Self

TikTokers Say You Don't Truly Know Someone Until You Ask Them This Question About Time

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woman on the phone looking at her watch

There are so many different questions to ask someone to get to know them. But according to a viral TikTok, only one question truly reveals who a person really is.

The hotly debated question asks:

If you have a meeting scheduled at noon and ask for it to be moved forward two hours, what time is the rescheduled meeting?

As it turns out, there are two possible answers to this question. For some, the answer is 10AM, while for others, it’s 2PM.

What does it mean when someone says they are moving a meeting forward by one or two hours (or more)?

On the surface, the question seems to have nothing at all to do with personality and everything to with whether or not you’re about to miss a meeting.

However, it turns out you can learn a lot from how someone views time.

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People who believe moving a meeting forward means moving it to an earlier time have a “time moving” perspective.

If you picture time as a conveyor belt, having a “time moving” perspective is akin to seeing hours pass by on that conveyor belt as you hover above it. You are stationary while time is moving.

Using this visualization, moving a meeting forward would mean moving that meeting closer to you on the belt.

Therefore, as the TikToker explains, “If you see time as moving through you, you will say 10AM.”

“Typically, ‘brought forward’ means it's sooner and, ‘pushed back’ means later. The, ‘moved forward’ wording is a bit more uncommon but I'd assume 11am,” explains one person on Reddit. “My reasoning would be that, ‘moved back’ is obviously 1pm therefore, ‘moved forward’ should logically be the opposite.”

People who believe moving a meeting forward means moving it to a later time have an “ego moving” perspective.

On the other hand, “If you see yourself moving through time, then you’re moving towards 2PM,” the TikToker explains.

Using the same conveyor belt visualization, the “ego moving” perspective describes someone who sees themself moving through time as opposed to time moving through them. People with this perspective are standing on the conveyor belt moving towards each hour alongside the belt.

In this scenario, moving a meeting forward in time is visualized as the time moving forward from you, which would technically be two hours later than originally scheduled.

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The truth is that the question is ambiguous and there technically is no right or wrong answer.

The phenomenon of how people view themselves in relation to time has been studied using different experiments in the past, only to determine that people use context to inform their views.

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Plus, there are so many differences in phrasing across different languages that without any definitives, it’s impossible to come up with the “right” answer.

As one person on Reddit attempted to explain, "’Forward’, in reference to something observed from your perspective (i.e. something without any inherent facing or directionality of its own), always means towards yourself. In the context of time, this means towards the present time, i.e. earlier.”

However, another person countered that “others take it as moving forward into the future/clock hands moving forward.”

It seems what we can agree all agree on is that whoever organizes the meeting should just use clear and concise language to communicate the actual new hour of the meeting since time is apparently an illusion.

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Micki Spollen is an editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.

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