Aren’t the differences between and within people the most interesting observations we make in life?

Contrasts can be simple likes and dislikes or go tied to our core beliefs.

My mashed potatoes must have lumps, while another person blends them to whipped cream smoothness. Alex is a russet man, don’t put a sweet potato on his plate. I’ll eat those orange spuds grilled-smashed-cubed-boiled.

Jackie and I dislike clowns—the face paint freaks us out, let alone orange hair standing two feet tall. We love laughing—give us The Three Stooges or The Big Bang and we’re happy gals. 

I like eggs, but not chicken. My brother likes chicken, but not eggs. We three older siblings avoid Halloween, although we had fun as kids. The last of us—ten years my junior—goes Munster with her creepy October parties.

Friends whom I share genre of book may differ in the movies we watch. Or, two of you can love reading mysteries, but one will love romances and the other (me) avoid them.

Some of us relax on a Friday night with a glass of Italian red wine and putting our feet up. A quiet evening with a good book or show we want to binge watch. (The best way to indulge in Downton Abbey.) Others go out with friends to a bar and soak in a loud, boisterous atmosphere—getting regenerated by being with a group.

Many of us are homebodies, with friends stopping by for a casual visit. Others live by the no-moss-growing-on-this-rolling stone, thriving on traveling hither and yon. Or, we’re a combination of both. I love to be home—LOVE TO BE HOME. But if my hiking shoes aren’t stepping on turf outside of Pittsburgh every six weeks, I fray around the edges.

From food, to books, to movies, to life enjoyments, our likes and dislikes are as multi-faceted as a well-cut diamond. 

So are our outsides. 

Thankfully, we humans come in a variety of shapes. We’re short/tall, big/small, angular/round. We have skin in multiple colors and various shades of those glorious hues. Some of us have dots on our skin—as a fascinated toddler from India once said of my August-speckled-with-brown, otherwise creamy-white arms. Her mom explained that they have no word for freckles—I laughed and accepted that dots they are!

Our ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic upbringings are vastly separate or closely parallel. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and still love having had the experience. My husband grew up in Pittsburgh and relishes being a city boy. When we travel, I don’t mind a bit of touring in the city, but long to hike while he likes to have some hiking time book-ended by city-time.

If people were the same as thoroughly mashed Idaho potatoes—smooth, white, without any hidden lumps—the world would be a very boring place.

The diversification of us.

But for our many variations in where we find pleasure or the thoughts we ponder, don’t you think that if you converse long enough with almost anyone, you can find some common ground, be it:

  • Love for the scent of lavender budding outside the back door or in the pink-painted window box at your second story window.
  • A secret affinity for 1960s Bubble Gum music. [Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes is a favorite.]
  • Summer’s true arrival for you is when the lightning bugs start glowing at dusk.
  • The family unit you were raised in, or the family atmosphere of unconditional love that enveloped you as a child.
  • Your educational backgrounds may be different, but you each chuckle at those crazy Three Stooges instead of The Marx Brothers.
  • Your spiritual beliefs and the path you walk. And why.

Whatever it may be, getting below the surface conversations is what it takes to meet someone at a shared point, to find a mutual reference of understanding. 

Think about a close friend. What line got crossed in your relationship when you discovered one thing that lessened your disparities and allowed you to connect? 

Dig in with someone you have a casual friendship with to discover depths you’ve been missing. What has knowing this person added to your life—something new introduced that you wouldn’t have otherwise been aware of? Can you create additional connections with them?

Aren’t these bonds we develop with each other a reason to revel in the uniqueness of each person we draw into our lives?

**

Blog is updated & expanded since previous posting date.