Friendship on the Playing Field

“Meeting someone where they are” isn’t just a buzzphrase

Yi Shun Lai
4 min readMay 6, 2022


Courtney and I have delivered diversity and inclusion workshops together to organizations ranging from higher education institutions to major video-game studios. I know a lot about Courtney. We text at least four days a week, about everything from dogs to whatever our lives are throwing at us. Courtney knows a lot of my weak points and has helped me to confront some pretty strong areas of ignorance.

We also play video games together. Through them, we have been to foreign-to-us lands together. We’ve confronted some really hostile folks there, and met some fantastic people together, too, and bitched at annoying NPCs. (CL4P-TP, I hate you.)

We’ve never met in person. And this is one of our only three selfies.

Video-game avatars of Courtney and Yi Shun standing in front of a futuristic-looking machine in a field of grass with a road behind them. There is a grey lurking building in the far background and the sky is threatening.
Screencap from Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

This could be an exercise in counterfactual thinking, which I’ve previously written about. (That’s where you think about all the things it took you to arrive at this place in your life, or at this job you have, or at this friendship you’re treasuring, or really anything.)

But really, I think, for me, it’s about meeting someone where they are.

I know, I hate this phrase: it’s catchy, but it’s notoriously slippery — it ignores all of the work needed around getting to…



Yi Shun Lai

Author: A SUFFRAGISTS’S GUIDE TO THE ANTARCTIC (2024), Pin Ups (2020). Former columnist, The Writer. Psst: Say “yeeshun.” You can do it!