LinkedinTwitterThe DetailsConnectBlog Facebook Meet the TherapistHome For Writers

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dear Jeannie: Time Travel and Emotional Intelligence

Dear Jeannie,
Byron met his future wife when she was on a time-traveling spree. He met the "real" younger version of her later that year in school. He became friends with her easily, but who he really wants is the adult version of her. The story hinges on Byron not pursuing a relationship with her when they first meet, but is that believable? Is it further believable that Byron would make decisions/assumptions about his future based on wanting to meet the woman again? Given the choice, for example, between a financially sound job offer and a government job he wouldn't like as much (but would put him in close proximity to the girl/woman), would a man let "what if?" be more important that "what now?" 

Over-Dramatic in Darlington 

Dear Over-Dramatic,

What kind of man is Byron? Is he ruled by his heart or his head? Is he romantic or practical? Type A or B? Depending on these answers, he would either pursue her with passion waiting for her to blossom into the "adult version" of herself, or he'll rationalize his involvement with her away (i.e., too many variables could shake up the ultimate outcome). If he's totally snowed by the adult version, I'd think he'd grit and bear it (even though he does like the younger version) and hold out, waiting for her to morph. He'd also take that job he doesn't want so much so that he could be near her...if he's ruled by his heart. That image of her adult self will motivate him to do things he normally wouldn't do. Maybe not what you wanted to hear, but he would be looking for that spark he saw to confirm his actions. In Back to the Future, Marty McFly wanted to make sure that his mom and dad ended up together, and everything had to line up exactly right for that to happen. Depending on your sci-fi version, could something in the present affect how she winds up in the future? Your third question was a bit convoluted to answer in this column, but his perception of Marty McFly's concerns makes a huge impact on the answer. Thanks for writing in!

Dear Jeannie,
Helen had a retired, eccentric crusader for a father, who made sure she was well-educated in a time when many women couldn't read. But now he is gone, and her young step-mother has ambitions for her own children. Book-smart is not the same as people-smart, though, and neither has much to do with land management. Both Helen and her step-mother need the crusader's lands for their plans--the step-mother for the cash to fund her goals, and Helen to take back her lands/people. Since Helen has grown up with her head in the clouds, she is woefully unprepared for both her duties and her step-mother's manipulation. How can she build her "intelligence quota" so that she can successfully cope with this conflict? Is that even possible? There's an odd mix of idealism and prejudice in her background that don't auger well for a well-balanced adulthood.
See-Saw in Santee

Dear See-Saw,

I believe that you are referring to Helen's emotional quotient rather than her intelligence quotient. She lacks emotional intelligence (EI), given that her studies centered on book knowledge. Unfortunately, EI has to be learned. If her father didn't teach her, then she'll have to learn by doing...and fall flat on her face when she naively trusts someone to do what's in her best interest, or doesn't follow-up on something she should have. She seems destined for the school of hard knocks, and that's okay. She'll have to learn from her mistakes. EI is about identifying, assessing, and controlling (sometimes) the emotions of yourself, others and groups. Emotions are in the people realm of things. However, with some tutelage, she might be able to pick up on some of these basic people skills through her reading. I think of reading books to my young clients...I have them identify emotions the characters have and try to have them identify when they have felt the same. Learning to read people like this, and understanding the push-pull of emotional interactions, is a valuable trait to have. Best of luck!


Maybe I have some answers! Leave your comment anonymously below, using monikers like Sleepless in Seattle. I'll post my answers in future Dear Jeannie columns.