The Propinquity Effect
"When are you gonna take my daughter out?"
That was the question, and at 13 years old I was a little confused. Am I even allowed to date? I know this guy but why is he squeezing my bicep and asking me to date his daughter? Do I want to date his daughter? Which daughter does he want me to date?
Well as it turns out, I did want to date his oldest daughter! In the years that followed, I would see her around and begin to like her more and more. One day I decided that it would be a good idea to marry her! One night I went back to that bicep squeezing man, who would become my father-in-law and asked if I could marry his daughter. He smiled ear-to-ear and said, "of course."
The story explained above is referred to as the propinquity effect.
Here is what comes up when you google the word "propinquity."
Propinquity means being in proximity or being close to someone. There is something called the propinquity effect. The propinquity effect means you like and become like the people you spend the most time with or see most often.
This is especially helpful when forming friendships and finding a spouse. It is how you find friends in school, at college, and at work! You spend time with someone and a friendship or relationship develops. The propinquity effect can be our friend but it can also be our foe!
The problem with the propinquity effect is this: if you never take the time to get to know people who are NOT like you, you will only like and become like people who are just like you.
If we only prefer people who are like us, we will have a hard time listening to and understanding people who are different than us.
I think this is a problem. I want to listen to, understand, and love people who are different than me. People who think differently, act differently, and believe differently are people I want to know more about.
I have heard it said that you will be the same person in 10 years that you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. Why is that? Because choosing to interact with people who are different than us will change our perspective, broaden our horizons, and cause us to grow in empathy and understanding.
Do you find it hard to relate to a specific person or a group of people? Maybe it's time to move in a little closer so you can understand someone who may seem a little bit different than you.
Have you found the propinquity effect to be true in your life? Has it been your friend or your foe?
Until Monday, Josh