Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

You have not quite pleased me

  1. May 11, 2007 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I have theory. It just came to me, and I'd like some opinions.

    I've been trying to figure out what actually in practice attracts me to certain people. (In theory, I am entirely logical, but alas, theory != practice.) I seem to respond to or pursue people who seem like they are not quite pleased with me but perhaps could be convinced or who are at least not overly impressed with me. I don't think I want to be that way.

    The reason that I think I might behave that way is simply that I like to please people. So when I seem to have failed to please someone, I pursue them in order to correct this. And when someone seems pleased, I am not as interested in them.

    What do you think? Does that make sense? Would that explain some of the stereotypical-woman behavior, e.g., why nice guys finish last and women go after bad boys?

    I am not suggesting anything about the accuracy or application of such stereotypes, by the bye. And I might not really act that way typically. I haven't considered a very large sample yet.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2007 #2
    What brings you more pleasure at the end?
    -Doing a physics problem which seemed difficult at first glance but was easily answered.


    -Doing a physics problem which takes a long amount of time and is incredibly hard to figure out, however after a while you finally get it.

    I think it's the same concept. I'm glad someone else is awake and on their computer! I'm in the middle of writing a research paper. It's due today, and I started at 1am...
  4. May 11, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well - don't be that way. And the theory is probably reasonable.

    Then the question is - why? I don't think we exist to please other people.

    If one is aware of a problem, then ostensibly one can change one's thinking and behavior.

    I have seen such behavior, and have often wondered why people get trapped (or seemingly) in that situation. It seems people settle into certain patterns of behavior, perhaps because there is a certain level of comfort, or less anxiety with the routine.

    It's not restricted to women, because I've seen such behavior in men.

    Edit (adding a thought): I was wondering about the motivation behind "pursuing people who seem like they are not quite pleased with one". Does it have to do with trying to overcome the negative feelings of disappointing another person? Seems a bit of complex psychology.
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  5. May 11, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    I'd say it's a more or less typical pattern of behavior - one frequently uses to crave for certain goals; once they are reached/accomplished, the individual loses interest in them. I'm far from an expert in psychology, but it simply sounds so familiar.

    Btw, an example from your life (if possible) would definitely help.
  6. May 11, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Are you actually attracted to bad boys? To confirm that this is a case of nice guys finishing last, we'd need to know that. The simple fact that someone isn't pleased by you doesn't make him bad. It sounds more like you want a guy that is relatively inaccessible, greatly dimishing the chances that a real relationship will ever come of it, thus limiting the amount of work and committment you'll need to dedicate, because in reality, it's the guys that are pleased by you that are going to make you work. Those are the guys with whom you can build a life, and that's tough stuff. These guys you just try in vain to make happy, going through the motions, in the back of your head realizing on some level it's pointless and will end soon. You're playing out a hackneyed script, familiar and easy, requiring no creativity or imagination, no artistry. Many artists seem to go through such an early period, where they are not ready yet to take chances, to put anything of their own selves into their work, and they just paint by numbers, producing work that could have been produced by a hundred other artists. Many never progress past that stage. The great ones, however, find their own voice and navigate their own way through the world. They blaze paths they are not familiar with. Love is an art, and needs to be practiced in the same way.
  7. May 11, 2007 #6
    You should read in search of lost time. it'll explain everything. Of course, if might be too late by the time you finish...
  8. May 11, 2007 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Interesting questions honestrosewater.... To be honest, I was fairly baffled by your post. I wanted to respond with my thoughts, but couldn't think of how to respond to what you were saying. And then I checked your profile, and realized that my confusion was a Venus/Mars thing! Whew, I feel better now. :blushing:

    Anyway, from my (guy's) perspective, I don't "pursue" others, and I don't really notice others "pursuing" me, for the most part. I'm a fairly independent and self-sufficient person, and I try to be fair and honest and open and helpful to others.

    Looking around me, I see a lot of others who are like-minded and similar in terms of leadership and accomplishment, and they are generally good people to be around and work and play with. I think we ended up near each other because of our similar approaches to life, and our understanding of each other's approaches to life. When I'm standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a firefighter on one side and an ER nurse on the other during one of our CERT drills (in the dark, in a smoky tower, etc.), and then debriefing and maybe socializing later, what drew us together was not pursuing each other's friendship or companionship, it was similar interests of like-minded individuals. o:)
  9. May 11, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It's hard to say what motivates people to want to please others or "measure up" to their standards somehow. Frankly, some people's standards (especially in people of your age group) are not particularly well thought-out or mature and are based more on self-interest and peer pressure than on any desire for a rich two-way relationship with mutual respect and reciprocal treatment. I had acquaintances in college and after (I wouldn't call them friends, so much) that would pursue women that were popular, pretty, well-to-do, etc, whom I often found to be shallow, spoiled, self-absorbed, etc. Those guys had never progressed beyond an adolescent mentality regarding relationships. Interestingly, some young women found these guys fascinating, though they would not have been so pleased to hear what these guys said about them to their friends.

