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What's Your Mind Like?

 
pollinator
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I know we're all looking for people who are "like-minded," but whenever I read this phrase I'm left wondering what it means. Not because the vocabulary is challenging, but because I have no idea what "kind of mind" that person has. Being a very introspective person, I spent a lot of time thinking about thought, and a lot of the time, have minds on my mind.
Nevertheless (or perhaps because of this) I'm left drawing a blank when I read the phrase "like minded people." I wish people would explain exactly what attitudes, beliefs, activities or behaviors they're referring to, rather than just hoping someone will magically "vibe with them" after reading this key phrase.
What do people mean by this phrase, and why do they use it? Is its vagueness deliberate, calculated, incidental? How do I know if someone's mind is "like" mine, and does that mean we'll be friends? I'm curious what other people think about this.

As a group the regulars of this forum are all attempting to live more sustainably, learn and develop better ways of living. But having just that in common obviously isn't enough to make a couple. I tend to try to find a carbon copy of myself (which is utterly impossible) but observe that most of the healthier couples I know feature two individuals who are actually quite different from one another. What actually matters when it comes to getting along with another person, or liking them? In what ways do we need (or not) to be "like minded"?

To be fair, I'm angsting over my seeming inability to find anyone who is even remotely "like" me in the mind category, so I wonder if I misunderstand what is meant by this omnipresent dating-profile tagline.
 
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I'm afraid your question might be paradoxical. Maybe two people would have to be like-minded to truly understand if they have the same definition of like-mindedness?
 
pollinator
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Great post. To me, there are several annoyingly vague phrases like this that clutter many dating profiles.

Perhaps like-minded is a reasonable thing to ask for.. if you have provided a extensive profile. Much of the time, I see it affixed to very sparse profiles, in which case it just seems lazy.

In these cases my reaction is generally, well, no sign of a likeable mind here!



That said, I take like-minded to mean 'of the same mind', IE, of the same opinion/belief. Totally different than 'having similar minds(brains, thoughts, emotions)'.


I think the former is pretty important on big picture ethical stuff & lifestyle choices, and hopefully not a big deal on most smaller scale things given good communication and the ability to compromise... Hopefully.



Having similar brains/minds doesn't seem critical or necessarily even desirable; similarity is no assurance of compatibility! For myself, I hope I will end up in relationships where they have strengths to offset my weaknesses, and I have strengths to offset theirs...



It doesn't seem critical to me, for example, that all parties in a relationship have the same default love languages. It does seem critical that all parties be able to 'speak' well enough in the ways their partner/s needs.

Necessary degree of similarity will vary so much, depending on the people.. the sort of relationship that sees a couple pretty well joined at the hip, seems to need an awful lot of similarity. If the relationship allows for more independence, mutual enjoyment or at least tolerance of literally all the things is vastly less critical...





Other goofy phrases that bug me:

Open-minded. Seems great at first glance... but gosh are there a lot of 'attitudes, beliefs, activities or behaviors' it could be talking about. Anything that one might be leery of putting out in the open in a profile could be lurking behind this one. Maybe A means they really like rope and pain in the bedroom, and B means they make all their important decisions based on astrology, and C means... It would be nice if it was possible for profiles to be more specific, but... I guess people are not quite open-minded enough for that!





Drama-free. Sounds great, right? But in practice there seems to be a couple of meanings...

Is this 'I am a functional adult who believes in good communication, I address issues without letting them fester, and I don't keep dramatic people in my life'?

Or is actually code for 'talking about some subjects is stressful, so instead I refuse to discuss anything difficult...'



The only defense I see for all this vagueness is to put in the time making as complete a profile as practical, which has the added bonus of warding off the people who won't read an essay...



(PS: having just spent 8 days with one eye shut due to an injury, I got a kick out of your sig... )
 
Sarah Koster
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Yeah! I definitely take "open minded" to mean "married person looking to fool around" or "I'm into something borderline criminal for kicks."
I take "drama-free" as "don't whine to me about your problems, I don't want to be bothered" or "every relationship I'm in is dramatic, but it's the other person's fault."
I like the idea of laziness being the source of vague statements, rather than a deliberate attempt to hide pertinent information, although I'm sure there are some people who do the latter. Really trying to restore some degree of faith in humanity.
I get that not everyone is able to communicate openly via text, but it just doesn't seem very safe to make contact with a stranger who might be doing it deliberately because they're trying to manipulate someone into dating them and they'd rather make it up as they go along to try to seem more appealing to their date.

