A friend told me a few weeks ago that she felt my blog posts were cynical. I wasn’t sure I agreed with her, so I looked up the actual definition, and I think she was exactly spot-on with her assessment.
I had taken cynical to mean “negative”, when, in fact, it actually means “aware of the possibilities and potential in a situation”. I’m definitely aware of these and I definitely apply my past experiences and the experiences that have been relayed to me by people whose word and judgement I trust to every situation I become involved in or aware of.
1: captious, peevish
2: having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as a: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives b: based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest.
I think the opposite of this would be to retardedly ignore what you learned from past experiences and go forward into your next relationship as if none of your prior experiences ever happened to you. Perhaps they were all flukes, and this time’s going to be that fairytale relationship that you were brainwashed to believe you were ever going to be a part of.
That’s all well and good, and I’m sure people that do this feel FANTASTIC until reality falls on them like the proverbial ton of bricks out of nowhere and then they say stuff like “How could he have cheated on me?” when she wasn’t giving it up on a regular basis. “How could she dump me?” when he was taking her for granted and treating her more like a maid than a girlfriend. So.. Yes.. The application of cynicism to dating is useful and intelligent, though sobering and potentially depressing.
A LOT OF PEOPLE would insist that cynicism has no place in dating, because how can you date someone you don’t trust? Um…. Because she’s FOYINE??? 😀
Anyway… Here’s how it goes down for the cynic…
Being that you naturally distrust people, there’s no reason to suspend this when you enter the dating scene. The foolish and oft-utilized technique is to suddenly apply trustworthiness to a person that declares to you “We’re going out now” or “We’re together now”. In fact, that person is no more trustworthy AFTER telling you that than they were BEFORE telling you that. This is especially true because you know they have ulterior motives in wanting to date you in the first place… you just haven’t figured out what those motives ARE yet.
If you don’t trust someone, you can’t take their word for…. well…… ANYTHING! 😀 This is going to seem weird at first, as you struggle to believe your so-called “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” merely because of principle. Get over it. What feels strange to you about taking their word for stuff is that you just plain don’t believe them anyway and you’re trying to convince YOURSELF that you do. Just stop it.
If they told you the truth, it wasn’t the WHOLE truth
It’s not like people think it’s fun to lie to other people.. They just feel like it’s advantageous for them in the short-term. I think it’s actually more accurate for me to say not that your SO is LYING to you so much as they’re IGNORING THE TRUTH in order to tell you whatever you need to hear to do what they want you to do. This is why the practicing cynic accepts what they say as an indicator of something that might be *NEAR* the truth, and then play the percentages.
For example.. Your SO tells you that he’s playing poker every Tuesday night. This is true. It’s also true that he plays poker alone with his other girlfriend every Tuesday night. This is the part he left out. So, when your nosey, can’t-mind-her-own-business girlfriend tells you she saw your man kiss some chick goodnight at such and such an address last Tuesday, the cynic isn’t limited by the thought “That’s impossible… He plays poker on Tuesdays”. The cynic’s mind remains open to the possibilities and potential of a situation.
Same thing happens when you ask your girl how many guys she messed with before you. It doesn’t matter and it’s none of your business, so you’re most likely to receive a direct lie or a doctored (falsified) number. She’s going to tell you whatever she wants you to hear so that she doesn’t seem like a liar for too few and she doesn’t seem like a “slut” for too many. This is called, sadly enough.. “Applying Social Lubricant”, because she’s making it easier for you to continue to date her by strategically lying to you or at least only telling you the part of the truth that makes her look good and furthers her current agenda.
Oh.. I get it now.
Cynics are extremely good at recognizing patterns and deviations from those patterns. This is because the cynic is ALWAYS looking for the REAL thing that’s going on, as opposed to what this untrustworthy-yet-insanely-attractive person they’re dating is trying to sell them. This is actually to the other person’s benefit in situations such as sex, where the cynic isn’t likely to believe you enjoyed it, even though you SAID you did… so they do it to you all over again, just to make sure! 😉
Lots of people overdo it with the cynicism though. They think they know more than they actually do and end up making up elaborate, unlikely scenarios in their minds. They get used to you coming home from work @ 5:45 every day, and then when you arrive at 6pm, they figure that you spent that MYSTERIOUS 15 MINUTES cheating on them. :/ Struggle against this pathetic scenario. Try to focus on *useful* patterns like how he only smokes after sex and when you first arrived at the party tonight… he was smoking.
Cynics on Cynics?
Should cynics date cynics? Absolutely! 😀 There’s a certain camaraderie to be found between two social mercenaries that don’t trust anybody, including each other or themselves. “What’d you do last night?” “Nothing. How about you?” “I was just chillin.” “Yeah, Right.” “Yeah, Right.” “See you next week!” “Have a good one! Don’t do anything *I* wouldn’t do!” “Whatever!”
It’s a lot of fun, because you get to guess what they actually did and you know they’re lying to you, at least by omission, and you’re doing the same thing to them, except it’s by agreement. It’s like two warring countries sitting down at a table to talk about peace, which is never going to happen, but you still admire each other’s abilities on the battlefield and you can relate to each other as people on opposite sides of the game, but that do the same things and utilize the same tactics.
Strangely enough, the cynic can derive a form of trust in his or her fellow cynic that can’t be found in an average person. The only thing you can trust about people is that they’re going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. Through consistent interaction with people who bend the rules in their favor, the cynic begins to understand the pattern of the boundaries of what you can expect from someone. This person would never cheat in a game of chess, because that defeats the purpose of attempting to defeat his opponent mentally and strategically… however, if you leave your girl laying around, it’s a wrap. Therefore, you never trust the other cynic COMPLETELY, but you learn what you CAN trust about them.
This is way better than dealing with most people, who don’t really understand who they are because they play the game by the rules and do what other people tell them to do instead of figuring out what they REALLY want to do with their lives. Middle-of-the-road people should be trusted THE LEAST, because when put in extreme situations, they don’t know how to handle them and end up doing things that even THEY consider “out of character”, when their character was never tested and assessed in the first place.
Cynics know who they are and they’re fighting to win for themselves and get what they can get out of you. There’s something honorable in their up-frontness about that, regardless of how devious they actually are.
Do Opposites Attract?
Should non-cynics date cynics? Nope. 🙂 It’s gonna be a tough row to hoe, unless you’re an impeccably above-board person. Even when you DIDN’T do anything wrong, the cynic’s going to be looking for it. Even when you’re telling the truth, the cynic is only going to absorb a small percentage of it as “truth” and most of it as “possibility”.
The cynic will never hand over any form of control in the relationship to you, because they obviously know better than you do about things, because you’re not a cynic and therefore not as discerning and calculating as they are. The cynic will let you BELIEVE you have power, so long as your decisions remain within the boundaries of what they would have suggested anyway.
Just about the only good thing for you about dating a cynic is that once they’ve judged you and judged you and judged you and judged you and judged you and they determine that you’re A-OK, the cynic will really be there for you. So many people have been tested and failed MISERABLY, that once you pass, you will receive the perks reserved for the people who made the grade.
The only question becomes whether you’ll want to stick around that long to see if you qualify or whether you will have bounced a long time ago to date someone that’s willing to accept you as-is, at face value, and assume that you’re innocent until proven guilty, instead of the other way around.