The Humility Radius

All human relationships are in motion.

Everything you learn about someone changes your view of them, however slightly. Even no new information changes your view, in that relationships stagnate and fade if not maintained. And as we eternally seek out not only esteem and belonging, but also desire to find others to esteem, our massive interpersonal relationship map is never carved in stone.

At any given point, the other humans that can become aware of your existence are moving either socially towards or socially away from you. It’s fine to intentionally drive some away – I do it. There are people I don’t want to associate with.

But by default, I want my social radius to contain a gentle gravity. I want people, all things considered, to want to know me better.

Humility is often the key to this. Don’t disparage whole groups in comparison to yourself. Don’t assume, without proof, vast estimations of your own ability. Don’t close your mental and social ranks.

When people move away from you, you rarely know it. You can’t imagine how many opportunities you miss if you’re a jerk. The prophesy becomes self-fulfilling: the world sucks so you act like a jerk, but the world sucks because you act like a jerk. If you aim all your “jerk-ness” at one person, then one person gets mad at you and likely tells you. But if you just sprinkle a little bit of “jerk-ness” across all your interactions, then no one ever is bothered enough to tell you. Instead, everyone just slowly drifts away, and the world you live in becomes the world you expected.

If the world sucks, then entertain – at least for a few minutes – the idea that no one can see the whole world. All we can see is the bubble we create. And if that bubble is unpleasant for you – well.

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