Which kind of friend do you prefer: someone who is much like you, or someone who is different from you? Why?

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Which kind of friend do you prefer: someone who is much like you, or someone who is different from you? Why? Compare the advantages of having these two kinds of friends.

Life becomes restricted and boring when our friends are all just like us. For variety, it is good to be friends with people different from us. They may be from other cities or countries, of different races, or different from us in age, customs, and culture; but their differences from us can make them all the more interesting, and interacting with such people has much to teach us.

For example, making friendships with people from other countries can teach us as much about our own country and culture as about theirs. Possibly, they do some things in a better way than we do, and we can benefit from adopting their customs and methods. Also, they may see us in ways new and unfamiliar to us, so that we can learn to see ourselves from a fresh perspective. In this manner, we may come to see that we, our country, and our culture are not quite what we had imagined. This lesson can be very valuable.

When two different individuals or groups interact in a friendly and tolerant fashion, both are likely to profit from the friendship. This does not mean that one side must approve of everything the other side says and does. Differences in culture or behavior are certain to accompany differences of opinion, tradition, and behavior.

However, if both parties in the relationship are prepared to exercise patience and open-mindedness toward each other, then a highly profitable exchange of ideas and opinions, goods and other commodities is possible. The important principle here is to see differences in their proper perspective, and avoid making minor differences into divisive issues.

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