Ask Surly Amy: Alt Med Boyfriend

Ask Surly Amy

Dear Surly Amy,

I am a fresh high school graduate going for medical school as fast as money will allow. My friend is quite into crystal therapy and most alternative “medicine”. Being that I quite fancy him, I try to play nice on the issue but what happens if he gets seriously ill? It’s really hard to fancy a corpse. Should I keep on him about why crystal therapy is not supported by any real science or let him be and see if I can have a relationship while avoiding the crystal elephant in the room? I am so torn on the issue because dead friends/boyfriends can be such a bore.

Thank you,
-George Rogers

Dear George,

Perhaps you can convince your friend to help you with your homework and help you study for medical school exams. Then you will have a chance to spend some romantic time with him while sharing information that isn’t just you telling him he is wrong. As I have mentioned before it is much more effective to help a person along the path of learning by asking questions and sharing facts in a non argumentative way. Maybe invite your friend to spend time with you with other med school students or invite him to sit in on a relevant lecture at your school or at a skeptic event. It will come across in a much kinder way if you can help him learn some facts about science and medicine by what he assumes are his own discoveries. Share what you are learning in an exiting and positive way and perhaps he will want to learn as well.

And if that fails to open his eyes on the topics, I would find someone else to fancy. There are plenty of fish in the sea and life is WAY too short to waste your precious time on someone who thinks shiny rocks hold the power to heal. Besides, why tie yourself down when you are just entering med school? First of all, you are going to be really busy with schooling and second of all, being a med student means you are a CATCH! ;)

Surly Amy

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Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. Vaguely related anecdote: I worked in the museum shop of the Natural History Museum in Stockholm, and we sold various nice little polished rocks. Sometimes people would ask me one of two questions: What sign (or month) a certain rock was associated with, or what they’re “good for”.

    I would proceed to tell them this was a Natural History museum and if they wanted the answers to that kind of question they’d have to head to the various crystal shops in Old Town; but I COULD (and did) explain how the minerals had formed. Oddly enough they never seemed disappointed with the truth, and I doubt our sales dropped. Maybe George’s friend could be nudged into taking an interest in geology?

    (Although there was this one time this woman came in who’d written a huge glossy book on the various amazing properties of minerals and wanted us to sell it … those are the times you’re happy to call the manager…)

  2. Thank you very much for the reply!

    This is something I had never really thought about before and it is kind of embarrassing because I am always going on about the goal being to show people the truth and not convince them of it. x)

    Thank you again!

  3. If the sex is so good that it is worth putting up with the new age rubbish, take out a life insurance policy on him with you as the beneficiary.

    If the sex is not so good, what is interesting enough to overcome two huge impediments to reason?

  4. From my perspective, her dilemma really isn’t a ‘dilemma’ at all. She can try to change his views, but…

    If she’s really interested in a long term relationship, his “woo views” would be a deal killer (at least for me). IMHO, a couple’s world views need to be at least similar for a relationship to survive and grow.

    I know there are some couples that can make such differences work, but with as many fish as there are in the sea, does she really want to commit to someone with such divergent views? I would suggest she at least think twice.

    The point of a relationship isn’t to “change” the other person into a “better” version. I’ve seen too many relationships founder on the words, “But I thought I could change him/her…”
    No, you can’t. Only they can change themselves.

  5. @QuestionAuthority: A very valid point – but, at least based on his name, the letter-writer is a dude. :-)

    I’ll admit, I’m terrible at dealing with this kind of situation. I get horrible SIWOTI, and I get it even worse in real life around people I know. So usually, in the interest of keeping the peace, I just keep my mouth tightly shut. I’ve started speaking out a little bit more, trying VERY HARD to do so gently, because I want to be an advocate for good science and critical thinking, but it’s difficult to find a balance between pushover and dick. So I think this is good advice for all of us with loved ones who have woo-y tendencies.

    That said, I can tell the letter-writer right now that a relationship with this guy, with his present worldview, is gonna result in a lot of fights down the road. So, you know, be realistic about it and don’t force things.

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