Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Is it naive to think that this should be an easy request?

Lately I see and feel the barriers that we all put between us. We let religious differences, lifestyle choices and financial standings be the guide in choosing who we will and won’t associate with. I see it with strangers, I see it within my social circles and I see it in my own family.

Growing up I was very sheltered. My parents were very religious people whom I have a great deal of love and admiration for. They instilled an attitude of service and love within me and my siblings, and were great examples of living what they taught. However, their social circles involved only those of their same faith and rarely were any of us exposed to anything that wasn’t church endorsed or approved. They lived in a small world, and until I moved out of the house, I did too.

My marriage to someone of another religion did not go over well to say the least. It was then that I really started to see the fear and discrimination that causes people to close themselves off to others. I know why my parents were concerned. It is difficult enough to have a successful  marriage without opposing religious views and at times it is a struggle for us. But we have learned patience and tolerance and I believe our kids will live in an environment where they can find their own answers without being pushed one way or another. Now my parents are very supportive and we still continue to have a great relationship.

Now, while that is sort of a big issue, it’s the small day to day things that really bother me. Of course we are not all going to have the same political views. Of course we don’t all attend the same church. Of course we all have our own minds and hopefully are confident enough to say what’s on them. But can’t we at least admit that we are different and celebrate that fact? Are we really that close-minded to pre-judge and discriminate?

Why do I feel like a match-maker in a world where no one wants to get married?

I have always been quite the social butterfly. I can’t help it. I am fascinated with people. I love to see how other couples communicate and interact with their children. I love to hear what motivates athletes, entrepreneurs, mothers. . .  observing and asking is how I learn, how I empathize and gain some sort of insight or inspiration. Because of this, my circle of friends is quite diverse. I have running friends, church friends, park play-date friends and Girl Scout mom friends. Unless I host an event at my own home, I find it near impossible to get some of these friends to mingle. They are all incredible women living in the same neighborhood and it would be so beneficial for them to interact.

I have a G.S. mom who wants to run but is intimidated that the other runners attend a different church. I have a friend who is renting her home and has used this for an excuse not to meet more people around her. She has now been here for 2 years and is frustrated because she only has 3 friends close by. There are so many other excuses I hear, and this is only with a handful of people. I am careful not to get too caught up because I know everyones needs and comfort levels are different. But I had hoped that by this age most of the ‘clique’ mentality would be long gone.

It’s been on my mind for a while and reading Aaron’s blog post  about seeing things in black and white made a lot of sense to me. I don’t see the world in black and white and I don’t think there is such a thing as too many friends. We all have something to give and more to learn, and it’s not going to happen by closing ourselves off to people that we presume to be so different than us.

The blogging world is my safe little haven where I don’t have to worry if friends are going to play nicely. I benefit greatly from people who are brave enough to share their hopes, fears, regrets, joys, art, silliness and wisdom. So I want to thank all of you who take the time to write, for you are contributing to the expansion of my little ‘world’. 

Thank you.

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4 Responses to Why Can’t We Be Friends?

  1. I wish there were more people like you in this world. If there were there would be far less struggle, grief and anger. I couldn’t agree more with your post, coming from a mixed marriage and child of mixed race.

  2. I think that we enjoy our barriers to an extent. That people think that if they keep enough of them that they can shield themselves from the evils of this world. I know how you feel. I constantly try to find friends and no one wants to be. It’s really sad. I’m glad there are people like you, though. Maybe if more felt the way you do then there wouldn’t be so much pain.

  3. Sister Sassy says:

    GREAT Post!! I myself get frustrated with people unwilling to move outside their specific circles.

    great post, just wanted to say it again 🙂

  4. kspin says:

    Thank you all for your thoughts and encouragement.

    I agree with you Fido that it may be a defense mechanism. Sad that we feel the need for something like that.

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