Summary: Variety is the spice of life.* Garnish well!
*William Cowper’s “The Task”
We all have preferences in the social, emotional, and physical profiles of the people we interact with on a daily basis. We are a very tribal people after all. Like attracts like, whether that likeness comes in the form of sex, color, religion, social status, club affiliation, etc. Even if you are a die-hard individualist, you will inevitably find yourself in good company. (Non-conformists conforming to non-conformity.)
This pull towards sameness is understandable. There is comfort and security in. The group protects its own, defends its own, and offers up an identifiable flagpole to rally around. This is all well and good, but there is also a certain danger to it.
1. Variety Strengthens
As the Irish found out during the Potato Blight or Johnny One-Note discovers as his career flounders, homogeneity is convenient, but still not a safe bet. An unexpected attack or sudden change can rattle an entire sub-culture. If that culture is not willing or able to adapt, it can often fall into obscurity or be wiped out altogether.
We must be willing to let outsiders in, not to assimilate them Borg-style, but to appreciate the insights they may have to offer.
Of course, this thought is not mere social theory.
It is good dating advice too.
2. Variety Frees
We have all heard the phrase before: “he/she just isn’t my type.”
Everyone has a preference. There are a wide range of personality types, physical features, fetishes we pick and chose from when it comes to pursuing a partner. You may even have biases and not even realize it unless you really spend time putting two and two together.
On the other hand, this idea of type can also be a self-defeating one. You may be interested in a person but not think of you are their type or they are yours. So, you walk away and maybe miss out on a golden opportunity.
Take my wife and I, for example. On the surface, we are very different people: I am big city, she is small town; I am impetuous, she is analytical; I am active, she is mellow. Rather than this being a hindrance in our relationship, it has been quite a blessing. I bring the wonder, she brings the foresight. We complement each other well.
So, don’t be afraid of mixing things up.
Side note: I think we could all take a lesson from Brazil. Their culture is the most heterogenous in the world, and it also produces the most beautiful people. Just food for thought.
Blessings to you in Christ,