What Level Of Woo Would Make Someone Undateable?

Here is a question for you. What level of woo would make someone undateable? What about unfriendable? Do you have a limit that you've drawn in your life or do you have a lot of woo woo people around you that you interact with? How do you get on with them? Do you find it difficult? Do you argue with them or are you silent about your woo disbelief?

Woo can be defined as anything supernatural, irrational or lacking in evidence. So it would include religion and any kind of pseudoscience.

On a side note, is there anything that could be defined as woo that you still believe in? If so, why?

For me, I've somehow whittled down my friend list from all woo-lovers to all skeptical atheists. I didn't do this deliberately, but I guess with my skeptical talk and constant questioning (not aggressively, but I really did question all the woo I previously embraced), my woo-loving friends all went their separate ways and avoided me within months of when my quest for knowledge began.

I didn't have many friends for awhile but then found the Morgantown Atheists where I found several people that have become good friends. Also, having HDC has let me meet new people who were rather like-minded as well.

With extended family, I still have to deal with woo, both religious and supernatural. They know Butch (my awesome husband) and I are die-hard atheists so we have come to an unspoken agreement that we don't talk about religion. Or politics just to be safe and have nice dinners together. :P

I think I'm lucky in most respects. My skeptical atheist friends keep things lively by being smart and reason-based (most of the time, we're not perfect, of course). And my extended family gives me an occasional glimpse into woo-land so I get to see what the majority of people are dealing with and believing. It's enough.

I don't avoid anyone based on their woo. But I tend to gently state my skepticism when I can so that I am not being dishonest about myself. Then people who are wrapped in woo tend to avoid me, not the other way around. I can't emphasize enough that I am very nice about it, not aggressive or "militant" at all. I'm probably way too nice about it. The other evening, I let my sister-in-law go on about her visit to a psychic and only said two things about how cold readings work. When the other sister-in-law said the psychic (a 95 year old woman) insisted she give her her hand (she didn't want a reading) and told her to never drive, to dump her boyfriend (who she just moved in with and is very happy with) and other negative things, I said a few things then. Mainly that it's all made up and it's nonsense and don't let that upset her. But even though she said it was no big deal, she talked about it all night. I got the impression it really bothered her.

As you may know, I'm happily married to Butch (we've been together for 15 years). So I'm not looking to date anyone, of course. But if I did have to date, I think I would be pretty strict about how much woo my partner could be into and still be in a relationship with me. I think it would be such a clash of belief and skepticism that it would cause problems. I think I'd have issues with it.

Let us know what you think in the comments!


  1. In a friend I tolerate no serious woo. Minor things I don't mind. For example, I have a friend who always reads the newspaper horoscopes--but finds them amusing rather than substantive. In a date I don't really care as long as there's no proselytizing.

  2. Same as Matt, no serious woo allowed with friends. Most of my real friends know that I am an atheist, most of them don't really care about religion or spirituality, and those that care don't bring it up. Those that push it, are people I don't really consider as friends and I will try to keep away from (or like you, they'll keep away from me).

    As for dating, no woo allowed. period.

    And you know, I was thinking about your experience w/ the "psychic" advising your sister to leave her boyfriend. I wonder if these people ever really think that their fake advice based on bullocks would have consequences in other people's lives. A palm reader seriously screwed up my friend's life because of this. His then wife visited a palm reader who told her he (her husband) was not good for her, that he would "hurt" her or her children in the future, and that she should leave him before that happens.

    I know that this was complete BS because I've known both of them since highschool, where they were "best friends" and then in college, was one of those obnoxiously happy PDA couples. Also at that point, they were happily married with two young kids. This BS advice seriously put some doubt in his wife and pretty much created a schism in their relationship. A year later they got a divorce. I got to witness this all, as did many of our mutual friends who are no longer friends with the gullible fool.

    My friend took a few years to get over this. He's now in a serious relationship with an atheist (no less), his ex-wife comes back knocking saying how she made a mistake, that she should not have listened to the palm reader, blah blah blah. Thankfully he's over her, even though she occasionally tries to guilt trip him with their kids.

    Its a self full-filling prophecy if anything. Its just sad that there were children involved.

  3. I have a few friend in-laws (my wife's friends) who are fairly woo-friendly, but I project an anti-woo aura and it is respected.

