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The Proximity Rule of Social Dynamics: prioritize those who are near to you

I just read this from a social media friend.

And I thought she had a great point:

So, the governor is encouraging you to report your neighbors if they don’t follow the new rule of gathering numbers. Before following this advice, you should really consider the fact the governor won’t be there to help you jump start your car, or lend you tools, or a cup of sugar.
She won’t be an extra set of eyes to watch over your property if you are away. She won’t keep an eye on your kids if they are playing in the street or if someone strange is hanging around.
We need each other!
It’s how we get by and live in peace. At the end of the day, the governor/government won’t be standing on your door step to help you out when this gets real!

I'm not entering in the merits of the Covid laws and, in some cases, it might make sense to give your allegiance to what's higher or farther away.

But the principle is right.

This what I'd call the "proximity principle" of social relations.
In brif, the proximity principle says that those who are closer to you, matter more to you.

It's a bit like gravity.
The force of gravity decreases quickly with distance.
The moon is infinitely smaller than, say, Sirius.
But Sirius is so far away that the moon matters and influences us far more than Sirius does.

Plenty of people get sidetracked by what's bigger and brighter -but too far, and won't do sh*t for them-.
All of them want your attention or support.
In this example, it was the government. But it can be countless far away powers that seek to divert your focus.
It can be the football club taking your sense of belonging, the Netflix series friendly characters taking time away from your real-life family, the Kardashians stealing your time for self-development, or McDonald's keeping you away from the healthier restaurant down the street run by the people in your neighborhood.

In social exchange terms, these exchanges take from you and give back little -if anything-.

As a rule of thumb, in your life, it makes sense to prioritize those who are near to you.

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Example: denying help to someone close to you to protect the interests of an abstract "group" you don't even know

One example is also in PU.

I had a lover, a graphic designer student, I was very close with.
And she told me she wanted to help me design the logo for this website.

I liked her and wasn't exactly swimming in extra cash at the time, so I was super grateful for the help and was going to give back as much as I could.

After some time though she told me she couldn't do it.
It's fair one changes her mind.
But why she changed her mind made little sense -and failed the proximity rule-.

Someone in her "graphic designer group", some people who weren't even living in the city and whom she didn't even know in real life, told her not to do it because helping someone for free devalued the graphic designer profession -and that was unfair and bad for the profession-.

So after she told me she could help, she then instead told me she could "send me a quote and later discuss the details".

Just think about it: to protect the interests of an abstract group that did little to nothing for her -much closer to "nothing" than "little" though- and stood to lose pretty much nothing if she helped me, she was risking to break the win-win relationship she had with someone who was doing a lot for her, could do a lot for her, and who was one of the closest people she had at the time.

That's an exemplary failure of the proximity rule.


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