Chaos Attraction

Freshman Psychology

2003-09-10, 6:04 p.m.

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So today's big excitement was the big talk about What To Do When Crazies Show Up In The Office. A hot topic here since the administration is getting a lot less lenient with slackers, and there are gonna be ball-busting consequences if you don't meet your due dates for things this fall. They already get 1 out of 4 people coming in pissed as is, so...whee! So glad I'm in an area where I hardly ever deal with people!

Anyway, there turned out to be no cop there after all, just the head of the (for lack of better euphemism) psych-for-employees here. And she was GOOD, I gotta say. About an hour into the thing, she was talking about how she hated lines, and she found out that she hadn't had a driver's license for a few months when she thought she had. She seemed to have some sort of neurological condition (Parkinsons? Hand tremors), and she said that she just went in with her cane and pretended to be a scared little old lady in need of assistance, and they moved her ahead in the line. By this point, it was very hard to imagine her as a little old lady!

Anyway, it was all very interesting, mainly dealing with people who are already pissed off when they come in at the institution. She said not to get personal and not to get involved in the arguing, and to emphasize with them about what they were right about (i.e. having to go to 3 different buildings sucks). Don't go around calling people names or abuse the "I feel" (i.e. "I feel you are an asshole!") command, come off as confident and calm, and repeat back to them what they said.

If you have to say no, give them other ways to get what they want. That last bit's especially interesting. And I was amazed when she said that normally she's a yeller and loves to, but after all these years, "as soon as someone yells at me, my voice drops." I need to remember that for the future.

I apparently already used this, negative assertion- when you did do something wrong, admit it and ask what you can do to fix it. Negative inquiry- asking what you did wrong- apparently works even better to chill someone out. I'll have to remember that one, everyone loves to talk about my flaws in great detail.

This bit was also intriguing: that each of us has a parent, child, and adult side. Parental can go nurturing or critizing, child can go natural (emotions), adaptive ("yes, mom, I'll do whatever you say, mom"), and "little professor," i.e. little manipulator. The problem is when people are talking at opposing levels from each other, and the goal is to bring it back to the same level.

Rather made me wish I'd gone for a minor in psych. I've always found that sort of thing to be very intriguing.

On another sick psychological note, I was listening to This American Life, the Sept. 5 episode, "Allure of the Mean Friend." I was very much into hearing that one, as I have always wondered why I'm often attracted to bitchy women. I don't know why considering that most of them hate me and the ones that end up my friends (or "so-called friends") are driven batshit by me. What on earth is the attraction that I usually have at least one around me?

Likewise, why is the most popular girl in school the evil bitch that everyone loves to hate/hates to love? Why is there always some evil bitch girl who rules everyone? Why do we have the existence of the movie Heathers? Why isn't it good to be nice to people?

The most intriguing bit of this was the first few segments about mean friends, where they interviewed this one girl who used to be in the mean popular crowd until she was too different from them one night, and then the others got together and put "the mean one" on the phone to call her up. And the shocking bit is, they'd put this girl on hold while they discussed what else mean to say to her, AND SHE STAYED ON THE LINE! That this is the kind of mentality that someone could have... that they'd let them do that to her...

Just as bad is Jackie Cohen, who turned down a guy for a date by telling him they could be hi-bye friends. Oh yeah, that's real special. "I actually left him his dignity, by letting him think we were hi-bye friends. You want me to go on a date with that guy?" she laughs.

This one dude making the segment was picked on by Jackie, in his school. Nowadays they're friends (if you can believe that one), but he wonders: was she popular despite her being mean or because she was mean? "I think you miss the old Jackie Cohen. You ask about her a lot."

Jackie seems like a typical mean popular girl- no regrets, not remotely bothered by her actions. Her sister Maureen was apparently even worse. She claimed that she was "playing" with people and that "some people like to be abused." The poor producer guy sent his friend who was terrified of Maureen to record her, and he was still freaked out. He said that "there's a certain kind of woman that know to put me in my place," and that they just know on sight that you're garbage. The "they know you're garbage on sight" is 100% true for me. That's exactly how it's always worked- hate on sight.

I don't know what the attraction to the poison is, though, still.

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