Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (my interview with him) did a fantastic job troll-baiting the blogosphere this week with a post titled: How to Test Drive Friends and Irritate People
In the post, Ferris talks about that along with streamlining our work and lifestyle we could also manipulate our friends or potential friends into stressful situations in order to see their true colors:
Adversity doesn’t primarily build character—it reveals it. Therefore, by putting someone under pressure or in a manufactured adverse situation, you can pull back the covers and get a glimpse of what’s in store a few weeks or months down the line.
He then proceeds to give example situations where you might put current or potential buddies so you can see if they are worthy of your friendship – such as:
Take them somewhere extremely crowded where they’ll be inadvertently bumped, preferably where they are exposed to people of different races and of lower socio-economic classes. Large outdoor markets are good, as are subways during rush hour. (Testing: biases against specific races and social classes, which are usually fast to emerge after there is any physical contact.)
I think this is really a guide to being a complete douche-lord twunty asshole to people before you deign to meet with them. Seem very stuck-up and classist to me – kinda like fraternity hazing (the bad kind). That people aren’t worthy of spending time with you until you’ve tested their loyalty or their ability to perform under stress. It isn’t like they are going to be your employees.
Gawker.com picked up the post and comments included:
What a genius strategy, Tim! Except that it presupposes that everyone you’re “testing” not only is willing to jump through hoops in order to be friends with special special you, but also that they deserve to be forced to!
and other things to test:
72. Put them in your cellar and tell them to put the lotion on the skin (testing: whether they are as sociopathic as you are, also: if they would make a good partner for a lady-wearing spree)
243. Try to have him Hollaback. (testing: whether he is Gwen Stefani)
Spillover into Metafilter:
Smarmy flippant asshole, he doesn’t want well rounded reasonable people for friends, he wants people he can mooch off of and boss around. Anyone who tries to convince me to ““jostle” the lower classes” can find their own ride home and won’t get a second chance.
Of course after Ferris got his incoming clicks and linkage he added:
There have been some very strong comments on this post! Could it be that I’m using this entire post to see how people respond to a controversial viewpoint? Hmmm…
Now I think that is a great example of somebody being totally passive-aggressive: trolling with inflammatory linkbait and then once you get some comments (and attention) saying that maybe you’re just saying things to get a reaction.
Some of my best traffic ever for my personal blog was when I called out a racist asshole for making inaccurate blanket statements about Islam and ended up with four conservative blogs flaming me – but I really believed what I posted.
I’m all for poking the dragon, but don’t back track on what you said. I’ve seen other bloggers do this where they make strong statements and then try the Eminem defense: I’m not really a dick, that was just me being my persona.
Tim’s got a great book but this is a bit much. Are you that busy that you need to haze your friends before you allow them to get close to you?