Here’s the question, what if everyone possessed a physical instruction manual and was able to hand out copies to people they meet or are interested in. This concept often crosses my mind as I think of the time and trouble it would save in the usual misunderstandings and miscommunications that can take place during the period when people are just getting to know each other. I fantasize about handing a new acquaintance a little book which reads “Congratulations on meeting Rohan, here is everything you will need to know in order to get the best out of your interactions with Rohan.” I know if the tables were turned and someone handed me a user guide to themselves I’d be eternally grateful. I’m pretty good at reading people anyway, but imagine seeing it all in black and white, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies and pet peeves, their talents and deficiencies, favorite foods, movies and music. There would be a biography and a Frequently Asked Questions section, all written in the stale, emotionless language of an instructional guide.
I suppose you could say we have somewhat of a user’s manual in the likes of Facebook and other social networking platforms. Spend a few minutes on a person’s profile and you will get a pretty good, if superficial idea of what kind of person they are. The problem with user generated social networking pages is the amount of emotive language, the bias, the flattering profile pictures, and people’s natural tendency to accentuate their positives while minimizing what they perceive to be there bad points. We’ve all done it. So that other than their taste in music, a Facebook profile tells you next to nothing about the real person behind it. My vision is for an objective, uncaring third party who simply prints these factual and helpful guides not so much for the benefit of the subject of the manual, but more so for those that read it. In a previous blog I talked about how when meeting new people it’s best to be open and honest about what you perceive to be your weaknesses as early as possible, don’t hide the truth, get it out there! This manual is the natural progressions of that concept.
So what exactly would this manual include, how would it be structured? Well for the sake of the example let’s take a look at what mine might be like! NOTE: Because I’m writing my own there will of course be an inevitable emotional bias, but I’ll do my best to keep things as balanced as I can. Also a full guide would be fuller and more detailed, but for the sake of this piece I will condense it all down.
Introduction: Congratulations on meeting Rohan Healy, this useful manual will arm you with all the information you’ll need to get the best out of your interactions with Rohan and will guide you in dealing with any problems that may arise.
Name: Rohan Healy
Occupation: Musician, Music Producer, Writer
Hobbies: Video games, history, philosophy, blogging, health, sexuality
Sexuality: Straight but open minded and slightly kinky.
Q. That’s an interesting accent, where are you from?
A. Rohan was born in Murwillumbah, Australia. But also spent his childhood in France, The Netherlands and Ireland. Hence the confusing accent.
Q. Do you want to grab a drink at the pub?
A. No, unless Rohan is performing at the pub in question, Rohan likes tea and a quiet place in order to engage in conversation, work, or sexual intercourse.
Q. Are you coming to the after party?
A. No, after a gig Rohan likes to pack up and head home for tea and a bit of conversation or television before bed.
Q. Is your name Ronan, or Rohan?
A. It’s Rohan, if you listen carefully you can hear the difference.
Q. Do you mind if I smoke/eat meat?
A. Rohan in non-evangelical, he does not care what you do, nor does he make a judgment. He will not give you are hard time about your lifestyle choices or try to make you change them.
Rohan likes: Conversation, taking walks, photography, playing video games, watching Anime, sexual intercourse, documentaries, playing music.
Rohan dislikes: Relationship drama, excessive texting or calling, loud noises, busy places, lies, people who don’t respect others’ boundaries.
Tips & Troubleshooting:
In order to get the best out of Rohan and keep him running at optimal levels try being kind, supportive and constructive. Rohan can show signs of disorder and malfunction if bullied, hen pecked, regularly lied to and criticized maliciously without any constructive element. Rohan likes to be the center of attention which can be grating at times but is basically harmless. Rohan reacts well to positive people, if you are a positive influence on Rohan he will most likely have a positive influence on you.
Thank you for reading this user manual, we hope that it has been insightful and helpful in enabling you to make the most of your interactions with Rohan. Good luck!
So this was very much an abbreviated version of what a full manual would be like but do you start to see the idea? Now raw data does not tell us everything about someone, it only makes up about half the picture. The other element is chemistry. With compatible data only, everything seems right on paper, but without passion things will be very boring. When it’s only chemistry you may enjoy a period of passionate fun, but in the longer term there will be too many conflicts to enable a stable relationship. A great relationship is formed when both exist at once. The benefit I think with the user manual is that it’s a time saving device. While you wouldn’t necessarily write someone off simply from the contents of their manual, it would give you a pretty good idea of whether you are going to be able to get on with this person or not.
For me though, the manual would be less of a dating guide and more for when you’ve decided you like someone, or you’ve made a new friend or colleague. The manual could come into play once the relationship is basically established and you want to give them a heads up on how to make the most of the relationship all at once, as opposed to doing it over time through trial and error. Of course the manual also comes with certain problems and raises a number of important questions. For example should criminal history be included in the manual? What about medical history? Do people have the right to know this kind of information before making a decision on whether to get involved with someone, or should the onus be on the individual in question to give up that information when they deem it the right time to do so? There’s a risk of getting a little too Orwellian, especially if the ‘manual’ were to become compulsory! But let’s calm things down a little and keep it fun.
So what do you think, would you like it if new people you met handed you their users’ guide to browse through at home? Would you be willing to hand over an unbiased, emotion free manual for the correct operation of ‘you’ to new acquaintances? Would this kind of manual take the fun and excitement out of discovering a new person, or would it be a time saver that tells you right away if things have a chance of working or not? I personally love the idea and would happily hand over a no holds barred ‘manual of me’ to anyone who wants to know me, if they are still interested after reading through then they’d definitely be worth having a chat to! And I’ll leave you with this thought, have you ever said something like “If I’d known that from the beginning I’d never have gotten involved”? Would the manual save us from these kinds of realizations?
Thanks for reading :)
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