Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

We Don't Have Enough in Common?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | May 28, 2015 5:20 PM

I know of someone's childhood friend who expressed rejection lately because their "lifestyle" has diverged. The rejecting friend spends much tme helping overburdened family members and probably feels bogged down, maybe even depressed. The rejected friend is no stranger to depression and responsiibity but has the luxury of frequent social life, travel and culture in her life. So, what is the problem?

My contention is that everyone is so different that we could all claim not to have enough in common with friends or family members, but everyone has something in common with everyone else, too. Our focus is our choice. When we choose to care about someone, we focus on the similarities and accept, understand, or even relish the differences. That's how we offer more to each other. Not all friends are at the same income levels, pal around in the same other circles, have similar professions, are alike in their family or non-family life or share many interests or beliefs in common. Yet, there must something which draws them together. It could be their heart, their mind, their ability to understand, their stories, some of their opinions, really...almost anything.

Just like the husband who is handy and practical and the wife who is intellectual and not street savvy, or the partners or friends from different countries and cultures, they feel a connection and like each other. They may find each other interesting or just comforting. They may have some of the same needs but certainly not all.Maybe they just need love and caring, attention and sharing. Take the husband who is very neat and the wife who is a slob, or the partner who loves to travel and the other who doesn't, or the artist and the scientist. There are compromises and they get along because they don't demand too much of each other. a doctor and they don't demand too much of each other. They don't challenge each other's individuality but support it.

Next time we think we couldn't like  someone because of their politics, their appearance, their social position, their problems, let's open our minds and find the human commonalities. One caveat, though. There are some exceptions, such as criminal, extreme addictive and immoral behavior, which would allienate most folks.

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