how do you like your coffee?

We best understand things when we understand the context. An abstract work to a mideval peasant is meaningless; they have no reference to know if it’s composition is well balanced, or to know the details of the materials. Two people can watch the same like, with only one person “getting it”. They both saw the movie, the same events and imagery were shown. Yet when we “get” something, we have a set of expectations and criteria to compare it to, thus feel we can form an educated opinion about it. The difference in appreciation is largely due to the situation and frame of reference the person has.

When we communicate with someone, we are building a mental picture of them. They hate Elvis, drink their coffee with a good amount of sugar but no milk, adore history but hate physics, joke about their physical apperance: these are all basic, rather meaningless facts. And yet, when we learn those meaningless facts, when all put together, it doesn’t seem so meaningless. The more you know about the person, the higher chance you have of relating to them.

That’s why they say the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. The apathetic friend isn’t a friend at all. We don’t often reveal our deepest fears and desires to people who don’t care about our opinions on chocolate cake. Communication and connection, these things are vital to us social creatures. That’s why small talk isn’t as pointless as some might assume. Learning what other people desire and hate and are bothered by, these are evident when you are there for the smaller interactions. That’s why spending time with people is so important. You build up the frame of reference when you communicate with those you adore, and then can understand where they are coming from. It makes a difference.

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