Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Young adults who "lie flat" also see romantic relationships as unnecessary (psypost.org)
29 points by amichail 12 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

I’m one of these people. I think romantic relationships are extremely important for pragmatic reasons (housing affordability, having children, as a safety net, etc) but I choose not to date because I don’t know how to find anyone I actually like. I don’t understand how people get into relationships without treating dating like a job search.

“Just put yourself out there”, “you’re overthinking it - a relationship will come when you least expect it”

But what if that doesn’t work? I’m pretty sure eventually I’ll need to settle for whatever I can get and try to make things work out like it’s an arranged marriage

I’m almost 30 years old and still in the closet because I feel like there’s no benefit to coming out. A straight and gay incel have the exact same life other than porn preferences.

Maybe I’m just asexual.

> without treating dating like a job search

You are right, but expand that horizon a little bit. Dating has to be given consistent time. You're unlikely to get lucky. But, it does not have to be separate activity.

Choose a co-ed hobby / co-ed workout, and stick to it. Your workout becomes where you find people to date. If you aren't actively looking, then see if you can build a rapport with someone first. If you see some potential, then you can make the move. If not, you still got a workout/hobby and a friend out of it.

The stigmatization of approaching someone in the workplace, and increasingly in any non-bar public places is an impractical solution with more negative side-effects than many realize. Work dating is becoming a no-no, but I would suggest that you be more brazen in otherwise semi-acceptable public places.

(p.s: make necessary adjustments to the comment acc. to your dating preferences)

> don’t know how to find anyone I actually like

That sounds like a bigger underlying problem. It is the same steps as I mentioned above, but finding your community is incredibly important to general well being.

Most of the people I know that pursue relationships for purely pragmatic reasons and fail seem to forget that people won't fit into boxes because you want put them there. The people I see that are successful meet people where they are, and let their positions in their life reveal itself as they get to know the other person. I don't know if this applies to you or is even helpful, but it is a pattern I have noticed in my life.

Successful in pseudo arranged marriages, or just in general?

I haven’t been in a relationship yet so I have no idea if this will even work

I'm not sure what you mean by pseudo arranged marriages. I mean successful at building new interpersonal relationships in general, and generally that translates into more opportunity for romantic relationships.

I mean people who settle for somebody they don’t have romantic feelings for because it’s a pragmatic decision

The idea of romantic love is pretty new. Knowing how lame humanity is, I'm not surprised that no culture has found or integrated yet the replicable way to find and properly develop the relationship with a "soulmate". It doesn't mean that the way doesn't exist.

Is this similar to hikimori, minus some of the extreme social withdrawal?

Is this the human equivalent of “the beautiful ones”, where the cut-throat resource hoarding and society’s enforcement of non-violence has lead to a somewhat different way of “checking out”?

As soon as one kid or dependent is involved there’s great pressure to participate in the rat race.

Per the 60s technology-positive Zeitgeist, we were all supposed to have flying cars by now. Oh and also 15-hour workweeks.

Maybe "lying flat" is about taking an honest stab at at least getting that second part, the workweek, sorted out.

I had not heard the term "lie flat" before, and immediately thought it was trying to make enough money so that whenever you flew, you could always fly business class in "lie flat" seats.

Can we match the article title and put quotes around "lying flatism" because without the quotation marks or existing knowledge of the term this sentence is aneurysm inducing.

The price for this lifestyle is paid after midlife. What are you going to do in your older days without a family?

Whatever makes you happy. If you’re emotionally insecure or codependent, that could pose a problem of course (I recommend a therapist). But a family is by no means necessary to live a life that optimizes for high happiness levels.

> If you’re emotionally insecure

Everyone is emotionally insecure. Some people are pathological insecure and need treatment, but no one is a paragon of emotional security.

The most emotionally secure people I know, do it by addressing their insecurity through external factors. Eg: Finding a partner who provides affirmation, dealing with death by passing on your genes, getting past judgement by working with a patient partner, etc etc. Some people have outsourced some of these tasks to be therapist, but a therapist isn't your friend. A transactional relationship will always feel transactional, no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise.

