Most of us have some extent of social anxiety that makes it difficult to meet new people, especially if you look up to them. If this sounds like you, maybe this can help a little! If there’s anyone that this could be supportive for and make RDC a better experience, then this thread is worth it. This is a very real problem that doesn’t get much discussion, and I think it would be helpful to open up a conversation about it.
I’m not the most naturally socially fluent. I tend to be unsure how to approach people, how to start a conversation, awkward, etc etc, but for each of the five RDC events I’ve been to I’ve gotten a little bit better each time. It’s a skill you can learn and improve! Here are some things I’ve learned:
Everybody in the room is also there to meet people, and 90% of them are as uncomfortable as you are about it. Not only does almost nobody mind being approached, they WANT to be approached so they don’t have to do the work of initiating the interaction themselves.
Most groups / circles of people will welcome you if you squeeze in. Don’t assume that it’s a secret club; it’s almost always a mix of people who know each other and don’t, so you won’t be out of place if you join. This is a good strategy because you don’t even need to say anything and you don’t need to worry about being responsible for carrying the conversation yourself. Just find a spot, listen, and jump in if you have something to contribute.
There’s never an obligation to stay in a conversation. Things move super quickly, and it’s very acceptable to just dip out if you want to leave for any reason. If you need an excuse, say you want food, gotta pee, want to talk to someone, etc.
Cold introduction strategy: tell the person your name, username, and briefly what kind of work you do. Ask the other person for the same. If you don’t recognize their username, don’t worry about it! Don’t try to remember it, you will forget it anyway and will end up wasting 30 seconds awkwardly trying to read it and figuring out how it is pronounced and spelled. If these questions don’t spawn further conversation, that’s ok! This is an acceptable introduction interaction, say “ok cool bye” and move on.
If you really want to meet and talk to someone specific, it will help to have a question you want to explore with them. This is how I first met zKevin. I thought he was really cool and I wanted to meet him at the 2017 party. I asked him about his approach to the character design process, and we went and talked about it for like 5 minutes.
“Big devs” are just as awkward and eager to meet people as everyone else. Same rules all apply.
Post below if you’ve got any more tips!
Further reading (these are really good and have stuff I would have written except they wrote it much better):
And finally, if you’re still mortified of meeting people, at least come find me! I promise I won’t judge. This post is secretly just my plot to look more approachable and maximize introductions.