What Do You Bond Over?

Turn Around Bright Eyes - by Rob Sheffield

Turn Around Bright Eyes – by Rob Sheffield

I am currently reading Rob Sheffield’s latest book, Turn Around Bright Eyes: the Rituals of Love and Karaoke. Mr. Sheffield’s two true loves are music and women. This is his third best-selling memoir on the same two subjects, and I hope he writes more of them. Now when I say “women,” you are probably thinking he’s a womanizer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read ‘em and see!

The author is a long-time writer for Rolling Stone magazine, a non-musician and a major music geek. The theme of each book is essentially the same: how he has made deep connections with people over music. This is something I fully relate to.

My two true loves are music and men. Just kidding! Actually, music and books. Growing up, books were always a private affair and I never expected to discuss them with anyone. Since becoming a librarian, I get my fill of literary conversations at work. However, Rom is an avid reader with a big book collection and I get a daily synopsis of what he’s reading (usually a mix of philosophy and music books). And I always keep him up to date on what I’m reading too –  novels and graphic novels these days.

But our main shared interest is music and we bond over it daily. Telling each other about a new band we heard, or crowing about who’s got a new album out this week, or discovering one of our favourite bands is playing locally, or mourning that another favourite is playing in London and we’re not there, or feeling sad that a band has broken up, or spending a whole evening listening to alternative hip hop or No Wave…there is not a day that we don’t share music news or listen to music together or share music memories.

The rest of my hobbies, I am not concerned about whether I share them. Exercise? No. Art? No. Counting things? Definitely not. But sharing music: that is powerful. I’d almost say it’s non-negotiable.

Maybe other people feel this way about food?

Which of your interests are must-shares?


  1. I think my must-shares are politics and social issues. When we first got married, my husband had just converted to a new religion and it changed all of his views. It was a hard many years while he was still religious. Now he is not religious, and our views are more similar than ever. It’s definitely helping our relationship! Otherwise, we do spend a lot of time talking about food, but less about types and more about health-related issues (like organic v. conventional, GMO’s, etc.). One thing that is dear to me, animals, is not a shared interest, and I have to admit that it can be hard at times. We tend to bond daily too over our trials and tribulations in parenthood. I’m so happy to have a partner who shares my frustrations about the situation. Commiserating together helps–it would be hard if either of us was super stoked about parenting lol!

    • Politics and religion are key, aren’t they? I don’t know how couples do it, who hold opposite beliefs. We are both quite didactic and like teaching each other about whatever we are reading and learning about ourselves.

  2. todadwithlove

    You have a wonderfully enviable relationship with Rom. I like to share about movies and occasionally about books and (with friends) current affairs although they tend to become too depressing or infuriating.

  3. Books and movies definitely. When I had a full to overflowing bookcase friends and even my son’s girlfriend would borrow from me. We have conversations about the latest book we just read and offers of sharing the one being read now. Music is much the same. In my house there was always music on instead of the TV and I have friends and my children who will drop off a new CD for me to listen to. One thing I miss about my boys being out on their own is that I no longer hear the guitar being played or have them come to me to play a song they taught themselves to see if I recognize which one it is.

  4. That really is a wonderful thing to have a joint passion in a relationship. I’d have to say my husband and I have separate major hobbies – bushwalking for me, team sports for him – but we bonded initially over our shared work obsessions (we met while teaching at the same school.) We’ve always had that intense interest in education issues together. It extends to a strong shared interest in politics and the same religious background. It would be wonderful though to have shared hobbies as well. You and Rom do have an enviable relationship with such a wonderful shared passion in music.

    • Thanks, Fiona. I am glad we have that interest, but in the long run, I think it’s more important to have similar values or a “frame of reference.” We do have some very separate interests as well (fitness, Magic the Gathering…)

  5. We talk about anything and everything all the time we are together. Our major passion that we share is Art and gardens and just pottering, seeing new places, experiencing new things. When the girls are around they join in too and their partners are learning to do the same when they are with us!

