site banner

Wellness Wednesday for March 29, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I'm trying to learn French at the moment and I wanted to ask if anyone has experience trying to learn a language while also trying to retain another.

I feel like I might be making it more difficult for myself by continuing to revise Spanish on Anki, it's not time consuming or anything but Spanish often comes to mind first when I'm trying to translate a word from English.

Though a bit of crosswiring is inevitable if you are not natively bilingual, I find it's best to use different learning methods for each language to avoid confusing yourself, particularly when they are as closely related as Spanish and French.

Alternating vocabulary or grammar study in one language with listening to podcasts or reading in another works well, for example. If you are not at the level to do the latter with either language, then I would suggest focusing on only one for now.

My wife has fallen out of love with me. Nothing that she says makes any sense to me. I present you her latest email with private information elided (she is away on a business trip),


One thing I really didn't like about falling in love was the constant yearning. Whenever I wasn't with you, it felt like I was tethered to you with a super stretchy cord and couldn't fully enjoy anything on my own. After some soul searching, I realized what I call the 'Cinderella syndrome' - the romantic ideal most women have about finding the perfect, chivalrous man. We're not just looking for someone to take care of us when we're down, but also someone who can give our lives direction, purpose, and identity, whether it's as a father to our kids, a source of social status, or a steady rock to lean on. Based on this dream, you're supposed to be the answer to the question I didn't want to face: "What do I really want to do with my life?"

I remember a Monday evening after a weekend together, and I had been pining the whole day. I had not enjoyed work as I found myself struggling to get out of this exhausting dependency. Here I was, 44 years old and as silly as a teenager!

After work I took a long walk across rolling hills into a spectacular sunset, trying to work out what I wanted to do with my life. In the end, I had to admit that, whatever it was, it had not the slightest thing to do with anything you could do for me.

I wanted to be perfect and I had to do it myself. I still had to clean myself up. Just having found a probable good mate had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t the best I could be; that I wasn’t free. I decided there and then to face the challenge, to abandon the love-dream and go for the actual experience – meeting another human being as intimately as possible instead of looking up to him and waiting for him to be the ‘hero of my dreams’.

That very evening the situation changed. My pining stopped. The fog in the head cleared. My expectations disappeared. I could again stand on my own feet and equally enjoy the time when I was by myself. I had recovered my autonomy – my autonomy in the sense that I am the only one in my life who is responsible for my happiness.

Detecting and debunking the romantic dream placed the first big dent into the wobbling monster of love. Now it was much easier to look at what it was in my ‘self’ that cried out for this love. It has been quite scary at times, to rid myself of the very identity I had as a woman. What would be left of me when I didn’t feel love? How could I relate both to you and other people, if not with emotion or intuition? What would I have to offer in friendships or conversations, if not sympathy and consolation? My whole edifice of ‘who’ I was, who I believed myself to be, began to crumble in a heap as I questioned and demolished the attributes of love and emotion. Now naked of all those characteristics and beliefs as well as their resultant emotions and behaviour, which have kept man and woman apart for millennia, I am experiencing for the first time in my life genuine intimacy with a man. Now there are no dreams, no expectations, no emotions or any other restrictions that could cloud the thrill of meeting another human being. Now instead of random moments of ‘sweet love’ I am able to give you my full attention and bare awareness each time we communicate.

She has certainly become a happier person. But, I miss the cozy feelings we used to share. Does anyone have advice for me to change her mind? I think she is probably in denial, but I cannot confront her like that.

I agree with others here that she's describing the end of the euphoric/limerence phase of the relationship.

But I also see it as her coming to the realisation that her life happiness is not completely reliant on her partner. I see this as a good thing. Many immature women put the responsibility for their happiness on their partner (external locus of control) and this creates stress in the relationship. Shifting that responsibility to herself creates less pressure on the relationship. This may also involve less dependence on her partner and less emotional need to be close to the partner as her sole source of her happiness. In layman's terms she would be less clingy, which I can see in certain circumstances would be a downside depending on your definition of closeness in a relationship.

I'm not really reading anything bad to what she is saying. I think she's growing her maturity and this is a good thing for a stable long term relationship.

[...] I am experiencing for the first time in my life genuine intimacy with a man.

Is this her way of saying she's seeing someone else?

Not enough context, I think. How old were you when you met? How long have you been together?

It is pretty well-documented that the giddy-in-love feelings that have historically inspired longing poetry and outrageous demonstrations of devotion tend to last months, maybe all of two years. It is also pretty well-documented that the cessation of those feelings tends to be a real come-down moment for a lot of people (this is a major contributor to marriages ending after less than 5 years). If you Google "stages of love" there are many further breakdowns you can find, with varying degrees of empirical backing, but--

Not everyone parses stage changes the same way, and your wife may be essentially coming to terms with the fact that she's past the euphoric stage, but it's quite a natural thing. (The evo-psych gloss is that it's a feeling that exists to produce children, since in the giddy-in-love phase, all most people want to do is canoodle--but the natural result of such behavior is offspring, which give you a different and more important reason to continue working together in the "companionate love" phase.)

The risk for people who don't understand this natural progression (or who spit in Mother Nature's face regarding the natural step of creating offspring) is that they think "real" love is limited to the euphoric stage, and they just want to get that same experiential hit over and over again. Whether this manifests in genuine cheating, requests for an "open" marriage, the pursuit of polyamory, etc. will depend a lot on a person's sophistication, self control, commitment to other priorities (i.e. children, long term financial plans), and so forth.

Women do have a greater tendency than men to seek to verbalize all of these feelings and want to "work through" them, which can sometimes result in men feeling like there is a crisis when actually it's just women doing socializing things. The proliferation of "self help" books is "Exhibit A" for that argument, I think. Your wife seems pretty loquacious, poetic even, but not especially sophisticated, at least in her grasp of her own feelings. Almost everyone goes hunting for "meaning" or their "true self" at some point, but those aren't things you find; they're things you choose, one way or another.

If you've been together for more than, say, 5 or 10 years, though, most of what I've written here will be of limited application.

Not enough context, I think. How old were you when you met?

40, she about the same. To give you some more context, she was big time into meditation.

How long have you been together?

