What Meetups Mean To Me
So as I mentioned last week that it has now been a year since I actually first encountered GeekOut. This also means that I have been to about 9 out of the potential 12 meetings that have happened in that time and I am happy to say that most of them have been fun. I got involved by finding out about the meet-ups via the MeetUp website. Since I don’t have a Facebook account when I moved to Bristol I began to look for groups that I could join that I might be able to make new friends at. I then began to read this website and reached out to it to see if they would accept an article from me.
I had never met Timlah before then, but we conversed a little via e-mail and Steam messenger and I put up my first article which was a bit of a promo piece for my friend Clive about the remake of his game Saboteur. There was a few weeks distance between that and my next article. I had the idea that I might be able to contribute something and when I did it made me feel pretty good. But that did not prepare me for my first meet, I remember just how nervous and anxious I was and how slightly overwhelming the whole situation was.
What have I gained?
I’m a big believer in talking about anxiety and what it does to people, I personally have actually grown as a person by talking/writing about the experiences I have had both good and bad. Writing about them has given me a forum and I can refer back to from time to time to remind myself of what has changed and what I felt at the time. My main worries about the meet were simple. Was I geeky enough? Would I fit in? Would people chastise me for not really liking The Matrix or thinking Star Wars is just “okay”? How would I break the initial barrier of talking to people? At the time I had no real answer to these or the hundreds of more questions I had.
I admit it took me a bit of time to feel comfortable with the crowd. Not because of the people that are involved but mostly because of my mental attitude or my mood at the time. I had a few times at meets where I felt totally and utterly out of place and questioned my reasons for going. Then again I had moments where things went perfectly well and I have very fond memories of those. I’ve had moments where I felt like I was contributing and moments where I felt utterly redundant so it’s been a mixed bag of emotions. I spent so long being afraid of challenging these things in the fear of being rejected. Now have a totally different attitude to this. I try to put myself in the headspace of waiting until I get rejected and not fearing it then dealing with how I feel after that. It’s challenging this that has got me to Bristol in the first place and although from time to time it can make me a nervous wreck its worth it because the rest of the time I feel good about it.
Who have I met?
So yes, I have played a lot of new board games because of GeekOut, some of which have in themselves pushed my social and mental limits. I have also been able to get over this initial fear and actually begin to learn to enjoy and discover the strategies based on the game. also, it has enabled me to get closer to a few people within the group. It started out being mostly about playing new and sometimes interesting board/card games but it has evolved. I now see it’s the mix of personalities that we tend to attract that begins to make GeekOut what it is.
I mean let’s start with Timlah who is quite crazy, but he reassures me that my writing is worthy when I’m having a moment and provides some very good constructive criticism. GhostBunny (aka Vivi) is a character all by herself; intelligent, intense, wonderful and a fine mascot. I have had fairly intense conversations with her about relationships, probably more so than general geekery. Jake is a very kind, loving, thoughtful and mischievous person, watching him try to bluff his way in One Night Werewolf is hilarious. Then there is Jason, someone who I first didn’t get to speak to much, but since then have got to know him quite a bit more. He’s a great guy and I have hung out with him outside the group. Alex with his love of Techno music, who can play a mean game of Cards Against Humanity. Kyle, aka the vault of all board game knowledge. I don’t think even Kyle knows exactly how many games he knows the instructions to, but it’s probably a lot, or at least it seems that way. Finally, I got to meet Joel (our other writer) this weekend actually in the flesh, I hope it won’t be another year until I see him again!
The thing is for some people socialising is hard and I only suffer from that sometimes. I started to contribute towards the group by bringing games that I have or just trying more to be involved. I have begun to really enjoy meeting a few new people every month, I think the problem was that I felt I needed to get know everybody all at the same time which is simply not true. There was pressure on me, (produced by me and not the group,) to try to remember everybody’s name and now I realise just how silly that was. Being around other people that are as nerdy or nerdier than me has been fascinating and I seriously hope that I will be able to do more of it. I certainly appreciate that we are all individuals and with that comes complications which can trigger anxiety. Believe me, if you talk to the right people within the GeekOut group they will certainly relate and may have a few pointers for you how to adjust and challenge these things.
In the end, it’s not what you do, or what you know, or who you know, or what you play or any one element of these things. It’s more about what you get out of it. Did you play a game with people you didn’t know and enjoy it? Did you meet a new person that you can relate to or talk to about a certain subject? There are a lot of reasons why our meets might work for you. I have explained a few of the reasons why they have worked for me and hopefully given you a bit of food for thought. What do the meet-ups mean to you? We would love to hear from you in the comments.