Proof Positive wants to thank Simon Patel – a peer mentor and friend to two autistic teenagers – for sharing his experience with us.

Friendships are important to wellbeing. They can enhance our experiences, support us through the ups and downs, and make us feel a sense of belonging. Through my experiences, I’ve learned that an important part of friendships is having shared interests. We find common ground through shared passions, which helps us understand each other better and build more meaningful friendships. The story of my friendship with Sebastian shows how our shared love for music has helped us bond. 

I met Sebastian around three years ago, and it didn’t take long to realize how much he loves music. During car rides, Sebastian would happily sing every word to each song that would play on the radio. I couldn’t believe how well he knew the lyrics! Afterward, I found out that not only does Sebastian play the bass, but he is also part of an entire band. 

Over the past three years, Sebastian and I spent a lot of time focused on music. It was an interest of mine, too, so it provided a platform for us to communicate and connect. Music’s familiar and comforting nature alleviated stress and created a safe space for Sebastian, allowing him to express himself easily. Through music, we understood each other without extensive verbal communication.

Recognizing our shared passion for music, I decided to share my knowledge of electronic music production with Sebastian. Teaching him my way of music was an incredibly rewarding experience, and it allowed us to explore our creativity together.

While music played a central role in our friendship, Sebastian and I soon discovered other interests in watching sports, like football and basketball. Having these shared interests helps both of us feel a sense of connection. Whenever I hangout with Sebastian, I can always count on some fun banter about a recent sports game or an update on the new songs he’s learning on the bass. 

Overall, shared interests bring people together and create a common ground where people can learn from each other and build lasting friendships. So as you create new friendships or strengthen existing ones, remember the power of shared interests.

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