Friday, December 30, 2011

Reasons to Bond Over

When you and another person bond over something that you both love, it doesn't really matter why you love it. You can have fun riding bikes or making crafts or watching a marathon of your favorite TV show because your bond is about doing the activity together. When you and another person bond over something you both hate - a required class or the way people with glasses are portrayed in the media - it becomes more important that you agree on why you hate this thing. It may be your reasons that you actually bond over.

Suppose that Ashley has a very hard time tying her shoelaces. (And let's assume that she can't just practice and learn how to tie her shoes). As a result, Ashley hates gym class because it's really embarrassing to not be able to tie her sneakers. Now, many people would say that Ashley isn't alone because a lot of kids hate gym class.  But the truth is, someone in Ashley's position would not necessarily bond with kids who hate gym class for other reasons.

A lot of kids hate gym class because they don't like sports. Ashley may be really good at sports and love to try out for a team if only they didn't require her to wear sneakers. Some kids hate gym class because other kids bully them or pick them last. But it's possible that all the kids, even the ones who are teased, pick on Ashley about her shoelaces. It is also possible that Ashley picks on kids who are not athletic. The kids who don't like gym may be popular and think they're too cool to participate, or athletes could rule the school and the kids who don't like gym may be unpopular, and we don't know which group Ashley fits into.

If Ashley is athletic, she won't bond over hating sports.
If Ashley is not arrogant, she won't bond over being "above" gym class.
If Ashley is popular outside of gym class, she won't bond over feeling like an outcast.
And if Ashley is the only one who has this particular problem, she won't bond with people who bully or criticize her for it.

This is just something to keep in mind, before you tell someone that they are not alone because there are other people who feel the same way. If everyone loves a particular type of lemonade, and you hate it because it's not sweet enough, your first thought might be to bond with other people who hate it also. But what happens when you learn that the other people who don't like it think that it's too sweet, that they're petitioning to make it even less sweet than it is now?  Would you still be able to bond with them, or would you actually have more in common with people who like the lemonade the way it is? When it comes to disliking things, it's our reasoning that really matters.

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