Over the past couple of years, I have attended gaming conventions for role-playing games and video games in Michigan and Portland, as well as in Seattle, where I live. When I attend one of these conventions, I meet many new and interesting people. Some of them turn out to be the sort of people with whom I want to maintain a friendship. Here are a few tips to help you maintain the friendships you have gained through gaming conventions.
Staying in Contact
The Internet makes it incredibly easy to stay in contact with people all over the world. Whether you friend someone on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, chat via an instant messenger, talk via Skype, or just exchange E-mails, there are plenty of ways for friends to use the Internet to communicate. If you’ve met someone at a gaming convention, be sure to share your contact information with him or her, and ask them to reciprocate. If you want to get fancy about it, you can even get cards printed up with all of your information, including all of the above, as well as your user name on various gaming platforms.
If you’ve met another video gamer at a gaming convention, and the two of you have a platform in common, there are plenty of ways that you can game together online. MMORPGs are the most common form of this, but many other games have a multi-player online component as well. Whether you want to shoot the bad guys or rock out, you can game with friends you’ve met at gaming conventions easily.
If your form of gaming is of the pen and paper variety, your options for gaming with your newfound friend may be more limited. However, message board and play-by-E-mail games are both ways in which a gaming group can be spread across a large geographic area. Skype can also be used for this sort of long-distance gaming. You can also make plans to meet up with your friends at other conventions, where you can enjoy playing the games that brought you together in the first place.
Life Outside of Gaming
While gaming may be the defining link between you and the person you met at a gaming convention, maintaining your friendship may not always be just about the games. You may find that you have other hobbies or interests in common, and may find ways to share those interests with each other. You may also learn that your friend has other hobbies, which also occupy their time. Remembering that it is important to maintain a balance between gaming and the rest of your life is critical. This also means respecting that your friend has a life outside of gaming as well. When “real life” gets in the way of your shared fun, it may cause some bitterness on one part or the other. Friends should be able to accept that life cannot always be about what you want to do.
Although it should go without saying, any random person you encounter and befriend at a gaming convention might not be as interested in maintaining your newfound friendship as you might be. It is important to respect other peoples’ boundaries, and to appreciate that while you do have gaming in common with your new friend, that may be the only common point of interest between you. Creating a lasting bond between friends takes time, but by staying in contact, gaming together, and recognizing the need for life outside of gaming, you will have a good chance of maintaining the friendships you have gained through gaming conventions.