2 years.

continue working together in the "companionate love" phase

She has become disillusioned with "companionate love" as well. We call it unconditional love which she claims does not exist. This is what she told me:

The longer I observe how I am in relation to other people, the more I find that whenever another person evokes a feeling reaction in me then there is some kind of invisible thread or emotional hook also present on my side. I remember a visit from a close relative and how at first I felt guilty for not returning the love, affection and excitement that was offered to me. It was as if a web of invisible, yet sticky vibes was cast out to catch me into feeling loyal to and connected with her. These bonding strings might well be presented as a generous offer of love or friendship, yet – often unbeknownst to the person himself or herself – this offer always contains a request for returned feelings, a demand for support and an obligation for further loyalty. In other words, love is never unconditional, it is always given with conditions and it is only received subject to conditions.

In the situation with my relative I was able after a while to understand the nature and source of my guilt by observation and investigation and then, by being free of my feelings of guilt I was able to give her my full attention and care. While we spent time together we were able to talk as fellow human beings, swap stories about how each experiences life and what each had found out so far about the business of being a human being.

As for a one-to-one man-woman relationship, there is an inevitable expectation of returned favours and feelings. Love by its very nature cannot stand by itself. Love always needs a giver and a receiver, someone who loves and someone who is eager to be loved. In my ‘past-life’ love-relationships, my dreams of how I wanted to live life were automatically intertwined with the man I loved – as a woman I gave him the responsibility for my happiness and I expected him to do the same. (Then I am also jealously guarding that he is not happy without me!)

Soon after I met you I found it vital to investigate this dream because it caused me to be miserable whenever we were apart and made my life difficult whenever we were together. When I looked into the love-dream that I had cherished all my life, I was faced with a rather shocking choice – either keep my dream and my identity as a woman and a lover and remain struggling, frustrated and unhappy, or drop all my high-flying ideas and ideals, grow up and take responsibility for my own life. This also meant that I had to put my becoming unconditionally happy and cheerful as number one on my laundry list – above my relationship. That very choice made me not only autonomous for the first time in my life, it also released you from the burden of ‘my’ unfulfillable expectations and emotional needs. Nobody else is responsible for my becoming happy and nobody is standing in the way of my becoming happy.

One thing is true though, I definitely feel freed from a sense of responsibility (that a typical man suffers from) when being around her. We are enjoying each other's company but I miss the heady feelings of the old days.

Why did you get married?

Marriage's purpose is to raise children, clearly that's out of the window.

In your 40s you're supposed to either welcome your first grand-children or get ready to welcome your first grand-children.

She could be brushing up on her cooking, baking, knitting skills, or helping a teenager / young adult form or get ready to form a family, but here she is...?

Get her a dog. Please, no pitbull.

If she's bored, she can volunteer at the homeless shelter or something.

How long have you been together?

2 years.

So yeah, sounds like she's dealing with the end of the "euphoric" stage. This is more concerning, though:

She has become disillusioned with "companionate love" as well. We call it unconditional love which she claims does not exist.

These are very different things. The standard reductive view on "altruism" is that there's no such thing, because every example you can give, someone else can explain a way as not really selfless. Even the paradigmatic "parent throws themself in front of a bus to save a child" can be explained as "pro-social behavior geared toward benefitting one's own bloodline through the development of a personal legacy" or somesuch. I think it was the philosopher David Hume who suggested that this kind of reductive analysis is unhelpful--our analysis must stop somewhere. But of course these ideas are certainly out there.

But companionate love can still be "conditional" in these ways. The entanglements of responsibilities toward others are often burdensome but they are also widely regarded as essential to a flourishing life. Having children is a lot of work, and yet it is (in my experience) rewarding work. Having good familial relationships often requires a high degree of tolerance, compromise, and forgiveness, and yet familial relationships are usually the most reliable and lasting--and beneficial--of all. Chris Gowans writes a bit about this in his book "Innocence Lost," if I remember correctly--basically he notes that even though there are times when we feel absolutely burdened by even our very good relationships, it is morally important for us to experience and bear such burdens, but also to be aware of when, and to what extent, it's okay for us to put them down anyway. The movie "A Monster Calls" is an exploration of this very idea through the eyes of a child losing a parent to illness.

Now, this bit does sound suspiciously like a woman who is either already cheating, or is exploring the possibility:

As for a one-to-one man-woman relationship, there is an inevitable expectation of returned favours and feelings. Love by its very nature cannot stand by itself. Love always needs a giver and a receiver, someone who loves and someone who is eager to be loved. In my ‘past-life’ love-relationships, my dreams of how I wanted to live life were automatically intertwined with the man I loved – as a woman I gave him the responsibility for my happiness and I expected him to do the same.

Many people describe companionate love as each partner being the other's highest priority. Certainly relationships come with expectations! But the idea that this is a bad thing seems like a red flag to me. It just might instead be a particularly clumsy way of characterizing the end of the "euphoric" stage, which would be less to worry about.

Nobody else is responsible for my becoming happy and nobody is standing in the way of my becoming happy.

I think this is just wrong. Here is one of my most highly upvoted comments on reddit ever:

Humans are social animals. Isolation, as a rule, is bad for our mental health.

To the extent that this is saying, "you don't always have to be in a romantic relationship to have a fulfilling life," it's a good reminder. But with very few exceptions, most people are incapable of being happy while living their lives truly alone. Our brains, for the most part, aren't wired that way. And telling someone that they need to learn to be happy alone before they can be happy together will often only worsen their depression, because they start to take their inability to be happy alone as a sign that they will never be happy at all--

When in fact they would be truly happy if they weren't so alone.

Put a little differently--it may not be your responsibility to make her happy, per se, but if she sees no reason to at least occasionally make personal sacrifices for your happiness, and you see no reason to make similar sacrifices for hers, then you don't really have a relationship anymore--you're just two people sharing a house. Even friends regard themselves as at least minimally responsible, in context-bound ways, for one another's happiness and well-being; otherwise, how are they friends?

We are enjoying each other's company but I miss the heady feelings of the old days.

This is normal; this is how the euphoria stage ends. It can be recaptured at times, with effort. If this is your only real complaint, then you just have to work through it (hopefully with each other's loving help--that seems like a reasonable responsibility to think you have toward one another!). But I have certainly seen relationships where the end of the euphoria stage was accompanied by a drastic reduction in sexual congress, which is totally unnecessary and frequently kills marriages. Communication is important, but don't mistake words for communication. What you've shared so far from your wife is a lot of words that don't say much of practical value. So far I am about half convinced that she still loves you but doesn't know what love is, or doesn't understand how important interpersonal relationships actually are to her because she has internalized a radically individualist mindset that is complete empirical bullshit.

