Right Girl, Right Time, Wrong Context… Or Not?

The following is an attempt to be coherent at 3.45am. If the logic is fuzzy, the imagery abstruse and the conclusions bother on the insane, blame it on reading Malcolm Gladwell into the wee hours of the morning!

In response to my rant/ sobfest in March about losing my friend Di, LoloBloggs pointed me to a post in which she argued that the right girl, wrong time argument was merely an excuse to prime women up for the inevitable future break up. Whilst that may be true in some situations, in one of those not-so random brain waves, it crossed my mind that the rightness or wrongness of the argument was peripheral to the fact that it fit the observed data for a reason – it is pragmatic!  A further thought was a what-if, what if there exists a third dimension that when coupled with the right person and the right time serves as a useful predictor of how likely a person-connection is likely to proceed beyond the realms of casual acquaintance-ship? I would like to suggest that that third dimension is that of context.

Consider context as the sum total of the extraneous – if sometimes subtle – influences of the where and the how of the first meet-up on how we relate to the people in our social network in the future. This sounds like a fuzzy definition, but unfortunately the real world isn’t quite as pristine as that of Newtonian physics; as such we will have to make do with that definition for context.

In general people associate certain places with certain things and these perceptions colour how seriously we consider the people we meet there.  For instance, brothels are associated with quick and easy no explanations transactions, places of worship with ‘seriously’ religious people,  libraries –  and to a lesser extent these days classrooms with people of significant academic interests, the person who regularly listens to Opera and stage plays as possessing a certain refinement, the workplace with career focused people and the like.  The how of a meet-up is also of importance – I for one would be less likely to trust someone I know routinely fails to deliver on project deliverables than one who does – even if it has no bearing whatsoever on their personal lives. Thus I think context is critical.

There is a problem though with context and the associations that feed it. These associations are typically person specific – some blokes might be more likely to be close friends with someone they meet at a weed selling joint than one they met at church, fluid and ultimately subjective, and I doubt it is possible to accurately characterize these associations for the general population. Context whilst thus critical is thus coloured by our perceptions, which are in turn largely an acquired taste.

Perhaps, people connections are designed to be fuzzy and mysterious. After all the question of what constitutes the right girl or man is open to a myriad of definitions and counter definitions. Some would even argue that is an abstraction, spawned by the endless bombardment of our hearts and minds from childhood with the drivel served up by the likes of Hans Christian Anderson, Enid Blyton, the Brothers Grimm, the Pacesetters for our African children and in our latter years by the wide range of chic flicks portending to convince us that there is The ONE out there. Thankfully, the question of the right timing is a little less convoluted, but that does not in any way make the entire problem less of a probabilistic nightmare.

Context then is of utmost criticality and is subjective – neither right nor wrong- just different. The critical question then would be could we as individuals know our own ideal context, or is it locked in the deep recesses of our subconscious minds? Gladwell quotes various experiments in Blink that seem to suggest that there is both a conscious and a subconscious dimension to the dilemma. The most poignant one would be the speed-dating example.  Bottom line is when we meet people, we thin slice them and ‘what speed-daters say they want and what they are actually attracted to in a moment don’t match’. Perhaps there is a reason I patently distrust  e-harmony after all and why I junked my spreadsheet after all those years.

In conclusion, Context is critical, but subjective and part concious, part unconscious! My advice? Get your love on anyway!

21 thoughts on “Right Girl, Right Time, Wrong Context… Or Not?

  1. SO it's the right person and the right time but yet we know "something" without knowing why (i think this plays as unconscious)and then this "something" is what makes the relationship not work. I'm assuming that this "something" might be your context in this theory?

    I think i just gave myself a headache but this concept works in my head. Hope you managed to get enough sleep for the energy you need for the rest of your day! Have a good one.


  2. Context is part of the 'excuse'. Ofcourse it's all subjective and maybe, what if and who knows, but the issue is still the priming. A man can make up his mind it's the wrong time (or context) and that could be it. No right girl could possibly turn up, cue 'it's not you it's me' etc etc etc.

    Who knows who the real one may be? Or if there is only one even? All the wrong time/wrong context guys out there could be missing out big time!

    Clearly this issue is keeping you up at night! lol!


  3. @Gochi — I managed to.. Eventually… It works in my head too..
    @LoloBloggs — Hmm.. It's not just a guy thing though… I think its a people thing…. I've known both guys and girls who use the context excuse..
    @HYAW — Maybe there is no right time per se?


  4. Oga RustGeek, na wa o. This post is indeed very hard 2 undastand. But I ll read it again and try to make somethung out of it.


  5. Nna men, this reads like something out of a textbook lol.

    I'm confused. Are you saying [and i might be totally off]–My perception of a person is based on the context in which i 'think of/see' the person? Kinda like how you would have to understand the context in which a word is used to get the true meaning of a word? So right girl/right time but something as 'fuzzy' as where or how they met can mess things up??

    I just confused myself some more…lemme go eat turkey. I'll be back lol

    I do agree with "The how of a meet-up is also of importance" tho'


  6. I pray that one day, one day thou shalt not scatter our heads with thine grammar.

    I can see you were really ’ trying to be coherent at 3:45am’…..I am wondering what Malcom did with your head.
    Hope you got some sleep sha?

    This might seem like a shallow train of thought, but I would like to say that …..if there should exist ( and I do believe it exist) a third dimension that could assure/influence the positive outcome of all the right girl-right time/right girl-wrong time, it has to be the G-factor, I mean God.

    I understand your argument for context, and it makes sense, but at the end of the day, what is the context?.
    Like you said, “There is a problem though with context and the associations that feed it”
    The same right or wrong person determines in what context they are reading a situation. It is also subjective..

    To make life easier ……for me whether a relationship would progress up or down, right or left …….God only knows!
    I gat to run before I start getting things all muddled up again,….I feel like I am in a philosophy class or something


  7. Context really is critical, same as the context with which you decide to take someone's words…You badddddd girl could mean different things in different context.
    But you are right, the important thing is to get the love on…


  8. Went back to the archives and saw a little more of you. Interesting debate when you take Lolobloggs points into consideration. Foe some people the reasons stand for others, it's just a facade either for truth or to deceive.


  9. Jesu Christi! I didn't understand a word of what u wrote, Danny. Too much torenchi!!!! I was even hoping to understand a bit more from d commentators, but i see all of una go de same grammer school! but sha, make i attempt 2 decipher wetin d koko be here. r u saying dat something 'it's not u, it's me' excuse no be lie? as in, true true, d guy for continue in d relationship even marry d babe if say dem meet 4 another time in him life?????? I no fit agree wit dat kain argument oh. wot makes a person right is as much their attributes as d timing. @ 18, i definitely for no dey plan to keep a serious relationship cos i wan play d field 2 my heart's fill. Any correct bobo wey come dat time dey yarn marriage for no get my attention. So therefore, for me, bobo na Mr Wrong! I will jejely advise him to try again later in 5 years time. But sha, i know myself. In 5 times, wot defines as correct bobo for me will change. So bobo wey correct for 1998 no go qualify for 2003. Bottom-line: for me, dude na Mr Wrong, simple. No need sugar-coating it 4 his self-esteem booster joo


  10. You know what I love?
    When all of the brilliant ideas, all of the well laid plans of singles and the desperate, dissolve in the face of the one showing up on our doorstep one day and blowing us out of the water….suddenly there is very little thought and a whole lotta relishing splashing in the refreshing waters of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Thank a ya the Jesus!
    hee hee


  11. @Leggy — hmm.. glad you get the point… I'll not be dogmatic about the truth of it though…
    @Sagacious J — LOL.. Please do..
    @Neefemi — I suspect I'm right.. If all the people I talk to know what they are sayinng.
    @Repressed One — LOL.. Trust you didn't burn the turkey with thinking…
    @Olufuke — LOL.. Of course God knows… I'm just musing – pondering if its possible to infer purely from what is visible..


  12. @Afrobabe — Yup. Said it better than I did..
    @Myne Whitman — LOL.. True that.. Perhaps all that is implicit in the context..
    @Miss definitely maybe — LOL.. Guess we can just love any ways.. All them theories can never capture the nuances involved..
    @FFF — LOL.. YOur comment cracked me up totally.. I think I need to practice my pidgin english a lil' bit more o…
    @Speesh — LOL.. True.. Perhaps the danger is we don't know when it is purely a ruse, or when it is more serious..


  13. @Kat — LOL.. At its most pristine, you hit it on the head — Just love anyways..
    @Kafo — LOL… Take it easy o..
    @All — LOL.. Some of your comments just cracked me up.. I did not mean to assess the rightness or wrongness of the excuses.. Just wondering if its something we can understand..


  14. RustGeek you know what? I think you're a really deep guy!
    I had to take my time to re-read this post so that I could grasp the 'context' of what you were trying to say. lol!

    Anyway, 'context' or not, human beings see the world – People, problems, situations etc as they really are! As in, we judge situations and people based on perceptions that are drawn from who we are inside.

    So the 'context' in my own opinion when it comes to person-connections is highly dependent on the individuals involved.

    Whether this is steeped in our conscious or sub-conscious, I don't know but people will connect with others when they see in them certain things that align with their internal perceptions.

    If I didn't make sense don't worry, I probably don't even know what I'm talking about. Hehehe!!


  15. This sounds like a trick math question where the prof throws in a variable that really doesn’t add or take away from the equation. Its just there to confuse you.

    Yea…context is just that. A tricky, useless variable.


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