You’ve probably heard the old saying “birds of a feather flock together.” And when it involves friendships, this statement often holds true. People often form friendships with others who are most like them.
While it’s comfortable to seek out camaraderie with people most such as you, there are some drawbacks to not diversifying your social network. this text discusses those pitfalls and provides some recommendations on how you’ll diversify your circle of friends.
Homogenous Social Circles
Many people seek friendships with the people they feel they will relate to. If you’re white, you’ll notice many of your friends also are white. If you’re BIPOC, many of your friends could also be people of color. you would possibly also find that you simply accompany people that share your political or social views and hobbies.
The paper “Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks” written by the University of Arizona sociologist, Miller McPherson, discusses the concept of homophily—people’s natural affinity to gravitate to people who are like themselves.
McPherson notes that “Homophily limits people’s social worlds during a way that has powerful implications for the knowledge they receive, the attitudes they form, and therefore the interactions they experience.”1
In other words, when you are not being exposed to different types of individuals or points of view, you tend to be more closed off and fewer hospitable new ideas and opinions.
When you are only interacting with people almost like you, it causes you to make inaccurate beliefs about people.
You’ll likely develop surface-level stereotypes about certain groups rather than viewing people as complex, multi-faceted individuals with varying beliefs, values, and goals.
How Much Damage Can Racial Stereotyping Cause?
Homophily in Race and Ethnicity
When it involves race and ethnicity, homophily may create a number of the strongest divides in a person’s personal life.
Meanwhile, the more inter-racial and inter-ethnic experiences you’ve got the less likely you’re to form generalizations about other racial and ethnic groups. In fact, one study that combined results from across 515 different studies found that the more contact people have with others outside their racial group, the less prejudiced they were. 2
Problems With Racial Division
If people avoid others who are different from them, this only perpetuates fears and stereotypes about those groups. In fact, they often default to what’s referred to as “social categorization theory,” which indicates that when people do not have enough firsthand experience or friendships with people across racial groups, they resort to generalizations and stereotypes.
Another factor that contributes to the divide among races is what’s referred to as the “false consensus effect,” which may be a bias during which people assume that everyone’s reality is like their own. When this happens, people that haven’t witnessed or experienced racism themselves often assume that nobody experiences racism or that it simply doesn’t exist.
To keep this bias from taking root in your life, it is vital to be intentional about taking note of what people need to say about their experiences and ask questions. Refrain from dismissing their arguments or trying to discredit them.
Try to recognize that by taking note of their stories and empathizing with their struggles, you’re opening yourself up to learning and understanding. you furthermore may are creating a chance for a true friendship to develop.
Diversifying Friend Groups
According to a 2013 Reuters poll, nearly 40% of white Americans and about 25% of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race. 3 So, it is vital to interrupt those barriers and form genuine friendships with people of various races and ethnicities.
The first step is to approach life with open-mindedness. forgot your preconceived ideas about people and embrace the individuality of every person. People are quite just the color of their skin. Allow them the space to be who they’re and you’ll find that you simply connect in ways you never thought possible.
Similarities Are Normal
Because similarities will always cause people to bond no matter race or ethnicity, specialize in the items you share with them rather than the items that you simply cause you to different from each other.
Maybe you’re employed for an equivalent company, attend an equivalent church, compute at an equivalent gym, or have kids within the same school. Whatever it’s that brings you together initially, specialize in that because of the opportunity to open a door to a possible new friendship.
Make Genuine Connections
Try to not force friendships with people you’re employed with or bombard parents of various races on your son’s sports team. Instead, just be friendly, open, approachable, and inclusive. you’ll find that there’s a friendship able to be made among people you interact with on a day today. But, it’ll require some effort on your part.
You can make friends by saying hello and making chitchat. The key’s that you’re open and friendly without being overbearing or trying to force a friendship with someone who has no interest in going to know you.
Make sure you’re an honest friend to the people you are doing a meeting. Friends, even those that are just starting to hang around together, invite one another to try to things. They listen, ask questions, and are supportive.
As a friendship grows, people meet each other’s families, have hard conversations, and obtain to understand each other on a deeper level. They even have one another’s back when times get tough. In fact, one among the simplest ways to make a friendship with someone is to face up for them or support them once they are browsing a tough time. confirm you’re the type of one that is willing to be there for people.