Monday, March 31, 2008

Went for that walk tonight.

One and a half hours of walking and talking.
I SOOOO needed that.

No, really. I did.


And then do you know what I did?

Played Scramble with 10 friends.

And baked a batch of cupcakes.

Not bad for a Monday.

Anyways, on my mind this evening is friendship.

See, I've been reading this book:

called The Tipping Point and it's making me think, which I love in a book. It's all about "business", but I'm just taking stuff out of it for 'just me', because it I can't personalize something, I don't bother with it.

So, anyway, on my mind are two things:

1. Connectors.

These are people who network well. Really well. They have 1,000's of names in their rolodex. (Come on - rolodexes?) Connectors know alot of people, slightly. They are not best friends with thousands of people, but they are connected to them. One way to find out if you are a connector, is to do this little test. Malcom Gladwell (the author) printed out a list of 250 names, taken at random from a Manhatten phone book and asked people to look over the list and give themselves a point for every surname that is shared by someone they know.

I looked the list over and sadly concluded that there are no Mennonites living in Manhatten. At first glance I gave myself 10 points (and that was only because, thank goodness, the name "Ellis" and "Richardson" showed up on the list.) But then I really studied the list, because I wanted to get an "A" and I found that I actually knew 60 people.

Is that an "A"? Whad I get? Whad I get?

Well, I am slightly above average. I guess that's a big C+.

College students usually knew about 20 people with those last names.

Professionals in their 40's and 50's average score was 41.

But high scores? There were some folks who knew up to 118 people. They are the connectors.

Are you interested in seeing the list? If 10 people comment and ask me to post it, I will. (250 names is ALOT of typing.)

2. The other thing that's been bouncing around in my brain is this statement:

"We don't seek out friends. We associate with people who occupy the same physical spaces we do."
Really? We do?
If he were to quiz you, you'd say you are friends with people who are like you. Who like to do the same things that you do. Same interests. Same beliefs. And so on. BUT. In actuality, "proximity overpowers similarity".

Isn't that interesting. Proximity overpowers similarity.

This means we are friends with people who work in the same department as us. We are friends with people who live in the same cul-de-sac. We are friends with people who sit in the same pews as us. Or share the same bench watching their kids play volleyball. Or sit around the same table making hotdogs for hot lunch day. Or take the same classes at school. Or have the same three spares a day. Or work at the same summer camp. Or live in the same dorm. Or rent in the same apartment building.

You get the idea. He is suggesting, nay he is asserting, that we are friends with people who are right there. Beside us.

In one (apparent) well known study, a group of psychologists asked people living in an apartment in Northern Manhatten to name their closest friend. 88% of the friends lived in the same building. 50% of them stated that their best friends lived on the same floor.

Are we lazy?
Is it too much effort to be friends with someone (who may be alot like you, and with whom you have alot of common interests) but who isn't sitting/sleeping/living/worshipping/learning/lazing/ right beside you?

This may be why, once you graduate, move to a new house, change churches, find a new job, etc - this may be why people lose touch. Maybe those weren't real friendships. They were just proximity friendships. Which, don't get me wrong, are awesome. But they're only based on proximity and not much else.

I had a thought, while reading and pondering this chapter (by the way - how it relates to business does not interest me one bit) about marriage. And how some people get married based on proximity relationships. Not that I'm naming names or pointing fingers, but is it getting hot in here? Of course it's not that simple. There's premarital counselling to make sure you're not marrying your next door neighbour just because he's close.

This chapter also brought to mind the whole church closing thing. The whole church closing thing x 2. And how close everyone is. And then how they're not. And it underlines just how important proximity is in church relationships.

So, all that to say, I've been thinking about friendships. And feeling pretty darn blessed that I have friends who aren't aware of the proximity rule. Thank goodness they don't care that Billie's closed, Fraser Heights church closed, Murrayville Church closed... They don't care that we don't share a dorm in Bible School anymore, that the marriage ended, I moved away, or that the golf thing didn't work out.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Have I mentioned the walk and talk?
2. I wore brown and blue today.
3. I can sense that God is answering some prayers. That's always exciting.



ramblin'andie said...

I've been thinking about this posting all day. I think maybe my pastors growing up were right: I am rebellious. I hate that unspoken rule that we have to be friends with people just cause they live next door/work with us/are in our classes. Maybe that's why I like blogland so much. I can be your friend and you don't even know it.

Andrew has this book. I might have to give it a go sometime.

Katherine said...

I think I am going to read this book...