I've known people who just couldn't stand for anyone to be "different," especially in small towns. They seem to get the idea that the whole world should be just like their little speck of the planet. People who don't fit their view are looked at as foreign objects in the bowl of grits. The difficulty in truly understanding people is in seeing more commonalities than differences when you look at a person. It's ok if you see the ways that we are different; intelligence, race, tastes, hobbies, physical characteristics, political views, religious views, and speech to name a few. But, when you see those differences, are they the prevailing factors that you see? We are all really more alike than different.
I have a few friends who are what might seem opposite of me in every way, if you are a casual observer. I am thinking of one lady in particular. I won't name names, though she would possibly recognize the description if she heard me mentioning it. She is a democrat, and I am a republican. She is so pro-abortion that she once asked me hypothetically what I would do if my daughter were raped. When I answered that I would love the baby and cherish it as a human being, she became outraged and told me that she and I came from different worlds because I would expect my hypothetical daughter to keep "that monster's baby." I am of the opinion that men are the head of the household. She is of the opinion that men and women are equal partners, neither in headship. She is tall and willowly while I am...not :) You get the picture. I could contrast more. But, for some reason, I could see so many similarities between us in un-nameable ways. It seems we probably had similar life experiences in the past, but they formed our worldview in opposite directions. So, we just had to accept each other despite the surface differences, because we were friends in some deeply cementing, perhaps misunderstood ways. Oddly, I found myself respecting her deeply because she was real, she was not shallow, and she was a person of both passion and reason.
Funny thing is, your life is so much more enrichened by accepting people who are different from you into your circle of friends. While we do look for people who we have things in common with or can relate to, we need those friends who are so different they shock us at times. It makes life a little more "electrical." :)