Help a science-minded creature navigate unscientific thinking by friends
February 20, 2014 10:33 AM Subscribe
I'm a performer/dancer/creative type in a newish city (1 year). I also have a background in science. Much of my social circle contains people who are more into woo/new-agey things than I am. I find myself *enraged* by this sometimes. Each little comment (a reference to table salt being "poison" while sea salt isn't, household use of homeopathic things like arnica, e.g.) ruffles me. I can feel myself growing distant from two important people in my life - my roommate and lover. I admire and respect them greatly for their emotional intelligence, perceptiveness, and expression. We giggle and dance and clown around and we connect completely. They bring up chakras and I want to throw myself on a sharp object.
Sometimes I let their comments go by, but I feel irritated inside. Other times I challenge them and I think I come off as arrogant and judgmental; close-minded. I AM judging. We all make decisions based on info from friends and websites and the like - but I really really care about information sources that are legit - from professionals, peer-reviewed research, etc. They don't.
posted by red_rabbit to Human Relations (46 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Example: lover P needs to pass a drug test for a new job, but smoked a joint a few days ago. Oops. He hits up naturopath friend, I hit up MD friend. My MD source tells me there is nothing you can do to speed up the metabolism of THC. 3-7 days. I make the analogy of alcohol - if your liver is processing alcohol, drinking water/coffee/etc won't help, just time will. I'm no expert on this at ALL. But I want to understand the mechanism. P just wants to drink shittons of water and detox tea and blend up a special smoothie recipe from his friend and go to the sauna etc. I respect the psychological yearning to at least feel like you're taking every step possible, even if it isn't logical. But that's not how P is thinking of it. My job is to be his friend in this situation, and I manage to remain supportive and not show any irritation. But even though this is his problem, his life, his decision, I am irritated. I put a little black mark against the way that he thinks through this. I respect him a little less. I feel a separation widening. It also means I automatically don't trust the way he thinks critically in general. He brings up something about Chinese Medicine, and my eyes begin to roll. I remember reading an article way back when that made me suspect CM of being no good due to weird Chinese gov't policies and cultural appropriationn…but otherwise, I don't know anything about this (or chakras, for that matter). But I've automatically dismissed these things before learning about them. That's not exactly enlightened--or scientific--either.
I want to stay true to the way I think. But I also want to become nobler about dealing with others who don't think the way that I do. People don't remember that you were "right," people remember that you were an arrogant jerk to them. I want to be less triggered by these things. I don't like getting into the territory of everyone having to come prepared to any discussion at all with a list of references backing up their POV. We are all on edge with one another. Can I get to a place where I respect these otherwise thoroughly delightful people? This doesn't feel good. Help me, MeFites!