Looking for “Like Minded” Friends?

Think again.

Maturity is primarily characterized by mutuality.

Mutuality is the capacity to accurately see and know another person as they are without projecting yourself onto them.

We call this self/other differentiation.

The clearer I see you, the healthier will be my response to you.

The cloudier I see you, based upon my own projection, the more off-base will be my communications with you.

When you are trapped in tight, closed ways of thinking, you have to see others as you need to see them, not as they are.

Consequently you can never really connect with them, or them with you, because you would have to change how you think and know your world to be.

Most people are full of ideas of how other people should be and how they should or should not act.

The crunch comes when you get bent out of shape because others are not acting or being in ways that you think are essential to their relating to you.

Some even talk of wanting to be surrounded by “like-minded” people.

Good luck with that.

If you’re experiencing a shortage of like-minded people in your world, or your like-minded people are just not behaving like you think they should, chances are you’re the problem –at least you’re not in the solution.

Chances are you are walking away from your strengths, or can’t even connect with them.

You’re living in an a more pervasive experience of what’s not working, seeing it even as more a permanent part of you, than temporary and limited in nature.

How permanent and pervasive can you make the good things in you? In your life?

Are you holding on more tightly to your worldview, and your consequent view of others, whether it works or not?

How is that an expression of your UpSpiral, your Emotional Scale, the range of your optimism, or the pervasiveness of your focus on what’s missing or not working?

The more you do try and hold on, even cling, to your view of how others should be, the more others behave less and less like you think they should.

These “others” also have the complete and utter nerve to suggest that you might be the problem, or they just outright tell you that you’re the problem.

Of course, you know that you’re not.

These “others” become more and more wrong, and you hold more and more rigidly to the idea of being right rather than being happy.

Happy with that, are you?

© Dr. William K. Larkin


About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Sheila

    There were many interesting points in Dr Larkin’s Blog this week, but, notably I zoned in on the phrase/idea of “being right”, rather, than “happy”.

    This has resonance for me, because I feel quite strongly that in my family there are certain members who carry this exact mantra, as a badge of honor. Of course, I am right and they are wrong and I never, ever think/behave/act like that……

    Or, do I?

    Well, obviously I do behave exactly like them, because I react quite viscerally to this when it happens. I need to hold up the mirror and look at myself. When times get charged, floating around on the edges of my mind, I can hear myself thinking, hmmmmm, now who do you sound like? Who are you like? I am usually able to park these thoughts and go straight back to my comfortable self- righteousness, but, in my saner moments, on a deeper level, I really do know I am not always that different.

    To highlight this, a few weeks ago, I had a difference of opinion with a friend.

    Let’s say, there was a miscommunication. She saw it as a “mix up” and what was the big deal? But, I saw it as me being treated quite shabbily by her and it was a very big deal.

    When it happened, I was not thriving and was definitely in a downspiral (although I did not know that, at the time) and I was feeling very tired, stressed and miserable.

    Now, maybe I had a bit of a point about what happened, but, the interesting thing was that I had a completely over the top and out of proportion reaction to the event. Yes, I was very, very bent out of shape.

    In the end, I ended up apologising for my over-reaction, but, deep down I could still not entirely let things go and we ended up in another situation a few weeks later. I was still being ‘right” and waiting for my friend to take some responsibility and was holding on very tightly to my worldview.

    Ultimately, I was entrenched in this pervasive experience about what was not right and decided to make it permanent, versus, temporary and limited. I decided we could no longer be friends, even, though she was special to me. My pessimistic side was that she could not change, but, neither could I, nor did I want to and that I was prepared to throw it all away. I would do without this person, versus trying to build some consensus and keep alive a friendship that meant a great deal to me.

    Fast forward a few weeks, I am feeling much better, more consistently in my US and my daily emotional scores are improving. I have reconnected with my friend and while something small happened again last week, despite being initially triggered, I managed to take a step back and found myself looking at that situation/her very differently and through another lens completely. I really didn’t react at all and found myself just brushing it off. I really did see her with fresh eyes.

    I do believe that this “change” came about as a direct result of being in an upspiral, feeling more positive, having improved emotional scores and recognising that these minor things were temporary and limited in nature and it felt so very good to let it all just roll by. I believe that with more work and being in the US more consistently, that I will develop a broader more optimistic view and be more able to let go of that pervasive need to be right, versus happy.

