Over-analyzing. That’s something I’m pretty sure we’ve all been guilty of, one way or another. Human beings are complicated. We can never be sure what people think, or what their behavior implies. We assume things, and sometimes we just put too much thought into it that the reasons we give get more and more absurd.
Why did she hold me by the wrist and not by the hand?; Why did she like my status then un-like it? Why does she take at least ten minutes to reply? Why is the smiley in front of the text?
I’m not even going to go into how psychology can be similar to these things. No doubt the analysis in our heads is affected by how we view people in general. I’ve talked to friends who have the biggest optimism on people, seeing the good in everybody; that kind of thing. When you talk to people like these, you’ll notice they tend to over-analyze in ways that they will give the most irrational reasons just to prove that the person meant no harm. Of course there’s the opposite, where a person can view people as mere manipulators trying to get their selfish ways. They would over-analyze in that they will always think that people are merely using them. These are extreme cases, but those in the middle of this spectrum are no different, unless you’re some outlier that simply doesn’t care about what others think or what their behavior means.
So why is the smiley in front of the text? Could it be that she was still thinking about how to answer properly so she put a smiley first? Could it be that I actually made her smile so she put it in first? Could it be that she didn’t like my text but she’s trying to be nice so she put a smiley in it immediately? Could it be that she wanted me to see the smiley immediately so that I’d smile too? So many possible reasons for a very simple thing. This isn’t my example by the way, just so you guys know.
It amazes me how people in movies or books, especially those that involve tactics or strategy, can easily predict people’s reactions. And they’re seldom wrong. Sure we know Sherlock Holmes, Tyrion Lannister, or some super duper expert psychologist, can easily predict behavior. The question is, how do they think? Do they over-analyze things? Or is it simply rock-paper-scissors for them?
I have nothing against ruminating over things. In fact, I am quite the fan of it. It’s just that sometimes it can be dangerous. I always thought the world would’ve been a better place if people wore their hearts out on their sleeves like I used to, but I realized that the truth hurts. The truth can be very ugly. Sometimes things are better left in the rumination stage, in the uncertain stage. Also, things tend to be more beautiful when they start out with uncertainty. Otherwise, they’d be boring. My favorite types of video games, for example, are the ones that aren’t linear, where decisions we make actually matter. There is uncertainty in it, you have to think about things, analyze things. Of course, you won’t see me over-analyzing a video game.
So I say there’s nothing wrong about over-analyzing. It’s actually good because it’s similar to critical thinking. It prepares you for all the possible causes and reactions. However, what actually matters is how you deal with this over-analysis. Because there is uncertainty in almost anything human-related, what we do after analyzing shouldn’t be based on this over-analysis of ours. Empirical data can be strong data. Don’t over-analyze a single incident. People make mistakes. People also grow up. People change. We should keep that in mind when we over-analyze things.
So don’t mind that smiley in front of the text. Just reply to her how you normally would and see what happens after. Keep calm and munch on!