Introducing The Bucket List Project

Introducing The Bucket List Project

I am a big believer in positive psychology, and as Christopher Peterson writes in this Psychology Today article, having a bucket list can aide in making your life more memorable as it both gives you a sense of direction and helps you in keeping track of your most treasured experiences in life. You’ve got to have a game plan for life and that includes setting clear (and not so clear) goals for yourself.

I use keeping a bucket list as a tool to keep myself accountable for the life goals I set for myself the same way that I use a calendar to keep myself accountable for keeping up with my daily schedule and making sure I remember to make appropriate plans when it comes to my career, family,  friends, diet, exercise etc. My calendar is a good tool for remembering to water my plants every other week as well as for remembering events, professionally and personally, but beyond that I need a  way to make sure that I have a sense of direction in my life  – a steady course if you will. My growing bucket list does just that. I also use it to challenge myself as much as possible in my continuous personal development and growth as a human being.

These two aspects of keeping a bucket list, the steady course and challenging yourself, may seem to pull in different directions, but I don’t look at “a steady course”as something rigid, and neither do I view “challenging yourself” as something completely random and idiosyncratic. There is a spiderweb of connections  between the many seemingly incidental things you do in life, for example, swimming with sharks may not seem to have anything in common with holding a speech in front of audience of a thousand people, but they both deal with facing fears, which is a skill that can be developed and honed through many different ways and means. You can take a lesson learned in one area and apply it to another. So while my bucket list mainly serves a rather mundane purpose (to enjoy the hell out of life!) it also reinforces and supports my larger goals in life.

Keeping a bucket list can be a very internal exercise: it is by its very nature a dialogue you have with yourself about what you have accomplished and what you set forth to do with your remaining time on earth. But you can also externalize the journey by publishing and curating  your bucket list on your website as I am doing here. As of writing this the slate is rather blank; it is still just very much an internal dialogue. But, with time, I expect by bucket list to be a breeding place for dialogues with other bloggers and whoever else who stumble upon my little corner of the web here on The Measured Life.

For example, I put the fact that I have visited North Korea out there because I bet my experiences might be of interest to someone out there. They might even have a point of view to add that that I did not consider myself. When it comes to my experiences in North Korea I have drawn very few conclusions so far. On one hand the whole experience felt very orchestrated; on the other hand some of the people we met there seemed to genuinely live a happy life under the circumstances, especially compared to that of some of those I encountered when I visited South Korea, where the suicide rate is very high. Note that I am not in any way supporting the current government of north Korea, I am just proposing that things are not always as black and white as we want them to be. But maybe you have been there and have a different experience from mine? So in the end, this very public way of keeping a bucket list turns the process into a mutually beneficial dialogue about developing and challenging yourself between me and you.

My bucket list is still in its infancy, that is I have only just put it together. There are many things I have experienced in life that are still not on the list and there are also many goals that I am not sure are warranted to be on it. In time it will be more fleshed out.

For the latest updated version of the list go here.

Product Review of Saal Digital Denmark

Product Review of Saal Digital Denmark

Hey everyone, the following is a review of the danish department of the printing service Saal Digital, so pardon my French, ahem Danish! If you want to you can google translate the content as Saal offers the same services on all the markets they are  present on. Oh, and now that I am at it, you can expect me to be way more active both here on the blog and on social media (Facebook, Instagram) than I have been as of late. Since we last talked I have been to North Korea (!!!), Sri Lanka, China, The Balkans, and I just returned from climbing mount Toubkal in Morrocoo, all of which I will write about in the near future. 

Saal Digital er en relativt ny spiller på det danske marked for print af fotos, men det er alligevel muligt, at få printet alt hvad hjertet begærer af fotobøger, krus, mobilcovers, drikkedunke, puslespil og meget mere hos dem, hvilket jeg synes giver nogle spændende muligheder for, at benytte sine fotografier på nye, kreative måder til gaver og til kontoret.

