Hi, haven't introduced myself yet, guess this is my first post. Nothing like a hefty 6k words to start things off.
What do you study or do for a living? How did you come to do that? What do you like or dislike about it?
I'm a Software Engineer. I was into computers and it seemed like a decent prospect. I like the abstract problem-solving nature of the work, but dislike that I don't always have total agency over what I build. It pains me to spend time and effort on things that seem pointless or suboptimal.
What else do you do on a daily basis? What are your interests and hobbies? Why do you do them?
I'd say that I write stories for fun (fanfiction got me started, but original fiction is more liberating of late), but over the years this has gradually shifted from "writing" to "planning intricate plots and character arcs for tens of hours at a time, and then abandoning them for some new story idea".
I play video games, but I've become increasingly dissatisfied with those too. I enjoyed Terraria recently, and some of the Final Fantasy games were favourites when I was young. Otherwise, I drop them after a few hours and can't muster the interest to come back.
Idk if it counts as a hobby, but I spend a lot of time just thinking about stuff. Like, contemplating what stuff means, or what people do things for. I don't know that I really follow any explicit philosophies, but I would consider myself to be someone who philosophises, nonetheless.
What are your values, and why?
I had to google what values even are. These things don't stand out to me much.
Fairness and honesty are important to me, I guess. Be a good person, educate yourself, figure out what you want to achieve in life, then do it. Seems obvious.
Describe your relationships with family and friends. What do you like and dislike about them?
I'm pretty distant overall, don't have many friends. I don't speak to my family much, it feels like we don't have much to say to each other. I don't dislike them for it, it just feels like we're not super compatible. We interact with the world too differently to really relate to each other's findings.
What do you look for in friends? In romantic relationships?
I like my friends to have the same sort of goals or interests as me, so we can talk about things easily. Romance is similar: I'd prefer someone who is receptive to various topics of conversation, and won't shy away if things get too weird or controversial. Basically I want to be understood and accepted, and to repay that intimacy in kind.
What conflicts have you encountered recently with other people? Why did they happen? Which kinds seem to happen on a regular basis?
I don't cause many conflicts, and those I do tend to be because I'm stubborn about something. In this vein, I annoy people by being sarcastic, pushy, or engaging weird topics.
What are your strengths? What do people like about you? What do you like about yourself?
Personally, I'd say my best qualities are that I'm open-minded and rational. Other people probably enjoy my humour, though.
What are your weaknesses? What criticism do you often face from others? What do you dislike about yourself?
I've been called arrogant more than once, and I should probably apply myself more when it comes to beginning and maintaining relationships. My biggest weakness, though, is my chronic inability to ever get anything done. I'm a huge overthinker, spending all my time in my head, even when I know I should be doing any number of things IRL.
In what areas of life can you manage well on your own? In what areas of your life would you like help?
I'm a great problem solver in basically every field. I'm very independent and capable of holding myself together, no matter the weather.
In terms of needing help, I could do with a friendly push every now and then to get off my butt. A reminder that the deadlines (not just for work, but for exercising/eating/sleeping/cleaning/shopping too) aren't going away, even if I leave them until the last minute. It's not that I need to "learn" this, intellectually speaking, but just that I need periodic reminding and help with sticking to some sort of schedule. I lack self-discipline something fierce.
What things do you dislike doing? What things do you enjoy more than others?
I dislike pointless outings, where I'm expected to participate for the sake of it and nothing more. Reminiscing, asking how everyone's been, giving advice to people who didn't ask for it, inviting me to more things I don't want to go to... bleh. If there's nothing that needs doing, I'm going home.
I enjoy solitude and freedom. I particularly enjoy being in places where no one else is. I like walking around schools that are closed, or sitting at empty railway stations, or crossing big open fields during the rain, or exploring the neighbourhood when everyone else is at work. Staying up late for me is very peaceful, and I always plan my commutes so there is as little traffic as possible.
What goals, aspirations, or plans do you have for the future, and why?