It sounds like she's experiencing a mode of self doubt. She needs to be reassured that you're strong and capable of providing the things she wants from a man and that she's doing what she should be doing by staying with you. If you want to keep the relationship together you need to show strength and reassurance that she's making the right decision to be with you, and not play into her self doubt.

Also I don't know your wife and maybe the email would make sense in the context of her personality but I had to read it multiple times before I understood what she was trying to say. It sounds like she may be a bit codependent with you and needs to find a sense of self worth outside of her relationship with you. She was probably seeking a relationship with someone to help her feel better about herself but she went into it feeling badly about herself and it hasn't gone away even though she could distract herself with the relationship for a while. Maybe give her some space to figure out what she dislikes about herself so she can improve, and support her as you can but be realistic that she will mostly have to work through these things on her own.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

Either she's fallen down an over-thinking self-help rabbit-hole, or she just wants to leave you but doesn't have a "good" reason to do so and is laying the groundwork for making it your fault. You didn't support her becoming a whole-er person or something, the marriage failed because you weren't okay with her not loving you, rather than because she stopped loving you.

I don't know, man. This comes off as overwrought gibberish to me.

I must confess to more skepticism than I feel even when reading typical Dear Prudence or /r/relationship_advice fare. If that really is a letter written by your wife, well, I think she should find her calling as a writer of female self-actualization books and chicklit novels.

This is basically a very wordy "I love you but I'm not in love with you." What exactly do you think she is "in denial" about?

Yeah. Whatever she's going on through emotionally is par for the course, but that prose is grounds for divorce.

Ha, she is indeed planning to write a self-actualization book.

What exactly do you think she is "in denial" about?

That she is repressing her need for love in contrast to her claim that she is becoming freed from the need for both romantic and unconditional love. I gave further details in my response to naraburns above.

May do an experiment where I pray for 90 minutes per day for 40 days. Anyone have thoughts or experiences with prayer they would like to share?

Why do you want to pray instead of meditating?

For a lot of reasons.

  • “Awareness” meditation is alien to Western culture, and I like Western culture. There are few people who meditated a lot and accomplished great things, but Bach and Mozart prayed and this is enough for me. I would rather be a loud and passionate Christian monk than a quiet, ineffectual Buddhist monk.

  • The science of meditation is confused, because (1) longterm meditation selects for a certain character, and (2) the true control is “wakeful rest” rather than a lack of any quiet low-stimuli period.

  • Strong emotions are good and glorious if they are directed to a good and glorious cause, which prayer arguably attempts.

  • Prayer can be construed as a mental practice, where one (1) elaborates on the vision of God, (2) fleshes out one’s sins and wants, (3) focuses on the path forward.

  • I have some thoughts on prayer and psychological reinforcement that I’m interested in personally testing

Why do you want him to meditate instead of praying?

I don't want or not want him to do anything. I'm asking.

My advice, regardless of your denomination, would be to find a Catholic church with something called Perpetual Adoration. This is typically a side chapel, quiet, has the right vibes. Having a special place to go for this project will probably help maintain focus, and they usually have a small library of Bibles, spiritual classics, meditations, etc which will help if you run out of things to think about.

You will not be able to maintain 90 minutes of continuous prayer when you start this experiment.

Perhaps, but I’m considering a 90min slot of my day dedicated to prayer as prayer. I do not expect complete focus.

Most spiritual traditions do not recommend starting with 90 days of continuous prayer. They recommend you begin with shorter sessions of prayer/meditation and work your way up.

You may want to consider reading the works of spiritual masters- western Christian saints have extensive writings that are easily available in English(sometimes for free in pdfs hosted by 90’s conspiracy sites). Eastern Christian saints are harder due to language issues.

He said 40 minutes per day which seems reasonable?

Not infrequently someone here will ask for advice on improving their social skills, and I guess this week it's my turn.

My question: can anyone offer testimonials of having significantly altered their personality through conscious effort? I've become increasingly skeptical that certain kinds of change are possible.

I am 30, socially retarded, and have tried much of the usual advice, including

  • joining hobby groups (sports, dance, music, improv, rationalists, board games) - never made any lasting friends

  • improving fitness / grooming / appearance - this is in progress and I expect I'll continue to work on this

  • talking to strangers - doesn't go well (nor particularly poorly, just awkwardly)

My concern is that hanging out with people who are not very close friends is 1) difficult, in that I suck at establishing rapport, thinking of things to say, responding with appropriate emotion, 2) extremely tiring, and therefore 3) just unpleasant. This is true even if the people are super nerdy and share the same interests as me. One has to keep track of the words, body language, and emotional states of both oneself and one's interlocutor, and that is too much for my brain to handle. Literally there will be moments when I realize I should probably stop staring at the floor and make some normal brief eye contact, and in the second it takes me to adjust, I will lose track of the other person's sentence, and therefore be unable to respond appropriately.

Roughly from 2016 to 2019, I aggressively (by my standards) sought out chances to practice socializing and attended more meetups / hobby groups than I wanted to. Looking back, I don't think my social skills improved much, and socializing didn't ever get more fun or bearable. I did, however, get better at noticing the social skills I lack. Some things I've learned are

  • the chasm between how normal extroverts experience life and how I do is even wider than I thought

  • the facility and graceful precision with which sociable people can smooth over a bad joke, off-color statement, or awkward silence is incredible

  • the returns to social skills in every aspect of life - friends, dating, career, learning, general wellbeing - are much greater than I realized

I am now trying to decide whether I should redouble my efforts in this area (which is tiring and demoralizing) or essentially give up, and just live my life in the way that is natural to me: avoid talking to people whenever possible, one or two close friends excepted, never leave home except for work and necessary errands, and accept that I'll miss out on the benefits of human connection.

Other facts about me:

  • My coworkers are brilliant, most clearly smarter than me. In general this makes small talk more difficult since the bar for a comment being passably interesting is higher.

  • I am temperamentally boring and don't really enjoy most activities people find fun, especially if they involve leaving the house. Books and movies are good enough for me.

