Hi and welcome to CausePods, I’m your host, Mathew Passy. Here at CausePods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or their taking on global issues.
Please visit us at CausePods.org where you can learn about our guests, show their favorite charitable cause. Join our Facebook group of resources for CausePods podcasters and find a link where you yourself could be a guest here on CausePods. Again, that’s all at CausePods.org.
All right, folks are going to take you out to Boulder, Colorado, where apparently the odor of manure in the air will indicate that it’s probably going to snow for our friends out there tomorrow.
Speaking with Fawn and Matt Anderson, the host of Our Friendly World with Fawn and Matt Podcast’s, all about pursuing social, racial and economic justice through the art of friendship. Fawn and Matt, thank you for joining us here on CausePods.
Hey. Hey. Hi, Mathew. Thank you for having us. Hello. And yeah, it does smell like manure right now. When we first moved here, we just thought, oh, wow, that’s just our neighborhood. But we couldn’t get away from it. And so a couple of years later or three years in, we were like, what is going on? Why is that manure smell following us? Is it us? What is happening?
And then we were told by people, oh, yeah, that means it’s going to rain within 24 hours. No, I’m sorry. Not not rain. Snow. And we didn’t really believe it, but snow after snow, there always was that manure sent in the air.
So does it go away in the summer when it doesn’t snow there?
Yeah, we don’t. Well, I want to say yes.
Well, no matter what folks do, you’ve learned something new here tonight. So talk to us about our friendly world. You are looking for social, racial and economic justice. Obviously a big theme that we are dealing with in the world today. And you want to do it through the art of friendship. So take us to the beginning. Why is this your cause? What drives you to want to work on this?
Well, really deep. What we focus on eliminating is the loneliness epidemic and we try to be really positive and happy. So we rarely use the word loneliness or epidemic or. Yeah, epidemic, epidemic, pandemic. And, you know, by now everyone is aware of all the stats, like if you’re alone, it causes Alzheimer’s, heart disease. I mean, there’s so many scary things out there. That’s not what we’re focusing on. What we’re focusing on is actually how to bring.
Friendliness about in the world on all levels and make it just make it happen, right, honey? No, no, no, absolutely.
If you think about it, you know, we’re kind of in that eight year old mentality of, hey, let’s play.
And we talk on our podcast from everything from martial arts to food to basically all of life. And it all revolves around the art of friendship and how we can come back together because we believe that really we are not alone. It may seem like we are all alone and may appear that things look bad and were lonely. But what we’re trying to focus on is the fact that we are all interconnected and that we are all one. OK, so I’m a documentary photographer.
Matt is a computer programmer, and for me I’m an immigrant. And so I always noticed the differences between the family I was raised in and the culture that I grew up in. And I felt like I was an outcast, both of these worlds. So I did feel that loneliness. And I felt I felt all the things from both sides. I felt my family feeling alone because they couldn’t assimilate to the culture. And then I also felt the loneliness that was happening.
And this was decades ago, um, within families. And I noticed how families treated each other from the very beginning. So as soon as someone is born. The kind of language that was used in families really, really struck me being an immigrant, you know, we we term you tend to stick together and you don’t tell your child, oh, when you’re 18, you’re out of here. A kid, they had a lease in their lease, was up at age 18.
And I just felt like, wow, that definitely creates a divide right there, that you’re not really this is not your home and you have to be out at a certain time. And so I just noticed all these things. And as a documentary photographer, I traveled around the world photographing, documenting different tribes, different cultures. And every time I came back, I noticed how things were so different here, how how differently we treat each other in other countries, friends, our family and the other way around, you know, and every time I came here, I just felt there was such distance and it’s normal for us.
And when you go outside of our borders, when you explore other cultures, you see how other people treat each other. And so anyway, that’s growing up. That’s what I was noticing. And then when I was working as a photographer, it just became more and more a huge deal for me. So I started to take notes. And then years later, I was always trying to escape L.A. I grew up in L.A. and like like a crazy magnet.
