Saturday, January 31, 2015

Surviving Eve Socialization

Next weekend there is a local gathering in falls Church VA for any who wish to attend. I will have goodies and some gifts striaght from Iceland. All players are welcome. I'm prepping for said event since I have things to give out. How I will give them out for fairness is always a concern of mine. I've come up with a method that I think will be fair and amusing and not overly complicated.

I never know how many people will show up. Because I am a planner I will have backup stuff that I don't plan to give out but will have in case numbers are more than expected. I don't expect many people. My goal is normally one. That is an accomplishment for me. After all, I don't do parties and hanging out. It means that I have no way to judge this.

And then there is publication. I'm bad at it. I'm uncomfortable with it. I feel annoying when I do it as if I am bothering and offending everyone around me. When do I start tweeting? Do I post channel things? Do I mail people? What do I do not to be an annoying attention seeker who sounds as if they believe everyone wants to hang out with them?

The thing is I am cripplingly shy. Social anxiety or whatever it is called these days. I'm that person that will go somewhere because they are invited and have a panic attack at the door and go home. I've politely told my co-workers not to invite me to anything. I won't go. I don't want to go. Hanging out places just to hang out places has no appeal. I think the only reason I am okay with these events is because I've been going to player meetups since I was fifteen. They are also not something to do just to do it. I can occupy my time just fine. But hanging out with other players of my game is a different experience. The rest is because I pour all of my anxiety into meticulous planning to give myself some control of the situation. But I am never comfortable until I've been there for a while and start to relax.

That's why I decided to write this. I've talked to many who are socially awkward or terrified. We play computer games and glean or socialization at our own pace. Real life meetings are outside of that comfort zone. That step from game to meeting people can be terrifying.

Your not alone.

And it's okay.

I'm not going to tell you that you'll just get over it. You won't. Nor will I tell you that there is a hidden extrovert inside of you. There probably is not. But it doesn't mean you cannot tackle these events on your own terms. It takes a lot to step out of that comfort level zone. I've done it and I'm glad for it but I also know how hard it is. One event a month is enough to drain all of my socialization energy for that month or longer.

I've been spending a lot of time reading about introversion of late. There are a lot of reasons for it. Some have to do with the CSM and things like my complete discomfort with pictures and video. I've had people tell me that I signed up for it and that I will take a negative hit by not placing myself into the view of others. It is a hard topic for me because I want to be the best representative that I can be. I've spent the last year pushing every social boundary that I have. But, I have limits. Not everyone is a gregarious outgoing social butterfly that spend their when's drinking. In fact that caused Rixx to suggest a socially awkward not a pub crawl pub crawl for the non-drinking and the shy quiet ones. We can all float about each other and slowly warm up into interactive points.

I think it's important to both talk about and bring to light that not everyone is comfortable socially. Not everyone wants to drink when social. And you can still come meet your space friends and family. But no, its not always easy.

I've spent a lot of time on the fringes of Eve gatherings. I was very much a wallflower at my first two trips to Eve Vegas and Fanfest in 2013. I still enjoyed myself if my experience was much quieter and not as monumental as others. Sometimes I look at those wild stories and tails and wonder if I'd like it but I know the answer is actually, no. I don't. I'm not happy in that situation and I am happy as a wallflower or quietly listening to things and taking notes. Not everyone enjoys loud and boisterous. Some of us enjoy just floating on the edge. At the last few local meets people have shown up, listened quietly with that look of pleasure that only happens when hearing other people passionately discussing internet spaceships and quietly slipped away when they were filled up on the social meter.

And I think that's great. One of the things gleaned from my social reading is that things like introversion and extroversion are on scales. Some introverts can socialize at various levels. We're not all cave dwelling hermits with traps on the path up to our lair. I find a lot of enjoyment in meeting other video game loving adults. It is a different pleasure from social gatherings for work or friends or traditional events.

I think its worth trying. Even if it takes a time or two to make it all the way into the door. Even if you come and immediately leave. I'll be there most of the evening until my own meter fills. And if you don't come, that too is okay. Maybe, you will another day. Maybe, another event. Mabye, I'll see you in game. We're not all social butterflies and that doesn't make us valueless people. But for those who want to come and hang out, see you next Saturday. And for those who may come the next time, we'll have another one in a month or two.

