How not to be creepy/meet people at a con?

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How not to be creepy/meet people at a con?

Post by BlackBart on Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:10 pm

Hey, people. I've got a question.
In about a month and  a half there's going to be an anime convention near the town I live in. After much thought, and going back and forth, I've decided to attend, with the purpose of actually meeting/talking to new people. Since neither of those two are my strong suits, and I certainly don't want to risk coming off as creepy or desperate, are there any pointers you could give me that would make the experience, um, "go smoothly"?

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Re: How not to be creepy/meet people at a con?

Post by Werel on Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:42 pm

Hey, good job deciding to go socialize a bit! A con sounds like a good low-stakes place to talk to new people, if you're looking at it realistically (that is, don't go expecting to meet your new BFF; just aim to have a few fun conversations, even brief ones). Pointers for avoiding creepy/desperate vibes:

-Go because you think the con will be fun, not just to meet people. Enjoy the events and stuff for their own sake. Not only will you stress less about interactions, but you'll be more fun to interact with if you're legitimately enjoying yourself.

-The immediate physical circumstances around you are good introductory topics for conversation. It will almost never be weird or creepy to make chitchat about the thing you are both there to do. "Did you see that one panel? Wow, look at that guy's awesome gundam suit. This artist has some cool watercolors. Which guest speaker are you most excited about?" etc. etc. etc.

-Talk to men and women. Looks weird when a dude only makes smalltalk with women. Doesn't sound like you're thinking of this as a place to seek dates (good!), but sometimes women get the lion's share of even platonic smalltalk aimed at them, so mix it up a little and chat with guys too.

-Compliments on things a person has chosen (clothes, hairstyles, costumes, whatever) are good. Compliments on their immutable features, less so. Compliments on strangers' bodies, NO NO NO (but you are a sane person and so would never do that).

-If you and another person are just standing around idly without being engrossed in your phones (e.g. in line for something) it's not weird or desperate to ask if they're enjoying the con and exchange a couple sentences.

-If the other person isn't responding with equal enthusiasm or effort to your smalltalk attempts, give a pleasant closer ("enjoy the weekend!") and leave them alone. Knowing when to disengage = the opposite of creepy or desperate.

-If someone is cool, you have a nice conversation, and you'd like to be friends with them, see if they want to meet up with you for an event later during the con ("I'm going to X panel later, see you there?"). This is the lowest-stakes way possible to gauge their interest in hanging out more. If so, and you chat more at that event, cool, maybe you can exchange contact info* after. If they say nah, cool, you dodged even the minor social discomfort of having a request for contact info declined.

*Though I'm way more comfortable sharing social media accounts or email addresses than phone numbers with people I just met. Your mileage may vary, but some people may react better to "are you on Twitter?" than "GIMME YO DIGITS"

Try to have a good time on your own, take openings for pleasant interactions as they arise, and don't sweat it too much-- this is a really low-pressure thing you're doing for fun!
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Re: How not to be creepy/meet people at a con?

Post by BlackBart on Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:40 am

Thanks, Werel. Those are really good pointers. I'm sure they'll come in handy.

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