Friday, September 16, 2011

When technically sound advice is nevertheless useless

This is a response somebody wrote to the quote in my last post:
I would avoid online dating for obvious reasons. Just go out you'll meet people quickly and then there is a multiplier effect as you meet their friends and then the friends of the friends. Before you realize it you know more people than you can allot time for.
This is bad advice, not on its own merits, but because it would be useful only to the kind of person who would never ask that question in the first place. The writer (who apparently is wealthy and has no traditional job) goes on to describe how he went to a club, got friendly with the staff and from there made friends with everyone that matters, all in a few days. Which is definitely the thing to do if you have high social skills. But then you wouldn't be asking questions like "how do I meet people?" It's like someone asking for help learning how to swim, and you start describing proper breaststroke form to them. The first thing they need to be able to do is just tread water.

The right answer for someone asking "how do I meet people?" is play sports, join a gym or join an organization. (Protip: animal rescue-type organizations feature an unusually high number of young women.) Do that, and go out in your free time, don't just sit on your ass at home. When are people going to realize their TV does absolutely nothing for them?

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