r/science Oct 17 '21 Silver 7 Gold 1 Helpful 5 Wholesome 5 Hugz 1

New research indicates that a shared sense of reality plays an important role in social connections. The findings help explain what makes new acquaintances feel like they “click” when they first meet, and also why romantic couples and close friends feel like they share a common mind. Social Science

https://www.psypost.org/2021/10/psychologists-identify-shared-reality-as-a-key-component-of-close-relationships-61969
21.8k Upvotes

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u/bobconan Oct 18 '21

It was explained to me that the word for this is "Intersubjectivity" Your subjective realities line up.

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u/BaalKazar Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21 Helpful

If you’d like an interesting read google „mirror neurons“. (Wiki below)

Human brains do not have as many as our primate ancestors but the feature they offer is the same. (And seems to be connected to the autism spectrum, a lot of what we experience as empathy happens here)

A primate seeing another animal peel a banana learns to do so as well. But how they learn it is remarkable here, generally primate brains have synaptic clusters/neurons which try to mirror the state of the neurons of the brain which’s actions are spectated by being triggered as if the spectated X was done by ourselves.

Not only do we try to copy the motion with what we see but we and primates also copy emotional state/reasoning for motion/how to interpret feedback etc. there isn’t much „how to“ processing but mostly actual copying going on. A neuron is triggered by own actions, mirror neurons additionally can get triggered by spectated actions. (Somebody else does something that litteraly clicks in your brain and triggers/activates a certain neurons synaptic pathway)

This feature is entirely subjective, the brain does a lot of assumptions while trying to mirror which can negatively impact the result.

Sharing a reality, really sharing a subjective common ground is essential for us to be able to understand litteraly „what’s going on in the other persons brain“, the further the brains „assumptions“ to how and why somebody does X differ between two persons the less they are able to communicate and the less they are able to provide each other with meaningful feedback. One litteraly cannot understand the intend, reasoning, emotion or feedback needed for the other.

We have to resort to mostly verbal and grammatical communication, you can see nowadays how much less data is contained in mere written words compared to eye to eye inter-subjective conversations.

Edit: wiki link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron

Edit2: fun fact: mirror neurons and the common ground of shaking hands are commonly seen in hypnosis events ;) A hypnotist and general mentalists bank on what subjective „clicking together“/inter-subjectivity is known as, with mirror neurons being a part of. Our brain really is incredible and it’s potential seems to only increase the more we learn about it.

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u/slayingadah Oct 18 '21

What you are describing is exactly how infants, in their earliest days, learn about what it is to be human. They require the gaze of an adult human, smiling when they smile, frowning when they frown, and essentially labeling and mirroring the range of human emotions, so that babies can begin to understand who they are. This subject fascinates me still, even after 20 years of working directly w infants and toddlers and their families.

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u/friday99 Oct 18 '21

This is one of the most magical things about working with children, especially from a preverbal age--watching their little brains come online and knowing you can fill it with love and all manner of new knowledge.

You get to see how we impact others around us

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u/slayingadah Oct 18 '21 Silver

Yes! Input input input. They are cooler than any computer...

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u/BaalKazar Oct 18 '21

Yes you are absolutely right.

Imagine an infant needing to understand/be concious about everything it does, how and where would he/she even begin to start with?

The line between „copied“ and „learned from own actions“ is fuzzy but how they are the sum of „you“ is fascinating.

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u/inarizushisama Oct 18 '21

Any research you're aware of which focuses on this development in regards to autism?

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u/slayingadah Oct 18 '21

Not specifically, but what I teach to other caregivers based on research into the brain is that with careful observation, we adults meet the needs of each individual child starting w exactly where they are at... my child is twice exceptional, and he really enjoyed playing games that had lots of sensory input into his body when he was tiny, so that is what we did. In the past I have had children who need to be squished, swung around, etc, and others who needed so much less stimulus (never wanting to get dirty or wet). We just see them all for the tiny, complete humans they are and go from there, observing them carefully and meeting their needs.

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u/JourneymanHunt Oct 18 '21

NGL, was half expecting for mankind and steel cages to appear at the end of this...

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u/BaalKazar Oct 18 '21

Haha Undertaker is still showing the monkeys backstage how to peel their banana, mankind is safe.

This time.

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u/Celestellation Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

There is a ‘Stuff You Should Know: Mirror Neurons’ (Podcast) episode from 2010 available.

Edit: better link

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u/Element_Liga Oct 18 '21

I have ADHD I swear I'm autistic or something my subjective reality is weird and hard to interpret and more complex than most I think

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u/FireworksNtsunderes Oct 18 '21

I have ADHD and the best way I can describe it is that I over analyze almost everything. I think about things endlessly until I hit a point where I don't know enough to reach an answer, or I get to some unanswerable question. It's like I'm a kid who never learned to stop asking "why" about everything. The result of this is that I end up consciously thinking about all my actions, all my choices, why I do things, why other people do things, etc. while it seems like most people can kinda... vibe their way through life. They don't need explanations for every damn thing - they can follow their feelings or their gut more. I'm not a robot but very few things come "naturally" to me, it's always a concerted mental effort that takes some amount of focus.

I've come to realize that other neurodivergent individuals tend to immediately understand my thoughts and feelings way easier than neurotypical people because they heavily relate to what I described above. When you have to hyperanalyze everything just to understand the world and act relatively normal, it results in a significantly different subjective reality.

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u/Slayer_CommaThe Oct 18 '21

It can be a bit of a super power when/if you learn to turn it on and off. There’s a lot of strength in the ability to see connections others don’t. I’m still not perfect (I mean…I’m currently on Reddit at work…) but mindfulness meditation helped me learn to grab the reins a little more often. It also got me more in touch with that gut feeling you see other people following.

ADHD over-analysis can also help to defuse my anxiety if I turn that analysis inward when I’m really anxious about something. I try to step back and question my own thoughts from a neutral emotional POV. I’ll even write it out as a conversation with myself and basically pretend I’m an alien interviewing myself in a human zoo.

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u/succed32 Oct 18 '21

I have ADHD as well. It has caused me immeasurable suffering and confusion. But my ability to handle it and function semi normal has improved with age. Its still there mind you. The incessantly deep thoughts that at times go way too far. But its much easier to accept it and potentially work past it now. Not a cure by any means. But an improvement.