I was getting pulled back every time. And the last time I ended up getting sucked back to L.A., I decided to give up and I ended up living in a place called Santa Monica, California. So here I was back in Santa Monica. I grew up around Santa Monica and it turned out that this was a mentor of mine, that growing up, it was like an entity that looked out for me. And every time I was there, I was getting some information about how people behave about our culture.
Just it’s kind of metaphysical in a way. But I was getting insight into things. And so years later, when I ended up moving back to L.A., moved to Santa Monica, there was this 13 year bubble that I was in. And within this neighborhood, I that’s when the whole friendship thing came about every single day, there was this amazing story that would transform me and teach me about true friendship. And at the end of the 13 years we moved away and those teachings pretty much came with us and we ended up having children.
And all those lessons are now being taught to our kids and now on our podcast. And it’s all about the art of friendship, how we treat each other, how basically coming back to that village is a real thing, having a village, a family, a you know, a tribe, a sense of belonging where there are no isms, there’s no ageism, no racism, no sexism. It’s just basically eating together, playing together, being present for one another.
And that was the inspiration when we moved away from Santa Monica, we started to notice that. Things were escalating on a really rapid level where there was this disconnect and Matt and I would make friends wherever we went, I traveled around the world and met family members that were friends. Everywhere I went, I met family. And I even have a book that I created, all the photos that I took from the different tribes, different cultures. And I made basically essentially a family photo album.
And so for me. That family has always been there, and that’s been my whole theme my entire life, I had no problems making friends, but when we moved away. Man, I started to realize, wow, we can’t make a friend to save our lives, like we can’t even we can’t even invite someone for dinner. And after a few years of this, we were like, wow, what is happening? We must have changed. And, you know, we we also became parents.
So we thought, wow, it’s probably because we’re parents now. This is probably what people are talking about. Like you change and your ideas change and maybe we don’t know how to make friends anymore. So we blamed ourselves and then we started to really look around and we started to see people don’t really hang out together. We started to notice the TV shows that are that were on TV or the movies that were really popular. They all had the theme of friendship and the the people like Sex and the City or Big Bang Theory, people were always together.
But in real life, that didn’t that wasn’t there. We were really looking and we didn’t find that. And we found it really interesting that these shows were so big. And I don’t think it was the sex that people were really attracted to. It was just the bonds of these women and the bonds of the friends and the Big Bang Theory, you know. So we started to really look at this. And one day, out of pure frustration, Matt and I were walking and we started to talk about, wow, look at this.
Like can’t seriously cannot find a friend. And out of frustration, I said, oh, my God, I thought it was hard to find the one true love. But this is ridiculous, like. It’s like dating all over again just to find a friend, and so as a joke, we said, ha ha, we should start a dating service, a platonic dating service, so you can find a best friend out there to hang out with in real life within your own zip code off of the Internet.
And we thought it was a joke, but we ended up doing it. We were getting people from all around the world signing up. And what surprised us was that a lot of young people were signing up and they had to be 18 and over. So a lot of 18, 19 year olds were signing up. And, you know, now if you look at the stats out there, there are a lot of kids out there that are really lonely.
We thought it would just be old people like in old folks homes. But it’s really not that’s not the case.
No. I mean, I got to imagine the old folks, you know, at least they’re in a community environment where they get to meet folks. It seems like, you know, once you get out of college and school, you’re into the professional workforce and, you know, maybe before you have kids and your kid’s parents become your friends. Right. Who is supposed to be your friend, right.
You don’t necessarily want to. Make friends with your coworkers or sometimes your coworkers just really aren’t the kinds of people who you want to spend time with. But now, admittedly, I would say even myself, I’ve struggled to make new friends in this age bracket.
And what we’re seeing now are not only TV shows being giving a surrogate friendships, but we’re also seeing social media services giving us this just enough of the connection to others. But then Facebook does it in the terrible way of everyone shows themselves living their best lives. And that makes you feel bad, too.