  • I started taking Vyvanse recently, which probably doesn't help here. But my social problems predate Vyvanse.

can anyone offer testimonials of having significantly altered their personality through conscious effort?

I have gone from an extremely negative person to a moderately positive one within 2 years. My friends have noticed and commented. I set out to try and 'fix' my depression, not change my personality per se. I relate to your experiences a lot. I wouldn't consider myself a socialite nowadays, but things are much better. I did not realize my social awkwardness was in part due to my depression / mild anxiety.

I have two pieces of advice to offer; meditation and to care less for what others think of you.

Meditation isn't a tool but it has the helpful side effect of robbing your thoughts of their power over you. When you have thoughts of tracking body language, emotional stress, eye contact, you can notice these things as thoughts appearing that do not hold any weight. You can let go of them and just be.

When the thoughts and *feelings *of anxiety have less power over you, you'll be paying attention to what is being said, not where your hands are etc. If you are unfamiliar with meditation it is really difficult to describe the difference in experience. I guess you'll have to trust a stranger on the internet here (hopefully).

I highly, highly recommend the Waking Up app. Treat it as seriously as religion, practice daily and make your way through the theory section.

Additionally here's a fun blog on caring less about what people think (and being less stuck in your own head). The analogy of the mammoth always stuck with me.

Best of luck.

As a child, I was rather reclusive. I always preferred books to human interaction, and being dragged out to be paraded before my relatives was something I very much dreaded and avoided.

I distinctly remember that around the age of 10, I felt a whimsical urge to be talkative and nice to an aunt of mine for a change. And I was so overwhelmed with positive feedback when she was happily taken a back by my behavior that it flipped some kind of switch in me, like "hey, isn't being praised nice? Maybe I should interact with people more often!". And that's what I did.

I also approached med school as an opportunity to start over with a blank slate, I faked being more outgoing than I actually am, and while that wore off eventually, I was quite well liked by the majority of my classmates and colleagues. So at least I had people around who'd invite me to places and stop me from being a complete homebody, even when I didn't initiate anything myself.

(I don't know how much weight to put on childhood memories, they can be quite unreliable. That being said, this is a pretty vivid one, that I noted as important even at the time. So my take away is that you should try to fake it till you code switch like a glove and it comes naturally.)

My question: can anyone offer testimonials of having significantly altered their personality through conscious effort? I've become increasingly skeptical that certain kinds of change are possible.

Yes, even in my final year of undergrad at the age of 21 I was far less conscientous and noticeably more awkward than I am now. The first was solved by working a bunch of kitchen and manual labour jobs where I got very good at not being late for things. I think functioning on 4 hours sleep is a trainable skill. I still mess up my focus sometimes by drinking or gaming (the latter has effects even when you're not playing), but in general I can go to a library and study for 4 hours without any deadline to motivate me.

The second I can partly attribute to drugs like MDMA and LSD (but the afterglow wears off eventually), partly picking the low hanging fruit of just meeting more people, and partly as a result of me no longer treating social situations as tests I have to pass or fail but opportunities to meet someone I really get along with. The latter is important as I still think I'd be just as awkward today in a room full of people I don't have anything in common with, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the results of no longer being afraid to tell jokes that are funny rather than pleasing or of giving my real opinions to people (with some sugar-coating or self-censorship depending on what I know about them of course). There are a lot more people I can easily get along with than I thought, I was just not doing a good enough job of going out on a limb and raising a flag for them to spot me. There is a risk with being genuine like this, not everyone will like you, but even the most socially savvy people I know have a few enemies.

I think functioning on 4 hours sleep is a trainable skill.

My personal experience would strongly disagree ;)

During my internship, I had multiple stretches of less than 6 hours of sleep, and I never got any better at handling it. That's a big negative for a doctor, the very best can function acceptably even in utter sleep deprivation.

That's acceptable and not optimal, because countless studies show that doctors and surgeons fuck up orders of magnitude more when they're sleep deprived. Yet the machismo in the profession persists..

I won't disagree, but that's far more complex work than I've ever had to do.

On the one hand, you know the standard advice. Putting yourself in new situations, making an effort socially, noticing when you mess up without letting it get you down, learning over time, yeah, that's pretty much it.

If you stick at it, even when it gets hard, would you get better at this stuff? I think so, for what it's worth. I don't know the details, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if you've already gotten better, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.

Besides, it's okay to be awkward sometimes. Lots of people won't mind if you stare at the floor sometimes, or say "sorry, I've lost my train of thought, what were we saying?" Half the skill in recovering from those moments is just knowing they don't really matter all that much.

On the other hand, it sounds like you haven't really been enjoying yourself. If you force yourself to do social things you dislike, sure, maybe you get better at it; maybe you just end up associating socialising with feeling bad, which probably doesn't help.

So, what now? Well, one part might just be to focus on how you're feeling. Meditation, sleep, diet, exercise, all well worth it. Maybe therapy or psychedelics if those work for you. If you're coming at this from a place of stress or anxiety, it's going to make everything harder. (So, yeah, the Vyvanse might make this tricky.)

The other part might be to focus more on what you want, specifically. Friendships, relationships, sure, but which ones? What sort of person do you want to meet? How do you want to spend time with them? How would you find such a person?

If there aren't specific things pulling you to being social, maybe it's okay to just focus on yourself for now. Or to try doing more new things, not thinking "I need to be good at socialising", but rather "I wonder if something here will interest me?"

If there are specific things you want, maybe it's worth thinking about how you could get them in ways that do make you happy. If that means a dealing with a certain amount of awkwardness, well, maybe that's worth it. If it means ignoring lots of well-meaning advice, well, that's okay too.

kinda tangential: A "personality" simply refers to tendencies in way a person acts. Trivially, you do choose the way you act - so you can 'change your personality' by acting differently. Regularities of a personality emerge as much from personal idiosyncrasies and genetic factors as they do the situation you're in, and the way you relate to the specific other people you interact with. As a weird but local example - a lot of motte regulars post on rdrama, sometimes with the same usernames - and their motte "personalities" are, just facially, absurdly different from their rdrama "personalities". This is because they use themotte for political and intellectual discourse, and rdrama for humor/mocking/exploring weird people and interactions.

