Search for Similarity?

One may try to create a utopia, where he/she is surrounded by similarity, to create infinite happiness – everyone agrees and share the same ideas, there is no arguing. However, disregarding that differences exist in one another could create an artificial happiness that may be temporary. Philosopher Theodore W Adorno said, “Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.” However, what happens when one ventures out of this realm of similarity? If people are only seeking similarities in a relationship then there is little room for social influence, different perspectives, and creativity.

A relationship is broadly defined and categorized into subcategories. Some may think the only relationship is when intimacy is shared by two lovers; well, of course, this is one example of a relationship. Another obvious one is a friendship. Three more are family friendship, casual friendship, and acquaintances. I guess I have a relationship with my computer since I write and work virtually. I am not sure what category this falls under. Last but certainly not least, my bond with my two cats deserves its unique category.

Image result for the awkward yeti differences

What are similarities, exactly? These may be driven by prejudice, personality traits, religious views, political views, personality traits, etc. It is comforting being friends with someone who will not disagree with one’s politics and who mirrors the other person. One can relax knowing that most or any topic she or he brings up, the other will agree. It will also be comforting to know someone else shares the same personality and behaviors. There is less tension. However, opposition and similarity might be healthy ingredients for a relationship. For one, people learn to discuss any disagreement intellectually and show they have considered the opposing viewpoint, which can in return strengthen their own argument and possibly their relationship. If this can be done without any hatred for one another….then this could be serious proof the relationship can benefit with dissimilarity. Also, being different from one another means the chance of learning something new. Who doesn’t want to grow their knowledge?

Johnson mentioned, “If you hang out only with people who are loony like you, you can be out of touch with the big, beautiful diverse world (as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).

People are busy recognizing dissimilarities between each other and are quick to draw conclusions about those differences, perhaps before noticing anything shared between them. Maybe dissimilarities cause one to hesitate to engage the other person. Making an effort to notice a similarity, a light in a dark chamber, seems a challenge. What might a person have in common with someone who she/he disagrees with on most matters such as politics, healthcare, sports, and religion? This will probably depend on how many of these factors are involved.

A forced similarity, or rather a false similarity might be provided by the other individual just for the satisfaction of saying “hey, me and what’s his face have this in common. We really should hang out more often.” As a result, they feel more accepted and comfortable, at least while the act lasts. All this is to appease the other person’s acceptance and the little voice in her or his head that tells the person to identify with the other.

Image result for the awkward yeti growing my brain

Johnson said, “Whether a relationship develops could depend on the level of similarity the two individuals share from the beginning of their meeting” (as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).

Something in the back of my head tells me if I have something in common with a stranger when I first talk to him or her. For instance, if we immediately begin talking about hiking and thirty minutes or more pass, or we share thoughts about some of our favorite books and movies on the first meeting, etc. then we probably have something in common. But what if we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, or one’s religious while the other is an atheist? What if one does not identify with any of these categories? This may not be clear until later, or perhaps the authors’ are saying people will know this without needing to know the other person’s political label, beliefs, or nonbeliefs, whether one likes red meat and the other is a vegetarian. They will simply somehow know. Maybe a lady is attracted to a guy because she watches how he is with his kids, and it is the way she is with her kids. Another world traveler talking about her ventures can spark an instant friendship with a fellow traveler.

What if two people are on opposite ends of the political battlefield? Would this collapse the bridge built between them from other common interests?

There is the saying “opposites attract”, but can people with similarity be attracted? This seems like the common goal. One may try to surround herself or himself with only people who are similar to them, creating a sort of utopia. There is some contradiction to this idea of similarity in the quote below:

“The researchers said the quest for similarity in friends could result in a lack of exposure to other ideas, values, and perspectives.” One misses out on the value diversity can bring into his or her life.

The authors of the article stress similarity in relationships occur before two begin a relationship, opposed to the two seeking to be similar in the duration of a relationship. Valuable knowledge, bonding, and ideas can be a missed opportunity if people are only looking for similarity in a relationship. The authors do not go into much detail about how whether people will notice any differences before noticing the similarities, or how similarity and dissimilarity work together to build a strong relationship. How might the combination of these two work?

Work Cited

Study finds our desire for ‘like-minded others’ is hard-wired. (2016, February 23). Retrieved from https://news.ku.edu/2016/02/19/new-study-finds-our-desire-minded-others-hard-wired-controls-friend-and-partner

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