By Katherine Allen & Laura Kosciecha
Even though research suggests that people who have similar personalities have an increased likelihood of connecting and developing friendships, it has also been said that ‘opposites attract’. Well, in this short story of a newly forming friendship, the balance of these two approaches certainly rings true.
Mark is a self-described funny guy. His humor, outgoing personality, and love of photography are just a few of the things that contribute to his charming and friendly personality.
Stu is a gentle-spirited person who describes himself as approachable and friendly. A few of his hobbies include learning to cook, taking the bus, watching movies, and World War II history.
The Connectors recently reviewed literature to gain insight on how people develop, maintain, and choose friends. The many valuable learnings from this review, paired with our ABCD lens (learning people’s gifts, passions, and interests), catalyzed the idea to introduce Mark and Stu.
Flashback to October 2015. The setting was the cobble sidewalks of Gastown and the atmosphere was light while Mark and Stu and their Community Connectors explored the neighbourhood. A conversation emerged around interests and hobbies while Mark snapped away on his camera. Soon enough, Mark and Stu honed in on a common interest: watching movies! They don’t recall who invited who initially but it was only a matter of working out some small logistics with the help of the Connectors – location, movie time, and what movie – before Mark and Stu headed out to watch their first flick together.
Flash forward to April and the pair are setting out to see their fourth movie. They not only take turns inviting one another but also take turns choosing the movie.
We took a moment to ask both Mark and Stu some questions about their unfolding friendship:
- What has been your favorite part of getting to know Mark/Stu?
- Stu: “[Mark’s] personality – he’s helpful, friendly, approachable, talkative. He’s got a good personality. He’s fun to be with.”
- Mark: “Being around him, just the way he is… it’s hard to explain. He is a very nice guy. He laughs at my jokes!” [laughing]
- Where do you see your friendship in a year from now?
- Stu: Stu sees the two ‘probably’ planning movies on their own – choosing what to see and what time. He’s also open to the idea of planning activities other than movies – such as swimming and bowling. And, because he thinks Mark is a nice person, he can see them being closer in a year’s time.
- Mark: “Hopefully I’m still seeing him! Maybe we can plan to do some other things like Stanley Park or going to watch the hockey game.”
- What is your favorite thing about Mark/Stu?
- Stu: “He’s funny. He’s outgoing. He tells jokes. We laugh at the same things.”
- Mark: “He’s always happy and his personality. He reminds me of ME!”
- What else would you like Mark/Stu to know about you?
- Stu: “I’m funny also.” When asked if he’s told any jokes to Mark Stu said he’s “a bit shy.”
- Mark: “He knows me pretty much, and I feel like I can be myself with him. Maybe I could share with him about when I was younger. I had an interesting childhood. It’s not something I talk about with most people but I’d feel comfortable sharing that with Stu.”
- How has your friendship with Mark/Stu changed your perception of friendship and yourself?
- Stu: “[I’m] outgoing more often. Confident.” Stu identified some skills he’s learned to make new friends: talk more, travel on the bus, be calm, be a good listener, and be fair when choosing movies. Stu feels ‘pretty good’ now that he has three friends because he knows he’s not alone and that he’s wanted.
- Mark: “I feel like I’m more outgoing and comfortable meeting new people. I would like to meet more good people and continue to reach out to make more good relationships. I think both Stu’s and my eyes have been opened. I’m a good person and hopefully I’ve been a positive influence for Stu. Through my life I’ve learnt many things (some through bad experiences) but I keep it positive and I hope to share that positivity with Stu and others I meet.”
Friendship means something different to each person. For Mark and Stu, it’s having a friend to call on for a movie matinee. What will grow between Mark and Stu is unknown, as friendships often evolve over time… but the social skills around how to make a new friend is learning that lasts a lifetime and can hopefully spark many more friendships down the road for the two.