticised for being largely run by white men.

TL;DR might be "utility functions take more than one argument" and "don't burn your allies - you'll also burn yourself".

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

That was my question though, albeit not stated so clearly: is it really an opportunity cost?

Does fetishising intelligence, sex positivity, communicative effectiveness, intersectional social justice, and active informed consent really turn off mainstream conventional women? Serious question; I seldom have relationships or sex outside that constellation of characteristics.

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

What's the downside?

Adopting PUA techniques and values: arguably improves sex and/or relationship outcomes with some women. Visibly adopting and affiliating with PUA: definitely worsen sex and/or relationship outcomes with some (other but not wholly disjoint set of) women.

Addressing those perceptions might offset some of the latter (certain) penalty, and it's not clear to me that it would come at any reduction to the former (possible) bonus.

I'm still reading the "PUA at its best" links so I don't know enough to say how costly this approach is. Perhaps you're saying you think it's better to cut your losses, completely give up on any women alienated by PUA and focus on those who don't notice or don't care?

How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy

Moreover acting as if you need to justify yourself (or your group) to others already represents a significant loss of standing.

[boggled] Isn't that what we're all doing here at LW? Arguing and justifying our arguments? Did you just lower your standing with your justification? At time of writing I see quite the reverse.

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