The truth is, that a strong relationship is just objectively more rewarding and comforting than perpetual singledom. That's because throughout a relationship, both people demonstrate 'non-transactional actions' that provide security to the other person. Marriage places a 50% of your net-worth cost on breaking a deal, which makes the traction itself untenable. Might sound like golden handcuffs. But if you want to be hand cuffed to be person, then that's just a golden bracelet.

The second part of it is permanence. You might have a really strong community of people you aren't married to, but there is an upper bound of inconvenience past which you can't maintain a relationship. If they move to another town, its over. Your non-contract/blood-bound community does not persist over time. Marriage explicitly ties you together semi-permanently. People fly across oceans to be care takers for their family. That permanence gives you comfort.

Marriage and family are social technology. They solved problems faced by everyone afflicted by the human condition. Sure, they have inconvenient bits attached to them, and that's because they are also fair. You get what you put in.

It is not that it is impossible to live a happy life without family formalized in blood or a hefty contract. But, all alternative solutions I know of, are some version of building your own family. Just that those solutions usually require a lot more work to get the same level of comfort, belonging and security provided by a healthy traditional family.

For example, have a network of friends who follow the same path? Self-isolation in suburbs is a particular American bug. There are cultures where people actively socialise until death.

Somebody should invite these lay-flatters to Southern Europe. They will definitely like Spain.


> It’s not cool, or admirable to wallow in mediocrity.

I never heard the term "lying flat" before this article, but I live that lifestyle and I'm not "wallowing in mediocrity." I code, make artwork, compose music, write fiction and non-fiction, and cook gourmet food. For years I miserably grinded for Big Corp and considered just ending it all. Since quitting my job my depression has lifted and I'm working 12+ hours a day pursuing my dreams. My sole motivation in life is to learn and create my visions. Materialism does not motivate me. Money is an obstacle, not the objective. If anything, being self-motivated to learn and produce should be the norm, greed and materialism should be shunned.

Same. I've got a very flexible, low-stress job with mediocre pay, but it pays the bills and I have a ton of time to work on projects that interest me. It's great.

Mind sharing what job it is?

> emphasizes relaxation and avoiding excessive work

> I’m working 12+ hours a day pursuing my dreams

Something doesn’t add up here. I don’t think you are embracing the exact same lifestyle described in the article.

You're right, that part is not the same, but the 2nd paragraph of the article is: "[...] adults who choose to live a minimalist lifestyle and reject the pressures of society. Lying flatists refuse to participate in consumerist lifestyles, such as pursuing high-paying jobs, purchasing material possessions [...] They believe that personal efforts are no longer effective in improving their lives due to structural and societal factors." It would be more accurate to describe my lifestyle as minimalistic with a pursuit of art and craft.

It's funny, I had the same thought just a moment ago. I have decided that I will quit $BIGCORP and put my effort and mind into something actually useful for people. Maybe it's the place that i am, but given the evidence, I have updated my expectations over skill. I also don't have material needs, I might buy a cute top here and there, or a few books but that's it.

If you have doubts, depending upon how you feel, you could consider speaking with your employer about working part time. Part time means more free time while still earning an income. Also consider how you might negotiate it: half-days five days a week are one thing and three full days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) with the rest off is another.

It's unlikely that a FAANG company will arrange such a situation for me, and given our current deadlines, it is unlikely that my manager will agree.

I just want to write code. I hate the days when all I do is sit in meetings for pre meetings for pre meetings or write docs about docs about docs.

edit: clarified on docs and meetings a bit.

Wait, I don't understand. You want to write code but you don't want to bother documenting it or expressing its design?

I must say that any coder who won't document their code is detrimental to the world of software engineering. It is Job Number One to accurately document, from the start, what your code does and what it's supposed to do. If a SWE can't write a design document, comment their code, accurately describe source commits, and at least assist a technical writer in writing the manual for the app/tool/framework, then that SWE should be fired and re-educated.

