As a Realtor, you might want to think about looking outside the box for potential clients and friends. In fact, author Kevin Moody says it’s wise to spend time with those who are different from your usual circles.
According to several studies, given the choice, many of us prefer the company of those who share our political or religious leanings, and we can be downright antagonist toward those who are the most different from us.
As recently as 2014, a Pew Research Center study showed that 63 percent of consistent conservatives and 49 percent of consistent liberals say their close friends share their political views. That same study revealed half of conservatives and 35 percent of liberals say it’s important to live where people share their political views.
“We don’t seem willing to get outside our comfort zones when it comes to making friends,” says Moody, author of The Battle of Fort Rock. His novel explores this theme using a real-life controversy that occurred during the 20th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.
“That unwillingness to listen to opposing ideas can cause us to carry around pre-conceived notions about each other. We might find that we have more in common than we realize if we would open up to each other and listen,” he says. “For example, you might ask, ‘Should a good Christian hang around with hippies, punk rockers and millennials?’ My answer would be, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
Moody includes millennials in that equation mostly because he thinks older generations are too quick to discount the views of the young.
“We have every right to maintain our values, but remaining in our bubble of judgment is good for no one,” he says.
Moody offers three reasons why expanding your sphere of acquaintances is worthwhile:
• It helps us better understand others. Everyone has heard the old saying about not judging someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. “We may not get a chance to experience exactly what they experienced,” Moody says. “But we can still reach out to them and try to understand them.”
• It challenges what we believe. Often people become locked into their views and don’t even think about why they believe what they believe any more. “Maybe what we believe made sense at one time, but now it may no longer be relevant,” Moody says. “Maybe we were right then and still are today. Or maybe we were wrong all along.”
• It broadens our perspective. “We don’t grow intellectually if we aren’t prepared to have our assumptions challenged,” Moody says. “The world’s a complex place with a lot of fascinating people. What they have to say can be worth listening to.”
Moody began to realize the drawbacks of associating only with like-minded people when he was a graduate student at Kent State University in 1990, as the college was marking the 20th anniversary of the Kent State massacre (an anti-war protest that occurred on May 4, 1970).
Author Kevin Moody