    You're pretty and you're smart and you're introspective. The first quality will break the ice easily with many guys, and the second and third will endear you to the "keepers" if they have the intelligence and depth to appreciate you. My advice is not to seek to please men that seem aloof or disdainful or are cultivating a "bad-boy" image. You're dealing with someone displaying immaturity, a lack of self-respect, and a desire to make his mark by flexing the ol' testosterone.
  10. May 11, 2007 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Most people are attracted to people whom they're not quite sure they can get.

    On one end of the spectrum, people who seem too easy to obtain as partners are often rejected. Throwing yourself at someone's feet rarely has the desired result.

    On the other end of the spectrum, healthy people don't even attempt to court people they know aren't reasonable choices for partners. For example, healthy people don't get fixated on celebrities, teachers, parents' best friends, etc.

    So, it's human nature to go after people who are in the middle -- people who present a challenge, yet are ultimately obtainable. In your particular case, the "challenge" is to please the person in some way. I think it's just human nature, and nothing to worry about.

    - Warren
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  11. May 11, 2007 #10
    That's normal, IMO. I think you like "the challenge".

    "Nobody wants the glory without the war".

    How 'bout that last sentence hmm ?

    I can imagine how you will be remembered at your funeral :

    "honestrosewater, who did not want the glory without the war"

    I don't think so, really you just do not want an easy victory. I say this is a manifestation of pure intelligence because only stupid lazy dorks want to have things easily.

    That just makes you look pathetic and desperate.

    Women that chase bad boys do so because they lack personality, guts, self esteem and intelligence.

  12. May 11, 2007 #11
    That sounds very jaded, to only enjoy challenges. If you find enjoyment in the things-in-themselves, then of course you would rather them come about easily.
    That statement is overly harsh are general, for such a programmed behavior. Consider all the non-"bad boys" who say "I love you" and don't mean it (they think they love her, they think the are themselves squeaky clean) and this comes out in their actions (senseless anger, blame, control, domination).
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  13. May 11, 2007 #12


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks for the advice and insights, everybody. The reason I'm thinking about this is to try to understand and correct it -- and possibly help anyone else. I don't necessarily approve of all of my behavior. My brain does lots of things without running them by me first (thankfully), and I suppose it's at least possible that even I, er, miscalculated somewhere.

    Right now, I am seeking an explanation for my symptoms:
    • drained
    • empty
    • lost
    • not quite wrong or wronged
    • for the longest moments, incredibly, almost unbearably, sad
    I am a Stoic -- I don't get sad -- especially not as result of the actions of other people. I so know better. I am completely confounded, in every sense. I mean, I'm well on my way to being perfectly super, older, and wiser, I'm sure, but there's this massive "what just happened?" void sucking me in. Hah, did I just say "a massive void"? Hm, anyway...

    I agree of course, and no, I'm not attracted to "bad boys". I was just trying to think of where else the same thing might be at work. I am well aware of what I value, I have habituated great control over my actions and reactions, and I think that I can judge well enough my compatibility with others.

    After further consideration, I was a little off. I'm not even necessarily attracted to a person with the properties that I have in mind -- I am in fact decidedly not attracted to some of them at all. It's just that they are the ones who end up getting my time and energy.

    moose gave me an idea for an analogy. Their limitations granted, imagine that you have earned the following grades on some group of similar assignments: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, ..., F-. You can redo one assignment. Which do you choose?

    I am changing as I think about this, but my initial response is B+, no contest. I mean, I'm so close to an A. And then I would make time later to look over the Fs just to see what went so wrong there.

    That's another thing: feedback. I crave feedback, especially the kind that would allow me to improve. I also give time and energy to people who seem to have some negative criticism of me, mostly because it would disagree with my own self-assessments. I approve of this in moderation already.

    loseyourname is also right about having to work harder to keep the A, but my analogy quickly falls apart there. I'm not afraid of someone who challenges me -- that is what I would expect. But it wouldn't be so much testing to see if the other could measure up but more like compelling each other to grow because we want each other to flourish.

