Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise with another installment in my Meeples For Sheepish Peoples series, discussing the social activity of board games in the lives of people who aren’t necessarily socially outgoing.
My previous segment asked, “...if shyness, awkwardness and anxiety are likely going to be a constant lifelong struggle, is it worth even trying to overcome it?...”
Well, as always, I can only speak from my own personal experience. But, to me, the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!”
And here’s why.
The best experiences that I’ve had while board gaming, the moments that give me stories to tell, are always caused by the people that I was sharing the experience with. It’s not the game I remember, but the people.
Whether I was playing the strangest game of Scrabble ever against an eccentric elderly adversary, accidentally discovering the portion of the population that finds Pixel Lincoln offensive, or DMing a method acting roleplayer who was tricked into wearing the emperor’s new clothes, none of these terribly true tales would have occurred if I’d stayed home, tinkering with Twilight Imperium all alone. When I pushed myself to break through the barrier of social anxiety, *POW!* that’s when memories were made.
Now, I’m far more comfortable and exuberant when interacting with a small circle of friends. So, I didn’t expect it to happen, but at each convention I’ve made several acquaintances, creating entirely new small circles of friends at each one. These relationships are slowly changing my convention-going experience from one of nervous trepidation, to an opportunity to reunite, play games, and share stories with them.
In order to find friends to game with, I first had to game with strangers. It was nerve wracking to start, but once I decided to begin, it’s snowballed and has gotten easier. I hope that this series helps someone else out there in a similar situation overcome the anxiety of finding new friends so that they can experience new tales to tell too.
Do you have a question or story about social anxiety and board games? If so, let me know, and I may revisit this series with a few more episodes in the future. In the meantime, take care.