A reader writes:

I have a friend - one of my very best, actually - who I affectionately refer to as my "anti-me". She is everything I am not.

She is Republican, Evangelical, Christianist, and Liberty University educated. She married at 22 followed in short order by 2 kids. She lived in the suburbs when we met and now lives in a rural area outside of a very small town. She is homophobic, anti-abortion, and a Tea Party sympathizer. She loves Sarah Palin. She thinks Barack Obama is an over-educated socialist who is trying to ruin America.

I am a Democrat, a skeptical Catholic, never been married and with no kids. I live in the city and can't imagine living in a small town. I have gay friends and gay relatives and I am pro-gay marriage. I am pro-choice. I think Sarah Palin is an uneducated extremist who is trying to ruin America (to say the least). I voted for and continue to support Obama.

There is no reason that we should be friends. But we listen to each other. We talk, civilly, about the things we disagree about but it doesn't dominate our friendship. We respect each others' viewpoints, even when we think it is the craziest thing we've ever heard. I think I have become a better, more intellectually well-rounded person because I know her. I am less quick to judge and more open to hearing new ideas. I challenge my own beliefs more and I am better at examining view points I oppose.

We should all have an anti-me.