Financial independence is the main one. I like to automate things, to have the system work for me, and money is a hugely important component any person's life. If I don't have to worry about money or working or bills, then I'm free to spend more time doing the things that matter.
If you won the lottery and didn't have to work anymore, what would you do?
This is a trick question, because I have such low self-discipline that I can't even optimise my life when I haven't won the lottery, let alone thinking about if I did. In the spirit of the question, though: I'd optimise my life according to my new finances. Move to a new country, based on climate, language, culture, education... buy new clothes... get someone to cook me professional-quality food... figure out a way to get fit without leaving the house...
What traits do you find endearing that others might dislike? What traits are considered positive/neutral by others but tend to annoy you?
I don't mind when people get things wrong. I rather respect that you tried, and I'm always willing to help you improve if want that. Better to speak up than to remain scared and do nothing. Besides, usually when people get things wrong, I immediately start recollecting all the ways in which I learned this subject, and assembling a guide in my head for how I can now convey that information to you so you don't make the mistake again. If someone has made a surface-level mistake, they may not understand the core of the topic, so let me rifle through my mental textbook and clear my throat to begin a brief introductory lecture...
Idk for the second case.
What kinds of things do you do to manage and/or beautify your environment (your room, your house, etc.)?
Almost nothing. My walls are bare; most items I buy are purely functional. I do enforce a minimum level of cleanliness, which involves cleaning dishes after I use them, and wiping spills immediately. Otherwise, I vacuum and disinfect (shower, sinks, toilet) only when things start to become obstructive.
Somewhat related: I'm a fan of minimalism. I like to throw things out when I no longer need them, such as clothes that are outdated, toys/tools I don't use, and furniture that doesn't have a place.
In what situations or times in your life did you feel most fulfilled, and why?
Hmm, same as anyone else I guess. When my work is going well (productive + interesting), my relationships are in order, and I'm physically healthy.
How do you behave around strangers?
I pretend they're not there, and that they can't see me. Unless they're in my way or I need something from them, then I am contractually polite and understanding. When the situation ends, I go back to distracted indifference.
How do you react to conflict? What do you do if somebody insults or attacks you?
I'm pretty analytical and detached. If someone insults me, I'd probably ask for clarification, for examples of when I did that thing and why it meant what they say it did. If they have a point, I'll concede and agree to improve. If there's something they've overlooked, I'll push my point in return. If at any point they refuse to negotiate and continue to attack me, they're stupid and I don't particularly care about integrity anymore. I'll just leave, or ask them to leave and come back when they've decided to be mature about this.
[EDITED] If someone gets physically confrontational or tries to intimidate me with aggression, I basically have no tools to stop them or match their display of force, aside from asking them to stop, to calm down so we can discuss things as above. I might ask why they're upset, what it is that's wrong, and how we can work things out. I try to remain as calm as possible and portray through juxtaposition how irrational and unproductive they are being.
I'm very difficult to rile up in most exchanges, but I can get quite jittery in a situation that threatens hostility or "macho-ness". If I'm actively forced to defend myself physically, then I will, but I will be bitter and hateful throughout it; it leaves a scar in my mind, causing me to remember this offence forever. I tend to cry very easily when it comes to deliberate physical humiliation attempts.
Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Not often, but if I feel this way it's because there's something I'm putting off. Doing that thing immediately is the best way to resolve the feeling, but bearing with the frustration and self-loathing and waiting until the absolute limit of the deadline and then scrambling to get things under threat of real consequence is also a valid strategy.
Would you ever be interested in starting a business? Why or why not? What role would you play in it? What kind of business would it be?
The agency of being in charge would be nice, but the need to manage every single facet would get annoying after a while. I also like to continually revise and rebuild my ideas, so either I would never reach a point of getting started, or I would feel inclined to change my business after it had already launched, probably amounting to us not making any forward progress.
My area of specialty is tech, namely software. Ideally, I'd be a contractor who can come in, inspect the situation, dole out advice, then get paid and leave to find a new situation that needs my assistance. Another possible fit would be as second-in-command, or some sort of advisor figure who works from the shadows.
