This is a draft essay, an attempt to make things clear when trying to figure out whether "the one" is the one indeed, and whether she or he feels the same about you.
How many times have you been in the situation when you felt you could initiate a relationship, but were not confident? How many times you have postponed the moment, because you were not sure you knew what he or she felt about it (and there was nothing that could aid you make an educated guess about it)? If that happens often, I hope this story will help you a bit.
Disclaimer: the provided examples are lame, do not let them distract you, do not let them make you miss the point. Thank you.
When people interact, they examine each other's feedback (feedback is one's reaction to an action initiated by you).
When the feedback is positive, then the action that generated the feedback is becoming more intense (when you see that people are cooperative, you become even more cooperative); if the resulting feedback is also more intense, the action is getting more intense again.
This continues for many iterations and there is a fantastical mega-explosion of actions and feedback^. This is how new worlds are created :-)
In the charts that will follow, actions are marked with blue, and reactions with green; the horizontal axis is time, and the vertical axis is intensity.
Assume that the beginning of the chart is the beginning of the social connection, the state of things at "day one". The further we go to the right, the more days you know (or spend together with) your potential other half. The intensity of an action is not an exact thing; but let me express it in these words: if you say "hi!", it is less intense than saying "hi darling!"; or giving one two roses is more intense than giving just one rose. Got the drift?
The chart above illustrates the first example - the blue line goes up, the green one grows with it. The growth rate may be identical, or they can be slightly different; you will see that at some point the green line grows faster than the blue one. This means that now your partner has taken the initiative, in one way or another.
Let's see what else could happen. If the resulting feedback is of the same intensity even if you increase the action intensity, it means that you have reached the maximum possible value for a social connection for a given period on the timeline.
As you can see, at one point the blue lines keeps growing, but the green line stays the same. In real world scenarios this matches the period in which you make it clear that you like her or him, but they are not very cooperative - trying to keep the social connection at the level of friendship. Usually this is not stated directly, but expressed by behaviour (feedback). If you're lucky, after some time the green line may grow, and eventually catch up. This is what happens if you're an insisting person - rather than dropping a connection when you see that the green line stays at the same level, you maintain the social link, hoping that this investment will pay off in the future. Yes, this happens; but you must also be aware of the fact that sometimes the green line will never go up. Sometimes, being too insisting may also push the green line down. This may have something to do with loyalty, rather than with being stubborn: the difference is that you don't pursue the same policy simply because you can; but because you are sure that your long-term plan is optimal, you are ready to invest into something that may have a very delayed ROI (return of investment).
If the resulting feedback is of a lower intensity than before, this means that the target is not ready for more greater action intensities and prefers to lower the values to their earlier state (a conservative approach).
You can attempt to increase the action intensity further, perhaps the target's intensity threshold is not very sensitive, and only a major action intensity increase will be able to "break through". The threshold is marked with a red line; note that there are two lines, horizontal and vertical.
The vertical one is for the time axis: a person won't become cooperative unless they've known you for some months (ex: you can offer 1000 roses to a person on your second date, but can a good relationship be built in just two days?). It is also possible that at that time they are too busy at school or at work; or there is another person who likes them and they can't dedicate all their attention to you until they 'disconnect' the other 'competitor'. The horizontal line is for the intensity of your action (ex: if you give someone 5 roses - it's not a big deal; offer 50 roses - and now we're talkin'! ;-) The example with roses is very stupid, but its simple enough to get the message across. It is obvious that in relationships we are not dealing with exact values, they cannot be quantified; I would rather call them fuzzy values (as in the field of fuzzy logic in artificial intelligence).
... Or you can wait for a while and then increase action intensity, perhaps it is a problem of time, not a problem of intensity.
If [after that] the feedback is improved, it means that you are past that problematic period on the timeline. If it is not improved, maybe the period is not over yet. You have to be very patient to get past this; the sad thing is that most of us are very impatient. Maybe that makes it easier for them to switch to another potential relationship and perhaps "win" there; but generally, being patient is better than being impatient.
If feedback is not improved even after long time spans, then perhaps the systems were not designed to be together? One can't wait forever... I'm not really sure the picture below is appropriate, as my Dutch requires further refinement; but if I'm right, it provides a very important tip for you, my dear reader. Even if the contents of the message does not perfectly integrate into the given context - it is still a good advice :-) Will a Dutch person give us a hand with translating this?
^ When you put a microphone near the speaker, and make a sound - the speaker plays it, the mic records it and it is played louder, so the mic now gets a more intense input, resulting in a more intense output from the speaker, which turns into even louder input for the mic, and... you know what I mean :-)
We can take things one step further, and attempt to make the descriptions above a bit more precise, using the power of mathematics :-) Take a look at the fat red letters in the beginning of the essay:
- i - the intensity of your action
- Fi - the reaction that corresponds to i (Feedback for i)
- Phi - a coefficient which can either increase or decrease Fi
- Pinkify - is a special function, the role of which will be explained soon, though I believe you can guess what it does, can't you? ;-)
Using this recipe in action (note: the examples are simplistic, take them with a grain of salt):
- Phi = 1 - in this case Fi matches the value of i (ex: 5x1=5). It is a simple scenario, in which the partner "echoes" your action's intensity back. You do better - they do better; you do worse - they do worse. You call - they call. You don't call - they don't call either.
- Phi < 1 - in this case Fi is lower than i (ex: 5x0.5=2.5). It is likely that the relationship is not going anywhere, or your partner is trying to tell you that you are going too fast, as in chart b, c or d. Your ability to tell which of those cases is yours will have a major impact on the future of the social connection.
- Phi > 1 - my my... if you're there, you're damn lucky, because it means that they're into you [more than you are into them]! (ex:5x3=15). Allow me to lay down another "property" of this coefficient: if Phi = 1.618, you've got yourself a perfect relationship. The proof for this is left as an exercise to the savvy reader :-)
What is pinkify? It's a function that makes things look better than they are, let these pictures be the equivalent of 2 kilowords:
Technically speaking, the pinkifier is an expression of our optimism... As Brooks said in The Mythical Man-Month, programmers are optimists. Well, the same applies to all people who are in love. Make sure you have a depinkifying module, which will allow you to see information unaltered, as it has left its source...
Now that you are armed with new knowledge, suddenly life started making sense, hasn't it?! :-)
Comment from: Natasha [Visitor]
Translation fo the Dutch text into English:
“I’ll tell you something revolutionary. Love is everything they claim it to be. That is why people are cynical about it. It’s worth fighting for, and worth being brave for, and risk everything for. Because if you don’t take the risk - you risk even more.”
If your Phi is x and your partner’s Phi is 1/x, then I guess the optimum would be something like 1 + 0.618 * sin(time) so that the lines would cross every once in a while ;)
Really interesting article! You did the graphics in Inkscape?
This can work the other way around, with the curves going doooown. After the initial period of “imbrobodeala,” the relationship may plateau. Here, if one partner demonstrates a sudden decrease in display-of-affection-related activities, the other partner may also respond with decrease in those activities. Ex: He always called her ‘SugaBaby,’ and now he stopped doing that. For the first few weeks she will continue calling him Her ‘Pumpkin’ even though he doesn’t use the affectionate name for her anymore. After a while, she will either confront him about it, or she will also stop calling him with the affectionate name, accepting the not-calling-each-other-silly-names as the new norm in the relationship.
Comment from: ceziceu [Visitor]
oh, i wish i read it earlier. or remembered :)
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