January 19, 2021•260 words
As I am used to small social circles (schools, sports teams, and local communities), it is always a strange thing when my close friends mention other friends that I don't know, especially when they're making plans. Though of course I know it, confronting the fact that these people that I know so well have friends other than me is never a pleasant experience.
I feel like this is caused by some other, larger characteristic of humans. While I'm not sure what it is, I could take a guess: humans have to ignore huge amounts of information in order to focus on relevant information, so we're not usually thinking about what other people are currently experiencing or trying to figure out what their lives are like; our own lives already have enough going on. This makes our whole world center on us, rather than others, so realizing that other people are the center of their own world - this happens when you're reminded that they have other friends - is sort of a shock.
This could also tie into our ability to function normally despite things like huge death counts (e.g. from coronavirus) and I guess our ability to disregard the fact that there are billions of people on this earth. The sheer scale of it all is unimaginable, so we simply don't imagine it. It seems like this is a necessary characteristic to function in the modern world.
Anyway, there's a very real possibility that I'm totally wrong here, for any number of reasons, but it's fun to theorize.