Having “diverse” friends


Awesome Weekenders (crossover?) fanart. Check out the DeviantArt of this artist here:  47ness.

Did you grow up watching one of those kids’ shows that feature a very different, but tight, group of friends?

Maybe it’s because I watched too many of these shows, but I’ve always wanted a group of friends like that: diverse in gender, race, ability, interests, etc. But in real life, most of my friends are a lot like me. We have similar cultural backgrounds and socio-economic statuses. And my closest friends are all female.

It’s not like I can’t mingle with different people. I have plenty of casual friends and acquaintances who are European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, male, female, gay, straight, poor, rich. But we’re not friends like the Weekenders

To be honest, I feel kind of guilty about this. I know it’s not a big issue, but I feel that, as a Canadian, I need more diverse friends or something. Like it’s a requirement to satisfy some diversity requirement in your friend group, the same reason why it’s a requirement in some Canadian education programs and governmental groups. And all around us in this modern world we’re being encouraged by our educators and government to reach out of our little circles. We’re encouraged to intermingle with everyone, from the homeless man in the inner-city to the new immigrants next door.

Of course, I know it’s illogical to expect someone to be friends with everybody. I mean, you have a finite amount of people you can physically keep track of, and we just naturally band with people who are like us, who have had similar experiences.

Maybe I’ll always have a pretty homogenous group of friends at my side, and I can’t really change that. (It’s impossible to force yourself to be friends with someone). But I believe in treating everyone I meet, no matter who they are, with the same degree of respect I grant friends from my background. That means treating a homeless person in the inner-city to a pleasant, polite conversation without a patronizing tone. Same goes with a person with intellectual disabilities or mental illness. It also means not making someone’s accent a big deal, or his or her sexual orientation.

Do you have diverse friends? Do you find it easy to befriend people with a different background?


3 thoughts on “Having “diverse” friends

  1. I’ve mused about this exact thing on many different occasions, and the only answer I can come up with is that it’s just easier to become close friends with those whom are similar to you. Coming from the same-ish background and same-ish socio-economic status can usually guarantee that you face some same-ish problems, same-ish stories, and same-ish hobbies, which makes it easier to become close.

    It’s not hard to make casual friends with those that are different than you, as you did mention; I love meeting and getting to chat with people who offer stories that are much different than mine. It’s just generally more difficult to become close friends with such people.

    Perhaps you meet a friend who is much richer than you. Realistically speaking, even if you shared the same interests (say, snowboarding), you may not be able to share that together (perhaps they have a season’s pass to Whistler and constantly greyhounds there and stays in a nice hotel) as you simply cannot afford it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are definitely not alone in this. I grew up in a really homogenous area and didn’t really meet anyone “different” from me until I was at least 8. My friend group is more diverse now that I’ve been to college, but now I feel like there could be a danger that some of my friends will feel like the “token” minority, and I would hate that.


  3. Hey, don’t feel guilty about this one, base is covered by psychology. Implicit racism is learned by age five and remains constant through one’s lifetime. It’s dependably observed that as a result of this easily learned in group/out group mechanism and the amount of diversity in school/the age in which diversity is celebrated is a factor in what race (and by extension, socioeconomic status since some minorities usually have less economical power) we befriend. And we all befriend the dominant ethnicity because it will give us the most security. I was just writing a post about this and even know I know this I still feel sorry… There’s some cognitive dissonance between being the ethnically diverse Canada and still having mechanisms in our brain that force us to form ingroup preferences.

    Liked by 1 person

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