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Photo: Miroslav Hlavko
After almost five years of friendship, I’ve realized that my brain doesn’t work in quite the same way as my friends. I don’t know why, but our ways of thinking are very different. It feels like when they’re seeing a + b = c, I’m seeing a puppy walking around in that same picture, and I am sure that the puppy is relevant in some way or another.

Unfortunately, our differences sometimes lead to arguments, most times over misunderstandings. We don’t think the same way, so what makes perfect sense to me is like cryptic jabber to them, and what’s obvious to them goes completely over my head.

After high school, most of us went to the same college in a different state. Being from Miami, Collegedale, Tennessee was a completely different setting for us, and that was a challenge.  The new people seemed to be of a different kind, and we felt like aliens in a foreign planet. We only had each other in this strange new planet, so we grew closer than ever. Our old friendship felt brand new, and I loved it, except we did nothing to get to know the other people around us. We enclosed ourselves in our comfortable little bubble, and anyone that wanted to get in had to be just like us.


This also brought some arguments into our friendship. And, after many fights, talks and “I’m sorry”s, I realized that all problems between us and with those around us have the same answer: acceptance. I realized that I am very different than my friends, even though it doesn’t seem that way at first glance, and that we are very different from the “aliens.” I’ve realized that not all the aliens are the same, either. They are different just as I am different.

Relationships are all about stepping outside your comfort zone and accepting that other people are different than you. Instead of trying to make my friends think like me, to make them see my way of thinking, to make them see the puppy, I should accept that they think differently and try to phrase my thoughts in a way that makes sense to them. Instead of looking for people that are just like us, we should delight in the differences of others, and look to learn something new.

People different from us are good for us; we need someone who will shock us, who will bring us out of our comfort zone. Different doesn’t have to mean bad, it just means some acceptance is required. Once you get past the fact that no one else can see the puppy, you may realize that, from another angle, your puppy doesn’t look so much like a puppy anymore. 

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By Raquel Levy. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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