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u/andyazel Oct 18 '21

It took until I was 30 to realize everyone isn’t like this and that I am the weird one in this world.

I like how you describe it as everyone else is just “vibing” through life. I don’t take anything at face value and I’m always asking questions. Everyone else just seems to assume a lot and accepts everything as it is. I describe it as like I’m missing some fundamental component of being human. I didn’t realize this was an ADHD thing.

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u/allboolshite Oct 18 '21

The downside to this is that sometimes the "shared reality" is an abusive childhood, family full of addiction, and shared mental illness from that trauma. It doesn't exactly set your relationship up for success.

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u/roseflower245 Oct 18 '21 Hugz

Very true, but once you spend a lot of time working through the fallout from an abusive childhood or other traumas, you can then choose to have relationships based on a positive, present shared reality. At least that has been my experience.

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u/Trillian258 Oct 18 '21

This has also been my experience... 12 years and still going strong.

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u/TheRandomHero Oct 18 '21

Stay strong! I’m fixing to be 32 and am on my first, steady medication for depression and anxiety. Coupled with (knock on wood,) productive honest therapy with a therapist I connect with - who also holds me accountable - has been a major life changing adventure.

We may not be in the same boat, but some of us are in the same storm. We’ve got this!

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u/My_Cat_Snorez Oct 18 '21

Stay Strong! You’re on the right path.

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u/AlwaysFianchetto Oct 18 '21

We may not be in the same boat, but some of us are in the same storm.

Love this. Thank you!

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u/jimbone520 Oct 18 '21

How are meds working for you? In my experience they just make things worse. Therapy on the other hand has been amazing.

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u/TheRandomHero Oct 18 '21

I have gone through a few to find the right ones. My first couple attempts definitely made it worse, along with things like lost appetite. It took some trial and error to find this one I’m steadily taking nightly! I’m on two currently; one for depression and anxiety (plus sleep assistance,) and one for anti-psychotic for suicidal tendencies. They seem to be doing their job well, but I feel without therapy it wouldn’t quite work as well.

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u/Brains-In-Jars Oct 18 '21

This has been my experience as well.

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u/jujumoon Oct 18 '21

Exactly how I see my past relationships. We were bonding on similar past/on going trauma, which just made it a difficult place to be in romantically or not. It was too exhausting to be in such a place even though you love that person.

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u/nefariouslyubiquitas Oct 18 '21

Exactly. Which is why I’m single.

Amongst many other reasons

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u/Lykanya Oct 18 '21

Not to mention when one overcomes and moves on, the other is left behind. This doesn't have to be particularly traumatic events per se but its fairly common, the whole "you were who i needed then, but not who i need now"

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u/sf_frankie Oct 18 '21

Trauma bonding is something that happens a lot and makes it difficult to form lasting/meaningful relationships. Once you start to try and bond over something other than trauma you realize you really don’t have much in common at all.

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u/Bonobo555 Oct 18 '21

Welcome to my marriage!

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u/allboolshite Oct 18 '21

Mine too. First decade sucked. Having this realization was one of several things that finally fell into place. We're good now. How are you?

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u/PandaCommando69 Oct 18 '21

Not OP, but it destroyed us. Really unfortunate. Happier now, by a lot, but I still regret that it went so badly. We had such good intentions, and I miss my friend--we were once such good friends. They hate me and it hurts my heart, and there's nothing I can do about it. Divorce can be a kind of death. Leaves you raw, and hurts in big and small places you even forgot were there. Glad it went the other way for you.

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u/Checkerszero Oct 18 '21

Not divorced but I look back and very much get where you're coming from. It hurts, it sort've doesn't stop hurting

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u/Openheartguy1980s Oct 18 '21

Divorce can also be a reset. I am fond of my ex wife but for the life of me, neither of us can remember feeling like a couple. I am with a partner who really loves me and we connect super hard. Best of luck to you

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u/Bonobo555 Oct 18 '21

Better but lockdown was rough. A mood stabilizer has worked wonders but a lot of damage was done in the 20 plus years prior. Work in progress. Thanks for asking and I’m glad you’re doing so well!

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u/Useless_info_expert Oct 18 '21

And it doesn’t exactly set your relationship for failure either.

Just because you connect with someone through a similar rough past experience it doesn’t mean you’re both still lost in that issue, you just have to be aware and able to see if you’re both walking a similar path now (hopefully towards overcoming what happened).

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u/allboolshite Oct 18 '21

Totally agree, but most couples won't last the decade+ that it took my wife and I to get right.

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u/Useless_info_expert Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

Personally I don’t think it takes a long time to see that we’re walking different paths, specially since we both know which directions our shared issues lead to.

I had an eating disorder when I was younger, I often can tell and connect to other women who had (or still have), I feel that I can pick up which path they’re going.

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u/leftysrevenge Oct 18 '21 Gold

We should definitely stop mistaking shared trauma for compatibility

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u/hairymonkeyinmyanus Oct 18 '21

The article doesn’t do a good job of explaining this, but there’s a difference between a shared reality and a shared sense of reality.

Reality regarding the past does not change, but one’s sense of reality can.

Let’s say two people both had an abusive childhood. They both have undergone a lot of healing, and have worked through therapy, and have similar impressions of what happened to them as children and how to move forward. They may have similar views on the world, their roles in the world, and their personal priorities.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that people should shy away from others with a history of trauma. It means people should focus on how they and the other person are dealing with their trauma.

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u/SirNarwhal Oct 18 '21

Precisely this. I was in a friend circle that was basically bound together by trauma and it was hellish to be in. Was essentially a cult with a lot of oppression olympics going on and god forbid you bettered yourself. Left them all in the dust and moved on and could immediately feel the physical and mental differences; I really hope more study is done in this area with situations like this as the whole crabs in a bucket mantra and surrounding yourself with others where your only similarities are negative can most certainly have outward consequences on one's well being.

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u/allboolshite Oct 18 '21

Yeah, I had a couple of occasions to find new friends. The first was when I stopped doing drugs and realized that hanging out with petite who still did drugs was a setup for failure.

Later, when I had my own business and a lot of my friends were working crappy retail or service jobs the gap in responsibility and experience took a toll.

