The Comfort of Being “Alone Together”

by Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D.

The NY Times recently ran a story about tech entrepreneurs living in hostel type places in the Bay Area. It says, ” So-called hacker hostels in the Bay Area have become popular among aspiring technology entrepreneurs. Young programmers, designers and scientists go to them to work, eat and sleep. Most go for the camaraderie and exchange of ideas.”

In the research I have been doing for my new book, Quiet Influence, I have found that  this camaraderie  does not need to mirror a loud, fraternity. A quieter approach works beautifully.  Many introverts get their best work done in the company of others. They don’t have to be talking to them. I love the one photo in the Times article of several techies sitting together with their laptops.

We also see this in coffee shops where the energy of other people, the forced focus and the choice of whether to engage in the action or not, heighten the experience of quiet time. Like group meditation, or sitting communally in a library, simply being in the company of others can provide an unexplained comfort that builds confidence and allows people to go deeper into themselves and ultimately connect  with others in more meaningful ways.

If you found these tips from Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at


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