  • Dwayne Paro

    The culture of most organizations is based on finding others that have the same thought process and values. What you end up with a group of people who are thinking they are alike and yet struggle to become a true team that produces at a high level. This is because there is an unwritten (or possibly written) assumption that they should all be in agreement on all items. This leads to many disappointments in expectations and the finger pointing starts outward. Rarely is there an inward focus as to what is causing the issues. Reminds me of the scene in Ice Age where Sid the sloth thinks his people are other sloths but instead ends up being more accepted by and part of a more diverse group of “characters”, of which he hilariously refers to as “my people”. Projecting our own internal faults onto others is a natural way, almost like a survival instinct, to deal with what we need to change but feel its someone else’s weakness. Most people quickly become set in their ways and thoughts becoming unwilling to change or adapt. They wont even consider there is another frame of reference based on others experience or perspective. This over time can create bad relationships in many aspects. We all set expectations for outcomes, the way others should act, behave, respond etc. These expectations most often lead to disappointment Primarily because they are never verbally communicated and they are not in line with the person for which they are being applied.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    I am so often reminded of my daddy’s words, “Watch the company you keep.” It was the theme that played out in my dissertation on Peak Performers. Somehow they watched the company they kept to include people who encouraged them to be their authentic selves (play to their strengths). Another trait I found with Peak Performers, as opposed to Workaholics and Average Performers, is that they thrived on diversity in relationships. They did not seek sameness. They seemed to look for authenticity in others.

    It’s interesting to look at family dynamics. It seems to me that the victims will always find a way to make you out to be the persecutor when telling their tale to their rescuer. Since you are simply a projection of the role they need for you to be in, you can never be really seen. You don’t really exist, in the truest sense. You will always just be a projection. So no matter what you do or say, they will continue to see you the way they need for you to be, not the way you are. Sad, but true.

    The trick is not to project my should’s and oughta’s onto others and stay curious. It’s easy to have expectations of others and then be disappointed. It’s somehow harder to stay neutral and curious as relationships unfold – especially over the long haul. But certainly healthier and it truly can become easier.

    I’ve said for years that the quickest way I know to damage a relationship is to be “right” all the time. It always makes somebody else wrong. It’s short-term gain for long-term loss. Back to the tailor: “Every time he meets me, he takes my measurements anew.” Please!

  • Eddy Macdonald

    Doing this work, it feels as if I am simultaneously losing my mind and growing my mind. Perhaps that’s it – I’m shedding an old way of thinking, gradually outgrowing it, and growing into new ways of thinking and feeling, like a lobster making a new, larger shell? In the process of this work, and of clarifying and assessing my US and ES, what is perhaps most prominent to me is my increasingly clearer grasp of myself. I’m finding as I understand myself and my own agency better, the way I see the world, others, and my relationship to them is shifting. My perspective on truth is also shifting, from a more binary, black/white to more of an expansive spectrum of white containing all the colors and black being the absence of color. These transitions are helping me to see approach friendship very differently.

  • Laura M Sparks

    The title of this blog made me think that it was going to be about how we should surround ourselves with like-minded people. Not so much:) I am guilty of expecting people to act a certain way. However learning these techniques to broaden and build my mind, I’ve been able to look past failed expectations. It is only ourselves that we should really rely on for happiness and fulfillment.

  • Kathy Lee

    The concept of brain synchrony is new to me – that being in the flow of UpSpiral plus using our strengths makes new neuro connections. This is really about unity; unity of thoughts and feelings of those two plus engaging strengths to live life more abundantly. This higher state of unity is called “flow”. Today I think I experienced this state of flow. I prepared to give a brief presentation, off the cuff, not written, but when I rose to speak I spoke from my heart. I read inspirational Baha’i Writings, was filled with noble ideas and concepts, was mulling them over in my mind, and in the process I must have been in a UpSpiral state in which thoughts and emotions were ennobled and uplifted. When I opened my mouth to speak I felt empowered and spoke straight from the heart. The events in Charlottesville over the weekend provided a reality check on the progress our country needs to make to bring about the oneness of humanity in order to re-capture our vision of hope to the world that we can become a place where there is room for diversity of ethnicity, culture, race and religion – where unity is a result of diverse elements coming together in a common vision of a unified, peaceful world. Afterwards I asked myself, what strengths were you engaging that contributed to this morning’s experience? The answer is all of them: spirituality, appreciation of beauty, honesty, gratitude and bravery. While I was unconscious of these strengths at the time, with hindsight, I see all of them were supporting me to share in inspired vision of the future of our country of of the world. What a nice surprise from the Universe!

