There are positive attributes to like-mindedness. It’s a way to find common ground and interests in practically all relationships be it personal, professional, philosophical and spiritual.
We understand that having similar interests can help solidify these relationships. We also know that different pursuits can develop into new perspectives, and these perspectives can present alternative ways of thought and action, perhaps some you haven’t thought of yet.
Unfortunately, the bridges which can connect the like-minded and those diverse in thought and action, are in danger. There is a level of social deconstruction affecting not only the infrastructure of social interactions and preferences, but our individual feelings of well-being [health] and significance [purpose].
The relevance surrounding social engagement has been noted across many communication channels–magazine articles, academic papers, broadcast news, and more. The absence of in person, face-to-face interactions with colleagues, friends, family, business connections, neighbors, et al, has created varying levels of social isolation.
Some may miss the informal chatter when shuffling the hallways to and from meetings. There’s the interaction during lunch periods and conversations at the water cooler and copy room. I certainly miss some of the gatherings and conversations, either formal or informal. The taken-for-granted expressions of “good morning…good to see you…how’s your kid doing…you’re looking well, feeling better I hope….” and so on, chips away at our own self-perception and emotions borne by experiences. And this includes uncomfortable expressions and experiences as well. The good and not-so-good are inevitable in everyone’s life.
Before the pandemic, on two or more days during the workweek, a small group of us banter about life, kids, work pressures and current events. The time together in the lunchroom is not just small talk or attempts to fill in the question, “So, what’s new with you?” The time, albeit brief, permits a reciprocal exchange of ideas and feelings, or concerns and burdens, and even lighter moments, which on the whole, provide a brief respite from work. I miss deciphering the “Jumble” word game found in newspapers. Just about everyone at the table has had a go at the jumbled letters. Not surprisingly, others who saunter by have also added their own guesses.
Everyone has preferences though our personal constructs, expectations and beliefs can be as different and varied as the objects on our planet. And that’s what nurtures our face-to-face, in person interactions. We know there are differences, but I like to think that deep down, a lot of what matters between us are all too familiar.
Digital communications–Facetime, Instagram, zoom meetings, text messages and so forth have their place and their legions of supporters. Personally, I miss nuances of expression, of feeling connected and relevant in life whenever people are not physically present. Perhaps I’m just old fashioned but for me, being face-to-face validates our humanity.