Community and “Others”- Establishing the Difference

Reflecting on my community in my hometown of Bradford, PA, I know many people and I also know of many people. I developed my own personal community through the people I interacted with at high school, sports teams, and my job outside of school. The people I grew close to and now know well, is my community. I associate with them frequently and see these people on a relatively daily basis. My sports team consists of some of my closets friends as I practiced with them my entire childhood and formed lasting relationships because of the history we have. I’ve formed bonds with my coworkers after working the same job for three years, and they have been integrated into my community. My community consists of the people I know, not just “know of”. They know who I am (not surface level), they associate with me daily, and we have lasting connection outside of the places we first met. All of these people I would define as individuals because I know them well and they know me well.

The “others” in my community are those who are not closely associated with me and only know surface level information. They are not integrated into my daily life and I do not have meaningful connections with these people. This could consist of a face I know from school, a neighbor down the street that I wave to, or the mailman that I see consistently, but don’t know anything about. To me, these are the side characters in my life. They coexist with everyone else but I am not connected to them on a meaningful level, nor would I pursue a meaningful connection these “others”. Who I have placed in my community has been apparent only by my own subjection. It’s by my pursuits that the people I know well, also know me well.

For example, being in college I’ve found that I miss the connections I made in my hometown and it is hard for me to want to pursue new meaningful connections. I have all these prior connections with people who I have known for over a decade. I don’t want to go through that process again when I already have my community established back home.

These are a few of my softball teammates from my hometown. I played softball with them since I was 10 years old. I would consider them to be a part of my community as we have a long history and meaningful connections.

This can all be relevant in international affairs. Certain countries have certain bonds with other countries. They have formed a connection through assets and/or prior history. The countries that have little interaction with each other would be consider “outsiders”. In our world, on any scale, the way that we connect to others, places and things is all subjective. Once bonds are formed, we typically like to keep these bonds and eventually stop pursuing new ones. Countries will align with others whom they know well and cooperate with. Comfortability is relevant in international affairs. For example, the United States and the United Kingdom have a long history. Relations were reestablished in 1815, and the relations were strengthen after their alliances in Worlds Wars, Korean conflict, etc. When we have history with an actor, we stick to what’s comfortable and familiar. This is the same in establishing our own community. Anyone that we do not integrate into our space is an outsider.



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  1. I think this is an interesting approach to take with the “us vs them” idea. As I’ve also experienced a certain level of comfortability with my social circles. I have a couple very tightly knit group of friends and I don’t really do very much outside of that. It also makes sense to apply this to international relations. Your example with the United States and Great Britain is a good one. My only critique is that it doesn’t apply to every country equally. For example, France and Germany have been rivals throughout most of European history, yet, they are close allies now despite the lack of historical ‘familiarity’.

  2. I like the personal perspective you used for this post. I think most people can easily relate to having smaller social circles and feeling comfortable being with the people they know well. I can see how this applies to international relations.

  3. I totally agree with the surface level vs people integrated into your daily life. there are people who know me as a person, and then there’s people who know know me as a person. I think it’s a very interesting concept and its even more interesting when you attempt to place some of those people you interact with into one of these 2 categories. I also find your take interesting on the history between certain states and how it effects their relationships today. Such as how despite the original conflicts between the US and Great Britain were originally very poor, they were able to realign and come together in a multitude of affairs after their disagreements. This is also interesting to apply to the reverse side such as the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. The two sides dispersed after the dissolving of the Soviet Union and ever since Russia has despised and wanted the land of Ukraine to add to “Mother Russia”

  4. Thank you for sharing! It is very understanding to feel uneasy when it comes to making new connections, when considering all of the deep, loving ones back home. I do want you to consider that that community would want you to grow, and learn more about yourself outside of them. I encourage you look at other situations where leaving can not only make you as a person grow and find more communities, but strengthens the bond you have with those back home. All of these people and events that are happening in your life will be stories you can tell your friends and family when you see each other.

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