  • Kalah Vaughan

    This blog took me through whirl wind. I have had moments in the past of wanting to surround myself with like minded people, such as in politics or spiritual thinking. The concept to me was if I am around these people we can bounce off ideas off of one another and grow stronger. Now that I understand what mt strengths are, I can began to focus on strengths and let that be the source of growth.

    I learned in college that the reason behind anger is that another person is not behaving in a way that you would expect them to. Once I learned this years ago It opened my eyes to let go of the circumstance and just them be them.

    I can now use the tools I learned such as my up spiral score to measure the process of my days. I do not want to rely on the others around me. Instead I want to rely on myself and my own growth. Of course I will be honored and appreciative to also help others when they are open to receiving. I send love to you all. I leave you with this, how can you look within to grow yourself, Instead of looking to outer circumstances to do the job for you?

  • Yvette Gauff

    With every class and the downloading of more information into our minds, I find myself
    either challenged in my “way” of being or receiving confirmation of something I may be personally addressing. I recently have been working on the use of “should” and “ought to” in my life, in an attempt to relieve pressure of things or people absolutely having to be a
    certain way or having a certain outcome. This exercise has been mostly about giving myself room – to grow, to be, to make mistakes. And then still know the world will not end, and I will not be sent to the corner for the rest of my life.

    I consider myself to be an open, accepting person, but know that I have been influenced to think in ways that have clear demarcations of right and wrong, black and white. This has lead me at times to separate myself and attempt to keep myself to myself, or amongst those who are more like me; “like-minded” people, if you will. The challenge with this however, is even then, I found myself wondering at times, why, if they were ‘supposed to be’ like me and ‘should’ behave in a certain way, they were not (which I know ultimately, is judgement and criticism). Spending time living in “should-ville” or “ought-town” can indeed be a very lonely place! Additionally, the idea that this is downspiral behavior on my part that leads me away from my strengths is confronting and undesirable.

    “…you hold more and more rigidly to the idea of being right rather than being happy.”

    When I would work with couple in their relationships, I would often ask, “do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” As I read the blog, I can see there is validity to the exercise I have been doing, as I desire to connect with people in an authentic, dynamic way, despite differences. Work to be continued – now more than ever, I want to be happy!

  • Yolanda Smith

    While it is possible to surround yourself with people who have some of your same ideas, it is naïve to think that you are like-minded with these people about everything.

    This world and the people in it are very complex. If you lock yourself in to a train of thought that you can only surround yourself with people who think like you do, then consequently you are going to live a very lonely life.

    In order to learn and to grow, you have to be open to considering points of view, which may differ from your own. Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” There is so much information available to us in this world. We pay ourselves a huge disservice by closing our minds to the possibility of gaining new knowledge, because the deliverer of the information may differ from us.

    Personally, I have friends who share the same points of view with me on some topics. However, those same friends have points of view, that are totally opposite of mine on other topics.

    Like-minded friends? Yes, but only to a certain point and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way

  • tanveer

    A Housing Bubble? Industry Experts Say NO!

    With residential home prices continuing to appreciate at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.

    Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.

    Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:
    “There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”

    “Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”

    Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:
    “I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”

    “So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”

    David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:
    “Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”

    “…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”

    Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:
    “We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”

    “Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”

    Mission San Jose Mortgage
    2111 West March Lane Suite B100
    Stockton, CA 95207
    (209) 651-2000
    NMLS # 1608144
    Lodi Location:
    801 S Ham Lane Suite G
    Lodi, CA 95242
    (209) 269-3600
    NMLS # 1599917

  • tanveer
  • Echo Macdonald

    To say that Dr. Larkin’s statement about the perspective we have on self and our inclination to project our self image onto others was very convicting. In terms of the quantum physics concept of non-locality and the ability of the mind to project itself into and through space, projecting our image of our personhood onto another seems a bit like a search for our Peter Pan “shadow”. Our lack of security in our self-image may cause us to search for the completion of it in others. In some way it could almost be seen as parasitic in nature. Focusing on the “Upspiral” and our personal strengths should help to “fix” who we are in our mind and give us the freedom to move away from our dependence on others for validation of the value of our personhood.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute