Ask Me Anything

Below are questions that have been submitted for me to answer. Logged in members can upvote any question by clicking the up arrow next to it. Every few months I’ll pick some of the most upvoted questions (as well as some other questions I think are particularly good) and answer them in one of my Ask Me Anything videos.

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116

What the fuck is chemistry?

I know there's a lot written about compatibility, but can you go into more detail about chemistry? Why do we instinctively connect (both platonically and romantically) with some people and not at all with others, for… (Show more)

I know there's a lot written about compatibility, but can you go into more detail about chemistry? Why do we instinctively connect (both platonically and romantically) with some people and not at all with others, for better or worse?

Chemistry feels like an enigma and I was wondering if you could go through the invisible matchmaker known as chemistry.

105

How do I prevent and deal with regret.

I guess half my life has gone by right now, and I feel sorry for opportunities I've missed and decisions I've taken. How can one deal with such. I don't want to become or stay bitter.

83

What is a best friend?

I feel like in today’s society the term “best friend” is thrown around so casually so I wanted to hear your thoughts more on the topic and how you know if someone is your best friend… (Show more)

I feel like in today’s society the term “best friend” is thrown around so casually so I wanted to hear your thoughts more on the topic and how you know if someone is your best friend and distinguishing that and a close friend. I found your article on the five different types of relationships with people/friendships very interesting and just wanted to understand your views on friendships more.

78

I want to be less focused on certain physical aspects of my girlfriend

My GF had double a mastectomy, the surgeon botched the reconstructive surgery, the nipple did not survive on either breast, both implants are fucked up with a lot of scaring, doesn't look to pretty. Everything about… (Show more)

My GF had double a mastectomy, the surgeon botched the reconstructive surgery, the nipple did not survive on either breast, both implants are fucked up with a lot of scaring, doesn't look to pretty. Everything about this woman is amazing, but I find myself obsessing over what she doesn't have, those were my favorite parts if you know what I mean. I feel like a shallow, lame person.

75

Are there insecurities/anxieties from your past that you still wrestle with today?

You've been very open about stuff that you've had to work through. Sexual anxiety, avoidant attachment, apathy as a defense mechanism, etc... I think your readers (or at least this one) would benefit from knowing if… (Show more)

You've been very open about stuff that you've had to work through. Sexual anxiety, avoidant attachment, apathy as a defense mechanism, etc...

I think your readers (or at least this one) would benefit from knowing if you still struggle with old patterns. When I get in a rut I find that I have to go back, work through the issue again, hopefully come out the other side a bit quicker than I did the time before, and that is progress.

Do you find there are specific insecurities/anxieties you are still prone to fall into? Or have you worked through it enough to where they are no longer issues.

73

What advice could you give to someone trying to give up binge eating?

Hi Mark. I've been wanting to write to you about this for a while. Thank you for the opportunity! I've read your post about the boy who lost huge amount of weight and also your post… (Show more)

Hi Mark. I've been wanting to write to you about this for a while. Thank you for the opportunity! I've read your post about the boy who lost huge amount of weight and also your post on how you quit smoking. I find these very inspiring and relatable. I began binge eating years ago and even though I try to break the cycle, I still do it. Feeling anxious and having the urge, the overeating, the horrible effects from this including guilt and gaining weight and then realising this has to stop. Then trying to loose this weight, be healthy and not sucumbe to the urges. I guess my question is, what advice could you give me and people that seem to be in this specific cycle with food? Why can't I stop it??
Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome. There are other things I wanted to ask but I've upvoted similar ones to the ones I had in mind.
Looking forward to your video,
Best wishes
Gaby
From Oxford

68

How do you decide which battles are worth fighting?

62

What is your opinion on human existence that lasts about a "blink of an eye" metaphorically speaking on a tiny rock in a massive universe(assuming you hold no religious belief)?

Life in the universe appears to be an "accident" and at some point in the future no-one will know we were ever here - so what's the point of anything(sorry for sounding morbid),probably think too much… (Show more)

Life in the universe appears to be an "accident" and at some point in the future no-one will know we were ever here - so what's the point of anything(sorry for sounding morbid),probably think too much about shit like this!

