Sunday, December 23, 2018

“The” four

I’m enough of a snoot to be dismayed when I see the following headline in The New York Times: “The Four ‘Attachment Styles,’ and How They Sabotage Your Work-Life Balance.” I’m less put off by the cliché at the end than by the magic number at the start. The four, the only four. “The” four might be more honest.

But I read on. And for a sentence or two, I thought I could see a sitting president in the description of “dismissive avoidant attachment”:

Individuals with dismissive avoidant attachment at work tend to think they are smart and everyone else is stupid. Well, maybe not exactly stupid, but definitely not as smart as they are. They most likely decide what they should do and then ignore what others want. This leads to conflict and mistrust. This mistrust can lead to others attempting to micromanage and monitor them, which just makes them more annoyed and more likely to dismiss input.
That sounds like President Dunning-Kruger himself. (The Times reports that he calls aides “Fucking idiots!”)

I read on, about “How to tell if this is you”:
From your perspective, the biggest time management issue tends to be working late. Long hours usually arise when you get fixated on doing a particular project really well. Or they can happen because you want to work on what you consider to be important first and then you also have to complete work for others.
Working long hours? Completing work for others? Only if you count watching television and being your own chief of staff.

I jumped back a few paragraphs, and now thought that our president might fit the description of “anxious preoccupied attachment”: “fear of upsetting others,” “a compulsion to check email [or in his case, Fox News] incessantly to make sure everything is ‘O.K.,’” “attention . . . hijacked whenever you experience a perceived ‘threat.’” And: “The idea of saying no may terrify you.” But the president seems to have no problem saying no to reading daily intelligence briefings, &c.

I jumped ahead and decided that one can also see in the president an element of “fearful avoidant attachment”:
You tend to spend most of your time in a state of being overwhelmed because you fear everything and feel very little power to do anything about your fears (much less the work that is also piling up).
Fear of an eleven-letter word beginning with i, for instance.

And one can find in the president at least a trace of the fourth and last style, “secure attachment style.” People with this style “know [think?] they are capable, and they are confident that others will respond well to them.” That certainly sounds like our president: “Nobody knows more about,” &c. “I alone can fix it.” “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?”

In other words, people can be slotted into “the” four or five or six anything, one slot per person, only if you’re looking to attract eyeballs on the Internets.

It doesn’t surprise me that Elizabeth Grace Saunders, the discoverer of “the” four, also has “the” three, in book form: The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment.

This is one of the two posts I’ve written today.

One related post
Beyond categories (On categories and art)

[Secrets to, not of? Well, I said that I’m a snoot. ]

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