Indtil videre har jeg dog kun fået printet et vægbillede, hvilket jeg har været meget tilfreds med. Billedet jeg har fået printet, er et foto jeg har taget på bryggeriet Guinness’ Visitor Center i Dublin, Irland.

Processen man skal igennem for, at få printet sine billeder kunne ikke være nemmere. Man henter Saal Digital’s software på deres hjemmeside www.saal-digital.dk og giver sig så i kast med at designe og tilpasse sit produkt efter sine ønsker.

Jeg ville som sagt gerne have printet et vægbillede og trykkede mig derfor ind på menuen for disse. Jeg fik her mulighed for, at vælge imellem en række materialer og muligheder for ophæng, som jeg ikke på forhånd havde forestillet mig, at skulle vælge imellem, da jeg ikke tidligere har fået printet mine billeder. Dette var i sig selv spændende, og jeg endte med at få printet mit billede fra Guinness i akrylglas fordi jeg var nysgerrig på hvordan det ville se ud i levende live rent visuelt.

Når man har valgt materiale skal man vælge størrelse, om printet skal være stående eller liggende samt mulighed for ophæng. Hele processen er meget intuitiv og let at følge og man kan til hver en tid undervejs klikke tilbage, hvis man har fortrudt et tidligere valg. Det gjorde jeg flere gange.

Dernæst har man mulighed for, at justere bl.a. afstanden til kanten og rammens tykkelse mm., men jeg valgte bare standardindstillingerne, der fungerede fint for mit behov.

Når man er færdig med, at nørde med sit billede i designprogrammet, lægger man det bare i kurven hvorefter man bliver ledt videre til en betalingsside. Når betalingen er bekræftet modtager man en email med info om sin bestilling.

Bestillingen leveres med DHL og det er muligt at spore hvor langt ens pakke er nået mens man går og venter på at den når frem. I tilfældet med mit billede fra Guinness bryggeriet gik dette hurtigere end jeg havde forventet, det tog kun et par dage, og det var super nemt og praktisk for mig, at få det udleveret ved min lokale 7 Elleven i stedet for at skulle på posthuset inden for deres åbningstid. Dette tæller jeg helt klart som en stor fordel.

Kvaliteten af det færdige vægbillede er super god uden nogle ridser eller skrammer fra produktionen eller transporten, som jeg ellers har oplevet tidligere, så jeg er meget tilfreds med både forløbet omkring bestillingen og med det færdige resultat af mit vægbillede, som har fået en hædersplacering over sofaen i min stue.

Jeg kan derfor stærkt anbefale fotografer, amatører såvel som professionelle, at benytte sig af Saal Digital når de skal have printet billeder og jeg har selv allerede min næste ordre hos dem i tankerne. Jeg er særligt imponeret over de alsidige muligheder for, at få printet mine billeder på krus, musemåtter og kalendere, og alle tre muligheder er nogle jeg vil benytte mig af i fremtiden.

Decoding the Tinder Algorithm

Decoding the Tinder Algorithm

For all intents and purposes, I find Tinder fascinating. It has fundamentally changed the workings of the sexual marketplace and if you are single, you simply have to take notice of it, even if you have vowed never to create a Tinder profile.

To me the most fascinating thing about Tinder is its algorithm, which of course is not publically known. But we can speculate; and Tinder’s staff has made certain info available for us through interviews.

Last year Tinder’s CEO Sean Rad admitted to Fast Company’s Austin car in this interview that Tinder has a scoring system where you are rated against other users. Interestingly the score does not measure “attractiveness” as such, but rather “desirability”. Which makes totally sense since attractiveness is something that is very hard to define (although science can tell us a lot about what people in general find attractive, but more about this another time).

You see, on Tinder desirability is not only measured by how many people swipe right on you; it is also measured by your own behavior!

