Set Theory and Hand-holding

  • Aug. 16th, 2015 at 8:59 AM
jic: Daniel Jackson (SG1) firing weapon, caption "skill to do comes of doing" (Default)
In math there's a study called "Set Theory". It's the study of how things can be grouped together by meeting a definition. Like, the set of Integers is all the whole numbers. The set of Evens is all numbers you can divide by two and get an integer.

The set of "Things Friends Do" is not as succinctly defined, but it exists. I find it by comparing the actions and behaviours of one friend toward me to the actions and behaviours of that friend toward their other friends, the actions and behaviours of other friends toward me, the actions and behaviours I observe between people I presume to be friends, and even the actions of myself toward different friends. Some people (Brandon) have a slightly different set of "Things Friends Do", but if they're consistent across all their friends, I know how to group those behaviours when directed at me. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm not a real human being since I have to develop an algorithm for something that appears to come so intuitively to other people.

Inviting a group of people to $ACTIVITY is a thing friends do, even if only one accepts the invitation. $ACTIVITY might be movies, or dinner out, or hiking, or swimming. For example, there's a standing invite for everyone in the house to go swimming together, but you and I are the only ones who regularly end up there.

Inviting one person without attraction/gender parity to $ACTIVITY is a thing friends do. (Today, attraction/gender parity means the attraction of either party does not match the gender of the other, e.g, as long as I have boobs, going to dinner with someone not attracted to boobs is still just buddies.)

When attraction/gender parity exists, inviting only one person to $ACTIVITY is for dating or wooing.

Making a meal occasionally is a thing I do for friends. Making meals several times a week is dating or wooing.

We had a conversation that, I thought, pretty solidly defined our relationship as Friends. I spent a lot of effort restructuring my behaviour to fit inside the set of "Things Friends Do". It wasn't easy, it wasn't painless, and it wasn't sudden. Maybe taking so long meant it wasn't as noticeable from the outside as it felt.

The end result is that when you do things that don't fit in the set of "Things Friends Do", my brain throws an error. Not quite a BSOD, but. Confusion. A disproportionate measure of thrashing.

I'm not asking you to respond or address this. I expect that I spend a lot more time than normal people do analyzing the things I do and people do and trying to fit them into boxes and categories, and that you're probably a normal person. It's entirely possible that I'll cry if you say more than, "I got your email".

But I do want you to know that if you invite me - just me - to another movie, or concert, or dinner, or what-have-you, I'm going to consider it a date, and I'm going to hold your hand instead of just wondering does this mean something when it's always in my path on the way to the popcorn.
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