SIDEBAR: Drawing from Many Sources

A variety of friend types exist that can contribute to who we are as individuals. Their insights and points of reference broaden our understating of the world and how we relate to it.

Friends of a Different Cloth

These important friends come from two groups. The first can belong to any of the other groups on this list as long as they have points of reference other than our own. The second “different cloth” is from other perspectives of faith. They offer us a reasonable comprehension of other faith traditions that we can’t get in a classroom or from a book.

Friends of Different Ages

Regardless of one’s age, there is something to be gained from the insights of other generations. Such friends can help a person come to terms with unrealistic stereotypes and prejudices. Getting inside the head of a friend in another age group sheds light on generations, idioms, and practices that can be otherwise hard to understand.

Friends of Different Races and Ethnicities

Again, breaking stereotypes is a major advantage. When cloudy thinking about another culture clears away, there’s often a growing appreciation for certain ideas and ideals within that culture. We might find even some new traditions worth adopting.