Today I wanted to do Light Otaku Living post that features five friendly tips for making friends in other fandoms because I remember my middle school and high school self being really apprehensive in making friends. I just wasn’t social at all because I felt so content and comfortable in my personal fandom bubble. In fact, later in life I realized it’s much more fun to engage in fandoms such as anime, kpop, comics, movies and the like when you’re surrounded by people as passionate for the medium as you are. This post was inspired by my best guy friend who’s a little bit anxious about making new friends because he’s transferring programs to a new university in the Fall. Like a lot of anime fans, he’s a bit awkward when it comes to meeting new people. So I hope you guys will find today’s tips helpful and encourage yourself to step out of your comfort zone to try something new.
1) Don’t Hate – It’s not weird, it’s just different from what you’re used to. Just because you don’t understand a fandom or its fangirls and fanboys, doesn’t mean you should immediately hate on it. Some fandoms are definitely overhyped and others are under-hyped, so take the time to be patient with people you meet and try to get past the mindless squealing and excited fangirling to really hear someone out and understand what they’re fangirling about when you realize their fandom is different from yours.
2) Ask Questions – You know how you spent about forty hours memorizing random facts on your favourite anime voice actor or all the music show dates for your favourite Kpop groups? Chances are someone else is as obsessed with information hoarding as you. If you hear them mention a name you don’t know or a show you’ve never heard of, ask them to elaborate and chat up the conversation in that way. I don’t know about you but any conversation that lets me show off all my knowledge on all my favourite things is a conversation I’d like to keep going.
3) Be Observant – This one is actually one of my most useful tips. Whether you’re at a club, an event, in class or at a convention, being observant is one of the most important things to keep in mind. When I first met one of my best fangirl friends, we were both attending a screening hosted by my university campus anime club. I noticed two keychains hanging from her purse from one of my all-time favourite anime series. I struck up a conversation with her and this year, she’s my new housemate. You never know where you could find and make new friends for life.
4) Don’t make Assumptions – It’s my understanding that there is a stereotype over all fandom Geeks and otaku. A lot of us fangirls and fanboys have been horribly caricatured as shut-ins who can’t have functioning lifestyles and proper conversations. Don’t assume fangirls or fanboys in your fandom are better than fans of another fandom. Similar to tip number one, keep on open mind and get to know each person as an individual rather than simply judging them based on what fandom they obsess in.
5) Relax – Approaching people is hard, but take a deep breath, roll back your shoulders and stride confidently up to that person. You may surprise them and yourself when you find the courage to speak up. Don’t be afraid to bring up your fandom in introductory conversations when someone asks you about your hobbies. It’s not mandatory to immediately put forth the fact that you’re into so and so fandom but it also shouldn’t be something you intentionally try to hide. Like it or not, your fandom is a part of you, and really if you’re spending over twelve hours a day watching anime, listening to kpop, googling facts and engaging in this fandom, I hope you’d be proud of it and let it shine into your everyday self.
So I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found something relatable. These tips are based purely on my personal experience engaging in different kinds of fandoms from different cultures, not only in anime or Kpop but also various genres of music, dance, literature, photography and other topics. Yeah, I’m an obsessive person.
The bulk of these tips are also inspired by what I believe is a healthy way to engage in fandom culture while balancing it with a perfectly social and healthy lifestyle. I didn’t include this in the list but you can also make new friends online now over MMO games and forums that engage with individuals all over the world as well as on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other similar sites. If you’re really nervous about face to face conversations, start with a simple reply to someone on Twitter or just shoot someone a message. Interactions don’t seem as daunting over the screen and you can slowly build up your confidence to approach other fangirls and fanboys in conventions or clubs when you feel ready.
Thank you guys so much for reading!! I hope some of these tips were useful for you guys and if you did, you could always reblog on WordPress or share this on Twitter and Facebook ^^ If you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for dropping into my blog and I will talk to you all very soon 🙂
What are you pondering today?