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u/ElvenNeko Oct 18 '21

Well, it can be worse, like not having shared reality at all, never meeting any people who would at least remotly be like you in your entire life. It's sad, feels like you live on another planet - there are intelligent species, but we are too different to understand each other.

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u/Sentinel-Prime Oct 18 '21

I've heard it called "trauma bonding" and after reading up on it can definitely see why it's not a suitable foundation for a relationship of any kind.

It's most common in things like AA and NA (or really, any group meeting to help people) for obvious reasons.

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u/veronique7 Oct 18 '21

That's why you both go to therapy and talk about your experiences and grow as people together :D. It is nice having someone who understands. Especially if you are both are aware of any potential flaws keep up good communication

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u/typesett Oct 17 '21

im off the market now but tbh, i understood looking back some of the relationships reflected people being in different places in their lives

ex. someone who is working their career and someone who is in retail attending uni classes

it can work but it is less likely probably than 2 people in the same situation. in the case of the person who is in retail and getting education, that might not be a good time at all for a SO

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u/Pojeki Oct 18 '21

I know nobody will see this, but this was exactly why one of my favorite relationships failed. We were in two completely different stages in life. She had graduated Uni, was working, trying to get into a Masters, was all burnt out. I was still in Uni, not working, having the time of my life. We just didn’t work at all outside of the love because our day to day lives were so different and we couldn’t really relate to one another anymore.

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u/pseudocultist Oct 17 '21

We used to call this "compatible trajectory" when I was dating. You can be in different situations, but you need to be going in the same direction at about the same speed. If one of you is taking night classes or full-time student, making their life better, and the other is letting loose and being a fuckup, it's not gonna work. Two people both going downhill work just fine together tho.

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u/LostGolems Oct 18 '21

And how would one find one of these downward trajectory people, hypothetically. "Gasoline", tinder for the reckless.

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u/AltSpRkBunny Oct 18 '21

Depends on how old you are. But the bar at an Applebee’s on a Wednesday is a good start.

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u/AKravr Oct 18 '21

Especially when they have the $1 margaritas special.

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u/AltSpRkBunny Oct 18 '21

Hey, /u/LostGolems - this one!

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u/Socksandcandy Oct 18 '21

I made this ridiculously inappropriate joke to a guy with a supposedly high iq of "You've never sat at the bar of an Applebee's and it shows variety" and he wanted to fight me. It was hilarious

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u/TheRealBillyShakes Oct 18 '21

Bring Cocaine!

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u/laconicflow Oct 18 '21

You'll find those people where all the drugs are.

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u/NightOfTheLivingHam Oct 18 '21

Yep, my last relationship went like that. I kept going up, she didn't. She wanted me to slow down or fall with her.

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u/n_s_y Oct 18 '21

Certainly possible to let loose and not be a fuckup

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u/Damnoneworked Oct 18 '21

That’s not the point though it’s more if you are with someone they should be working towards the same or equivalent as you are at roughy the same speed and current place. So if you both are in college and partying it’s fine or if you both have a career or whatever. It’s harder if one is working retail and not taking classes and the other is because they don’t have the same long term plans.

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u/VILDREDxRAS Oct 18 '21

I worked a dead end job while my wife finished school, then she was starting her career while I went back and got my degree.

Probably neither of us could have got through school if we didn't have eachother for support.

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u/voidnullvoid Oct 18 '21

Yeah it’s probably easier to have 1 full time + 1 student rather than 2 full time students living under a bridge

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u/space253 Oct 18 '21

We certainly dont have enough bridges!

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u/ReverendDizzle Oct 18 '21

You guys were on the same trajectory and tackling it as a team.

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u/Kierenshep Oct 18 '21

I'm glad this worked out for you but I've had so many friend horror stories where they've supported their partner in this for a gruelling 4 years and then their partner up and leaves them meeting someone new within a year of getting out and making money on their own.

It seems this happens more often than not sadly. It's always a gamble.

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u/roar_ticks Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 28 '21

It's possible it depends how well they treated them under that imbalance of power

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u/sharkbait-oo-haha Oct 18 '21

To be far, I'd do worse if your took my cake.

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u/Double-barrelled Oct 18 '21

I'd be annoyed, regardless of the distance

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u/Hoihe Oct 18 '21

If people based on shared ideology and hobbies it wouldnt happen.

But from what i see most people date on hotness then whine at the other's hobbies being incompatible with theirs or have vitriolic politixal arguments

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u/UmDeTrois Oct 18 '21

Oddly specific….

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u/Hoihe Oct 18 '21

Family members whining, overhearing whining on the train, overhearing whining at my old job...

I just don't get it.

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u/Obvious_Marsupial350 Oct 18 '21

I mean… this happened with my relationship but that’s because she just didn’t finish college and then actively resisted moving with me as I went on to pursue my career. And I wasn’t gonna just give up on my career out the gate to stay in my hometown dating a bartender who failed her community college classes.

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u/MotherGooseBro Oct 18 '21

You made the right move

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u/Disastrous-Ad-2357 Oct 18 '21

How can you be so sure? Maybe she had nice boobs.

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u/grandoz039 Oct 18 '21

dating a bartender who failed her community college classes

The overal point makes sense, but this quoted attitude is sounds ugly.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

Classism is ugly. That relationship was doomed to fail even if she was perfect.

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u/chilispicedmango Oct 18 '21

I wonder how much classism impacts relationships even when both partners have attained similar social status, education, income, etc. if they come from different backgrounds

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u/weedful_things Oct 18 '21

Every man I know who put his wife through nursing school ended up in this situation. So. Many. Times.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21 edited 13d ago

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u/NightOfTheLivingHam Oct 18 '21

example, my ex. We both met in college, I graduated, she was still in college, then she dropped out, did odd jobs, didnt commit to any, then started demanding I drop my career and live like her. Didnt do that so she ran into another man's arms.

people change. Right now I would not dare drag someone into my life because I'm still pretty fucked up. Me 1-2 years from now might be better off.

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u/Hoihe Oct 18 '21

This is less important than shared ideology and hobbies.

Someone you enjoy as a best friend vs someone you just want to sleep with.

I genuinely dont get why peoplr date someone then whime about their partner's hobbies... or political preferences and not break up

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u/Porn_throwaway_lizar Oct 18 '21

That's interesting. I have a personality disorder called schizotypal disorder. Which kind of means I have a skewed perception of reality and have trouble with close connections. I have for a long time quite explicitly thought I do not make close relationships with people because I view reality differently from any one I have met. So this seems intuitive to me.

