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What happens if I press this button?
2015-04-27, 1:43 p.m.

This one promises to be all over the place...

About 6 or so months ago, I had had a thought... Life is really just one big social experiment. I think this is especially true since the internet and social media have taken hold. Many times throughout any given day I think, "I'm going to do/say this thing and I know exactly how people around me are going to react to it." Occasionally though, my thought is, "I'm going to do say/this thing and I have no idea how it's going to go over." Usually when it's spoken words, it's a lot of fun. It's really cool to let a little piece of myself come through among people who don't know me well and watch them be baffled by it. I'm sure I've written something like this here before. It's also fun to be completely random to people who DO know me and know it can happen at any time... and watch them still be surprise by it. It's my little personality parlor trick.

Once in a while though, this opportunity comes on a larger scale. Very often we send emails to people, or social media connection requests and just know that this person is going to be happy to hear from us. We just know that it's a welcome gesture... or at the very least, that it won't be responded to with hostility. Usually, I'd say, that's the case. Once in a while... That's not the case. Have you ever sent a friend request and been like "I wonder what this is going to do?" or an email and just kind of cringed when you hit send because you might have just hit the figurative big red button of doom?

My brief, but fruitful, online dating experience is a huge example of this. I hopped on a site, just to see what it was about. Passed by several opportunities to respond to messages from people who contacted me. I had no interest in seeing what happened if I pressed those buttons. Then I got a brief message from a guy with an unusually witty profile and, "Aw, what the hell?" I responded. I pressed the button. Two years later, I got engaged. Social experiment success!

Last year in October and December, I had two other such experiences involving people from my past and it really was just kind of like, "what the hell... I wonder what pushing this button does nowadays..." In both cases, I just sort of had a feeling like "it was time to see if it was time to see."

In the one case, I had a theory... and I'd been curious for a long time to see if I was right. Long story made very short, I was right. The October case ended up just exactly as I expected--though I will say that the conclusion was reached even more swiftly than I expected. In more detail... I had a theory, formed years ago, that a situation I was in dubbed, "Friends and Lovers" (a polished up way of saying booty call) was actually more true to say that without the "Lovers" part, there really is no "Friends." There is nothing significant in common. Nothing that we each care about in eachothers' lives enough to be even the most casual of friends... In a world where we are not being called upon to be the others' disposable lover, we are no one to each other. I guess it's not such a leap, and I guess it happens to people all the time. It's just one of those spots where I expect people to mean what they say and I knew a long time ago that in this case that they didn't. October: Friend request sent and accepted, about a month later I got bored and "unfollowed" but didn't "defriend," about a month after that I got "defriended." Mutual confirmation of the theory. I'll chalk that up to a social experiment success...

My December experiment wasn't nearly as planned. I didn't have any big theories to prove or grand expectations. To be very honest, I'd even say I wasn't even right in predicting the outcome. At the moment I decided to see what would happen if I pushed the button, I expected the outcome to be either no change or possible negative consequences. However, I felt compelled to push it anyway. I had to see if it was time to see, and I figured that if it went badly... Well then, I was no worse for the wear, really. Life would continue as it had for nearly 4 years prior. After following blog posts for some time and assuming my readership was known, I reached out.

Tangent: I don't like to be sneaked up on and so I watch a handful of people insomuch as they allow on the internet. If I'm watching them, they can't sneak up on me. It makes it harder to surprise me when they make their moves in their own social experiments. I don't like those kind of surprises. In my own mental sphere, I expect that anyone who wouldn't want to be surprised by me is also watching me. I generally forget that they're not.

Resuming my earlier point, and again long story made short... I did sneak up on this person, but the eventual outcome has been positive. It is one of those moments when I am glad that I have the "social experiment" outlook rather than a fear of what might happen. It was, indeed, time to see if things could be different.

last - next

Period - 2017-04-10
What happens if I press this button? - 2015-04-27
Warming up... - 2015-04-22
Reboot - 2015-02-09
Glitter in the air, etc. - 2015-02-07

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