How do you dress or manage your appearance?
I wear cheap, bland clothes. Greys or dull/dark blues. T-shirts and shorts/jeans. Overly casual and childish.
Ideally, I would like to wear something crisper, that has a sense of subtle style to it. I'm incapable of doing this for myself, for whatever reason. Too scared to dress nicely, I guess. Better to be unassuming and invisible.
What were you like as a child? How have you changed since then?
My mum said I used to be a polite and obedient kid, which I agree with somewhat, but I also distinctly remembering being a rebellious twit. I didn't overthink as much as I do now, and I went out every weekend to see friends and play video games.
Generally, I would say that with age I became more aware of the world and of my place in it. This allowed me to become more intelligent and capable, but also more paranoid and cold. The person I am now is an exaggeration of the child I was in school.
Do you like kids? Why or why not?
Depends on context. I do plan on someday having a family, including children, so I figure there's appeal on some level. I particularly like the idea of being able to help my children in ways that my parents never helped me. "Be who you needed when you were younger" is something that resonates with me a lot.
However, I also get easily annoyed by anyone, children included, who represent the uncultured side of life. Running around and screaming, yelling when you get upset, or bawling your eyes out to get what you want, etc.
How do you feel about attention? Do you seek it out?
I'm fine being invisible 95% of the time, but when I have something to say, I want to be heard. I want people to listen, and to engage with what I say on a non-superficial level. Tell me constructively if my idea is bad, or implement it into your situation/problem if it's good. If I attempt to participate and am ignored or made fun of, it hurts deeply. I tend to only engage when I am sure this won't happen, or if someone else has taken the initiative and approached me first.
How do you approach responsibility? What do you tend to expect of others?
If I agree to something, I'll feel compelled to do it, and to complete it to a reasonable standard. I try to avoid getting assigned responsibilities if I don't think I will be able carry them out. Perhaps some find this rude, but signing up for something I'll have to cancel in the future is worse.
I expect a similar approach of bluntness and diligence from others, and may confront you if you fail to uphold a certain standard or deadline. I'm not angry if you fail, even if you screw me over 100% intentionally; I just want to know why and how it happened, so I can decide what to do next. I'm fairly clinical when it comes to such matters. I don't hold grudges or wish vengeance, but I will forever remember and subconsciously mark you down according to how you performed.
If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what approach would you take, and why?
Avoiding common pitfalls (drugs, gangs, bullying, brattiness, rebellion, etc.), while allowing the kid to experience the world to such a degree that he (or she) becomes able to make decisions about his future. In big-picture terms, preparing him suitably for when he leaves home.
Also, I'd want him to trust me and my partner. I'd want him to know that we've got his back, through anything, and to give him a solid (physical, emotional, social, educational) foundation from which to step into life.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I haven't accomplished anything.
What was (or is) your high school experience like?
Kinda miserable. I was a fifth wheel most of the time: the kid who chipped in with funny quips and made the others laugh, but wasn't really close to anyone. I always had no partner when the teacher called for groups of twos.
I did okay in class, but tried too hard to be funny and cool, probably out of wanting attention and friends. I got middling-to-decent grades without ever doing homework or focusing in class, but looking back I'd rather have just applied myself and not been so edgy. Didn't have my head on straight yet, couldn't see two feet in front of my face about what it would all amount to.
What is something you regret?
While we're on the topic of high school, I was a pretty big dick to one of the only guys I was actually friends with. He was pretty awkward and insecure, and I made fun of him more than I care to admit. It never really struck me just how much of a prick I was being back then. Wish I could apologise, even if I know he'd pretend nothing was ever amiss.
Who do you admire, and why?
I tend to admire people for their abilities/qualities, not their values. I enjoy listening to Sam Harris speak about topics like religion and death and free will. I feel he communicates well on these matters, usually opening my eyes to perspectives I hadn't considered, even if on some level his words boil down to intellectual noise.
What's been on your mind? Has anything been worrying or concerning you? What problems have you encountered lately?