Imo, the best way to make strong 'friendships', and indeed the best kind of friendship, is to undertake maybe somewhat serious, complicated, difficult, long-term - projects, shared activities, etc with specific people. Maybe it's a hobby, whether it's D&D or kayaking, maybe a lot of it is just 'discussing something you're both interested in', there are almost infinite options - but at a non-surface level, and in a way you both benefit from somehow. This also saves you from the 'im bad at small-talk' problem - if the other person/people are getting something else out of it with you, chitchat isn't bearing all the load, and you can chitchat about the activity at hand, which, due to being somewhat involved, should provide plenty of material. If we imagine the 'evolutionary origins' of friendship, it's less "people you do small talk with" and more "material alliances with competent and trustworthy people who live near you". e: reading Five's comment, his suggestions are great, for that reason.

Do you feel anymore confident when drunk or on benzos? I tend to be socially anxious with people I meet, but if I’m drunk or using benzos, I feel much more confident and can actually enjoy the conversation. That’s obviously not a solution, but may give you a sign on what you need to work on. It tells me that I have the ability to be social, it’s just a lack of confidence or calmness that disallows me from doing so.

It’s also simply difficult for more introverted, introspective, or “thinking” type people to make friends. We are quite in our own heads and it’s difficult to be present in social situations.

The people that I’ve become closest friends with tend to be those who are the opposite of me. It’s almost like they can’t “feel” my awkwardness and just sort of plow ahead with the conversation. We admire each for different things; I admire them for their social ability, they admire me for my intellect and organization (organizing trips, meals, golf, etc).

But yeah, there are few people in my life I’m totally comfortable with. It does suck, not gonna lie, especially when I think about how much better my social life and career would be if I were a “normie.” I guess my advice would be, do the things you enjoy even if it’s awkward. I personally love golf, softball, and musical theater, so I join teams or take classes. Even if I’m not making lifelong friends, I’m still doing an activity that I enjoy, and I take satisfaction from that.

Getting a full nights sleep and exercise also helps my mood.

If by recreationally you mean once every 3-4 weeks, then yes. In the past, I’ve taken them for particularly bad hangovers, but found the rebound anxiety the day after to just not be worth it. I’ll also take a very small dose if I’m going to a particularly stressful social event or if I’m experiencing bad anxiety while trying to fall asleep. But generally I space them out enough that I don’t feel it’s a problem.

That's safe enough, but still, keep an eye out for escalation in dose and frequency!

It’s also simply difficult for more introverted, introspective, or “thinking” type people to make friends. We are quite in our own heads and it’s difficult to be present in social situations.

Not really imo. "more introverted" vacuously means difficult to make friends - "thinking/introspective" types may prefer the company of similarly intelligent / interested-in-complex-discussion people to others, but they don't necessarily have 'trouble being present in social situations'. I think there are reasons there's something of a correlation, but a majority of more intelligent, or more introspective, or "thinking" types are normal or better socially.

can anyone offer testimonials of having significantly altered their personality through conscious effort?

Let's break this down into a couple of components: Can circumstances significantly alter one's personality? And can one change one's circumstances through conscious effort? Put that way the answer is obviously yes to both. Circumstances are changing our personality all the time, and we can change our circumstances through conscious effort.

The way you have phrased it makes it seem as though one thinks really really hard about it and changes one's personality through sheer force of will. I don't have any experience with that, though others might.

On the other hand, I can attest to significant parts of my personality changing over time in response to circumstances, and to my ability to change my circumstances by conscious decision making. The guy attending the party typically acts differently than the guy throwing it, but all you need to do to become the guy throwing the party is to throw a party. Throw enough parties and you become that guy on a deeper level, a more permanent basis. Think of how people's professions and avocations become imprinted on their personality. The Marine Drill Sergeant, the kindergarten teacher, the mother, the surfer, the factory floor foreman, they weren't born with these personalities they were molded into them by assuming the role every day.

Think of it as the difference between buying a bag of chips and saying you won't eat them, versus choosing not to buy a bag of chips to begin with. One is a much easier use of will than the other.

So what circumstances can you create in your life to force sociality? To change how you interact with people? I have a couple random suggestions:

-- Are you American? If so, this is probably the middle of primary season in an off-off-year election in your state. This is a boring year around me: no governor, no legislative elections, no presidential election, just some local, school board, and county level stuff. This means that every election comes down to ground game, voter contact, and that no one gives a shit so they are desperate for interested volunteers and will take anyone. These groups are starved for volunteers, find someone you vaguely agree with* who is running for local office and get in touch with them and offer to work with them. Offer to knock on doors and speak to constituents about the candidate. For the most part even if you do a hilariously shitty job, the skin-in-the-game commitment of knocking on doors will have 75% of the value anyway for the candidate. And within a few days you will have your vibe down, your game down; you'll knock on the door and know exactly what to say when they open it.

-- Seek out a leadership/mentoring role. This can be in a work setting or in an avocational setting. I'm guessing here, but it sounds like you work in a technical white collar field in a junior role, you are talented but have no direct reports, no one is underneath you in the flow chart. This has accustomed you to a junior role, taking orders rather than giving them. You need to become accustomed to command. Volunteer to mentor new employees. Teach a class in something you know at a local community college or high school. Volunteer with the Boy Scouts or another youth org. Purely formal power, power with no meaning at all, will cause people (especially younger or dumber people) to automatically give you command, give you credibility and status, just find a way to get that title and you will start to learn how to use that power. When we think of the proverbial lost masculinity of our ancestors, a lot of it was wrapped up in the Great Chain of Being, even the serfs at the bottom of the pyramid ruled over their children and their animals. Right now you aren't used to giving orders, so it is unnatural, put yourself in circumstances where it is natural and you'll see a lot of social skills blossom.

-- Go to church. Piety is the single easiest valuable trait to fake your way through, where every other hobby has some buy in, churchgoers more or less have to be nice to you. Doesn't matter what church, just do it. Worst case ontario, Pascal's gamble right?

*Yeah yeah, all you extra special bois can chime in that there is no candidate who matches your views. I used to sympathize with this view, until I realized how much of it serves to substitute fantasy for action. If you wait until a movement appears that enacts your exact worldview, you'll never do anything, but the bright side is you'll never have to do anything.

I am now trying to decide whether I should redouble my efforts in this area (which is tiring and demoralizing) or essentially give up, and just live my life in the way that is natural to me: avoid talking to people whenever possible, one or two close friends excepted, never leave home except for work and necessary errands, and accept that I'll miss out on the benefits of human connection.

