The way people lament 2016 on Facebook, on Twitter, is not just despairing that it’s been a bad year.
It spreads, as these online language tics do.“People’s first inclination when things go poorly is to make sense of the situation, and we try to treat things in terms of a framework that we understand—that of what a human being does.” says Adam Waytz, a psychologist at Northwestern University.
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The texts themselves would invariably be punctuated by baffling kissy-face and see-no-evil monkey emoji — the universal language offlirtation.
It wasn’t until I started seeing someone I was on the fence about that I understood what was going on.
After two dates, I couldn’t quite decide what I was feeling for this person — whether we would never see each other again or become friends or maybe date down the line — but I didn’t want to end the conversation either.
So I would ping him occasionally, just enough to pique his interest and dangle the carrot of a possible relationship without ever actually following through with plans.
It’d be one thing if we were occasionally hanging out (or even becoming fuck buddies), but that never happened.
I’d invite him over, but his phone always “died omg so sorry.” Every time I was ready to dismiss him, though, he’d find some way to make his presence known.
He’d double-tap weeks-old Instagram posts or ask me to have lunch in Greenpoint in half an hour (which is the grossest nonstarter of an invitation if I’ve ever heard one).
But when there are a lot of people who are responsible for a situation, and when there are a lot of situations worthy of despair, well, maybe it helps to consolidate a little.
He’d suggest dates, but plans would magically fall through.
“We’re constantly in the skin of a human being, we're in the mind of a human being, and so when things go awry, we try to see some sort of human agency in the world, that caused things to turn out the way it did.”Where there is no sign of human agency, superhuman agency will do. (Who, incidentally, is more likely to be blamed for suffering than praised for success.) To make sense of a moral injustice, the mind needs to see two parties—the victim and the perpetrator.