I've been riding out unemployment for a little longer than I should have. I told myself when I quit my previous job that I would have no problem finding another one, a better one, but it's been months/years, and I've yet to look at a single listing. Not proud of it, but it's nothing new. It took me something like 2-3 years to even bother to apply to get my driver's licence when I came of age, despite being constantly irritated at myself for putting it off.
What are your spiritual or religious beliefs and why do you hold them?
I'm a pretty steadfast atheist. Religion, to me, is something clung to by those who are afraid of the nothingness that comes after death. Why do I believe this? It just doesn't really make sense that god(s) would exist. It's too convenient, too contrived, not to mention self-important. I'm not against people being religious, necessarily, I can see the value in brings in terms of community and morality, but I can't in good faith pretend that any part of it is realistic. It's a bit like LARPing. Have fun, just don't ask me to get involved.
I'm not spiritual either. The "soul" is basically just a term that describes what can't yet be understood through science.
What are your political beliefs, and why? To what extent do you care about politics?
I'm not big on politics, which is to say I don't vote and I am barely aware of who is running for which office at any given time. Seems like a big waste of time overall. A dishonest industry that unfortunately deals out power in highly ineffective ways.
What kind of work environment do you prefer? What do you look for in a job?
Hard to say. I prefer some structure, but I also like to be able to bend those structures when needed. I tend to treat everyone as though the hierarchy is flat, regardless.
What is or was your favorite school subject and why?
I enjoyed graphical drawing a lot. Perspectives were amazing to me, like I was adding a new dimension of visualisation to my brain. I also enjoyed programming courses in university; these also expanded the ways in which I was able to process information.
I did a ton of science subjects in high school and university both, but they always had too much of a "memorise this, then we'll talk" feel to them. Reciting the Kreb's Cycle, mapping out all the cranial nerves, learning dozens of complicated equations for physics and maths... I hate barriers to entry like that. I just want to apply my natural problem solving skills and let creativity do the rest. Memorisation tasks make me feel stupid and bored.
What is one common misconception that people have about life? Explain why it is wrong.
I talked about religion above, that probably counts.
In general, I'd say death is something that shouldn't be feared or run from. It's the most natural thing in the world; it finds us all sooner or later. Respect it, acknowledge it.
As Plato says, "All philosophy is training for death." Everyone owes it to themselves to learn a little bit about the fundamental nature of being alive.
Where did you go on your most recent vacation? What did you do there? How did you like it and why?
I went to Vietnam for work for a few months. I had plenty of time to go see the sights, but what actually happened was I sat in my room the whole time and passed up all my chances. My friend told me I was being stupid, that I should explore while I was here. I think he was probably right on some level, but also wrong. The thing is, I tend to detach from the sensory world a lot. Even when I'm clued in and paying attention, the physical world is a bit boring. If something is really beautiful, it's still just a painting, or a rock, or a giant museum full of glass. It's just a thing. I have the concept of these things in my head already. So this one's bigger, or has a fancy name, or has a bunch of historical importance. That doesn't mean anything to me. I can read about the history at home, and then just picture a big rock and I'll get the same idea.
The actual valuable experience I got from going to this new country was from innocuous experiences. Walking through the airport, or catching a taxi to my room for the first time. Navigating all the scooters on the road, and going shopping using foreign money, in a place where I didn't speak the language. Even just seeing the people around me, noticing their mannerisms, seeing how they react to me, what sort of food is on offer, the pricing, the branding, the road conditions, the chickens pecking in the gutters, the feel of the buildings, and a million other minor details... these things fill in my mental map a thousand times better than some stodgy waterfall or historical tunnel.
It's the bits in between the rocks and the paintings that makes a place come alive. The interstitial fluid, so to speak. If I go to tourist places or a museum, all I see is the essence of tourists, and of places made pretty for foreigners. There's probably still value, of course, and I definitely should have stopped rationalising for two minutes and gone to see the stupid tunnels, even just so I could have had some pictures that weren't of random places that no one but me recognised, but the point is that I don't consider my experience nearly so desolate as what others describe it as.
