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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Narrow Band Friendships

In our compartmentalized world, it is common to establish limited, "narrow band" friendships with people. An example might be a bunch of guys that play basketball on Sunday afternoons and talk only about basketball and rarely see each other off the court. "Broadband" friendships - relationships that include detailed knowledge of your friend's life, opinions, history, etc. - are becoming less common, I think. "Narrow Band" is safer, less prone to disagreements. The Democrat can sit in at a blues jam with a Republican, a Communist and a Libertarian and there will be no political arguments. A Catholic, a Protestant and a Jew can be on the same bowling team and have no ecumenical issues.

Is this a good thing? A tight community or a family is wrapped up in broadband connections. Everyone is messing in everyone's business. Unusual behavior or changes in routine are noticed. If someone misses work and falls silent, a friend stops by the house to check vital signs. "Narrow band" means more personal space, more gaps between people. Less conflict, perhaps. Less love, perhaps.

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