Communicate with Your Interest Groups

The most subtle and precious treasure in my life is the web of conversation spun over the course of years with my family and friends.  So for the past several years I have meditated on ways to improve my methods of communication.

I find it much more effective and efficient to communicate with clusters rather than individuals.  A cluster is a connected group of acquaintance, usually where each member of the cluster knows everyone else in the cluster, like a household.

If I want to communicate with everyone in a cluster about a particular topic, it will take much more time and effort to write or speak with each member individually than it will with the group as a whole.

The determining factors for me as to whether I can communicate with the cluster as a whole is whether I expect everyone in the cluster to be interested in the topic, whether I trust everyone with topic, and whether I am willing to make myself vulnerable to everyone in the group with the topic.

Weighed against this is the possibility of dividing the cluster if I communicate with some members of the group and not others about the topic.  Generally speaking, no one likes to be left out of a conversation of a group of which they deem themselves a part.  And they will often resent it if they are.

So if I don’t consider everyone in the group to be at nearly the same level of interest, trust, and intimacy the preferable alternative is to write at a level that is commensurate with the lowest level overall.  But sometimes this simply isn’t possible; if I am trying to communicate with them on a sensitive topic, then I will likely feel compelled to communicate with each individually or none of them at all.

How do you deal with these issues?

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