computers

passwords and relationships

is it okay for my boyfriend to demand to know my passwords, and then be upset if i dont give them to him..?
realsocialskills answered:
No, it isn’t. People in a relationship are still two separate people. Some people are ok with sharing passwords with their partners, and some aren’t. It’s not something it’s ok to demand.
Some reasons not to share passwords:
  • A computer is a very, very personal thing for some people. It can effectively be an extension of your mind and body.
  • It’s ok not to want to share that in an unbounded way.
  • Or, in other words: A computer (or a cloud account) can be functionally an extension of your brain, and you don’t actually have to give your partner the ability to read your mind

Also, your correspondence can involve other people’s confidences:

  • Sometimes, friends need to be able to tell you things without that being effectively the same as telling your boyfriend
  • Likewise coworkers
  • Likewise students if you’re teaching
  • Especially if you are in a profession where people often tell you deeply personal things with an expectation of confidentiality

It’s ok not to want to share passwords, and it’s a red flag if someone is demanding it. (Particularly if you’re not at the point of living together, and especially if you’re young. If you are a teenager, no one but you should know the password to your email account and other things that are similarly private.)

Borrowing computers

darziel:

realsocialskills:

Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this can be a problem. Thanks for the blog! :)
realsocialskills answered: 
Here’s how I’d explain it to people who are inclined to expect to have the use of other people’s computers:
Some people experience their computer/iPad/phone/etc as part of their body and find losing control over these things intensely distressing. Asking to borrow a computer can be like asking to borrow part of someone’s body.
Even for people who do not feel that way - Computers and things are expensive. Some people don’t like to share them, because they depend on them heavily and wouldn’t be able to afford to replace them.
Don’t put people in the position of having to tell you they don’t trust you not to break their computer. There’s no polite way to say that.
It can be ok to ask, but it’s important not to assume that the answer will be yes. And if you’re anticipating the need for a computer during the day, plan ahead rather than putting others on the spot.
For instance:
  • If you know you’ll need to look things up during the day, and you also know that Bob always carries an iPad, don’t just assume that you’ll be able to use his. 
  • Either ask in advance, or bring your own
  • If you’re going to need a computer for a presentation or to show a video or something, it’s very important not to assume you’ll be able to use someone else’s.
  • Ask ahead of time, and take no for an answer if someone says no
  • Putting people on the spot pressures them to say yes even if it’s not really ok with them
  • Because it’s likely that everyone will think it’s their fault for ruining your presentation if they don’t agree to share their computer
  • Don’t do this to people.
Some people are happy to occasionally allow friends and coworkers to use their computers. Other people aren’t. It’s ok to be unwilling to share, and the reasons why are no one else’s business. Don’t pressure people into doing things with their computer that they’re not really ok with.

darziel said

It’s also worth mentioning that computers can store a lot of data about a person. Some examples are stored searches, or autocorrect suggestion, or a browser displaying frequently visited websites. These things can be cleared usually and/or turned off, but some people like having these features and if they need to clear those things they will need advance notice.

unquietpirate:

Social skills for autonomous people: hedgeclippers: Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing…

hellolittledeer:

hedgeclippers:

Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing computers

realsocialskills:

Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this…

hellolittledeer said:

I know the fact that I make visual art with my computer has made it come to seem like an extension of my brain.  It’s not difficult to imagine others feeling this way.  Most of the people I know have good computer boundaries, but some people may not even know what is and is not a problem.  A few years back a friend’s partner asked to look something up on my computer and I said “sure,” unaware myself that they wouldn’t even process the firefox icon as being an internet browser.  Fifteen minutes of Internet Explorer browsing later, I was stuck with spyware and general weirdness that resulted in a complete re-install of Windows.  I’ll take partial credit for that mess, as I could have hopped over and opened firefox, but at the same time I wonder *how* they could have done all that while trying to look up an address on google maps and checking e-mail.

unquietpirate said

I liked this thread because it helped me put words to why I don’t like lending people my phone.

A couple of kids on the street the other day asked if they could borrow my phone to make a call, even offered to pay me and “you can hold my wallet while I do it. I’m not gonna run off with it.” (Not that it would do anyone much good to run off with my beat-up, blurry-screened, five year old flipphone.) I told them sorry, I didn’t have any minutes. Which was a lie because obviously I have Unlimited Everything.

I felt like kind of an asshole after they walked off. If they’d asked me for a cigarette, or directions, or money, or even a cup of coffee, I would’ve said yes without hesitation. But I just don’t like anyone else touching my phone unless we’re very, very intimate. 

On the flipside of this, my current computer was a gift from someone I love, a hand-me-down that has all kinds of wear on the keyboard and case from his years of use, and I’m particularly attached to it for that reason. It makes me feel connected to him. :-)

realsocialskills said:

Someone who puts intense pressure on you to let you use their phone, and who says “I’m not going to steal it or anything” probably in fact has every intention of stealing your phone.

dusty-soul:

Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing computers

storyinmypocket:

realsocialskills:

Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this can be a problem. Thanks for the blog! :)

dusty-soul said:

Since I just thought of it, if someone doesn’t take no for an answer and or what ever, instead of saying, “I don’t trust you not to break it” you can say, “If it breaks I don’t have the reasources to fix it and thats a situation I’m doing everything in my power to avoid.” Because then you’re not implying that the person who wants to barrow it is going to break it/ is incomitent with computers. I still don’t think this is the best wording, but I think having this option is important and comes of better than, “No, because I said so/Please leave.” I hope you understand these replies I’m thinking of.

hellolittledeer:

Social skills for autonomous people: hedgeclippers: Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing…

hedgeclippers:

Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing computers

realsocialskills:

Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this…

hellolittledeer said:

I know the fact that I make visual art with my computer has made it come to seem like an extension of my brain.  It’s not difficult to imagine others feeling this way.  Most of the people I know have good computer boundaries, but some people may not even know what is and is not a problem.  A few years back a friend’s partner asked to look something up on my computer and I said “sure,” unaware myself that they wouldn’t even process the firefox icon as being an internet browser.  Fifteen minutes of Internet Explorer browsing later, I was stuck with spyware and general weirdness that resulted in a complete re-install of Windows.  I’ll take partial credit for that mess, as I could have hopped over and opened firefox, but at the same time I wonder *how* they could have done all that while trying to look up an address on google maps and checking e-mail.

hedgeclippers:

Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing computers

realsocialskills:

Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this can be a problem. Thanks for the blog! :)
realsocialskills answered:
Here’s how I’d explain…

Hedgeclippers said:

I think it’s worth noting that some people are willing to look things up for you, or send a link or something, as long as they’re the one in control of the computer/tablet/whatever. So if someone asks to borrow your computer, you could suggest looking it up yourself (if you’re willing to). If you’re the one asking, instead of asking to use their computer, maybe ask them to look something up for you (or send a link, or go to a website. Or whatever it is).

This is also assuming that the computer borrowing is for something simple and that won’t take long. I think it’s probably best to assume that unless you’re very close to someone that you can’t borrow their computer for more than 10 minutes or so.