Short-circuit evaluation is a trick that saves time and resources. The idea is very simple - if a decision requires multiple conditions to be true, there is no need to continue analyzing the case if at least one of them is false.
This is often used in programming and engineering (the resulting program works faster, the circuit is smaller and cheaper, etc), it is also used in relationships. My observations also tell me that this is a common source of misunderstandings between men and women.
Before I explain how this works in relationships, let me provide a sample of short-circuit evaluation.
If it rains and the day is Wednesday and the time is past 13:45, then we can play chessminton.
If you look at it carefully, there are 3 conditions:
- it has to rain, and
- it has to be Wednesday, and
- the time has to be after 13:45
Only if all the three conditions are true, the game of chessminton will take place; otherwise - nothing will happen.
When the question occurs, just look outside the window and check the weather. If it does not rain - then there is no need to check which day of the week it is or what the time is. Regardless of the results, there will be no chessminton, because the "rain condition" is not satisfied.
So the previous example is simplified:
If it rains and [bla bla bla bla tra la la la na na na].
Notice how everything else becomes irrelevant, this is an example of a shortcut - you didn't have to invest additional efforts in order to decide whether you'll play chessminton or not (i.e. you saved resources).
Both men and women use short-circuit evaluation, but they interpret it differently, and therein lies the culprit.
Here's an example:
A couple has a discussion point, an ex-girlfriend comes up in the conversation, the ice is thin, and the male has to assure his girlfriend that the previous affair is in the past and it poses absolutely no threat to the relationship.
Such matters are very complicated and there are a lot of factors involved. If you choose to examine all of them thoroughly, you will soon forget what the discussion was about, and you will most likely say things that will be used against you.
A typical response in such cases is:
She has a boyfriend, so everything is cool.
When a man says that, he thinks he found an elegant and quick solution to a problem, and the conversation can proceed without deviations.
When a woman hears that, "indeed, that's fine, let's move on" is the last item in her list of possible interpretations.
Let's zoom in and see what happens under the surface.
Men's point of view:
If she is not in a relationship and [bla bla bla bla bla bla], then maybe a connection could be established, otherwise nothing happens.
Short-circuit evaluation was applied, the first condition is not satisfied, hence it is certain that nothing happens, since my moral standards won't allow me to be in more than one relationship at a time.
Women's point of view:
Soooo.. if she didn't have a boyfriend, then you would be interested in her, despite the fact that we are together now?!?! You insensitive bastard!
The statement wasn't interpreted as a shortcut that brings a quick solution to the problem, it was perceived as "the only thing that keeps our relationship alive is the fact that she is not available". Ouch!
Moral of the story: not all women see this the way we do. Be very careful when using short-circuit evaluation in your conversations. You are on thin ice, you have been warned!
If you are a programmer and you tend to see things as chains of operands and operations, do not return a result unless you run it through a filter and analyze the possible interpretations.
I don't know what the right way to answer that question is, but I certainly know how not to answer it :-)
I think it is reasonable to conclude that if you are in a relationship in which you have to constantly revise and filter your answers, it is not going to be a lasting one. Consider a disconnection.
p.s. I once had a deal with the architect and was given the unique opportunity to take a look at the original design documents. This is what I saw:
Comment from: HareyKelvin [Visitor]
Acest comentariu nu se referă la articol:
Ţin minte că mai demult ai postat pe facebook un note cu privire la pubertate şi dezvoltarea precoce a caracterelor sexuale. Azi m-am împiedicat pe The Economist de http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/ideas/fiona-neill/puberty-blues şi cred că-ţi va fi interesant.
Comment from: gr8dude [Member]
Great article, thank you for sharing it.
Omg, u r absolutely true!
i think i’ll write a post on this argument in my blog too..
Thanks for letting me think abt it, wise programmer.. XD
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