Mailvox: SSH and Non-Solipsism

Prompted by your post today on seeing your neologisms in common usage, I thought it might interest you to know that middle schoolers at a Methodist church in Orlando, FL are using your expanded SSH terms casually in conversation with each other. I’m a parent and small group leader, so I’ve been able to have some interesting conversations. Without giving away that I was aware of the terms, I asked what they meant (as if they were any inscrutable zoomer slang), and they were using them more or less correctly.

The ideas, they disseminate. It’s encouraging that the younger generations will have the opportunity to understand and utilize their behavioral patterns in a way that their predecessors did not. Like most information, it can be used for good or for ill, but making informed decisions tends to lead to better consequences than uninformed ones. And before one can surmount one’s flaws and weaknesses, one must be aware of them.

Speaking of surmounting one’s flaws, a woman on SG seeks to understand what not being solipsistic is like.

Does male non-solipsism mean that when a man gains any information, he does not by default consider its relevance to himself? Sincere question from a mystified woman. #womanposting

That’s correct. It should be readily apparent, in fact, by the way men have a habit of turning themselves into subject matter experts in their particular areas of interest which have nothing whatsoever to do with the man involved. When I was working out the details concerning whether Lionel Messi was the greatest soccer player of all time – and he quite clearly is – the thought of comparing myself to him, or to Ronaldo, or to Pele, never crossed my mind. I simply wasn’t relevant to the topic. It never occurred to me to work out my own career goals-pens+assists per-game average.

Men tend to be more interested in the idea, the subject, or the event for itself than in its potential relationship to himself. This, by the way, is why so many men find women to be tedious and seldom enjoy talking with them, because the female tendency to turn every conversation toward herself is readily apparent, mildly annoying, and generally uninteresting.

For example, let’s say that you took in a family of Ukrainian refugees after the start of the special military operation. Do you mention that every time the topic of the Ukraine war comes up? It might be relevant if the discussion is about refugees or the depopulation of Ukraine, but most of the time, it won’t be. There is a lot to discuss about the war that doesn’t have anything to do with you or your past actions. Every mention of a subject that has something tangentially to do with you is not an invitation to start talking about yourself, and should not be taken as one. In most cases, you would do well to resist that solipsistic urge.

One thing I would encourage women to do, if they want to be held in higher regard by men, is a) to be aware of the conversational context, and b) to never talk about themselves or to mention people that the men don’t know. To better understand the desirability of this try silently counting the number of “I” and “me” used by your interlocutors when they engage in a conversational soliloquy. It can be very enlightening.

A good conversation is not two or more people waiting to talk and exchanging unrelated monologues. Try actually listening to people, no matter how tedious or stupid they are. You really can learn a lot from them, even when what they’re talking about is of zero interest to you.

Gammas and Lambdas are the most solipsistic men, which is why they are also the men who most enjoy talking with women and who are most likely to be a woman’s best male friend. Show me a man who is a woman’s best friend, and if he isn’t gay, nine times out of ten he’ll be a gamma who secretly pines after her.