Why do people stick to their own ethnic group for friends and dating?

I just don't understand it. It's painful to me. I can't relate very well to people of my own ethnicity--the culture just doesn't fit my personality. But if I meet an individual person of my own "race" who's like me, or of a different "race", I'm completely blind to what they look like. I love relating to people on an individual level.

All throughout high school, and now even college (!), I look at the lunch tables and it's all one color, one nationality. It makes me feel left out. But I love meeting and talking to people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, etc.

Where can I find more open-minded people?

Awesome and interesting answers, thanks so much. Always room for more!


Most Helpful Girl

  • It's a bit of a psychological/sociological thing- people naturally form groups in society and are more disposed to socialize with the members of their own groups and be wary of non-members. Ethnicity and race are some arbitrary groups we've created, but arbitrary or not we all see them as real divisions, so it makes them important to our psychology when choosing friends and partners.

    However, it doesn't have to stay that way- usually with exposure to the other group, groups become more familiar and less polarized, so you might find more like-minded people in a larger city where ethnicty is blended together on the streets, in stores, schools, workplaces etc.

    But, from my own experience growing up in a rural area where there were few other ethnicities, you can get past it anywhere. My high school literally had this break down of ethnic diversity: 4 Chinese people, 3 Lebanese people, 3 black people and the rest was caucasion. These people didn't form little groups around their ethnicities or a sub group of non-caucasions, they all became part of different groups based on other divisions in high school (athlete, scholar, band, student council etc.) One of my best friends from high school is an ethnic minority, but I don't usually see her like that- I see her as Ally because that's who she is.

    It's nice to see you like to relate to people on an individual level, I think the best way to do it is approach them on an individual basis- you have a class with someone you think is cool or you work with a really nice person, talk to them and get to know them, build a friendship with them and don't worry so much about their ethnic "group". Just because they relate to their own culture doesn't mean they're closed to people of other cultures.