I have no good advice for getting to where you want, since I'm on the same journey. I would make a point about beginning or not though.

I guess what I'd ask you is to seriously - seriously - consider how tolerable you find your current life. Is this desire to improve just because you think it's something you should do or you legitimately feel some social deficit?

Cause, having been here, it was easy to write off improvement because I was "naturally" introverted (not really true: I was more extroverted when I was younger before certain events caused anxiety that made social interaction legitimately painful).

If you're anything like most people and do seriously miss those benefits indulging this line of thinking will do nothing but cost you more time. If you're prone to FOMO or the fact that you're aging past the acceptability of being a hermit/weirdo then it'll make the psychological burden you have to carry and the hill you have to climb even larger.

The desire for the benefits will never go away and you risk sinking into some purgatory or trying to redo all of this...except at 35.

I am temperamentally boring and don't really enjoy most activities people find fun, especially if they involve leaving the house. Books and movies are good enough for me.

I feel you. An annoying thing about the West is the icebreakers like "what makes you special" (which would seem dangerously narcissistic back home) or "what are your hobbies". I don't really consider "reading" (my main activity) a hobby which makes things more awkward for me.

It happened just yesterday at a work thing. I think I did a good job of brushing it off with humor but social retard so...

Depending on what books you’re reading, if I met you at the office I’d be super interested in having a conversation about that. I’m a big reader myself and know very few people in my life who read books consistently. People who talk about their passions (especially if their interests are similar to me such as books, golf, history, movies, theater) are almost always interesting to me.

I feel you. An annoying thing about the West is the icebreakers like "what makes you special" (which would seem dangerously narcissistic back home) or "what are your hobbies". I don't really consider "reading" (my main activity) a hobby which makes things more awkward for me.

Recently I've been saying "I'm looking for a new hobby in the city, what's something I should try?" It's still awkward and fake though. I wonder if it might be necessary to develop a normal "hobby", or at least learn enough to talk about it casually, just to make these moments go more smoothly.

I am now trying to decide whether I should redouble my efforts in this area (which is tiring and demoralizing) or essentially give up, and just live my life in the way that is natural to me: avoid talking to people whenever possible, one or two close friends excepted, never leave home except for work and necessary errands, and accept that I'll miss out on the benefits of human connection.

This is sad. You are not a normie, but you want to become one.

If you succeed, if you make it work, if you learn how to convincingly "pass" as a normie and fit into their society, it would mean living like undercover agent in enemy territory for the rest of your life, and for what "benefits" exactly? Pure monetary/career advancement ones?

if you learn how to convincingly "pass" as a normie and fit into their society, it would mean living like undercover agent in enemy territory for the rest of your life

Yes, this is what I am worried about: even if I manage to gain social skills, socializing might still be unpleasant. So my question is not only whether it's possible to gain social skills, but also whether it's possible to change one's personality to enjoy casual social connection.

for what "benefits" exactly? Pure monetary/career advancement ones?

Career, dating, friends, having a "tribe" (not in the political way). Also: developing my skills in things I'm passionate about (e.g., math, software, music). For a long time I thought my technical interests were chiefly solo activities until I met people smarter than me and observed how they bounced ideas off of each other and how fruitful social interaction can be. But being able to establish rapport with people seems necessary for this to work.

Please don’t listen to @Eetan. I faced a similar decision when younger and decided to become more charismatic and personable (talking about becoming a “normie” is dismissive and foolish language). That was the best decision I’ve made in my life.

I now have an incredible partner, a solid group of friends, and literally more activities and social events in my life than I can keep up with. I’m not trying to brag - I was suicidally depressed 12 years ago because of my lack of social success. It is absolutely possible, although difficult, to change your stars, but you’ll never stop wanting it.

As someone else mentioned, either work on it now or drop everything and work on it later at 35. Your choice.

I think much of the callousness toward "normie" behavior stems from a healthy desire to avoid some of the and common vices people indulge. But beyond that, what's more "normie" than exclaiming how un-normal you are? How many movies have you seen where the lesson is that conformity isn't suspect at best?Contrarianism is the fashion. Everybody's special.

I think, along a similar vein to your post, that maturing means moving past the silly idea that what's common is bad and that diversity in itself is some positive good. If anything, the opposite is probably true.

But I can see why a lot of people, especially those to whom social interaction is difficult, want to throw their hands up and declare the effort sour grapes. I think deep down there's a thrill in being an outcast, even if your exile is self-imposed. It's easier than cultivating relationships which lead to in-groups. Us introverts and socially awkward people have special incentive to take that path.

You need self esteem. You are worried about making mistakes socially because you beat yourself up when you make a mistake, so you are going into the situations feeling negatively about the results. People can sense your negativity, and react with uncertainty because they don't know why you're feeling hesitant or awkward, so react with hesitance and awkwardness in turn.

Think less about yourself. Think more about making the people you're around happy and comfortable, and less about how you feel.

People who are better at social skills than you are aren't smarter or better than you, they just don't beat themselves up if they make a mistake so they're more willing to put themselves out there and make mistakes. They also tend to think more about other people's emotions than their own.

Do you think this is a change that can be made at will?

Think more about making the people you're around happy and comfortable, and less about how you feel.

I'm not convinced this is what socially fluent people are doing most of the time. I know they do it sometimes, since I notice when they are trying to include me / make me feel comfortable, but most of the time they seem to be "performing" - telling a story, going on a fun rant, etc.

The ways I can think of to make people happy and comfortable are to

  • show interest in their life/hobbies/wellbeing - Asking lots of questions is my go-to, but I think it only gets you so far and eventually tires people out.

  • show "alignment" through emotional reactions - Recently someone told me about their serious health problems and I couldn't think of anything to say other than "that sucks" (which sounds wrong so I didn't say it and was just awkwardly silent). Later I heard the phrase "that's rough" which I think I'll use next time if I remember. Do you think it's worth learning stock phrases for different situations?

  • make jokes/banter - I think I'm not quick or witty enough for this

  • offer compliments - there are so many ways this can fail (too direct, too patronizing, too insincere, etc.), and I don't know if it's the best option for establishing rapport with other men

Are there other ways?

Do you think this is a change that can be made at will?

