How our mates can teach us about the world

Why friendships built on diversity and multiculturalism have lots to offer


They say friendship is a gift 🎁 But did you know for some Chinese people, giving four gifts or a gift with the number four is a very bad idea?

That’s because the word ‘four’ sounds similar to the word for death when said out loud.

There’s so much history and meaning behind customs like these. All the cultures on this planet have their own ways of doing things, and by having friends from other backgrounds we can learn more about them.

Isaac and Michael: mates for life

Isaac and Michael met as kids on the basketball court. They come from different cultural backgrounds, but today they’re so close they call each other family.

The two mates have made heaps of special memories together over the years.

For Michael, having a go at new experiences, like trying to fast in Ramadan, was a chance to get to know Isaac better. Now, he says he wants to visit Lebanon one day.

“You made the effort to get to know our culture,” says Isaac. “You took that first step, which showed me what type of person you actually are.”

How friends can broaden our horizons

Having friends from different cultures can broaden our horizons by introducing us to new ideas, traditions and food.

For example, when dining with Iraqis, polishing off all the food on your plate can be a sign that you’d like to eat more – which is often encouraged 🍽

We all know that pomegranates are yum, but for some Greeks they’re also an ancient symbol of good luck that are traditionally smashed open to ring in the New Year.

Every culture is rich with rituals and beliefs like these. Ask someone in your life about their culture and see what they have to say!

Every culture is unique

There are over 7 billion people on this planet.

Sure, we can’t be friends with them all (because that would take like aaages) – but there are many people out there with their own ways of life that would be cool to learn more about.

Like this one: your Aussie mates might use yes and no in a kinda unique way 🤔

For them, ”yeah nah” = no, but “nah yeah” = yes!

Meanwhile, for Japanese people, slurping while enjoying big, steaming bowls of tasty ramen noodle soup is usually a good thing. Some say slurping dates back hundreds of years and it brings out the flavour of food or avoids burning your mouth when tucking into hot dishes.

There’s just so much to learn about the world. So get out there and get chatting to someone new. Who knows what they can teach you?

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