Being Friends With People Different Than You
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Just because your friend isn’t 'you' doesn’t mean they can’t be close to you

Sometimes when we look for friends, we try to find all of our similarities with this person. While this is great for finding common ground, that doesn't mean you'll be compatible friends if you have a lot in common.

Just because your friend isn’t 'you' doesn’t mean they can’t be close to you
Emily Goralski

Comparing yourself to others.

It's easy to do, especially when making friends. We think of activities we both like and things we could do together or talk about. While having similarities is great for finding a mutual understanding of one another, it's not always a great basis for friendship.

Some of my friends and I are very similar, whether it be in our interests, our mannerisms or our backgrounds—especially in high school. Most of my friends were in color guard, just like me. We spent all of our time together and became very similar. It wasn't until college that I had friends that were different than myself.

Having friends that think different things than you can be wildly eye-opening. It taught me that true friendships should be built on love, respect and trust, not just activities. When you ask for advice, they see a different perspective than you do simply because you aren't the same. Talking to friends of mine that I consider different from me has helped me out of some of my toughest situations in the past two years of college.

When you make a friend with different interests, you might find yourself trying and saying new things as you get to know them. I have friends who have made me more environmentally conscious and go to yoga, and I also have friends who have helped me try new foods and recipes. Diversifying your life experience through friends helps you see things you like and don't like and what you want out of life. It has ultimately made me feel surer of who I am as an individual and who I want to be someday. These friends have provided me with unconditional love and support, not just because they're like me, but because they like me. They choose to take the time to understand you, even though it might take a little more effort, simply because they care.

There are so many qualities I admire, but don't have. My friends make me feel like I might have these qualities after all, but don't quite see yet, so they help you bring them out. They can help you be more patient or kind or understanding just by being who they are and letting you come along for the ride. Being around people that you admire or would like to be more similar to can help you become something you never imagined possible. Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If you surround yourself with people you aren't like quite yet but want to see yourself become more similar to, it will gradually happen. You can keep your own unique qualities while still letting a person different than you mold and change you in all of the best ways.

To these friends, thank you for sharing parts of yourself with me that I promise to always try to understand, even if we are not the same.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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