Talk about a significant event from your life.
I had a panic attack and ended up in tears when I tried to talk to my university professor about my teammates not pulling their weight on an assignment. To this day, I have no idea why I reacted like that. It was the most unimportant thing ever, but as soon as I tried to explain the situation I started to get nervous and couldn't find my place in what to say, and I basically just collapsed in on myself emotionally. Possibly one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. She was understanding and professional about it, but I could never look her in the eye after that.
How do you see other people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
Most of the flaws I see in humanity come back to evolutionary solutions to caveman problems that have become obsolete/suboptimal in modern times, yet haven't been weeded out. In short, I see humanity as cavemen who have been pushed ahead a few millennia in terms of technology and industry, and have yet to catch up in a host of social areas.
Tbh, I don't know that I really have an opinion on any specific social problems. I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to world hunger or poverty or abortion. These things don't register in my mind. If someone were to ask me what I think, I could muster a rational response about what makes the most sense to me in that moment, but I don't have any connection to the problem in an emotional capacity.
In general I'm very "tuned out" of society. I don't watch TV, listen to radio, or read the paper. If I wanted to know how fat my kid could get before it became unhealthy, I'd do the research myself and then potentially take action with the school. There's just a piece missing for me in the chain of connections that most people seem to be hooked into. My mental railway skips the "what does everybody else think is important" step, and goes right to, "here's three ways I can get what I think is best." My view of the world tends to be somewhat naive because of this.
What do you do if you're not getting what you want? What approach do you use?
All my strategies (in everything) are information-dependent. I assess the problem, ask questions from all angles, then go away and do my own research, reiterating what I know until I've constructed a plan for how to get what I want. Once it's all there in my head, I can actually confront the situation... or give up, if it's too hard to justify putting in the effort.
Are you comfortable taking leadership roles? In what areas? Why or why not?
I like to guide the leader with my knowledge/instincts, but not necessarily lead directly. My specialty is managing information and systems within my head, not so much barking orders to other people.
If an existing leader is incompetent, I might end up taking charge more directly. In this case, I'll basically just start giving directions ("suggestions") to everyone else and ignoring any lingering nonsense instructions I disagree with. I'll try to be diplomatic and tie my ideas back to the leader, perhaps by asking if he agrees with what I just said. I'm not in the interest of burning bridges unnecessarily, and chances are I'm still subconsciously assessing how useful or competent this person is and if they're going to obstruct me or cooperate. I'll continue on like this for as long as needed. When it comes time for the project to end, and for someone to get credit, I'll seek out a superior and be completely honest about what happened. I let people down easy when possible, but am not above suggesting that the role wasn't one he was entirely fit for.
I consider myself to be a good leader, mainly on the grounds of my problem solving skills. I can assess difficulty and competence with just a few careful questions, and can roll with whatever resources I'm given to create something approaching an optimal solution. It frustrates me whenever I see inactivity or incompetence in other leaders, since the answer for how to proceed is usually jumping out at me in my head within minutes of seeing the situation.
How often do you get angry? What kinds of things make you angry?
I am almost never angry. The only recent cases I can remember where I got emotional were when reading Wikipedia, specifically the pages on Radium Girls and Rosemary Kennedy. They two aren't related, but I had basically the same reaction (getting really mad) when I read both. I don't think I blame anybody involved in the stories, it's just a matter of the times being different and people not being so aware of certain consequences back then. It's still upsetting to me to think of what these people went through, all because no one knew better.
While actual anger is something far removed, I admit to getting annoyed quite easily. Children screaming, dogs barking, people blasting music, inefficiency, blatant favouritism, falseness/lies, small talk... the list goes on.
What is one unusual trait or ability you possess? What makes you special?
I think a lot about how I think. I break down everything I do and believe, just as I do other people's actions and words. It comforts me on some level to strip away the curtain and see the mechanism at work.
What is your sense of humor like? Do you joke around a lot?
