Why you shouldn’t surround yourself with like-minded people

Let’s be honest – making friends is complexly simple. It’s a reactive ability created by our need to socialize, and a proactive consequence of socialization. Oxymoron intended.

When meeting new people, we lean towards making acquaintance with others who are much like ourselves, have similar ambitions, similar beliefs, or even similar appearance. Shared interests take higher precedence over shared knowledge and experience. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by people you are comfortable with. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by people like you.

Yes Men

The problem with a group of like-minded people is their shared perception. They are inclined to agree with each other outside spirituality, art, politics, and food. While this reaffirms the common-ground on which they relate, it also encourages yes-men relationships amongst them. Spending time with people who always agree with you might result in you never being challenged, or even worse – never being corrected when you’re wrong. There’s a warm, comfortable feeling in knowing you are right, and who better to reaffirm this righteousness than the people you encounter regularly?

We are different

Part of why airports, lounges, and hotels are fascinating is because they roof collections of different people. In a single glance, complete strangers are both mysterious and unexplainably familiar. Oxymoron intended again. Everyone is different, and its these differences that evolve culture. Like-mindedness, if nothing else, makes us more malleable to the people around us.

Lets agree to agree

Ever been told by someone that they value your opinion? Its a humble compliment and exactly what you’d want to hear after being taxed into thinking about what you’ve just said. In contemplation however, how valuable is your opinion if its a near-reflection of that belonging to the person you’ve just given it to? Are you willing to acknowledge [in thought] when your opinion is used for affirmation and nothing else?

My issue is: little is learned, and little is gained from exclusive interaction with like-minded people. I believe surrounding oneself with like-minded people doesn’t take full advantage of the power of networking, nor does it fully open the channels to discover something new. A new perspective is always an opportunity to rethink what you think.

Image credit to Bill Hertha