Gaming to Make Friends

I’m an introvert. I know this a shocking admission for a person who spends her free time making game tutorials, but it’s true. When people think of the word introvert, they often think of a person sitting in their room avoiding human contact at all costs. Yes, I have stayed in more Friday nights than most, putting together puzzles. It’s true, sometimes (usually) I prefer watching movies with my cats, over watching with other human beings. I always get to pick the movie without any arguments. Then again, sometimes I do find myself wanting someone else around.

The truth is, introversion is more of a spectrum. Some introverts have very little need for human interactions. Some of us are very good at socializing, and enjoy it in moderation. One of the main traits of an introvert is how those social interactions leave us feeling. When we walk into a social gathering, it’s like someone flips one of those sand timers over and the sand starts falling. When all of that sand from the top reaches the bottom, we’re ready for social time to be over. I’m one of those introverts who enjoys socialization in moderation. I prefer small gatherings over large ones. I prefer deep conversations over small talk. Regardless of how long the social gathering is, and how fun it ends up being, I will need time to be alone after it. Even if I’m around people I like, if I don’t get my time to replenish my energy supplies, I’ll start getting cranky.

One thing I have to do at times is to force myself to get out and socialize. I tend to get a little too comfortable being by myself at times. I don’t force myself to socialize because I feel like I should be more extroverted. I have to do it because when I don’t get at least some socialization with others, I start finding myself getting down. I started feeling this recently, after moving to a new state. I had lived in other states in the past, but when I did that I either had classes to help me meet friends, or teams I was working with. Working from home makes meeting people a more difficult task. To meet people, I would have to step out of my introvert shell and go find people.

Meeting people isn’t actually hard. I could go out right now and meet every person I encounter. “Hi, I’m Becky, what’s your name?” By the end of the day, I could have met hundreds of people. Connecting with people is the hard part. As an introvert, I’m not looking for quantity in my friendships, I don’t need 100’s of friends. I’m looking for quality connections with people that matter to me. The best way I’ve found connections in the past is to put myself in a situation where I’m doing something I enjoy. The people around me, doing the same thing, have a better chance of being someone I could connect with than just any random person I encounter. With this in mind, I went online and signed up to join Meetup, which is a way to find social gatherings in your area. While looking through the events in the area, one trend I noticed was that there were a lot of game nights. I picked one that worked for me and clicked the RSVP button.

Before I knew it, it was the night of the event. I started feeling the introvert in me begging for us to just stay home, as my nervous energy grew stronger. Despite it all, I jumped in my car, and went. My nerves subsided almost immediately after entering the event, and it ended up being a fun night. I didn’t end up making any lasting connections on the first night, but I did have some good laughs and good conversations. It’s also a group that meets frequently, so there are plenty of chances to make those connections as time goes by. So what makes game nights such a great way to meet people?

Doing Something You All Enjoy

If you are going to a game night, you hopefully enjoy playing games. With that in mind, you are already finding something you have in common with the other people there. This fact starts to break the ice, and makes the fact that you are strangers a bit less intimidating.

Easier Conversations

Making conversation happen with a stranger can be difficult. What do you even start to talk about? When you are playing a game, however, there are topics of conversation right there in front of you. You can ask questions about the particular game you are playing. You can ask about other games the players like playing. If the game has a particular theme, you can ask questions based on that theme. Maybe the game is based in another country, and it sparks a conversation about places everyone in the game has traveled. During the game night that I went to, I found that conversation flowed right from the beginning. We skipped the awkwardness and moved right into laughing and enjoying ourselves. Any silences were not awkward, like they would have been if we were just talking, they were filled with strategy, which was a beautiful thing!

Recurring Events

The game nights that I found in my area are mostly recurring events. Once a month, or once a week, these people get together to just play games. The beauty of this is that you can keep going to that event and have a good chance to run into the same people. This is a good way to start forming those valuable connections.

It’s Worth a Try!

I do imagine that every game night gathering is not created equal. I’m sure there are some groups that may be more competitive than others. There are some groups that may claim they are open to new members, but then leave you feeling like they don’t really want you to be there. I have found that Meetup is a particularly good site, because it is a group where people are self-identifying as people who want to meet other people. I am yet to go to a Meetup that doesn’t make me feel welcome. If you are in a new area, or finding yourself drifting from your friendships, maybe a game night will help you connect with some cool new people.