You build self esteem by making changes in your life to become more like the person you want to be and less like the person that you dislike in yourself. For me, I lost weight and took care of my body more and paid more attention to my appearance, and honed my other skills and hobbies outside of physical traits and built an inner dialogue of self respect and over time my self esteem seriously improved. It is a combination of material changes and mental ones, all done at will to improve my life.

If you are asking if thinking about others more is a change that can be made at will, it definitely is. Tell yourself that being too concerned about your own emotions is rude and selfish and that you should think more about other people in social situations. You are making people uncomfortable by being uncomfortable with them, so do your best to make them comfortable. It is rude to make people feel bad, but the answer isn't to withdraw from social situations altogether, because we all need to interact sometimes, for our own good and the good of everyone around us. You have a responsibility not to be a drag to everyone around you, otherwise you are bringing misery to the people around you for no reason. Accept that you have power as (I assume) a grown adult and accept this as a gift that you can help or hurt the people around you by the way that you act, and then act to improve the lives of others, because their lives collectively are more important than your personal comfort. It's immature to be so selfish that you are afraid of embarrassing yourself that you withhold your kindness and friendship from others.

most of the time they seem to be "performing"

People do this because they're uncomfortable in social situations and are running on a script. You're witnessing their self doubt and if you were better at making them comfortable they would rely less on these performances.

I think the most important advice I have is: don't project your personal insecurities onto other people. Do not seem snooty or ready to put people down. If someone likes something, do not tell them you dislike it, even if you don't like it. Try to listen to what it is they like about that thing. Be compassionate that other people have different experiences to you and try to find a common ground. Go into social situations with less self doubt and selfishness and you will find them more rewarding. Spend time with people you don't see as threatening if you need practice. Talk to children or people with mental handicaps or the elderly, people you do not feel inferior to, to get practice in showing kindness and compassion toward them. Then once you get used to talking with them, remember that everyone is equal and the people you are threatened by are no better than a kid or your grandma and you, too, are worthy of the same respect as everyone else.

The ways I can think of to make people happy and comfortable are to

is just to listen to them (or pretend to) and eagerly agree with everything they say. Most people are enamored of their own voices and are never tired of talking all the time if they can.


"Yes, KAREN"

"No, KAREN! This is horrible! How could STACY do this to her best friend? Tell me what happened next!"

"At will," no. I don't think there are trivial answers here, even though your problem is reasonably common. There are some approaches that work better than others, but a lot of this stuff is context-dependent, which is a serious pain if you have difficulties reading social context.

There's a Youtube channel that I like for this area called Charisma on Command. Yeah, a lot of the video titles are click-baity, but the substance of the channel is a pretty clear exploration of how to build positive social interactions, including when not to. A typical video takes a look at a particular celebrity/public figure, and explores exactly what behaviors project likeability, command respect, and maintain poise.

Often, advice in this area is open-ended, which leads to problems. For example, Chris Hemsworth is very tactile with his friends and coworkers, and is much loved by them. But he's universally tactile; it isn't targeted at one person in particular, which can get creepy fast. He's also sensitive to other people's comfort levels, and backs off smoothly. Touch is a great way to connect with other people, but there are failure modes, and it might not be your style. Keanu Reeves is another example of a beloved public figure, but one who is far more introverted.

Teasing humor can also be a great form of bonding, but only if you know where and how to use it appropriately. It's funny if you aim at someone's strengths, where he has actual confidence, and can shrug off teasing casually. It's hurtful if you aim at weaknesses. Conversely, a compliment will have much more impact if it's both honest and aimed at an area that isn't the other person's most obvious strength. A smart guy or a pretty girl can find someone to tell them "hey, you're smart/pretty" any time--this is expected and takes no insight. So compliment the smart guy on his tenacity for sticking with something that he found difficult, or the pretty girl for her compassion in volunteering at the senior center. Be careful: this can also be taken too far. You're aiming for "I paid attention and noticed this cool-but-not-obvious thing about you," not "I hacked your email/have drones following you/stole your diary."

Hope this helps, and good luck.

Yes, I've changed my personality quite a bit over the years. One other thing that I was very surprised by is just how much being jacked affords you social leeway. I've been losing weight recently, slowly revealing the muscles I've built over the past 8 years of gym training, and I can literally perceive the difference in social treatment that each additional 10lbs lost makes. I'm planning on writing a longer post on that once I get to where I want to be.

I've been lifting on and off for about 7 years, making slow and unsteady progress, but I'm still skinny by American standards and with a shirt on I look like I've never stepped foot in a gym. I'm aware of the things I need to work on, including consistency, diet, and sleep, but I don't know if I'll ever manage to do everything perfectly. The low reward/effort ratio is honestly frustrating. Do you think it would be worth getting on PEDs?

No, don't get on PEDs if you 'look like you've never stepped foot in a gym'. Not a fan of PEDs generally, you get some extra muscle in exchange for moderate but significant health risks, but they're pretty much pointless if you're still struggling with 'consistency, diet, sleep'.

Do you think it would be worth getting on PEDs?

It might be, if you estimate that increases in your social desirability would do more for your happiness than the decreases from possible steroid side-effects. If you start taking steroids, you better do a shit-ton of research first on endocrinology, maybe freeze your sperm before you do this if you really want kids later on (you can still have kids, but you need what's called a "post-cycle therapy" to make your body restart producing testosterone on your own). And be aware that once you start steroids, you're basically committing yourself to a lifetime of TRT. Be aware that you could get enlarged organs, really fucking bad acne on your body, small testicles, high blood pressure, weird mood swings, etc. But it still might be worth it for you.

I can attest that I’ve changed my personality significantly. It takes a lot of deep work though, I used psychedelics, meditation, therapy, and lots of studying philosophy and religion. It can be done but it has to come from significant, transformational experiences. It’s not a habit you can practice or force yourself into if you want deep change.

Also, it is worth it from where I’m standing. Good luck and Godspeed.

It’s not a habit you can practice or force yourself into if you want deep change.

I don't think this is true, really - you can just 'change your personality' by acting differently. That people usually don't is because their desires, knowledge, situation leads them to particular modes that they, at least locally, 'want' to stay in. If you're an "introvert" and start spending a lot of time on social stuff ... you're now an extravert. If you're an "extravert" and just decide to spend a lot of time reading, doing work, instead of being social ... now you're an introvert. I've done both for extended periods of time, and there wasn't any meditation or transformational experience necessary.

