Friendship is one of the most beautiful yet complex systems in humanity. Many people seek out only those who are like minded; with similar social statuses and interests. I have heard of married people shunning their newly divorced friend, or people letting a long time friendship fray because one person simply changed his or her interests or goals. I never understood the hunt for replicas of ourselves.
One of the greatest goals in life is to learn. Learn as much as you can about this world we live in. Though it is nice to be in like minded company, it is an adventure to step outside of the box and find friends who are not in your realm of thinking. Imagine the non reader having a close friendship with the bookworm. The non reader may never pick up a book, but by being friends with said bookworm, he or she will learn famous quotes by authors and philosophers, or be taught through story the message of each page. The bookworm learns to relay the precious information to someone who would never be exposed to it. The bookworm increases social skills and the non reader learns new information. This challenging relationship helps both people!
Let us look at this from a different perspective: the married woman learns from her divorced friend the hardships of divorce. Let’s face it; the stress of divorce is measured up to by many psychologists as close to the stress of a death. Her friend explains intricate details of her divorce. The married woman goes home to her husband and gives him an extra long hug that night and the couple realizes how precious their time is with each other and tries to communicate better. The divorced friend gets this stressful time off of her chest and is able to reanalyze what has happened. She also sees through her married friend that good marriages do exist and if she chooses, there is a nice person for her in her future.
Having friends in only your social status is probably one of the most limiting things you can do to yourself. Learn what its like to live like another. Walk in another person’s shoes. Some of the most poor areas I have personally visited have housed some of the most loving, giving people I have ever met. Many of them really “get” life. They may not have a lot of money, but they definitely are some of the most wealthy people I know.
It is astounding how many people in our society are ignored. Based on physical appearance, mental capability (or what society views as mental capability) social status, or personal circumstance, we spend more time eliminating potential friends then learning from different people. Studies have shown that to be friend someone with a mental illness does change their brain waves, and makes their life a little bit easier. Many early cultures would “shun” or ignore those in their society who have done wrong; an act more vile then a death sentence. Why do we subject our fellow man to such pain? More importantly, why do we subject ourselves to such limited viewpoints? To truly live an enlightened life we must surround ourselves with all different thought processes. To limit ourselves to a classification is to limit our knowledge. As beings blessed to be on this earth, why not try to spend our time learning as much as we can during our time here? Instead of limiting yourself to a narrow view of new friendships, explore the limitless options of a non prejudiced mine of new treasure.