And I mean, I think earlier, you know, you were sort of talking about this sense of camaraderie. And I think with the last 20 years of really, you know, we’ve been divided. Right. Everything is about what separates us all. One of our differences. And when really when you get down to this so much more that unites us than divides us. And so I think that’s such an important message to get out there to talk about what are the things that really we have in common.
And for the most part, those things are pretty universal and limitless, totally universal.
So what we talk about on our podcast is ways, specific ways on how we can converse together, even if you have radically different ideas like Matt and I are always fighting on the show and in a good way. I mean, there was one show when Matt walked off here and I forced him to come back on. But what we do is we don’t we don’t concentrate on the loneliness thing and say, OK, people, you need to have friends, otherwise you’re messed up and you’re you’re screwed.
So what we focus on is this is friendship. This is what it is. And, you know, sometimes you think, well, what is a hero have to do with anything? But it’s all about connection. You know, sometimes we’re talking about food. It’s like, well, what does that have to do with friendship? It has everything to do with friendship. Everything in life needs to be discussed. And back in the day, you know, we used to hang out with our friends.
What would we do? We would talk about things we liked. We would eat together. We would play together. We would fight together. And I think relearning all of that is what we all are supposed to be doing right now. We need to relearn that. We need to relearn how to party together. But like people have lost the ceremony, the art of hanging out, the art of friendship, the art of compassion, you know, you don’t have to agree.
You don’t. But anyway, that’s what we talk about.
Our show is the art of commiseration, the art of, you know, honesty, the art of I mean, being honest, being present for one another and hearing each other’s pain, hearing each other’s happiness and knowing how to share re learning how to share feeling joy because someone around you had something really awesome happen to them.
And, um, and, you know, so we share very personal things as examples of this is how we do it. Folks remember, you know, like, oh, when we’re having a really bad time, we’re very open with our audience. And it’s an example of this is how we should communicate. You know, it’s not we’re not picture perfect and life is not always picture perfect.
I’m curious, you said you were a documentary filmmaker, still photographer.
So what made you want to do this in podcasting form versus any other form of media that might have been a little bit more natural to you or, you know, that you were more accustomed to? Is it is it partially because we as listeners tend to think of podcast that we listen to as our friends?
There’s a huge list. One is I think there’s so much coming at us that there’s too much input, there is too much sound, there’s too much visual stimulation, there is so many multitasking, there’s so much going on. I think that everyone’s capacity is at the fullest overload. It’s on overload. And so just to have a voice to listen to or to or to sorry, honey, you know, it’s just calm. What we may be talking about may not be calm, but just to have a tone that is just there for someone like a heartbeat.
Is what is really attracting us to podcasting. We had the dating service, right, so we put that on hold and I can’t tell you how the podcast started. It was just really it felt like overnight. And all of a sudden this was the path. This was the way. And our listenership has been growing and we have had such phenomenal response. Like people are so thankful for us sharing our misery and our also our happiness. You know, it’s it’s a bond.
And I can’t imagine any other way like this. This has just been the way. What do you think, man?
So for me, it kind of organically grew out of conversations that I just had with my wife about everything from, you know, martial arts to what’s going on with the world to social media to fill in whatever blanks you want.
I mean, we actually we record you our viewers can never see us. But, you know, at this point in time, you can Mathew this is our kitchen. This is where we do our recording from. You know, we you know, it’s it’s we call it kitchen table talk. We’re we’re just we’re having a conversation and we’re inviting the listener to, you know, listen, basically as we go through as we discuss ever topic, we’re choosing to discuss that week.
And Matt usually doesn’t usually has no idea what we’re going to talk about. Like we turn on the mics. I’m like, all right, you ready?
He’s like, okay, now there’s so much fighting. Well, no, no, the fighting is big. White man’s the devil. And he’s he plays devil’s advocate is what it is sometimes. And sometimes I believe it.
He just he just wants to disagree and, like, have a completely different perspective from what I’m throwing out there. So that’s why we fight.
