Surround yourself with friends who just do not look like you
We often surround ourselves with people who look like us, but what if we just seek contrast and surround ourselves with our opposites? Such friends are an enrichment of life.
How much do you look like your good friends? Chances are that there are quite a few similarities. There are of course exceptions, think: an older couple who is friends with a student, an academic who is friends with a road worker, a man and a woman who are one on one best friends or people of different ethnicities. That is of course great, but such relationships are often exceptions. Scientific research shows that friends often resemble each other with respect to socio-demographic characteristics (eg education, ethnicity, age and gender).
Friendship is: looking alike
So we meet ourselves in our friends. Until life takes a different turn, because when friends are no longer in the same phase of life, they often grow apart. You see that for example with many people who have their first child. After a few years, a large part of the circle of friends consists of people who also have children. Sociologist Beate Volker conducts research into friendship and calls it a normal development: "It is partly because you have other interests than your friends without children, but also because you suddenly come to other places where you meet new people: in the nursery and in the playground. Friendships that persist despite these kinds of differences are very pure, "she says in an interview with New Scientist.
View from another side
By gathering friends around us who are practically the same as ourselves, we hardly come into contact with other world views, different perspectives and other opinions. These friendships can also be wonderful and enriching, but what does the other side deliver us? "Suppose you are faced with a dilemma. Chances are that your friends who look like you are also struggling with that. It may then be useful to consult other people from your area who would otherwise view the matter. A neighbor or weak friendship may help you further than that very close friend who is a copy of you. Ask yourself more often: do I want to get a new insight or confirmation only by looking at my reflection? "
Success attracts success
The English psychologist Lynda Field also says something similar. She did research on people with little self-confidence and discovered that they often feel threatened by successful people. They prefer to deal with people who do less well than themselves, so they do not have to feel annoying. But you can also look at it differently: that you can learn from those successful people without having to feel less. Everyone is valuable and good, exactly as he or she is. Field says: "Success attracts success, just as negativity attracts more negativity. Deal with people you admire and you are encouraged to bring about success yourself.
An enrichment of life
Both scientists actually say: surrounding yourself with people who are different from you is an enrichment for your life. Because they can teach you something, offer a different insight or find a solution to problems that you and the people who look like you are running into the opposite. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to get the best out of yourself and inspire and motivate that everything is possible. Surround yourself with people who are already further in life than you, so that you can learn from each other's vision and way of thinking. In this way friendships become an even greater enrichment of your life.
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