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Because of mobile phones, the Internet, and just the sheer number of people in the world, today we are more connected than ever before. But still, many of us feel lonely. The reason is that: we don’t have someone to share our interests with. Despite having a constant stream of status updates on Facebook to read through at any given moment, most of us don’t have a kindred spirit we can turn to to talk about the things that we are really passionate about.
You may be wondering why this is important. After all, isn’t it the relationship that counts and not the interests you may or may not share with the person? This is true, but only to an extent. When you really feel strongly about an issue, or when you have a consuming interest in something, it makes you feel good to talk about it. There’s nothing quite like sharing a conversation with someone about a topic you both have a strong connection to. And it pales in comparison to having a similar conversation where only one of you has that connection.
The reason that conversations between the like-minded who share the same interests are so fulfilling comes from our need to be understood. We spend so much of our lives trying to prove ourselves to others. When we meet someone who already has an appreciation for some of the things we hold dear, we don’t have to justify our interests to them. This feeling of being with someone who already deeply understands the reasons that we like the things we do is liberating.
I, for example, enjoy hiking very much. I’ve hiked hundreds of miles over my life, and been to many places across the country just to hike. To some, this might sound like a useless hobby – and one that requires too much effort! The only payoff is some beautiful vistas and pictures.
So, if I meet someone who is of this opinion, talking to them about hiking is not satisfying. However, when I meet a fellow hiker, I can have the most enjoyable conversations, because we have a common ground. All I have to do is mention the experience of waking up in the middle of the wilderness and heating up a cup of coffee, and I’m sure to get vigorous head-nods and agreement from the fellow hiker. But to a non-hiker, this may not sound very enjoyable.
There’s a reason people today in rapidly growing numbers are using Facebook, meetup.com, and badoo.com. We just want to engage in conversations with those who understand us. We want kindred spirits who already understand the reasons that we have the hobbies we do, so we don’t have to justify them. Instead, we can go right into mutual appreciation of the things we love.
In this world of exponentially growing populations, there’re more people out there than ever. The key to happiness is to finding those who share your interests. When you do find a kindred spirit, the relationship can be more meaningful and your life will be more fulfilled.