When I was in high school, one of the largest areas for competition among my friends was music. Not only what music we liked and listened to, but more importantly, who liked and listened to it first. My family went through long and intense phases of listening to different genres of music. My first memory was listening to oldies, where my love for the Beatles, Elvis, and Boston began. Then we were really into Christian music, where the Smalltown Poets and Rebecca St. James took up a huge piece of my heart. After that we listened to classical composers. Hearing "Bolero" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" still pull me back to my young teen years.
As you can see, pop and country music weren't really the frontrunners for the speakers in our home. I listened to songs at the dance studio and liked them all, but at home, we had our favorites.
Among my friends, country music was the pinnacle of contention. There were a few friends who absolutely loved it, as they had all their lives. There were other friends who couldn't stand it. I fell into this group.
The twang, and the whine, and the over-emphasis on the letter "r" turned me off. But two of my best friends listened to it so much that I decided to just give it a chance. If I expected my friends to give my own music a chance, I should at least try theirs. It was a slow going process. I used to listen to my Latin lessons with headphones on every afternoon. When the lesson was done, I would secretly switch to the radio and listen for a little while. Eventually I found a few songs and artists that actually sounded okay! I knew my friends would be thrilled.
Life doesn't work that way though, and it certainly didn't surrounding this particular issue. It became such a huge deal that I suddenly crossed over to that side, and I was made fun of (by both close and distant friends) for "pretending" to like country.
One friend in particular made a huge divide in the group about our musical differences and nearly fell off her chair laughing one day when she heard we liked country music.
Where am I going with all this?
People change. Looking back, I actually cannot believe how much people change. When I reconnected with the above friend many years later, I nearly fell of my chair when I saw her facebook statuses filled with country lyrics.
We need to remember to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not write each other off because of differences. The mindset you had 5 years ago is probably very different on certain issues than what you think today. People probably crossed you off their list because of something you did or said. You always wondered why they were so "weird" to you. They probably have their own reasons. It sounds unfair, doesn't it?
In a way, it's nice to surround yourself with people who think just like you do, but you would probably learn a lot by opening your heart to others who might not appear to be the "perfect" fit. If you knew someone to be a complete dweeb a few years ago, chances are they have changed since then. True, they might have grown into an even bigger dweeb, but they also might have matured too.
Just some food for thought. Have a great Friday!