I’ve not told everyone I know this, but I suffer from panic attacks. I’ve experienced them for several years now, and wonder if I’ve actually had them on and off throughout my life. The older I become, the more essential I believe it is to […]
It’s very easy for us to be prejudiced. As we get older and experience more, the tendency can be to grow cynical and more insular. Those we already have around us can become the walls of a fortress. The unknown is then kept at bay. This is a real shame, as we aren’t only locking out new friendships, but new opportunities too. We need to aim to be open to everyone.
My friends often call me a “snob”. I’ll admit, sometimes I am. I’m the first to declare a lack of surprise when someone from a certain location does something underhanded or malicious.
On the flip side, I’ve also been pleasantly surprised on many more occasions.
For years “the South” seemed like a completely alien place. I envisioned “its people” as arrogant, spoilt and out-of-touch with “northern realities”. If I were ever to encounter someone from south of Derby, I’d be sure to dislike them.
Well, what a complete shocker! I met people at university from further south and north who were lovely. They taught me things about myself as much as about others.
I made great friends with students from the south coast while I was in France who at first, hearing their accents, I was wary of. I had some of the best times of my year abroad with them. Even though the uni was on strike and we had no money and very little to do, we talked and talked and talked. We watched programmes and films we mutually enjoyed. We went on trips. Times I’ll never forget.
Since then I’ve made other acquaintances that have opened my eyes and broadened my horizons. During my time with Matt, I’ve had the honour of meeting a large selection of his friends. They come from all over, even Italy. They’re brilliant people, no matter the accent. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and invited me to so many events. Sam and Fabio’s wedding week was just one of them.
Back in April, Matthew and Emma graciously asked me to accompany Matt to their wedding. I was made to feel a part of another family in both of these momentous milestones.
Other occasions are coming along too. A house party in the Pennines. A birthday party in Manchester. A Christmas meal in Stockton Heath. Another wedding in September 2018. I can’t wait. The most poignant thing is that, without the goal to be open to everyone, these things wouldn’t be happening.