Trust Your Gut Instinct.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

If you’re out on a date, and get that flutter of “STRANGER DANGER” jolting its way through your nerves, then you need to pay attention to that and cut this date off right away. Because your natural instincts know better than you do, and it’s time to start acting on those hunches.
You know when you’re in trouble. You just don’t know you know.
And if you’re out on a date and feel unloved, and your instincts tell you the best way to solve this is to have a crazy breakdown in public so her protective instincts will kick in and you’ll know how much she adores you, then it’s time to huddle up against a wall and tell her you can’t do this! Follow those impulses! You –
Wait. That’s bad advice?
Okay, I’m gonna level with you: About half of you need to pay attention to your instincts, because you folks do have good instincts, and you’re not listening when the alarm systems start blaring “ABUSER.” Chances are good you had such good instincts that an abuser in your distant past muffled them to make you more compliant, and it’s time to start listening.
But the other half have terrible instincts that make them feel all warm and fuzzy when someone subtly mistreats them with a feisty round of negging, or have instincts that tell them to do horrible selfish things when they feel bad, or even have instincts that make them homing missiles for the worst and most self-destructive relationships.
So you know what? As usual, universal advice fucks over a lot of people.
Here’s the truth: if you’re not sure yet, pay attention to your instincts. Write ’em down, if you need to. Then go along with ’em and see what happens.
You might be the sort of person whose instincts get them out of jams, in which case, hell yeah, follow those instincts! Pay more attention! Activate those instinct-sensors! Lift instinct-weights until you have the confidence to speak the fuck up when something triggers the DANGER WILL ROBINSON part of your brain!
Or you might be the kind of person who, like me, has Darwin-destruction instincts that lead them to walk into blazing bonfires of drama – in which case you need to put a ball-gag on those instincts, and work overtime to develop artificial habits that compensate for this anti-consigliere in your brain who consistently advises you into ruin.
And after you’ve done that for a while, you might find that you have really good instincts for some things and really terrible instincts for others, at which point, shit, you gotta break it down and determine which category you’re in before following or running away from those subliminal impulses.
The point is that all advice is two-sided, and can wreck you if you listen to the wrong advice. “Speak up!” you say to a shy person, but the local friendless Donald Trump fan just heard you and he’s gonna talk louder now because clearly nobody’s listening. “Learn to trust people!” you say to someone who shoves everyone away, but the person who falls in love with the checkout clerk has heard you and they’re now justifying quitting their job to move in with someone on the second date. “Be yourself!” you say to the person who spends all his time quashing himself down to fit in, but Mister “I don’t bathe because that’s robbing me of my germ resistance” is giving you a thumbs-up from his reeking seat on the subway.
It’s not about getting advice. It’s about getting the right advice.
Learn to listen properly, man. And that’s literally the best advice I can give you.

2 Comments

  1. Mishell Baker
    Jan 7, 2016

    What I love is that I am both very perceptive to extremely subtle social cues, and also occasionally paranoid under stress. So I can never tell whether it’s perception or paranoia that’s telling me “This person does not like you and wants you to go away.” Both voices sound EXACTLY THE SAME. Augh.

  2. Name *
    Feb 5, 2016

    I know this feeling.

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