Hello, Wanderers! We’re aware that some of you have recently arrived at college, university, new jobs or new schools, so we thought we’d offer you some tips on making new real-life friends using your fandom. (Yes, we know internet friends are real friends too, but you know what we mean, so stop picking holes and keep reading.) Now, fandoms can, to the uninitiated, seem a bit overwhelming, so try not to leap right into the verbal equivalent of Tumblr-level keymashing. That said, you can still use your fandoms as an introduction to new people.
How, you ask?
- Invite new housemates to watch a film with you. This one may seem obvious, but if you get a quiet night in, get your new neighbours in to watch something you enjoy and see if they like it too. Don’t forget, even if they don’t, you can still get a good conversation going about it – just don’t get too defensive. A fresh point of view can be a great thing to have!
- Lend someone your favourite book. Not for the faint-hearted, this one – but if you can bear to entrust a book you love to someone else who might enjoy it, it might be a great conversation point between you later on.
- Cover your stuff in badges. And stickers. And wear fandom-inspired clothes. If someone spots something they’re a fan of on your possessions, they know you have something in common, and there’s a subject for you to break the ice.
- Listen to people. Let them tell you what they’re fans of. Ask them about their favourite films, find out if they’ve been to any conventions, talk to them about their celebrity inspirations. Sometimes, it’s easier to start with talking about things you like than to get right into personal details.
- Talk about stuff! You’re not interviewing people, after all (unless you are) – any conversation flows better when both parties have the chance to volunteer information and to receive it equally. Share your own likes and dislikes.
- Go off-topic. Once you’re comfortably chatting about (relatively) painless things like your favourite Torchwood character (alright, bad example) you might find that you end up talking about people they know in real life who have things in common with that character, or talking about the fact that they went to the same school as a well-known actor. Let the conversation follow a natural path and don’t feel pressured to steer the discussion back to fandom-related topics. There is more to you than fandom, after all, Wanderers!
Eleanor Musgrove (wishes you luck)