ExMPLE fake conversation
Dater A "So what do you like to do for fun?"
Dater B "Oh you know, go to restaurants and listen to music. And you?"
Dater A "I love drinking tea and spending time in my garden."
Dater B "Oh yeah? Me too I do that all the time."

As you can see Dater B is a sack of lies, and Dater A is a person.

The other problem I have, is that even people who have a *lot* in common are going to disagree on some things. Big things. Things that matter. Maybe I want to live a more sustainable life, but some things I need to be happy (for example, making art using materials that are harmful to the environment) are not sustainable. People might agree on the main idea, but never meet in the middle on how to apply it practically. I might like someone who sleeps with the TV on, but be unable to sleep with the TV on myself. I might be very concerned about racial equality, but be unsympathetic about LGBTQ issues. People are really complicated. And then people on dating sites want to tell you absolutely nothing of meaning about themselves and expect you to festoon them with adorations. I really don't get it.

In the case of REALLY dangerous people, the more you do tell about yourself upfront, the better able they are to craft a false persona that will entice you. The only reason I say this is because, well. It's happened to me more than once. So I'm trying to work out a way to be open about who I am, without making a backdoor for psychopaths. It would help if I had any social intuition whatsoever, but I'm not so gifted.
 
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"like minded" doesn't really describe the search for a facsimile of the idiosyncratic landscapes of one's mind to me. I think in most cases it simply means, "looking for someone who has similar muses", as a vague starting point to be further refined via "vibing" -- since most people don't really know what they mean or want most of the tube. Of course differences can be more polarizing depending on the subject. Politics or philosophy as muses might require more similar thinking in order to get along well, or else a very adroit ability to interact with ideas foreign or opposite without hostility. Whereas if two people enjoy cooking wildly different cuisine but are culinary adventurous otherwise, that could be seen as very positive. Probably both trouble examples but whatever.

I tend to be drawn towards *how* people possess their ideas as much as the ideas themselves, and communication style is extremely important to me. Most people probably want a mix of commonality and difference, so that they feel some solidarity but also some novelty and challenge at the same time.

 
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I think like minded means that they think along the same lines as me. They make choices I can agree with, it can mean religious choices, political or material.

I don't think everyone should be like minded, that would be boring. And I think people can make interesting choices that are not necessarily the ones I would make.

 
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Life reminds me of the story of Babel far too often.  Language can be so confusing and inefficient that people can't even communicate what their mind is actually like most of the time.

I find a seemingly interesting woman and go on a date maybe once a year.  The last three times, I've called the date off within a couple hours, because even though our values and end goals were the same, they've all seemed to enjoy combative debate, where emotions flare and logic and respect go out the window.  Then I get interrupted, get misunderstood, and get demonized because I say something like, "I don't fully agree with a lot of mainstream "progressive" ideas", but I never get the chance to explain why.

What I'm getting at is that the complex ideas that we tend to find ways to argue about are really not important to everyday life.  I'd happily partner with a strong feminist that hates the patriarchy if we got along as far as daily life goes and she respected my skills, knowledge, and intent.  

Things like diet, sleep schedule, cleanliness, level of domestication, desire for children, desire to actually raise those children instead of letting the system do it, and work ethic, are the important things to have in common.  Complex issues are divisive because they're meant to be, and pushed by people that benefit from that divisiveness.

To attempt to find my away around the conundrum, I came up with an idea.  This is my profile on a dating site (where I see zero action btw...lol)


"I have traditional values, like 16k years ago traditional, so I don't have any interest in discussing politics, culture, or in anything resembling a typical romantic/domestic relationship, but I know that I need some connection and compassion in my life.

Anyone want to experiment with a relationship that doesn't involve spoken language? We could share nice meals, enjoy Nature together, practice wild permaculture, make educational videos, trade massages, play music, etc."

 
Ben House
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Ernest Ableman wrote:Life reminds me of the story of Babel far too often.  Language can be so confusing and inefficient that people can't even communicate what their mind is actually like most of the time.

I find a seemingly interesting woman and go on a date maybe once a year.  The last three times, I've called the date off within a couple hours, because even though our values and end goals were the same, they've all seemed to enjoy combative debate, where emotions flare and logic and respect go out the window.  Then I get interrupted, get misunderstood, and get demonized because I say something like, "I don't fully agree with a lot of mainstream "progressive" ideas", but I never get the chance to explain why.

