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    • It is difficult for me to understand why people are so angry online. I have to deal with strangers by email frequently and there are lots of very angry people out there.

      Politics in particular seems to divide folks and cause angry postings.

      This is an interesting opinion on why anger might be so prevalent:

      I think that the pull of religion is at least partly due to the fact that we feel less lonely and more a feeling of belonging when we are part of a religious group. That is especially true if we are actively involved with that group. Do we need something other than religion (which itself can be divisive when it is fanatical)?

      The last two paragraphs of that article are particularly important I think. And the closing sentence:

      "Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal, when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had."

      Although I consider myself to be a friendly and social person, I am vowing now to be more so.

      Is this a good challenge for everyone?

    • A few years ago, I read a thoughtful book-length account of a middle-aged man who sought to find community by spending a day with each of his neighbors. After a murder occurred in his neighborhood, he realized that no one knew anyone else. It was heartwarming and simultaneously bittersweet at how easily he formed lasting connections with an isolated widower, a divorcee raising a child and a young family.

    • Most people have lost their tribe, families are smaller and spread out, and there is a narrative prompted that life is Random and devoid of Purpose.

      Media promotes narratives that leave us angry about ills and unfairness,

      A recipe for the loneliness and sense of separation many feel-

      The village I live in is good, we’re an outdoors, Sunshine environment where we get to know our neighbors, enjoy each other’s company and raise our kids together-

      I’m fortunate and grateful for this.

      My advise is to be a friendly and you will attract other friendly people-pursue hobbies and passions and you ideally will find other friendly, passionate people-

      The pic is from last nights neighborhood Christmas party!! A very good group of ladies!!

    • It’s interesting you mention religion because most religions I’m familiar with teach the importance of being a kind friend and good neighbor. But we do see religion dividing people sometimes at least as much as politics.

      But even outside of a specific religion, most people instinctively understand being nice is the “right” thing to do. Why don’t we do it more often?

      For me, I don’t engaged in cruel or unkind behavior but I can be insular and wrapped up in my own family and my own goals and concerns. It takes deliberation for me to notice the needs and stories of those around me. I’m generally happy to reach out when I see a need, but it’s the seeing I sometimes fall short on. I wonder if the information overload and superficial connection available online contributes to our sometimes myopic vision when it comes to our own neighbors.

    • It was a very thought-provoking article but I wonder if loneliness is making us turn to angry politics or angry politics is making us lonely?

      There was so much talk over Thanksgiving about how to avoid the hard subjects with your family, like politics. We all know our uncle has some polarizing views, so how do we renew our bond with him without getting into gun rights? How many people avoid some friends or family because they're afraid they'll want to get into angry politics?

    • Building and community designs also increase or decrease relations. The current norm in North American design discourages family and community in too many ways. This is something that is often overlooked in how to overcome loneliness, depression and low life satisfaction.

    • Building and community designs also increase or decrease relations.

      Can you expand on that? I’m picturing the solution is us all living in dorms with a communal bathroom down the hall.

      Where have you found design to be congruent with fostering community? There was a great documentary on an apartment building with a communal kitchen that allowed everyone, from young families to shut in seniors, to share in a nightly communal meal. I believe it was in Finland.

    • A few things come to mind regarding homes and loneliness.

      In my neighborhood most people pay someone to do their yard work. If someone else is out there doing the work there is an opportunity missed to meet and greet. We do our own yard work. So when I am in the front yard gardening I can see and greet people as they go by. Even cars can stop so folks can say hello. We have lots of folks walking their dogs in our neighborhood so I take that opportunity to greet the owners and the dog. Most people are happy to have someone give their dog a pat. Along with that, when I walk my own dog I try to greet everyone I meet.

      I think that the lack of sidewalks in some places isolates people. When there is not a safe place to walk then folks don't do it as much. So they miss the benefits of both exercise and social contact.

      Another thing that comes to mind is the lack of front porches. If there were more front porches for folks as places for people to relax and chat with neighbors I think there would be more conversations started.

    • Come to think of it, the strongest community I can remember was in married student housing at college. The apartments formed a ring around playgrounds for the kids and the parents came out to tend them. We were all poor, around the same age, with the same struggles (passing our classes). The rich in Silicon Valley often choose neighborhoods in the hills set back in the trees to get privacy. They may get loneliness as part of a package deal.

      There are some fascinating studies about the design of public spaces and sense of community.

      It's from here:

    • Another thing that comes to mind is the lack of front porches. If there were more front porches for folks as places for people to relax and chat with neighbors I think there would be more conversations started.

      A director I used to work for lived at the end of a cul de sac where, in the summertime, everyone brought out a lawn chair and chatted away while the kids played. I think there needs to be a space for community that’s not as intimate as the inside of your home. That’s probably a contributing reason why, per @Chris ‘s article, people who lived near a park felt a greater sense of community.

      Sadly, when the director moved into a more affluent neighborhood, they gained a beautiful big house but lost that sense of community.

    • That is sad that a bigger house is now isolating. I am giving serious thought to how I can become a better neighbor and foster more friendships nearby.

    You've been invited!