This is the final installment of my “becoming more social” series for my blog that chronicles my adventure to break out of my shell through gaming. It is the final installment because it brings me to my current social state, even though it started almost 10 years ago. I had briefly mentioned the event that lead to the largest crack in my shell in my first blog post, and I will expand on it greatly here.
In the fall of 2005, I started playing in a Shadowrun campaign with a couple classmates of mine. A few of us had the same lab class and we were invited to game with our classmate and a couple of his friends, one of whom was going to be the GM. This classmate had a ton of experience in gaming and had previously gamed with our GM and his other friend that was joining us. Three of us from lab, me included, were completely new to Shadowrun and this gaming group. But, since it sounded like fun, and because I was already in love with tabletop roleplaying, I decided to give it a try.
After the initial conversation, we quickly decided upon a location and day for this Shadowrun campaign. It was going to be at my classmate’s house on a day when we didn’t have class late at night. The other two who were joining us had been friends with my classmate and his wife for a few years, and they were experienced gamers, the GM had previously run them through a Shadowrun campaign in the past. We quickly acquainted ourselves with the system and started gaming.
Now, this is VERY important. If you are gaming at someone’s house who is married, but the wife/husband/partner is not part of the gaming group, it is crucial that you do not ignore them. It is their house too, so be polite and try to talk to them. Since this person also lives at the house you are gaming at, they will be around when you are gaming. This is, perhaps, the most important lesson I have ever learned while gaming: DO NOT IGNORE THE SPOUSE! Because I didn’t ignore my classmate’s spouse, I was not looked upon as rude or weird as my other two classmates were. They ignored her and thus she was weirded out by them. Because I engaged with my classmate’s spouse, when other things came up, like possibly board gaming or a Christmas party, I was invited whereas the other two weren’t. I also had the benefit of ingratiating myself with my classmate’s wife as I commented on their beautifully decorated Christmas tree, not knowing that she loved Christmas. So, by being a “normal” person by not ignoring her and making appropriate comments and small talk, I quickly moved from classmate to friend.
Because both my classmate and his wife liked me, they started to invite me over for board gaming and other get-togethers like their annual Christmas party. It was at these events that I met and became friends with more of their friends. It was at these events, the board game nights, where they introduced me to their incredible collection of board games, of which I have blogged about before. Before them, I had no idea there were so many board games; I thought Monopoly was it. They completely opened my eyes to the wonderful world of board games.
And this couple, whose house this Shadowrun campaign started at, has become some of my closest friends to this day. We go camping together a few times a year and I am invited over for all sorts of random hangouts (could be dinner, could be for more board gaming). Because this couple introduced me to their friends and family, I have been invited to a couple weddings, invited to more birthday parties than I can shake a stick at, and made several more friends that I would never have been able to on my own. I was even able to get one of the friends I made through this couple a job where I work and she will be having her 5 year anniversary later this year.
I am truly grateful for the friends I have made throughout the years through gaming. However, I am most grateful to the classmate who invited me to play Shadowrun, and his wife. They have had a huge impact on my life and I am a much better and more social person for it.
Have you made long lasting friendships through gaming? If so, how did it come about? Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.