Criteria such as:
They follow the same religion
They attend the same school
They work in the same field
They share the same nationality or culture
They like the same music
They like the same people
They hate the same people
It is easier to love someone who is familiar, safe, and easy to understand, than it is to love someone who is different.
Easier than loving someone who makes you uncomfortable. Someone who you cannot understand or figure out. Someone unlike yourself.
But it does not have to be that way. Not only can you find common ground with someone who seems different than you but you can have fun with them, learn new things from them, share new experiences and even be influenced by them.
For example, a senior citizen may learn something from a teenager in High School and vice versa. A Catholic may share common thoughts with someone who is Jewish. Someone from Japan may learn something from a person who grew up in the Netherlands. A straight person may find they have a lot in common with a person who prefers their own sex. The possibilities are endless.
Let's look beyond race, creed, color, religion, fashion, age, profession, sexual orientation, and more and open ourselves up to the many new learning experiences that may come from having an open mind and forming a relationship with someone different from yourself.
Ever notice you may enter a situation where you are forced to work with someone in a group that is completely different from you and you notice all of their differences? You may even feel put off by those differences? Yet as time passes and you get to know that person, all of a sudden you stop seeing the differences? You just see them. Your friend. A friend you would never have made if not for the circumstances that brought you together.
We can all learn from others. I love the quote below from goodreads.com:
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
So look around your little world...can you diversify it? The next time you are in a large social gathering, notice those you may not normally notice. Take a good look at them and really listen to what they have to say. You may find you have more in common with them than you realize.