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.


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What Girls Said 4

  • I suppose it just seems easier to relate to someone with a similar background to yours.

    I don't mind being friends with people of other races, though. In the US, I do happen to have more white friends, but that's because there are just more white people around (at least where I live).

    But I used to live in a country in East Africa, and I noticed that those of us in a minority just seemed to gravitate towards one another. Not that we didn't like being with Africans - I loved being around them. They're generally very friendly, and I didn't care that they were black. But, we did gravitate towards fellow foreigners when we saw/met them (especially fellow Europeans and North Americans). It was easy, because we had our foreign-ness and minority-ness in common.

    I've had friends from US, Canada, UK, Norway, Holland, Korea, India, Malaysia, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. It saddens me too when people can't get past each other's skin colour. If you look at the different races we classify people as, you'll see that race is completely arbitrary - sometimes based on skin colour (white/black), sometimes on a particular nationality (Indian, oriental), culture of origin (Native American, even though they often look like "white" people), etc.

    Humans are humans. Why do people care what "race" each other are?

  • personal preference...not everyone does it.

  • It's just the people that they have the most in common with. It's not about being open or closed minded. No one should be made to feel bad for liking people they have things in common with and not hanging out with those that they don't!

    • why does having the same color skin suddenly mean two people have "most things" in common?

    • Show All
    • I agree with you. It just bothers me that more people aren't willing to branch out. As for me, I couldn't imagine living without learning about many cultures, backgrounds, etc. as I can.

    • You can learn about other cultures without having to go out of your way to be friends with people you have nothing in common with. There's nothing wrong with certain comfort zones. As long as you're not doing anything to hurt others, or discriminate against them at school or something, I don't think it matters.

  • Not only do people stick to their own ethnic group/race, but generally people stick to their own socio-economic class as well. I guess I'm "guilty" of it myself but I don't see anything wrong with it. Most people are friends with those they have the most in common with, similar background, and usually race is included in that. Most of my friends happen to be black and the guys I date are as well because we either grew up together and were friends that way or we have similar interests, or met each other from a common place..and I'm just more attracted to them. I have associates that are other races but my close friends are similar to me. I'm not going to fake a friendship or relationship with someone just because I wanted to learn about other backgrounds. That's just being fake because 90% of the time that person's not gonna be your best friend and you probably won't marry that person, so why do it just for the sake of "diversity"?

    • I think you're reading me wrong. Here's the thing. I don't "fake" being friends with people of other ethnicities. I want to be close to them and have REAL friendships with them. I'd very happily marry someone of a different ethnicity.

What Guys Said 3

  • It's a biological standard actually. People tend to look for others that have a lot of their own traits, race included.

    Join a Global Studies group or International Exchange program.

    • Well, it's still painful. I just don't see the world like that. It's a turn-off when I find people who are into race- or culture-specific perspectives or activities, etc. But thanks for your perspective.

    • I mean, thanks for your advice, lol

  • Sense of familiarity and preference between ones culture. You stick with what you know basically.

  • It doesn't mean they're closed minded, it's just psychological, I think.

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