Similarity=Comfort?

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Our human being are social animals. Therefore, we can not just live alone.

I like to observe people wherever I go. As an international student, it's natural for me to look for similarity and difference among people here to compare with my home country. One thing common everywhere I realized is that people instinctively like to be with the people who is similar to them when they are new to some situation. Think about you are totally new to a country, are you willing to stay with your countryman or local people?

I guess countryman is the answer in majority. Here is what I see. Foreign people from all over the world in Shanghai tend to form different circles of their countries although many of them keep a good balance. At the same time, this, to some extent, explains the association naturally formed by different countries' people in US, one of a famous example is China Town.

It's understandable. People are nervous, anxious and stressed when they are in a strange place alone without any support. Consequently, being a member of some groups deindividualize them and bring them a sense of safety and comfort. The concept of conformity also somewhat explains it. Most of the people doing conforming in order to comfort themselves. Without doubt, the feeling of comfort is nice.

For my own, I prefer with the people who is not that similar to me, no matter where they come from and what their personalities are. I believe diversity makes the world more enjoyable. Difference doesn't always bring anxiety. It also means unique and brings surprise. Similarity doesn't necessary mean comfort. It also tends to be limited and stays monotonous.

Most of the concepts in psychology up to now are impressive to me, especially for social psychology and personality part, because they reveal the true face of individual difference and individual similarity.

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Good point! Conformity and similarity does get quite boring but comfort makes people feel accepted and safe so human nature takes over and people go for comfort...usually. It's hard to leave that comfort zone sometimes but diversity adds a lot to life and sometimes leaving that comfort zone is worth the risk of dealing with anxiety.

Although i am not an international student, i am from out of state and understand how it's difficult at first to be an individual in a place where you don't know anyone. Conformity and seeking similarity always seems to be the first step whenever I go somewhere new. However, after becoming comfortable with myself in a new environment i began to branch out and diversify my group of friends.

I can share the opinion that diversity does contribute positively to life. I definitely have a group of friends and we all share similar characteristics but I think its really improtant not to limit yourself to hanging out with the same people or the same type of people. Spending time with different types of people provides you with multiple perspectives about a lot of different things which is something that I think everyone should want to acquire.

I think it is very interesting how people will act when put in a situation of conformity. In my experience, when put into a different culture or environment, it does seem very easy to conform versus going outside your box and venturing towards someone who is different from you.

I can totally relate to what you wrote even though I'm not an international student. I think that I tend to hang out with people who are similar to me but have enough differences that it makes it fun. I love meeting new people and just learning about them and the things that they have experienced. Learning about different cultures and points of view are essential for living life to the fullest.

This is a very informative post. People tend to seek out the things that make them feel comfortable. Anxiety often leads to finding comforts. When your in an unfamiliar situation you try to find something that puts you at ease whether that means finding friends that are in the same spot or even in the words of Happy Gilmore your "Happy Place"

I think it is very true that people tend to hang out with those that are similar to them, sometimes without even noticing. When we had to do our observational surveys for psych discussion one group observed similarities within groups. They found that most groups either had similar, genders, race or style. Some even had two or three of these similarities. So it doesn't even necessarily have to do with being in a new and uncomfortable environment, humans tend to hang out with those similar to them in any environment. Kinda crazy!

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This page contains a single entry by S.Y.Yao published on April 21, 2012 9:55 PM.

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