Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Strangers can be friends...

Yesterday morning I was interviewed by Steven Acevedo on his radio show. The interview was a 10-question discussion about my new book, but I think we spent more time talking about the music of Electric Light Orchestra than we did about books.

 

Steven and his co-host share the same amount of love for ELO as I do, and when you get 3 ELO fans on the phone together, automatically we didn’t feel like strangers to each other. Sharing the love of anyone’s art (whether it be Star Wars fans, Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, Stephen King fans … heck, even Twilight fans) seems to be one of the quickest ways to break down barriers between people. Maybe because you immediately realize that you don’t need to rely on small talk to “get to know the person.” It’s an instantaneous connection.

 

I have had many different kinds of friends in my life, and especially after becoming a military spouse and moving around the world, and having other people come in and out of my life through the military, I find that the lasting friendships that I have kept with anyone longer than just the time that I am in the same place as them, are people who share something specifically in common with me. Looking back, I now realize that I had an instant friendship with most of those people, and they weren’t people who I had to “grow to like.”

 

I try to get along with everyone I meet, but it’s effortless when I meet people like Steven Acevedo (even if it was just 20 minutes on a non-video Skype call for a radio show) who share the same passion as I do about something. I like to think that my 5 favorite things in life (notice I said “things,” not “people” so that’s why my family and friends are not on this list) are: music, movies, books, professional football, and roller coasters. Put me in front of a stranger that share the same passion as I do about any of these 5 things, and I will talk to you for hours, and when we walk away from each other, I may not have even gotten your last name or what you do for a living. Make me sit across from someone who doesn’t like the same music I do, hasn’t seen some of my favorite movies, thinks reading books is for losers, hates football, and is scared of roller coasters… it’s going to be a pretty boring conversation.

 

I’m not saying that I can’t or won’t talk to people who aren’t like me, but what I’ve realized is how easy it’s for me to talk to complete strangers if I can just find that one common bond. And this morning it was my love for the band Electric Light Orchestra that made a 20 minute interview less like a bunch of questions, and more like I was chatting with a longtime friend.

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