Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise with the next installment in my Meeples For Sheepish Peoples series, where I talk about the social activity of board games in the lives of people who aren’t socially outgoing.
I’d like to start today’s segment with an impression. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you , my impression of a young Chaz Marler at every eighth grade dance: (CUT TO: CHAZ STANDING AGAINST THE WALL SHYLY, AS 80’s MUSIC PLAYS)
Don’t worry, kid, you’ll grow out of it. Fast-forward to present day, with adult Chaz, who has a family, career and mortgage. Here’s my impression of adult Chaz at the first board game convention he attended a couple years ago. (CUT TO: CHAZ STANDING AGAINST THE WALL SHYLY, WITH BOARD GAME UNDER HIS ARM.)
That was the moment that I realized that I’m never going to grow out of my social anxiety. But I don’t want it to prevent me from attending gaming groups or conventions and playing as many games as possible. So, what does one do?
Well, one of the things that helps me break out of my shell at a large game group or convention is to arrive when the doors open. One of the larger gaming groups in my city holds a quarterly game day, which between 30-60 people attend. But if I arrive even 15 minutes after they open the doors, I find groups have already formed at tables; and it can be really intimidating to interrupt a game in progress to ask if you can join in.
But, arriving on time, I discovered that those first 15 minutes usually just involved everyone standing around, staring at the piles of games, awkwardly asking each other, “I dunno, what would you like to play”.
By arriving just a few minutes earlier, I went from walking into a room of games and groups already in motion, to being there when everyone was shyly shrugging at each other, cautiously throwing out game suggestions.
Seeing everyone else being just as nervous as I was went a long way towards relieving the anxiety of breaking the ice. As a result, I spend a lot less time standing on the sidelines at these events.
Alright, next time: I’ll reveal why I love traffic cones.