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.

5 comments
Anna Eichenauer
Anna Eichenauer

"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" I love this! Indeed, for me a complex social life is way more fun than a simple, repetetive one. In order to live such a life you need to be very "open" and "accepting", though. If you see anything that is different from you as "bad", you will never make such connections.

Jonathan Gaurano
Jonathan Gaurano

"How can we obtain a greater understanding of other people and tolerate those with differing views when we never hang out with different people?" Matt, dude... to answer your question - you cannot. To grow, one must experience many different social-cultural experiences that are available in their life. Or, social-cultural opportunities. It is from these opportunities that one can understand what they like, don't like, and formulate their own decision on a certain topic. Different people? How about different social-cultural experiences - all together? Mmmm. Crazy-ness

KyleP
KyleP

This is a topic I've been mulling over for a while. We become easily isolated into our worlds of people who are copies of us and don't embrace the real richness of the world. It takes work and risk to make conversation with people who aren't like you. It easier to write them off as bros or hipsters or occupier or whatever.