Well, I mean, honestly, I think, you know, people just organically have different kind of points of view. So, you know, even if you can 100 percent agree about a subject, you don’t agree 100 percent on how you got there or what a solution is or I think our disagreements grow very organically from that.
I mean, a lot of our conversations are what the heck is happening, what’s up with this and really discussing what’s going on in the world and trying to figure things out. And we feel like, well, with our friends, too, when we speak with each other, it feels like the more we talk, the more the closer we are to figuring things out and helping things in the world. You know, I don’t know. It feels like when we come together and we discuss things together.
It just makes things better, doesn’t it? I think so, yeah. So what has been the biggest as a consequence that makes it sound like a negative, but really like what has been the response to the show? What has been some of the things that have come about because of you doing this show?
I am surprised by the comments that I get from people like thank you for bringing up what you brought up. I had no idea I was carrying that weight until I listened to you guys. I had no idea that what you brought up from kindergarten is something I’ve also been carrying. You know, we go through life. It’s so busy that so much comes at us that we don’t even realize the impact it’s created on us or the heavy burden it’s creating.
But when someone says, hey, what’s up with this? Have you guys noticed this? It makes you realize I’m not alone. Like someone else is obviously feeling the same way. I’m not alone. So that’s been one of the great things that I’ve realized because I thought, you know, much like when we thought it must be us, like maybe we forgot how to make friends. And then we looked around, we realized, no, there are so many people that are alone, like, look at that.
It’s the same like it’s the same thing. Yes. No, no, no. Absolutely.
You know, I think we we as a society were growing more and more distant. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens when we all emerge from our pods after this covid thing. Knock on wood finally end. If we even are able to really connect with people that we aren’t forced to work with, we aren’t forced to be around. You know, it’ll be it’ll be a very interesting place.
And by the way, this loneliness epidemic, you know, it’s really interesting that people are now talking loneliness because before when we were speaking about the whole issue, we would get such what’s the word for it?
That vitriol, hatred, hatred, but like denial, denial, denial.
Like people would get so offended when I would make this statement. This is how I would say it. Hey, Jim, have you noticed our society’s become a little bit disconnected? People don’t seem to be hanging out as much anymore together. Like for real, like in real life.
And all of a sudden Jim starts yelling at me about what are you talking about? I have plenty of friends. And I’m like, Jim, I wasn’t talking about you. You know, like people get so defensive, but now everyone’s saying, yeah, I’m feeling lonely and it’s because of the pandemic. But honestly, this has been in the works for decades.
Well, and I think part of that has been social media, where we think we are more connected because we have access to more people. But it probably has, you know, in a way, isolated us from each other a little bit more. It definitely has, I mean. How often do. I mean, now everyone wants to but be real. How often did people actually have dinner together? In this country, right, Thanksgiving, Christmas, yeah, you ask people only get together or used to get together for major occasions and then those occasions were fraught with peril because we weren’t used to being together.
Right. So when you come together, then you have trouble with Uncle John or Aunt Sally because you’re not used to debating, you’re not used to having differences. So it’s hard and you end up treading, coming together. So it’s either for Thanksgiving funerals, Christmas weddings, and it’s not always easy. It’s not always, like, happy go lucky. It’s not a you know, like what we’re trying to create is and this is one of the reasons why we record at our kitchen table is we’re trying to bring back that togetherness.
And we’re not talking about loneliness. We’re just talking about friendship. And guys, we’re here for you every week. We we never there’s no lapse. We have a new episode every single week, no matter what. And we’re here for you and we’re starting a circle of friendship. And this is it. So we will learn we will really learn how to be together again, how to eat together. Had a commune. Yes. How to be a good host, how to be a good guest, how to, you know, communicate, really, which is the key to everything.
And a lot of it is through the martial arts. Like we we we talk about Aikido and we talk about what it means to be a good host in the world. The world is your home. So when you’re walking out there and you’re traveling down the sidewalk and you meet a stranger, that stranger is a guest in your home. So you treat them like an honored guest. And when we all do that, things will be so much better.
