“My sister and I had a falling out,
and what do you think it was all about?
Well she loved coffee and I loved tea
and that was the reason we could not agree.”
~A nursery rhyme~
It seems kinda silly right? To lose all family ties because her taste in morning beverage is different? It is easy to see that you shouldn’t let the differences that make us each a wonderful individual get in the way when it is something small. But what if it was something big?
It’s an undeniable fact that people are different from each other. People are always going to be different from each other in some way. From the big things like who they are and where they come from to the smallest things like what colors they like and what they like to drink in the morning. A world with no differences would be boring, a stagnant world with nothing new.
Part of learning how to relate, to truly connect with another human being is to learn to accept that they are different from you, and going to have things of their own which you won’t share. Sometimes you can focus instead on what you have in common, like how both siblings in the poem could have bonded over their enjoyment of caffeine, but I think it’s richer to not only see what you have in common but also find and explore what make you different people. Who knows what you can learn from someone else?
Some people find this too hard. It is work, and if you’re not used to it it can seem like impossibly hard work. Some people find it easier to just stomp around angrily demanding why on earth should something be different from what they know until the things that make them uncomfortable go away. But just because you love tea doesn’t mean the coffee drinkers should get kicked out of the kitchen, or forced to consume Earl Gray or nothing at all. It is not attention seeking or making things up or just trying to be politically correct when you ask for a tea strainer. Even if the tea strainer is for your visiting friend who feels awkward asking.
So what am I really saying here? Should you cut all ties because your trans, black, lesbian, pagan, democratic socialist, poly, punk, feminist friend likes tea? Fuck no! Do you have to agree with them or see things the same way? Fuck no! It’s okay to have a different view of the world and still respect the views of those around you. Practice this always with everyone, and you might learn something new.