In What Awful Reality TV and Suburban Living Have to Do With the Tea P... Amanda Marcotte suggests that suburban living isolates us socially. We've substituted soaps for neighborhood gossip, she says, causing a lack of empathy for those who differ from us.

Is the Tea Party one consequence of particular land planning and communication media choices?

As social primates our brains are hard-wired for gossip. Do you think online "gossip" could possibly replace that social function? We don't really share personal details among a small group. Especially an international social network such as AN.

In a Hang With Friends discussion on this topic, Steve Bremmer said

Maybe it's something to do with lack of willingness to see actual people,...

TV substituting for socializing explains so much in my life. I've become so picky about friends having similar values and personality styles that, for several years, I haven't had any friends. I have acquaintances, two close family members, and one cat. That's pretty much it. I write to my sister daily, and use the internet, but don't initiate getting together in the flesh. For decades I participated in various organizations, but dropped out after finding them disappointing. Stepping back, I can see how TV substitutes for socializing in my life.

I don't think social isolation makes me feel uncharitably superior, but I started with an egalitarian foundation. In a Dominatior culture, it's logical that it should manifest as feeling superior for others. I'm beginning to think the roots of our collapse as a society wells from our genetic programming as a social species interacting with media technology and land use patterns.

This makes me wonder why TV and suburban living might decrease a willingness to see people. Not just that suburban life makes it easier to avoid intrusive neighbors, and TV structures at home time and makes one not feel lonely, but why would they make me less interested in making friends?

Does it have something to do with being able to turn off interpersonal drama or boring natter with a fingertip? Does that make me less patient with actual human beings?

I am less patient with face to face people in the past couple of decades. Have you experienced anything similar? Do you live in the suburbs or watch a lot of TV? Or are you impervious to the effects of technology?

 Who needs friends?

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Replies to This Discussion

Like I said on your other discussion -- you sound a lot like me. : )

I'm the same way.

I have an Introverted personality style -- so I prefer to be alone and make few friends. It's hard for me to open up to people. 

I am on the computer a lot and on the iPhone -- looking at websites and posting to the Nexus! : )


Some introverts aren't stereotypically shy and can strike up conversations with anyone. These introverts enjoy talking and listening to people, and going to parties and events. But most introverts would rather be at home. Introverts can find small talk easy but tiring – and sometimes boring. They'd rather have meaningful conversations about the depths of human souls and minds, but find few opportunities (those aren't your usual conversations at water coolers or dinner parties!).

An introvert's personality traits aren't necessarily tentative or hesitant, but introverts do prefer to think before they act. When introverts are ready they take action!

Introverts tend to get their energy from within, so being with people is draining. After a day filled with people or activities, introverts tend to feel exhausted and empty. To recharge their batteries introverts need to be alone reading, daydreaming, painting, or gardening – any solo activity fills them up again. This doesn't mean introverts have to live alone in a cave in the hills or on Walden Pond; they just need quiet time to come back to themselves. The energy source for introverts is from within.
Introverts don't necessarily have a fear of intimacy – but they can be more difficult to get to know than an outgoing, friendly extrovert. Dating and relationships for introverts can be challenging..




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