I’m wondering if, like so many things being driven apart by the pandemic, sometimes it’s really the worst that could happen that allows us to bring out the best.
And I think being forced to truly be isolated might kind of force us to come together in a way that we might not have otherwise.
So as part of your appearance here on CausePods, everybody gets a chance to talk about a charity that is important to them. And you mentioned during the show how, you know, coming together over food and around the kitchen table.
And obviously food is one of the most important things, part of our relationships as part of our community. But you want to talk about Feeding America and you have a very specific reason why you think this is such a valuable organization to support. You want to tell us what that’s all about?
So Feeding America takes your donations and they feed just a gobs of people because, you know, they’re able to get basically the food for free. And the your donation actually goes to getting the food to the people who need it. There’s a lot of hurt going on in America and there’s a lot of people who are not, you know, who aren’t eating and feeding. America brings that point home and they and they make your dollars really stretch. And and also, the other thing the super nice about this particular charity is when you donate, they’re very, very thankful.
It doesn’t matter how much or how little. And they make you feel like you’re belonging to, you know, the bigger community of America.
You can actually see the difference that you’re making. So you think, oh, well, my measly hundred dollars isn’t going to do much. But then they showed us what one hundred dollars can do. So we’re like, wow, really? So we wanted to do more and more because you feel uplifted, you feel like I can make a difference. It is making a difference. So you feel you feel propelled like I can do it. We can do it, we can do it together.
It is hopeful. Wow. It’s actually working well.
And of course, if you are interested in having that kind of real impact on others, you can go to Feeding America, dawg. We’ll put a link to Feeding America in the show notes, as always, by the way, a link to our friendly world with Fawn and Matt link to their website, A Friendly World to Our Friendly World Dotcom, their podcast, website, our friendly world podcast, dotcom links to them on Apple, Google, Spotify, all the usual spots.
So find them out before I let you go.
What is the biggest takeaway or lesson you have learned from creating a podcast that you would want to share with somebody else who has a cause, has a passion, wants to make a positive impact in the world and thinks this is the right medium to do it? You know, what advice or guidance would you give them so that they can have a little bit more success moving forward?
When is it’s actually really simple to do. I think podcasting is the new blogging and people need to hear that heartbeat, you know, much like a baby growing in utero. It’s that heartbeat. And to hear each other’s voices is incredibly powerful, and it’s easy, you reach the entire world. For me, it’s don’t overthink it, be authentic. And, you know, make sure you actually really feel passionate about the subject matter that you want your podcast to go into, because this is going to be a topic you’re going to be discussing for a very long time.
And if you don’t feel passionate about it and if you’re not authentic, your authentic self presenting it, people can smell that, people know that and people tune out.
There’s so many folks who are telling people, oh, you have to have a podcast so everybody should have a podcast. And it creates this sense of FAMO and then forces people to say, I really want to podcast. I just don’t know what to do it about.
And I’d much rather hear folks say I’m really passionate about X. And the best way for me to talk about X to express my feelings about X is through the podcast format. So I think that was actually fantastic advice.
We’ve been chatting with Forn and Matt Anderson, the hosts of Our Friendly World with Forn and Matt, learn more about them and our friendly WorldCom links to them, their podcast and everything else in the show notes a CausePods.org Fotomat. Thank you for joining us here on CausePods. And stay warm and safe tomorrow with your pending snow tomorrow.
Thanks, Mathew. If anyone needs to talk to us, we are here. If you need a circle of friends, we got you.
Thanks for listening to this episode of CausePods. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or at CausePods.org.
There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here. In this episode. You will also find a CausePods.org boet to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, How to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause.
And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends, a pod page. But you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for CausePods. And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Killoy of the Military Veteran Dad podcast and what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast.
Consulted Dotcom once again.
If you want to learn more, go to CausePods.org. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on CausePods.