Jejudo, South Korea
I think feeling that one is on the same "wavelength" as another engenders a closeness to another. It can also serve to enable one to "fit in." Of course, as your laughable example shows... such is not always the case!
I suppose being on the same 'wavelength' does do exactly the things you say. I just don't see how it can be forced without staying on an extremely general level, and staying on a general level leaves one in, I think, a permanent case of general anxiety. That can't be good.
I was watching a Friends episode, the one where her mom tries to reunite with Feebie:
"Well, what do you like?"
"I like pizza."
"Wow, me too."
Now that's funny. But the humor is lost when it becomes:
"Well, do you like?"
"Yes, I like."
"Wow, me too."
Without knowing what it is you like.
I think that's also a common desire to a) fit in, be part of a shared understanding with another
No doubt there is. But these are two different things, aren't they? 'Fitting in' is public, a 'shared understanding' is personal. I don't 'fit in' with my wife, but I do think we have a shared understanding -- at least some of the time.
b) a way to attempt helping another by exhibiting said understanding.
But how helpful is it?
I don't know, maybe, the question should be, "How harmful is it?"
I doubt anyone thinks they actually know literally what another is feeling (especially in this typ eof amorphous situation), but is bending the understanding to a generalization. While depression has many different root causes as well as symptoms, it's generally accepted that it feels "bad." Likewise for happiness, or other emotions. In turn, when one expresses something over an event, the emotion is assumed by others based on their experience
Here's the deal. If the priority is to fit in or to have a shared understanding, and we live in a community that believes we should help others, not by solving problems, not by listening, or even simple support, but by commiseration, aren't we creating the seeds for just more of the same?
CS Lewis, in a different context puts it this way:
In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth -- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.
--Mere Christianity p. 32. Italics are mine.
I still have problems with that word, truth, but other than that, I think he's right here.
I stay away from the work on my desk that needs to be done. LOL - know how that feels?
What? Resisting the running capitalist dogs in there infernal drive to make my life as tedious as possible? 'Tis a noble thing you do, Sir, a noble thing.