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Nov 28, 2008

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Monday, November 10, 2008


[1/6] Who’s In Your Fridge?
Current mood: loved
Category: Life

Recently I happened upon a book, which happened to address some things I've been thinking about.  It's about both the quantity and quality of our inter-personal relationships, how important they are to us, how many of them have been lost, and how we can get them back.

Think about how many people you know for whom it would be ok for them to walk in to your kitchen and make a sandwich.  I bet you could list a few.  I like and trust lots of people at least that well.  But – how many of them are likely to ever be around, in your home, to take advantage of that, especially on a random Tuesday night?  I'd bet that's pretty long odds.

The premise is not hard to swallow: People in developed societies have lost too many close personal connections.  And we know, from experience and research, people absolutely need these connections – ample data backs this up, dramatically.  Three main areas of loss are detailed in that book: increased mobility, cultural individualism, and emotionally numbing distractions (esp. one-way media).  Regaining these connections is not easy – but it is straightforward.

The book is called "Refrigerator Rights".  The primary author is Dr. Will Miller, veteran stand-up comedian, ordained minister, professor of psychology, and practicing psychotherapist.  I like the format of the book.  It's annotated with proper citations to serious research.  There are places where one could argue with the authors, but they encourage it.  Every chapter has questions for the reader, and ends with a summary including questions for reflection.  You are invited to do your own homework!

Here is the opening quiz.
1. As an adult I feel like I have moved my home too many times.
2. Other than those at work, it is hard for me to think of at least two other people to whom I am accountable.
3. I tend to be highly self-reliant.
4. Usually I commute to work alone.
5. I often feel nagging stress.
6. I often feel a sense of dread.
7. I often feel anxious
8. I often feel depressed.
9. I have contemplated suicide.
10. I am reluctant to share my worries with others.
11. There are few people in my life whom I trust.
12. Other than my spouse/partner or children, few people seem to offer me personal affirmation.
13. Other than my spouse/partner or children, few people offer me honest correction.
14. I would say that I am not really emotionally close with people other than my spouse/partner and children.
15. I expend much of my energy in pursuit of career achievement and earning money.
16. I find my greatest satisfaction in my material possessions.
17. In a typical month, no one besides family members visits inside my home.
18.  Wherever I have lived, I would usually have trouble identifying the last names of my next door neighbors.  [no cheating here with mis-delivered mail!]
19. Typically, outside of my workplace, I do not belong to a group that meets at least twice each month.
20. Most of the time, once evening comes, I am too tired to think about getting together with other people and I would rather just "crash" in the comfort of my own home.

The authors expect most readers to agree substantially with about half of those statements.  What's your count?

In following pieces, I'm going to lay out the case for reducing that count.  As much as possible I will write in my own words and use my own stories.  [I could quote all day from the book, but you may as well buy a copy.  It's on the third edition paperback now!]

Currently reading :
Refrigerator Rights: Why we need to let people into our hearts, our homes (and our refrigerators)..
By Will Miller

9:33 AM - 5 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment -


Damnit ~ qish I had known about this book this weekend while I was out fondling books at Barnes & Noble, looks to be a good read. And sadly, I answered yes to half (of not more than half) of the quiz. Thanks for making me feel like shit on this Monday morning : )

I'm trying to do better, get off my back Shawn! SOOOOOOO ~ in an effort to kick start my reform, I propose a game night, next Friday the 22nd, at my house. Check your inboxes soon for your invites : )

(how am I doing??)


Posted by Val on Nov 10, 2008 10:32 AM
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You're like those girls in grade school who did their workbooks waaaaay ahead. You get a gold star!

Friday the 22nd - got that people??

Posted by HVY MTL on Nov 10, 2008 10:42 AM
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Looks like Friday is the 21st - and I already see the invite.

Posted by HVY MTL on Nov 10, 2008 10:52 AM
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You stinker! Of course I answered yes to at least half:P But then again you knew I would based on our conversation Friday night!

However, someone's ability to go in my kitchen and make a sandwich would be hindered more by the lack of food available than my lack of friends...sad but true:( But if you give me my pan back I would be willing to make you some brownies! Because you are my friend:D

Posted by Natalie on Nov 10, 2008 3:38 PM
[Reply to this]


I don't deliver. It's pick-up only on footwear and cooking vessels. ;-)

Posted by HVY MTL on Nov 10, 2008 3:45 PM
[Reply to this]

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