So I love, love, love this story: He’s 22. She’s 81. Their Friendship is Melting Hearts.
This article from The New York Times tells the story of Spencer Sleyton and Rosalind Guttmann. There is a nearly 60 year age gap between them, but they became friends while playing the game Words with Friends on their phones. Spencer is a rapper and producer from East Harlem; Rosalind lives in Palm Beach, Florida.
The article starts with this really great line. Spencer Sleyton and his friends were sitting around one day naming their best friends. “When it was his turn, he said: ‘My best friend is an 81-year-old white woman who lives in a retirement community in Florida.'”
That was a bit of an exaggeration — maybe not best friends — but they had authentically become quite close. They were assigned to each other via the randomized game player process on Words with Friends, and then they played over 300 games. Throughout these games, they began to use the chat feature to connect, and then they shared wisdom from their lives.
Recently, Spencer Sleyton flew to Palm Beach to meet Rosalind Guttmann for the first time. Such a special experience. Two people who could have easily been strangers now have a special bond.
This is Kinship.
And it’s a reminder that just about any occasion or medium can make this possible. In this case, even a Words with Friends app!
I find myself reflecting on this in my own life and in the lives of people I hold dear. I think about how many simple occasions became entry points to build such life-giving and formative bonds. Many times, I could not have foreseen where they would go.
One common entry point in my relationships seems to be coffee shops. 🙂 I think about how many meaningful relationships started with getting coffee somewhere. I can look back on various locations and think about them with names attached. This is where I met _______. Here’s where I met ________. Now, these are the kinds of people I cannot imagine not knowing.
There have been other launching points: Returned emails; sitting next to someone at a meeting, then realizing commonalities; Facebook chats, including with people I’ve not met in person; being introduced via shared friendships; showing up for a Meetup Group event.
It always starts somewhere. It can start just about anywhere.
So what new occasions might open doors for Kinship, maybe even soon? We can look for these. We can cultivate these.
This post is part of a series this week. Feel free to check out the other pieces too: