Information finishes last: Why we get stuck with people who aren't compatible with us

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It takes time to gather data points about someone to know if they are a good fit for you. Information-foraging is a slow, time-consuming process that takes conscious effort. Are they a dog person or a cat person? Are they annoyingly avoidant of conflict or annoyingly confrontational about it? Do they have dead hookers in the trunk of their car? The answers to these questions don't come easily or early-on, which is why we spend time and effort intentionally seeking them out. This is the job of the Data Turtle.


The Data Turtle is that trusty stenographer on the sideline of your brain—scanning for abnormalities, logging actions, and analyzing intentions to piece together a complete picture of the person you are getting to know. He does the important work of listening and observing over time to determine a fit. He is slow.

Meanwhile, on the back-end, our less-bright lizard brains have a different agenda. Meet the Impulse Hare.


The Impulse Hare operates in the background, away from the discerning gaze of the Data Turtle and your better judgment. He covertly hoards empty attachment to people you like with each new encounter, trying to trick you into propagating the human species with anyone who meets some baseline standards. Impulse Hare is responsible for the 3am drunk text to that girl who ghosted you or that guy you don't even really like. Fuck you Impulse Hare.


Unfortunately, subconscious attachment develops at a faster rate than our conscious data-gathering efforts. And to exacerbate the issue, you can bet that the person you are trying to learn about is spending just as much energy trying to hide their crazy as Data Turtle is trying to unearth it. And barring fairytale endings, it is the rule—not the exception—that the hare beats the turtle.