Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Friendships: different or similar like you?

On 6 February 2024, an Aeon Psyche article posed the following question in its title: “Is it better to have friends who are like you or different from you?“ Before reading its conclusion, I checked my gut feeling. In my view, similar is more likely than different. I was right.

There’s an adjacent field: relationships. People often say that opposites attract. Merriam Webster explains: “people who are very different from each other are often attracted to each other.” Why would this saying only apply to relationships and not to friendships?

Several years ago, I published two blogs with this question: Why do opposites (not) attract? See my blogs of 2018 (part 1) and 2019 (part 2). I concluded that similarities are (ultimately) more important than differences. Hence, opposites only attract from afar; not from up close.

Usually, multinational corporations and/or organisations (eg, EU, NATO) are also based on common goals (similarities) while accepting each other’s (minor) differences. Occasionally, Turkey provides an example of such minor differences.

The EU was originally based on common economic goals. Its transformation towards common political goals is still problematic (eg, Brexit, Hungary, Ukraine). Some commentators argue that the EU cannot survive that transformation. So far, European pragmatism has always won from ideology. In my view, that is a strength; not a weakness.

I suppose that the fundamental principles – in all of the above examples – are cooperation versus competition. On the short-term competition may win, and/but on a long-term basis cooperation (eg, friendships, MNC, NATO, relationships) will always win.

You’ve Got a Friend (1971) by Carole King
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-song

Now ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise


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