I have strong feelings about this, but I find that an enduring problem in my experience as an end-user is poor documentation of just about everything I use. I mean, vendors don't even bother bundling the manual anymore, not even as a PDF. It comes in little WWW help-files that are like tasting baby food.

I will always harken back to the 80s when my family purchased two Commodore computers, and they had the best documentation ever. That user manual explained the 6502/6510 architecture, the memory layout, sprites and sound, as well as BASIC programming. I learned those computers inside and out, because they were well-documented. Hardly anything lives up to that now.

It seems that I didn’t communicate my feelings properly.

I enjoy documenting and reading code. I also enjoy reading design documents that are very technical in nature and actually motivate the decisions and direction. I even read research papers on my free time. I also enjoy writing such documents and respective code.

My issue is that I spent 4-5 days writing a darn excellent document on the proof of concept that I had built for a service we are supposed to launch this fall with a code freeze on September 1st.

And today I had to spend all day writing yet another document summarizing what I had written in the first one so that I can have a discussion with other principals to get their comments (I got great comments from 2 in the presentation and follow up discussions), just to get an approval and the go ahead to productionise what I had already built that was shown to work. No other approach exists, no other poc exists, and most of my time is now fragmented because of the meetings.

No other engineer working on this had an approach that could actually work for reasons I explained in yet another document, the more seniors had claimed they’d need a month to get the poc done. I did it in far less time, and had it all well documented. That was the most fun I have had in a while.

Upper management (2-skip manager) gave me lots of praise and blew off another meeting he had to stay on for the additional questions and discussion, and scheduled another full on 1h meeting with me alone to discuss it further.

How do you make ends meet? Honest question because maybe I'd like to apply some of your lessons :)

I live minimalistically and have a nest egg from working as a software engineer for Big Corp. Hopefully my income will resume when I launch what I've been building commercially in the next few months.

Good luck!

I don’t think the flat’ers are happy about it all either, but what would you do if your future was either a hopeless grind or some degree of comfort? Booms are followed by busts, in the mightiest booms the future gets bought and sold as far as the eye can see and the stakeholders demand delivery at the expense of those who come along after. Sometimes you show up too late, reject the deal, and catch the bust as your peers join you - you just have to wait it out until your time is better spent.

I’m thankful that I’m from a place with plenty of responsibility and land up for grabs, and that I stumbled into this industry.

From what I can tell from reading casually, growing up today in many parts of the USA, China, or Seoul, or even Europe is a real struggle to claim reputation, responsibility, and assets for yourself.

If a system offers a bad deal not buying and keeping your resources is the best deal. Would layflatlanders migrate if they got the chance and then change their stance.

The main resource you have when you're young is time.

You can withhold it from "the system" but you don't get to keep it :(

In case of 966 you at least get to keep your sanity

One propaganda campaigns are usually very obvious. Not by instinct but by just looking at the sources of things.

Two, it's not cool nor in the CCP's best interest. It's their worst nightmare. It's young people deciding their economic situation is so bad that they might as well just give up and not provide labor. Urban youth unemployment is above 20% in china. Bleak as hell. Especially considering the grind of the education system and what it promised people.

I talk to people every day that are essentially "lying flat" in the US. I can assure you that it's a global movement.

There are incels on 4chan that discuss how to maintain their "NEET" lifestyle, and those are hardly the only people that want to circumvent the system of wage slavery that they were born into.

"wage slavery"

Everyone depends on the output of others. Working so that you having something to give in exchange for what you get from others is not "slavery".

I don't think most people who use the term wage slavery (which does seem a distraction to me) think that any payment of wages for labor is a form of slavery. It's more about the perception or reality (take your pick) that those jobs don't offer a path to progression to a better life.

I've understood the term to essentially mean that they are dissatisfied with the culture of "work or die." No money means starvation, homelessness, and death, so whether or not you're conscious of it you're essentially working with a gun to your head. I am very fortunate to have a nice job that treats me well, but I could see myself being very upset about wage slavery if my circumstances were different.

Indeed. In the US, we are aggressively criminalizing poverty and unemployment. People are literally unable to afford a place to legally sleep, but you will be arrested if you sleep anywhere. Not sleeping is physically impossible. It should not be acceptable to arrest someone for sleeping when they have no where else to go.

