Friendship through Fantasy: Rekindling old Connections | Panion
Johnny holding d20 dice.

Friendship through Fantasy: Rekindling old Connections

When I landed in NYC, I couldn’t help but throw myself a bit of a pity party. I was unemployed and had just left my partner behind. I was moving back to my childhood home for an indefinite amount of time while awaiting my residence permit in Sweden. To top things off, even though I was coming “home,” most of my childhood friends had either drifted or moved away.

Gone were the days of riding over the hill to a friend’s house to play video games; I could no longer just call anyone up for a spur of the moment hangout session. Almost everyone had their own lives to deal with which no longer included me. It doesn't help that keeping up with friends can feel like a full-time job.

This wasn’t how I imagined life at thirty years of age. As I started my first weary winter in Upstate New York in almost a decade, I was feeling down and lonely… yet thankfully, there was still Nick.

Nick was one of my best friends growing up — having bonded over our life-threatening food allergies and our passion for all things geeky. He was a bit of a ringleader and I was always game to follow. That’s why I was curious to join when Nick introduced me to the legendary tabletop game, Dungeons & Dragons.

 

A DnD character sheet.
My character sheet for this winter's campaign.


At the beginning, I was completely lost. Every time it was my turn I had to ask for help. I imagined it must’ve seemed annoying, but thankfully the people I played with were beyond patient. In fact, the game helped us form an almost instant bond of camaraderie, and as my loneliness began to fade I was left longing for more.

Over the next six months, we continued to meet around Nick’s kitchen table, living out a fantasy world I was only still discovering. As the game went on, I came to realize, these were some of the best moments of my life. In fact, looking back, I also learned a number of things along the way:

We were friends for a reason
I realized that just because you’ve fallen out of touch, doesn’t mean a friendship can’t be rekindled. Nick and I had probably seen each other only a handful of times since I’d moved away six years ago. So it came as a shock when he convinced his group to abandon their current quest and to start anew, just to include me. It was then that I realized that true friends find immeasurable pleasure in being in each other’s company, and that they will go out of their way to include you. I will always be thankful for rediscovering a friend like Nick.

There is strength in numbers


We all came to each session ready to contribute whether it was a delicious snack, a fun story, or a solution to someone’s problem. A golden rule of Dungeons & Dragons is don’t split the party. In other words: don’t go it alone. The game is set up to encourage character diversity, but also specialization, which in turn promotes collaboration. In other words, no one character can make it from start to finish without the help of another. As we built a friendship both inside and outside the game, I felt more secure knowing I was no longer alone.

I realized that just because you’ve fallen out of touch, doesn’t mean a friendship can’t be rekindled. Nick and I had probably seen each other only a handful of times since I’d moved away six years ago. So it came as a shock when he convinced his group to abandon their current quest and to start anew, just to include me. It was then that I realized that true friends find immeasurable pleasure in being in each other’s company, and that they will go out of their way to include you. I will always be thankful for rediscovering a friend like Nick.

 

Two kids playing ping pong.
Nick and I in a pre-Dungeons & Dragon's days.


What I discovered 


You don’t need a fantasy game to keep from feeling lonely. The key is to pursue an interest that you can share with other people. Through a common hobby you can create and cultivate relationships, whether they’re with an old friend or someone you’ve just only met. And if you find yourself alone, explore your interests a bit deeper as they too can keep you company.

Johnny Chestnut
Johnny Chestnut
Johnny is a marketing coordinator at Panion. Originally from the US, he now lives in Malmö, Sweden with his cat and his partner. His current mission is to discover the best kebab pizza in the city.