From personal experience I have noticed that the success of relationships be it personal or professional, is very rarely connected to the racial, cultural or religious background of the people involved. I am Iranian but am surrounded by people from all kinds races and cultures and have never had any problems getting along with anyone; and the same goes for my friends who are also international students at my university.

Even though so many of us are shining examples that nationality is in fact irrelevant I still hear people so very often say things similar to “oh those two are friends? Isn’t (insert name) Indian, and (insert name) Japanese?” My response is always the same, so what? You can’t hope for things like “world peace” and for the world to be a “better place” if you are shocked every time you see people from different cultures being friends. I have even heard people say they don’t like someone from their own country just because this person has friends outside of his/her own culture.

A friend of mine once said to me in a discussion about friendship and cultural backgrounds “you are special Mahsa, you don’t care where people are from, you are friends with them anyway.” Initially I was shocked because I thought the remark was hinting that I am special because I am not racist, so I asked my friend to elaborate, this is what he said “I mean you are friends with people only because of their personality, as in even if someone is from your own country if you don’t get along with them you don’t force yourself to be friends with them simply because of race, and you don’t shy away from getting to know a person simply because their culture is foreign to you.” This is a very true statement about me, but what makes me sad every time I think about this quote is that I am considered special because I don’t care about a person’s nationality.

I wish that only caring about a person’s true self and not their race will become the norm in the near future. Next time you meet someone with an accent try to listen to what they have to say and not how they are saying it.

Happy friend hunting!