Facts are facts; I’m only friends with people who love podcasts. It’s not intentional of course. There are likely plenty of lovely people out there who don’t enjoy podcasts or have never heard of podcasts and surely they’d make great friends but I just don’t know any. Don’t believe me? Well I’ve got references.
When I started a new job a few months ago there was an overwhelming amount of people to interact with. What is it that makes you gravitate towards a group of people in the cafeteria or break room? For me, I look for the ones with headphones on, smiling and giggling quietly to themselves. Or perhaps they look like they’re in mega-concentration mode as if they’re trying to solve a murder or understand a complicated trade embargo. Those are my people. Maybe it’s a sixth sense I’ve developed because when I strike up a conversation with those people later, or seed out some GIFs of Jason Mantzoukas in our work chat… that’s when the magic happens.
It may take a bit to align on a common podcast. It’s not 2008 anymore when on the off-chance I met someone who also listened to podcasts it was almost guaranteed we both had This American Life and Stuff You Should Know queued up. But when you do land on a podcast or genre you both listen to - that’s when the magic happens.
“Do you listen to any actual-play RPG podcasts? You HAVE to check out Queens of Adventure - Drag Queens playing D&D, there is nothing better than that!”
“Have you heard of Why Won’t You Date Me? Oh my gosh, when Nicole Byer had Jameela Jamil as a guest and they got REAL!”
Nicole Byer spends 45 mins a week in my head being hilarious and vulnerable. If I meet anyone else who has shared those 45 mins you better believe we are bonded on a mental and spiritual level. It’s an instant connection that is more personal than having watched the same movie or even growing up in the same state. Podcast can create a lasting emotional link between the host, guests and the listener and while it may seem that podcast listening is a solitary activity all you have to do is breach the topic in the real world and you can easily make a friend for life. Podcasts can accelerate that “getting to know you” time and put you straight to “it feels like we’ve known each other forever.”
Now if I’m being honest, some of my friends have been found because of podcasts. That may seem like cheating a bit but it’s really just the next evolution of using podcasts as a means to make friends.
Once a month or so I get together with the members of the Seattle Area Maximum Fun Appreciation Society. Maximum Fun is a listener supported podcast network that features comedy and culture shows. We bond over our love of Jordan, Jesse, Go!, dish about the latest The Adventure Zone and reminisce about the time Ross of Oh No! Ross and Carrie permanently hurt himself from firewalking. And we also talk movies, new jobs, family trips, board games, etc. but podcasts brought us all together and they’re what ignite our first sparks of conversation.
Back in 2017 I was putting together a panel for PodCon about diversity and inclusion in tabletop gaming and looking for some speakers to help round out the panel. PodCon was fantastic and I was able to meet so many people that were passionate about podcasts, RPGs and representation in both but what I didn’t anticipate was meeting my future best friends and collaborators on my very own podcast. In planning for the panel a group of us decided to dive off the deep end into podcasting ourselves to create d20 Dames, a storytelling podcast powered by D&D featuring an all-women cast. We announced our first episode at PodCon and released it the following week. We even made friends with someone at that same PodCon panel who would eventually become a future d20 Dames cast member. Friends through podcasts - full circle.
Okay… I have to confess something. The real secret to all my friends loving podcasts is pretty simple. Everybody listens to podcasts. And if they don’t right now they will soon enough because every minute of the day someone is spinning up a new show with a new concept and every minute of the day I’m talking about how much I love them to anyone who will listen.
Now go do your part and spread the podcast love.