To some degree, however, Tinder still works like “hot or not”. If a lot of people swipe right on you, your rating will be higher while less people swiping right on you will affect your rating negatively. This works the same way as the conventional dating market. Its supply and demand at its best.

Say you swipe right to nearly everyone, though. I used to do that and studies have shown that there is a tendency for men to do just this. This also works like in real life. If you are openly less selective, that will tend to lower your own value.

Generally, Tinder would want to match people of high desirability with other people of high desirability and people with lower desirability with other people of lower desirability. Everyone wants someone who are highly desirable but it goes without saying that someone who are highly desirable would not want someone who is not. Remember that desirability is measured on a number of factors, not only physical attractiveness!

Besides being more selective about who you swipe right to there are a number of other things you can do to improve your desirability score.

Obviously, you should work on your profile photos and your text. I don’t want to get into what constitutes a good profile photo and a good profile text here because that depends on your end goal, but I’ll say one thing: it is absolutely vital that you try to be as honest and authentic as possible!

Putting forth an image of yourself that is not completely true will get you more matches, but when you chat or go out with these people, they will see right through your tactics. Better be authentic. In general, I think we tend to put too much effort into working on our self-presentation than into actually working on ourselves these days.

So your checklist of things to do should include more selective swiping, better photos, and a better profile text.

Now, you should also be aware that how many of your matches you write too will also affect your overall score or rating. How much are you worth to someone who matched you in excitement only for you to never contact them?

I don’t think this is a huge factor because in the end we can only have so many conversations going at one time, but I think it matters a lot for men especially. Basically, Tinder would want to reward men who display traits that are attractive to women because it’ll give the woman a better experience (and vice versa).

An article that I’ll not reference advised the reader to just write everyone they match if only because of the algorithm. I think this is faulty logic and I am sure that Tinder has considered the quality of a person’s chats when tweaking the algorithm.

So if you were to take only one (okay two) things from this post its to be selective about who you match and be proactive about writing those people you do match (but only write as many as you can actually handle having a solid chat with).

Life Come Full Circle?

Life Come Full Circle?

Beginnings

That’s me, there on the left. Back in 2009 I was interning with a danish NGO in the Peruvian Andean mountains.  This photo was taken on Taquile Island in lake Titicaca with the kids of our host family as well as with Tara Miller of Paonia Pottery.

At the time this blog was in its heyday, but I never really got to tell the wonderful story of the Taquileans, or that of Tara and her husband Sam who I met on the island. While my frail memory does not serve justice to the many wonderful things that happened during my year in Peru, I luckily still have many of the notes and photos I took.

Back then I was a practicing ethnographer, that is I was studying to become one and my time in Peru was part of my planning to do my master thesis, which eventually became a defense of tourism’s impact on the island community of Taquile. There are many sides to this story, and of course, like most stories, this is not a black and white one. Its something I will get back to over and again on this blog.

I finally graduated from Aarhus University in the summer of 2011, knowing much about how to study the world, but very little on how to be an active participant in it. I  was frightened about having to enter the job market, to say the least. My plan was always to get a PhD and probably end up as a professor somewhere, but I now know that I wanted to pursue this road only because it would be the easiest one to take for me, seeing that it would allow me to stay in my bubble.

Around the time of my graduation, however a lot of things happened in my life, that would eventually lead me down another road. All though, as I will get to later, a road that I think is about to come full circle, at least in part.

So lets turn the time back to the summer of 2011. I had just graduated, but the financial crisis of 2008 was still making it hard for recent graduates, especially those in the humanities, to find proper employment. Because of that and because of other things, among them my then girlfriend breaking up with me (doesn’t love always get the fault for these things though?) I decided to move back to my home town of Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.

Back in Copenhagen, I had been lucky to find an apartment I could sublet for two years, but I needed someone to share the expenses with. This was still in the fairly early days of Facebook (well, I think I first got on in 2007), but I did eventually put a post up about needing a roommate there. And doing just  that turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done, and it has since been a testament to me how much positive power social media can have on your life!

