Strange phenomena happen in life.
You think that everyone supports the same candidate during an election, however they are unexpectedly won by another. Or you know which song is the greatest, yet during the concert, you are backed by a crowd of seven. We comfort ourselves by saying, “Oh, it must have been a bad count…” or “I think the other few hundred fans were sick today and couldn’t come,” but that only adds to the cause of these misunderstandings. And the reason is called a bubble. A social bubble.
Life in a bubble is pretty good. What you do not know or do not want to know simply does not fall into it. You are surrounded by your most-liked people, who share the same values, dreams, and often the same sense of humour. Usually you tend to think that you and your like-minded friends make up the majority.
However, sometimes you have to acknowledge the existence of other bubbles. We must learn how to communicate so that the other bubble will hear you. To create something that they truly like. And how do you do so if you speak and think, it turns out, in a very limited language?
These closed communities form naturally. Our hobbies and attitudes attract people who do not conflict with them. The illusion that there is oh so many of us is created by web algorithms, trying with all their might to limit our view to the content we love. And then, what contributes to us further raising our communal walls, is the following of people we feel we have something in common with via social networks.
By all means, I am not trying to prove that living in a bubble is extremely harmful to humanity. In my subjective and bubble-loving opinion, it even makes life easier! However, in the world of communication, being unable to move out of your “home” can drive you out of your mind. So if you are conscious of the limits of your bubble and if you are determined to understand how other communities thrive, I would advise trying some explosive or at least mind-altering exercises.
Besides, moving to another bubble is not necessary (unless you really like it), but such a walk will, I believe, start a wave of new ideas.
The most direct way to understand what others live by is from themselves.
Thanks to work at a communication agency, I had the opportunity to interview new, riveting subjects. The formula here is simple – in order to have an interesting interview, you have to present the story of someone from another bubble. And what conversations we had! Regarding illnesses and start-ups, weirdest hobbies and unheard professions. There are also a few interlocutors, whose opinion you tend to disagree with, but still need to present it objectively to readers of the text.
The reason for my constant amazement and fascination with these interlocutors is the regained acknowledgement, as if from a once lost memory, of how truly different we all are. Another
positive outcome is the life changing notion that your bubble is not necessarily the best and most interesting.
So, firstly, I invite you to communicate. A bit selfishly (as if an exploration), but always prioritising listening over talking.
In order to understand the boundaries of the bubble, I suggest mapping out your daily movement. Connect the dots between home, work and all the other places you regularly visit during the week. And here’s a visual expression of the bubble. Places that you know well and the activities that lead to them, offering less and less adjustments every day.
When you realise that your map is too narrow, you accept it as a sign that it’s time to add a new point. Only this time, the dot will mark a new activity rather than the end. If a “new activity” and “getting out of your comfort zone” sound like trite phrases to your hipster worldview, view them as steps to “learning and self-improvement.”
Not only will you learn the fastest route from home to your new activity, the biggest change will be the need to think about new things that have not come up before. It can be said, that these thoughts will form a new bubble.
The real challenge of walking into a different bubble, accompanied by spiked teeth, facepalms and a sense of abnormal shame, is learning to take a different approach. Who needs it if the spokesperson from another social bubble speaks nonsense? Well, at least, it is to call this behaviour by a different name, that is – a different worldview.
You will have to put yourself in the shoes of one another to truly understand their views, to hear the arguments of the interlocutor, to understand the circumstances surrounding the formation of such an opinion and to try to find positive details within the opinions that contradict you (after all, another person may just ignore them). At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that they may also think that you are talking rubbish. 🙂
There are various practices here. Sometimes it is enough to turn on the television, read an opinion piece or listen to a debate. And in all these cases, do not besmirch! The next level, for those who more advanced, is to take part in the discussion or debate yourself, especially when you hold a contrasting opinion. And if you wish to get a quick idea of what a particular community is like, I’d advise visiting its stand up comedy show. You’ll hear the hottest news and the biggest aches the other bubble jokes about. It works especially well when you want to understand an unfamiliar culture, a younger or older generation.
Both these and the remaining thousands of possible steps open up new avenues for creativity and successful inter-bubble communication. Above all, they teach tolerance and simplicity. Raising your social bubble (and your nose) above others is proof of ignorance. So I invite you to take a walk to avoid making nasty mistakes.