I have always been the type of person who is fond of talking about my interests. Be it certain books, movies, bands, TV shows, games, political discourses, philosophical discourses, or anything. For I simply think that talking and discussing about the things I’m into is enlightening, and we could actually brainstorm great ideas out of it as well. And it’s obviously more decent than shit- talking about other people. I’m also the type who is not afraid to initiate conversations first, so oftentimes I find myself leading conversations regarding things I like with my friends, and I have always thought that it is definitely okay. I’m fond of talking about those things with anyone, regardless of their age, gender, and orientation. The thing is I just want to be nice and friendly, and I want to have interesting conversations, and nothing more.

I realized that something is off when some guy friends of mine began getting their heads high and thinking that I’m in love with them or I’m trying to flirt with them just because I often talk about our common interests to them a lot. Little do they know that I do the same to girls, too. That when I initiate a conversation about a common interest with someone, it’s purely based on the intention to discuss about the things I love just because it’s fun to do so. I don’t look at their gender or anything when I talk about those things. Maybe it is also partly affected by the imperceptibly long-lasting culture between people in my country (Indonesia), too, where even something as normal as starting conversations about common interests could be considered inappropriate, meanwhile in other countries, for example, whenever we find a stranger wearing the merchandise of a band that we like, we could casually greet and compliment their shirt— and it is not considered as creepy or flirtatious or anything.

But in this case I also think that this is affected by heteronormativity as well. The society’s common perception that it’s not possible for women and men who interact a lot and form a close bond to not develop any romantic feelings toward each other. So that every form of approaching and bonding between women and men is automatically deemed as a form of hooking up. Meanwhile there obviously are a myriad of possibilities that some women and men who interact a lot have nothing romantic in between them; what if they have other orientations that are not heteroromantic and/or heterosexual? What if they purely just want to talk and discuss a lot because it’s cool to have a friend with similar minds? What if the attachment they have is only based on a platonic feeling because not everyone is able to feel a romantic attraction?

The thing is, exaggerating the sight of two people of a different gender talking a lot about things that are general such as common interests, is fairly obtuse. They are just talking, and it is just a conversation about things that can be accessed by everyone. And getting our heads high thinking that someone is into us just because they often initiate conversations about mutual interests first, is not the wisest thing to do. I am in a lot of fan/enthusiast communities of things that I’m into; be it pop culture, music scene, or socio-political discourses. We obviously consist of diverse backgrounds, ages, genders, and orientations, and we do regularly talk about our mutual interests a lot; have we ever considered each other hooking up? Nope. For we merely find it cool that we have comrades to talk about our interests with, and nothing more; in which it is the mindset that I wish more of us in this society had implemented more.