Among others, I got a reply from Kristina, a girl who I incidentally (hmmm…I think not!) had interned with in Peru.

On the plow

So in December of 2011 we moved in together in this tiny 50 square meter (well, tiny for a guy and a girl who aren’t in a  relationship) apartment in the Østerbro neighbourhood of Copenhagen. In many ways Kristina has since then been my guardian angel and I hope that I’ll some day be able to repay her for everything that she has done for me.

I can thank Kristina forthe fact that I work in project management today (she got me the interview). I can also thank her for understanding women better (I used to have no clue whatsoever!) although alll you fine women out  there are still quite an enigma to me! That’s what makes it interesting in suppose.

I couldn’t begin to count the hours she must have been listening to me yapping on about my failed attempts at love without asking of much in return. And I don’t know how much I ever really gave her in return, to be honest.

A huge part of my problems in life has indeed started with how self-centered of a person I have been. I guess even my ethnographic endeavours have been, for a large part, due to this self-centeredness. Even as I write this, it gets to me that what do you really care. There is no context for you to put this information in.

This is somehow where we really get back to square one of this story. I had a pretty difficult start in the job market, and so was very thankful to even have a job, and this month I can celebrate three years anniversary at a great job with great colleagues, one of them being aforementioned Kristina.

But over those years out of university I also slowly settled into an inertia of sorts. Like I think many of us do. A full time job takes a lot of your mental energy and the more responsibility you have at your job the harder it can become to pursue hobbies like writing this blog in your free time, when all you have energy to do after an 8 hour workday is to be a couch potato and watch reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series.

That’s what I told myself anyway!

In fact, I no longer believe in this whole thing about work-life balance. Your work doesn’t end when you clock out and your life does’t magically begin at that same time.

I now aim for my work to inspire what I do in my free time and what I do in my free time to inspire what I do for work. Ultimately, I think you have a great thing going when you both look forward to getting back to work when you are off, and look forward to getting home to your family or whatever it is at the end of the work day. The feeling has to go both ways. What I think most people do is solely looking forward to getting off of work while not thinking about how they can make their work meaningful.

I will not deceive anyone into believing that the job I have is my dream job. Its not. I am lucky to have a boss, though who understands this. He even said at one point that he totally understood if I was to pursue something else.

At the time I didn’t get the true significance of that, but now I see that I am one hell of a lucky guy to have a boss who sees things in  such a way. When a colleague of mine parted ways with our department it was very amicable, and I am happy to know that when the day comes when I too will do so, it will be in the same manner.

Coming full circle

My boss’ attitude is the kind I think you should be looking for in an employer. Its also the attitude I think you should be implementing in your job as the CEO of your own life. That is, you should pursue more of what thrills you in life, and spend less time on things that don’t.

I truly understood this when I recently began taking up photography as a serious hobby. I love the process of selecting the right equipment, composing a good photo, and post-processing for a stunning, authentic final result.

I love the fact that the images I have taken so far has brought genuine smiles on many peoples faces. It has facilitated conversations, both online and offline, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Generally, it is making me a happier, more confident person day by day.

What I don’t like, for example, is the way people behave on apps like Instagram, in general how social media today encourage you to ‘market’ yourself as I describe in length in my previous post. I think this way of socializing does not bring many good things with it, and its something I will talk more about on this blog in the future. Do tings because you simply HAVE to, not because it is something  society tells you to do.

Living authentically, and to be truly happy, in today’s world is becoming increasingly difficult even though it should be the opposite, and its therefore something that needs to be debated more from an ethnographic viewpoint than I see it being done. The above was the original intention with this blog and it is where I see it going forward from here on.

It is a funny thing how you on one hand think that you have come a long way over the years, yet when you sit down and think about it, you seem to be right back where you started.

