24 September 2003

There are so many ways to have a human interaction these days. And you know, many of them are quite clearly quagmires of risk to an unwary participant. Not sure what I mean? Well, so many young souls have reached out to another and been rebuffed, causing perhaps irreparable damage to our fragile little egos. Been betrayed by a lover? Rejected by a friend? Left out of some social plans? Given a “thanks but no thanks” to a job application? Had phone-calls go un-returned?

Stings, don’t it.

What if you can never regain that sense of security and self-worth you once had? Well never fear because now you can turn to B Sharp’s failsafe Ranking of Low-risk Human Interactions.

1. The Blog
Say what's on your mind without the slightest hint that someone will rebuff your good self, as you don’t even know who you’re talking too, if anyone. Maximum opportunity for self-censorship. Zero risk! (Also applies to group personal bulletins or notices).

2. SMS
The best feature of low-risk sms use is when it has a time component. Ask a new friend to a drink precisely 1 hour before the allocated time. They don’t reply? Well obviously, out of range or not in the area, not because they didn’t want to see you. Restricted amount of characters has the added bonus of severely limiting the nuance or emotion. People will continue to try to put it back with those darn emoticons though. Don’t they get it? No emotion, No risk!

3. Haiku emails
I invented this term yesterday. It refers to email with information only, no comment or editorial. If it just says “Are you going to the club on Friday?” then there is no implication that you care what the answer is. Some risk involved for this ploy though, because most people can see through it. Keeps ‘em guessing though. NB: lowest risk answer to the above it is “Not sure, got a lot on, you?”

4. One night stands
The rules: Don’t ask for phone number. Don’t give out phone number. Make sure they don’t get access to your mobile when you go to the bathroom. Go to other party’s place of residence. Very low risk of any future contact, means low risk of rejection.

5. Normal emails
Can be tricky. Start introducing personal details and questions about the other party’s life can lead to an expectation of friendship. Be careful! Best to restrict to use with parties of the same gender (or whichever gender it is you don’t usually have sex with).

6. Phone calls
Medium risk. The receiving party is highly likely to know that you reached out, what with caller info display and such. Quite possible they'll realise it’s you and not pick up. Ouch. Unmistakable rejection if this happens. On the other hand: once voice-to-voice contact is established its much harder to weasel out of a definitive invitation, hence mitigating risk of rejection.

7. Actual face to face discussion
Enough to bring you in out in hives just thinking about it. High risk. Open to outright snubbing, ridicule, or worse, a relationship. Best restricted to highly codified environments like office meetings, or nights at the pub.

8. One-on-one relationships
Well kids, if you stick to the above guide for preference in all human interaction you’ll never have to deal with this one, the highest risk communication of all!

Good luck and good night.
Aunty B.

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