Monday, May 2, 2011

As you wish....


It's funny the way shared experiences can connect people and create a bond and level of familiarity that can otherwise take months or years to develop.  Often it can take quite some time to discover these commonalities.  On rare occasions it can happen seemingly overnight.

I love it when deeper connections are made almost instantly when you meet someone for the first time.  It's rare, but very precious to discover the sheer speed that you dive headlong into your friendship.  I was re-reading The Princess Bride recently - you know, the one the movie is based on... the Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Buttercup, the infamous line 'Hello. My name in Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.'  If you don't know what I'm talking about I want you to stop reading right now and get the DVD and watch it.  I'm serious.  Don't read another line on this blog, answer email, or get on facebook until you've seen it.  Anyway as I was saying.... I was re-reading the book and as I read some of my favorite lines I was struck by the many and deep instant bonds I've created with people over the years over the shared experience of The Princess Bride.  Yes I'm serious.  I have bonded with people over a shared love of this movie, and the ability to quote many, many lines from it.

Possibly the most memorable occasion was when I was spending a few months in Canada, in the middle of winter, in the countryside in Ontario.  I was in a shared living situation with people I'd just met from Australia, Canada, the Ukraine, London, the US and Korea... to name a few.  We'd been limping along with conversation since we'd arrived the day before, and were struggling through a slightly painful discussion about what DVD's to rent, as no-one wanted to offend anyone with an edge choice.  We were struggling that is, until someone suggested The Princess Bride.  There was a moments pause before at least 3 people proclaimed loudly, in unison - 'I love that movie'.  At the same time the rest of the group was divided between quoting the lines - 'As you wish....' and ' Hello.  My name in Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.'  Talk about a unifying force in the room.  It was the instant bond of a shared experience spread over many people, many childhoods,  and many miles that knit us together.  Things that seemed awkward a moment ago, were now completely irrelevant.  Offences that we were trying to avoid, were now forgotten.  People were buzzing with excitement sharing their favorite memories and scenes, and talking over the top of each other exclaiming 'me too's frequently.  I had the best time in Canada those few months.  And some of the deepest friendships I formed there were with people who I shared that 'Princess Bride' moment with.

My point is, I've noticed in the last few years that some of my deepest and fastest friendships have come from the discovery of a shared experience, and rapidly evolved as an instant bond was formed.  It's doesn't necessarily make sense when, or why this happens, or how insignificant the shared experience may seem to others on the outside.  (A recent friendship evolved over a shared love for sliding on floors... it's a long story!)  The amazing thing is the level of trust and depth that that friendship can go to quickly over this shared bond.  It's almost like a shared memory that authenticates the other persons character.

I have no significant insight to offer on why or how this happens.  Or how to even try to make it happen.  All I know is that some of the most significant friendships of my life have come from crazy shared moments of instant bonding, and I can't wait until the next one comes along!