I’ve been mulling over this post for quite a while. It’s been in the back of my head nagging at me ever since I got home from Blizzcon. It probably would have been a better idea to talk to a few people about how I was feeling while I was at the Con and I did confide into one or two people, but it didn’t really help much. I just don’t do well with confrontation.
To start off, I learned that a lot of people aren’t always what they seem. When I was driving to the Con I felt I had a good idea of how people’s personalities would play out and to some extent this held true for a lot of people. I met some of the nicest, most cheerful and upbeat people at the Con.
On the downside, I met people who I would be happy to never socialize with again. It’s unfortunate too because I felt I had such a strong connection with them over Twitter. I thought I was going to be inseparable with them and instead I spent most of my time avoiding them.
First impressions are a big thing for me. After we get through our formal introductions if the first thing you do is start talking crap about people you know through Twitter then I already have a negative opinion about you. To formulate such a strong opinion about someone through what little contact we have in the WoW Twitter community and even at Blizzcon isn’t really a fair assessment. And to say all these things to a person who: A. It’s their first Blizzcon and B. They don’t really know any of these people and have yet to formulate an opinion of their own? It’s very Mean Girls: You’re Regina George and I’m Lindsay Lohan, the new girl in school.
Besides the bad first impression, I have to say I was pretty upset while I attended the WoW Insider meetup. Again, the only way I really knew anyone was through the Twitter community. Basically everyone was a stranger to me and I wanted to mingle and get to know them better.
I’m a very shy person when meeting new people. Many of you probably came to this conclusion while meeting me at Blizzcon. I usually wait for people to make the first move and then I act upon that. It’s not that I’m anti-social or anything. I’m just fearful of a bad first impression. I’m very self-conscious of what people think of me and I end up having very bad anxiety if there is someone that I know that doesn’t really like me. It usually bothers me so much that I can hardly sleep and I end up wanting to seclude myself from any social situation.
So, going into the WoW Insider meetup with this self-awareness I was already out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to meet these people and put the faces to the Twitter accounts and blogs. Anyone who went to the WoW Insider meetup would know that most people gravitated around their guild or people they were really familiar with and that’s great. Unfortunately for me I didn’t have a ton of guildies to chase after and I didn’t really know anyone well enough to just jump into their conversation without getting a bunch of weird, possibly drunken stares. The people I was gravitating around decided to “help” me and introduce me to people because of my shyness. And while I think they had only the best intentions, it was the way they introduced me that I found humiliating:
“This is our token gay for the weekend.”
I was upset. I was embarrassed. These were people who knew nothing about me and the first thing they hear is something pertaining to my sexuality. I admit I have fun on Twitter and sometimes on my blog relating to gay things, but that’s not what defines me as a person and it’s not what I want people to hear about me when meeting me for the first time.
People who really know who I am are aware that I’m not comfortable with my own sexuality. I’m still in the process of figuring myself out and I’m not the type of person to shout it from the rooftops. I’ve never felt like “the gay guy” in a social setting before, so you could imagine with my insecurities how mortified and upset I was when those words were said. On top of that I started to feel the awkward stares back at me.
So for the rest of my time at Blizzcon I essentially avoided most social settings with these people if I could help it. I even went so far as to miss the TNB meetup because I didn’t want to be put into another awkward situation.
On the upside, my last night in Anaheim will be very memorable. I spent it with the people who totally made me feel comfortable while at the Hilton after-party and I had quite a few laughs with them and for that I am grateful. They really turned a sour-time into a great one.
Overall, I think people just need to know their boundaries when meeting new people. Take heart into realizing that you may not know everything about someone and tread the waters carefully when meeting new people.