What I'm getting at is that the complex ideas that we tend to find ways to argue about are really not important to everyday life.  I'd happily partner with a strong feminist that hates the patriarchy if we got along as far as daily life goes and she respected my skills, knowledge, and intent.  

Things like diet, sleep schedule, cleanliness, level of domestication, desire for children, desire to actually raise those children instead of letting the system do it, and work ethic, are the important things to have in common.  Complex issues are divisive because they're meant to be, and pushed by people that benefit from that divisiveness.

To attempt to find my away around the conundrum, I came up with an idea.  This is my profile on a dating site (where I see zero action btw...lol)


"I have traditional values, like 16k years ago traditional, so I don't have any interest in discussing politics, culture, or in anything resembling a typical romantic/domestic relationship, but I know that I need some connection and compassion in my life.

Anyone want to experiment with a relationship that doesn't involve spoken language? We could share nice meals, enjoy Nature together, practice wild permaculture, make educational videos, trade massages, play music, etc."



You may have the wrong approach, I do not believe in dating. Never did, it teaches people to quit on relationships when it gets hard. I became best friends with my wife, we didn't have everything in common. Now we've been married going on 14 years and have four sons together, we have had some very difficult times in this life together but now we are the best we've ever been. She is still my best friend and my closest ally.

My advice is, don't put yourself in a box. Don't limit yourself, you may find the answer you are looking for inside a person you would reject as not checking all the boxes on your list.

My 2 cents.

 
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Ben, those of my children who are married chose to do the same (I grew up in an atmosphere where I did not.)  I agree with you that it teaches people to give up when things get bad.  Marriage is HARD.  My pastor likes to say that some days it's marital bliss; other days, it's marital blisters.  It's worth it, but it takes work.  30+ years for us.

@Sarah, in my opinion, people need to decide first what really matters to them, their core values.  What are the non-negotiables (they should be few)? For me, he had to be funny, smarter than I am, share my faith, want children, and at least not be opposite of me politically.  Those are things that I just couldn't be married without.  All other things paled in comparison.  Everyone's non-negotiables will be different, and what they are says a lot about the person.  Best place to meet compatible people will revolve around those non-negotiables, working toward something both people believe is important.  If faith, then church.  If education is key, then school or other gathering that teaches.  If saving the earth, a great place might be an ag club (or even a trip to Paul's in the summer.)  I tell my unmarried, but waiting, dd to do what is important to HER, and he'll show up.  He might not be at all what is expected :-).  In the mean time, she's developing herself into an even more interesting person.
 
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 Part of the problem is people READING INTO what is there, if you find the person attractive and there way of life something you want also, why not just talk to them?
 
Jordan Holland
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If I had to define what "like-minded" means to me (though I've never used it), it would be what I call "naturally compatible." I have met several women in my life whom, from the moment I first met them, I felt as if I had known them my whole life. We can instantly finish each other's sentences. We can instantly tell what the other is thinking. With a minimum of words, we can express exactly what we mean with misunderstandings being very rare. We think the exact same things are funny. We are "on the same wavelength" as some put it. This is the most important thing to me. I have been on blind dates where I had to rack my brain just to try to think of simple conversation. I simply don't see how a loving relationship could ever develop where I have to put so much effort into simple communication. Especially when I know there are women out there with whom I am naturally compatible.
 
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Years ago on another forum, someone used a phrase that's stuck with me: "Someone whose eccentricities are compatible with my own."

I'm weird enough that the whole "dating scene" is a waste of time. My attempts at relationships always started with them finding my quirks delightful, and ended with the words "why can't you just be normal for a change?"

I've even tried those sites where you go through a multi-page personality test to try and match people who are compatible, but they just don't have a category for "I'm a borderline-autistic plant-obsessed science-geek and a Christian, who identifies as a wood elf."

People seem convinced that every single one of my traits can be changed if they scold me enough.

I wish there was a way to identify that elusive "like-mindedness". If you ever figure it out, let me know.
 
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I've even tried those sites where you go through a multi-page personality test to try and match people who are compatible, but they just don't have a category for "I'm a borderline-autistic plant-obsessed science-geek and a Christian, who identifies as a wood elf."

 I can relate to being slightly similarly uncategorizable through such mechanisms.  I sympathize.  

