Opposites Attract: The Perks of Having Friends Different Than You

Sneakers And Sandals With High Heels

What can I say about my friendship with Lila? It’s like watching a real life version of  “The Odd Couple.”

Besides our unusual first names, we have little in common at first glance. She likes summer, I prefer winter. Lila is a germophobe, while I like to pet every dog within reach. My love of dogs drives Lila crazy and she often gives me speeches about the dangers of dog germs, prompting me to wash my hands or use hand sanitizer after most encounters. If there’s anything that this friendship has taught me, it’s that fully embracing someone who simply does not see the world the way that you do is a very good thing.

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Judgment-free zone

Unlike a majority of my friendships, I’m constantly learning about who I am and rethinking my opinions in my friendship with Lila. When we meet up to grab a burger, I show up with a hat, sandals, and a basic outfit. Lila shows up in heels, a super cute ensemble, and full makeup. Before our friendship, I assumed that girls wearing high heels to grab burgers were insecure or trying to grab the attention of a guy. What I found out is that she just likes heels and feels more comfortable wearing them, and now I no longer make that assumption.

Moving past what’s comfortable

I am Miss Adventurous and Lila is Miss Checklist. We often end up trying new things we otherwise wouldn’t have done on our own — and it’s been one adventure after another. If it weren’t for her, I would not have planned as much for a recent weekend getaway to San Diego, and I would have missed some of the fun sites the city had to offer. If it weren’t for me, Lila wouldn’t strike up random conversations with strangers or embrace going with the flow, two things that likely led to her relationship with her now-boyfriend!

Definitely no boredom here

Because Lila and I are opposites, we have no idea what to expect from each other. No day is predictable, so I never get bored with our friendship. Sometimes we’ll stay in and watch a movie. The conversations that follow are always fascinating considering our different perspectives. Our differences help us both learn and grow and become more well-rounded.

Not a competitive sport

In the past, I’ve struggled with competition among friends. It wasn’t blatant, but when people are very alike they tend to gravitate toward the same things, date the same guys, shine in the same way. With Lila and me, there is no competition. When we go thrift shopping, I go for the shorts and loose fitting shirts, she goes for the dresses and more formal tops. We also date completely different guys. Her boyfriend is very social and outgoing, and I prefer to date guys who are more chill and reserved.

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Pushing each other forward

I admire Lila’s traits — being direct, her ability to thoroughly plan and organize — and I would love to grow into some of them. She’s a great example for me. For instance, she is very direct and I prefer to avoid confrontation as much as possible. She helps me push past the fear of being mean to be more assertive and direct in certain situations.

A blossoming friendship with someone who isn’t exactly like you might have some growing pains, but you’ll realize you are alike where it counts — in loving and accepting each other.

Originally published on August 25, 2016. 

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Valencia Bryant is a writer enjoying life in sunny California. She likes to write the stories that dance around in her heart and encourage others to live life to the fullest. When she's not writing, she's enjoying being an auntie, horseback riding or at a sporting event.