Do you ever read a book and feel the author is your friend?
This can be especially true if the book includes self-disclosure, as in a memoir styled account. After reading this type of book, I wish I could sit down and talk with the work’s creator: asking questions, sharing observations, and nurturing the budding relationship that germinated as a result of his or her words.
If I happen to see the author in public, I flash my best smile and wave enthusiastically. I have an impulse to run up and say “hi,” offer a handshake, or even give a hug. To me, I am reconnecting with a valued friend; to them, a stranger is accosting them—or a stalker, attacking.
The problem is our relationship is one-sided. I know the author, but he or she doesn’t know a thing about me—or that I even exist.
This also happens with public speaking. Audience members connect with the speaker, forming an emotional connection, but that is again one way.
While I am usually on the admiring side of these situations, in a few instances I have been on the admired side. It’s disconcerting, and I’m often taken aback. Since it happens infrequently, I’m still learning how to best respond, but I want to respond well. My fans are precious, and I want to respect and honor them. And who knows, a two-way friendship may emerge.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.