    Avoiding disappointing people certainly motivates me at times. I don't like to disappoint people. On first reflection, I wouldn't say that it's a problem for me, but the more I think about it, that might be part of it. I am inclined to say that it's more trying to earn something positive rather than trying to correct something negative, you know? But perhaps the difference exists only between perspectives.

    turbo actually mentioned the exact word I was thinking: aloof. But there's a bit more. And Astronuc is right that there does exist the potential for something very much like a trap. I think it's the improving the B+ to a B++ and, with a little more work, to a B+++, and with a little more work, to a B++++, literally ad nauseam. Or, if you were some kind of performer, it's someone coming to see your show every night and sitting in the front row but never clapping... and then asking you to dinner afterwards, but when you ask what they thought of the show, always giving a reply that leaves you still not knowing whether they liked it or not.

    I think it's when this happens with someone who I do like enough to want to try to "get things right with" that I'm totally %#@^&!. I think that might be what just happened. And then they immediately give an A+ to the very next person they meet. Haha, okay, I'm going to shut up before I say too much. Hah.

    Anyway, I might sound quite neurotic, but... meh. I quite like myself. :)

    The funny thing is that I still want to know what questions I missed. !! I changed all of the answers that I wasn't quite sure about. I'm not sure I should have done that. Sigh. I might never know. The knowledge is not accessible to me. I know. I will accept it.

    Here's to breaking vicious cycles.
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  14. May 11, 2007 #13


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    and that is very important. :approve:
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  15. May 11, 2007 #14


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm of no help on the relationships thing, but I'd like to share one *very* important thing that I figured out during my undergrad years.

    I was highly motivated to do well in my EE coursework, and worked very hard at it, and put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. By about the 3rd year, I found that sometimes when I was alone, I was getting very sad and stressed (and even crying sometimes) about how difficult life had become. This went on for some time, but then a little voice in the back of my head would say quietly during these episodes, "You're enjoying this. You're enjoying feeling this bad."

    To which I would say loudly to myself, "That's ridiculous! How can I be getting pleasure out of feeling bad?" And I'd go on with feeling bad for a spell. But over the next few months, the quiet little voice would talk a little louder each time, and a little longer and more convincing, and pretty soon I was starting to realize that the voice (me, after all) was right. I had gotten to the point where I was actually getting a pleasure out of feeling that bad and sorry for myself -- I'm sure there were endorphins and such even involved.

    So I gradually started telling myself "Don't get pleasure out of feeling bad. Feeling bad is bad -- fix whatever is making you feel bad." And son of a gun it worked! Over the following months, the number and frequency of these feel-bad sessions dropped dramatically, and went away entirely. What a relief!

    So now when I see people who are feeling depressed over something or otherwise down, I look to see if they are actually getting a little pleasure or entertainment out of being down. Often, the signs are there. When it's someone that I care about, I'll share my story of how I was lucky enough to figure out how to pull myself back up out of the depression back in undergrad, and try to help them understand how important it is to not let yourself fall into the trap of feeling good when you're feeling bad.

    And since we're a bit like family here on the PF, I hope maybe this insight is at least of some help to you going forward. Best wishes.
  16. May 11, 2007 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks. :smile:
  17. May 11, 2007 #16


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I long ago studied Buddhism and Taosim, among other streams, and took to heart about 'not craving', but rather doing things in moderation or taking the proverbial 'middle way or path'.

    It is good to get feedback from others, but be sure it is from an objective person. One should not allow onself to be manipulated.

    Also, one should improve oneself on behalf of oneself - not because someone else thinks one should.

    Don't dwell on the negative - but simply correct course - and move forward.

    One need only do one's best. One is not responsible for others' happiness, in the sense that one cannot make someone else happy or content. Rather one is only responsible for one's happiness.

    Certainly one should do right by others - and do right by oneself.

    In the end - just be. :smile:
  18. May 11, 2007 #17

    I totally agree. A lady gave me a copy of "I Ching" back in '71 and it's still one of my favorites reading books (when I haven't misplaced it)
  19. May 11, 2007 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If I can chip in here, I would heartily recommend "Be Here Now" by Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass). Being centered without being self-centered is valuable.
  20. May 11, 2007 #19
    I haven't read Ram Dass yet----I've heard of him (and the book) many times---one of those "I wonder why I haven't read that yet(s)?"

    For understanding people's frustration, anger, jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, etc. though, "I Ching" is about the simplest and best for trying to get the basic understanding of it. I still meditate on the 'ideas of it all' everyday.
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  21. May 11, 2007 #20


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Ah - that brings back flashbacks. :rofl: Merry Pranksters and the Magic Bus.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook