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Bulletin!

I’ve been on MySpace for almost a year at this point, and I’ve seen the following bulletin posted by at least four different people in just the past month or two:

You’re on my friends list. I’d like to know 25 things about you. Just hit reply. Thanks!

You’ll be surprised how much you didn’t know about your friends after this!

1. Ever punch someone in the face?

2. How old are you?

3. Are you single or taken?

4. Eat with your hands or utensils?

5. Do you dream at night?

6. Ever seen a corpse?

7. Have you ever wished someone dead?

8. Do You Like Bush, the president?

HERE COMES THE EQUALLY INTERESTING PART…

9. Whats your philosophy on life and death?

10. If you could do anything with me, and have no one know, what would it be?

11. Do you trust the police?

12. Do you like country music?

13. What is your fondest memory of me?

14. If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?

15. Would you date me?

16. What do you wear to sleep?

17. Have you ever peed in a pool?

18. Would you hide evidence for me if I asked you to?

19. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?

20. What is your favorite thing about me?

21. Do you think I’m attractive?

22. What’s your favorite color?

23. If you could bring back anyone that has passed, who would it be?

24. Tell me one interesting/odd fact about you?

25. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you?

The first couple of times I saw this, it seemed pretty innocuous. I didn’t read through all the questions, and I actually think some of the early questions could lead to a little more insightful rambling than your average online survey. I’d start filling it out, and then I’d get to the later questions and get tripped up.

15. Would you date me?

How can you answer this honestly and elicit a positive response from the person who sent the questions? It’s a simple yes or no question, with enough of a gray area for you to say something retarded like, “Durr, I don’t know, maybe if the right circumstances presented themselves and blah-blah-blah, then I guess so, but it’d be complicated.” That seems like the only road to prevent awkward feelings.

If you answer yes, either out of honesty or politeness, the only way this will have a happy ending is if you are being honest, and if they feel the same way and both are unattached. If you say “yes” and you’re lying, but the sender is interested, that’s an unnecessarily rough situation to get into based on a MySpace bulletin. If you say “yes” and you’re being honest, but they don’t reciprocate the feelings, it’s just going to lead to awkwardness, especially if they’re seeing someone.

But what if you’re both into it and one, the other, or both are involved with someone else? What happens if you feel like this MySpace bulletin has caused the stars to align, and you can finally be with this person you’ve had a crush on since fifth grade, so you each dump your significant others to get together and…it’s the worst possible relationship in the history of time, and each resents the other for being forced into a corner based on something as stupid as a question on a MySpace bulletin?

Saying “no” is equally hazardous, but for the opposite reasons: whether you’re being sincere or not, telling someone “No, I’d never date you,” is offensive. I mean, how could it not be? It’d be way easier to go the half-assed “Gee, maybe if things were different, I don’t know,” staying wishy-washy enough for them to not do something crazy like dump their boyfriend of seven years for your middle-of-the-road non-answer. But then what if you say “no” and are lying, but you get a response like, “Phew, I’m so glad you said ‘no’ because I always thought you had a crush on me but you and me dating would be horrible!” And then you have to hide the hurt feelings and pretend to be friends with them, all the while resenting their casual dismissal of you as a lover and secretly plotting to break them up whenever they start dating.

13. What is your fondest memory of me?

18. Would you hide evidence for me if I asked you to?

19. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?

20. What is your favorite thing about me?

21. Do you think I’m attractive?

These are all, to varying degrees, loaded questions that all seem to be fishing for the same thing: how interested are you in me and/or will we ever be “more than friends”? Give the wrong answer, and you risk ruining a friendship forever. Even a “funny” question like #18, depending on the answer, could speak volumes about how serious the respondant feels about the sender. It’s rough, but it reveals a bigger question that I’ve started to wonder every time I see this bulletin posted:

Why is this person posting this particular bulletin and searching for answers to these uncomfortable questions, buried near the end for people who aren’t smart enough to read ahead?

For this question, I have no answer. Sometimes I wonder if they’re looking for sincere answers from their opposite-sex friends, and if I had a crush on the girls who have sent it, maybe I’m missing the boat on something because I usually ignore it for fear of humiliating myself if I admit the crush, or humiliating myself if I don’t.

This is why online survey questions should never be more insightful than “Coke or Pepsi?”

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