If you are in your 20s, I would suggest choosing a guy in his late 20s or early 30s to mentor you. The same if you are in your 30s or 40s and you want to reboot. There are older guys out there who can be great mentors, but you might experience a lack of resonance because of the age gap.

  • 2
    Certainly you many use the term in that sense. There are probably a half dozen terms that would work about as well, but saying, eg, "There seems to be a certain resonance between Fred and Joe" would be perfectly idiomatic, as would saying "There seems to be some dissonance between Frank and Jim."
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 13, 2016 at 20:15

6 Answers 6


There are many senses of resonance - the pre-eminent ones connected in some way to sound and other metaphorical ones.

OED sense 2. is the one that concerns us here:

  1. Corresponding or sympathetic response; an instance of this. In later use also: the power or quality of evoking or suggesting images, memories, and emotions; an allusion, connotation, or overtone.

One of the examples (the most recent one) given is:

2001 A. Solomon Noonday Demon (2002) ii. 77 Bill Stein's story has had considerable resonance for me.

You therefore have strong grounds for using resonance in the way you suggest.


Though resonance can be used here, it's less common than saying you resonate with a person. It's an unusual usage that will probably stick out to people.

You might find "affinity" more appropriate as it's used in its noun form to mean an innate connection with a person.


  1. a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, idea, etc.
  2. a person, thing, idea, etc., for which such a natural liking or attraction is felt.
  3. inherent likeness or agreement; close resemblance or connection.

Source: Dictionary.com

  • I think 'affinity' might be a bit to emotional in context especially considering the OP's example. I do not have to like or be attracted to the person or ideas of a mentor for them to be a mentor. Usually I would think that would not be the case but by way of example I think many people would like to have Donald Trump as a mentor while simultaneously having no affinity for him or his ideas personally. Jan 13, 2016 at 19:17
  • @JustinOhms It has emotional connotations for you? That's odd, it doesn't for me. The definitions above involve affinities for ideas and primarily refer to "liking" rather than something more intimate. I do think this is more personal than resonance though, and not just because resonance is a bit stiff and unusual. Jan 13, 2016 at 20:13
  • Whether or not it has emotional connotations for me the communicator is not the issue. The issue is if the receiver might interpret it as indicating an emotional agreement either to thoughts, ideas or the individual. The OP's example is a perfect exploration of this. In my experience my best mentors are not always people I agree with, or necessarily even like. However they were great mentors and most of them I grew to respect even if I still didn't agree with them. My point is that affinity is not a requirement in OP's situation and ~might~ convey the wrong meaning. Jan 13, 2016 at 20:31

I prefer wavelength as I feel it is more appropriate when describing rapport between people (or the lack of it)

(idiom) on the same wavelength, in sympathy or rapport



There are older guys out there who can be great mentors, but you might not be on the same wavelength because of the age gap.

  • Being on the same wavelength would work, but is "a lack of wavelength" correct? I usually just hear wavelength used in that particular idiom rather than as a noun to describe compatibility. Jan 13, 2016 at 12:52
  • @SuperBiasedMan - Interesting point which I thought about only after your comment. So I have modified the usage example in my answer to be "on the same wavelength" with the idiom! That said, I have frequently come across "wavelength mismatch issues" between couples and colleagues in India :)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 13, 2016 at 13:29
  • It may be a usage I'm unfamiliar with, or a regional difference. I'm curious to look it up now. Jan 13, 2016 at 13:41
  • I think that's just a way of saying the same concept but less elegantly. "resonance" is a nice concise way to say that two things resonate "on the same wavelength" Jan 13, 2016 at 19:24
  • Whatever happened to "vibes"? I'm probably dating myself. Good vibes, bad vibes, no vibes, faint vibes....You want good, strong vibes from a mentor.
    – ab2
    Jan 13, 2016 at 23:25

Harmony might be a good choice for what you are trying to express. In that case since you are inverting the meaning you could also use dissonance.

...There are older guys out there who can be great mentors, but you might experience a lack of harmony because of the age gap.


...There are older guys out there who can be great mentors, but you might experience some dissonance because of the age gap.

  • I would hesitate to use the term harmony for this... There are personal relationship implications with that term. (And although one should have a personal relationship with one's mentor, I don't think harmony conveys the right kind of relationship.)
    – Tim Ward
    Jan 13, 2016 at 20:44

Resonance is tough. From an engineering perspective, the resonant frequency is the frequency where the amplitude is maximum, note only one frequency.

Synchronicity or in sync might be a better description, as in, those two are in sync or those two lack synchronicity.


"The guy and his mentor speak the same language".

Definition: to have similar ideas, tastes, etc.

Example: Jane and Jack get along very well. They really speak the same language about almost everything. Bob and his father didn't speak the same language when it comes to politics.

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