Back to the subject of this thread:

Minds are not like other minds.  They evolve from singular origins and are affected by individual experiences.  

"Like-minded" has to mean that the person thinks (or agrees with the thinking) along the same lines as what is detailed in your own profile.  This does not mean that they think in all ways, always like you, but that they share your thinking about how you expressed your paradigm, or how you view the external paradigm as expressed in your profile.  

Anything that expects something beyond that way of understanding the phrase has to be laziness, in my way of thinking.

The nature of this thread's subject is the reason why my own dating profile (when I spend enough energy to care about such things)  has always been an essay.  ...but also why I get people both complimenting me on the details and extensive nature of it and also on my lack of hits from like-minded people, as there are so few anarchist, gnostic, yogic, permaculturalist bushfreak communitarians out there.  
 
Sarah Koster
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Okay! I got a little emotional and ran away from the thread right after starting it. Sorry. It's hard for me because dating sites and apparently discussing them makes me feel so dejected and anxious that I can't really deal. It has taken me this long to come back and read, which wasn't my intention.

I think a lot of it does boil down to oversimplification vs too much information to assess at a glance. I'm assuming most people using dating sites don't want to spend 20 minutes reading a profile before they decide to "swipe" or whatever. But I also assume that anyone who's "swiping" based on an image and little or nothing more, is not looking for someone they can form a serious relationship with.

Anyway everybody... I think the problem for me is when they say "like minded" with no context I just automatically feel rejected because there isn't a group of people I identify as being of "like mind" with myself. I'm complicated and contradictory at times. My mind changes, sometimes daily, even though my values stay the same. Basically every time I receive new information, I adjust to try and find the best possible solution. For example I used to love certain wildlife organizations until I found out they were forcing aboriginal tribes from the rainforest to try and "protect" the rainforest, ignoring these peoples' place as a vital component of the forest ecology and extant protectors of the forest, LET ALONE their human rights. So my "mind" towards them changed. It updated to reflect the new information. Blah.

Roberto-
Yes, it is frustrating being a lone weirdo in an apparent sea of automotons. I sometimes feel as if the only way to ever get a boyfriend is to pretend to love Nascar and football, jump into the closest bandwagon and try my best to grin and bear it. And to dress like a clown and change my name to Stacy. The mental acrobatics I've done in the past to facilitate such "relationships" has damaged my emotional wellbeing extensively.
The upside is that on the healing journey after, I've found that I actually love my weird self. Many people have tried to change those things about me that make me who I am. The things I love the most about myself. It's a really horrible kind of rejection when someone won't let you go physically, but loathes you emotionally. So if doing things your way has protected you from this kind of emotional violence, I think it's a good strategy, even if it means you didn't end up dating anyone.
Usually when I see "like-minded" used in profiles, it's without any information that would indicate what that person's values or lifestyle are. That's why I get frustrated with it. Just a picture of a random guy making a creepy facial expression with the words "seeking like minded" and little to nothing else. I don't know who he votes for, what he likes to eat, if he believes in a god or anything like that, but I'm supposed to know from this little phrase whether to be interested or not. But the thing is, when I see that, I DO form an image of what his lifestyle and views are; I see him sitting on a couch in his underwear drinking bud lite and watching Nascar, yelling at his girlfriend to bring him cigarettes or something. This is a problem of my own prejudice filling in, not the blanks, but the entire blank canvas. So when I read "like minded" I feel "we have absolutely nothing in common." I automatically feel rejected. Then I feel defensive. Then I swipe left.