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u/Scruffybear Oct 18 '21

I'm schizoid avoidant and I've wondered about this too. One interesting thing I've noticed is the few friends I've been close to have all been on the spectrum. Don't know why but they seem easier to be around and more accepting.

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u/garlic_bread_thief Oct 18 '21

I've never had any close relationships with ANYONE in my life. Not even parents. It's because of my childhood and now I feel I don't know how to get close to someone. I always feel like I only know people exist, not who they are, what they're like in actual life. All my relationships are superficial. Do you feel the same?

P.S: doesn't mean I don't wanna have close relationships. I do and it, but I struggle

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

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u/The_Devin_G Oct 18 '21

Social media has changed, originally it seemed like a great way to meet lost friends who you never talk to any more. Now it's everyone up in arms over extreme views because they don't have any caution about what they say or share online.

I find that if I ignore Facebook and Twitter I'm a lot happier person. I still get on Reddit because I don't have any personal friends or family that I follow on here. And once in awhile there's actually useful and educational posts.

I can't understand a lot of people who live their lives for social media and share everything they do. Depending on comments and likes on Instagram seems pretty shallow and sad to me.

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u/Ophidahlia Oct 18 '21

The most interesting thing to come out of the recent inquest with Facebook is the confirmation of how Facebook actively encourages that exact kind of interaction because it drives engagement & clicks, even though they know they're promoting falsehoods. There's also some research associating heavy FB use & accessing news through FB wth anti-vax & other false Covid-related views. So, ya know, there's that

I haven't used Facebook in over a year. My FB use was actually very healthy and I stopped for the wrong reasons (mental health stuff made me self-isolate for a while :/) but despite that I'm surprised that I do not really miss it. That place just stresses me the heck out every time I take a peek and think of logging on again.

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u/hononononoh Oct 18 '21

Facebook is basically the Pied Piper of Hameln. The promise of reconnecting with old acquaintances is the piper's pretty, irresistible tune. So people follow along to their demise.

But, as in the folktale of the Pied Piper, the world's governments are complicit, because they fell for the promise that Facebook would keep their crazier citizens well contained. Instead, it marched damn near everybody off a cliff.

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u/JOSimpson Oct 18 '21

I'm surprised when anyone besides middle aged people are still on facebook. Haven't used it in about a decade

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u/The_Devin_G Oct 18 '21

Well at least in my experience it's mostly much older people who are active on Facebook. I think most of the younger and middle-aged generations have realized how bad it is.

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u/rarebit13 Oct 18 '21

You're right, abstaining from most social media platforms and news sites is smashing for mental health. I also feel that Reddit is still the exception as well .

There's enough rational people on Reddit that the comments often contain useful stories, anecdotes, advice and knowledge. And being able to filter for your interests helps weed out a lot of the rubbish. The hive mind is still unbearable at times, but the smaller subs are still great places to be.

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u/themamsler24 Oct 18 '21

Everyone* is a "nutcase" in person but some people are just more honest about it than others, in my opinion. I prefer the honest people.

*with the exception of a small percentage of extremely lucky and hard-working self-aware people

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u/[deleted] Oct 17 '21

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u/wozxox3 Oct 18 '21 All-Seeing Upvote

The same thing goes for jobs. I can always tell if I ‘click’ at an employer. I used to be able to connect with people at work, but it seems like everyone is on completely different pages no matter where I go now. Work is more of a choice for me as I have gotten older and amassed sufficient resources for myself. In this social climate, I don’t want to put myself out there anymore. People are crazy rude, the social contract has been shredded by our cold uncivil society. I used to be a social worker. Now I would never think of working in the field again. Both clients and stakeholders screamed at me like I was the reason for their problems. I quit like any rational person.

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u/sumothurman Oct 18 '21

I’m in social work, just a few years in and the climate is rough. Any insight on where to bounce to? The working world is so vast I am having trouble really even starting to look.

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u/DigDux Oct 18 '21

Anything that isn't social work, management/leadership positions are usually pretty solid, and most people still need someone to do data entry and push papers.

Logistics is usually pretty reasonable.

When you switch fields you just need to understand what about your skillset is transferable, and then use that to market yourself.

Just follow the money, and usually there's a position that needs filling. It's a labor market now, so it's as good time as any.

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u/wozxox3 Oct 18 '21

I am moving into remote mental health counseling. My mental health license is taking forever to get because COVID broke the health department, but my goal is to, once I get my associate license, get a counseling license and then do remote mental health counseling. I also plan on getting my Substance Use Disorder Certification because it’s interesting, why not? I will have to insist that I work remote. That way I can keep my ‘distance’, both psychologically and physically, from the potentially aggressive client and stakeholders. I have PTSD and cannot put up with it anymore. Yelling is not ok if it is directed as me as a person. I need to be able to ‘fire’ the client if they pose a threat to me. My hope is that once I got my license and work for my own ‘practice’ I will be able to exercise more autonomy over my clientele. Also, I won’t work with minors under the age of 18 at all any more. Period. It’s TOO MUCH.

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u/generous_cat_wyvern Oct 18 '21

It's kinda weird for me right now, because I don't really "click" that well with my current job, but I'm treated well and paid well. Everything on paper is better than my previous job where I connected way more with my co-workers and half my friends are from there, even 5 years after leaving. I used to hang out after work with co-workers and generally spend a bunch of time with them because they were also my friends. I wouldn't call any of my current co-workers friends, but I have a good professional relationship with them, and I still don't know quite how I feel about that, over 5 years later. I miss the camaraderie, but I like the stability and general low stress (and better pay) of my current job.

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u/The-student- Oct 18 '21

I always lean towards the benefits of the job than the benefits of the coworkers. It's nice when you really connect with coworkers, but I'd rather a stable job I can get through with good pay. My social needs are met outside of work.

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u/HoursOfCuddles Oct 18 '21

Thanks for this.

It reminds me of a saying but I'm not sure if it fits:

"its better to make a coworker your friend than a friend your coworker"

if things get bitter and a business is failing then its better that you not take down a friend ship with the failing business.

..also the economy is ass right now so

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u/Bramblebrew Oct 18 '21

That's one of the most horrifying graphs I've seen in a while, possibly ever. Where is it from?

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u/HoursOfCuddles Oct 18 '21

a feminist researcher named pavlinka examined the the changes in wages for the 10% and the bottom 90% for the data from Emmanuel Saez of the https://www.nber.org

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u/generous_cat_wyvern Oct 18 '21

Yeah, generally agree, although I have no idea how to make or maintain friendships outside of work (and before that, school). I enjoy seeing people, but I also need to be forced to do it. Hanging out longer after work spontaneously is a lot easier than scheduling time to hang out.

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u/The-student- Oct 18 '21

That is fair, sounds like social connections at work are a higher priority for you. I can understand you debating the best workplace for yourself.

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u/wozxox3 Oct 18 '21

Depends on the employer. I have worked for many, what I can only describe as low quality employers. Many times the job is so stressful that it breaks even the most strong and dedicated. One time, a co-worker and I were outside smoking after a particularly stressful client/community interaction, and she just started pissing herself. There in the street, piss running down her legs, trailing her as I gently directed her out of the street. The job was ridiculously stressful. I loved my co-worker, but I encouraged her to leave and I left myself. Jobs are different I guess.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

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u/generous_cat_wyvern Oct 18 '21

Yeah, I should be looking around probably (and now's a good time for it) but I hate job hunting and I generally need to pass a certain threshold of unhappiness to get to motivation to actually update my resume, apply, and interview. Right now I'm not unhappy with my job, which makes it very hard to actually look.

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u/borkyborkus Oct 18 '21

Yeah I wanted to work in a job where I helped people but I also want to own a house. I ended up going into logistics/finance, work remotely, and just keep my head down. I feel like I’ve developed a separate personality that is boring, doesn’t swear, doesn’t talk about anything too deeply, and doesn’t get involved in any extracurriculars. I’d love to do something I actually care about and can be myself but it’s so risky financially.

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u/curbis13 Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 30 '21

This finding might sound obvious but I am empirically surprised by the degree it is affecting relationships. I can say that I feel more connected to the majority of the random posters in this thread compared to my decades-long childhood friend who recently turned Q.

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u/Kaa_The_Snake Oct 18 '21

I hear you. I've lost friends for the same reason, it sucks but what can you do? Also, when I was single I'd write (politely I thought) 'I'm liberal, and don't date Trump supporters'. The amount of hate I got, like I was taking something away from them or insulting them, instead of plainly and clearly stating a fact...I mean if a guy wanted a stay at home wife or something totally not like me, I'd be like ok, to each their own, I wouldn't get all mad about it.

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u/SloDancinInaBrningRm Oct 18 '21

The irony that they fly their flags, literally, and you can’t voice your preference is astonishing. I’m so sick of F Biden flags and if you even speak of supporting a liberal, they lose their minds. What the F is wrong with these people?

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u/entropyfan1 Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

Tribalism & anti-intellectualism smashed together. A multitude of factors created this type of mentality over a long period of time & accelerated by social media, but the root cause are those 2 things. Edit: a word

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u/PapaSmurf1502 Oct 18 '21

Surely you mean anti-intellectualism.

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u/LimpMammoth Oct 18 '21

Tribalism & intellectualism smashed together.

looks like you missed an anti

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u/Omsk_Camill Oct 18 '21

They meant they smashed together and the tribalism won

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u/entropyfan1 Oct 18 '21

Yep. Whoops thanks!

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u/z500 Oct 18 '21

I like to take comfort in the fact that they have to resort to those stupid flags because they're butthurt that the democratic process worked and they just have to sit there and groove on it.

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u/janggle Oct 18 '21

For people that bemoan 'snowflakes', they have some pretty fragile egos themselves

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u/itsjfin Oct 18 '21

Explains why I am so fucken aloneeee

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u/Alberiman Oct 18 '21

also, coincidentally, why ADHD people are are fricken down to clown with one another

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u/VegPicker Oct 18 '21

So, one of my best friends got diagnosed and was telling me about it, and I was like, "I can see that." Then another one of my best friends was telling me about her hyper focus and I was like, "Huh, is that what that is?" Then I got tested and diagnosed and was telling my roommate about the research I was reading, and he got tested and diagnosed. I think it really does run in friend groups.

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u/bijoux3 Oct 18 '21

I’ve been asking myself. I talk about my symptoms all the time and everyone I’m close to is now getting diagnosed

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u/awesomecatz Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

During the pandemic, 2 of my female friends and I were all diagnosed with ADHD. Before that, I always felt I connected unusually well with them and they would always “get” me.

It makes total sense because our brains are all just vibin on the same chaotic wavelengths. I normally have a pretty difficult time connecting with other women.

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u/HoursOfCuddles Oct 18 '21

ya i had a friend who was diagnosed when he was in his teens...

guess who's getting tested for it soon as an adult...

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u/PrincePenguino69 Oct 18 '21

Can you explain more? I'm curious.

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u/Disastrous-Ad-2357 Oct 18 '21

People who have deficiencies in their attention due to a disorder that makes them hyper active tend to make friends with similar people.

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u/Useless_info_expert Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

ADHD is not an attention deficiency, it is a developmental impairment of executive function. We have no problem paying attention, in fact we often pay too much attention, it’s a matter of priorities.

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u/flabbybumhole Oct 18 '21

As someone with ADHD, that's pretty pedantic.

When there's a thing I want to do / need to do, and my attention ends up on something else, yeah that's a problem with paying attention.

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u/Isogash Oct 18 '21

It's not a problem with paying attention, but it definitely manifests as a problem holding attention. To the outside world it looks like we're just not paying attention because we stopped paying attention to the same thing that everyone else is without really realising it.

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u/zakuropan Oct 18 '21

literally, even before I got diagnosed I was sniffing out neurodivergent folks like a truffle pig. they just got a different shine to ‘em

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u/SoManyTimesBefore Oct 18 '21

I can’t connect on a romantic level with people who are neurotypical

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u/Moderndayhippy1 Oct 18 '21

My wife has adhd and I am about as far from having adhd as possible. It actually creates a great balance, I keep the train moving forward she makes sure the train has a colorful and fun.

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u/leopardloops Oct 18 '21

What a beautiful way to describe the balance!

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u/zakuropan Oct 18 '21

yea, absolutely not haha

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u/hononononoh Oct 18 '21

I'm an independent general practice physician with ADHD and high functioning autism. A large number of the patients whom I click with, and who are very loyal to my practice, are people who I strongly suspect have one or both of these. We're not thrown by the quick and unexpected changes of topics in geeky and pedantic conversations. We see past each other's coarse social manners, and are relieved by each other's unconventionality. These patients love how I make my instructions and recommendations clear and explicit, and don't shy away from stating harsh truths they need to hear to take care of their health. My unconventional style, and minimal attention paid to making my office feel "like a doctor's office should feel", don't faze them. They don't mind that I go slowly and don't jump to conclusions, because they relate to being slow to pick up on other people's intentions.

Interestingly enough, I don't tell my patients I'm on the spectrum, unless they ask. But the ones who've told me they are, I'm fairly sure at least strongly suspect I am.

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u/SooooooMeta Oct 18 '21

Relationships are a tension between the idea that “people with common ground tend to end up together” and “opposites attract”. Most of these studies that I’m aware of (including this one) validate the common ground part of things. We tend to end up with someone who is the same income level, skin color, education level, childhood upbringing etc., etc.. To just validate this side of the equation is pretty darn boring though.

Often the people who really seem to have a spark and really seem good for each other are opposites in important ways and they balance each other out (Ernie and Bert style). I definitely feel like the best couples I’ve known have that and that the best relationships I’ve been in have that.

I wish there was more study on that side of the equation since when and why opposites attract is a lot more interesting than just the idea that the more similarities the better.

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u/Privatdozent Oct 18 '21

You can share a sense of reality with someone who is very different from you. In fact, sharing that sense of reality, either implicitly or explicitly, makes those differences more meaningful.

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u/rawrimmakittycat Oct 18 '21

my best friend and i are like this. i have a chaotic and impulsive attitude and she's eager to practice even-mindedness. otherwise though, we don't truly feel as understood by anyone else, and share a lot of unique outlooks and experiences.

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u/Holiday-Classroom174 Oct 18 '21

I tend to see this as within the couple believes the same but they approach problems differently. As in, we seek partners who work towards the same general things we want but help us broaden our horizons about getting there and balance out our mistakes.

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u/icebugs Oct 18 '21

My parents are extremely different, personality-wise. I asked my mom why she thinks they’ve worked for 40+ years, and she said it’s because they share the same values. (And sense of humor!)

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u/jollypancakes265 Oct 18 '21

What are some of these values, if I may ask?

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u/w0mpw0mper Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

“If you try to leave, I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” Joking aside, importance of kin/friends, operating a nice domestic setting, making small sacrifices to help other, finding shared solution to problems/situations, respecting each others’ decisions, listening and not just forcing opinions, are some good values.

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u/Cheese-bo-bees Oct 18 '21

Yes! Same foundation, different building materials!

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u/Falsus Oct 18 '21

Common ground and opposite attracts aren't exactly that mutually exclusive.

Since it is very plausible to have parts that is both opposite and shared. And ''opposite'' is also very much based on perception. Two people can be very similar to each other according to a third person, but if you asked those two people they would list nothing but differences.

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u/HoursOfCuddles Oct 18 '21

its like two psychiatrists in a relationship.

one is more into mindfulness based exercises to soothe or cure childhood trauma and seeks yoga, meditation and self-love actions and studies that support their views.

the other is more a psychiatrist's psychiatrist who views medication, changes to sleep(using medication), stimulants , depressants, experimental studies or procedures or electro convulsive therapy as a way of overcome neurological damage done to someone as a result of childhood trauma.

From the outside typical observer they are the same. but in that relationship they both seek the same goal, and can list their different paths in getting there

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u/ImASuperCool Oct 18 '21

The fact that you said Ernie and Bert and not Bert and Ernie proves we are absolutely NOT compatible.

That’s too opposite for me.

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u/farahad Oct 18 '21

Some say tomato, some say y̩̞̖̞̱̅̔̇͊̈́͐̏̚o͎ͬ̍ṳ̪̬̊ͩͧ̎̚r͙͈̤͕̭̙̝͍̮̊ͥ̌͌ͦ ̱͔͙̪ͮ̓b̫̖̗̤͓͕͉̦͚͂͒͌ͯͪ̍͗͑l̮̪͕͓̱̭̗͆̈̈̈́ͬ̑o̤̞̝͔̞̗͑̄o͎̦̲̪͚̠͕̅̋ͬ̈́̑͊d͚̮ͮ̋̏͌ͦ̐̈ ̞̮͈̹͎̝̝ͤͮ͆ͫw͔͈̠̩̩̹̮̐ͩ̃ô͕̖͕̜̹̮̋̏͐̿̌͊u͔͋̀ͦͧ̍ͯl̦̳̲͚͍͚͗̅ͫ̃ͧd̳ͩ͆͋͒̊̌͊ ̩͉͓̝̦̊ͮ͐̈́̿ͅm͈̗̟͙̰͖͇ͣͤ̐a̞̩̯ͬ͗k̙̱̞͔̤͓̭͉̳̑̃̇̏e͕͓̬̹̰͂̍ͥ́ͯ͐ ̙̤̹̓̉ͦ̽̚ȃ̩̻̤̘̯͉͎͆͂̉̓̈́͋̾̚ ̹̩̭͖̹̹͉̫ͣ̿b̳̫͙̟͚͚̈̎e͚̘͕̥ͯt̤̪̟̖̜͇̗̟̊͛t̖͕̪̮͛̃ͮ͐͛̌̏e̖̭ͥ͊r̤̥̼̩̻͉͐̐ ͈̟̝̮̺̖̩̓̂ͤͭ͂̉͒̂̈ͅs͚̤̲̝͉̻͚͓ͬ̇a͖̯̦̪̖̭ͫ̄ͧ̓̍ŭ͍͗̋c̠̱̦͙͖ͣ̓͒͐̋e̪͖̦̙̩̖̞͆̔̾͑̊̀ͭͯ ̘̿̑͐

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u/T-MinusGiraffe Oct 18 '21

Similar goals, complimentary attributes.

It's not opposites so much as looking to make a whole of something that's wanted. For example if your team has good defense already you need forwards. They all have the shared goal of playing their particular sport well.

