So as I understand it, with socionics, the website tests are not always accurate, and there is a LOT to take into account when typing someone. I also seem to understand that there are people here who are very experienced in socionics. So... here is the 21 question test. Please tell me what you think!
1. What is beauty? What is love?
Well, this really is an open-ended test, isn't it. Okay. I'm going to try and answer these without filtering myself or editing my words too much. (Warning: I am wordy.)
First of all, beauty is highly subjective. It can differ from person to person, based on individual preferences, cultural norms, country, blah blah blah. But I'm guessing this is asking for what I personally believe beauty is, so I'll try to answer it that way.
For me, beauty is not just physical, but an emotional state which reflects that. The feelings, or the consequences of beauty, are more important to me than "beauty" itself. For example, if you're considering a beautiful person - what makes them beautiful? Lots of makeup? Symmetrical features? Or does a person become more beautiful with a personality? I would consider the latter to be true. I have huge distaste for just accepting what other people consider "beautiful" in terms of humans. I have seen people who could be in magazines whose faces curl into automatic disdain or a mean expression, even before they see anyone or open their mouths, and to me that isn't beauty in any way. On the other hand, you can have someone who wears no makeup, but radiates warmth from somewhere deep inside them, and you can see it in how they hold themselves, the expression on their face, the way they treat others. It's basically unbelievable to me that some would consider some magazine-pretty girl who looks like a b**** better-looking than someone who is not just some bimbo but has a beautiful spirit and "aura". (I'm not judgmental at alllll.)
But when I think about beauty, true beauty, my thoughts automatically go to nature. There's nowhere that's more beautiful to me, and nowhere I feel more at peace. The trees, the sky, the grass, the living creatures that flit and crawl and pace about - even the air, the breezes and scents on the wind. Beauty creates within me a kind of overwhelming joy which quickly turns to peace and wonder, at least if I'm alone. True beauty, as I see it, makes you feel happy, refreshed, relaxed. Just looking at whatever it is, feeling what's within it, brings you to this ideal state of mind, this place of joy and wonderment.
Love... simplistically, it is the positive way you feel about someone. Lots of different forms of it, of course - friendship, romantic, even the way we love a pet or nature or whatever. Those positive feelings, in love, tend to be quite intense. But I find that any attempt to give a real definition of love is elusive. Can one define the feeling of a breeze on a summer's day, a warm and comfortable coat in winter, precisely how one feels with a beloved pet in their lap, the way to word the contentment and certainty that comes with being with trusted friends in a social situation? Positivity seems obvious, and so does intensity. Everything else... well, I guess that's subjective too. There are so many ways of loving someone, or something.
2. What are your most important values?
I value trust, love (ha), loyalty, acceptance, honesty, peace. I also value truth, be it personal truth or objective truth, even though at times the search for truth most decidedly clashes with my desire for peace (and non-confrontation). I value deep thought, ideas, and fresh perspectives - and deep conversations to go with all of that. I also value justice, fairness, and helping others.
3. Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I have played with and/or taken on a lot of different spiritual and religious beliefs since I was about 14 years old. I spent a lot of time as an agnostic, and these days I can't help wondering if I'm getting back to that same place again, although my belief in God was very certain for about three years before this (due to a personal experience). I played with Wicca, then became agnostic, which lasted for 12 years. Then I had this experience and began to truly believe in God, which led to me exploring my Catholic roots, and for awhile thinking I really was Catholic. Then I converted to Islam, which is technically what I am right now, but, again, I am questioning.
When it comes to things like religion, I consider myself to have what I call a maverick mind, for lack of a better word. It seems to me that no matter how long I believe in something, I eventually get back to questioning it, because I spend so much time thinking about things and toying with ideas that I always find something new and unusual to explore, which makes me wonder about my current beliefs. The reason agnosticism lasted for so long was because I was uncertain which, if any, of people's beliefs were true, and so I held that the truth in these matters was unknowable, at least for humans. I have for quite some time reflected on the possibility that the religion/spirituality or lack thereof that works for you is what you should do - which is a very odd thing for someone who's supposed to be Muslim to believe. But now I'm questioning whether I'm actually Muslim at all. *sigh* My brain never seems to give me a break.
4. Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
I HATE WAR. Unreservedly and without question. It is an abomination and I'd banish it from the world forever if I could.
