If you’re fortunate enough to be friends with open-minded people, you know the world is a fascinating place. No one needs to tell you; you see it in how your friends react to the world and interact with the world.
Here are 15 of the most admirable traits of open-minded people:
1. They’re Good Conversationalists
They’re great to talk to. You’re not going to get bullhorned by an open-minded person, nor catfished, gaslit, or unfairly berated. You’ll actually be listened to, something that’s becoming a novel concept these days.
Your open-minded friends are able to hear one side of a story… and then wait for the other, which is nothing short of amazing.
3. They’re Inquisitive About Life
Having friends who not only have varied interests but actively seek out new interests is a Saturday night’s dream. These are the people who will find out about a hole-in-the-wall venue and say, “Let’s go,” leading perhaps to the best concert you’ve ever seen.
Or perhaps there’s an avant-garde play that absolutely no one but your open-minded buds would possibly suggest seeing, one you’d never have considered, but – having seen it – changed your life in ways you wouldn’t have dreamed.
They’re even likely to open you to innovations in science and technology seeing as they don’t mind being the guinea pig if it means satisfying a bit of curiosity about a new product or service.
4. They’re Not Harbingers Of Doom
We all know people who are able to equate whatever’s happening in the world with the end times. Political unrest equals doom. Hurricanes, tornados, and floods equal doom. Social change equals doom.
Conversely, the open-minded person sees political unrest as evidence of policies failing to serve equitably; hurricanes, tornados and floods are seen as the powerful forces of nature they are, not judgments upon humanity; social change means that perhaps injustices are finally being addressed.
Every new fad isn’t a sign of humanity’s slide into irredeemable idiocy; a new virus discovered doesn’t mean a return to Black Plague conditions.
Open-minded people tend to be level-headed and measured in their assessments of the tribulations and nuances of life.
Most of the time, dishonesty comes from thinking one has to protect a particular mindset or singular worldview. The politician lies because he thinks Party first, truth second. The child lies to avoid the punishment of not continuing to get the things it likes.
Not that an open-minded person is a bastion of truth, they are simply less likely to see any value in trying to cover for a rigid viewpoint foisted on them by outside influences, rather than telling it like it is in the first place.
6. They’re Observant
It’s hard being open-minded with closed eyes, metaphorically and literally. The curiosity of open-minded people keeps them open to noticing the changes in their environments.
This can be as simple as noticing how well a certain shade plays off your eyes or as crucial as recalling the license plate or model of a car fleeing an accident.
7. They Like Jokes
Your open-minded friends often see humor where it might otherwise be missed, and deep down they know that the ultimate joke in life is that there is nothing so serious it can’t be made fun of.
This isn’t the same as someone making a tasteless joke. This is knowledge, perhaps consciously, perhaps unconsciously, of the innate ridiculousness of most human affairs.
Open-minded people don’t immediately assume every interaction is a game of outrage-tag, but they’re savvy enough to see when offense is someone’s goal.
They know that their sensibilities are not default settings for everyone else, but won’t shy away from letting someone know when they’ve crossed a line.
9. They’re Sympathetic
Because they haven’t walled themselves off from having contradictory feelings, they can be quite sympathetic to other people, perhaps even attaining levels of that separate, mysterious quality we call empathy. They don’t necessarily need direct experience to feel connections of pain or joy.
The best hugs come from open-minded people.
10. They’re Comfortable Being Mavericks
Real mavericks aren’t just people who go against the grain, they’re people who reshape the direction so that life flows a bit more smoothly for all than it did before.
Because open-minded people aren’t generally interested in following crowds or accepting pat answers, they will question the status quo more often than not.
If this means they do things that won’t gain them favor, they’ll live with that.
11. They Possess A Youthful Exuberance
There’s a playful quality to these open-minded friends. They can be a bit naive, and might be prone to daydreams. They might even strike you as foolish more than someone their age ought to be.
But they light fires under your own exuberance and invite all kinds of play and mischief, which, admittedly, you love more than you likely let on.
12. They’re Great At Problem Solving
We all have “go-to” people. There’s a problem keeping you up at night, you reach out to the go-to, that open-minded person who’ll listen, weigh, consider, alchemize, and point the way toward solutions.
Open-minded people get giddy when they get to wrap their minds around life’s puzzles and mental quandaries. They also make great mediators.
13. They’re Not Stingy With Their Time
Because they don’t think they’re the focus of the universe, open-minded folks don’t mind taking time out of their busy lives to assist others. They’re the ones who’ll help you move into your new apartment on relatively short notice. And they will do so without complaining.
They also won’t mind sitting quietly with you. They’re experts at walking beside you in museums and parks, or sharing popcorn with you at the movies.
Generally-speaking, open-minded people are who you want on your bowling team.
14. They’re Musically Adventurous
Avail yourself of their music collection. Seriously. These open-minded friends of yours are music mavens.
They listen to everything: Prince, The Cure, Brides of Funkenstein, Lyle Lovett, Kate Bush, Baaba Maal, Air Supply… you name it, they either have it or have something like it.
This means road trips with them are epic karaoke fests.
15. They’re Patrons Of The Arts
The indie artist scene is advancing in all directions, fueled in large part by open-minded people hungry for more than the latest book to self-purchase its way to best-seller lists, the hottest of the haute galleries to highlight the latest rage, or – as mentioned above – a need for more from their musicians than the number of YouTube hits it took to get them a record deal.
Your open-minded friends support the indie authors who take literary risks. They buy the CDs on sale at the micro concerts. Not only do they stop to admire the work of festival artists, they are inclined to take a piece of their art home with them.
Living in a time when being boorish is celebrated takes precious time away from more interesting encounters and intriguing exploits. Your open-minded pals, by silent agreement, will never be the ones to siphon resources from you in those ways.
Maybe you don’t think your mind is as open as it could be. Well, the company we keep is just as important as the food we eat.
Cherish those who show you things you might have missed, because the most commendable quality of open-minded people is that, with them, you’ll go places spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and literally you may have never been.