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u/HoursOfCuddles Oct 18 '21

ya basketball captures relationships well. Funnily enough, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson or ,crazily enough, Stephen Curry and Lebron would make good couples in basketball because they both seek the same goal, offensive dominance , but they go about in ways that compliment each other.

Curry and Bird are off-ball they like to use their movement without the ball to free up and make plays easier for their on-ball teammates. Magic and LBJ are on-ball they seek to make drives, headfakes and decisions that use their off-ball teammates attributes to their best.

Same goals, different means of reaching it.

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u/Omsk_Camill Oct 18 '21

Judging by my own experience, in order to be an opposite, you still need to share the same axis on which you take those opposite sides. "I'm cold, you're hot" are compatible because those people can still relate to each other and can slide among the common rails to connect; "I'm bitter, and you're purple" are just on completely different planes and can't touch without building a whole new alien reality inside their heads.

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u/victorix58 Oct 18 '21

Because everyone has varying levels of a characteristic, i.e. neat vs messy, we see even very similar people as opposite to us. That's why every family has a smart one, a shy one, etc. It's all relative to where we are.

Probably covers some of the opposites attract.

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u/super_sayanything Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

Don't think anyone really thinks "opposites" attract so much as people can complement each other to be stronger as a couple.

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u/rejecteddroid Oct 18 '21

i can see both of these at play looking at the examples of relationships in my life. a lot of differing personalities (emotionally grounded vs flighty, extroverted vs introverted, gentle/kind vs outspoken/harsh) and the shared opinions, life experiences, hobbies, approach to conflict, communication styles, etc. i think it can easily be a “both and” situation with relationships

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u/jwf239 Oct 18 '21

Who the hell orders them “Ernie and Bert?!?” You psycho.

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u/w0mpw0mper Oct 18 '21

Ernie, the commenter is secretly Ernie and has been fighting for decades to change the status quo.

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u/SinkHoleDeMayo Oct 18 '21

I wish there was more study on that side of the equation since when and why opposites attract is a lot more interesting than just the idea that the more similarities the better.

Seinfeld had an awesome take on this. Jerry met someone who thought and acted just like he did. He thought it was great because they were on the same page... but then he realized how incredibly boring it was.

And that's how I feel about being with someone who is so similar. I'm with someone who is a far different in so many ways. We both grew up very poor but that's about it. Things for us being so different keeps things interesting, especially the first few years learning new things.

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u/jtory Oct 18 '21

From my experience (and I’ve put many decades of introspection into this), opposites attract because a relationship like this is conducive to growth.

Relationships that are merely the sum of their parts seem the most likely to fail. That is, each person brings themselves to the relationship and don’t yield to each other in terms of imposing on the other or accomodating the other. If two people simply be themselves in each other’s company, the relationship won’t last.

Relationships where the combination of the two people creates something totally different and a series of values that could never have arisen in either individual are the ones that last. People in these relationships not only value the other, but also the relationship itself.

Opposites attract because opposites require each individual to impose or yield to the other in many ways fostering unexpected and collaborative outcomes.

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u/aceshighsays Oct 18 '21

Reminds me of trauma bonding...

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u/tripledeckerbus Oct 18 '21

This is interesting but I'm not sure where I see the line between a "shared reality" and just interactional cues one can use to put another into one's in group.

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u/Chringestina Oct 18 '21

All my friends and I live in the Bernstein Bear reality

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u/Totalherenow Oct 18 '21

New research? I'd like to introduce you to the entire discipline of anthropology.

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u/TrekkiMonstr Oct 18 '21

New studies are always important. If we found a result that contradicted traditional wisdom, we would want to know -- not not do the study in the first place because we already know

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u/11th-plague Oct 18 '21

Similar ages and stage of life, common TV shows and experiences, core curriculum, compatible trajectory,

No wonder it was so easy to make friends that first week of college before classes started!

Can we use the pandemic to bring people closer together (metaphorically speaking)?

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u/Effective-Ad-789 Oct 18 '21

So I thought about this in the context of when people in a place are all looking at their phones... it's like they are all actually in their own reality vs together all experiencing a shared reality. Like when a crowd is at a movie theater, concert, or anything else

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u/perfekt_disguize BS|Biological Science Oct 18 '21

Absolutely. It's really sad all the shared reality experiences that will never happen again to society at large due to all this fractured attention. Think music festivals, clubs, bars late at night, movies, sports stadiums, campaigns, schools, pool parties.

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u/humanspitball Oct 18 '21

it’s like there’s too much awareness / consciousness. we’re at our best when we can do things without overthinking. but decades of social media and instant information give us the illusion of understanding while actually isolating us further into social bubbles that simply reinforce existing opinions.

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u/boopdelaboop Oct 18 '21

Past says no. The amount of abuses within marriages alone was horrifying, and despite all what we had we terribly fucked up. There was a lot of illusion of shared values and society going on, as well as those that deviated too much got harassed, kicked out, or even murdered for their differences, including racial. People these days actually organize by interest, which sure it is bad if it is a too strong filter bubble, but a medium or low one enables amazing collaborations and communities never before possible too. Science, arts, so on.

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u/humanspitball Oct 18 '21

i’m not trying to lament past society, more like our society bypassed some kind of ideal internet usage. there are for sure amazing benefits to the accessibility of knowledge and increase in communication. but it’s been so bogged down with agendas, ads, scams that it’s more effort to wade through than actually utilize. i guess i should clarify and say too much awareness of one’s own self and actions. awareness of other peoples situations / empathy is an overall good thing, but the constant awareness of how one’s actions might be perceived, and the subsequent hypercorrection is driving people crazy. instead of listening, people judge and moralize based on increasingly limited perspective.

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u/SuperRette Oct 18 '21

You're romanticizing a past that does not exist the way you think it does. Our memories are imperfect and painted with bias.

"awareness of other peoples situations / empathy is an overall good thing, but the constant awareness of how one’s actions might be perceived, and the subsequent hypercorrection is driving people crazy. instead of listening, people judge and moralize based on increasingly limited perspective."

This is quite literally how it's always been. It is not a new phenomenon. In the past it was even worse, for it could have lethal consequences if you no longer "passed" as "normal". What you view as shared values was always enforced by the fear of being found out as different. Conformity and the veneer of happiness, but at a terrible price. Just a few decades ago as a gay man, my life would've been ruined in much of my home country if I was found out. I'd have to live a false life, conforming to ideals that were toxic to me. And if they'd found out I was an atheist? Well, there are many communities who would still make me an outcast over that. And let me tell you, pretending to be Christian is exhausting and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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u/SoManyTimesBefore Oct 18 '21

I don’t really see those permanently going away.

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u/evapole684 Oct 18 '21

How do I find myself a man with a similar shared view?

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u/Vegan_Harvest Oct 18 '21

That's not exactly reassuring if you grew up in unique and or abusive situations.

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u/gandalftheorange11 Oct 17 '21

Damn another reminder that I will never find someone who would want to date me.

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u/Duckfammit Oct 18 '21

I was about to tell you you're wrong, but if you really believe that, you're absolutely fuckin right.

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u/gandalftheorange11 Oct 18 '21 edited Oct 18 '21

Well the only reason I would believe it, is if it's true. I spent a decade believing I would find someone that would give me a chance eventually if I kept putting the work in and putting myself out there. It never worked.

This article reminded me of that because I've never really met anyone who experiences reality the way I do.

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u/farfromfine Oct 18 '21

Be more open about your reality to others. Some of the load mouth crazy people I find friends because their always spouting off their opinions. After a while one of the poor, innocent bystanders is like "wow this guy is over there killing it!" And then these hopeless causes gets a girlfriend

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u/odonnelly2000 Oct 18 '21

I spent a decade believing I would find someone that would give me a chance eventually if I kept putting the work in and putting myself out there.

Do you still want to find someone? At all? I intended to comment more in length on what you wrote But then I thought, hey, maybe this person doesn’t want advice. If you do, let me know.

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u/gandalftheorange11 Oct 18 '21

I was kind of just sharing my experience. It’s nice to get it out of my head. At this point I think I’ve gotten all the advice that’s out there as I sought it out for many years. I’m a very reflective person and like to get other people’s advice. I actively struggled with this for years and people shared their experiences with me and encouraged me. I gave my best effort at implementing their suggestions without going against who I am at the core. What I have and am just isn’t what anyone is looking for or would ever want. And I know it’s not the way I look. I’ve been complimented and hit on at gay bars every time I’ve been to one. However women preemptively reject me even when I’m just trying to be friendly and I don’t get it. I guess they assume because I’m awkward and anxious but I’m like that with everyone at first.

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u/Isogash Oct 18 '21

Seeing as you're not completely closed off to advice: give up on dating and try to make more friends instead. Look for anyone who does experience reality the same way you do and has other friends that they can introduce you to. Eventually you follow the friend chain until you find a good tribe. The tribe has a good chance of eventually leading you to women that do experience reality the same way you do. (It's also totally worth it, being in a tribe of people you like is amazing.)

Also, being a reflective person is something people want, it's a rare but very desirable quality. If you do bump into the right person, you'll realise that they like that about you because they are also a reflective person and couldn't date someone who wasn't, and they really won't care that you're awkward and anxious at first because they are too. If you are a truly reflective person, you aren't going to stop being one once you get into a relationship, and that's an amazing thing.

Don't imagine that every other guy is somehow great and super dateable and you're part of some special group that isn't, there are issues with every person, you just don't see them because they hide it. Women are lonely too because even though they might easily find guys to date, most of those guys are completely incompatible and just feigning interest for sex or attention, either short or long term. It's the whole "why do women date assholes?" thing: it's because they pretend not to be assholes.

You just need to expand your social circle and wait for a woman that thinks the same way you do, it's worth it, trust me.

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u/gandalftheorange11 Oct 18 '21

I spent my years in college expanding my social circle in every direction that was available (which their were quite a few). I never found people who really got me without a lot of effort. So I know that’s off the table for me. But I continue to be more social when opportunity arises. It just feels like I never catch up socially with where I’m supposed to be at my age. I keep trying because I don’t know what else to do and it’s nice to have something to work on even if the improvement doesn’t happen as fast as I would like.

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u/thegooddoctorben Oct 18 '21

Based on your post history, it looks like you're seriously depressed. I hope you are getting professional psychiatric help.

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u/B4NND1T Oct 18 '21

Don’t be so sure. For the 28 years of my brothers life I was sure he would be single for life. But now he’s married with two kids, and has the weirdest but most perfect for him person I could imagine.

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u/MeanCauseIHateMyself Oct 18 '21

Not worth it just have fun

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u/YuropLMAO Oct 18 '21

Just keep posting le memes on reddit. I'm sure it'll work itself out.

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u/fall3nang3l Oct 18 '21

What controls were in place for those who manipulate the reality of others to serve their own or other purposes?

Consciousness is subjective and easily influenced. like it or not.

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u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

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u/Isogash Oct 18 '21

People always project in order to better understand, but when you start genuinely learning from someone and updating your own beliefs because their resoning is so similar to yours, your own personality changes slightly and your projection becomes more accurate. That's connection: moving towards the same reasoned destination by learning from each other.

Two people can connect to an extent, until they find core values that aren't shared and can't be changed, and their reasoning doesn't match anymore.

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u/Positive-Vase-Flower Oct 18 '21

This can not really be a revelation for anyone..

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u/GenTelGuy Oct 18 '21

There are all sorts of fools who sincerely believe in "opposites attract" because it's true of inanimate magnets, certainly a revelation for them

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u/_Elastic_Animal36 Oct 18 '21

This is so true especially I can say this for sure when I first fell in love about 13 months ago and why I clicked with my current gf

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u/usarneme Oct 18 '21

The people around me don't see reality. They live in their own version of what they want to believe. I cannot exist with them.

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u/Thirstymonster Oct 18 '21

Philosophically speaking, no one sees reality, just a mental construct that roughly (and often incorrectly) corresponds to the tiny fraction of reality that we've evolved to process in order to survive in the most efficient way.

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u/Captain__Areola Oct 18 '21

we're all just a brain in a vat

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u/vulpinemachine Oct 18 '21

That sounds like something a brain in a vat would make up!!!

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u/Surfacelfx Oct 18 '21

Same here mate.

There are others like me, but they are too rare and spread out, its not worth the trouble.

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u/amasterblaster Oct 18 '21

Ah yes. Shared beliefs and feelings make you feel like you have shared beliefs and feelings when you talk about shared beliefs and feelings. Good research.