I'm very sarcastic and deadpan, prone to hyperbole when breaking down dumb ideas or sentiments (not maliciously; I taper my comments to what I gauge the person capable of receiving). I often like to say things that don't make sense, or deliberately misinterpret what people are saying, just to sow confusion. Interactions can get boring otherwise, and it's fun to see how people put the pieces together. I get to learn about your brain, you get to have fun -- everybody wins in the end.
Your friend bursts into tears. What do you do? How does it make you feel?
I ask what's wrong. If they tell me, then I can work through it with them and tell them if what they've said makes sense or not (very comforting, I'm sure). I also tend to give advice regarding how the situation should be dealt with. "Well, if that made you upset, why didn't you say something? People can't read minds, you know. He's not going to know you're back here crying, so unless you want it to happen again, you have to speak up." Or, "Yeah, he's a dick. What are you going to do now? Do you have someone to speak to about this? I'd suggest [...]."
If they aren't able or willing to effectively communicate the situation, I'll just suggest they talk to someone else. Then I leave, or ignore them. I might just start talking like everything's okay, like, "Hey, you want to get some food tonight? What do you think of Chinese?" Idk if this is inappropriate somehow, but people usually stop crying when they have to think about something that isn't emotional. Or maybe they're just so shocked at my inhumanity that they realise they need to vacate the premises ASAP to avoid becoming my next victim and turning up on the news that night.
In general, I'm fine with people crying. It's exciting in a way, because something new has happened, but also tedious, because now I have to help you in a way I'm not really sure how to manage. As I said, I tend to pretend nothing is happening and just treat them normally. Same thing I do with children and babies and dogs--none of that babyspeak shit for me. I guess I don't have much of an emotional range.
What is the best thing that happened to you during the past week?
I attended a football match with my sister. For a runner-up, I found a new song I liked.
What is the worst thing that happened to you during the past week?
I fouled up something I cooked and heard my neighbour and his girlfriend complaining about the smell. I'm still embarrassed.
What is the purpose of life? What do you find personally meaningful in life?
The purpose of life is to multiply and adapt. That is to say that life has no meaning, not in the form most people think of.
Personally, the most meaningful thing for me would be to climb out of my hole of social anxiety and isolation and participate in the world, at least to some degree. More broadly, see the things I mentioned before: relationships, work, and physical health.
What is the most interesting place you have been, and why?
I don't think places are inherently interesting, it's more about the experience you have at that place. Idk about best, but a good experience of mine was when I spent an afternoon with my friend as a kid, walking along a creek for hours, playing with sticks and hopping from stone to stone, talking about school and video games and whatever, no one else in sight. Maybe another one would be when there was a big family get-together at Christmas at my grandfather's house. The atmosphere was really nice, in a busy/friendly sort of way, even if I was too young to really appreciate it fully.
Do you like surprises?
Yes, but also no. I like when surprises work out, but I also dread that a surprise might fail. A surprise, to me, is an attempt to shift the focus from the object/occasion to the intent. If you give me a present and I don't know what it's going to be, then I'm seeing your intent to make me happy, or to reinforce our social bond. Therefore, I'm anxious that it might turn out badly and I might not like the present and that you'll be upset by that. But in the moments before I open it, I'm really glad that you cared enough to get me something at all, and I'm excited to see how well you know me. In the same way, if a friend comes over unannounced one night and drags me out of the house to "go somewhere exciting", then I'm glad to be involved, but I'm also scared that I won't like where we end up going and that I might give offence at their inappropriate gift.
Now that I'm describing it, this sounds a lot like the reason why I can't watch "cringy" shows like The Office. It just hurts too much watching these characters make social blunders of the exact nature that I myself am terrified of making and am hypersensitive to. Even if I know rationally that it's just a show, some part of me wants to curl up and die out of secondhand embarrassment.
If you got this far, thanks. I'd love to hear what you think. Am I a perfect match to some type, or is it unclear? Where are the dissonances? Any functions that are obviously valued/strong/weak/ignored?
If it helps, I've been thinking:Finally, if anything I've said gives strong vibes for an Enneagram type, I wouldn't be averse to hearing that as well.