Personally I struggle a lot with reaching out to weak ties.  I often don’t feel comfortable contacting an acquaintance for help.  I also don’t want to feel like a taker who only reaches out when I need something and never reciprocates. 

Well it turns out there’s actually a way to get the best of both worlds – the comfort of a strong tie and the novel information of a weak tie.  And Daniel Levin and his colleagues call it a dormant tie

A dormant tie is somebody that you had a meaningful history with at some point but have lost touch in the past few years.  And the studies of this are phenomenal.  What they show is that if you actually reconnect with a dormant tie it’s faster and easier because you do have that sort of shared experience to build on. 

And you also get that fast access to novel information because in the last few years those dormant ties have been meeting different people and learning about different ideas.  And so they actually can give you the best of both worlds. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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