10 comments:

  1. If I were to ever take the leap and attend an EVE meet up, rest assured, it will be yours. :)

    *hugs*

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  2. I remember in my early 20's reading up on social phobia. I was trying to get a better understanding of my father's frustrating behaviour. As I read I realised it described my own actions perfectly.

    I call myself a functioning social phobic. I understand my moods and great discomfort. I allow for it - especially with careful preparations before events. I ensure I maintain a reasonable exposure to social situations to keep "practised". Having said that - I've not been able to force myself to attend any of the local EVE meets, and while my wife would allow me to attend Fanfest, it is not something I think I could manage.

    My father always blamed his idiosyncrasies on his time in Vietnam - but that doesn't explain my own affliction, or (with the greatest of sadness) the fact both my children suffer very much from social anxieties.

    So many people allow it to rob them of opportunities in life. You should be proud of what you have been able to do in and through the game of EVE.

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    1. My new favorite book is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I think you'd find it a good read as well.

      I don't think not liking things has to rob you of opportunities. I know that I could do stuff I'd not like to experience it. I'd not have a good experience which would only reinforce myself. I can pretend but that doesn't do anything but cause people not to nag me for not enjoying what is 'fun'. If it is super horrible it isn't going to be a good experience no matter how 'good' it is.

      That's why I tell people not to invite me to social events. I ask them not to feel bad about it or ask me out of obligation. The blunt honesty can shock some and upset others but at the end of the day its better then the falseness and quiet misery.

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    2. 't is an excellent book and am grateful for the recommendation a while back.

      She also did a TED talk on the subject on introversion;

      https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts

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  3. I will admit to not understanding this... I am, if anything, the exact opposite... but, in a weird way, with similar if opposite costs... I am an extrovert, very outspoken, very easy in groups large or small. Enjoy being the center of attention... and this has it's own price. I wish I understood what you go through better, but in as little as I do, please know you, in your way, have had a very positive impact on me... and on those who I know who follow your blog and your CSM candidacy... and I thank you for all you have done.

    "I've talked to many who are socially awkward or terrified. We play computer games and glean or socialization at our own pace. Real life meetings are outside of that comfort zone. That step from game to meeting people can be terrifying.

    Your not alone.

    And it's okay."


    Every time you talk about this I think of this... The Guild... we are a crazy bunch we gamers are, but with, for the most part... good hearts.

    I and my son-by-another-father, Strigon Leader (Ty) will be at the meetup... really look forward to meeting you... and Epigene! =]

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  4. I don't consider it a phobia or something that needs to be fixed. I find "social events" completely pointless and useless. If you disagree, try to publish written minutes about a pub crawl. It will be completely incoherent nonsense with no one wanting to read it.

    Not to mention that drinking+audience can easily mean violence and criminal activity. I am sure that if I'd meet a dozen drunken Goons, they'd do the same to my face what they did to the EVE monument last year.

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    1. Actually not, since we are able to distinguish a game from real life. Players fighting in game often hang out and drink beer together without any drama. Claiming that blowing pixel spaceships is enough reason for real life unironic hatred is pretty retarded.

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    2. Not all do. But not being able to walk into social situations is frustrating for many. It can be big or small to not feeling comfortable in their own home. It's not about being fixed it's about letting people know it's not just them. It's a very some thing when you atr uncomfortable around even your friends.

      And no Gevlon I don't think there would be done goon violence v you. You have wrote a fan club t that would love to meet you. That's not considered weird even if you have no intrist.

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    3. Not all do. But not being able to walk into social situations is frustrating for many. It can be big or small to not feeling comfortable in their own home. It's not about being fixed it's about letting people know it's not just them. It's a very some thing when you atr uncomfortable around even your friends.

      And no Gevlon I don't think there would be done goon violence v you. You have wrote a fan club t that would love to meet you. That's not considered weird even if you have no intrist.

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    4. @ Gevlon: Goons love you, they'd probably buy all the beers. (Goons love anyone who pays them attention at all. If it wasn't for all the attention they get from the player base, they would have shriveled up and disbanded a long time ago)

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