I got together with a friend last night and for the first portion of the evening, we sat out on the porch on the backside of his home and read/studied to ourselves. I remember at one point thinking how nice it was to be with a friend, even if we were not talking or engaged in the same thing. I experienced a contentment and a heightened sense of focus and productivity that I would not have felt had I been alone reading in my office at home. Afterwards, I told him how I felt about it, and asked him if he could relate. He definitely felt the same.
This benefit of proximity is not really thought about in situations where there is communication. Proximity goes unnoticed because it is only normal to be near someone you are participating in dialogue or activity with. We tend to not think about the normal things. But in this case, I really felt it and recognized it.
Have you ever felt this way? What is your take on why proximity in this way is helpful (or not helpful)?