If you found your friendships are lacking in diversity, I’ve got three basic steps to add fullness to your circle of friends.
As it says in Proverbs, “Better is a neighbor (friend) who is near than a brother who is far away.” Proverbs 27:10b (ESV). Friendship makes life richer, and it’s one of my favorite things about human existence. My friendships are a priority, especially as an Army wife whose friends are more like family. One of the benefits of friendship is you get to choose your friends, and you can pick HOW you make them, too!
When I realized my friendships were looking monotonous, I was concerned. My friendships were no less deep or meaningful, but diversity had become important to me and my day to day life didn’t reflect it.
How to Diversify your friendships
I set out to change this. It’s still a work in progress, but I found three tasks that worked for me. When I looked for opportunities, made necessary changes and chose to be friendly first, I began to get that cultural variety I craved. Hopefully, you will find these as helpful as I did!
- Be on the lookout for opportunities to make friends with someone you might not otherwise choose. Go talk to that mom whose son is in your daughter’s class, sports team, etc. Invite your neighbors over for a block party or casual BBQ – my husband and I love to have neighbors over for meals. Or how about asking a co-worker out to lunch?
- Be willing to make changes. I eventually chose to change churches for a more diverse one, but it doesn’t have to be that drastic. If your family is moving, what type of neighborhood are you looking at moving into? I always ask for diverse neighborhoods when realtors are researching home locations for us – and we’ve been blessed with beautiful homes and wonderful neighbors who don’t always look like us. Consider where your child goes to school? Does it support ALL students or only majority culture ones? Ask your spouse to get involved, too!
- Be friendly yourself and join a group! It could be online or in your community, but find something you’re interested in and seek out a group with a diverse For me, this started years ago with an online geek group that I still belong to today. It’s so much fun to share my love for all things geek, but I’ve also learned from getting a glimpse into another culture’s view on costumes, holidays and news. Maybe it’s a gym, a club or a mission trip, but get out there and expand your world a little (or a lot). I’ve even gone so far as to make up a group with the help of a friend. Our monthly gathering has enlightened me and brought me friendships I wouldn’t have made anywhere else.
By grabbing opportunities, submitting to change and extending our hearts, we benefit from richly diverse friendships. We may even be able to foster the change we want to see in the world!
How did you start a friendship with someone who doesn’t look like you? How did you benefit from this friendship?