I’ve talked about the danger of falling down internet rabbit holes before, about how being hit on every side by really strong opinions can rewrite your thought patterns. It’s not just online though, it’s also in real life. I don’t seem to struggle with it as much in real life as I do online, but that’s only thanks to having a very interesting and complex mix of friends. But many people don’t get that variety, they hang out with their core group and they bounce all their ideas off of that core group.
This is especially true for students, even more so for college students. You find yourself completely ingulfed in your social bubble and therefore don’t venture far from that familiar comfort. There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your social circle and finding joy with like minds, it’s just when people from outside those like minds start feeling like others. It’s when you don’t understand how anyone could have a different viewpoint or opinion on something that it seems like everyone you know holds. It’s when you can’t understand how people form other behaviors than how your group acts in social settings.
It’s when we get tunnel vision because everything outside our normal feels abnormal, even when the actual population is split 50/50 on how to approach a problem.
I’m actually not talking about politics. I’m talking about social dynamics, relationship patterns, and embraced stereotypes, but I suppose the argument does work for politics as well.
We like our bubbles, and we start to think that the world exists inside the same frame of mind, but that’s not true at all. Our experiences and the experiences of those like us are similar, but there are a ton of people raised in completely different lifestyles who experience the world through completely different lenses. We need to be open to seeing how those other lifestyles can shape different opinions, and how the difference from ours doesn’t mean their wrong. It’s easy to write people and ideas off as nothing more than other, it takes a lot of work to reframe your perspective and view them for what they are: Ideas that are worth discussing and considering.
It’s always easier to take the high ground of the view that your social circle is right, but it’s not always accurate, and more often then not, when you really dig into the reality of the problem or scenario, you’ll find that there might be two right answers, or that none of them are right at all. Acknowledging differences is how we grow. Stepping outside our bubbles from time to time is how we grow.