The study of social networks stems from the social sciences, so there is a lot of crossover in theories and terminology. My new word of the day is homophily, from the Greek meaning “love of the same.” In Charles Kadushin’s words, “if two people have characteristics that match in a proportion greater than expected in the population from which they are drawn or the network of which they are a part, they are more likely to be connected. Commonly put, birds of a feather flock together.
Thinking about my own networks, this holds a lot of truth – I enjoy the natural synergies and effortless bonds with like-minded people. In the past few years however, I’ve been consciously seeking the exact opposite. Heterophily (the love of the different) has drawn me to different places and faces. It has fuelled my creativity, forced me to exercise more empathy, and ultimately, it has helped me grow.
Hillary Burridge said:
Interesting post, Sylvia. I’d love to hear more about it.
What made you make the change to seek out different types of people? How have your friends (who are similar to you) reacted? Have you had any challenges relating to people who are very different than you?
Hey Hill. I think I started reaching out to different groups in university. I’m really interested in people and their stories and the more unfamiliar the narrative is to me, the better. Traveling is great for this, as well as connecting with people of different age categories, sitting beside someone new, talking to strangers at a bus stop. I love the spectrum of experiences people have had and draw on them for new thought patterns and inspiration to try new things. There are definitely challenges in finding common ground when there a person there to introduce us, but I usually start from a place of curiosity and interest.
I like your conscious effort to seek out others. Sometimes it gets so busy that it seems like too much effort; MACT has been great at nudging (shoving) me in new directions. Good tie-ins. Thanks, Sylvia, for the insight and for the tip on beating my unruly fonts into submission.
MACT has been great for me too – new friends in Edmonton! Happy to help on anything else in the future.