Yours truly,

Jacob

 

Dirty tricks will not make you Instagram famous

Dirty tricks will not make you Instagram famous

Let’s start by setting things straight here. Yes, I want to grow my following on Instagram as a way of furthering my career as a storyteller. And since you are reading this article chances are you have a similar purpose with being on Instagram.

Maybe it’s just to validate your ego, and that’s totally fine too. We all need validation. Let me know in the comments, by the way, if I am completely wrong here. As far as I am concerned, though, you and I both need to quit the bullshit if we want to get some real value out of being on Instagram.

I just recently joined Instagram and quickly saw a pattern in most people’s behavior there. People would follow me only to unfollow me shortly after. I also received a lot of comments on the photos I posted. Some people would like five or more of my photos, but for some reason none of those people wanted to follow me, even if they apparently liked my work so much. I was perplexed to say the least.

So I went to google to check out what this thing about follow/unfollow and mass liking photos was all about and got a whole lot smarter on the inner workings of Instagram. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, right?

Consider this for a second though. The net result of how people are using Instagram is millions of people spending valuable time they could spend doing or creating something worthwhile on this never-ending game of following and unfollowing each other. How silly is that?

My question for the interwebs is this: how many people do you think stop to consider whether the followers they get really matter in any significant way?

I want followers. But I want followers who gives a real damn about my art, and I couldn’t care less about everyone else. I also don’t want people to like my photos for just any reason whatsoever. I want people to only like my pictures if they genuinely think that what I am producing is worthwhile spending time looking at. My sole hope with displaying my art publicly is that it can brighten someone’s day or that it moves someone in one way or another. I view art as a way of making what is otherwise for many a grim world just a little brighter.

You’d think that Instagram, or I guess Facebook really, would care about all of this? It can’t possibly be good for business if your whole business model is based off of people who really don’t care about other users and only about themselves?

I don’t think they care at all. What Facebook and Instagram cares about is how much time people spend on their platform. Because the more time you spend on Instagram the more advertisement they can sell. As users we are the product.

Of course this is not the whole truth. I know there are many genuine people on Instagram, but I can’t help but feel that they are hard to find sometimes.

I didn’t want to write this article to bash all the following/unfollowing going on. I just wanted to address why I think it is a bad strategy and for the most part a waste of time to do so. Don't get me wrong. I think follow/unfollow will get you thousands of followers! It works! But wherein lies the real value of THOSE followers?

I think there are really only two ways to be successful while at the same time being happy and proud of what you have accomplished. And that is a) working hard on a core set of skills, and b) networking. “Network, network, network!” as Steve Balmer (formerly of Microsoft) used to say.

Working on building a core skillset

My goal is to be a good writer and photographer, maybe even earn some money from either or both eventually. I strongly believe that the best way to get there is to get out there the trenches and get mud on your hands. I.e. get busy with taking photos and learning about Photoshop and Lightroom.

Don’t get me wrong, I am upping the time I spend on social media management, but I believe that I should be spending at least 5 times the time I spend on Instagram etc. on working on my core skills. The bonus is the more I work on my skills the more great content i'll have to share on Instagram and elsewhere.

I think that if what you produce is of a consistently high value, and by that I mean much higher than most, followers will come without having to hesitate to these follow unfollow methods.

Network, network, network

I don’t think you’ll be successful from skill alone though. You have to get out there and sell yourself. I learned that the hard way through maybe 50 + tinder dates. In the beginning I was horrible at the whole first date thing; now I don’t have a problem with it at all and have had much more success because of my experience with promoting myself, so to speak.

But wait a minute, didn’t I just tell you not to promote yourself? No, I told you not to follow and unfollow people mindlessly. Yeah, they are also real people just like you and me.  Not just numbers to make your ratio right.

I think that if you want people to care about you, you have to show them that you care about them first. So while I will continue to build relationships on Instagram, I am dead certain I will have more success with actually going out in the real world and connecting with people face to face.

