People On the Other Side Of The Spectrum Can Be Pretty Cool

It’s so easy to stay in our little bubbles. Whether they’re religion, race, political, or even stay-at-home mom bubbles, sticking with what (and who) you know is comfortable.

They vote like idiots. They don’t have any kids. They’ll try to convert me. They’re from a different country…Am I right?

Still, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with people I share very little in common with.

These conversations have reminded me no matter who you vote for or what creed you say, people are people.

Just because we have different beliefs or vote for different candidates doesn’t mean we can’t hang out and be friends.

Different Can Be Normal

“Will they make fun of me for what I believe or where I stand?
Will they look down on me for what I do?
What’s even the point considering we disagree on everything?”

Have you been there? Have you second guessed yourself before stepping outside your bubble? Yeah, me too.

But surrounding ourselves with diversity is the only way way to break down these hesitations.

In “Girl, Wash Your Face,” Rachel Hollis speaks to this. She recounts a play date her kids had with a boy with disabilities. Before the play date, she debated explaining his differences and how they don’t matter. But she realized by explaining his disabilities and pointing out how he was different, she would be teaching her boys to “draw a line in our sand box” before the play date even began.

By not telling her boys there was something different about their new friend, they didn’t realize. Instead, they thought his walker was cool and it never crossed their mind that having one was unique.

If different isn’t unique to our kids, it becomes normal and the lines in our sandbox fade away.

"People are hard to hate close up. Move in." Brene Brown meme via Ashley Stevens at Mountains Unmoved for People You Have Little In Common With Are Actually Pretty Cool

There’s Enough Room For Everyone

This Summer, I was invited to a farmhouse in the middle of Nebraska for a writer’s retreat with 84 women I had never met.

I was worried I’d be the only Catholic at a predominantly Protestant writer’s retreat. I was worried I didn’t have the following or credibility that so many others had.

I doubted I would belong.

As I arrived, I was welcomed with a hug and saw the words ‘BELONG’ dangled across the fireplace. I was showered with a monogrammed name tag, T-shirt, and New Zealand gifts from women I had never met. I was provided with yummy food, a communal fire-pit, and great tips to grow our craft.

belong balloon letters dangling above fireplace at Her View From Home retreat via Ashley Stevens at Mountains Unmoved - "People You Have Little In Common With Are Actually Pretty Cool"

And, while I was blown away by the hospitality, small talk with 84 strangers was so socially exhausting going back the second day felt a little take-a-deep-breath’ish.

But something made me want to go back.

Maybe it was the fellow Catholic I had met on the back porch who was scared to be there too. Or the mom who writes about her son’s cochlear implant that I pulled my hair back to show mine.

What started as a beautiful couple opening their doors for a weekend of writing How-To’s turned into eighty-five people with completely different beliefs, backgrounds, and stories finding how much we had in common.

No matter our stories, backgrounds, or creeds, there was room for everyone at the table.

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Differences Are Interesting

The more we say yes to invitations that challenge us, the more we grow.

Maybe for you it’s not a writer’s retreat, but it’s volunteering for a field trip with parents you don’t know.
Or getting drinks with someone from a different political party to better understand where they’re coming from.
Or attending a service with a friend or family member that has a different faith.

When a neighbor invited me to go to her friend’s birthday party with people from a different faith this weekend, I said yes. When a fellow mom invited me to carpool with her rather than driving separately to a field trip, I said yes.

And do you know what? The more I say yes, the more I’m fascinated by people in a way I never would’ve been if I had stayed in my bubble.

People will surprise you if you let them. Click To Tweet

Spoiler alert. We were all raised very differently.

But by leaning in and getting to know the person before the difference, we find we have way more in common than we think.

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