Do we really need smarter friends

Why we need friends who are very different from us

Equal and equal like to join together often. At least that's what the current state of research says. Our author is really reluctant to contradict science ... but what must be, must be!

I have two friends who are very similar to me. I love both of them with all my heart, it is always very easy with them because they mostly agree with me (even if that opinion is completely crazy). I feel less alone with these two people, they make me feel like I am somehow "right". So far so good. But according to science, my whole circle of friends should only consist of such friends. Several studies suggest that you automatically become drawn to people who are very similar to you. It is said that scientists were even able to understand how close people are by using similarities in brain wave measurements. Well ... as much as I enjoy all the I-understand-you-so-moments, how sad would it be to only ever surround myself privately with people whose brainwaves resemble mine? A creepy idea, isn't it?

Friends, acquaintances and all the others

According to a study published in 2018 by the SINUS Institute and YouGov, every German has an average of 5.3 close friends and a circle of acquaintances consisting of an average of 42.5 people. I have no idea what the difference is between a friend and an acquaintance, which is why, for the sake of simplicity, I am talking about "friends" here. I think the line is also very fluid. But what flows at least as much in my life: very different brain waves. Luckily! How grateful I am for my friend Susanne, who, at 16 years of age, could be my mother biologically. Every meeting with her makes us both smarter and I only know through her: 50 is a totally interesting age that you don’t have to be afraid of! I also love the girls' evenings with my children's babysitter, who has just graduated from high school and, as a post-millennial (or what they call it), often has very different views than me. Also, I don't want to miss my male friends, whose brainwaves often completely bypass mine. So what? Of course, it is sometimes exhausting to think about completely different worlds. But isn't that exactly what makes conversations and experiences with friends so interesting?

Diversity starts in your own life

I know that sometimes it is not that easy to endure diversity. Mothers who are friends are a particularly tragic and funny example. Obviously you get particularly narrow-minded when it comes to things that you are not quite so sure about yourself. It is much easier to tear apart the parenting qualities of others than to grapple with your own. What strikes me about it: Why is it not possible to rate "different" as "also good". Or simply not to evaluate "differently" at all? Immediately after the birth of my first daughter, I was very fortunate to find myself in a crawling group in which that worked. Convincing non-stiller meets convinced long-term stiller, suburban philistine meets hipster mom, loyal romantic meets sexting queen, minimum wage earner meets luxury girl, G20 protester meets police wife. And you know what? It was wonderful! Nobody else has broadened my horizons like these different women. Not even though they are completely different from me, but precisely because of that! The kids haven't crawled for a long time, but we still love each other.

You have to cheat biology

I understand that there are biological reasons for bedding yourself comfortably in a circle of friends who constantly confirm you comfortably in your own being. Certainly it was a great idea in the Stone Age to belong to a clan that one understands blindly. At the latest when the saber-toothed tiger stood in front of you, it was probably more of a hindrance to first discuss the right escape strategy with people who tick completely differently than you. Now, however, we now live in a world without saber-toothed tigers and the problems of our time we can't fix it in a matter of seconds. So let's cheat biology and ignore "first impressions". People can also become real friends who, in their very existence, question all of our principles. Totally puff, whether it is an age difference, cultural difference or just completely different ideas of a perfect life that make us "different". As long as you can call someone at four o'clock in the morning, it shouldn't matter how their brainwaves flow, how old they are and how they feel about homeopathy or Brexit. The main thing is that the basis of any discussion is respect. Yes, that is exactly what friendship means to me. And I don't care what science says about it, I say: Different is great!