One of the best ways to grow as a person is to find friends who are opposite from you. These types of friends will encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone and try different things. They'll also give you a reason to see the world just a little bit differently than you did before.
Meeting a Friend Who is Opposite From You
If you're the type of person who generally hangs out with people most like you, it's time to change the way you meet friends. Perhaps you need to try a few new activities, or maybe you just need to ask your current friends if they can introduce you to some people they know. But if you don't consciously look for people who are opposite of you, it may never happen. That's because we naturally gravitate toward people who are most like ourselves. When we see a part of someone that we can easily relate to and understand, it makes us feel comfortable. As a result, we're more likely to get to know them. (Here are 50 ways to meet a new friend to get you started.)
Types of Friends to Seek Out
Look for the ways you'd like to grow as an individual, and this will give you a clue as to the types of people you should get to know. For example:
- If you haven't been to the gym in a decade, find a friend who is an avid runner or enjoys a regular yoga class. Their perspective will help you see the benefits of exercise, and they'll encourage you to get started.
- If you have surrounded yourself with people who vote the same as you, or have the same views on religion, spend time with people who have opposite beliefs. Remember, you're not trying to change their minds (nor or they going to change yours), but you can learn more about why they have made the choices they have. The key with these types of friendships is to listen closely without judgment. Learning more about active listening will help in this area. Don't try to change them, but accept the ways that their opinions and advice transform your perspective.
- If you're a big introvert, find someone who is outgoing and loves hanging out with people. An extrovert can help you meet people you never would have considered talking to before. (Here are some things introverts can learn more about extroverts.)
- If you are all about business, find a new friend from the creative world. See how their vision of things matches or is opposite from yours. How can you apply the things they see and believe to your own life?
In general, find people who were brought up different from you, have a different worldview, are of a different race or age, or even have different likes and dislikes from you.
How to Get to Know Someone Opposite of You
Patience is the key when it comes to getting to know the people who are opposite from you. Don't judge them or try to change them, but accept your friend the way they are. It may take a lot of compromise in order to truly get to know someone different than you, because their preferences on when you hang out and what types of things you do together are going to be new. Don't always try to have your way, but go with the flow at first.
As you get to know your new pal, suggest venues and activities that you enjoy doing also. This can help them learn new things as well. You may need to take things slowly when getting to know someone completely opposite from you. When you've got a long way to go to get to common ground, it will take longer to develop a strong bond. Don't give up. Just because you don't have a lot of things in common at first doesn't mean you won't create a special friendship. Enjoy your time with your new friend and just let the relationship happen as it's meant to.