The Atlantic

The Friends Who Listen to BTS Together Stay Together

“Fans are often prone to saying, ‘This band saved my life.’ BTS made us realize we have to save ourselves.”
Source: Wenjia Tang

Every week, The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.

This week she talks with two fans of the Korean-pop band BTS about how discovering the band rekindled their friendship when they had started to drift apart, and how the music taught them to be emotionally vulnerable.

The Friends:

Haley Samsel, 22, an editor at Security Today, who lives in Plano, Texas.
Anna Villano, 22, a nurse who lives in Plano, Texas.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Julie Beck: How did you meet?

Anna Villano: We’ve been best friends for 15 years. We were put in the same class in second grade, and we were put in an after-school program together, too. As a second grader, my process was like, I’ll make friends with the person that I’ve seen already. My initial thought, for some reason, was to ask her what her favorite animal was. My favorite animal at the time was zebras, and hers happened to be zebras too, and the rest is history.

In school, we were just attached at the hip. I remember always finding a way to be together for extracurricular activities and stuff.

Haley Samsel: Anna and I were obsessed with staying together. Anna ended up joining the high-school newspaper just because she knew I wanted to do it. [We were always like,] “We need to guarantee that we have a class together so we can survive high school.”

Beck: What were you into when you were in high school?

I think we've always had a lot of common interests. That was what brought us together, from zebras to music,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Didn’t Make the Storm, but He’s Making It Worse
The president didn’t put any of the globe’s authoritarians in office, but he’s encouraged their worst instincts.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
Trump’s Hate Makes the ‘Squad’ Stronger
The president gives his opponents media attention and enhances their influence on American life.
The Atlantic10 min read
The Friends Who All Cosplay the Same Character
“You see a lot of cliques in the cosplay community ... But what’s been nice about our friendship is that there’s never any competition.”