Next week I am going to go shoot a badminton tournament for free. This allows me to a) work on my skills, and b) connect with people. Maybe I’ll be lucky to take some great photos of a player, who will then recommend me to his or her friends and family. Maybe I won’t. It’s a chance to take, but I am sure that it’s a lot better strategy than to follow someone and the unfollow them again once they begin following me.

When you go out there and take an actual photo of someone you connect with them for life. When you follow someone and then unfollow them again you are showing them that you don’t care about them, only about how many followers you have.

Conclusion

So to conclude, I think that time spent on tactics to get more followers is wasted time you could have spent building your business by creating actual content that’ll give people a genuine reason not only to follow you, but to like and enjoy the stuff you post.

What do you think? Am I completely out in the woods here? Is there a grain of truth to what I am saying? Please let me know what you think in the comments section.

Caol Ila on a Lazy Sunday

Caol Ila on a Lazy Sunday

Just opened a new bottle of scotch and am sitting here enjoying the lovely aftertaste of smoked oak. A Caol Ila Moch to be precise that I bought earlier today at my local supermarket. What a treat!

Next time I am to introduce someone to peated whisky I’ll offer them a Moch. It has a sweet, well-rounded, slightly lemony and fairly lightly peated character. The aftertaste lingers on in your mouth for about 10-15 minutes. Of course, waiting that long before taking another sip is unlikely going to happen here at my household.

On the inter-webs it said that Caol Ila has historically mostly been used in the Johnny Walker blended whiskies which makes me somewhat skeptical about the brand, but it seems that Caol Ila is now growing in its own right as a single malt.

By the way, how do people manage to pronounce Scottish whisky properly? I always get whiskies like Lagavulin completely wrong and I am sure its no difference with Caol Ila which is supposed to be pronounced “cull Ee-la”. Ehm, Carol what?

“Please say that again” I’ll ask the barman and they’ll raise a brow at me as I try to get it right for the 15th time. I’ve got this test that when I am able to pronounce Lagavulin right I know it’s about time I go home.

Of course its not easier when it comes to wine. I’ll call Côtes du Rhône “court ruin” and I won’t even attempt at pronouncing the Mourvedre  grape let alone the Nebbiolo or the Gewürztraminer.

In other news, I went with my roommate Karen for a huge bowl  of mussels, fries and white wine Friday evening. Yesterday I went for a couple of Indian Pale Ales with another good friend of mine followed by a big juicy burger. Today my roommate and I am cooking up some pork with veggies and having a chill evening at home.

Anyway, there really isn’t a point of me telling you these trivial things other than to add an assurance to all of you that I am in fact still alive and well. Considering that my last two posts were a now two year old tribute to a man who had just died at the time (how depressing) and a incoherent babble about not being able to write anything worth reading anymore (even MORE depressing) you’d imagine as far that I might not be coming back here ever again.

(I wouldn’t have bet on me being back either).

RIP, Seth Roberts

RIP, Seth Roberts

I am very saddened to learn of Seth Roberts untimely death on April 26th 2014. Unlike many of the people listed below, I did not know Seth personally, that is, I never met him in real life.

Online, however, Seth actually took the time to contact me a couple of months ago when I had cited him in a post recommending honey before bedtime on this blog. He was very interested in knowing more about my experiments, and I found it a great honor that someone as accomplished as him would take the time to contact random strangers with few proven credentials for advice.

Back then, and to this day, this says a lot to me about what kind of person Seth must have been to the people who really knew him.  It is not every day that you meet someone who treats everyone, from every walk of life, equally. I don’t, if I must be completely honest, and I don’t think I have ever met anyone who truly does yet.

But Seth absolutely seemed to me like someone interested in getting to know everyone on equal terms. At least the few email correspondences I had with him leads me to think so.  He was also someone with unconventional ideas about how to hack life. I have experimented with many of his ideas myself, and will continue to live my life in the same vein that I imagine Seth did.

I don’t have a category on my site that matches news like these, so I am putting the post under spirituality. I do this because Seth was, although unknowingly,  a spiritual teacher  of sorts of mine – understood in the sense that to me being spiritual means being able to look outside the box of conventionality. Seth obviously did, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to do so too.

If you do not know who Seth was, take a look at his blog. Although he won’t be able to contribute to our collective knowledge further, his blog as well as his book are still very valuable resources for those interested in self-experimentation and in lifehacking.  I will leave you with links to posts by people who actually knew Seth well. (Borrowed from Tucker Max).

Tucker Max

John Durant

Richard Nikoley

Ryan Holiday

Ben Casnocha

Nassim Taleb

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Finding Yourself is a Dialogue

Finding Yourself is a Dialogue

Join me on G+

I am at wit’s end about the future of this blog. On one hand, its been far more of a success so far than I could ever imagine; on the other, the lack of effort I put into it is growing more and more unacceptable by the day.

There has never been a coherent pattern to my posts. A a friend recently pointed out, I am “all over the place”.

In the back of my head I am always thinking, that because people sign up for the blog after reading one specific kind of post, they expect my overall output to resemble that type of post. That would be the “sensible” way of looking at it.

This thought pattern scares me. It keeps me from publishing my innermost thoughts because I gather that doing so will turn someone off. Of course, everything you do will always turn someone off. It is silly to try to please everyone, because you can’t.

Anyway, I realized that I am having all of these troubles because I am still in the process of finding out who I really am as a person – what my core values are, and what I believe in.

You don’t find that out through only having a monologue with yourself. You need to engage other people in dialogue in order to really understand your place in the world.

This blog here, this is “only” a monologue, more or less. Indeed, people do comment, and that adds a whole deal to my self-reflections, as a human being, and as a writer. But it is still not as much of a two-way street as I would like it to be.

I have therefore taken to making an effort to be more active in the Google plus community, with the goal of getting to know a lot more like-minded people than I do now.

My efforts over there are not about gaining exposure of myself, they are about getting to know other people more intimately. I want to know their story. I want to share mine with them. I want to see how this world wide web connects people firsthand by being an active participant on social media myself.

So if you ever feel like getting to know me as much as I want to get to know you, then add me on Google Plus.  I’ll add you back and get the conversation started. Looking forward to that.

See you there!

Jakob

Was this post meaningful to you? If so, I always appreciate comments, likes and shares. Thanks!

Should You Stay Friends with Your Ex?

Should You Stay Friends with Your Ex?

First of all, I am not an expert, but I do have a very strong opinion on the subject. That is because I often meet or hear of people who are hurting because they are dealing with their ex in a manner that is bad for themselves. My main goal in life is to minimize pain in people around me as much as possible, so therefore I feel very strongly about writing this post.

Now, my short answer to the question is a resounding NO. It is most likely not at all a good idea. My long answer is, well, long. This post is mostly based on my personal experience as well as on a little bit of psychological insight. I hope you will agree with some of my viewpoints.

Whether you can be friends with your ex depends on many factors, most importantly on whether you are:

  • the one who did the dumping, or
  • the one who got dumped

Next to this, it depends on whether you have hopes of ever getting back together with your ex or not.

Of course, most people who get dumped will have hopes of getting back together, while most people who do the dumping are finished for good with that other person. It may not always be this black and white, I know that.

Regardless of what position you find yourself in post breakup, I believe you will benefit very little from hanging out too much with your ex. And if you got dumped and want them back, then I would say that the no contact rule applies.

The no contact rules has been discussed many, many places all over the net, countless of times before. So you probably already know all about it. The idea is to promise yourself to break contact with your ex for a certain period of time. It could be 30 days; it could be forever, depending on the severity of your broken heart.

