How to use this guide
This guide is an experimental set of tools to help people learn about or interact with me productively. If you want to be friends with me or learn about my preferences, read this.
Obviously, this is a pretty unusual concept, but I think everyone should have them- part of my motivation in creating this was that if other people had similar guides detailing their preferences and handy things to know about them, I’d certainly read them. The other part was that I imagine a lot of interactions are limited by what we think people want or act like, and since we learn these things slowly, this really limits the pace of forming relationships- and then other interruptions happen, etc. Also, I want my interactions to edge more towards Tell Culture, and telling people information that will only benefit me seems pretty great for that.
I don’t expect anyone to have read this guide. This guide isn’t all-inclusive- if you have a different approach to making friends or talking to people or whatever, and that seems incompatible with this, we can still be friends. While I do support the idea of other people making similar guides for themselves, you’re under no obligation to tell me a bunch of things about yourself after reading this. If you only read a little, or decide you don’t want to read this, or read it and can’t do what it says, that’s cool. At the present moment, this guide is intentionally not linked from the main page of my blog.
I’m also open to other behaviors or ways of doing things, especially if it’s clearly communicated.
How to talk to me
Yay! I like friends. I am kind of shy, but like talking to people, so feel free to say hello even if we don’t know each other. (Note: If you are 100% a complete stranger and we know zero people in common, and you found this guide randomly, I may not respond.)
I understand that striking up a conversation with an arbitrary person is difficult, particularly if you are also naturally shy. As such, here are some things you can talk to me about:
- Books, especially good nonfiction and Neil Gaiman
- TV shows: Steven Universe, Hannibal, Rick and Morty, Brooklyn 99, the upcoming American Gods TV show, etc
- Writing, cooking, most science.
- Infectious diseases
- Favorite animals
- Global threats
- Societal/social norms
- Jokes (especially puns)
- Topics you are very excited about or find interesting
- Thought experiments
In general, I’m alright with silence in conversations. Check in with me before infodumping if possible, to be sure that I’m interested in the thing – but if I am, I tend to enjoy it. (Infodumping: if you tell me a lot at once about something you find interesting.) (See also: the existence of this guide.)
Feel free to ask me to slow down, ask for time to process, ask for me to say something in different words, or ask for a topic change if a conversation topic isn’t working for you. Also, if I misgender you or make some other wrong assumption, please let me know.
Being my friend:
I really like being offered things or invited to things. (Even if we’re good friends, my default assumption is usually that I shouldn’t ask for something (for a thing, to be invited to an event, etc) if I haven’t been specifically invited.)
I go back and forth on touch. Touching my back or shoulder or whatever to get my attention is generally always fine. Casual touch is contextual. You’re probably still a cool person even if I don’t enjoy it with you. Broadly, I enjoy it when I’m with people I really like and trust, or with people I think are cute, or occasionally in social situations where the following are true: there is already lots of casual touch happening, I know and generally like the people present, and the touching isn’t romantic or clearly gendered.
Best ways of contacting me
- Facebook messenger
- Google hangouts
- Email (for longer stuff). My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you happen to know my personal email, that’s fine too.
- Text is acceptable if need be.
- I don’t often Skype, but can set this up if you want me for a longer conversation.
- Meeting in person is totes cool. I want to hang out with friends more.
I apologize in advance for my terrible habit of forgetting that people have sent me messages, and appearing to drop right out of a conversation. I do not yet have a dedicated means of combating this. If you sent me something and were expecting a response, and haven’t gotten one, please message me again and remind me.
If you’re thinking “oh, wait, that might be me, but also maybe she’s purposefully not responding me, and I don’t want to bother her, aaaah”, please send me a plant emoji. (IE: 🌲🌾🍂🌳) (If you’re on a platform that doesn’t support them, just send the phrase “plant emoji”.) This will be the Georgia-accepted code for “I have sent you a message and think you may have forgotten about it, but don’t want to bother you if it was intentional. Please respond only if you want to do so.” I will be happy if you use this technique, whether I respond or not!
Writing to chat with me is definitely cool and encouraged, especially if we haven’t talked in a long time. Or if we’re near-strangers. (Consider letting me know somehow early on that it’s a chat and that you’re not building up to a question.) Also, be aware that I’m more likely to flake on general online chats than on specific questions. Feel free to use the plant emoji technique described above.
If you are interested in me romantically
I’m flattered! If you want to act on this, telling me directly is recommended. Be polite. Either in person or online is fine. I am not great at picking up subtle hints or taking initiative. (That is, if you’re over 18 and not >10 years older than me. If you’re in those categories, probs don’t tell me. Also, don’t be creepy.) If I turn you down, well, at least you’ll know, and I will be flattered and won’t be mean about it.
If we’re friends already and you’re worried about ruining that, know that I have historically stayed friends with people who had one-sided crushes on me. There may be an awkward period, but it shouldn’t be an obstacle.