Recently, I had a long conversation with my mother about friendship. I’m not even sure how we got talking about that but the conversation got me thinking. As I considered the conversation, I started to think about how my students and how they have met their friends. Here, the answer is obvious. They met their friends in classes, through their parents, in clubs and sports. In fact, they spend a lot of time with their friends, which could make their initial friendships deeper and stronger. Looking back to my youth, I experienced the exact same thing.
What about as an adult? I have definitely made friends from work. In fact, some of my closest friends now are people I have worked with. Beyond that, I have met people through various political activities and through other people. Yet, when I think about friendships, I often turn to fandom. How many people have I met through fandom? Countless. You might think that I’m exaggerating but I don’t think I am, especially if I consider online friendships. While I have not met every Duranie I know in person, I have met a bunch of people through this fan community. In fact, I would say that the people I have met keeps me here when I might not have otherwise. It is great fun to go to events and know that you will run into people you know.
This makes me wonder about why friendship within fandom seems so unique. When I compare my friendships from fandom to other friendships, there is something different there. For one thing, real life friendships seems to take longer. There is a lot more surface conversation or small talk with real life friends. It feels to me that it takes a long time to develop real trust with colleagues, for example. Yet, I don’t sense that as much from fans. There does not seem to have as much small talk with fan friendships. I might even go so far as to say that I think there is more chances for equal trust. Take my friendship with Rhonda. I didn’t know much about her when I met her for the first time and we hit it off right away. In fact, we decided to go to a show together and share a hotel room right after having met in person only once. How did I know that I could trust her? I don’t know. I just did.
Does this immediate connection and trust happen because you share the same passion? The same love for a band? Maybe. It is almost like being members of this exclusive club means that we understand each other deep at the core. We understand something that doesn’t need to be described but something that defines us in a way.
Then, I wonder what happens when that passion does not remain. What happens when friends leave the fandom? Does the friendship remain? I wonder. I have friends who have left the fandom. Am I still friends with them? Yes, I am, but it doesn’t feel the same. Why the heck is that? I don’t have a good answer for this. Could it be that it feels like a rejection of that something that lies at the core of your being or is it a matter of lack of having something in common? I don’t know.
What do the rest of you think? Does fandom breed quicker, closer friendships? Then, if it does, can those friendships last in the same way if one of the people leave the fandom and the other doesn’t? If not, why not? What’s the deal there?