During no contact you are not allowed to:

  • Call your ex
  • Text your ex
  • Hang out with them
  • Email them
  • Leave your ex notes
  • Bump into them on purpose

During no contact you are encouraged to:

  • Better youself
  • Date other people
  • Keep busy
  • Just have fun!
  • Etc.

A lot of people, including people who try to make money off of the no contact rule, will themselves into believing that the purpose of the no contact rule is to use it as a psychological trick to get your ex back. (People want what they can’t have).

In my opinion, the purpose of the no contact rule is to free yourself from the psychological burden of pining after someone who clearly isn’t into you any longer. Do no expect to be able to change anyone’s decisions, in love, or in any other aspect of life.

My main reason for being so much against being friends with your ex is quite personal. I have lived out different of such scenarios. I have tried having casual sex with an ex. And I have tried having not much contact with an ex besides having her as a Facebook friend. None of these situations ended happily for me.

The casual sex only happened once in a blue moon, but it would completely warp my “friendship” with that particular girl. Every single time I would see her the sex thing would be on my mind, and its both not fair to another person to have a secret agenda with them as well as counterproductive for yourself to have your “dating efforts” go towards someone who does not want the same thing as you do.

Here is a general rule that applies to all sexual relations:

Always make sure that the people you date are in it for the same reasons as you are, no matter what those reasons may be! If you don’t, you WILL be hurt.

Even today, a couple of years after the last time we had a sexual encounter, I am not sure if I feel like seeing her ever again. It is not a healthy relation for me to carry on with, and success in life comes from letting go as much as from letting in.

Then there is the other girl I mentioned. She was the love of my life, and although it is embarrassing to admit, I never gave up on her. With time I grew to know that we would never, ever be back together, not in a million years, but it did not prevent my messed up brain from holding on to that tiny, little hope of reconciliation.

So after finally manning up, I deleted her number and I deleted her off of Facebook with the intention of never speaking with her again.

Life is too short for exes. There are literally so many other beautiful people out there for you to meet and connect with. And exes, they have a way of being in the way of you going out there and meeting those other people. You might not think so. But they will be. They might even be in the way of your current relationship flourishing, like it is supposed to.

The reason why I think you can never really be friends with your ex is one not often discussed in these kind of dating articles, and therefore one I would like to share here. It has to do with brain plasticity, or the fact that neural pathways are created every time we experience something new.

Some of these pathways grow strong over time, like the pathways responsible for us having addictions to stuff, and others, of course, do not linger. That is why we say that the brain is plastic: It changes and adapts to changes in our behavior and environment.

In simple terms, if we want to truly get over an ex we have to not activate all of the pathways that has to do with that person.

Let me come up with an example. If I think about Louise, my for this purpose fictional ex, in any context, my romantic memories of her will most likely linger on. Because, all of the pathways concerned with Louise are intertwined. The neurons fire off each other. In order to really get over her, I would have to not think of her and not have contact with her – at all. This is why cold turkeys can sometimes be the best way of overcoming addiction.

Of course the brain isn’t as simple as that, and the scientific field of neuroplasticity research is still in its infancy. But a very short summary of current scientific advancements would be that we now know that who we are, our identity, is not set in stone. We can make a a difference by setting rules and boundaries for ourselves.

The above is the reasons why I don’t think you should be friends with your ex. Not if you still have feelings for them, at least. Those feelings can and likely will linger on for years and years if you don’t remove them completely from your life. Do it. Life is too short for heartaches.

Now, if you truly are over your ex, then yes, by all means be friends with them. But I would never trust myself in deciding whether or not I still have feelings for them – my brain is constantly playing games on me, and so, I will never be trustworthy when it comes to things like this.

None of us will, because we are all wired more or less the same way. The best we can do is to ask a good friend, or someone else who are better suited to analyze our emotions objectively, if they think we are truly over our ex or not. Until then, don’t stay friends with your ex. Just don’t.

Was this post meaningful to you? If so, I always appreciate comments, likes and shares. Thanks!