This depends on what you mean. I’ve found I can certainly act differently over a period of time and the act becomes easier, but without conscious effort/a good mental state I would revert to prior behaviors and modes.

The sort of change I’m talking about is on a deeper level and doesn’t require any mental upkeep so to speak.

How do I find groups that will introduce me to psychedelics safely?

Hmmm... this is pretty tough. You general want to trust people a lot before you do psychedelics with them. My strategy was to read a ton about psychedelics, books like this and reading trip reports on Erowid and other sites. Then I just tripped by myself and over time found others with similar inclinations.

I would also say Meetup is a good app to find curious, interesting people. Look for book clubs with heterodox views or similar groups.

Then I just tripped by myself

Did you need to know someone to get your hands on the stuff?

I did, but you don’t necessarily. You can order them from dark web markets, just Google Gwern’s discussion for a guide.

Alternatively if your risk tolerance is slightly higher, and the risk really is pretty small unless you’re reselling, you could go to a site like

I am interested in trying modafinil after reading Gwern's article. I am not able to obtain it illegally, so I am only left with getting a prescription.

Is there a suggested way to get a doctor to specifically prescribe me modafinil? It seems like going in and saying "I have X symptoms and want to be prescribed modafinil" is sketchy, while saying "I have X symptoms, can you prescribe me something" leaves it open to interpretation and possibly something other than modafinil. Are there online pharmacies I can visit?

(Apologies if I overlooked or misunderstood a rule.)

For illegal access, go here, click the "contact supplier" button, then tell the indian guy how much modafinil you'd like. You pay by sending money through Wise.

Aren’t you worried about opsec with this? Or do you think it don’t matter?

I don't think it matters as long as you don't buy really large quantities with the intention of selling them.

Good to know. I’ve been holding off on these purchases due to being too lazy to set up a VPN, learn hash encoding, tumble monero, set up Tails, etc. Maybe I’ll take the plunge.

Nerd-sniped: You don't need to tumble Monero, that's the whole point! Tumbling is built in.

Eh fine buying monero, same diff

I caught a cold last Thursday and am still unwell, so no gym for me. Bored sick at home, I decided to check my squat form, so I armed myself with a barbell broomstick and my phone's camera, and I am low-key sad now. Everyone says the bar path should be almost vertical, so its projection always crosses the arches of your feet, but I lean forward when I do the squat. I form-checked myself by squatting while facing a wall, and it looks like I'm not imagining things:

  • when I'm not careful, I give the wall a passionate smooch

  • when I'm careful, my back feels like it's being mauled by a bear chiropractor

Have any of you had to deal with leaning forward in a squat? What did you do to fix your form?

Unless you squat truly tiny amounts, your form with a broomstick and your form with your real 5RM weight will be completely different. Last time I tried squatting with a broomstick I fell backwards and couldn't go down to anything close to my usual depth. I'd suggest filming yourself again with your real working weight.

I squat 40-50kg, so not that much.

It sounds like you are high bar squatting? If you are and are trying to keep a more vertical torso, I often find that ankle dorsiflexion is the limiting factor for people. If your knees are farther forward your hips will be less far back, and therefor your torso will have to be less far forward. Ankle dorsiflexion is pretty easy to improve if you just hang out in the bottom of a body weight squat with your knees as far forward as you can put them for a few minutes a day. With good ankle dorsiflexion and front squats you can get a nearly vertical back and almost pure quad isolation if that's your goal.

My personal preference is for less forward knee travel, but necessarily your hips will have to move farther back and your torso will have to lean over more to compensate. Resting the bar in a low bar position moves the moment arm of the barbell back in this case, leaving a more vertical bar path. I've found mysquatmechanics to be pretty good if you want to visualize the paths given changes to constraints in joint angles, anthropometry, bar position, etc.

Yes, high bar squatting. I'm not even sure I can hold the bar on my rear delts, not enough mobility in my shoulders to pull the arms back and down.

What you want is specifically for your center of mass to stay balanced above the mid foot. This is not the same as having the barbell directly over the mid foot, although as the weight of the barbell becomes large compared to your bodyweight then that becomes a better and better approximation. Since you're just using a broomstick you will have to lean forwards to counterweight your hips moving backwards.

Do you still feel balanced over a constant spot on the mid foot even as you "smooch the wall"?

What you want is specifically for your center of mass to stay balanced above the mid foot.

Ah, that makes sense. But if my own weight is balanced above the mid foot when I squat bodyweight and the barbell is balanced above the mid foot when I put it on my traps, why should our centers of mass diverge? If anything, as the barbell gets heavier and I lean forward to squat, I should be using my hips more and more as a counterweight.

UPD: I played around with and I think I got it. Poor ankle flexion forces your squat to be hip-heavy, causing you to lean. The better the flexion, the more you can share the load between your quads and your hips. So it's either my ankles are too stiff (easy to check), or my quads are too weak.

Do a front squat. Mind that it's easier to get a better form with some weight rather than just a broomstick, the weight helps to align things.

I used the stick to lock my upper body in the right position.

Has anyone else here played Valheim? It’s a Viking themed survival/combat game, with a cool and relatively simple building system.

I got it at prodding from some friends, and am having a blast. My partner has even joined me and it’s easily the most fun game we’ve played together.

I thought I had lost the spirit of gaming since I haven’t really found a game I’ve loved in years - turns out I just wasn’t playing the right games. Valheim makes me feel like a kid again, it’s excellent. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a game.

Played it with my group before it dissolved due to kids. It was OK. Somewhat too grindy. We never made it far. I found it pretty, nice, but also a little too boring for my taste.

Fair! I actually love the grind for resources, I find it incredibly relaxing for some reason. Maybe you just didn't have enough grinders in your group.

Oh, we had a division of labor with two resource grinders and crafters. I focused on exploration. The fourth player, IIRC, mostly did hunting and cooking.

It was alright, but require more endurance in coordination and planning than we were regularly capable of.

I loved it (though I'd have said it was a building game first and a survival/combat game as the afterthought; perhaps I just wasn't pushing fast enough into harder zones to keep up a challenge). But in that genre my kids still prefer Minecraft and Don't Starve Together, so that's where we are again lately.

Good to hear! Yeah I think some of the appeal is that the game offers a lot of different paths for different people. My partner is more of a builder, I’m more into combat/progression, but the game blends them together extremely well.