Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Notes on online diaries


During my readings of online diaries there have been many recurring themes. Most of these relate to women, because I have predominantly read women’s diaries; partially because they are more common, partially because they bring me, as a man, more information. Some of these themes are discussed below. (Other insights have been incorporated into various other articles.) Many are recurring themes in other contexts too.

Some sections below have a character of advice-giving, rather than abstract discussion. This is because I originally intended this as a post of my own, with an explicit advice angle.

General caveat

Is is likely that the average writer of blogs/diaries is not representative for the overall population. In particular, it seems reasonable that the bloggers are, on average, more intelligent, better educated, more literate, but also more “troubled”, than their age peers. Whether they lean more towards intro- or extroversion than the overall population is less obvious, but a bias in either direction is possible.

Also bear in mind that, while I have spent considerable time reading online diaries, I have not been able to read more than a very small fraction.


Women on diets seem to invariably set neigh impossible (and, frankly, unhealthy) goals for their daily intakes—and then be depressed because they fail to meet these goals, often engaging in comfort food eating afterwards. There are actually girls out there who put themselves on a quarter of what they should be eating for weight maintenance, come in at a third instead, and gobble down a pound of candy-bars for comfort... If they instead had put themselves at 90 % of the weight-maintenance intake, they would actually both lose weight and be proud of themselves—not to mention being able to keep to the diet for more than a few days at a time.

The absurdity of their diets is illustrated by quotes like

But today I blew it. I had 1 english muffin, 1 bowl of chicken broth (only 52 cals, and very filling) about 8 soda crackers, 1 helping of caesar salad, and dessert, oh and an apple after dance.


The “blown” day of this very active 5’8” girl sounds like a successful and very strict diet to me. Someone of her size and sportiness should be able to eat twice that and still lose weight. (Depending on specifics like what exact kind and amount of dessert, amount of dressing on the salad, serving sizes, etc., this might be upped to four times, possibly even more.)

A later entrye by the same author is telling. (In all fairness, this particular girl has a severe eating disorder; however, similar entries occur even among women who are merely misguided.)

A particular issue: If a starvation diet is needed to lose further weight, then because the optimal weight has already been passed. The more excess fat is present, the easier it is too lose a pound; when no excess fat is present, it is both hard and unhealthy. Notably, the “natural” amount of fat will vary from person to person: That girl A is comfortable at a 100 lbs does not imply that it is wise for girl B to panic about being at 120 lbs—and a tall girl can be slim (not just attractive, but slim) even at 140 lbs.

Liking girls

For those who suspect that they are bi-sexual, feel weird about having a crush on another girl, or similar: You can relax. The proportion of women who are attracted to other women is extremely high—if not actually all women, then a clear majority.

Sudden break-ups

There is a disturbingly high rate of break-ups following within weeks, sometimes even days, of a woman’s declaration of undying love, “I know we are meant forever!", “This is the big one!”, or similar. The reasons are unclear, but I suspect some kind of denial, the belief that making a claim alters reality (women seem to be prone to this error), and/or an attempt to mislead the other party, should he be reading the diary. Another possible explanation is that a man who feels that things are collapsing may try to save the situation and/or mislead the woman by “being extra nice”, which could give her entirely the wrong impression.

Sudden infatuations

In an interesting contrast, it is common that a (typically young) woman writes about a man, explicitly emphasizing that she does not fancy him—and confesses to the exact opposite a mere handful of entries later. This in particular when she originally was in a relationship; and occasionally in combination with the previous section. In a slight caricature:

Day 1: I just met Jack. He’s so coool! But so not my type! I love George so.

Day 8: George and I broke up. I’m so floored...

Day 15: I’m starting to have this giant crush on Jack! He’s so coool! And he’s much more considerate that George was.

Break-ups and re-joinings

If a relationship breaks up once, but the couple re-join with statements like “We both know what we did wrong, and we are going to work on it in the future.”, chances are that it will break up again within several months or even weeks. (Sometimes permanently, sometimes with a continued on-and-off, rarely with a permanent re-re-join.)

As for which re-joinings are for the long-term, I have too little material too do more than speculate; however, I would suspect those of relationships that were happy before the break-up, and that fell apart due to a one-time event, e.g. a misunderstanding or a single big fight. This to be contrasted with the above, where a longer period of dissatisfaction or incompatibilities preceded the break-up.

Complaints about friends

Women constantly complain about their friends: They are bitches, unfair, shallow, “not really friends”, whatnot. Often there are mentions of outright fights (typically verbal, but on the odd occasion even physical)—in particular, when men are involved. Still, the women are so in need of social contacts that they only rarely break off their “friendships”. (This appears to improve with age, but whether due to personality changes or because the friends have been filtered for a longer time, I cannot say.)

This is telling in at least two regards: Firstly, it validates the definition

Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another

(Henry Louis Menckene)

Secondly, it shows how fixated on socializing they can be, which obviously has implications in general.

Unladylike language

Some of the language the “ladies” use is down-right shocking. Call me prude, but I am not going to give explicit examples—there may be innocent young gentlemen reading this... Suffice it to say that few men would use such formulations in a public forum; and that if they said some of the things about women that other women do, they would risk outraged protests.

Personal insight

Interestingly, many young women (< 20) seem to have insights into their own emotions, and be intent on exploring them, to a much higher degree than I did at the same age. (While still, as all teenagers, being incredibly naive or oblivious in other regards; in particular, when their love interests and long term relationships are concerned.) However, women of higher ages (including post-midlife) have made comparatively little progress: They are still naive in the same areas where the young women are, they have a comparatively small development of the earlier insights, etc. The only major change seems to be that they have seen a “change of scenery”, where they face other circumstances and issues.