Ellendra-
That is a very good phrase indeed, "Someone whose eccentricities are compatible with my own." I have similar difficulties to what you describe. I too have some indicators that I'm probably "on the spectrum" and haven't found a mate because... well... basically most people act like science and christianity are contradictory/mutually exclusive. Not to mention mystical things like elves and loving nature. A few hundred years ago we'd probably both have been mistaken for witches and burned or whatever. I'm always the dangerous, subversive progressive person at church, and the backwards religious idiot in science circles. I'm always the outsider.
I think the problem with the personality tests etc, is that they just don't work. Our understanding of psychology is really in its infancy, and the personality tests can't assess what a person really is like, let alone predict what kind of person they'll "click" with. It's similar to horoscopes IMO, using vague concepts and repeating back what information you've given to make it seem meaningful. To make matters worse, my "personality type" is associated with an elevated risk of becoming an abuse victim, since abusers seek people who will work hard to care for them. I've removed both my "personality type" and my diagnoses from my profile to make it more difficult for jerks to identify me as a potential resource.
Sometimes I do still hear the voices of people scolding me, trying to change me. Trying to make me normal. I don't think those people loved me very much in the first place. But now I don't scold myself anymore. If I want to sit on the floor, I sit on the floor. If I want my legs to be hairy, I let them be. I don't have to wear makeup. I don't have to give priority to males. I don't have to "humor people" at the cost of my own sanity. Sometimes I take myself on dates. These have been the best dates ever, because I got to do what I wanted and eat what I wanted and wear what I wanted without being coerced or ridiculed or made to endure some unpleasant condition or watch a movie I had no interest in. I didn't have to be manipulated to get my hopes up, only to be disappointed deliberately. I didn't have to lie and tell anyone how much fun I was having when I was in pain. I guess I'm just so weird that I have to be my own best friend for now, at least until I'm healthy and skilled enough to form and maintain healthy relationships. It's so much harder because I can't "read" people's body language to magically infer what they really mean, and they don't always tell the truth and I can't always tell that they're not telling the truth. I can't infer the important things they're not telling me.
But yeah I think that compatibility probably has more to do with lifestlye than with ideology... I've given up on finding the male version of myself. I'd probably be happy with someone who just didn't turn on the light or the TV at 4am and wasn't hostile towards vegetables, assuming they actually liked me and had some kind of morals. Maybe nobody likes me XD but I like myself so it's okay...
 
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Interesting observation and topic.

I would prefer to pair bond with a woman whose mind and my mind were complementary as opposed to alike.

I have a unique mind; if I pair bonded with someone  whose mind was like mine it could be disastrous.

I often think it would be nice to meet a woman with similar goals, values, and priorities, but who  had different qualities to bring to the relationship.

Some things being the same or similar, like intelligence level might be good, but not necessarily. Lots of people with significant differences in iq still have lasting meaningful relationships and families.

Complimentary attributes are the ideal. As a single parent trying to homeschool, housekeep, homestead, and earn money etc., I am constantly facing might short comings and realizing that the answer lays in partnering with someone who is not like me but who is after the same things as me.
 
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Seth Gardener wrote:Interesting observation and topic.

I would prefer to pair bond with a woman whose mind and my mind were complementary as opposed to alike.

I have a unique mind; if I pair bonded with someone  whose mind was like mine it could be disastrous.

I often think it would be nice to meet a woman with similar goals, values, and priorities, but who  had different qualities to bring to the relationship.

Some things being the same or similar, like intelligence level might be good, but not necessarily. Lots of people with significant differences in iq still have lasting meaningful relationships and families.

Complimentary attributes are the ideal. As a single parent trying to homeschool, housekeep, homestead, and earn money etc., I am constantly facing might short comings and realizing that the answer lays in partnering with someone who is not like me but who is after the same things as me.



Well said. I agree. I've had partners that were too similar and it was so boring. haha. I like to find people that make me think and challenge me more. That can see a different side to things and bring a new perspective.
 
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Jenny Jones wrote:

Seth Gardener wrote:Interesting observation and topic.

I would prefer to pair bond with a woman whose mind and my mind were complementary as opposed to alike.

I have a unique mind; if I pair bonded with someone  whose mind was like mine it could be disastrous.

I often think it would be nice to meet a woman with similar goals, values, and priorities, but who  had different qualities to bring to the relationship.

Some things being the same or similar, like intelligence level might be good, but not necessarily. Lots of people with significant differences in iq still have lasting meaningful relationships and families.

Complimentary attributes are the ideal. As a single parent trying to homeschool, housekeep, homestead, and earn money etc., I am constantly facing might short comings and realizing that the answer lays in partnering with someone who is not like me but who is after the same things as me.



Well said. I agree. I've had partners that were too similar and it was so boring. haha. I like to find people that make me think and challenge me more. That can see a different side to things and bring a new perspective.



My kids mom and I were too similar in many ways and it was not a good or healthy match as a result. Being boring wasn't the problem, but sharing certain tendencies  was not what our relationship needed. We get along very well but as a couple we did not balance eachoter out in anyway.

My landlords seem to have a great relationship but are total opposites who also work and run a buisness together. If they were both like either one of them none of what they do, including being a couple would work out for them.
 
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