  6. What a good question! I love books but don’t share much about them (historical romances are pretty much all the same unless I find someone to chat with about the exquisite literary skills of particular writers…Julia Quinn in particular). And I love music but don’t find sharing this very common among my friends. I guess food it will be–I love baking for people!

  7. Very interesting indeed. The BF and I do have different political beliefs, and my religious beliefs vs his lack of active beliefs (but a clear respect, mostly). Sometimes, I do wonder ‘will it work’, cause we also don’t share hobbies. Then I consider it somewhat immaterial too – we support one another, and learn from one another, even though we don’t bond over a hobby. (Or maybe we’re destined for failure?!)

    I suppose my passions wax and wane – or my hobbies. There’s
    water polo: where I was heavily involved in the committee, to now just being a player,
    general fitness: from walking wherever, to a 6 day a week plan of running/stretching and eating healthily Church: from being a non-attendee to weekly attendance and volunteering for all rosters,
    Emergency services: from starting with them, having a few year’s hiatus, and returning to them – this week I was there twice!
    Zero waste: from it not being a consideration, to shopping at a coop, BYO containers and bags.
    None of these things interest the BF, but he does ask and listen to my interest.

    Then there’s travel, but whilst that interests a lot of people, it’s really not in the same ballpark.

    Interesting, time will tell!

    • Hi Sarah, you are really asking the big questions! I hadn’t really thought of it, but there’s the “shared values” compatibility, the “shared interests” compatibility, and then there is day-to-day getting along and communicating and supporting each other. You are right, it is the last one that’s non-negotiable! The rest is up to the two of you and how important it feels over time to do things together and have the same beliefs.

  8. Personal thoughts here – bit similar to Sarah’s. Our partnership/ marriage has lasted 52yrs so there’s hope for her lol
    I think the longer you are together the more ‘ getting along communicating and supporting’ become more important than whether you share interests. It definitely helps but if we all liked and were involved in the same things life (for us) would be quite humdrum. It works for some couples to be ‘joined at the hip’ for us having an interest in the others interests but not actively taking part is the way to go.
    But then there’s Travel – that’s a different kettle of fish altogether lol
    Take care

  9. I just refreshed this page to see your response to my comment and my comment has disappeared! So it may be lost to cyberspace or I may now be dreaming of leaving comments . . 🙂 I’m glad you and Rom have such a great relationship and bond over music. I love hearing relationship insights 🙂

    I don’t think my husband and I have very strong shared interests. His top interests are video games, comedy, and cars, while mine are eating/cooking, reading, and going green. But I have a slight interest in video games, so we’ll play together every once in a while and we have a great time. He knows what tickles my funny bone and introduces me to new comedians and comedic movies, which I love. Another time, I roped him into attending a Blue Man Group show with me. He was reluctant but it ended up being one of the best experiences we’ve ever had. Of course, some things don’t go very well but you never know until you try, right? But in the end, we love each other, enjoy spending time together and helping each other, and share many of the same values. And hopefully those all things will help us enjoy many more years together 🙂

  10. EcoCatLady

    You know… I think that what I bond around tends to differ depending on who I’m bonding with. I’ve always been a bit of a chameleon. At first I thought that was a bad trait… like I was sycophantic of something, but I’ve come to see it differently. There are just so many things to do in life and so many different directions one can go. I don’t tend to come into things with a pre-set direction – I just get excited by the excitement of the people around me. Well… except for hockey and cars… I really hate hockey and cars. 🙂

    • Ha ha! I tend not to get swept away by other people’s activities – I guess I’m afraid I won’t have enough time for my own! I’m sure I have missed out by doing that, though.

  11. Books, movies, vintage, art and coffee….

  12. Originally we bonded over work issues – we were work colleagues, then friends, before we even had any sort of relationship – it was laughable to even think we could be more than that in the beginning given the age difference! But life and relationships can take funny turns occasionally. We have so much in common and want exactly the same things in life,…….it also helps that we both love sport! 🙂

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