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How do I make friends at ACen? How do I socialize and make friends without coming off as a stalker?

#31 User is offline   Keans 

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 09:51 PM

View Postskyrune83, on 24 May 2011 - 09:00 AM, said:


But wait, I thought leeching was considered stalking? And I guess I'm scared people will notice me and think "who's this creep hanging out with us?" Is this really what people would think of me, or am I still in my high school mentality of 10 years ago?


My friends from back home are kinda crazy and really outgoing. A fun bunch that has no problem makeing friends where ever they go, In constrast im pretty shy and reserved. Once my friends break the ice and start a conversation its easier for me to jump in and because we all start hanging out together we all end up becoming friends, its kinda a network play.

My only problem now is that all my friends are back in Puerto Rico so now im having a hard time makeing friends. =P Still im using my online networking skills to get connected with more people.
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#32 User is offline   Kokoro 

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 10:08 PM

View PostPerseid, on 30 May 2011 - 08:27 PM, said:

People are probably going to disagree with this, but here's something you might consider: Perhaps ACen isn't really a place to meet friends. A lot of people come from all over the midwest. I live about 3.5 hours north of the con, for example. Would you want to be friends with me knowing I live so far away? Con-buddies, sure, but real friends? Probably not.

Since you actually live in the Chicago area, surely there are anime/Japanese culture related things you could do that don't involve 20,000+ people from who knows where.


I would agree. Sometimes, while in long lines, I'll start chatting with people (because most of us get bored after awhile!), but personally I'm really busy at cons. I'm literally running from one event to the next, and any free time I have is spent eating lunch/dinner, shopping in the vendor's room, etc. It's not really "free time" at all! I don't have time to hang out/chat with random people, and frankly, I don't want to. And of course, most people come with family members or friends, and may not be that interested in finding new friends.
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#33 User is offline   skyrune83 

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 10:06 AM

Just got back from Colossalcon. I have some new food for thought...

At Colossalcon, I decided to try being more assertive with random guys I happened to be around. Well, things started off rather shaky... I competed in a video game show panel with these two other guys who looked to be friends. We won the grand prize, and we were off to grab the prizes. For whatever reason, the panelist only had two prizes for three people. The 3rd guy said I could have the prize. Well, I felt sorry for him, so I asked him for a hug to cheer him up. And he backed away. He gave the other guy a fist bump, so I tried to fist bump him too, but he just backed away from me. :(

However, I was pleased to later attend a LGBT issues panel. The panel was mainly about LGBT issues, but the best part of the panel was the beginning. The panelist, Kyo, started off by having everyone introduce themselves by stating their name, sexual preference, and why they are at the panel. For example, one guy said he was gay, it was his first con, and he said he wanted to make friends. There were several other guys who were in the same boat, but I'm terrible at remembering names! So I just decided to make it my mission to AT LEAST try to talk to this one guy after the panel. Well, like most panels, we ran short on time, everyone ran out of the room into massive crowds, and I lost track of the guy. I kinda went "emo" for a while since I couldn't find him, but eventually I did later at another panel. This time I made sure to find him after the panel. I mustered up the courage to say hi, nervously, of course. Yes, the conversation started off awkward. I mentioned that I saw him at the LGBT and the previous panels. For the first 10 minutes or so, I was so worried that he might have things to do, and I would be interrupting him. But I just kept going, and the next thing we knew, an hour later, we were still chatting, we exchanged contact info, and I was :happydance:-ing in my head. We even discussed how we were both shy! Then, my hotel roommates came back, and I said "Hey wanna come back to the room, and we can all play Apples to Apples?" He agreed, we all had a fun time (ATA guarantee!), and I scored a new friend!

So, what have I learned from this experience?
1.) I think that because I am gay and I enjoy gay things (like yaoi, hugs, etc.), I am too scared to find any one person at random and start talking to them like I talked to the guy at Colossalcon. I have had a couple bad experiences with anti-gay guys, and it weighs heavily on my memory and confidence. I do not handle rejection well. (i.e. the refusal-of-fist-bump guy).
2.) Attending mid-sized cons like Colossalcon seems to work out better for making friends. If there is less to do, then more people will have more flexible schedules. It's good to have SOME events to go to, so talking with friends all day doesn't get stale, but too many events and there's no time to talk.
3.) Having the LGBT panel helps TREMENDOUSLY for shy people like me. Whether people are gay, bi, or just "rainbow supporters", I know that I can talk to pretty much any person who shows up to the panel and introduces themselves. There is no risk of homophobe rejection. My new friend was happy to see a LGBT panel at a con, and I was too! So I am going to make sure that there is a LGBT panel at ACen next year! :balloons:

This post has been edited by skyrune83: 06 June 2011 - 10:28 AM

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#34 User is offline   Ohki 

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 03:27 PM

My 2 cents on the topic for future cons:

-Honestly, I think that anyone who goes to a con and doesn't want to talk to new people really needs to be polite about it and understand that a lot of people come to cons with the hope of making friends. Just say "Sorry, I've gotta run, I don't have time to chat" and be on your way. If the other person doesn't respect that, then yeah they're being rude in continuing to follow you, but don't be rude right out the gate. It's not like you're wearing a big flashing sign that says "I DON'T WANT TO TALK TO ANYONE THAT ISN'T ALREADY SOMEONE I KNOW".
-So for that reason, if someone snaps at you just for trying to talk to them, they're being a jerk. Don't let them get you too down.
-Actually, I've found that the dealers room is a great place to meet people. If someone's briskly walking somewhere, then yeah they probably don't want to stop and chat. But while browsing a dealer booth you'll often have someone next to you also looking. Making idle conversation there can lead to making new friends.
-Generally, a good way to go about it is to always ask and make sure the other person is cool with stopping and hanging out for a bit. "I hope I'm not bothering you", or something to that effect early into the conversation, for instance, lets the other person know that you're aware that they may need to go somewhere else soon. When the time does come around for you to part ways, if they're going to a panel or something that sounds interesting to you, you can always ask if they'd mind you tagging along. Alternatively, you can ask if they'd like to try to meet up with you later. And always always always ask for contact info if you really hit it off with someone.
-Other than that, I'd just say the same basic stuff that's been said. Look for people with common interests to you. Be it by their cosplay or what they're looking at in the dealer room/artist alley or by you both being at a panel on a topic that interests you.

A major thing, though, re; the argument given that maybe cons aren't a good place to make new friends since a lot of people that attend aren't from the area? Keep in mind that having online friends is awesome, and they're just as valuable as IRL friends. Sure, you may only see a friend that you meet at ACen at cons because they live too far away for regular hanging out, but IMing is a good way to talk to people, too. It makes me sad how often people undervalue their online friends. I have a solid group of friends IRL, but one of my closest friends is someone I've never met in person before.
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#35 User is offline   skyrune83 

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:37 PM

View PostOhki, on 12 June 2011 - 03:27 PM, said:

A major thing, though, re; the argument given that maybe cons aren't a good place to make new friends since a lot of people that attend aren't from the area? Keep in mind that having online friends is awesome, and they're just as valuable as IRL friends. Sure, you may only see a friend that you meet at ACen at cons because they live too far away for regular hanging out, but IMing is a good way to talk to people, too. It makes me sad how often people undervalue their online friends. I have a solid group of friends IRL, but one of my closest friends is someone I've never met in person before.

But the issue is I have very few local IRL friends, and tons of online friends.
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#36 User is offline   dorkatlarge 

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:11 PM

Anime Shin-Gen is still active on meetup.com. We had a gathering just a couple weeks after ACen 2011, and at least a few new people joined us. So if you're still looking for a group in the Chicago suburbs, and you're not interested in college-based groups, then it may be a good fit. Our next meeting is Saturday, June 26 in the Des Plaines main library.

#37 User is offline   skyrune83 

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:05 PM

View Postdorkatlarge, on 20 June 2011 - 08:11 PM, said:

Anime Shin-Gen is still active on meetup.com. We had a gathering just a couple weeks after ACen 2011, and at least a few new people joined us. So if you're still looking for a group in the Chicago suburbs, and you're not interested in college-based groups, then it may be a good fit. Our next meeting is Saturday, June 26 in the Des Plaines main library.

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm already a member of Shin-Gen, but unfortunately JAFAX is this weekend. But if you guys meet at Des Plaines again I will come! ^_^
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#38 User is offline   davebb 

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:10 AM

About online friends and meeting IRL. I used to play on a chess server (FICS aka free internet chess server) and met a lot of cool people in the bughouse channel on the server. Now I don't travel as extensively as some of these people, but they hold gatherings of bughouse players or they meet up at one of the big tournaments like the Chicago Open which is held on Memorial Day weekend and play bughouse in the skittles rooms. Some of these people I've only met online and know them by their nick on the server. Heck meeting them in real life I only call them by their alias. Just like everyone on staff knows me as medic 6.

@Skyrune: awesome, sounds like you did a good job at icebreaking and developed a new friendship there. And you say you have a lot of online friends, maybe find the ones who goto the conventions and meet up with them there, or maybe introduce someone who is interested in a convention and offer to meet up there etc. Just some ideas. About the LGBT issues, maybe you can offer in the panel discussion section list about having a panel on that at acen. Maybe volunteer and run a panel yourself. Get some advice from a LGBT group in your area and learn how to run one. I'm LGBT friendly so if you ever want to talk at acen if I have time, I'm willing to chat, as long as I'm not busy running around to calls (which is during the daytime at the concenter).
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#39 User is offline   tatterpillar 

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:01 AM

I have only made a small of friends through ACen because I mainly keep to myself, at least at the con - not on the forums, as you can see :3 I'm just that way in general - I meet people through other people. Plus, I'm above the average con-goer's age (28), so I don't want to come off as a creeper o.O

I met a couple who were really nice through the forums and then met them IRL at the con. One was an epic cosplayer from one of my favorite series that I met at the con. We hit it off and then shared a room last year and I would do it again :) All of these people live far away from me.

Keep an open mind- you already have at least one thing in common since you're involved with ACen. It could be as easy as saying, "Sweet costume! How did you make it?" "Awesome shirt, that show rocks!" and BAM, you've got yourself a conversation and possibly someone to hang with at least for a bit at the con. Inviting people to eat is a good idea too. You keep a comfortable distance because of the table, but there is plenty of room for open conversation. Besides, everyone's gotta eat, right? :D

Oh, PS, I know it's funny I'm giving advice when I myself don't really go out of my way to follow it, but just so you know, I'm highly approachable, though I can be a bit shy in person, so please don't be intimidated and don't assume I'm stuck up. Say HI! I'm so misunderstood sometimes x__x

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