Why Do We Like People Who Are Like Us?

Weekend Read: A fundamentally human question with a 2,000-year-old answer

Heyo, Nik here!

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a fascinating idea in a book about writing. The lesson had nothing to do with the craft at all. It was about how we connect to others.

“I have to write about this!” I thought. I also thought it’d end up being a short, 3-5 min read. Well…3,850 words later, here we are! The reason this turned into a long read is that without understanding how Aristotle - the person to be credited with this insight - argued his way towards it, the idea itself won’t click.

The gist of it is so simple, it makes perfect sense, but, as with a chocolate croissant, the filling only tastes perfect when you have a delicious, fluffy pastry around it.

I don’t want to give anything away, but, at its core, this piece tries to provide an answer to the question: Why do we like people who are like us? Why do we like them so much better than those, who are a little less like us, and why does that mean we sometimes like the wrong people to begin with?

It’s a big question, and even at nearly 4,000 words, the answer to it is small, but the implications…

Once you understand this idea, you’ll understand attraction, both romantic and platonic. It’ll make it clearer, at least in part, how racism happens, why people get emotional about politics, and why humans huddle together in groups of all kinds. The idea even ties to our work, explaining why craftsmanship leads to fulfillment.

Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m too excited, as usual! Why don’t you just see for yourself? I hope you’ll enjoy this weekend read. With the friend link below, you can read it for free, even if you don’t have a Medium Membership:

Learn why we like people like us »

If you enjoy it (or any of my others, for that matter), you might want to try becoming a Medium Member.

I have been one for 4 years, and I realized the pitch for it is as strong as ever: If you spend 5 minutes a day on Medium, I’d be shocked if you didn’t find at least one fascinating, compelling, knock-your-socks-off insightful article each month.

If you want to give Medium a try, I’d be grateful if you did so through my link here. It means I’ll get a share of your Membership fee for referring you (at no extra cost to you) – a job I’ve been doing happily (but for free) for seven years.

As always, there’s plenty more in the works. New, (hopefully) good writing coming your way soon! Until then…

Your email friend,

PS: The book is coming along. I might have a short ebook ready soon too, which’ll help me test some important steps of the process (like cover design, getting on Amazon, etc.) with a lower-stakes project. I’ll share that too when it’s ready! :)