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Who Are Your Friends?

Most people have a desire (need) to connect with others, ... others who are like them in some way. When you meet someone for the first time, what ... attracts you to them? Is it a persona

Most people have a desire (need) to connect with others, especially others who are like them in some way. When you meet someone for the first time, what initially attracts you to them? Is it a personality trait - the way they smile, or the expressions they make when they talk? Maybe it's a physical feature - their eyes, their hair, their dress, or the way they carry themselves? Or, is it the subject matter - you have similar interests?

Are your friends people who you would not mind having as relatives? Are your relatives people who you would choose as friends? Would you do things with your business associates if not for the workplace?

What draws you to others is a fascinating thing. Most of you will agree that variety is the spice of life, that differences make life interesting, but how many of you would actually choose friendships and associations with people that you know are quite different from you? Imagine the potential if people actually went out of their way to befriend and/or create alliances with someone totally different - in color, in culture, in lifestyle. That could truly be an enriching relationship. The possibilities for sharing and exchanging seem endless. Are most people capable of being that open with each other?

It is one thing to be able to sit and chat with your friend, exchanging facts and antidotes about your week, when you both have similar backgrounds and mindsets. Suppose that you're both college grads, have the same degrees, both married with children. You shop at the same stores and watch the same movies. Mostly you mirror each other and reinforce that "we're ok" feeling.

Now, imagine that you are in your mid-40s, single, an English professor; you live in your own home in the suburbs and drive a late model 2-door sedan. You like lattes, vegie burgers, and the avant-garde. While waiting in line the person next to you starts up a conversation. This person is probably early 20s, sports a facial tattoo, is a little disheveled, rents an apartment, and uses the bus system to get around. What are the chances that you would respond to this person with interest? Could you become friends? Do you suppose that knowing this person would be of any benefit to you?

As you move through your life, it may be good to ponder these things occasionally. It feels great to socialize with your friends and share all of the things that you have in common. But mostly, you're on familiar ground and stay within your comfort zone. Just remember that there is a wealth of information and knowledge waiting for you, also, in those chance encounters with people whom you would ordinarily never get to knowFeature Articles, because they are too different from you.

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Rita Ballard is a licensed hypnotherapist, a virtual assistant, and the owner of Healer's Helper, an administrative support service for healthcare professionals. For more information, please go to

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