Relationships are common to everyone, and one thing that ought to be common knowledge to everyone is that every individual is unique in his own right, hence different from every other person around him.

A fatal mistake we often make is comparing ourselves with others, or probably desiring that a person is like another. The earlier we realise that we all have our individual differences, the better for us in our daily interactions with people.

The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people – Theodore Roosevelt

Developing healthy relationships with people who have different ideas, perceptions and background, amongst other things is a daunting challenge. Yet we are expected to have good relationships for the purpose of a peaceful coexistence.

I’ve had the privilege of living with different sets of people in the hostel and beyond, and I’ve learnt first hand that as our faces are different, so are our characters. I’ve had to live with people who are extremely nice, and I begin to admire them, I’ve also had to live with people who are a direct contrast to who I am.

How then can we develop healthy relationships despite our differences?

The journey to building flourishing relationships is to accept the fact that everyone you encounter is completely different from who you are. There is the need for variety; if everyone is the same, the world would be such a boring place to live. Embracing differences is the first step to reduce every friction that would occur in every relationship. Celebrate the fact that someone got what you do not have, and use that to foster harmony in your interrelationship.


Most often, there’s friction in relationships because parties are always eager to talk, and no one cares to pay attention to what the other is saying. Being thoughtful enough to carefully and deliberately listen to what the other is saying would help in fostering a closer bond between you. Paying undivided attention to a person, and giving reasonable feedback makes the person feel loved and valued, hence the differences won’t be so obvious.


There is a need to embrace differences, yet there is a greater need to de-emphasize these differences. When we hold on to our differences too tight, that we aren’t ready to find a common ground of agreement and similarities, there would be a tendency towards drifting apart. Rather than point out your areas of differences, look out for something you both have in common, and build on it.

For you to build good rapport, there is a great need for tolerance. It is tolerance that would make you overlook some things in the other person that you ordinarily do not agree with. There is no genuine friendship where you both won’t step on each other’s toes; if you’ve never experienced glitches at all then you may have to examine that friendship again. In toes stepping times, you will need to learn the art of tolerance.

For any relationship to flourish, understanding is germane, as this is the bedrock of every relationship.

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