Most individuals around the globe knowing, or most likely, unknowingly practice the compatibility model when choosing friends. Corporations hire individuals not necessarily based on diversity as much as compatibility. In other words, they want individuals that not only get along with their workforce, but have the same values. Thus, it is a common practice to search for friends, mates, and peers that think like us and ignore those that are have different viewpoints and offer more diversity. After all, people are creatures of habit and will fight change with a passion. We all unknowingly practice prejudices when selecting friends. No, this is not necessarily racism since people will friend people from other ethnicities if they have similar points of view. And yes, this is the reason for our ever growing ideological polarity in our country. It has gotten so bad, we cannot stand to hear different viewpoints that conflict our beliefs.
Need more proof that there is a compatibility paradigm? Yes, and then consider who our children’s best friends are? Technology! Our kid’s best friends are videogames (I like to call Nintendo – “Nofriendo”) and when they try to communicate with friends they use interpersonal social sites such as Twitter and Facebook. After all, these are great friends because they do not talk back and disagree with our egotistical points of view. If someone negatively responds, one can simply use their great social skills by deleting the response or even removing the adversary from their friend list.
My wife and I were married in a Catholic Church. In order to do so, the Priest put us through their Marriage Preparation program which consisted of an assortment of consoling and even a written test. The objective of the test was to gage the couples’ compatibility. After our testing showed that my wife and I were polar opposites, the Priest was quick to ask me to double think our marriage. This was nothing new; we knew we were vastly different and polar opposites on the Myers-Briggs personality test. It was our differences that made us better people because we have become more tolerable and open to hear opposing viewpoints.
Instead, I challenged our Priest and the Catholic Religion to change its archaic and rigid policies. I urged him to have a paradigm shift from testing for compatibility to devising a way for couples to learn how to manage their disagreements. After all, no couple is 100% compatible and there will be differences and therefore, disputes. I argued that a couple that is 95% compatible is not guaranteed their marriage will not fail. It only takes one disagreement, coupled with poor problem solving skills, to end a marriage. On the other hand, an incompatible couples’ marriage, who have good problem solving skills, can survive because they are open minded and can solve their differences using commonsense solutions and compromises.
It is time for Americans to break our ever growing dependence on the “Compatibility Paradigm”. This is a major barrier that has been making Americans less personal and incapable of compromising to bridge our ideological differences. Indeed, it is time for a paradigm shift toward tolerance and respect for ideological differences and diversity. If it is racist to condemn a person over their religious beliefs or ethnic culture, then it should be intolerable to condemn others because they simply have different political views.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)