59

Why do I fear having friends in different circles meet each other?

It would be far simpler to have most of my friends in their mid to late twenties come to events that I'm interested, and yet I find myself trying to come up with the perfect cocktail… (Show more)

It would be far simpler to have most of my friends in their mid to late twenties come to events that I'm interested, and yet I find myself trying to come up with the perfect cocktail of who will get along with who. How do I relinquish this social control and lean into the fact that some friends could potentially not get along, and not see this as a reflection of their thoughts about me?

58

What are some tips/advice to help overcome intellectualization?

You mentioned intellectualization in one of your past videos which made me realize that is something I do.. in almost every aspect of my life.. so I started to research it. In the video you had… (Show more)

You mentioned intellectualization in one of your past videos which made me realize that is something I do.. in almost every aspect of my life.. so I started to research it. In the video you had said the best thing to do is to stop so I researched how to stop... see what I mean?

50

How to secelect the right non fiction books for me to read?

There are of course several options like some ranking sites etc. But still, also crapy books may score pretty high in those. So I would like to ask how and where to look for books which… (Show more)

There are of course several options like some ranking sites etc. But still, also crapy books may score pretty high in those. So I would like to ask how and where to look for books which may give me the most value? And what is your attitude to summerize them for database? Do you take notes while reading, or do you sum them up in the end? Some tips on this topic?

50

What are things that I can do to show myself love?

I find that my neediness comes from my lack of self love so I need to find it from another person. So how do I fill that gap within myself.

46

Is striving for perfectionism self-defeating?

Whenever I commit to doing something that would benefit me and my life, be it eliminating bad habits, a change in diet, working out, etc. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to doing… (Show more)

Whenever I commit to doing something that would benefit me and my life, be it eliminating bad habits, a change in diet, working out, etc. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to doing things right, without fail.

'I can't miss my workout today, no matter what'

'I have to eat only specific types of food everyday and not go over my calorie limit'

'I need to wake up everyday at 5:30AM without fail'

These are just some examples of what goes on in my head, but it goes for everything I set my sights on.

This need to do things right and to not skip new habits takes a lot out of me. It takes a lot of discipline and willpower to stick with it, and ultimately, I end up failing to meet my own standards, which results in me feeling bad and reverting back to old habits.

My brother keeps telling me 'These are just made-up rules in your head. You don't need to attain perfection. These self-imposed rules only hurt your progress at anything you want to achieve.'

I know the answer is that perfectionism is a made-up ideal in our heads and nobody can attain it, and that it's okay to fail, but I'd really love for you to give a detailed answer on how to overcome the tendency to want to be perfect all the time whilst trying to build new habits and eliminating old ones.

Thank you.

43

Can chemistry be created?

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings… (Show more)

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings and married for security and companionship. Over the years I have grown and matured to a point where I can now see that my husband and I have compatibility but no chemistry. I know I want more intamacy, sex, and excitement in my life. I don't know if this is something that can be created between us or if it's time to let go so we can experience that with someone else.

42

What is the best thing that I can do for my 10 -year old kid today?

When I was a kid (in 70s and 80s) the recipe for raising kids to build themselves a meaningful life was to study hard in the school, get into a university, land in a stable well… (Show more)

When I was a kid (in 70s and 80s) the recipe for raising kids to build themselves a meaningful life was to study hard in the school, get into a university, land in a stable well paid job and family life. What is the best recipe for raising today's kids and 2030 adults?

41

With everything you've accomplished in your life, would you say you've found happiness?

40

How do you know if you've written something good?

I want to be a writer but whenever I produce something I end up feeling like it's terrible. We submitted some creating writings in my class at Uni and I specifically asked the professor to comment… (Show more)

I want to be a writer but whenever I produce something I end up feeling like it's terrible. We submitted some creating writings in my class at Uni and I specifically asked the professor to comment on mine but he didn't respond. I know he's said earlier that you should try to get something published somewhere and that's how you know - but that seems like such a huge step, especially if you don't believe in your ability to do what you're doing (yet).

