Friends of a different nature

Dear Luna,
I have been wondering if you know of any ghosts are potential friends at Hogwarts. I know that you were friends with the grey lady you see. I have met ghosts but I simply do not know how to go about making friends, I am not very good with the living either.
I also have a question for you: How would you go about accepting others ideas?
Please answer back!
A curious Hufflepuff

Dear Curious Hufflepuff,

Much like with living people, some ghosts make better friends than others. My acquaintance with the Grey Lady wasn’t what you’d consider a typical friendship, and not simply because we live on opposing sides of the Veil, as it were. However, I recognized that the Grey Lady was lonely–knowing something of loneliness myself–and I wanted to offer her something that she hadn’t had in a long time: a listening ear. I was quite content to listen to her stories, her complaints, and–eventually–her observations of the ghostly realm, and of any regrets she might have had about joining it.

Whether or not people are lonely, I’ve noticed that they usually have one thing in common: they quite like to talk about themselves. Asking people about themselves is a good start to making friends–it shows you’re curious and interested enough in making the effort to get to know a person, which is flattering for the person on the receiving end of that effort. (But don’t ever feign interest! People can often tell when you’re just humoring them.)

As far as accepting others’ ideas, that can be a tricky business. When it comes to learning to accept others’ belief systems–like a religion, for example–it’s best to think about how you would feel if someone rejected your closely-held beliefs. You wouldn’t feel very pleased, would you? It would probably make you angry and defensive and even doubtful, which can be a scary feeling. You wouldn’t want someone to make you feel that way, so why would you want to make someone else feel angry or scared? Besides, their belief system might have something to teach you, even if you go home and acknowledge a different higher power or ideal at the end of the day.

Of course, there are some beliefs that support the cruel treatment of others, or the denial of basic respect and justice. You are never required to accept or respect a belief that causes true harm to others. No matter who or what we do or don’t believe in, common human dignity and decency should always be valued and practiced.

Above all, show love and seek understanding.