Even our "liberal" city is robbing the homeless camps every week, and harassing them to go somewhere else, but they are not allowed to go anywhere else anyway, and by taking any possessions they might have, INCLUDING OBAMA PHONES which are their only connection to counselors and public advocates which can get the food and a temporary bed occasionally, we are actively making their lives worse for the mild comfort of people who don't even live here. It's insanity.

I think "slavery" is an apt description, seeing as they have no choices in their life, and any attempt to start improving their life is kneecapped to please people who seem to hate those with nothing.

I agree that everyone has to work to have something to give in exchange for what they get from others. I don't agree that the struggles poor people face in our current economic system source from this truth.

I need you to tell me with sincerity that you think what Walmart and Amazon are doing to their rank-and-file employees isn't wage slavery.

I'm not sure it's a "movement" either, but from what I understand it's not at all about "wallowing in mediocrity".

Rather it is simply a rejection of the pervasive cult of meritocratic / hustle-culture propaganda -- which defines anything that questions (let alone has the temerity to directly oppose) its tenets as ... the sure path to mediocrity. Coupled with an observation that is the former which itself fosters mediocrity (and worse) in spheres that truly matter (health, relationships, personal fulfillment).

> lower living standards

Not lower but different living standards.

Also, please mind the context. Lying flatism is originated in China, that is famous for the absurd work-life balance. You know, work 6 days/week, 9am to 9pm or even stay later. Find a romantic partner, but spend time with them only Saturday evenings and on Sundays. Bring kids into this amazing lifestyle, see them also on Sundays (the rest of time, grandparents will take care of them).

It's kinda obvious that people started to understand that something is going wrong and now are testing the way to fix it.

When the measure of success is how much money you get to make for other people I don’t think “mediocrity” is the right word. Maybe 5% of people will ever be successful by an objective metric, and the rest are just trying to be a good little wagie for their boss

It's actually the opposite. a grassroots form of opposition to CCP mandated growth targets.

Is it really wallowing in mediocrity?

I mean, I don't see my work as work, I see it as working in interesting and new tech, getting to play with interesting stuff and solve complex problems; and I do it for fun. When the fun stops because I am forced into crud or boring stuff, I'll just leave.



Xi Jinping has communicated that lying flat is not part of his vision.

But, it can't be CCP propaganda. See, the key thing about the CCP (particularly Xi) is that the solution to a problem is always more control. The State is always telling you how to live your life--note that Chinese media uses a lot of terms like "should" and "correct", even when talking to foreign countries. Lying flat takes back personal control from the State, by refusing to participate in society, so it actually opposes the CCP's core value.

> Being lazy isn’t an alternative path to working hard

It's exactly is.

It's funny that people don't see the double standards of capitalist economy. When you're a business, you strive to achieve more goods or money by spending less resources, labor or money. Which makes total sense, no complaints about this. So if you're an individual, applying this pattern, you also should strive to find ways to get more utility from less things. By practicing asceticism/minimalism, one looks exactly for a business-ish optimisation of life! To flourish using only a few things is the same as to build spaceships using small python script. Just imagine. One doesn't working hard, creating huge enterprise with tens thousands of workers. Just a few lines, and the spaceship is ready. How lazy the author of the script should be!

You’ve misquoted me entirely - my point was that being lazy cannot improve your situation, while working hard may have a chance of doing so.

This is I wrote precisely. No, being lazy can improve your situation (However I agree it's not a universal pill). It's also called "via negativa", when you achieve "success" eliminating possessions and actions instead of accumulating/doing them by "working hard".

Laziness is in the eye of the beholder. One can be useless to the machine while producing enormous amounts for humanity.




Women are not afraid of being single because they have government as a second father behind their back and can find a new partner in a matter of days without any trouble.

Also because being single as a man means you weren’t good enough (bad) but being single as a woman means you have high standards (good)

Women have useless partners in 80% of cases? That seems a bit unhinged, don't you think?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact