How is Co-Living Different Than Social Media?

One of the things I really hate about 2018 is how everyone is so pissed off.

I think about Donald Trump and his supporters, and it feels to me like half the country have completely lost their minds. They've given into their worst impulses: racism, xenophobia, toxic masculinity, complete selfishness, dehumanization, and open harassment.

And the rage! They're pissed off and lashing out, even if their reasons for being angry are usually the result of sheer ignorance.

Because of this, I'm angry too. I'm incredibly pessimistic about our country, and the world.

But I also get frustrated with the anger I see on my side of the political aisle. So much of that anger seems misplaced too -- counterproductive, or at least utterly pointless. People get more upset over someone's poorly worded Tweet than, say, a sweeping tax bill that will transform all our lives for decades to come. So many internet memes seem to me to lack context, or any real understanding of the larger issues.

And yeah, people really do seem to be too willing to take offense at little things, too eager to be outraged.

In a way, I get it. I think people want to fight these little battles because The Big Picture is so outrageous, and sometimes seems so utterly hopeless.

Even so, I have literally no interest in these head-of-a-pin purity fights, or self-righteous, internecine wars with potential political allies.

And public shaming? Nope, that seems too much like torches and pitchforks to me. How many more examples do we need of the wrong people being targeted? Or of a punishment that way outweighs the actual crime?

Basically, I hate social media. You know, the place where the loudest, shrillest, and angriest voices get most of the attention? Where you're rewarded for shooting your mouth off without all the facts, spreading cynicism, and being irresponsible?

But here's the thing. Over these last few years, I think social media has changed my view of people.

I've started to think that, for the most part, people are simple-minded a**holes.

Then I started co-living. That means that I share lodging with different people while Michael and I are traveling the world. As a result, I've been meeting dozens of new people, and getting to know them pretty well.

And they're not simple-minded a**holes! Not at all. On the contrary, almost everyone I've met has been decent, kind, measured, thoughtful, and considerate. People bend over backward to assume the best about you -- to not take you out of context and not lose sight of the bigger picture. Sure, there are conflicts, but they're real conflicts; they're not opportunities for people to posture or flog some pet issue. And as a result, people mostly get along. 

It's nothing at all like what I see on social media!

It's possible that the people I'm meeting in co-living are not representative of people in general. Maybe we're better! And we do share similar qualities: liberal, educated, cosmopolitan, open-minded.

But I think a more likely explanation is that social media, which encourages bad behavior, had given me a skewed view of the world. Now I'm seeing people more as they really are.

I'm really liking what I'm seeing.

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