phobias

Pranks

Pranks can be funny, but a lot of them are bad.

There are basically two kinds of ok pranks:

  • Pranks that you reasonably expect the target to find funny
  • Pranks that make someone who has unreasonable amounts of power look ridiculous

If the first kind of prank goes bad:

  • Don’t tell the person they should learn to take a joke
  • Apologize
  • If there’s something you can fix, fix it
  • Don’t play that kind of prank on that person again

Some pranks that nearly always go bad:

  • Pranks played on individual people you have a lot of power over (eg: a child, an employee, a patient)
  • False promises (eg: convincing someone you’re going to let them borrow your car to go to a concert they really care about, then giving them your toy car and laughing at them when they’re ready to leave)
  • Breaking someone’s stuff
  • Invading someone’s space if they’re being stalked or have a history of being stalked or abused (eg: If someone is being stalked, planting a bunch of flamingos on their lawn is likely to be frightening in an unfunny way. Leaving flamingos inside their house is likely to be terrifying. )
  • Tricking someone into eating something they don’t want to eat (Tricking vegetarians into eating meat is not funny. Neither is tricking Jews or Muslims into eating pork. Neither is tricking someone into eating something they’re allergic to or intolerant of, even if you think they’re lying. Neither is tricking someone into eating bugs or dirt or something else they’d consider disgusting. Just don’t do it.)
  • Exposing someone to something they have a phobia or or find triggering. Eg: if you know your friend is terrified of spiders, don’t leave a fake spider on the kitchen table to scare them.
  • Sexualized pranks (particularly if you’re a man playing them on a woman).

If you’re playing a prank to undermine someone’s unreasonable authority:

  • Don’t hurt innocent bystanders
  • Don’t do things that make you look worse than them
  • Don’t insult them for the wrong reasons (eg: If someone’s abusive and also fat, don’t make a big banner mocking them for being fat. Partly because this hurts fat innocent bystanders)

Managing irrationality

mitsukake:

realsocialskills:

  • Everyone is irrational about something
  • It’s good when you can get over irrationalities and be rational about things
  • Rationality makes it possible to understand things better, and to be more flexible.
  • This does not mean that getting over a particular identified area of irrationality ought to be an overriding priority.
  • For instance, someone who is irrationally afraid of dogs may well be better off avoiding dogs than working intensely to figure out how not to find them frightening. Overcoming a phobia is a lot of work (and can’t always be done), and sometimes it’s more work than it’s worth.
  • It’s ok to say that yes, it’s irrational, and no, fixing it is not a priority.
  • You are allowed to decide what is and is not a priority. Being irrational about something does not mean that other people have the right to jump in and take over and fix you or demand that you fix yourself.
  • Personal autonomy is not contingent on being flawless.

Also more people need to understand the incredible amount of courage it takes to overcome irrational fears, and that when people do make it a priority to overcome certain irrational fears, especially social anxieties or phobias, they are making a huge effort and other people really do need to respect it.

Yes - overcoming irrational fears can be an immense amount of painful work, and it often makes more sense to put that effort elsewhere.

Managing irrationality 

Managing irrationality 

  • Everyone is irrational about something
  • It’s good when you can get over irrationalities and be rational about things
  • Rationality makes it possible to understand things better, and to be more flexible.
  • This does not mean that getting over a particular identified area of irrationality ought to be an overriding priority.
  • For instance, someone who is irrationally afraid of dogs may well be better off avoiding dogs than working intensely to figure out how not to find them frightening. Overcoming a phobia is a lot of work (and can’t always be done), and sometimes it’s more work than it’s worth.
  • It’s ok to say that yes, it’s irrational, and no, fixing it is not a priority.
  • You are allowed to decide what is and is not a priority. Being irrational about something does not mean that other people have the right to jump in and take over and fix you or demand that you fix yourself.
  • Personal autonomy is not contingent on being flawless.