  4. Years ago, my wife and I knew a couple that were "born agains". The husband worked in the department that I then chaired. They were lovely people in every other respect and we spent significant time together outside of work. The wife simply could not avoid proselytizing me (an atheist Jew) and my wife (a lifelong Lutheran!). Ultimately, we arrived at an understanding. I gave her fifteen minutes to have at me every time we got together (to save my soul); thereafter, we agreed that there would be no further discussion of religion (hers or ours) until the next time we might see each other. This arrangement ultimately allowed us to enjoy a mutually fruitful social and work relationship for many years. Although I do not tolerate woo under most circumstances, there have been times in my life when it was worth doing so to achieve a "greater good" in interpesonal relationships.

  5. I have a fairly even mix of woo/non-woo friends, but my closest friends are definitely non-woo. My family (immediate and extended) is almost exclusively religious, but the topic rarely comes up when we're together. Actually, I don't think I ever remember it coming up when we're together... only one time in an email thread that got way out of hand.

    Of the other woo types (psychics, ghosts, homeopathy, etc), I think I have a few friends who are still in that camp. I even have a good atheist friend who believes in ghosts... and was shocked that I didn't. LOL!

    As for dating, one or two dates with a woo-person would be entertaining, I'm sure, but for anything long-term, it would have to be someone who is almost entirely non-woo. My wife is that way, though every now and then she leans toward a small bit of woo. The only one I keep an eye on is chiropractic because here chiropractor is one of those who claims that it can cure everything from a sore back to bedwetting to depression. She goes for her back, so that's okay. :-)

    My woo tolerance is pretty high, though, in general. The line gets drawn when the woo (whether religion or other) leads to bigotry, racism, or willful ignorance... most of which seems to manifest itself via politics. Anti-science people are the worst and my tolerance for those is way, way lower.

  6. Now, if it there was some sort of tantric shakra woo, I'd be down for a little slice o' that. Yum!


  7. Had a date once with a girl I met at a bar. Went to her house to pick her up and the door was answered by the babysitter and my dates young daughter.
    The daughter, maybe 7 or 8, said "I have some questions for you . . first, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and personal savior?"

  8. I'm glad to hear it, Ann. About accepting no woo, not about the palm reader.

    The palm reader story is awful. It's amazing how someone can have such low self confidence that they're willing to do whatever a virtual stranger tells them. It's pathetic. I'm so glad the husband found someone else and told the ex he didn't want her back. It's just a shame it wrecked their marriage and affected their poor kids so much.

  9. I like that "I project an anti-woo aura". That's awesome. :)
    It is like a force field? I am picturing the bat logo in the sky but instead it saying ANTI-WOO. LOL! :D

  10. I only have one question, Harvey. Did the wife ever let you try to deconvert her? Gee, why not? Would that have been considered offensive? If so, why?

    15 minutes of proselytizing every time you saw her is too much, I think. At least it would be for me. One time. That's enough. Then I get MY 15 minutes to tell her why her god doesn't exist. THEN we go on being friends. Fair enough?

  11. Thanks very much, Dan. For me, if it really isn't harming anyone, then just don't talk to me about it or I'll tell you why it's bullshit. But if it harms children or innocent people that's when I lose my tolerance.

  12. Oh. What did you do? Did you go on the date? Or did you just leave????? I have to know!

  13. There is tantric chakra woo. And it's nonsense. Just like all the other woo.

  14. The babysitter immediately scolded her and I laughed it off. I went on the date and the subject never came up. I never called her back.
    I wonder what would have happened if I'd answered her. She may have dialed 911.

  15. Thanks very much for following up with the rest of the story. LOL. :D

  16. My close friends and husband are woo-free. I couldn't really have a close relationship with anyone who was religious or irrational. I do have friends who are religious but we just avoid talking about those topics. Most of my family is rational but I will definitely call them out when they say irrational things, especially my mom who is really into homeopathy. I call her chiropractor a voodoo doctor.

  17. Thanks for sharing, Limor. I agree with you, woo-free is best! :)

  18. Very little. I have to (barely) put up with it from my mother, I will not take it from anyone else.

  19. Thanks Jeep-Eep, it's funny the leeway we give to our moms, huh? I suppose they've earned it in most cases though. :P