38

Mark, what's a day in the life of a writer like for you?

I'm curious about what the day-to-day of a writer is like (i.e. how you structure your working hours, what your setup is like, who you meet and collaborate with, etc.) My guess is your routine is… (Show more)

I'm curious about what the day-to-day of a writer is like (i.e. how you structure your working hours, what your setup is like, who you meet and collaborate with, etc.) My guess is your routine is a bit atypical, at least compared to that of the average working person in the US, and you don't subscribe to a M-F, 9-5 routine where you have people to report to, deadlines to meet, etc. Thanks for sharing!

37

Is dating harder for guys than for women?

I have this impression that when it comes to dating, guys have to put a lot more effort in the process, such as reaching up, taking the first step, setting meetings, and so on. For example,… (Show more)

I have this impression that when it comes to dating, guys have to put a lot more effort in the process, such as reaching up, taking the first step, setting meetings, and so on. For example, if on one hand when my female friends quit a relationship they have tons of guys reach to them (sometimes in the same day!) I cannot tell such thing of my guy friends.

What are your thoughts on this subject? As I am a guy with basically no experience in dating, I wonder if this is an accurate analysis or there's some part of the proccess which is worst to women, which I don't see.

36

How do I learn to cope with feeling severely embarrassed? I'm a college student and when something embarrassing happens to me I shut down and feel awful about myself and over think everything.

I shut down when something embarrassing happens. It usually ends up with me crying and becoming even more self conscious. I know low self esteem has a lot to do with it, but I would love a suggested coping method.

36

What exactly is compatibility?

You've written about compatibility a lot, but mainly about the fact that it is important for a fulfilling relationship. So I've understood that "Love Is Not Enough", but which areas does compatibility include? Sorry for asking… (Show more)

You've written about compatibility a lot, but mainly about the fact that it is important for a fulfilling relationship. So I've understood that "Love Is Not Enough", but which areas does compatibility include?
Sorry for asking again, but your answer in the last AMA was rather short and I am interested in a more in-depth answer, because your concept opened a new way of dealing with relationships. :)

35

Do you believe exes can be friends?

Why or why not?

33

How do you get over the shame/guilt/embarrassment of shitty things you've done in your past?

I was a shitty person for several years of my life. I drank too much, got arrested a few times, pushed away all the positive people in my life and filled it with extremely toxic relationships.… (Show more)

I was a shitty person for several years of my life. I drank too much, got arrested a few times, pushed away all the positive people in my life and filled it with extremely toxic relationships. My life is completely different now. I have a beautiful family, good job, and an overall happy existence. No one in my life shames me for my past but I constantly find myself thinking about how awful I used to be. How do I let my self destructive past go and enjoy my life as it is now?

33

When to intervene?

We all witness things that we believe to be wrong — you see a man yelling at his girlfriend on the street, someone verbally assaults someone for speaking a different language, a frustrated mother slaps her… (Show more)

We all witness things that we believe to be wrong — you see a man yelling at his girlfriend on the street, someone verbally assaults someone for speaking a different language, a frustrated mother slaps her child, etc. All of those examples are clear — we all probably think we'd step in and stand up for the victim. My question is about when the line is not so clear... My sister, for instance, is in a crap marriage due in large part to some deep self-esteem issues which manifest into very controlling, un-empathetic behavior. My stance to-date has been, "It's her life; leave it alone; you can't change her anyway." But now they are thinking about having a child, and I think *both* of them are not at all healthy enough — neither as individuals nor as a couple — to raise a child. My thinking has morphed into, "You can fuck up your own lives all you want, but don't bring an innocent kid into your shitshow." Do I have any responsibility to say something?

31

How would you define healthy or normal insecurities?

I believe everyone has some insecurities or fears. I do not think they should consume you, but to what extent would it make you a toxic or an unhealthy person?

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