The question is whether this is a sign of early peeking with little later change, or whether the samples are flawed. The latter could occur e.g. if the more emotionally mature tend to blog in their teens and drop the habit in later years, while the immature start blogging when they grow older. A true generational difference cannot be ruled out either.

Style of writing

Similarly, even most older women write in a manner (stylistically, logically, in content, amount of self-perspective) that is reminiscent of teenage girls, definitely not above the level of the average twenty-something. A good example.e

“I want him to ...”

Most female diarists have a few entries about how “I want him to need me/love me/take an interest in me/...”—while either explicitly or between the lines blaming “him” for not doing so. Interestingly, they only very rarely actually raise these issues with their counter-part, but seem to think in a pattern of “If he loved me then he would understand without my telling him.”, or similar. Further, they seem to be more interested in actions and words than actual feelings, willingly taking even obvious flattery at face value; thus, using men as accomplices in their self-deceptions and self-affirmations.

In effect, the fact that a man is not as interested in a woman as she wants him to be, is considered a deficiency in him... (Not to mention the typical “mind reading” issues.)

Notably, this phenomenon has very wide range, including e.g. “I wish he would hold me more.” and other smaller things. I am not certain to what degree these issues are judged on their inherent value or as a symptom of something bigger.


The common attitude that men have an obligation to pay for this-and-that could be a side-effect of this phenomenon: What women actually want is not a “gentleman”, but someone who triggers the same feelings of being loved, appreciated, and so on. The claims that “a true gentleman would pay”, etc., are then just (unconscious) excuses to try to enforce a “loving” behaviour. (Other contributing explanations exist—including sheer egoism: Who does not want a free dinner?)


Many women do an awful lot of crying, often over relative nothings, often instead of actually trying to improve that which bothers them.

A possible conclusion is that when a woman cries, men should not go out of their way to comfort her: That a particular event or issue set her of crying is not necessarily a sign that the issue is a big deal or truly affects her. (OTOH, brownie points can be gained or lost by giving or not giving the comfort—even when it is undeserved.)

Irrespective, particular consideration should be given to the possibility that the event triggering the tears is not the main problem, but very often just a final straw after some larger event, an emotional crisis, or a hormonal upheaval.


While not relevant to the topic of online diaries, men should also beware that some women use crocodile tears as a means of deliberate manipulation. One of my grand-mothers is a very good example: During disagreements she tends to scrunch-up her face, add a vibration to her voice, and make some sympathy-fishing statement—and go back to normal as if a light-switch had been flipped, as soon as she notices that I do not fall for this trick (at least not without more convincing acting; knock on wood). Interestingly, I do not recall her ever trying this with a woman—nor with me, while I was still a child...

Topic of writing

Women tend to write much more about themselves, their relationships, etc., than men do; while men tend to write about their opinions, their world-view, and similar. (I am a prime example of this.) A side-effect of this is that it is easier to get an understanding of the psychology, mentality, and behaviour of women than men by reading blogs.


Women with pets tend to view them as their children more or less immediately. “Cat ladies” (whether crazy or not) are very common and have no downward age restriction among women living alone—nor are they necessarily ugly. This appear to be driven by a mixture of “mother instincts” and a strong need for affection.


Interestingly, my mother (or possibly grand-mother) once suggested that I should buy a dog, probably in the misconception that I felt lonely. At the time, the idea was so surprising to me that I could thinking nothing but “Why?!?”—and next: “I do not have time for all the work involved.” and “That would border on cruelty towards the dog.” (seeing that his life would be filled with irregular meals, forgotten walks, whatnot).

In light of my later readings, I have a better understanding of why a woman would make such a suggestion; however, I am certainly not on the same wave-length.


Some people (including many men) who already have a date set for the wedding do not consider themselves engaged without a formal proposal (knees, diamond ring, whatnot)—even when both parties see the proposal as a mere formality. This is an odd misunderstanding of the implication of an engagement... (For that matter, an odd misunderstanding of a proposal to marry: Because the parties are already in agreement, the true proposal has already happened; or, in rare cases, is entirely redundant, because the mutual agreement arose more spontaneously.)


The comments on the diaries are often of a kind that is alien to men, notably comments that merely express sympathy in one sentence or a “Me too!”—with longer comments often having the same purpose. Actual advice, irrespective of quality, is the exception.


A disturbingly large number of diaries have a horrible, positively eye-hurting, layout (not restricted to women): I see myself forced to over-ride the style-sheets used (something which Opera, my browser of choice, allows) in order to be able to even look at some pages for a prolonged timed—let alone actually read the text... Even those pages which are not eye-hurting are often hard to read due to unfortunate combinations of fore- and background colour.

A few pointers:

  1. Keep it simple. It is better to err on the side of too little/too boring than on “My eyes! My eyes!”.

    Generally, bear in mind that different monitors with different settings and in different lightning may give very different results. By remaining conventional, you reduce the risk of unforeseen disasters.

  2. Prioritize readability over originality and emotional expressiveness. Let your words speak for themselves and save the graphical aspirations for http://www.deviantart.com/e.

  3. Avoid very bright colours, “reverse video” colours (i.e. lighter text on a darker background), and fore- and background colour that have a poor contrast (e.g. red text on a brown background).

  4. Beware that colours influence moods: If you choose a colour scheme with a lot of black because you feel depressed, writing in your diary will likely increase your depression. Go with something that might cheer you up instead, e.g. a light blue—even if this “is not you”.

Similarly, it pays to not fiddle around with various other settings: Even something as innocuous seeming as an all-bold text can severely reduce the readability and enjoyability of a page. (And, no, you are not doing old people a favour—just messing things up for others. If an individual needs a heavier font than the standard reader, it is his responsibility to adapt his private style-sheets—not that of the rest of the world to adapt their public ones. Trust that the users and browser makers know how text is best displayed from their POV.)