Hello, Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise here, with a supplemental 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. This series originally aired two years ago, right after Gen Con. In fact, the original series largely dealt with overcoming the apprehension of joining the 60,000 other strangers attending that convention due to social anxiety and introversion.
And it was at Gen Con just earlier this month that a viewer approached me with a question: now that two years have gone by, has your continued presence in the board game community and a variety of conventions had an impact on your ability to enjoy these social situations?
Well, the answer to that is a resounding yes… and, no. (Helpful, eh?)
Here’s what I mean. The variety of social situations I’ve had the opportunity to participate in over the past two years have helped me stretch my comfort zone. In a way, it’s been like practicing an instrument. (Horrible violin.) This practice has taught me the tools that I have to manage the obstacles that could otherwise prevent me from entering those situations in the first place.
First, regarding social anxiety, I’ve learned how finding my place within a group setting affects my comfort level in it.
At most of the conventions I’ve attended, I've been working with The Dice Tower at their booth and events, recording videos, speaking with publishers & designers, etc. Feeling like "I'm here to do a job", has made these larger conventions far more bearable, even enjoyable. But, if I wasn’t attending in that capacity? Instead, just wading through the sea of people and noise all on my own? I'd probably last about five minutes before I ran back to my hotel room to hide. But that doesn’t work.
Which brings me to the what I’ve learned about introversion: running back to my hotel room and hiding works. At several conventions, where there’s continually games to play and events to attend, I’ve experimented with creating my own event: periodically retreating to my hotel room alone, and just enjoying the silence for a few minutes. And I’ve discovered that these quiet moments during a convention exponentially recharge the energy that’s slowly drained by the constant collaboration with the congregation.
So, while the struggle is still present, I’ve discovered tools that help retain my enjoyment of these situations, or prevent me from participating in the first place. Of course, what works for one person may not work for another. However, I think the important take-away here is that I didn’t learn what works for me instantaneously. It’s come with practice over the past two years. And there’s been things that haven’t worked. But, I’m glad that I’ve tried. Because that’s what this series is really all about. (More horrible violin.)