Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Reflections on Sociometry

Originally posted on December 14, 2016

I don’t think it can be precise, because there are way too many variables involved—many of them still mysterious. That should not stop it from being investigated, any more than our preliminary knowledge of electricity should have stopped the many experiments in the early 19th century.

It cannot be precise because there are levels beyond that which can be clearly charted. Nevertheless, even without precision, it is worthwhile to note this dynamic: People attract each other to varying degrees of intensity; and they repel each other, too. There’s a whole lot of neutrality and indifference, also known as “not my kind of people.”

But these differential preferences can change: There may be a situation where everyone needs to pull together. One might discover that one is esteemed highly by another who had been overlooked. Or discover that one rather dislikes the other. The point is that some of  these variations—and there are many of them, and many permutations—change over time/ Some don’t change.

While precision is perhaps too great a goal in these matters, that is no excuse for willfully remaining ignorant. Sociometry is too important. When people have a good connection, they can build on it. If a poor connection is sensed, being meticulously careful and correct is the wiser strategy.

In other words, relationships don’t run smoothly if one is “nice.” It’s useful to read the tele—and speaking from bitter experience, we are often misled to treat everyone the same. This isn’t an appeal to unfairness, but rather an appeal to attend to the “vibes” that are going on.

Trying to be friendly with people with whom you have “negative vibes” can make it all worse. Trying to be correct and defended when you experience “positive vibes” can make you seem standoffish to the very people you’d like to be closer to. In short, it’s good to know even a little about sociometry.  More later.

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