As for militaries... I believe in using and training them for defensive purposes only, because I have sense enough to see that not everyone in the world is going to be peaceful, and if you don't have a way to respond to a threat and ensure that it can't threaten you again, you will continue to be threatened and/or you will be struck down. If you value your way of life, your freedom, etc, you do have to protect it, which again is because not everybody is going to respect what you believe, or necessarily anything else about you for that matter. But I highly disagree with, for example, the fact that the United States spends literally trillions of dollars on "defense" every year. The truth is that they are always prepared for an offense, and interfere in world affairs much more than necessary (see: the failed war on Iraq, drone strikes, etc). I wish everybody could just live and let live -- but I know that this ideal is probably never going to come to fruition. Ever. Humanity has too much drive for power and dominance for that to happen.
Which leads nicely into the next question. I found it interesting that the power question came directly after a question about war and militaries, because I don't usually regard power as a thing that comes from a military, and certainly not from wars. It seems to me that real power rests within the political systems, and consequent policies, creations, and social systems. This is why I simply cannot understand people who have no interest in politics -- do they not realize how politics affects them, affects EVERYone? These are the people with the real power, the ones who make decisions on our laws and economics and, in short, both our present and future. They shape everything, including what kinds of military exist and how they are used, and whether or not they go to war and, if so, how deeply they throw themselves in.
Power also resides in money and economics generally, which often mixes with politics in a bad way, such as how the USA is basically a plutocracy now, even though nobody will admit it. People with a lot of money (I'm thinking multi-millionaires or higher) use that money to gain the things they want, to shape the world around them, and to have dominance over everyone less rich than they are. Or at least they can. I see this more particularly in the world of business, where people tend to be more cut-throat, and humanity is overlooked if it gets in the way of profits. This is one of the reasons I seriously hate capitalism. My country (Canada) has a more democratic-socialist bend than America, thank God, but is still very heavily influenced by capitalism. The reason I like democratic socialism is because the money would actually focus on people and making people's lives better overall, rather than the majority of the money being in the hands of a few while so many other people go without food and shelter and other basic necessities. The power of money is simply not a kind of power I can easily respect. It seems superficial, domineering, and often cruel.
5. What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
I can talk forever about anything that really interests me. Some of those things include music, books, stuff I do online, games I play, psychology, sociology, and (obviously) politics. I also by times have long conversations about philosophical matters. I like to explore concepts with other people, get their opinions and their feelings about things, and try to understand the logic AND the emotions behind every viewpoint, including those I vehemently disagree with. That's not to say I talk easily with people I disagree with -- I don't, not at all. But I am always surprised when along my travels I come to understand, truly understand, why someone may believe in things I abhor. People in general fascinate me.
Other interests I have that I haven't mentioned include writing, collecting things (I have several different collections), archery, and "prepping" (a simple explanation would be survival skills, especially in the long term).
Music, as one of my main interests (I once went to music school as a voice major, and started music lessons when I was seven), is something I love on a lot of levels. First, and probably foremost, is the sheer joy that music gives me. To listen to it, to participate in its creation -- and especially to sing it, because singing, to me, is the best musical feeling of all. Creating something beautiful and meaningful, and something others can participate in or enjoy, just seems unequivocally good. There's also the thinking elements involved in it, and my particular perfectionistic tendencies toward music, which give it another level of interest and intrigue. I'm not necessarily a music theory person, but how music is put together -- symphonic movements, how a composer will put chords or melodies together, how those things affect the emotional impact of a piece -- is something that continues to interest me. I also love learning about different cultures and their music; the different norms about music in different parts of the world are fascinating to me.
The perfectionistic part comes in when I myself am involved in the creation of music. When I am making it or participating in it, music always seems to involve at least some level of competitiveness, ambition, and perfectionism for me. Because I have a talent for music, and have been held to very high standards in the past (particularly in music school), I continue to hold very high standards for myself in this area, and always have the drive to learn more, to become better, and, though I am loathe to say it, to impress people with my abilities. Though I am always the hardest person to impress when it comes to myself. But it is this learning/thinking aspect which really rounds out music for me, and makes me feel that it is something holistically valuable. Most of my interests seem to fall along these lines: they are both emotionally and intellectually fulfilling. Even archery is this way, because I enjoy shooting the bow and arrows, but archery also requires precision, practice, and discipline. Just the way you stand to shoot is very technical. I enjoy things that are a challenge that way.
6. Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
Typically, no. And ESPECIALLY not the kind of "health" people get from popular news sources, magazines, etc. Every time someone starts talking any bit in-depth about exercise, or what's "good for you", or whatever, I want to scream. However, I can listen to conversations about actual physical or mental illness and take interest in it, although I don't tend to be super chatty unless I actually know something about the illness.
And, well, as someone who's had an eating disorder [ED] for 10 years (basically in remission at this point, except for flares every now and then), there IS a focus on my body, but in all the wrong ways. At this point my weight is healthy, but I do not eat right, and I make absolutely no effort to exercise. In fact, because of my dysthymia (mild, chronic depression), it's very difficult for me to even care about my diet or fitness, let alone have the energy to go out and do something about it. My body is, honestly, usually the last thing on my mind, unless ED is flaring up. I actually remember that when I was younger, particularly in high school, I very often felt like a floating head -- like the only thing that was truly real about me was my mind, and the rest of my body was just there as a tool to convey messages and receive information. I'm a little more grounded these days, but I still don't pay a lot of attention to my body. It still remains not much more than a tool (sans ED).
7. What do you think of daily chores?
Hate hate HATE. They are such a mind-numbing, useless sucking of energy. I mean, yeah, I get that cleanliness is important, and I don't like serious clutter any more than the next person. But cleaning is another one of those things that's very low on my priority list. I do not take any pleasure in cleaning, and whatever personal satisfaction I get from having cleaned something is very brief, and definitely not emotionally worth the effort and time that it takes.
8. Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
I love fantasy/sci-fi and young adult novels (especially fantasy YA). I also have a huge thing for dystopian fiction. I'm currently re-reading the Delirium trilogy, a dystopic YA series in which love is considered a disease, and brain surgery when one turns 18 is the cure. Essentially, the cure is like an emotional lobotomy, because these people never feel strongly about anything ever again. Other dystopian favorites that people might actually know include 1984, A Brave New World, and the Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies. I think what fascinates me about dystopia is that I've always thought there had to be a better way to run the world than we currently experience, if only we knew what it was, and these kinds of novels will take a certain premise (the world has evolved X way) and bring it through its logical and emotional steps in a way that connects to people/me. Also, how the world or a society can change when just one major concept is changed -- it's absolutely fascinating to me. I guess it goes along with that fascination with people and with society, which is also why I love both psychology and sociology.
Other favorites include the Harry Potter series, the Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow quartets, books about Star Treks TNG and Voyager, His Dark Materials, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Rhapsody series, and Animorphs (yes, I am a child). I also really like a lot of books by L.M. Montgomery (she wrote Anne of Green Gables), although I find the Emily of New Moon series more intriguing than the Anne books just because Emily is emotionally sensitive, very intuitive, and a writer, just like me. Also on the list of favorite books is the Little House on the Prairie series, and also another pioneer-girl book called Caddy Woodlawn.
The fantasy books are pretty easy to explain... they get me out of my head and into other worlds, where things are sometimes better than my real life and sometimes not, but always give me an escape regardless. And, of course, fantastical ideas are yet another thing I find fascinating. I just love CONCEPTS, things that aren't "real" or happening yet, but maybe could be, even if not in our era, or on our world, or even in our universe. Ideas, ideas, and more ideas. As for books like those by LMM, or the Little House on the Prairie series, etc, part of the appeal is that it gives me insight into past worlds that I could never have experienced without the books. Also a significant part of my love of Little House on the Prairie is that Laura and her family were trailblazers -- among the very first people to travel west in the United States, on the front lines of the new frontier. I always wish I could have a similar experience... be one of the first to go somewhere, or do something, really significant. It seems like so much has already been done in this world, but I always wanted to do something that brought something new to the world, something the world wouldn't have without my contributions, at the risk of sounding arrogant.
As for movies, I haven't seen one in a long time, but I'm looking forward to going to see Mockingjay Part 2 (last of the Hunger Games movies). I'm not generally a big movie person, though. I much prefer books.
9. What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
Smile first, because it's not hard to make me smile, honestly. Being in nature, being with people, seeing the funny parts in all sorts of things, putting the pieces together on a concept I'm trying to understand, engaging in a hobby, etc etc -- there are so many things to smile at. I may have dysthymia, and I may not feel like the world is sunshine and rainbows most of the time, but it doesn't always stop me from enjoying things when I actually do them.
Crying is harder, because I don't cry a lot. I cry a lot at therapy if I am feeling some really painful emotion, which happens often (unfortunately, that's just part of the process). I can also cry at certain parts of movies or online videos if they particularly touch me, whether because of someone's utter kindness, or because of the tragedy of what I'm seeing in front of me. I cry at the kindness because it's so beautiful to see someone do, with true intent, something absolutely wonderful for another without being asked or wanting anything in return. The tragedy is probably because, or at least I think it's because, I'm empathizing with the people in the videos, knowing how I would feel in a similar circumstance. Those kinds of videos always upset me, and I can only take them in short intervals. I sometimes think that I just feel too much, but I know that the kind of deep emotions I have are both a blessing and a curse, so whenever I can I try to also remember the positives of being someone who feels tremendously.
10. Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
Nature was my automatic response to this question. Specifically, in a really beautiful part of nature -- by running water, or near the ocean, or maybe a field somewhere -- by myself. Being alone is an essential part, because other people being there detracts from my oneness with the situation in front of me. When I'm in nature I feel like I'm home, which I suppose I am in a way. Then, of course, I get hungry, or have to use the washroom, or get tired, and then the spell is broken and I have to leave. That part is always disappointing.
I have a lot of issues with people (more mental health crap, particularly avoidant PD symptoms) and so being with people almost never brings a sense of belonging. Only when I am with people with similar issues as myself, or who are a part of a minority group I belong to (sexuality, etc) do I feel like I belong at all, and even then it's not usually a complete sense. I don't feel belonging where I live, either, because it's only me and my cat, which gets quite lonely.
Evaluation & Behavior
11. What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
In the past, people have seen me as cold, arrogant, and distant. These days, I would say people still see me as distant, but not necessarily cold, and it's possible that some still regard me as arrogant. I tend to make jokes at my own expense which people don't understand I actually mean about myself, so they take offense because they basically think I was saying I'm better than they are (not even close to the truth). I have trouble sustaining friendships and really opening up to people, and they see that, too. Whether these are solely the results of mental illness I can't say. I do think that underlying everything I actually tend to be TOO trusting, but a lot of bad life experiences taught me to keep my guard up and be careful where I bestow my trust. Which has mutated to an often non-functional state, again because of mental illness.
Interpersonally I am basically terrified of people and how they'll judge me (and I'm convinced they're doing this all the time), which is what I most dislike about myself in that area. I feel like if I could just RELAX, I could get on with my life and do the things I really want to do / was meant to do. I also dislike my generally anxious nature -- I tell people I was basically born anxious, which has evidence going back to when I was a toddler. Anxiety is only good if it can be useful (such as in striving to always do better), but completely unhelpful when it restricts your everyday experiences and makes you feel like crap.
I also dislike not having a truly scientific mind. I AM a thinker, but it tends to be focused more towards the social science areas, or other areas like philosophy or politics. These areas are where my thinking skills excel. But things like biology, chemistry, and especially physics -- and areas of study stemming from these -- are things I don't understand so well, but really wish I did. It makes me feel like I'm lacking intellectually, because truly smart people can readily understand these things, right?? Which gets into my highly self-critical nature, which is something else I guess I can't say I really love. Again, something that's good to a degree, but not when it goes as far as I take it, which ends up as self-hatred because I can't do x or y thing, or do it "right".
I also get very frustrated at my tendency not to finish ANYthing (I can't count how many stories and novel attempts I never finished, but it was definitely most of them), and also the degree to which I tend to procrastinate.
12. What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
Everybody always talks about how intelligent I am, so much so that I almost want to roll my eyes when someone new says it, because it's usually the first thing they say about me. I know it's true, and I do really like the fact that I'm intelligent, but hearing it over and over almost makes it seem like a cliche. People also notice that I'm a good listener, and a few have told me that they like the non-judgmental part of my nature. I also like to think they notice that I am kind, and generally have a good heart, but I don't exactly ask about that stuff. People do say that I'm "nice", which I guess means kind, at least somewhat. I like all of these things about myself, too, especially that I'm intelligent, I try very hard to be non-judgmental, and I really do consider myself a kind person. I try very hard not to hurt others, and to be there for them if they need someone, even if I can't offer advice. People still appreciate the listening.
I also like that I'm a generous person, at least when I'm in a good headspace, and that I'm always trying to understand other people. I like that I try to better myself almost constantly, too, whether it's in regards to other people, or simply something I want to be better at, or a personality trait I want to be consistent with or work on. (The acceptance of others and the non-judgment is one of those that I continually work on).
I think, though, that one of the things I like best about myself is that I'm adaptable. Without that quality, I don't think I'd be as smart as I am, nor would I have made it out of the hell that my mental illnesses used to be. I can think myself very deeply and complexly into bad situations, but I also seem to be able to think my way out of them (with enough help and time). I work on that quality, too, because it's super important to me. If I feel like I'm getting stagnant in a certain POV, or judgmental in any way, I question myself and prod myself to consider other points of view or take in new information. I have never liked the idea that the human brain "settles" into certain beliefs -- I never want my brain to settle like that. Sure, I can settle on values, but on beliefs or judgments about people? I have no interest in that. So long as I live, I want my brain to be flexible enough to accept and think about new ideas.
13. In what areas of your life would you like help?
Looool... that's a question best left for my therapist to answer. There are a lot of things I need help with, though, to be serious. Socializing without being paralyzed by fear at some point or another is one thing we are working on. Another is trust, which I've actually come a long way with. I also need serious help with self-confidence, which we also work on. My fear of people also leads to a rather large lack of romantic life, which I need help with at some point, but I feel like that isn't as important to focus on now.
I would also love it if I could learn more about science, by taking classes, but also by being able to ask "weird" questions until I figure out how the concepts actually work. The reason I never understood physics (I'm basically a physics dunce) is that my questions seemed so strange and non-relevant to people who tried to teach me in high school that they never answered them, so I never understood what I needed to. A friend of mine was more patient with me when teaching me a couple of basic physics concepts, and so I was able to actually understand them, and even postulate a very basic theory about them which actually turned out to be true. It seems I'm not entirely clueless... it's just that my brain doesn't work the way most scientific people's brains do.
14. Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Try the whole time I was really mentally ill (essentially, the last 10 years, with a few short breaks). The causes are very complex, because my head and feelings are stupidly complex and things built up and built up over the years until I totally broke down. But for a more concrete example, I'll use the fact that I can barely write at this point, because whatever creative well I had seems to have dried up. One cause of this is a medication I have to take for my anxiety, which I know because several months ago I went down slightly in the dosage, and suddenly I had some creativity back. Another cause is my current inability to deal with my darker feelings, which never used to be a problem -- but when it's either stave them off or kill yourself for a long time, it's a little difficult to access them even when you're not perpetually in crisis mode anymore. Yet another thing I'm working on, and that will take a long time.
Not being able to write or be creative is highly frustrating, because writing was one of the two talents I defined myself by (the other being singing/music), and I feel like I'm missing a part of myself if I can't write and if I'm not creative. I valued my creativity very highly, so having it taken away, even if in part for a good reason, feels like a massive loss. It makes me feel like less of a person, and doesn't help my self-confidence at all, especially when one of my goals in life was/is to someday publish a novel. But I try to remind myself that this won't last forever -- eventually, sometime, I will get through all the ruts in therapy, and I'll be able to cut back the medication again, and I can be more like the self I used to be and also want to be.
People & Interactions
15. What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I do not like people who are arrogant, cruel, unfeeling, aggressive, continually passive-aggressive, two-faced, or really dramatic. I don't like liars, cheaters, or people who are obsessed with superficial things like physical appearance, wealth, or societal status. I guess not liking vanity ties in with that. I also don't like people who are willfully ignorant or refuse to think about the deeper things in life. I also really, REALLY do not like people who are domineering, violent, or controlling in any way. Violent people in particular actually terrify me.
Like: Friendliness, compassion/empathy, intelligence (that's a big one), loyalty, trustworthiness, honesty. Kind people, people who are generous, giving of themselves and their time. People who do what they say they'll do, and don't promise to do things if they know they can't follow through. (I also highly dislike flakiness and unreliability.) I like people who will listen to you vent even if they don't know what to say to help you -- people who will just be there for you when you need them. And I really LOVE it when people know when to be silent, and don't feel some kind of driving need to chatter just to fill up air space. I guess I prefer people who are comfortable with silence, and who know how to give people space (and that this is actually important). Being able to acknowledge someone else's needs is something I try to do for my friends, and I expect the same in return.
So I guess, basically, I get along with either quieter types, or people who know when it's time to stop babbling and start really talking. Those who like to discuss and play around with ideas, who at least accept your distress even if they don't understand it, or who ask questions about things they don't know. Who can be honest about themselves and their own flaws and strengths. And I really get along with people who are multi-layered and "deep", or who can see and feel the darkness within themselves, even if how they react to it is not necessarily healthy. (I seem to recognize and seek out other people who are in pain.)
16. How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I feel... uneasy, I guess is the best word I can think of right now. It's not that I don't like either. I actually have a theory that I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, and being in possession of adult human sexuality is hard to ignore. But this is one of my biggest challenges right now, and in all honestly I am nowhere near ready for a relationship at this point.
Romance is definitely more important than sex, though, even if sex is also important in its way. I'm not a person with a particularly high sex drive, and I'm used to not being physical with anyone, so frankly I can take care of that part myself :P. I feel that romance would be essential to any kind of relationship, though. I can't imagine being with someone who didn't care deeply enough about me to not want at least SOME romance. And I don't even necessarily mean the cheesy stuff like chocolates and flowers (hell, I'd probably tell people not to bother with flowers) -- I mean the understanding between us that we love each other, us doing nice and loving things for each other, or us expressing that love to each other in some way, even if it was just hugs or kisses or whatever.
As for the qualities I'd want in a partner... see the above about things I like in a friend. But loyalty and trust would have to be very very high. I am a very monogamous person, and if I can't trust the person I'm in a relationship with, I will simply cease to be in that relationship. Also, I would need someone who's at least fairly mentally stable to maintain any kind of relationship, especially because even at the best of times I tend to be very emotional and can easily get caught up in that and forget my rational mind when I'm angry, stressed, etc.
17. If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
I would want to ensure that my child was healthy - and not just physically. (Going to use female pronouns because I always wanted a girl if I did have a child.) I would want to make sure that she was mentally and emotionally okay, too, and that she knew I was there for her, and she could come talk to me about anything she needed, even if it would be difficult for her or for me (or both of us). The fact that I'm very intuitive would be a great help with this. I have fair confidence that if something was off with my child, I'd at least know that something was going on, and I hope that I'd be able to raise her with enough trust and stability that she'd be able to tell me about it. And, if she needed it, I would make sure she got the health services she required. I'd also want to make SURE she knew she was loved, by telling her, hugs and kisses, whatever.
Otherwise, I would want to make sure she developed her mind, and had the opportunity to explore her own interests and desires. I'd also encourage her to try almost everything at least once! I'd also want to ensure that she had a childhood more similar to the one I had than today's kids have -- less technology, and more pretend play and MORE OUTDOORS. Play and the outdoors were so vital to my own childhood that I can't imagine any child of mine being truly happy unless she also spent time with/doing these things.
The first paragraph is really important to me because these are things that my own parents failed to do these things for me when I was a child and teenager. I didn't get kissed or hugged much, at least not by the time I was old enough to remember, and even when I asked for counseling my mother didn't ask me about it again until A YEAR LATER. To me that's completely unacceptable. If your child thinks there's something wrong and is asking for your help, I believe you need to do everything in your power to help them. And my lack of intuitive parents is, I believe, a large part of the reason why I got so ill as I did. I needed someone who understood me so they could nourish my emotional side, but I never got that. That's why I would be very keen to make sure my child felt loved, and as understood as possible (or at the very least listened to and validated).
The second paragraph are things I highly valued in my own childhood and/or would want for my child, particularly the intellectual development and pursuit of personal interests. I would want to give her every opportunity to be the best person she could possibly be, and also to be as happy as she could possibly be. I can't lie -- I'd expect a certain amount of appreciation for intellectual things. But I honestly don't think that, if the child was biologically mine, she'd be totally resistant to learning, especially if I began it with her early in life.
18. A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
Honestly, it would really depend on the belief, how well I knew the friend, and whether or not I'd gotten that particular reaction or statement before (and how many times before). If, for example, it was something like, "I don't think it's even possible that God exists", I'd probably be somewhat irritated and kind of jaded-feeling, but I wouldn't be angry, and I'd certainly be able to talk about it in a rational manner if my friend could. If, on the other hand, it was something like, "Sorry, but most Muslims ARE terrorists," I would be in extreme disbelief and would be very angry and upset, and it's not likely that I'd be able to NOT show anger, although I would obviously do my best to control it. When it comes to friends, I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt and understand their perspective, especially at first, and I try not to lash out at them. That being said, though, if things they were saying were completely illogical or obviously incorrect, I'd try to point out (gently) what was wrong with their statements. Of course, it would also depend on their reaction, because if they got hostile with me I'd have much more difficulty controlling the anger, and it's quite possible that I wouldn't be able to.
19. Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
My... relationship to society? I don't feel like I HAVE a relationship to society. Easy enough to feel when you have trouble leaving your house (stupid flipping mental illness). I feel like I lost my ties to society years ago, when I stopped being able to be functional in it. I'm still not functional enough to work or go to school, so I still do not feel as though I am truly part of it.
Although, perhaps, you were asking about how I view society, which segues into the next question. In very general terms, I do not like society. I don't like how it's organized, the things it stands for, or how people behave because of it. However, I see "society" as a sort of sociological construct and less as a group of people. As for people... I'm never quite sure. I think there are some good people and some bad people -- but as I've gotten older I've realized that there's more grey area in the spectrum of good to bad than I ever imagined, or that I even like. I also think that most people are pretty uninteresting (sorry, but I do). People who lead very typical sorts of lives, like being married with the 1.5 kids and the white picket fence and the 9-5 job or whatever, don't interest me at all. And yet I am very fascinated by patterns within the behaviors of people in general, and also comparing those who I see as different, whether the difference is bad or good, to people who are more "typical" or "normal". So I see many people as uninteresting, and yet the group as a whole, when viewed in my people-watching terms or in sociological terms, can be extremely interesting. This sounds completely contradictory but it's true. I can't explain it any other way.
There are SO MANY social problems that it's not even fit, but one really prevalent social problem that I see is quality of living, and disparities related to such. I believe it was President Reagan who, in America, actually made the rich richer and less rich poorer ON PURPOSE, to stimulate economic growth. Ever since then, we see in the United States that a lot of the population can barely afford to feed and clothe their kids as well as have any kind of decent living accommodations or a car, a lot of them can't send their kids to good schools, and a lot of people work 2-3 jobs just to get by. Quality of living, of course, is a worldwide issue, and it's a terrible one. I can't even stop and think for very long about how many people don't even have clean water and are essentially chronically starving because it's so incredibly upsetting and emotional (I'm upset just writing this). As for the American example, it's just like... the 1% have everything, and the 99% have little to nothing, and it's incredibly awful and frustrating and it feels terrible that there is nothing I can do to stop it.
20. How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
Well, I am choosy about my friends (haha) for a lot of reasons. In general, with friendships that endure, at least, my intuitive sense about them is very important. Said intuition is damn reliable, and it tells me how compatible I and a potential friend likely are, how much I can say to them immediately, how I should probably behave around them, etc. If these things come back and say that we're probably pretty compatible and I can talk and behave at least relatively normally, it's more likely we will endure as friends.
With friends in particular, I try to take great care in not causing huge arguments, or really truly upsetting them. Debates are okay... fights, not so much. I will not let myself be nearly as impatient or harsh around my friends as I might, say, with my family (which is more about how I grew up, but that's a whole other story). I am starting to test the waters re: saying something that COULD cause conflict but may avoid conflict if I can talk about it in the right way, but this is a difficult area for me, because I don't always have tact or use the right tone, and I hate hate HATE conflict.
My best friends, though, are people I can say basically anything to and it's okay. They know that if I don't say things quite the right way, how they might interpret it is not necessarily how I mean it. Around really great friends I'm a lot less guarded and more likely to let irritation or impatience show if that's how I'm feeling.
21. How do you behave around strangers?
The assessment of the situation is always first and foremost, which, in my case, is largely about intuition, but also about what I know about socializing in x situation with y kinds of people. In general I am friendly, I try to be polite, and I help if I can, or if that's why I'm there in the first place (like if someone dropped something). I also listen to them if they want to talk, which seems to attract people to me at times. I've made a lot of temporary friends at bus stops... ha. But, in actual fact, I'm always very guarded when I first meet someone, because I don't know what they're like or what I can say. It doesn't usually take too long to figure out how a person is, though. For example, at a function like a wedding, some people will be personable with you, while others will be distant and uninterested. Some will have traditional values and value that in, say, taboo topics of discussion, and so I won't discuss more than superficial matters with them or in front of them as a general rule (unless they loosen up later on). I usually just take my cue from them, honestly. If they seem not to like me, I keep my distance, and don't talk to them unless I have to. If they're only being polite or proper and don't really care, I'm polite back and don't invest myself emotionally. If they're genuinely friendly or interested, though, I feel better about them, and most of the time this allows me to talk more in-depth with that person than I would with the polite-but-distant one.