Monday, April 11, 2011

"Would you date yourself?" is the wrong question.

Yet another advice column proposes the question "Would you date yourself?"* to allow people to take stock of themselves. I see two problems with that question. First, we all know people with unrealistic self-images who would blurt out, "Yes, of course I would" and who nonetheless wonder why they are still single. Second, people are not necessarily their own types; for example, the introvert and the extrovert mentioned in that column could well make each other's lives complete. Therefore, a better question would be "Why should the sort of person whom you want to date want to date you?"

*When heterosexuality is assumed, this is sometimes expressed as "If you were of the opposite sex, would you date yourself?"

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