Apparently, this term is used to describe video game players who feel the need to experience all aspects of a game instead of doing what they need to do to win.
I’m not using it in that sense. I’m using it in the sense of needing to finish a book, or a series, or a TV show just for the sake of completing it, not because you actually enjoy it.
When you were in school reading the books assigned to you, it probably didn’t occur to you to put down a book that wasn’t of interest to you. Or maybe it did occur to you, but I only took action on that idea once:
I remember trying to get out of reading a book in middle school. We got to pick from a few different books with similar themes, and I ended up hating the book I picked. I asked the teacher if I could switch and she said no. Something to do with making sure the class had equal numbers of people reading the different books or that it was important to give the book a chance. I don’t remember, but I know I finished it and it hated every minute of it.
What’s the point of this memory? That’s the point where I felt like I owed something to every book I picked up or every TV show I started watching.
Do you catch yourself thinking the following?
I can’t give up now. It might get good in 50 pages.
I can’t stop watching this show even though it’s gotten ridiculous, because it could get good again.
It’s a waste of time, but I want to know what happens.
I think those things all the time. The trouble with being a completionist is I end up burning a lot of time on stuff I’m not in love with. The older and busier I get, the less time I have for the things I want to do. I assume that’s true for most people.
So why waste any of that time with things that might get good?
That’s not to say I won’t give something a chance if it doesn’t immediately grab me. But if I’m not feeling it after a good college try, I’m not going to force myself to finish it. I'm going to pick something else up instead.
Being a completionist might give you a moment’s satisfaction when you’ve completed your mission, but isn’t it better to be satisfied the whole time?