Similarity Sucks (And It’s Boring)

From Wired Science, Opposites Don’t Attract.

From the article:

“What they found was that people tended to interact with the people who were most like them, so that investment bankers chatted with other investment bankers, and marketers talked with other marketers, and accountants interacted with other accountants. Instead of making friends with strangers, the business people made small talk with those from similar backgrounds; the smallness of their social world got reinforced.”

I’ll argue that staying within one’s own small group causes a lack of understanding. It extinguishes compromise and empathy for those with greatly differing viewpoints about the world.

Why is the US general election so polarized?
Why is there a disconnect between those who are rich and those who aren’t?
Why do people identify themselves with a certain city or team so easily?

Sure it’ll be easier to chat with them because they’re a mirror image of us, at least in that particular interest.

How can we obtain a greater understanding of other people and tolerate those with differing views when we never hang out with different people?

I walk to the edge of the social comfort zone because it’s more enjoyable to:
-be denied entry into elitist groups
-be accepted to explore a certain subculture
-welcome randomness into my life
-talk to strangers
-break down hardwired “in-group” oxytocin
-reduce boredom

Life expands when you let your comfort zone expand.

Randomness is Your Best Friend

Ben Kunz on his G+ (with written permission):
Some people I know wonder why I post so much on G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. What if strangers find out I’m not home? they ask, and their hints of fear rise — clients firing them, job interviews lost, relationships broken, or just acting dumb. But my motivation is just this: I’m exposing myself to randomness. All the best things in my life have occurred because I stepped outside with no plan and no idea what I would do. A former newspaper editor was a dick; he called the office one day, asking for a ride, I gave it to him, we ended up friends and when he left for a hot-shot consulting firm, he called again with a job offer that changed my career to marketing. Or in the most important moment of my life, I stepped onto a college sidewalk — a one-way path across a campus green 200 yards long — right next to a gorgeous redhead in spandex and a crew shell. I wouldn’t usually approach such a girl, but we had to talk, for about 10 minutes. 15 seconds earlier or later I would have missed that chat. That girl is now my wife. Randomness is cool. Start typing. Get the fuck out there.”

This is the easiest way to throw boredom out the door:
Be random. Do random. Act random.

-Walk a different path to school.
-Take a different bus route.
-High-five folks that are passing by.
-Wear a ridiculous article of clothing.
-Get a new haircut.
-Say hi to tons of strangers.
-Message someone interesting on Twitter.
-Send a quick e-mail to show appreciation to someone.
-Hand $5 to someone who looks like they need coffee.
-Walk backwards.
-Take a photo of the grass.
-Pay for the person behind you.
-Step outside and wander around randomly.

Brainstorm other ways to be random. Feel free to share it in the comments.